The “Itinerariu spiritual” marks the first public adherence to the values of Orthodoxy and the church. This twenty-year-old Eliade considered Orthodoxy to resolve the dynamic antagonism between Jesus and Apollo-Dionysus. His Orthodoxy, however, was not the fruit of a personal experience, but of an ideological choice in the name of a new spirituality. The personal debate between magical voluntarism, which characterized him, and Orthodox mysticism, to which he aspired, was not yet over. He remains close to the “temptation” of magic, which had also a luciferian side (see the obsession of “Sfintul Diavol,” “the Holy Devil”). The passage from paganism to Christianity takes place only on the Ideological plane, not the existential, on which Eliade wanted to leave himself full liberty for experience. The two states of spirit live side by side in an unstable equilibrium.
The transformation of man into God continued to be his objective. Christian life meant for him a “heroic life.” Christ was viewed, not as Son of God, but as “the first and greatest hero” of Christianity. This is obvious in the article “Apologia virilititii” (“Praise of Virility,” Gdndlrea, August—September 1928, but written between August 1927 and January 1928). The virile personality is born through the tragic confrontation and synthesis of the Dionysian with the Christic. The restoration of man can be realized through a new virility sprung from the spiritual life. The core idea of this “new humanism” is the “personality,” understood as a spiritual organism constituted through a concrete and inner experience, as a new consciousness that transcends and survives the physical (Eliade, Virilitate si asceza, 227-243).
This is precisely why Eliade would have to deny the position in another article, “Virilitate si asceza ("Virility and Asceticism,” Cuvantul, October 11 and 17, 1928). Here he recognizes that the ascesis of “Apologia virilititii” was one of a magical kind: the asceticism of the Ego exalted through reflection upon itself, outside of divine grace, and of anything transcendent. At the end of one year of experiences, he announces that he has left this position behind: definitive ascesis cannot be fulfilled without grace. He preserves his position of ultimate asceticism, but by turning values upside down, that is, introducing grace and eliminating “self-creating personalism” (“personalismul autocreator”).
— Mircea Eliade Myth, Religion, and History - Nicolae Babuts