Reconsidering Apokatastasis in St Gregory of Nyssa's On the Soul and Resurrection and Catechetical Oration, Mario Baghos

Abstract: This article addresses St Gregory of Nyssa’s notion of apokatastasis, aiming at distinguishing it from the concept of universal salvation imputed onto it by modern scholarship. Refuting the consensus that the saint claimed the inevitable eschatological salvation of everyone, it will focus on two of Nyssen’s works – On the Soul and Resurrection and the Catechetical Oration – maintaining that whilst he did express the legitimate Christian hope that all things will be restored to God, nevertheless he emphasised the free cultivation of virtue in the here and now as having an impact on our experience of the afterlife. Moreover, this article will demonstrate that the saint contextualised apokatastasis within the person of Christ and his Church, meaning that, whilst in the ages to come all will be given the possibility to return to God, it is especially significant that we begin this process hic et nunc within the ecclesial context.

Bio: Mario Baghos is Associate Lecturer in Patristic Studies and Church History at St Andrew’s Greek Orthodox Theological College. He is a PhD candidate in Studies in Religion at the University of Sydney. His research interests include the city of Constantinople, patristic eschatology, and the history of religions and mentalities