Author Topic: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)  (Read 41733 times)

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Offline Asteriktos

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Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« on: July 18, 2012, 10:52:55 PM »
We have a thread for early church fathers, and one for modern Church Fathers, so here is a thread for those Fathers who fit in the middle period.
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Offline Asteriktos

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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #1 on: July 18, 2012, 10:56:35 PM »
To the degree that she is closer to God than all those who have drawn nigh unto Him, by so much has the Theotokos been deemed worthy of greater audience. I do not speak of men alone, but also of the angelic hierarchies themselves. Isaiah writes with regard to the supreme commanders of the heavenly hosts: "And the seraphim stood round about Him" (Isaiah 6:2); but David says concerning her, "at Thy right hand stood the queen" (Ps. 44:8). Do you see the difference in position? From this comprehend also the difference in the dignity of their station. The seraphim are round about God, but the only Queen of all is near beside Him.

-- St. Gregory Palamas, A Homily on the Dormition of Our Supremely Pure Lady Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary
« Last Edit: July 18, 2012, 10:56:51 PM by Asteriktos »
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Offline Asteriktos

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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #2 on: July 19, 2012, 08:05:05 PM »
Indeed man's nature was created in the beginning for the new man, and mind and desire toward the new man were built. We were given thinking in order to know Christ; desire, in order to run to Him; memory, to remember Him, because even in the time of our creation, it was He our archetype. Because it was not the old man the exemplar of the new, but the new Adam was the exemplar of the old.

-- St. Nicholas Cabasilas (d. c. 1391), The Life in Christ (Source)
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Offline Melodist

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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #3 on: July 19, 2012, 08:45:00 PM »
-subscribed-
And FWIW, these are our Fathers too, you know.

Made Perfect in Weakness - Latest Post: The Son of God

Offline Asteriktos

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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #4 on: July 20, 2012, 03:37:04 PM »
Therefore, my brother, if you wish to attain that which you strive for and long after, that is, the good things of God, and from among men become an angel on earth, you must love bodily affliction and embrace suffering. As for trials, love them as the means of obtaining every blessing. Tell me, what is more beautiful than a soul undergoing tribulation, which knows that by enduring it will inherit joy in all things? What is more courageous than "a humble and contrite heart" (Ps. 51:19) Without difficulty it routs the massed troops of evils and pursues them to their end.

-- St. Syemon the New Theologian (d. 1022), Discourse 2: To Christ Through the Beatitudes (Source)
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Offline Asteriktos

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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #5 on: July 21, 2012, 04:31:24 PM »
He [St. John Chrysostom] also wrought miracles while in the monastery. One of the citizens had such a pain on one side of his head that his right eye hung out, but when he consulted John he was immediately cured. A certain Archelaus, a wealthy and distinguished person, suffering from leprosy in the face, was ordered to wash in the pool out of which the brethren drank, and became well; after this, he distributed his wealth, said farewell to the world, and entered the monastery, his example being followed by many others. Another person named Eucleus, who had lost his right eye through the influence of an evil spirit, applied to the monastery for admission; his head was shaved while the man of God prayed, and he recovered his sight. A woman also who had an issue of blood seven years was healed. A lion, which was said to have carried off a number of travellers, after John had impressed the sign of the cross upon others, was killed by its influence.

-- St. Photius the Great (d. 893), Bibliotheca, 96
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Offline Asteriktos

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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #6 on: July 22, 2012, 11:59:56 AM »
A true santuary, even before the life to come, is a heart free from distractive thoughts and engergized by the Spirit, for all is done and said there spiritually. If we do not attain such a state in this life, we may because of our other virtues be a stone fit for building into the temple of God; but we will not ourselves be a temple or a celebrant of the Spirit.

-- St. Gregory of Sinai (d. 1346), On Commandments and Doctrines, Warnings and Promises; on Thoughts, Passions and Virtues, and also on Stillness and Prayer: One Hundred and Thirty-Seven Texts, 7 (Source)
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Offline Asteriktos

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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #7 on: July 23, 2012, 12:05:34 PM »
If you want cure your soul, you need four things. The first is to forgive your enemies. The second is to confess thoroughly. The third is to blame yourself. The fourth is to resolve to sin no more. If we wish to be saved, we must always blame ourselves and not attribute our wrong acts to others. And God, Who is most compassionate, will forgive us.

-- St. Cosmas of Aetolia (d. 1779), Source
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Offline Asteriktos

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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #8 on: July 24, 2012, 02:24:33 PM »
He says, The half of my goods I give to the poor. Do you see his fervor? He began to disburse without stint, not giving just a little, but all that he had. Even what he held back, he held back so that he could give to those whom he had wronged. From this we learn that there is no benefit at all to a man who gives alms to others of money he has obtained unrighteously and ignores those whom he defrauded in obtaining that money. See what Zacchaeus does with this money: if he defrauded anyone he restores to him fourfold, thus remedying the harm he had done to each man he defrauded. This is true almsgiving. He not only remedies the harm, but he does so with increase.

-- St. Theophylact of Ohrid (d. c. 1108), Commentary on Luke 19:1-10 (Source)
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Offline Asteriktos

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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #9 on: July 25, 2012, 09:09:00 PM »
The beginning of building the virtues is the fear of God, as the Divine Scriptures say, "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom" (Ps. 110:9). And thereafter the four great virtues, that is, wisdom, courage, chastity, and righteousness, and the others with them, each linked to another and forming a union of love, will grow into a holy temple of the Lord. Let us then, Brethren, build this habitation and adorn it with the virtues so that we might have within us the Holy Spirit, and so that we may bring joy to the holy angels and be of benefit to mankind through the accomplishment of the virtues.

-- St. Theodore the Studite (d. 826), Homily 48: On Friday of the First Week--Concerning How We Should Adorn Our Eternal Habitation with Virtue (Source)
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #10 on: July 26, 2012, 01:22:21 PM »
On having any evil thought, one must call upon God's help, for, as St. Isaac of Syria said, we do not always possess within ourselves the strength to oppose evil thoughts, and there is no help in this matter but from God. Therefore, guided by the instructions of Nilus of Sinai, we need to assiduously pray, with sighing and tears, to the Lord Jesus Christ thus: "Have mercy on me, O Lord, and do not allow me to perish! Rout, O Lord, the demon attacking me. O my sure hope, make Thy sign over my head in the day of my battle with the demon! Overcome the enemy who is doing battle with me. O Lord, O Word of God, with Thy peace and quiet tame the thoughts that are assailing me!" Or, according to the instruction of blessed Theodore the Studite, on having unclean thoughts, pray using the Prophet David's words, 'Judge them, O Lord, that do me injustice and war against them that war against me' and then recite the entire 34th Psalm [Ps 35 in the KJV]; and as the hymongrapher wrote, "Gather together and collect my scattered mind, O Lord, and cleanse my wild heart. As Thou did unto Peter, grant me repentance, as unto the publican, sighing, as unto the loose woman, tears, that I might cry unto Thee: help me and rid me of foul thoughts! For, like ocean waves, my transgressions rise up against me, and like a ship in the deep, I am loaded down with my thoughts and intentions; but do Thou guide me into a quiet safe harbor. O Lord, save me as well through [my] repentance, for I mourn greatly over the weakness of my mind, for not of mine own will do I undergo truly involuntary changes - vacillation, assaults, defeats. Because of this I cry unto Thee: O Holy Trinity without Beginning, help me, and confirm me to stand firm in good thoughts and intentions, senses and feelings!"

-- St. Nilus of Sora (d. 1508), On Prayer (Source)
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Offline Asteriktos

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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #11 on: July 28, 2012, 08:49:03 AM »
Holy Baptism is like a door by which those that are baptized enter into the holy Church and become fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God (Eph. 2:19). And not just so, but before Baptism there are renunciations and vows:

1. We then renounced Satan and all his evil works. Satan is a wicked and evil spirit. He was created good by God, but he and those of like mind with him apostasized from Him, and so from light they became dark, and from good they became evil and wicked. His works are idolatry, pride, adultery, prodigality, all uncleanliness, slander, blasphemy and every sin; for he is the inventor of sin, and he beguiled our ancestors in paradise and led them into sin and apostasy from God. We renounce this wicked spirit and all his evil works before Baptism.

2. We renounce every vanity, pride and pomp of this world, as ones called to and renewed for everlasting life.

3. We promise to serve Christ the Son of God in faith and in truth together with the Father and the Holy Spirit, and to follow in His footsteps.

4. Thus we establish a covenant between God and us. We, who have renounced Satan, promise to serve God and be faithful to him. God accepts us in His supreme mercy and promises us an inheritance in everlasting life and the Kingdom, and washes us who are defiled by sin in the laver of Baptism. He sanctifies and justifies us, as the priest says over everyone who is baptized, Thou art washed, thou art sanctified, thou art justified (cf. I Cor. 6:11).

Beloved Christians, let us remember these renunciations and vows, and consider whether we keep them, for it is a grave thing to lie to God, and it is very dangerous to be found false before Him.

-- St. Tikhon of Zadonsk (d. 1783), Remember Your Baptismal Vows (Source)
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Offline Asteriktos

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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #12 on: July 29, 2012, 12:38:24 PM »
But if souls have departed this life in faith and love, while nevertheless carrying away with themselves certain faults, whether small ones over which they have no repented at all, or great ones for which--even though they have repented over them--they did not undertake to show fruits of repentance: such souls, we believe, must be cleansed from this kind of sins, but not by means of some purgatorial fire or a definite punishment in some place (for this, as we have said, has not at all be handed down to us). But some must be cleansed in the very departure from the body, thanks only to fear, as St. Gregory the Dialogist literally shows; while others must be cleansed after the departure from the body, either while remaining in the same earthly place, before they come to worship God and are honored with the lot of the blessed, or--if their sins were more serious and bind them for a longer duration--they are kept in [hades], but not in order to remain forever in fire and torment, but as it were in prison and confinement under guard.

