On “institutes”

In particular, only true virginity is capable of understanding the whole significance of marriage. A height is measurable only from a height; a mountain grows in the eyes in proportion to the ascent to the opposite peak. In the same way, one can understand the holiness of marriage and its qualitative difference from debauchery only from the height of a chaste consciousness. Only true virginity, a virginity full of grace, understands that marriage is not an ‘institution’ of civil society but has its origin in God Himself. On the other hand, only a pure marriage, only a conjugal consciousness full of grace, makes it possible to understand the significance of virginity. Only a married man understands that monasticism is not an ‘institution’ of the ecclesiastical-juridical order but has been established by God Himself, and that monasticism differs qualitatively from the exasperation of the unmarried.
Fr. Pavel Florensky


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