Man has a sick soul and various sinful passions. So, based on this fact, we could say that man is literally a “psychopath” (psycho– is a prefix meaning of the soul, and –path comes from the Greek word pathos = passion).
So, man is a psychopath, not in terms of psychiatry, but in terms of our Patristic Tradition. We do not need to be, let’s say, a schizophrenic, in order to be a psychopath. However, in terms of Orthodox Patristics, psychopathy (mental-psychic illness) exists in a person whose soul does not function properly. This person’s soul-energy, the noetic energy, according to our Holy Fathers, does not function properly!
So, when our noetic energy does not function properly (and this counts for all of us, as long as we have not been healed yet inside this very hospital, called Church), we are a psychopath. Then, our nous is full of logismoí (thoughts combined with images), and this actually justifies our “filth”. Concluding, according to our Holy Fathers, the nous of a psychopath or a sinfully impassioned person is filthy.
What determines our psychic illness is the following condition: our nous is full of logismoí, thoughts, not only bad, but also good ones! Do you remember what we said our nous is in the beginning?
It is the noetic energy inside of every human heart.
Normally, inside the region of our heart there is no other thought, there is no other logismós allowed, than Christ. Our noetic energy should communicate with God, and this communion is to be established by the ceaseless prayer (εὑχή, efkhí).
So, when we have other thoughts inside our heart, our noetic energy is malfunctioning, is “confused”. There is kind of a closed circuit between our nous and our intellect (diánoia). Thoughts, which should be confined in our intellect, take the wrong way and descent into our heart, and take the place that belongs exclusively to God. All of us have this “confusion” as long as we remain uncured.
This is actually the reason why we (most of us) cannot make a proper, a “pure”, a heartfelt prayer. There are “things” that should have never had any place in our heart! Various thoughts came down from the brain into our heart, and these logismoí are connected to various desires, and became impassioned. Normally, all of them logismoí should have just stayed in our intellect, in our brain. Unfortunately, because of our carelessness, they came down and contaminated our heart…, and I repeat: be them bad or good ones!
So, anybody having good or bad logismoí in his heart, from a Patristic point of view, this person is a psychopath… I repeat: from a Patristic perspective; do not get confused with the psychiatric terminology.
“Be them ethical, even extremely ethical, or unethical or anything else… they are foreign body, so to say, inside our heart” (excerpt from the book by Fr. Ioannis Romanides Patristic Theology, Parakatathiki Editions, Thessaloniki, 2004, p. 23 of the Greek publication).
Conclusion: According to the Holy Fathers of our Orthodox Church, a psychopath is considered anyone who has not cleansed his soul from the sinful passions and has not reached the state of illumination yet (always by the Grace of the Holy Spirit).
For a psychiatrist, though, a psychopath is something else; it is the person who suffers from psychosis, a schizophrenic. For Orthodoxy, on the contrary, those of us who have not purified our soul from its sinful passions (have not started at least the process of kátharsis through repentance) and have not reached illumination yet, are, in fact, simply not “normal”.