All such ones, we affirm, are helped by the prayers and Liturgies performed for them, with the cooperation of the Divine goodness and love for mankind. This Divine cooperation immediately disdains and remits some sins, those committed out of human weakness, as Dionysius the Great (the Areopagite) says in 'Reflections on the Mystery of Those Reposed in Faith' (In 'The Ecclesiastical Hierarchy, 7, 7); while other sins, after a certain time, by righteous judgments it either likewise releases and forgives--and that completely--or lightens the responsibility for them until that final judgment. And therefore we see no necessity whatever for any other punishment or for a cleansing fire; for some are cleansed by fear, while others are devoured by gnawings of conscience with more torment than any fire, and still others are cleansed only the the very terror before the Divine Glory and the uncertainty as to what the future will be...

And so, we intreat God and believe to deliver the departed from (eternal torment), and not from any other torment or fire apart from those torments and that fire which have been proclaimed to be forever. And that, moreover, the souls of the departed are delivered by prayers from confinement in [hades], as if from a certain prison, is testified, among many others, by Theophanes the Confessor, called the Branded. ...In one of the canons for the reposed he thus prays for them: 'Deliver, O Savior, Thy slaves who are in the [hades] of tears and sighing' (Octoechos, Saturday canon for the deposed, Tone 8, Canticle 6, Glory).

-- St. Mark of Ephesus (d. 1444), First Homily on the Refutation of the Latin Chapters Concerning Purgatorial Fire (Source: The Apocalypse: In the Teachings of Ancient Christianity, by Archbp. Averky Taushev)
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #13 on: July 29, 2012, 12:43:50 PM »
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"I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die [...] These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world." -The Lord Jesus Christ

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Offline Asteriktos

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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #14 on: July 30, 2012, 04:43:00 PM »
Ah, tears upon mine eyelids, sorrow on mine heart,
I bring Thee soul-repentance, Creator as Thou art!
Bounding joyous actions, deep as arrows go;
Pleasures self-revolving, issue into woe!
Creatures of our mortal, headlong rush to sin:
I have seen them; of them -- ah me, -- I have been!
Duly pitying Spirits, from your spirit-frame,
Bring your cloud of weeping, -- worthy of the same!

-- St. Simeon Metaphrastes (d. late 10th century), Source
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #15 on: July 31, 2012, 11:29:44 PM »
But if we despise the commandments of God and reject His laws, which He will vindicate when He come again, and this time with awesome glory and powe, we show ourselves by our deeds to be unbelievers in terms of the faith, and in terms of unbelief believers merely in words. Be not deceived: Without deeds mere faith will not profit us at all, for it is dead. The dead will not become partakers of life unless they first seek it by practicing the commandments. As we practice them there grow up within us, like succulent fruits, love, mercy, compassion for our neighbor, gentleness, humility, endurance of trials, chastity, and purity of heart though which we shall be found worthy to see God, and in which the presence and enlightenment of the Holy Spirit are granted.

-- St. Symeon the New Theologian (d. 1022), The Discourses, 8, 6
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #16 on: August 01, 2012, 11:15:37 PM »
Two things, then, commend us to God, and in them lies all the salvation of men. The first is that we be intitiated into the most sacred Mysteries, the second, that we train the will for virtue. Human endeavour can have no other function than that of preserving what has been given so as not to waste the treasure...

-- St. Nicholas Cabasilas (d. c. 1391), The Life in Christ (Source)
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Offline Asteriktos

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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #17 on: August 02, 2012, 05:55:23 PM »
Just as in legal marriage, the pleasure derived from procreation cannot exactly be called a gift of God, because it is carnal and constitutes a gift of nature and not og frace (even though that nature has been created by God); even so the knowledge that comes from profane education, even if well used, is a gift of nature, and not of grace--a gift which God accords to all without exception through nature, and which one can develop by exercise. This last point--that no one acquires it without effort and exercise--is an evident proof that it is a question of a natural, not a spiritual, gift.

-- Gregory Palamas (d. 1359), The Triads (Source)
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Offline Asteriktos

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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #18 on: August 03, 2012, 05:50:12 PM »
Read through Ambrose or Augustine or whatever Father you may choose: which of them wished to affirm anything contrary to the Master's word? If it is I, then I insult your Fathers. But if you say it whilst I deny it, then you insult them, and I condemn you of insolence towards the Fathers. But, you retort, they have written so, and the words the Spirit proceeds from the Son are to be found in their writings. What of it? If those fathers, having been instructed, did not alter or change their opinion, if after just rebukes they were not persuaded — again, this is another slander against your Fathers — then you who teach your word [Filioque] as a dogma introduce your own stubbornness of opinion into the teachings of those men. Although in other things they are the equals of the best [Fathers], what does this have to do with you? If they slipped and fell into error, therefore, by some negligence or oversight — for such is the human condition — when they were corrected, they neither contradicted nor were they obstinately disobedient. For they were not, even in the slightest degree, participants in those things in which you abound. Though they were admirable by reason of many other qualities that manifest virtue and piety, they professed your teaching either through ignorance or negligence. But if they in no way shared the benefit of your advantages [of being corrected], why do your introduce their human fault as a mandate for your blasphemous belief?

-- St. Photius the Great (d. 893), Mystagogy of the Holy Spirit, 68
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Offline Asteriktos

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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #19 on: August 04, 2012, 01:47:57 PM »
Only God who made us has power over us, and He is ready to help and protect from every temptation those who cry out to Him and want to do His holy will. Without Him we can do nothing: we cannot even suffer evil against our will unless God permits it in order to chastise us nd save our souls. But the evil that we commit ourselves is our own responsibility and arises from our own laziness with the help of the demons. On the other hand, all knowledge, strength and virtue are the grace of God, as are all other things.

-- St. Peter of Damascus (d. c. 12th century), The Seven Forms of Bodily Discipline (Source)
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Offline Asteriktos

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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #20 on: August 05, 2012, 07:49:48 PM »
If by nature or by havit you are inclined to get angry, take care to avoid anything which excites in you this passion. Calm yourself even though only for a short while, and count how many days you have passed without being cross. Supposing you are in the habit of getting irritable every day; well, if for a whole day, or for two or for three, you have not been angry, it is a sign that your anger is diminishing. If you see that a whole week has passed thus, go to church, and fervently thank your Creator for such mercy.

-- St. Tikhon of Zadonsk (d. 1783), Source
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #21 on: August 07, 2012, 02:11:08 PM »
If you wish to pray as you ought, imitate the dulcimer player; bending his head a little and inclining his ear to the strings, he strikes the strings skillfully, and enjoys the melody he draws from their harmonious notes. Is this example clear to you? The dulcimer is the heart; the strings--the feelings; the hammer--remembrance of God; the player--mind. By remembrance of God and of Divine things the mind draws holy feelings from the God-fearing heart, then ineffable sweetness fills the soul, and the mind, which is pure, is lit up by Divine illuminations. The dulcimer player perceives and hears nothing but the melody he enjoys. So the mind, during active prayer, descends into the depths of the heart with sobriety and can no longer listen to aught but God. All his inner being speaks to God with the voice of David: 'My soul followeth hard after thee' (Ps. 63:8).

-- St. Kallistos II Xanthopoulos (d. early 15th century), Source
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Offline Asteriktos

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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #22 on: August 08, 2012, 05:24:26 AM »
In that country was a man named Leofstan, rich in worldly things but ignorant of God. He rode to the saint with exceeding arrogance and insolently ordered that the holy saint be shown to him so that he might see whether Edmund was whole. But as soon as he saw the saint's body he went mad, and raged cruelly, and ended wretchedly in an evil death. This is similar to that which the pious Pope Gregory related in his narrative about the holy Laurentius, who lies in Rome, i.e., that men both good and evil wanted to examine how he lay, but God restrained them in such manner that seven men died all at one time at the examination. Then others with human shortcomings stopped examining the saint.

-- St. Abbo of Fleury (d. 1004), The Martyrdom of St. Edmund (Source)
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #23 on: August 08, 2012, 11:38:08 PM »
One type of watchfulness consists in closely scrutinizing every mental image or provocation; for only by means of a mental image can Satan fabricate an evil thought and insinuate this into the intellect in order to lead it astray. A second type of watchfulness consists in freeing the heart from all thoughts, keeping it profoundly silent and still, and in praying. A third type consists in continually and humbly calling upon the Lord Jesus Christ for help. A fourth type is always to have the thought of death in one's mind.

-- St. Hesychios the Priest (d. 8th-9th century), On Watchfulness and Holiness (Written for Theodoulos), 14-17
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Offline Asteriktos

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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #24 on: August 09, 2012, 09:15:37 PM »
Ascetic toil is initially painful for all those newly engaged in spiritual warfare; but for those exercised in the growth of virtue and who have reached the mid-point of their path, such toil is pleasurable and produces a strange sense of relief. When the mortal will of the flesh is swallowed up by the immortal life (cf. 2 Cor. 5:4) conferred through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in those truly striving towards the perfection of virtue, they are filled with unspeakable joy and gladness, for a pure spring of tears has opened within them, and streams of sweet compunction flow down on them from above.

-- St. Nikitas Stithatos (d. c. 1090), On the Practice of the Virtues: One Hundred Texts, 24
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #25 on: August 10, 2012, 04:54:43 PM »
The man engaged in ascetic practice finds that during prayer the knowledge of sensible things covers his heart like a veil, which he is unable to remove because of his attachment to these things. Only the contemplative man, owing to his non-attachment, can to some degree see the glory of God 'with unveiled face' (2 Cor. 3:18). Prayer combined with spiritual contemplation constitutes the promised land in which there flows, like 'milk and honey' (Exod. 3:8), the spiritual knowledge of the principles of God's providence and judgment. Prayer combined with a certain measure of natural contemplation is Egypt, in which those who pray still encounter the memory of their grosser desires. Simple prayer is manna in the desert (cf. Num. 11:7). Since it is unvarying, this manna does not disclose to the impatient the promised blessings for which they long; but for those who persevere with such restricted food, it imparts most excellent and abiding nourishment.

