Author Topic: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)  (Read 45589 times)

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Offline Asteriktos

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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #225 on: November 10, 2017, 07:25:10 PM »
It should be remarked, however, that an unillumined soul, since it has no help from God, can neither be genuinely purified, nor ascend to the divine light. What was said above refers to those who are baptized. 

-- St. Theodoros the Great Ascetic (d. 9th century), Theoretikon (Philokalia, v. 2, p. 39)

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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #226 on: November 11, 2017, 10:14:48 PM »
The emergence of a class of professional intellectuals was also related to a new attitude toward Byzantium's classical inheritance. As discussed in Chapter 1, the tenth century can be called encyclopedic for its reference works, lexicons, and florilegia. This was a time of concern for the maintenance of the classical tradition, and the transmission of texts became exceedingly important. The Bibliotheke of Photius marked the beginning of this period; other compilations included Kephalas's Anthology, Daphnopates' collection of John Chrysostom's fragments, the Geoponika, an agricultural manual derived from antiquity, and the souda, a dictionary of sorts. Epitomatory activity thrived in Constantine Porphyrogenitus's intellectual milieu. Once collected, texts were recopied in minuscule script; thus ancient works were preserved. But the concern with the collection and transmission of classical culture does not necessarily imply a Byzantine mastery of the ancient heritage. This seems to have followed only later, in the eleventh and twelfth centuries...

The oldest complete copy of the Iliad is dated to the beginning of the tenth century; that of the Odyssey to the mid-tenth century. The early manuscripts are usually accompanied by Hellenistic scholia or commentaries, which provided substance for the compilers of Byzantine lexicons in the tenth century. Original Byzantine exegesis on Homer began only in the eleventh century. Its foundations were laid by Niketas, the older contemporary of Psellos. Niketas sought to reveal the "secret beauty" of the epic by explaining its adventures as moral parables: Ares' binding because a symbol of reason's victory over passion; Odysseus's escape from Circe's island and his return to his homeland represent the moral seeking the heavenly Jerusalem.

Homeric criticism became more profound and varied in the twelfth century. Though Eustathios of Thessaloniki was familiar with the ancient commentaries, now lost, his exegesis was often the fruit of his own consideration. He did not restrict himself to the interpretation of difficult words and grammatical constructions; rather he attempted to understand Homeric heroes in terms of contemporary linguistic usage, ethnography, political institutions, and cultural life...

Tzetzes, following ancient tradition, developed three types of allegory in his interpretation of Homeric epics. In his own words these three modes were elementary, psychological, and pragmatic. Elementary (i.e., "connected with the elements") was the interpretation of mythological persons as physical forces, as cosmic and meteorological elements (e.g., Zeus as air or ether); psychological allegory involved the explanation of mythological persons as the forces or functions of the psyche (e.g., Zeus as reason); and pragmatic or historical allegory presented the gods as men and women, as kings and queens, as villains and whores. But behind this scholarly game of learned classicism were some contemporary allusions...

Thyus both Eustathios and Tzetzes tried to interpret ancient writings in relation to their own times, modernizing the text to make it more easily understandable and extracting from it explanations of contemporary habits. These popularizations of Homer may also bespeak a wider literary audience for the classics. The treatment of other classical texts developed similarly. The gragedies may have been available in the tenth century, but the Byzantines quoted them then only from the excerpts included in Stobaeus and other ancient florilegia, not from the originals. In contrast, in the eleventh century a treatise on tragedy was written; furthermore, Euripides was attentively read by the indefatifable Psellos, perhaps for the first time since George Pisides at the beginning of the seventh century.

In the twelfth century the tragedians and Aristophanes were studied and commented upon by both Tzetzes and Eustathios. Plato was transcribed in the ninth century, but he was not studied until the eleventh, when Psellos read and popularized his work. Aristotle's writings were published in Constantinople about 850, but through the tenth century they were referred to only incidentally. From the elventh century onward, however, seriously commentators on Aristotle profilerated: George Aneponymos, Psellos, John Italos, Michael of Ephesus, Eustratios of Nicaea, Theodore Prodromos, and Tzetzes. Interest in Neoplatonism also revived at this time.

-- Source

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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #227 on: November 12, 2017, 07:11:57 PM »
When chanting psalms, do this in a low voice, with your intellect fully attentive: do not allow any phrase to go uncomprehended. Should anything escape your understanding, begin the verse again, and repeat this as many times as necessary, until your intellect grasps what is being said. For the intellect can attend to the chanting and simultaneously can recollect God. You may learn this from everyday experience: you can meet and speak with someone and also focus your eyes on him. Similarly, you can chant psalms and focus on God through recollectedness. 

