In this incredibly insightful and poetic book, His Grace Bishop Maxim- a student of Metropolitan John Zizioulas, Bishop Athanasius Yevtich, Christos Yannaras (to mention only the most influential)- emplifies and magnifies the relational understanding of divine-human communion. He demonstrates with eloquence and persuasiveness that the importance of such an understanding of ontology is not limited to theology, but extends to questions of epistemology and theinter-disciplinary debates on human freedom.
Bishop Maxim offers a balanced approach in which the monastic understanding of holiness is understood as a relational and liturgical event. He offers a way forward beyond the ascetical and the liturgical in showing that the ascetical struggle to holiness toward an ecstatic freedom is simultaneously an awareness that we are eternally loved by the God who is eternally Other, and as such, eternally unique and irreplaceable. Such holiness manifests itself in relations to others: the holy one now, like God, becomes the unique Other in whose face one is drawn toward personal freedom, toward a relational event of uniqueness and irreducibility.
In this book, the reader will find rich insights through a faithful engagement with the liturgical and patristic traditions, with contemporary thinkers, Orthodox and non-Orthodox, in conversation with philosophy and science (the last particularly in the studies "Truth and history" and "Is there a biochemistry of freedom?"). Bishop Maxim offers an invaluable contribution to Orthodoxy's long tradition of thinking on divine-human communion.