-- Ilias the Presbyter (d. c. early 12th century), A Gnomic Anthology, 51-52
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #26 on: August 11, 2012, 07:04:28 PM »
Nothing is more unsettling than talkativeness and more pernicious than an unbridled tongue, disruptive as it is of the soul's proper state. For the soul's chatter destroys what we build each day and scatters what we have laboriously gathered together. What is more disastrous than this 'uncontrollable evil' (James 3:8)? The tongue has to be restrained, checked by force and muzzled, so to speak, and made to serve only what is needful. Who can describe all the damage that the tongue does to the soul?

-- St. Philotheos of Sinai (d. 10th century), Forty Texts on Watchfulness, 5
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #27 on: August 12, 2012, 08:37:52 AM »
Slothful and inexperienced as you are, you too should ‘go to the ant’ (Prov. 6:6): imitate its simplicity and insignificance, and know that God, self-sufficient and superabundant, has no need of our virtues. On the contrary, He richly bestows His gifts on us and through His grace saves those who are consciously grateful, though in His compassion He also accepts whatever work we are able to do. If, then, you labor as one in debt to God for blessings already received, you do well and God’s mercy is close to you. But if you think that God is in your debt because of the good things you imagine you have done, you are quite deluded. For how can the bestower of gifts be the debtor? Work like a hired servant and, advancing step by step, you will by God’s mercy attain what you seek.

-- St. Theognostos, On the Practice of the Virtues, Contemplation and the Priesthood, 31
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #28 on: August 13, 2012, 12:12:29 PM »
The Fathers define prayer as a spiritual weapon. Unless we are armed with it we cannot engage in warfare, but are carried off as prisoners to the enemy’s country. Nor can we acquire pure prayer unless we cleave to God with an upright heart. For it is God who gives prayer to him who prays and who teaches man spiritual knowledge.

-- St Theodoros the Great Ascetic (d. c. 9th century), A Century of Spiritual Texts, 8
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #29 on: August 14, 2012, 02:55:54 PM »
"Enter ye in at the narrow gate: for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in by it." (Matt. 7:13)  The narrow gate means both trials that are voluntarily undertaken, such as fasting and the like, and trials that are involuntarily experienced, such as imprisonment and persecution. Just as a man who is fat, or who is carrying a great load, cannot go in through a narrow gate, neither can a gourmandize or a rich man. These go in through the wide gate. To show that narrowness is temporary and that width is likewise transitory, He calls them a "gate" and a "way." For the gate is hardship, and he who undergoes hardship passes through his hardship as quickly as he would pass through a gate. And the pleasure of the gourmandizer's feast are as transitory as any moment in a journey along a road. Since both are temporary, we ought to choose the better of the two.

-- St. Theophylact of Ohrid (d. 1107), Explanation of the Sermon on the Mount (Source)
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #30 on: August 15, 2012, 05:15:13 PM »
Many of the great, spiritual masters, who wore the ascetic vesture with true humility, shrunk from entering the ranks of the priesthood, because they considered it much higher than their capability. These great and true ascetics were in fact much more eligible for the priesthood than those others, who openly sought it, instead of avoiding it, regarding themselves most worthy of it because of the height and purity of their monastic values. There is no doubt, says St. Symeon, that the monastic ideals fit perfectly with the lofty and pure calling to the priesthood. Indeed, the Church knows this and has, therefore, entrusted her protection to the holy ascetics. It has become customary to have ascetic priests promoted to the hierarchy of the Church, and it is demanded that those priests, who are to become hierarchs, should first assume the ascetic habit.

-- St. Symeon of Thessalonica (d. 1429), On the Priesthood (Source)
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #31 on: August 16, 2012, 12:52:20 PM »
It is precisely thanks to the miraculous way of his deliverance from the Cretan Arabs which, according to his biographers, he turned to the composition of hymns. As Joseph was imprisoned, along with his fellow travelers, a mysterious figure (identified by biographers and the editors of the Vitae as either St. Nicholas of Myra or St. Andrew the apostle) appeared to him, handing hiim over a scroll and asking him to read it. Upon doing that, Joseph started to sing out a refrain from Romanos the Melodist's kontakion on the Three Hebrews, which prays for the help of God. It was on the next day that he was released and returned to Constantinople.

-- Concerning the life of St. Joseph the Hymnographer (d. c. 883), (Source)
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #32 on: August 17, 2012, 11:30:08 AM »
But we must be even more attentive to the divine Scriptures. While they are being read a man ought to look at himself, and reflect on his soul as in a mirror. In what state is it? What do I mean? A man hears the Lord say, 'Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand' (Matt. 4:17). he must therefore call to mind how he spends his days. If he is duly penitent he will increase and prolong his work; if he is negligent he will mend his ways.

-- St. Symeon the New Theologian (d. 1022), The Discourses, 31, 2
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #33 on: August 18, 2012, 07:48:41 PM »
Thus the grief that is full of graces derives from love of Christ, and love depends on the thoughts which concern Christ and His loving-kindness. Accordingly it is profitable to hold these [spiritual] things fast in our memory and turn them over in the mind and at no time to desist from this occupation, but rather to be of set purpose to meditate and to reflect upon them when we are alone, and to make them the delight of our speech and the matter of conversation when we are with others. Besides, as far as it is possible, we should display this preoccupation without ceasing, or at least frequently thorughout our lives, so that it may be deeply imprinted on our hearts and completely possess them.

-- St. Nicholas Cabasilas (d. c. 1391), The Life in Christ (Source)
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #34 on: August 20, 2012, 01:57:29 AM »
No one can learn the art of virtue by himself, though some have taken experience of their teacher. For to act on one's own and not on the advice of those who have gone before us is overweening presumption--or, rather, it engenders such presumption. If the Son does nothing of His own accord, but does only what the Father has taught him (cf John 5:19-20), and the Spirit will not speak of His own accord (cf John 16:3), who can think he has attained such heights of virtue that he does not need anyone to initiate him into the mysteries? Such a person is deluded and out of his mind rather than virtuous. One should therefore listen to those who have experienced the hardships involved in cultivating the virtues and should cultivate them as they have...

-- St. Gregory of Sinai (d. 1346), On Stillness (Source)
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #35 on: August 22, 2012, 10:17:47 PM »
We believe a man to be not simply justified through faith alone, but through faith which worketh through love, that is to say, through faith and works. But [the notion] that faith fulfilling the function of a hand layeth hold on the righteousness which is in Christ, and applieth it unto us for salvation, we know to be far from all Orthodoxy. For faith so understood would be possible in all, and so none could miss salvation, which is obviously false. But on the contrary, we rather believe that it is not the correlative of faith, but the faith which is in us, justifieth through works, with Christ. But we regard works not as witnesses certifying our calling, but as being fruits in themselves, through which faith becometh efficacious, and as in themselves meriting, through the Divine promises (2 Cor. 5:10) that each of the Faithful may receive what is done through his own body, whether it be good or bad, forsooth.

The Confession of Dositheus (1672), Decree 13 (Source)
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #36 on: August 22, 2012, 11:28:17 PM »
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #37 on: August 23, 2012, 05:05:20 PM »
If there is something for me to undertake, and if I find nothing about it in Scripture, I lay it aside for a time until I do find some­thing. I do not presume to undertake anything at all on my own will and according to my own judgement. Whether you live as a hermit or in coenobitic life, pay heed to the Holy Scripture and follow in the footsteps of the Fathers, or be in subjection to one who is known to you as a spiritual man in word, life and judgement. The Holy Scripture is harsh only for earthly ways of thinking, but rather desires to live according to his own passionate will. Others do not wish humbly to search the Holy Scripture, do not wish even to hear of how one should live, as if the Scripture were not written for us or need not be put in all times, the words of the Lord will always be words as pure as refined silver; the Lord's commandments for them are dearer than gold and precious stones, sweeter than honey and the honeycomb.

-- St. Nilus of Sora (d. 1508), Source
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #38 on: August 24, 2012, 07:33:59 PM »
The Christian needs two wings in order to soar upward and attain Paradise: humility and love. When the first order of angels fell from angelic glory and became demons, the other nine orders humbled themselves and worshipped the All-Holy Trinity, and remained in their place and rejoice forever. We, too, my brethren, must reflect what an evil thing pride is - that it cast down the dcvil from angelic glory and he will always burn in Hades - and that humility kept the angels in Heaven, and they rejoice perpetually in the glory of the Holy Trinity. Let us then, my brethren, aviod pride, because it is the first daughter of the devil, is a path that leads to Hades; and let us have humility, because it is angelic, is a path that leads to Paradise.

-- St. Cosmas of Aetolia (d. 1779), Source
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #39 on: August 25, 2012, 07:01:03 PM »
The stages of conemplation are, it seems to me, eight in number. Seven pertains to this present age, while the eighth is the pursuit of the age to come, as St. Isaac says. The first stage, according to St. Dorotheos, is knowledge of the tribulations and trials of this life. This fills us with grief for all the damage done to human nature through sin. The second is knowledge of our own faults and of God's bounty, as St. John Klimakos, St. Isaac and many other fahters express it. The third is knowledge of the terrible things that await us before and after death, as revealed in the Holy Scripture. The fourth is the deep understanding of the life led by our Lord Jesus Christ in this world, and of the words and actions of His disciples and the other saints, the martyrs, and the holy fathers. The fifth is knowledge of the nature and flux of things, as St. Gregory and St John of Damascus put it. The sixth is contemplation of created beings, that is to say, knowledge and understanding of God's visible creation. The seventh is understanding of God's spiritual creation. The eighth is knowledge concerning God, or what we call 'theology'.

