Icons of the Dormition bear witness to the mystery of glorification as does the mature wisdom of the Apostle Paul. Orthodox wisdom is the secret and hidden wisdom of God which discerns the glory of the age to come, the glory of the crucified Lord of glory who glorifies elders and saints. (1 Cor 2: 6-16) This wisdom of the Spirit reveals what the Word has always known, the hallowing mystery of the Name, searching out future glory as already present in the hidden depths of God. The Spirit unveils doxological, eschatological time as a circular time of future-past-present, quite different from chronologically linear time, past-present-future. Future, here, is future glory uniting with past glory before all falls, in present glory as Kingdom come. It has to do with the timeless time of doxological parousia, time revealed by glory in glory to glory, the circular timeless presence of Holy Tri-unity. The mind of Christ as Word imparts wisdom discerning the glory of the age to come, glory’s future restoring paradise as glory before all falls, glory present even now as God’s Kingdom come.
Saints bear witness in God the Holy Spirit to revelatory wisdom, discerning future glory wedded to past glory in present glorification. Alpha and Omega are one in this timeless time of glorification which begins at the end and ends where it begins. Circulating eschatological glory moves from future glory to past glory to present glory in paradise rather than from the past to the future away from the present. Doxological time is paradisal and angelic, but love of glory or philodoxy is sometimes neglected in Orthodoxy when glorification is not seen as integral to Orthodox life. When it is conventionally regarded as an optional appendage or a luxury for a specially gifted few, it is no longer seen as the central mystery empowered by Christ’s second coming in the Eucharist. But, inspired by the Liturgy, love of wisdom was embraced in the desert not as philosophical sophistry but as holy philodoxy, grounded in wisdom’s own love of glory.
Icons of the Dormition still bear witness to the liturgical experience of the circular angelic motion of doxological time. Saint Dionysius the Areopagite transmitted this wisdom to Saint Maximus and Saint Simeon the New Theologian to Saint Gregory Palamas, showing circular doxological time to be infallible. Future glory unites with past glory as present glory in God, without confusion or division, and so its mysteries are infallible. Error creeps in downstream from glory when vainglory falls short of glory by reducing communion to confusion and seducing union out into separation. Vainglory, kenodoxy, is cured by wisdom’s philodox wholeness at the heart of Orthodoxy. The Spirit is witness to future glory as restoration of original glory in present glory, a mysterious wholeness that is both eternally complete and temporally incomplete. The incompleteness is intrinsic to this completeness because development towards completeness is integral to wisdom’s dynamic completeness. The temporal Gospel is how completeness looks in chronological, linear time, the eternal Gospel is how completeness manifests in the eschatological, circular time of glory. The whole is both eternal and temporal, both complete and incomplete. Everywhere, it is complete as the circular motion of doxological time, but in linear time, completeness is development towards completeness outside wisdom’s vision of glory. The presence of eternal glory in time integrates the presence of glory before time with glory whose eternal presence is coming towards us from the age to come. Glorification envisioned in icons of the Dormition communicates the mystery of glory’s future coming, a mystery lived by saints as restoration of first glory, present in the eternal now as parousia of the Kingdom come.