This book offers a collection of the essays, letters, interviews, and correspondence of Fr Matthew Baker, exploring the works of Fr Georges Florovsky and the writings of the Church Fathers.
‘The Fathers are ahead of us, with Jesus—it is we who should be running to catch up to them.’ Thus Fr Matthew Baker, in one of the interviews included in this volume, summarizes and defends the understanding of Orthodox theological method espoused by his hero, Fr Georges Florovsky, known as neopatristic synthesis. We tend to be programmed in Western societies into thinking that simply by virtue of living in the twenty-first century, we are somehow ‘ahead,’ that we are intellectually, morally, and theologically superior to our forebears just because we happen to live later than they did, and in an age of technological marvels. But the measure of what puts us ‘ahead’ as human beings is neither time nor technology, but our proximity to Jesus Christ. This is what allows the category of the Fathers to remain a steadfast one in Orthodox theology: not simply because in the distant past they forged lasting and faithful expressions of the Gospel, but because in doing so they assimilated the very life of the One they sought to defend and glorify, the Coming One, thereby becoming living witnesses before us (not just behind us) to the only truth that can save human beings….
REV. MATTHEW BAKER, PH.D. was an adjunct professor in theology at Hellenic College/Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology. He published numerous articles and edited multiple books on Fr Georges Florovsky as well as patristics, theology, Scripture, and philosophy more broadly.
As Florovsky thought of the Fathers, and as Baker thought of Florovsky, it is not inappropriate to add the theological achievements of Fr Matthew Baker to this precious lineage and inheritance of Orthodox theology. This is an inheritance we do not merely seek to excavate or look back on, but a living inheritance that we have a duty to pursue, ‘to catch up with,’ as we strive to be faithful witnesses to ‘him which is, and which was, and which is to come’ (Rev 1.4).