-- St. Peter of Damascus (d. c. 12th century), The Eight Stages of Contemplation (Source)
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #40 on: August 26, 2012, 03:49:44 PM »
Anyone know of some other saints from this time period that I can quote? I know of other saints, but their writings haven't been translated into English (or they didn't write anything to begin with). I've been going through things like the list of authors in the Migne collection, and the St. Pachomius Library, trying to come up with other people, but I'm not coming up with much.
« Last Edit: August 26, 2012, 03:52:17 PM by Asteriktos »
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #41 on: August 27, 2012, 05:20:14 PM »
The carnal mode of life is one wholly devoted to the pleasures and enjoyments of this present life, and has nothing to do with the psychic and spiritual modes of life, and does not even have any wish to acquire them. The psychic mode, which is situated on the borderline between evil and virtue, is preoccupied with the care and strengthening of the body and with men's praise; it not only repudiates the labors required for virtue, but also rejects carnal indulgence. It avoids both virtue and vice but for opposite reasons: virtue because this requires toil and discipline; vice because that would entail forfeiting men's praise. The spiritual mode of life, on the other hand, has nothing in common with these two other modes, and on this account is not implicated in the evil that pertains to either: it is entirely free in every way from both the one and the other. Invested with the wings of love and dispassion, it soars above them both, doing nothing that is forbidden and not being hamstrung by evil.

-- St. Nikitas Stithatos (d. c. 1090), On the Inner Nature of Things and on the Purification of the Intellect: One Hundred Texts, 4
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #42 on: August 28, 2012, 12:35:06 PM »
The blessed remembrance of God - which is the very presence of Jesus - with a heart full of wrath and a saving animosity against the demons, dissolves all trickeries of thought, plots, argumentation, fantasies, obscure conjectures and, in short, everything with which the destroyer arms himself and which he insolently deploys in his attempt to swallow our souls. When Jesus is invoked, He promptly bums up everything. For our salvation lies in Christ Jesus alone. The Savior Himself made this clear when He said: 'Without Me you can do nothing' (John 15:5).

-- St. Philotheos of Sinai (d. 10th century), Forty Texts on Watchfulness, 22
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #43 on: August 30, 2012, 11:09:24 AM »
Such evils, begotten of the love for material things, are passions of a soul that has no zeal for spiritual work. We can free ourselves more easily from passions that are a matter of our own volition than from those rooted in nature. It is disbelief in God's providence that makes it difficult for us to eradicate the passions that arise from our love of possessions, for such disbelief leads us to put our trust in material riches. 'It is easier', said the Lord, 'for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God' (Matt. 19:24). But if we trust in material riches, this means nothing to us; we long for worldly, perishable wealth, not for a kingdom that is heavenly and eternal. And even when we fail to acquire that wealth, the mere desire for it is extremely pernicious. For, as St Paul says, those who want to be rich fall into the temptations and snares of the devil (cf. 1 Tim. 6:9). Yet when wealth comes, it proves itself to be nothing, since its possessors, unless they are brought to their senses by experience, still thirst after it as though they lacked it. This love that is no love does not come from need; rather the need arises from the love. The love itself arises from folly, the same folly that led Christ, the Master of all, justly to describe as foolish the man who pulled down his barns and built greater ones (cf. Luke 12:18-20).

-- St. Gregory Palamas (d. 1359), To the Most Reverend Nun Xenia, 31
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #44 on: August 31, 2012, 02:11:30 PM »
"And when He was come into the house, His disciples asked Him privately, Why could not we cast it out? And He said unto them, This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting." (Mark 9:28-29)

The disciples were afraid they had lost the grace which the Lord had given them, and this was why they had not been able to cast out the demon. See that out of respect they approached the Lord privately. This kind—what kind? The kind which may make their abode in lunatics, or, in general, the whole race of demons, does not come out except through prayer and fasting. Both the one suffering, and the one about to heal, must fast. Both are necessary. Good sense dictates that the one suffering must fast. He must not only fast, but also pray; and he must not only pray, but also fast, for true prayer is rendered when it is yoked to fasting. When the one who prays is not weighed down by the effects of food, his prayer is not burdened and ascends easily.

-- St. Theophylact of Ohrid (d. c. 1108), Commentary on Mark 9:17-31 (Source)
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #45 on: September 03, 2012, 08:21:14 PM »
You know that fervent penitence accompanied by tears that spring from the depth of the heart will melt and burn up the filth of sin like a fire and make pure the soul that has been defiled. In addition, penitence through the visitation of the Spirit generously imparts an abundant flow of light to the soul, whereby it is filled with mercy and good fruits (James 3:17). I pray, therefore, fathers and brethren, let us use fasting both during this third week of Lent and in those that follow, as we daily add fervor to fervor and zeal to zeal, until we arrive at the Sunday of Easter with souls and bodies alike resplendent.

-- St. Symeon the New Theologian, The Discourses, 12, 2
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #46 on: December 28, 2012, 12:33:47 AM »
What shall I say about the belly, the queen of the passions? If you can deaden or half-deaden it, do not relent. It has mastered me, beloved, and I worship it as a slave and vassal, this abettor of the demons and dwelling-place of the passions. Through it we fall and through it--when it is well-disciplined--we rise again.

-- St. Gregory of Sinai (d. 1346), On Prayer: Seven Texts, 6 (Source)
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #47 on: December 28, 2012, 09:24:23 PM »
Everyone who has experience can only laugh at the contradictions of the inexperienced; for they have learnt not through words but effort, and the experience which indicates the pains they take. It is effort which brings the useful fruits, and challenges the sterile views of the lovers of disputation and ostentation.

-- St. Gregory Palamas (d. 1359), The Triads (Source)
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #48 on: December 29, 2012, 02:10:07 PM »
Then, you will say, if a living man has the dispositions you mention in his soul, and yet does not partake of the holy mysteries, will he nevertheless receive the sanctification which the sacrament gives? Not in all cases; only when it is physically impossible for him to receive the elements, as it is for the dead. Such was the case of the solitaries who lived in the desert, or in caves and grottoes in the mountain-side, and could not avail themselves of priest or altar. Christ gave them this sanctification in an invisible manner. We know this because they had life, which they could not have had without partaking of the sacrament, for Christ himself said: "Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, ye have no life in you." Another proof is the fact that God sent angels to several of these men with the sacrament.

-- St. Nicholas Cabasilas (d. c. 1391), Commentary on the Divine Liturgy, 42
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #49 on: December 30, 2012, 06:06:23 PM »
Are you ignorant of ancient things? Do you fear your fathers? Do you truly examine their doctrine? Recently (the second generation has not yet passed), Leo [III, pope of [Old] Rome, 795-816], another renowned man who was adorned with miracles, removed all pretext for heresy from everyone. Because the Latin language, frequently used by our holy Fathers, has inadequate meanings which do not translate the Greek language purely and exactly, and often render false notions of the doctrines of the Faith, and because it is not supplied with as many words that can interpret the meaning of a Greek word in its exact sense, that God-inspired man conceived an idea (the idea being conceived not only because of what we have just said, but also because of that heresy [the Filioque] now openly proclaimed without restraint, but then only being hinted at in the city of [Old] Rome). He decreed that the people of [Old] Rome should recite the sacred Symbol of Faith in the Greek tongue. Through these divinely inspired plans, he supplemented and redressed the inadequacy of the Latin tongue and expelled from the pious the suspicion of a difference in faith, pulling up by the roots the pollution then growing in the provinces of [Old] Rome.

In the city of [Old] Rome, he posted notices and decrees that the sacred Symbol of Faith be recited in the same Greek tongue with which it had been first proclaimed according to the authoritative utterance of the Synods, even by those who used Latin in the mystical and sacred rites. Not only for [Old] Rome did he decree it, but also throughout the provinces which deferred to the high priesthood and rule of [Old] Rome. He sent sermons and synodical letters that everyone think and do the same, and he ensured the immutability of the doctrine by anathemas. This practice was reverently maintained not only during his reign, but also during that of the praise-worthy Benedict, that gentle and forbearing man (as was befitting the office of archbishop) who was radiant with ascetical practices and who succeeded him to that arch-episcopal throne.

-- St. Photius the Great (d. 893), Mystagogy of the Holy Spirit, 87-88
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #50 on: December 30, 2012, 06:12:11 PM »
Thank you !  Back again !  :D
« Last Edit: December 30, 2012, 06:12:30 PM by WeldeMikael »

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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #51 on: January 01, 2013, 05:48:22 AM »
"Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such a one in the spirit of meekness." (Gal. 6:1) Many of the Galatians imagined that they were rebuking sinners, when in fact, out of love for power, they were justifying their own passions. Therefore Paul instructs them, If a man be overtaken, that is, if he be seized and assaulted by a demon, ye which are spiritual, restore him. Do not punish him, but correct him in the spirit of meekness. He did not say, “in meekness,” but in the spirit of meekness, implying that the gentle correction of sinners is pleasing to the Spirit and is a gift of the Spirit.

-- St. Theophylact of Ohrid (d. c. 1108), Commentary on Galatians (Source)
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #52 on: January 02, 2013, 04:36:58 PM »
Let us have love for God and for our fellow men. Then God comes and brings us joy and implants the eternal life in our hearts, and we fare well in this life and also go to Paradise, there to rejoice forever.

-- St. Cosmas of Aetolia (d. 1779), Source
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #53 on: January 03, 2013, 02:04:44 PM »
First I will say this, that whatever the Law says, it says to those under the Law. The ancient commandments should not be imposed on those under grace. If they were, we would keep the Sabbath, and be circumcised; many things contrary to our faith would follow. But we must understand these things only as a fore-shadowing. The apostle says that the Law is a shadow but not the true image of the realities.

-- St. Theodore the Studite (d. 826), Second Refutation of the Iconoclasts, 36 (Source)
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #54 on: January 05, 2013, 04:31:08 AM »
The truly humble man never ceases to reproach himself, even when the whole world attacks and insults him. He acts in this way, not simply in order to attain salvation as it were passively by enduring with patience whatever befalls him, but in order to press forward actively and deliberately to embrace the sufferings of Christ. From these sufferings he learns the greatest of all the virtues, humility: the dwelling-place of the Holy Spirit, the gateway to the kingdom of heaven, that is to say, to dispassion. He who passes through this gateway comes to God; but without humility his road is full of pain and his effort useless.

