Meeting with the Catechists in the Holy Metropolis of Corfu
On Sunday afternoon, January 13, 2019, the fourth meeting of the Catechists’’ School of the Holy Metropolis of Corfu took place, with Mr. Elias Liamis, educator, author, catechist, member of the Synodical Committee on Christian Education of the Youth. Mr. Liamis developed the following subject: “Art in catechism”, while talked with priests and catechists who were there.
The speaker pointed out, inter alia, that artistic activity activates within us a fundamental element of the “image”: Creativity. Artistic creation, as an activity that transcends the simple mental process and coordinates all human senses and forces, undoubtedly inducing topical super sensory stimuli touching the sphere of the transcendent, contributes most to the preparation of human to approach faith as a experience and dogmatic knowledge as a bridge with a personal Being who calls him into dialogue and relationship.
Art, among other things, is the attempt to shrink a material that resists, sometimes with its cruelty, like stone or wood, sometimes with its amorphous, such as color, sometimes with the narrative of its sounds, such as sound, sometimes with his chaos, like space and sometimes with its instability, like human movement. The “obedience” of materials to the inspiration and desire of the artist is the fruit of a painful effort, which is slow to bear fruit. The path from amorphous to form is always long, requires great self-discipline, commitment and renunciation of roads of easy joy, attention, alertness, but also something that only the artist can understand.
Are not they all related to a spiritual struggle, as the Orthodox tradition has taught it? Is there a spiritual struggle without patience? Without fasting, not just food but thoughts and distractions? Without a tough battle, not with a foreign matter, but with the material body and the carnal mind? But how many times does the consistent spiritual life leave the militants unpromising temptations, but also skyscrapers, completely out of human plans, fairy-tales, theory and involvement?
Above all, however, a question arises with an evident answer: Is there a spiritual life, without struggle and gradual liberation from the utilitarian egoism and the spirit of the use of people and things? What else is love, the ultimate virtue of the native scale, from liberation from individualism and selfishness? Here is where the most important point is the meeting point of Church and Art: A real artist is the one who replaces the predatory look that wants everything to measure and exploit them with a grateful and selfless look that feels awe and gratitude for all that surrounds him/her. Nothing is more opposed to Art than the utilitarian spirit. By extension, only love is able to change artistic creation into high and true Art.
In times of narcissism, mania with speed, resentment to what is slow to satisfy us, superficiality, illusions about the precision of our programming, blindness in surprise, but also alienation from a naive way of life, disgraced and disappearing from everyday life, particularly of young people, Art can be a precious tool of preaching, part of an experiential Orthodox catechism, which seeks to unite dogmatic truths with everyday ascetic ethos.
At the same time, an art workshop with Mrs. Nadia Lami-Stamatiou, theologian, took place.