“Everyone knows with what love the Eastern Christians celebrate the sacred liturgy, especially the Eucharistic mystery, source of the Church’s life and pledge of future glory.

“In this mystery the faithful, united with their bishops, have access to God the Father through the Son, the Word made flesh who suffered and was glorified, in the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.

“And so, made ‘sharers of the divine nature’ (2 Peter 1:4) they enter into communion with the most holy Trinity” (Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Decree on Ecumenism Unitatis Redintegratio, 15).

These features describe the Eastern outlook of the Christian. His or her goal is participation in the divine nature through communion with the mystery of the Holy Trinity.

In this view the Father’s “monarchy” is outlined as well as the concept of salvation according to the divine plan, as it is presented by Eastern theology after Saint Irenaeus of Lyons and which spread among the Cappadocian Fathers.

Participation in Trinitarian life takes place through the liturgy and in a special way through the Eucharist, the mystery of communion with the glorified body of Christ, the seed of immortality.

In divinization and particularly in the sacraments, Eastern theology attributes a very special role to the Holy Spirit:

through the power of the Spirit who dwells in man deification already begins on earth; the creature is transfigured and God’s kingdom inaugurated.

The teaching of the Cappadocian Fathers on divinization passed into the tradition of all the Eastern Churches and is part of their common heritage.

This can be summarized in the thought already expressed by Saint Irenaeus at the end of the second century: God passed into man so that man might pass over to God.

This theology of divinization remains one of the achievements particularly dear to Eastern Christian thought.

On this path of divinization, those who have been made “most Christ-like” by grace and by commitment to the way of goodness go before us: the martyrs and the saints.

And the Virgin Mary occupies an altogether special place among them. From her the shoot of Jesse sprang (cf. Isaiah 11:1).

Her figure is not only the Mother who waits for us, but the Most Pure, who – the fulfillment of so many Old Testament prefigurations – is an icon of the Church, the symbol and anticipation of humanity transfigured by grace, the model and the unfailing hope for all those who direct their steps towards the heavenly Jerusalem.

John Paul II (1920-2005): Apostolic Letter Orientale Lumen, 6.