-- St. Peter of Damascus (d. c. 12th century), Twenty-Four Discourses: Discourse 10, On Humility
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #55 on: January 06, 2013, 03:41:36 PM »
If you are having a meal with your brethren, eat unhesitatingly of what is presented to you, whatever it may be. If, however, you have been told not to eat fish or some other food, and it is offered to you, should the person who gave you the order be close at hand, go to him and request him to let you partake; but should he not be present, or if you know that he would not give his permission, and at the same time you do not wish to offend your hosts, tell him what you have done after you have eaten, and ask his forgiveness. If you are unwilling to do either of these things, it is better for you not to visit your brethren. For in this way you will be the gainer in two respects: you will escape the demon of self-esteem, and at the same time spare them offence and distress. If the foods offered to you are on the rich side, keep to your rule; yet even in this case it is better to take a little of everything. In short, when you are invited somewhere, apply the principle laid down by St Paul: 'Eat all that is set before you without raising questions of conscience' (cf. i Cor. 10:25).

-- St. Symeon the New Theologian (d. 1022), One Hundred and Fifty-Three Practical and Theological Texts, 148
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #56 on: January 07, 2013, 02:32:57 PM »
If through humility and prayer you have been initiated into the spiritual knowledge of God, this means that you are known by God and enriched by Him with an authentic knowledge of His supernatural mysteries. If you are tainted with conceit, you have not been so initiated, but are governed by the spirit of this material world. Thus, even if you imagine that you know something, in fact you know nothing about things divine in the way you ought to (cf. 1 Cor. 8:2). If, however, you love God and regard nothing as more precious than love for God and for your fellow being, you will also know the depths of God and the mysteries of His kingdom in the way that someone inspired by the Holy Spirit must know them.

-- St. Nikitas Stithatos (d. c. 1090), On Spiritual Knowledge, Love and the Perfection of Living: One Hundred Texts, 80
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #57 on: January 09, 2013, 03:33:11 AM »
I will add this from my own small experience. When you sit in stillness, by day or by night, free from random thoughts and continuously praying to God in humility, you may find that your intellect becomes exhausted through calling upon God and that your body and heart begin to feel pain because of the intense concentration with which you unceasingly invoke the name of Jesus, with the result that you no longer experience the warmth and joy that engender ardor and patience in the spiritual aspirant. If this is the case, stand up and psalmodize, either by yourself or with a disciple who lives with you, or occupy yourself with meditation on some scriptural passage or with the remembrance of death, or with manual labor or with some other thing, or give your attention to reading, preferably standing up so as to involve your body in the task as well.

-- St. Gregory of Sinai (d. 1346), On Stillness: Fifteen Texts, 9
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #58 on: January 10, 2013, 08:02:32 AM »
But when you hear that other path of life called 'broad', do not suppose it to be free of sorrow, for in fact it is filled with many oppressive misfortunes. He calls it 'broad' and 'wide' because there are many who pass along it (cf. Matt. 7:13), each bearing a heavy load of the rubbish of this fleeting material life. But yours is a narrow path, O virgin, not even wide enough for two together. None the less, many at first embroiled in the world have renounced it on the death of their spouses, emulating your supernatural way of life and choosing to journey along your path so as to share in its rewards.

-- St. Gregory Palamas (d. 1359), To the Most Reverend Nun Xenia
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #59 on: January 11, 2013, 03:36:44 PM »
To give free rein to the senses is to shackle the soul, to shackle the senses is to liberate it. When the sun sets, night comes; when Christ leaves the soul, the darkness of the passions envelops it and incorporeal predators tear it asunder. When the visible sun rises, animals retreat into their lairs; when Christ rises in the heaven of the praying mind, worldly preoccupations and proclivities abscond, and the intellect goes forth to its labor - that is, to meditate on the divine - until the evening (cf. Ps. 104:19-23). Not that the intellect limits its fulfillment of the spiritual law to any period of time or performs it according to some measure; on the contrary, it continues to fulfill it until it reaches the term of this present life and the soul departs from the body. That is what is meant in the Psalms when it is said, 'How I have loved Thy law, O Lord; it is my meditation all the day long' (Ps. 119:97) - where 'day' means the whole course of one's present life.

-- St. Theoliptos, Metropolitan of Philadelphia (d. 1322), On Inner Work in Christ And the Monastic Profession
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #60 on: January 13, 2013, 02:00:56 PM »
One of the brethren asked Abba Agathon which is the better, bodily asceticism or the guarding of our inner state. The elder replied: 'Man is like a tree: bodily asceticism is the leaves, the guarding of our inner state the fruit. Since, according to the Scriptures, "every tree that fails to produce good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire" (Matt. 3:10), it is clear that all our efforts should be devoted to producing the fruit, that is, to keeping watch over our intellect. But we also need the shelter and canopy of the leaves - bodily asceticism.' How astonishing it is that this saint denounced those who fail to learn how to keep watch over the intellect and who boast only of their bodily asceticism: every tree, he said, which does not produce fruit - by which is meant keeping watch over the intellect - but only has leaves, that is, bodily asceticism, is cut down and thrown into the fire. How terrible, father, is your verdict.

-- Nikiphoros the Monk (d. 13th century), On Watchfulness and the Guarding of the Heart
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #61 on: January 14, 2013, 12:39:00 PM »
And the Lamb of God not only did this, but was chastised on our behalf, and suffered a penalty He did not owe, but which we owed because of the multitude of our sins; and so He became the cause of the forgiveness of our sins, because He received death for us, and transferred to Himself the scourging, the insults, and the dishonour, which were due to us, and drew down on Himself the apportioned curse, being made a curse for us. And what is that but the price of our souls? And so the oracle says in our person: "By his stripes we were healed," and "The Lord delivered him for our sins," with the result that uniting Himself to us and us to Himself, and appropriating our sufferings, He can say, "I said, Lord, have mercy on me, heal my soul, for I have sinned against thee".

-- St. Nicholas Cabasilas (d. c. 1391), Source
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #62 on: January 15, 2013, 10:34:02 PM »
I also accept every God-inspired book of the Old and New Testaments as well as the biographies and divine writings of all the holy fathers, teachers, and ascetics... In addition, I acknowledge that the monastic life is lofty and exalted, even angelic, pure of every sin on account of its perfect way of life. It is clear that the monastic life must be ordered according to the ascetic rules of the holy Basil the Great and not by half measures so that some in one place choose some rules and let others go.

-- St. Theodore the Studite (d. 826), Testament (Source)
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #63 on: January 17, 2013, 10:08:39 PM »
Remember, O my soul, the terrible and frightful wonder: that your Creator for your sake became Man, and deigned to suffer for the sake of you salvation. His angels tremble, the Cherubim are terrified, the Seraphim are in fear, and all the heavenly powers ceaselessly give praise; and you, unfortunate soul, remain in laziness. At least from this time forth arise and do not put off, my beloved soul, holy repentance, contrition of heart and penance for your sins. Putting them off year after year, month after month, day after day, you will not at all desire with your whole heart to repent, and you will not find one to have compassion on you.

O with what torture you will then begin to repent without success. Having the opportunity today to do some good deed, do not put off until tomorrow, my beloved soul, holy repentance, because you do not know what today will bring forth or what misfortune might happen to you this night. For you do not know what the day or night will bring, whether a long life stands before you or not, or if you will suddenly and unexpectedly receive a miserable and speedy death.

-- St. Paisius Velichkovsky (d. 1794), Source
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #64 on: January 21, 2013, 07:31:54 PM »
Anathema to those who spurn the teachings of the holy Fathers and the tradition of the Catholic Church, taking as a pretext and making their own the arguments of Arius, Nestorius, Eutyches, and Dioscorus, that unless we were evidently taught by the Old and New Testaments, we should not follow the teachings of the holy Fathers and of the holy Ecumenical Synods, and the tradition of the Catholic Church.

-- 7th Ecumenical Council, Session 1 (Source)
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #65 on: January 22, 2013, 09:25:23 PM »
Many doubt whether the things that are said about the blessed Gerald are true, and some think that they are certainly not true but fantastic. Others, as though seeking excuses for their sins, extol him indiscreetly, saying that Gerald was powerful and rich, and lived well, and is certainly a saint. They strive indeed to excuse their luxurious lives by his example. It seemed to me therefore that I ought to reply a little to these according to my ability. For I too, formerly, hearing the fame of his miracles, was nevertheless in doubt, and for this reason chiefly, that stores get about here and there, through I know not what channels, and are then gradually discredited as empty. Now with the others, now alone, I carefully investigated what each one said and whether they agreed, silently pondering if his life was one in which miracles frequently occured. Having learned how religiously he lived and that God had shown this man to be in His grace by many signs, I could no longer doubt of his sanctity. I marvel rather, that in this age of ours, when charity has almost entirely grown cold, and the time of Antichrist is at hand, the miracles of the saints should not cease, but He is mindful of the promise, that He makes by Jeremiah: "I will not turn away from doing good to [my people]" (Jes. 32:40)

-- St. Odo of Cluny (d. 942), The Life of Saint Gerald of Aurillac (Source)
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #66 on: January 22, 2013, 11:00:34 PM »
"And should we fall, we should not despair and so estrange ourselves from the Lord's love. For if He so chooses, He can deal mercifully with our weakness. Only we should not cut ourselves off from Him or feel oppressed when constrained by His commandments, nor should we lose heart when we fall short of our goal. Rather, let us learn that a thousand years in the sight of the Lord are but a single day, and a single day is as a thousand years (cf. Ps. 90:4). Let us be neither hasty nor tardy, and let us always be ready to make a new start. If you fall, rise up. If you fall again, rise up again. Only do not abandon your Physician, lest you be condemned as worse than a suicide because of your despair. Wait on Him, and He will be merciful, either reforming you, or sending you trials, or through some other provision of which you are ignorant."

-- St. Peter of Damaskos (p.233, The Philokalia, Vol.3)

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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #67 on: January 23, 2013, 10:46:22 AM »
Tell me now, worthy friend, what I ask of thee,
Tell me where thou dost dwell who art snatched away?
With what souls has thy lot been appointed thee?
Hast risen to the regions celestial?
Hast thou attained to the things thou hopedst for?
Hast thou found an abode in the shining light?
O tell me Where the choirs of the living make melody,
As the shout of their triumph goes up to the Lord,
Their Alleluia.