-- Met. Theoliptos of Philadelphia (d. 1322), On Inner Work in Christ  And the Monastic Profession (Philokalia, v. 4, p. 185)

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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #228 on: November 13, 2017, 11:28:43 PM »
First of all I shall set forth the best contributions of the philosophers of the Greeks, because whatever there is of good has been given to men from above by God, since 'every best gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights.' (James 1:17) If, however, there is anything that is contrary to the truth, then it is a dark invention of the deceit of Satan and a fiction of the mind of an evil spirit, as that eminent theologian Gregory once said. In imitation of the method of the bee, I shall make my composition from those things which are conformable with the truth and from our enemies themselves gather the fruit of salvation. But all that is worthless and falsely labeled as knowledge I shall reject.

-- St. John of Damascus (d. 749), The Fount of Knowledge

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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #229 on: November 15, 2017, 03:11:09 AM »
All the walls of the palace and churches were covered with frescoes recalled to us by witneses at Malles, Reichenau, Trier, Auxerre, and Rome. The first storey of the porch of Lorsch was painted with a trompe-l'oeil decoration in the antique fashion: a low wall painted in a checkered pattern supported columns crowned by an architrave. Poets described the frescoes that decorated refectories and state rooms. At Ingelheim, scenes from antiquity and Frankish history could be viewed. One text describes paintings of armed men, agricultural workers reaping and gathering grapes, fishermen standing in their barques, and hunters setting their traps or chasing does and harts. Painters also depicted mythological scenes: the sun and the moon with radiating hair; winds, months, or seasons displayed either nude or clothes. Alas, it has all disappeared. Still, despite their distrust of the cult of painted images in church which we shall consider further on, we can see that Carolingians fully appreciated the beauties of artistic form.

-- Source

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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #230 on: November 16, 2017, 01:34:51 AM »
"And they were crying out," he says, "with a loud voice saying, 'How long, Master, holy and true, how long before you judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell upon earth?'" (Rev. 6:10) They made their prayer not against human beings, but against the demons who make their home with mortal beings. For it was not the loving purpose of God's people to rise up against their own kind, but against those who were urging human beings on to their destruction.

-- Oecumenius, Commentary on the Apocalypse

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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #231 on: November 16, 2017, 09:59:20 PM »
All those who rejoice to be and be called Christian, glory in the fact that they receive in this sacrament the true flesh of Christ and the true blood of Christ, each taken from the Virgin. Ask all those who are of the Latin tongue and have seen the publication of our works. Ask the Greeks, the Armenians, or whatever nation of Christian men; with one mouth they will testify that they themselves have this same faith. If, then, the faith of the Universal Church appears false, it either never was the Church, or the Church itself has disappeared. There is, however, nothing more effective for the destruction of souls than this pernicious error. For no Catholic would ever concede that the Church did not exist or could perish.

Otherwise, it is not true what the Truth promised to Abraham: "In your offspring, all nations will be blessed." (Gen. 22:18) Again, the Psalm: "Ask me, and I will give to you the nations as your inheritance, and the ends of the earth as your possession." (Ps. 2:8) Again: "All the ends of the earth shall call to mind and be converted and return to the Lord." (Ps. 21:28) And further on: "He redeems them from the hand of their enemy, and has fathered them from their regions, from the rising of the sun to its setting, from the north and from the sea." (Ps. 106:2-3)

-- Archbishop Lanfranc of Canterbury (d. 1089), On the Body and Blood of the Lord

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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #232 on: November 19, 2017, 02:35:23 AM »
As I returned from my wearisome journey of many days, most honoured Lord, the letter of your holiness fell into my hands, and it appeared sweeter to me than a following wind to sailors after they have toiled at rowing, or (if you prefer) than a fountain to a thirsty deer. May you never rob me of your beautiful speech, and for ever and ever may you make me hear your voice, which is the same as saying your rejoicing. But in these pitiless parts of the world, the workshop of all evil, if you do not spoonfeed us with these sweet pages, what else is there for us, but to descend into hell or to float away towards evil?

-- St. Theophylact of Ohrid (d. 1107), Source

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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #233 on: November 19, 2017, 08:01:00 PM »
Have faith that is as unshakeable as a rock, so that nothing frightens you... The person who has deep faith within himself, and fixes his attention on the good path, and seeks to improve the condition of his soul and to adapt his thought to the good is happy... The happiness of man consists in faith in God and in good acts which are done with love.

-- St. Raphael Of Lesbos (d. 1463), Source

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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #234 on: November 23, 2017, 07:28:21 AM »
"Those who walk according to the flesh, think the things of the flesh; those who walk according to the spirit, the things of the spirit; for the thought of the flesh is death; but the thought of the spirit, life and peace. And so the thought of the flesh is hostile to God, for it is not subject to the law of God. Indeed it cannot be. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God" (Rom. 8:5-8). In brief this is the power of the mystery, and this is why we should celebrate spiritually and behave spiritually, with holiness and justice, with love, with gentleness, with peace, "with forbearance, with goodness, with the Holy Spirit" (2 Cor. 6:6), so that as far as we ourselves are concerned we do not render the dispensation of our Lord Jesus Christ empty and ineffectual.

