Church is a prosthesis

Polska wersja tego artykułu znajduje się tu.

We quoted below an excerpt from an interview with Prof. Jerzy Nowosielski by Zbigniew Podgorzec, taken from the collection “Moj Chrystus” (“My  Christ”). Jerzy Nowosielski (born 1923 in Cracow) is a Polish painter, illustrator, scene painter as well as a philosopher and Orthodox theologian. For us he is without a doubt the most original Polish religious thinker of our times. His controversial statements both disturb and inspire. It’s also worth noting that Nowosielski himself calls Fr Jerzy Klinger, whom we have already quoted here, one of his greatest spiritual masters.

It’s been always said that the Church is meant to preach ethics.

But it’s untrue! The Church is an Old Testament institution.

But it preaches the New Testament.

But it’s only called that way, sir. This is still the Old Testament.

Now you say very controversial things here…

The New Testament can’t be an institution. The Church is an institution and the New Testament can’t be. The New Testament is the reality of the resurrection that can be experienced once, twice, three, fife times in life in absolutely extraordinary moments of ones spiritual life. The Church as an institution, however, is an Old Testament institution.


Isn’t the Inquisition an obstacle for you to believe in the New Testament Church, the Church of the Pentecost?

Of course it isn’t. For this Church doesn’t exist in history. This is the Church of the reality of the Resurrection and of the Second Coming of Christ. And it only touches human conciseness extremely rarely. It happens sometimes during Communion, a good confession, some spiritual quakes without absolutely any sacramental acts. It is so because the New Testament Church is always an event, never an institution and never the history. And everything that is historical and institutional is a continuation of the Old Testament.

So what is today’s Church as such in relation to the above?

It’s a prosthesis, because it’s a continuation of the Old Testament. And a prosthesis worse than the Old Testament, for it’s an unsubstantiated existence of the Old Testament.

Are you speaking about the whole of Christianity?

About the whole: all the variations of Eastern, Western, Protestant or any other orthodoxy. The Church as an institution – it’s the Old Testament, degenerated.

And could Christianity exist without the Church?

No, it couldn’t. For the New Testament can’t exist without the Old Testament. And because it’s necessary that the Old Testament exists, so that the reality of Pentecost, the reality of the Resurrection, the reality of the Second Coming of krucyfiks nowosielski krzyż ikonaChrist, the reality of the Eucharist could appear in man’s life, for this man can exist historically only in the reality of the Old Testament. Because the Old Testament is New Testament’s pedagogue.

But this very pedagogue teaches us most cruel things, when it comes to the animals, for instance.

Of course, it’s a cruel pedagogue. But the Old Testament before the coming of Christ had been true in a sense, justified. On the other hand, the Church after the coming of Christ is something much worse than the ancient Israel.

But the reality of the Pentecost can’t exist without it…

It can’t. The spiritual condition is such that there must be the state of the fall, the state of the catastrophe of the sin, so that the reality of conversion, repentance, the Resurrection and the Pentecost could exist.

So the Church is the state of the fall?

The Church is the state of the fall, the permanent state of the fall, as the representative of the divine realty in the empirical reality, fallen empirical reality.

Podgórzec Z., Rozmowy z Jerzym Nowosielskim, Znak, Kraków 2009, str. 274-276.

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