-- St. Theodore the Studite (d. 826), Hymn For the Burial of a Monk (Source)
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #68 on: January 24, 2013, 07:19:55 PM »
After Vespers, and late at night, especially on long dark nights, the saint used to leave his cell and go the round of the monk's cells. If he heard anyone saying his prayers, or making genuflections, or busy with his own handiwork, he was gratified and gave thanks to God. If, on the other hand, he heard two or three monks chatting together, or laughing, he was displeased, rapped on the door or window, and passed. on. In the morning he would send for them and, indirectly, quietly and gently, by means of some parable, reprove them. If he was a humble and submissive brother he would quickly admit his fault and, bowing low before St. Sergius, would beg his forgiveness. If, instead, he was not a humble brother, and stood erect thinking he was not the person referred to, then the saint, with patience, would make it clear to him, and order him to do a public penance. In this way they all learned to pray to God assiduously; not to chat with one another after Vespers, and to do their own handiwork with all their might; and to have the Psalms of David all day on their lips.

-- St. Sergius of Radonezh (d. 1392), The Life, Acts and Miracles of our Revered and Holy Father Abbot Sergius (Source)
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #69 on: January 26, 2013, 05:54:02 PM »
And also, far and wide, as we said before, more than should be are lost and perjured through the breaking of oaths and through violations of pledges, and through various lies; and non-observances of church feasts and fasts widely occur time and again. And also there are here in the land Gods adversaries, degenerate apostates, and hostile persecutors of the Church and entirely too many grim tyrants, and widespread despisers of divine laws and Christian virtues, and foolish deriders everywhere in the nation, most often of those things that the messengers of God command, and especially those things that always belong to Gods law by right. And therefore things have now come far and wide to that full evil way that men are more ashamed now of good deeds than of misdeeds; because too often good deeds are abused with derision and the Godfearing are blamed entirely too much, and especially are men reproached and all too often greeted with contempt who love right and have fear of God to any extent.

St. Wulfstan II of York (d. 1023), The sermon of the Wolf to the English
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #70 on: January 27, 2013, 04:18:11 PM »
Hence she is the treasury and overseer of the riches of the Godhead. For it is an everlasting ordinance in the heavens that the inferior partake of what lies beyond being, by the mediation of the superior, and the Virgin Mother is incomparably superior to all. It is through her that as many as partake of God do partake, and as many as know God understand her to be the enclosure of the Uncontainable One, and as many as hymn God praise her together with Him. She is the cause of what came before her, the champion of what came after her and the agent of things eternal. She is the substance of the prophets, the principle of the apostles, the firm foundation of the martyrs and the premise of the teachers of the Church . She is the glory of those upon earth, the joy of celestial beings, the adornment of all creation. She is the beginning and the source and root of unutterable good things; she is the summit and consummation of everything holy.

-- St. Gregory Palamas (d. 1359), A Homily on the Dormition of Our Supremely Pure Lady Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #71 on: January 27, 2013, 05:09:21 PM »
"If someone seeks for success and pleasure, comfort and glory in this world, then he loves the wisdom of this world. But if someone struggles for what is contrary to these things - if he suffers, practices self-control, and endures all kinds of afflictions and disgrace for the kingdom of heaven - then he loves the wisdom of God. The first longs to attain material benefits, secular learning and secular power, and often suffers on this account; but the second shares the sufferings of Christ. Thus the first places all his hopes in the things of this world, desiring to possess them even though they are transitory and hard to come by; while the second is hidden from the 'eyes of the foolish', as Holy Scripture puts it (Wisd.3:2), but is clearly revealed in the world to come, when everything hidden is disclosed."

-- St. Peter of Damaskos (p. 274, The Philokalia, Vol. 3)

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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #72 on: January 27, 2013, 05:53:06 PM »
“For he created all things that they might be: and he made the nations of the earth for health: and there is no poison of destruction in them, nor kingdom of hell upon the earth.” (Wisdom of Solomon 1:14) This verse shows that God is the author of good things - not of the bad, thus he is a righteous judge, who rightly vindicates foul acts and sins. We do not sin by necessity when we transgress, but through the perverse volition which proceeds from the nature (quality) of free will. We know God to be the righteous and good creator of our human substance and of both internal and external senses, so that all that pertains to nature comes from him, and all that is against nature does not come from him. Sin is against nature and it is from it that death and all things that belong to it arise. With these evils man vested himself when, stripped of his faith and obedience, the devil turned him away from the Law of God through his promises, and he bound to himself all the seeds of his posterity by the condition transmitted to the offspring.

Rabanus Maurus, Abbot of Fulda, Commentary on the Book of Wisdom I, 3 (Patrologia Latina 109, col. 676-677)   
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #73 on: January 27, 2013, 05:56:30 PM »
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #74 on: January 27, 2013, 07:11:38 PM »
We must not despair about anybody, as long as the patience of God leads him to repent, since God desires not the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way, and live (Ez. 33:11). He is a pagan today: how do you know whether he won’t become a Christian tomorrow? He is an infidel Jew today: what if tomorrow he believes in Christ? He is a heretic today: what if tomorrow he follows the catholic truth? He is a schismatic today: what if tomorrow he embraces the catholic peace? What if these whom you see in any sort of error and you condemn as totally hopeless, before they end this life, repent and find true life? Whoever spoke any words, in all his life in this body – whatever its length, be it with his mouth or only in thought, with an impenitent heart, against the remission of sins that is in the Church, spoke against the Holy Spirit.

Thus, if the Father, the Son and the Spirit forgive sins, why is that unforgivable impenitence said to be blasphemous to the Spirit only, as if he who is bound by the sin of this impenitence seemed to oppose the very gift of the Holy Spirit by which remission of sins is possible? Among others, these things are said to stress the inseparable operation of the Trinity. When the Father is said to do something, it must not be understood that he works without the Son and the Holy Spirit; when the Son does something, it is not without the Father and the Holy Spirit; when the Holy Spirit acts, it is not without the Father and the Son. This is well known to those who believe rightly or to those who strive to understand as they can. It was said of the Father that “he does the works”, because the origin of works is from him from whom the existence of the cooperating Persons originates: the Son is born from him, and the Holy Spirit principally proceeds from him, who begat the Son, with whom he has the same Spirit in common.

This is why the Lord Jesus cast out demons by the Spirit; not that he wouldn’t have been able to accomplish this by himself and he would have needed the Spirit to come to his aid because he was not strong enough for the deed. But the spirit divided in itself was conveniently expelled by that Spirit, whom the Father and the Son have undivided in himself in common. So also the sins, because they are not forgiven outside the Church, needed to be remitted in that Spirit in whom the Church is gathered as one.

So, if somebody regrets his sins outside the Church, but his heart is impenitent for such a great sin that is alien to the Church of God, what use is his penitence to him, if he says this one word against the Holy Spirit, through which he excludes himself from the Church, who received this gift so that the remission of sins be done in it through the Holy Spirit? Although this remission is the work of the Trinity, it is understood to belong peculiarly to the Holy Spirit.        

For him who opposes this gift, so that he does not ask for penitence through it, but contradicts it impenitently, his sins become irremissible; not any sin in particular, but the despised or opposed remission of sins. Thus is the Holy Spirit spoken against, when one never comes from the dissipation to the congregation, which received the Spirit to forgive sins.  

--Rabanus Maurus (d. 856), Commentary on the Wisdom of Sirach V, 1 (PL 109, col. 903-905)
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #75 on: January 28, 2013, 06:01:49 PM »
^If you post another one of those I promise to shine your boots for a month!  ;D
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #76 on: January 28, 2013, 06:08:15 PM »
Those who have broken the bonds of worldly sense-perception are free from all servitude to the senses: they live solely in the Spirit, communing with Him, impelled by Him, and brought through Him in some measure into union with the Father and the Logos who are one in essence with Him; and so they become a single spirit with God, as St. Paul says (cf. 1 Cor. 6:17). Not only are they exempt from the dominion of the demons but they actually fill them with terror, since they share in the divine fire and are in fact called fire.

St. Nikitas Stithatos (d. 11th century), On the Practice of the Virtues: One Hundred Texts, 20
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #77 on: January 29, 2013, 04:00:49 AM »
“Then the Lord God cast a deep sleep upon Adam: and when he was fast asleep, he took one of his ribs, and filled up flesh for it. And the Lord God built the rib which he took from Adam into a woman.” (Gen. 2:21-22) That woman was made from man’s rib must be believed to have happened thus for the very power [of his desire to be] united with her (propter ipsius coniunctionis vim). That the bone extracted was replaced by flesh while he was sleeping was done for the sake of a higher mystery. This was to signify that sacraments of salvation were to come out from the rib of Christ who fell asleep by dying on the Cross: blood and water, from which the Church would be built as a spouse for him. 

Had it not been for the type of such great a sacrament in the creation of woman, what need was there for Adam to be asleep, so that God could take the rib from which he made the woman, since he could have done the same with Adam being awake and without causing him pain? Why was it necessary that, when the bone taken from man’s rib was built into the woman, the bone be replaced not by bone, but by flesh, if not to signify that Christ became weak for the sake of the Church, whereas the Church would be strengthened through him?   

For the sake of the same mystery, Scripture employed a symbolic word, not saying that God “made” or “fashioned” or “created” as with all his other creatures, but that “the Lord God built (aedificavit) the rib which he took from Adam into a woman”, as if speaking not of a human body, but of a house: which (house) we are, if only we keep the faith and the glory of hope strong until the end. Thus was it fit that the origin of mankind proceed through God’s aid, so as to bear witness through corresponding symbols to the redemption which was to come at the end of the world (in fine saeculi) by the same Creator.

We must know there is no way to attain the summit of contemplation, unless we cease from the oppression of exterior preoccupations. We never behold ourselves, so as to know that there is reason which rules, and another animal/psychic part (aliud animale) which is being ruled, unless, returning to the secret of silence, we fall asleep from all exterior disturbance. This silence of ours Adam signified well by being asleep, from whose rib the woman proceeded instantly – through this everyone is carried off (rapitur) to understand what he bears inside himself, when he shuts the invisible eyes of the mind, and then distinguishes within himself that which must rule manly and that which must be subjected as weaker, so that there be a part that can rule as man and another to be ruled as woman. 
   