-- St. Theodore the Studite (d. 826), Source

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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #235 on: November 24, 2017, 07:00:08 AM »
At this point it must be asked why the holy fathers sometimes say that anger and desire are powers pertaining to the body and sometimes that they are powers pertaining to the soul. Assuredly, the words of the saints never disagree if they are carefully examined. In this case, both statements are true, if correctly understood in context. For indescribably body and soul are brought into being in such a way that they coexist. The soul is in a state of perfection from the start, but the body is imperfect since it has to grow through taking nourishment. The soul by virtue of its creation as a deiform and intellective entity possesses an intrinsic power of desire and an intrinsic incensive power, and these lead it to manifest both courage and divine love. For senseless anger and mindless desire were not created along with the soul. Nor originally did they pertain to the body.

On the contrary, when the body was created it was free from corruption and without the humors from which such desire and uncontrollable rage arise. But after the fall anger and desire were necessarily generated within it, for then it became subject to the corruption and gross materiality of the instinct-driven animals. That is why when the body has the upper hand it opposes the will of the soul through anger and desire. But when what is mortal is made subject to the intelligence it assists the soul in doing what is good. For when characteristics that do not originally pertain to the body but have subsequently infiltrated into it become entangled with the soul, man becomes like an animal (cf. Ps. 49:20), since he is now necessarily subject to the law of sin. He ceases to be an intelligent human being and becomes beast-like.

-- St. Gregory of Sinai (d. 1346), Philokalia, v. 4, p. 227

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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #236 on: November 26, 2017, 03:43:08 PM »
By a marvelous distinction, this apostolic sentence (James 1:17) differentiates the divine act of giving from the divine act of granting, correlating the excellent giving with the substantiation of the entire creation, and the perfect granting to the munificence of divine grace. For everything that exists participates in the divine goodness in two ways, the first seen in the creating of nature, the other in the distribution of grace.

-- John Scotus Eriugena (d. 877), Source

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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #237 on: November 28, 2017, 02:18:53 PM »
In the last decade of the seventeenth century, after the death of his wife, he joined the famous Kiev-Pechery Lavra (Monastery of grottoes), taking the monastic name Filofei. In 1701 he was appointed abbot of the Svensk Dormition Monastery in the province of Orel, and less than a year later was consecrated metropolitan of Siberia and Tobolsk. On April 4, 1702, with a group of young monks, he set off for Tobolsk to evangelize the aboriginal people...

In 1715 he sent an Orthodox mission to Peking, headed by Archimandrite Hilarion. In 1716, Czar Peter the Great ordered him to return to the metropolitan see in Tobolsk and to govern the Siberian diocese again. Filofei obeyed, but in 1720, at the age of 70, he requested that the Czar relieve him of his official responsibilities. From then until his death Filofei traveled tirelessly across the Tyumen region, teaching the baptizing. It is claimed that he and his fellow missionaries converted about 40,000 persons throughout Siberia. The number of churches in Filofei's diocese increased from 160 to 448 in the years of his service. He established several schools and monasteries. A contemporary wrote that Filofei "doomed to fire their pagan shrines, but toward the people he acted with a spirit of meekness and convinced them by arguments, without any force or violence."

-- St. Filofei Leshchinsky (d. 1727), Source

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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #238 on: November 30, 2017, 06:08:09 PM »
All beings received their movement and their natural characteristic from Him who created them by the Logos; therefore, the nous, as well. But the movement of the nous has as its characteristic the “for ever," in other words it is uninterruptible; and the “for ever” is infinite and unlimited. Therefore, it would have been beneath the value and the nature of the nous if it moved in a finite or limited way. And this would have happened to it if it had its movement in finite and limited things. Because it is not possible that, while something is finite and limited, the movement of the nous for, or concerning it, would advance towards the Infinite. The perpetual motion of the nous then also has the need for something eternal and unlimited, towards which to move by the logos and by its own nature. Nevertheless, nothing is really infinite and unlimited but God, Who by nature and above all is One. The nous then must fly to, gaze at and move towards the -above all- infinite One: God.

-- Kallistos Katafygiotis (14th century), On Union With God and Life of Theoria

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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #239 on: December 07, 2017, 10:21:00 PM »
Now the matter of Baptism is pure water, and no other liquid. And it is performed by the Priest only, or in a case of unavoidable necessity, by another man, provided he is Orthodox, and has the proper intention to Divine Baptism. And the effects of Baptism are, to speak concisely, firstly, the remission of the hereditary transgression, and of any sins of any kind that the baptized may have committed. Secondly, it delivers him from the eternal punishment, to which he was liable, as well for original sin and for mortal sins he may have individually committed. Thirdly, it gives to the person immortality; for in justifying them from past sins, it makes them temples of God.

-- The Confession of Dositheus (1672), Decree 16