Bill Prevette asked me to introduce myself on the blog. My name is David Chronic. I’ve lived in Romania since 1996 (in Galati since 1997) and since 1998 served with Word Made Flesh, a community that seeks to serve Jesus among the poor. In Romania we have primarily served among children that were institutionalized, living on the streets, and at-risk of abandonment.
I am currently serving as the regional coordinator for our communities in Romania, the Republic of Moldova, and Sierra Leone. I just recently finished my dissertation for the London School of TheologyMA program in aspects in biblical interpretation. I looked at the relationship between the theology of the poor of St. Basil of Caesarea and his praxis for the poor. Here is an abstract:
Saint Basil of Caesarea is a fourth century Church Father who helps articulate the doctrine of the Trinity. He also organizes ascetics in communities to serve the poor. Basil is the first bishop to systematically organize philanthropic foundations. The pinnacle of his care for the poor came to be called Basiliad, a building complex that included a chapel, hospitals, hotels for poor travelers, homes for the aged, orphanages, leprosaria, soup kitchens and various schools for occupational training.
While some have studied Basil’s theology without considering the implications on his social praxis, others use Basil as an example of social praxis without exploring his theological motivations. This dissertation will argue that Basil’s praxis for the poor is motivated and shaped by his theological vision.
Beginning with an evaluation of Basil’s hermeneutic, this study evaluates Basil’s appropriation of Greek thought, his understanding of the relationship between God, cosmos and human discourse, his view of Scripture and the typological, literal and allegorical methods he uses for interpretation, his method of interpretation within the ecclesial tradition and his spiritual approach to interpretation.
This study identifies who Basil considers to be ‘poor’, examines the theology communicated through his homilies that address social concerns, evaluates the central texts to which he appeals in expressing his theology of the poor and explores the social implications drawn from his doctrine.
This dissertation concludes by identifying Basil’s motivations for caring for the poor as imitating God, who is a philanthropist, and for valuing the poor because the Son became poor. Following the model of the Jerusalem Church, the ascetic community is Basil’s vision for society and a response to poverty. Even where the wealthy do not join an ascetic community, Basil still calls them to imitate God by acting philanthropically and to consider their possessions as not their own. Even where the involuntary poor do not join an ascetic community, Basil cares for them through the church.