--Rabanus Maurus (d. 856), Commentary on Genesis I, 14 (PL 107, col. 484-485)                   

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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #78 on: January 30, 2013, 05:56:08 PM »
 ;D
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #79 on: January 30, 2013, 06:04:02 PM »
We believe to be members of the Catholic Church all the Faithful, and only the Faithful; who, forsooth, having received the blameless Faith of the Saviour Christ, from Christ Himself, and the Apostles, and the Holy Œcumenical Synods, adhere to the same without wavering; although some of them may be guilty of all manner of sins. For unless the Faithful, even when living in sin, were members of the Church, they could not be judged by the Church. But now being judged by her, and called to repentance, and guided into the way of her salutary precepts, though they may be still defiled with sins, for this only, that they have not fallen into despair, and that they cleave to the Catholic and Orthodox faith, they are, and are regarded as, members of the Catholic Church.

-- Pat. Dositheus II of Jerusalem (d. 1707), Confession of Dositheus (Source)
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #80 on: January 31, 2013, 03:21:57 PM »
The immersion into water, and specifically a triple immersion, and also a triple coming out of the water was not instituted arbitrarily or accidentally, but as the image of the Resurrection of Christ on the third day. "The water," says blessed Basil, "has the symbolic meaning of death, and accepts the body as into a coffin." How then, do we liken ourselves to the One Who descended into hell, imitating His burial through baptism? The bodies of those who are baptized in water are buried, in a certain sense. Consequently, baptism mystically represents the laying aside of bodily cares, by the word of the apostle: "In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ" (Col. 2: 11)."

St. Cyril, in his commentary on the above words, says: "Thus, with the help of these signs you have represented the three-day burial of Christ because, as our Saviour was in the heart of the earth three days and three nights, so in the first coming up from the water you symbolized the first day of His sojourn under the earth, and through your immersion, you symbolized the night. For, as one who walks in the night sees nothing, and he who walks during the day does so in light, so you, having immersed yourself in water saw nothing, as if you saw nothing in the night, and having come forth from the water, you see everything as in daylight. You were both dead and then born. So the salvific water was for you both a coffin and a mother. Although we neither actually die, nor get buried, nor are we nailed to the cross, but only simulate this symbolically, we, however, do indeed achieve salvation. Christ was truly crucified, truly buried, and truly resurrected. He granted all this to us, so that we, in imitating His passions, would become partakers of them and indeed would achieve salvation.

Archbp. Nikiphor of Slovania (18th century), Source
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #81 on: February 01, 2013, 06:38:32 PM »
Most of us do not realize that all evil thoughts are but images of material and worldly things. Yet if we persist in watchful prayer, this will rid our mind of all such images; it will also make if conscious both of the devices of our enemies and of the great benefit of prayer and watchfulness. 'With year eyes you will see how spiritual sinners are recompensed; you yourself will see spirituality and understand', says David the divine poet (cf. Ps. 91:8).

-- St. Hesychios the Priest (d. 9th century ), On Watchfulness and Holiness: Written for Theodoulos, 154
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #82 on: February 03, 2013, 01:39:06 AM »
This is the image of the Saviour who, with the position of his limbs, makes sacred for us the most salubrious, gentle and loving form of the Cross, so that by believing in his Name and obeying his commandments we may obtain eternal life thanks to his Passion. However, every time we raise our eyes to the Cross, let us remember the one who died for us to save us from the powers of darkness, accepting death to make us heirs to eternal life.

-- Rabanus Maurus (d. 856), Source
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #83 on: February 06, 2013, 12:28:01 PM »
It is fitting, however, that in whatever way, be it in corrupt or in language of perfect grammar, that mankind praise the author of all things, Who gave them the instrument of the tongue to sound the word of His praise among themselves, Who seeks in us not the worship of polished words but the pious mood of thought, the piling up of works in pious labor, not useless lip-service.

-- Otfrid of Weissenburg (d. c. 870), Letter to Liudbert
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #84 on: February 08, 2013, 07:40:33 PM »
The whole praise and blessedness of the saints consists of these two elements--their orthodox faith and praiseworthy life, and the gift of the Hoy Spirit and His spiritual gifts. A third point follows on them. When a man lives rightly, as a friend of God, with orthodox faith, and when God bestows His gifts on him and glorifies him through the gift of the Spirit, there follows the praise of the whole Church of the faithful and on the part of all its teachers and their pronoucnement of his blessedness.

-- St. Symeon the New Theologian (d. 1022), Discourse 10: Perfect Holiness, 2 (Source)
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #85 on: February 10, 2013, 07:41:58 PM »
Now, those who do not rise--through the reason endowed in nature and in the Holy Scriptures--to the hypostatic Logos of God, those who do not love Him "through whom all things were made" (Jn. 1:3), as most of the worldly philosophers do not, all of these people act contrary to the Creator's purpose in nature and in the Holy Scripture. And according to the wise and most insightful Kallistos, the thought of such people has lost its natural tendency and has become unnatural. This has occured because they use the means as ends in themselves, and the causes as results, and they love the gifts more than the Giver and the creatures more than the Creator, as St. Augustine has said. Since creation was not created for itself, but for the vision and glory of its Creator, it is not proper that it should be seen and admired for its own sake, but rather for the sake of its Creator. It is the same with the mirror which one does not look at for its own sake, but for the sake of the one reflected in it.

-- St. Nikodemus of the Holy Mountain (d. 1809), A Handbook of Spiritual Counsel (Source)
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #86 on: February 12, 2013, 03:16:57 PM »
For I begin to think from whence such things [characteristics] [come] to it [the stone] and I realise that they are naturally present in it without the participation of any creature, whether visible or invisible. Soon, with reeason leading, I am introduced above all things to the cause of all things. [It is] from this [cause] that place and order, number and species and genus, goodness and beauty and essence, and other gifts and grants are distributed to all.

-- Johannes Scotus Eriugena (d. c. 877), Expositions on the Celestial Hierarchy (Source)
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #87 on: February 14, 2013, 06:44:28 AM »
O living Spirit, O falling of God-dew,
O Grace which dost console us and renew,
O vital light, O breath of angelhood,
O generous ministration of things good,
Creator of the visible, and best
Upholder of the great unmanifest
Power infinitely wise, new boon sublime
Of science and of art, constraining might,
In whom I breathe, live, speak, rejoice, and write,
Be with us in all places, for all time!

-- Manuel Phile (d. 1345), To the Holy Spirit (Source)
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #88 on: February 16, 2013, 01:20:17 PM »
At length, when the blessed Rupert knew by divine revelation that his death was at hand, he said to Blessed Erendruda, whom he had called to him: "My beloved sister, my private conversation is to you; I pray that you will tell none of this, as I have told you a secret. It has pleased God to show me my departure from this Earth, and now I ask, Lady Sister, that you pray for my soul when God sees fit to call it to His peace." The holy virgin responded with tears: "If it is true as you say, master, arrange that I die before you do!" The bishop said to her: "Sister, most dear one! You should not wish to hasten to an inopportune death, nor to choose your exit while sin is great. Our end has not been fixed in our wishes, but in divine providence." The holy virgin prostrated herself at the feet of the priest and begged him: "Father, master, I ask you to remember that you have led me here from my own country, and now you wish to leave me a poor orphan. I ask only one thing of you, that if I am not worthy to depart before you or with you, at least intercede as a witness with God that I may be worthy of the passing wished for!" The most holy priest Rupert granted these requests, and when for a long time they had joined in talk sweetly about eternal life, and they had wept together, they said a final sad farewell.

-- Life of St. Rupert of Salzburg (d. 710), Source
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #89 on: February 18, 2013, 09:36:40 PM »
Patience is a heavenly gift, a gift from the Heavenly Father... With patience, and love for your fellow men, you become a victor in life's continual trials.

When there is no patience, all goodness in the soul is quickly suppressed and sin grows.

Patrience adorns the soul with diamonds which are not of the earth but belong to the Jerusalem that is above.

Patience increases obedience to the Divine words that have been written, are being written, and will be written.

-- St. Raphael Of Lesvos (d. 1463), Source
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #90 on: February 19, 2013, 03:58:54 PM »
Mercy and truth precede all the other virtues. They in their turn produce humility and so discrimination; for, according to the fathers, discrimination conies from humility. Without discrimination, neither practice nor spiritual knowledge can fulfill its purpose. For practice uncontrolled by such knowledge strays here and there aimlessly, like a calf; while knowledge that refuses to clothe itself in the honorable vesture of practice lacks nobility, however much it may pretend to possess it.

-- Ilias the Presbyter (d. 12th century), A Gnomic Anthology, 7
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #91 on: February 24, 2013, 08:55:50 AM »
Those aspiring to the state of virtue must strive to fulfill the commandments by sustaining this inward struggle, travail and meditation unceasingly night and day, whether praying or serving, eating or drinking, or doing anything else. In this way, if any good comes about it will be to God’s glory and not to their own. The fulfillment of the commandments presents no difficulty or trouble to us when it is facilitated by the love of God and when this love relieves it of all that is burdensome. As has been said, the whole effort of the enemy is directed towards distracting the intellect from the remembrance, fear and love of God, and to turning it by means of earthly forms and seductions away from what is truly good towards what appears to be good.

-- St. Symeon Metaphrastis (d. 10th century), Paraphrase of the Homilies of St. Makarios of Egypt, 1.14
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #92 on: June 23, 2013, 12:38:18 AM »
In addition he who is supremely good nourishes us when we hunger, with regard to our bodies with the fruits that the earth bears year by year; with regard to the soul with the most pure Mysteries, as he longs for us more than a mother or a nurse and embraces us with affection. For a mother nourishes her child with milk for a time, while he our true master and father gives his own body and blood as food and drink, and this permanently. Oh, what unfathomable goodness! And oh, what an incomparable gift!

