That is not what great Christian art wanted to do. Therefore don’t confuse it. And I would say that this Eastern church represents something which has been lost, and therefore I am especiaIly happy that it was possible and still is possible to communicate with this church – but it is not possible with the Roman church – namely to take them into the World Council of Churches, and I hope we will not believe, because we are the big majority and are the dynamic power there, that we have nothing to learn from them. We have much to learn from them. . .

This may happen in centuries of more intimate contact, and then it might be that the dimension of depth will again enter the Western thinking, more than it does now.

The system of Dionysius was received by the West. There were two things which made this possible, and which Christianized, or baptized, it. The one was that emanation was not understood in a natural but in a personal picture. God has given existence to all beings because of His benevolence. This goes beyond pagan thinking. Here the personalistic element comes in and the Neoplatonic dualism is removed.

Secondly the system of mysteries is built around Christ, and around the Church. All things have the power of illuminating and uniting only in relationship to the Church and to the Christ. Christ does not become one hierarchy beside others. This was prevented by Nicaea. But He becomes God manifest, appearing in hierarchy and working through every hierarchy. In this way the system of pagan divinities and mysteries, which lived in Neoplatonism, was overcome, and in this way the Western church could receive the system of hierarchies and mysteries. Consequently medieval mysticism never was in contrast to the ecclesiastical hierarchy. They all worked together, and only much later did conf licts arise. This brings to an end my interpretation of the East, and tomorrow we start with the transition towards the West.

Paul Tillich, A History Of Christian Thought – Table of Contents