The Religious Dimension in the National Language of the Greeks, Archbishop Stylianos (Harkianakis)

Abstract: This paper provides several indicative insights into the 'religious' dimension of the Greek language. It refers not only to the specific notion of the Divine, but also to the general disposition towards piety which is expressed in a people's language, even when speaking about the most mundane matters. Several Greek terms are analysed. For instance, the term hypárcho represents a higher order above each person, a higher being, to which one submits by definition; the very term therefore indicating a ruler second in order. The asbtract nouns kathékon (duty) and aléthia (truth), hekségese (explanation) vis-a-vis hermeneía (hermeneutics), and sóma (body) vis-a-vis pneúma (spirit) are used as examples. While parallels have also been drawn from time to time between Christ and Dionysos as well as Christ and Apollo, a similar correlation between the Theotokos and Ariadne offers astonishing analogies and likenesses. Beyond the ontological and ethical levels there is also a gnosiological level at which significant Greek terms clearly indicated the direct reliance of the human being upon God.

Bio: Archbishop Stylianos (Harkianakis) is Primate of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Asutralia and Dean of St Andrew's Greek Orthodox Theological College.