Zizioulas concludes chapter three of Being as Communion by making the following points:

1. Orthodox theology needs to work on the synthesis between Christology and Pneumatology, without which it is impossible to understand the Orthodox tradition itself or to be of help in ecumenical discussions.

2. Pneumatology needs to be constitutive of Christology and of ecclesiology. For this to happen the two ingredients of eschatology and communion are needed.

3. If the Church is constituted by these two aspects, then pyramidal notions disappear and the “one” and the “many” co-exist as two aspects of the same thing. This applies to both the universal and the local levels.

4. A “pneumatological conditioning of the being of the Church” can open ecclesial institutions to their eschatological perspective and prevent the danger of the “historization of its ecclesial institutions”. (139-140)

5. A pneumatological perspective sees the Church as constituted by the Spirit rather than simply instituted by Christ, something with profound implications:

The “institution” is something presented to us as a fact, more or less a fait-accomplit. As such, it is a provocation to our freedom. The “con-stitution” is something that involves us in its very being, something we accept freely, because we take part in its very emergence. Authority in the first case is something imposed on us, whereas in the latter it is something that springs from amongst us. If Pneumatology is assigned a constitutive role in ecclesiology, the entire issue of Amt und Geist, or of “institutionalism,” is affected. The notion of communion must be made to apply to the very ontology of the ecclesial institutions, not to their dynamism and efficacy alone. (140)

The question naturally arises as to what extent this is actually a reality in Orthodoxy. Zizioulas suggests that the fact that Orthodoxy has not experienced problems such as the clericalism, anti-institutionalism and Pentecostalism found in the West means that Pneumatology has for the most part saved the life of Orthodoxy. However, the actual situation does not do justice to the tradition: the synodical institutions no longer reflect the true balance between the “one” and the “many” and the number of titular bishops is increasing. The only level on which the proper balance is maintained is the liturgical, and it is perhaps this that has saved Orthodoxy. The question, however, is how long this will continue as Orthodoxy increasingly faces the problems common in the West.

He then turns to Vatican II and suggests that the Council’s rediscovery of the importance of the people of God and of the local Church was a hopeful sign for introducing the notion of communion into ecclesiology but that it did not go far enough.

What an Orthodox sharing the views of this exposé would like to be done – perhaps by a “Vatican III” – is to push the notion of communion to its ontological conclusions. We need an ontology of communion. We need to make communion condition the very being of the Church, not the well-being but the being of it. On the theological level this would mean assigning a constitutive role to Pneumatology, not one dependent on Christology. This Vatican II has not done, but its notion of communion can do. Perhaps it will transform the ecclesial institutions automatically. It will remove any pyramidal structure that may remain in the Church. And it may even place the stumbling block of ecclesial unity, the ministry of the Pope, in a more positive light. (141-142)

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