Source: (2001) In Forgiveness and reconciliation: Religion, public policy, & conflict transformation, ed. Raymond G. Helmick, S.J., and Rodney L. Petersen, 51-78. With a foreword by Archbishop Desmond M. Tutu. Philadelphia: Templeton Foundation Press.

Harakas remarks that the question of forgiveness of sins committed after baptism was one of the earliest controversies in the history of the Church. It led to extreme, polarized positions. With this as background, Haraks seeks to bring extreme positions on forgiveness and reconciliation into a dynamic tension characterized by mystery and paradox. In general terms, his study involves a sketch of the Orthodox Church’s understanding of sin in the framework of a model of dynamic mystery or dynamic paradox, and a treatment of the drama of divine reconciliation also located within such a framework. Specifically, Harakas discusses paradoxes in the Church’s understanding of the nature of sin, multiple dimensions of God’s forgiveness, and the dynamic mystery of forgiveness realized or practiced and experienced in sacramental terms. This latter section includes his reflections on aspects of sacramental forgiveness and reconciliation that might serve as a possible model for forgiveness and reconciliation in other contexts (e.g., economic, political, racial, religious, and cultural conflicts).