“Dear Jamie,

In regard to your passionate descriptions and probings of ‘passion’..

I think what perhaps most Orthodox church people don’t get is the active passion, heartful doing and suffering – although individuals certainly do ‘do’ it, but no-one describes it in this way.

Passion is only used in Orthodox church tradition to refer to “the passions” – the things we suffer from, and that hurt us [greed, lust, pride, and so on]. Although everyone refers to Christ’s Passion – which clearly does not mean the same.

I think people mainly think of Christ’s Passion as Him allowing this to happen to redeem us, by paying the price for us – but it is not presented as an action, but as passivity [that ‘pass’ word again]: groaning, he accepts the punishment.

That’s why I think we get a lot of ‘gentle Jesus meek and mild’ and what Fr John refers to as ‘whey-faced Christians’ – but this is a travesty of Christianity.


Christ declares= “I lay down my life.. No one takes it from me. I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down and take it again” [John, 10, 17-18].

The most powerful heart deed of God acting in and through humanity is misunderstood as passivity, simply as ‘putting up with it’ passively. Christ takes the hit in order to confront it at its point of origin in human existence.

Christ’s Cross= where divine passion inter-sects human passion, to be reversed by its failure, and to reverse its failure.

No more active deed than this will ever be forthcoming..

It saves nothing because it permits everything.

It redeems the basis for everything, revealing the one thing that can reclaim the lost chance of humanity= to be God’s heart in the human heart.

This is the divine-humanity the Messiah recovers for us, and passes on to us.