Is belief in the Energies of God Orthodox dogma?
Yes, it is a dogma, because theosis
is a dogma. Man's theosis
, like the incarnation of the Logos, is real, and not merely noetic or virtual, and that is why the distinction (diakrisis
), without a separation (diaresis
), between essence and energy in God is real.
Is the Energy of God celebrated/proclaimed liturgically in a form that is common to Byzantine-Catholics and the Orthodox?
Yes, it is proclaimed in the Byzantine liturgy: (1) it is celebrated on the Sunday of Orthodoxy
, when the Synodikon
(including the additions made over the centuries that reflect the living nature of the Church) is chanted; and (2) it is celebrated again on the Sunday of the Fathers of the Six Ecumenical Councils
"The Fathers of the Councils proclaim to us today that the eternal Trinity is one God and one Lord, explaining to us that it is of one nature, consubstantial, of one Will and one Act (energeia
), not divided nor shared but existing in the simplicity of God's being; and defining that this Will and Act (energeia
) of God have no beginning and will never have an end. Wherefore we the faithful glorify these Fathers as the Equals of the Apostles, for they taught all mankind the true doctrine of God." (Kontakion - Eighth Tone)
Is the Energy of God celebrated/proclaimed liturgically by the Orthodox in a form that is not compatible with Catholic dogma?
No, the doctrine of energies is not incompatible with the dogmatic teaching of the West; although I would say that it is incompatible with the identity theory of the Scholastics, i.e., the theory that holds that everything in God is identical with the divine essence. It is interesting to note that St. Basil ridiculed Eunomius for holding a similar identity theory in connection with the essence and energy of God by asking the following rhetorical questions: "How, therefore, is it not absurd to say that craftsmanship is God's essence (ousia
)? Or again, that His providence is His essence (ousia
)? Or again, that His prescience is likewise? And, in general how is it not absurd to make every energy (energeia
) into essence (ousia
)?" (St. Basil the Great, Contra Eunomium
, I, 8).
I will end my remarks with an extended quotation from St. Basil's Letter 234
where he explains in a more positive manner the doctrine of energies (n.b., this doctrine can also be found in St. Gregory of Nyssa's Sixth Sermon on the Beatitudes
"Do you worship what you know or what you do not know? If I answer, I worship what I know, they immediately reply, 'What is the essence (ousia
) of the object of worship?' Then, if I confess that I am ignorant of the essence (ousia
), they turn on me again and say, 'So you worship you know not what.' I answer that the word to know has many meanings. We say that we know the greatness of God, His power, His wisdom, His goodness, His providence over us, and the justness of His judgment; but not His very essence (ousia)
. The question is, therefore, only put for the sake of dispute. For he who denies that he knows the essence (ousia
) does not confess himself to be ignorant of God, because our idea of God is gathered from all the attributes which I have enumerated. But God, he says, is simple, and whatever attribute of Him you have reckoned as knowable is of His essence (ousia
). But the absurdities involved in this sophism are innumerable
. When all these high attributes have been enumerated, are they all names of one essence (ousia
)? And is there the same mutual force in His awfulness and His loving-kindness, His justice and His creative power, His providence and His foreknowledge, and His bestowal of rewards and punishments, His majesty and His providence? In mentioning any one of these do we declare His essence (ousia
)? If they say, yes, let them not ask if we know the essence (ousia
) of God, but let them enquire of us whether we know God to be awful, or just, or merciful. These we confess that we know. If they say that essence (ousia
) is something distinct, let them not put us in the wrong on the score of simplicity. For they confess themselves that there is a distinction between the essence (ousia
) and each one of the attributes enumerated. The operations (energeiai) are various, and the essence (ousia) simple, but we say that we know our God from His operations (energeiai), but do not undertake to approach near to His essence (ousia). His operations (energeiai) come down to us, but His essence (ousia) remains beyond our reach.