-- St. Theodore the Studite (d. 826), Catechesis 24
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #93 on: June 24, 2013, 03:09:32 AM »
To God the just Judge, both the noble man and the lowly are equal.  He forbade the well-born to offend the lowly, as well as the lowly to offend the noble, and both the well-born and the lowly shall stand before His just Judgement. But look at the graves of your ancestors, and there you will see your nobility. 'But he is an evil man,' you say.  It is not for you to judge him.  It is also not known who is better, you or he, for God judges according to the inward and not the outward disposition.  'The Lord examineth the righteous man and the ungodly.' (Ps. 10:5.). Likewise, you do not know how you and he shall end.  Many begin well but come to an evil end, others begin ill but end well.  It is not the good beginning but the good end that is worthy of praise and accomplishes all things. 'He will not,' you say, 'ask me, though I should ask his forgiveness.'
 
No, humility has such power that it inclines even the hard of heart.  For God, the lover of humility, works through the humble.  You just humble yourself before him, and you shall see the power of humility.  He will unfailingly embrace you with love and joy, and kiss you.  But if you do not do more than what is expected you will already be responsible for your misfortune.  'But he will become conceited at my humility.' you say. Not true.  When he sees your humility, he will also humble himself.  But if he should be conceited, then he shall unfailingly be humbled, according to the word of the Lord, 'Every on that exalteth himself shall be abased.' (Lk. 18:14). But cease all your excuses, let him do what he wishes.  You should do what is needful and profitable to you and what is commanded by the Lord.

-- St. Tikhon of Zadonsk (d. 1783), Journey to Heaven: Counsels On the Particular Duties of Every Christian, pp. 141-142
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #94 on: June 24, 2013, 10:14:47 PM »
Elsewhere, we learned that the Hebrew name “Cephas” means “Rock”; here we are told that “Thomas” means “Twin”. The Evangelist provides the meaning of the name here to indicate that Thomas was prone to be of two minds—a doubter by nature. He doubted the news brought to him by the others, not because he thought they were liars, but because he considered it impossible for a man to rise from the dead. And his doubt made him excessively inquisitive. Gullibility is a sign of light-mindedness; but stubborn resistance to truth is a sure indication of thick-headedness.

-- St. Theophylact of Ohrid (d. c. 1108), Commentary on John 20:19-31
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #95 on: June 25, 2013, 12:51:23 AM »
Elsewhere, we learned that the Hebrew name “Cephas” means “Rock”; here we are told that “Thomas” means “Twin”. The Evangelist provides the meaning of the name here to indicate that Thomas was prone to be of two minds—a doubter by nature. He doubted the news brought to him by the others, not because he thought they were liars, but because he considered it impossible for a man to rise from the dead. And his doubt made him excessively inquisitive. Gullibility is a sign of light-mindedness; but stubborn resistance to truth is a sure indication of thick-headedness.

-- St. Theophylact of Ohrid (d. c. 1108), Commentary on John 20:19-31

Interesting.  We say the "Twin" reference is to two of his fingers which were joined together as one, separated upon probing the side of the risen Lord. 
The whole forum is Mor. We're emanations of his godlike mind.

Actually, Mor's face shineth like the Sun.

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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #96 on: July 26, 2013, 09:36:40 AM »
When we are in trouble or despair or have lost hope, we should do what David did: pour out our hearts to God and tell Him of our needs and troubles, just as they are (cf. Ps. 142:2). It is because He can deal with us wisely that we confess to God; He can make our troubles easy to bear, if this is for our benefit, and can save us from the dejection which destroys and corrupts.

-- St. Hesychios the Priest (d. 9th century), On Watchfulness and Holiness: Written for Theodoulos, 135
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #97 on: July 26, 2013, 09:37:50 AM »
Interesting.  We say the "Twin" reference is to two of his fingers which were joined together as one, separated upon probing the side of the risen Lord. 

Well "interesting" back at you... I had not heard of this tradition before. :)
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #98 on: July 27, 2013, 05:44:52 PM »
Spare your inheritance, O God, disregarding all our sins. For this you have interceding with you her who on earth conceived you without seed, when in your great mercy, O Christ, you willed to be shaped in a form that was not your own.

-- St. Joseph the Hymnographer (d. c. 883), Canon of the Akathist
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #99 on: July 30, 2013, 12:00:28 AM »
One of these late Byzantine hermits was St. Maximos Kafsokalyvitis, the 'hut burner,' who spent seventy years wandering on the rocky peninsula from one hut or cave to another, until his death at the advanced age of ninety-five. Maximos was born to pious parents in western Asia Minor in either 1270 or 1285. As a child he was obedient to his mother and father, devoted to the Virgin Mary, and at a young age began to give away his own food and clothes to the poor. Unlike Athanasios the Athonite he did not have a classical education, but studied only the Scriptures, committing large chunks to memory.

When his parents began to make preparations for his marrage at age seventeen, he left home for Mount Ganos in Thrace. As was typical of many saintly teenagers, he began monastic life with a  spiritual apprenticeship to an elderly solitary monk. He also began to engage in the mortification of the body that would characterize his entire monastic career, sleeping on the ground, fasting, and keeping long vigils. After the death of his spiritual father he visited another Thracian holy mountain, Papikion, en route to Constantinople where he went on pilgrimage to visit the churches and their icons and relics. Demonstrating behabior typical of a much earlier era, he lived in a gateway of a church, pretending to be a 'fool for Christ,' going barefoot, wearing a single tattered hair shirt, and feigning madness.

Next he journeyed to Mount Athos, where he entered the Great Lavra, serving as timekeeper and singing in the choir. Even within the confines of a cenobitic monastery he contined to act in an eccentric manner, refusing to sleep in a cell and keeping long vigils, snatching only quick naps on a bench in the church narthex between services...

-- Concerning St. Maximos Kafsokalyvitis (d. 14th century), The Monastic Magnet: Roads To and From Mount Athos
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #100 on: August 06, 2013, 07:10:04 AM »
Then St. George the Recluse tonsured his disciple, “who had reached perfection of age, wisdom and understanding,” into the great schema and sent him to Jerusalem on a pilgrimage. According to his teacher’s counsel, George then moved from Jerusalem to the Iveron Monastery on Mt. Athos to continue the work of St. Ekvtime—the translation of theological texts from the Greek to the Georgian language. George considered himself unworthy and unqualified to continue St. Ekvtime’s great work, but St. George the Recluse was insistent, so he set off for the Holy Mountain in humble obedience.

The monks of the Iveron Monastery received St. George with great joy. But instead of translating the patristic texts as his spiritual father had advised him, George soon grew slothful and for seven years performed only the work of a novice. When St. George the Recluse heard this, he sent his disciple Tevdore to Mt. Athos to rebuke him and remind him of the reason he had been sent there. Finally George of the Holy Mountain obeyed the will of his teacher, and soon he was enthroned as abbot of the monastery. From that time on St. George of the Holy Mountain pursued his work with great earnestness. He gathered information on Sts. Ekvtime and John, compiled their Lives, translated their holy relics to ornate burial vaults covered in precious jewels, and enhanced the life of the monastery in many other ways.

-- Concerning Saint George the Hagiorite (d. 1065), Source
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #101 on: August 11, 2013, 08:34:43 PM »
Just as sick people need surgery and cautery to recover the health they have lost, so we need trials, and toils of repentance, and fear of death and punishment, so that we may regain our former health of soul and shake off the sickness which our folly has induced. The more the Physician of our souls bestows upon us voluntary and involuntary suffering, the more we should thank Him for His compassion and accept the suffering joyfully; For it is to help us that He increases our tribulation, both through the sufferings we willingly embrace in our repentance and through the trials and punishments not subject to our will. In this way, if we voluntarily accept affliction, we will be freed from our sickness and from the punishments to come, and perhaps even from present punishments as well. Even if we are not grateful, our Physician in His grace will still heal us, although by means of chastisement and manifold trials. But if we cling to our disease and persist in it, we will deservedly bring upon ourselves agelong punishment. We will have made ourselves like the demons and so will justly share with them the agelong punishments prepared for them; for, like them, we will have scorned our Benefactor.

-- St. Peter of Damascus (d. c. 12th century), Book I: A Treasury of Divine Knowledge (Philokalia, Vol. 3)
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #102 on: August 14, 2013, 06:14:40 AM »
Those aspiring to the state of virtue must strive to fulfill the commandments by sustaining this inward struggle, travail and meditation unceasingly night and day, whether praying or serving, eating or drinking, or doing anything else. In this way, if any good comes about it will be to God’s glory and not to their own. The fulfillment of the commandments presents no difficulty or trouble to us when it is facilitated by the love of God and when this love relieves it of all that is burdensome.

-- St. Symeon Metaphrastis (d. 10th century), Paraphrase of the Homilies of St. Makarios of Egypt, Homily One: Spiritual Perfection (Philokalia, Vol. 3, p. 290)
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #103 on: August 15, 2013, 08:54:45 PM »
Q. 25. If God foresaw Adam's sin, why did he create him?

R. God knew very well not only that Adam would sin, but also the evil of Lucifer himself, even before the latter was created; in fact, he knows the most insignificant thoughts of every creature, what they think and what they do. But since he did not want the sin of man and the evil of the Devil to overcome the Divine goodness, he created, as a sign of his greater goodness, that Angel as good, who later became evil by his own free will. It is the same with man, who sinned by his own initiative. But because with man's sin God foresaw that his divine goodness would shine forth more brightly, when he would send forth his only-born Son to this earthly vale in order to redeem man, taking his flesh from the most pure Virgin through the activity of the Holy Spirit, thereby gathering man-to the confounding of the Devil - into the kingdom of God, in greater honor than that of Paradise, therefore, that sin did not stop God from creating man.

-- St. Peter Mogila (d. 1646), Orthodox Confession of Faith
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #104 on: August 17, 2013, 12:39:42 AM »
St. John was born in a village by the name of Skrino, near the ancient city of Sredets (now Sofia). His parents, of Bulgarian ancestry, were God-fearing people, and from an early age the Saint was disposed towards a life of piety and good deeds. Some lazy villagers mocked his godly behavior, but the boy learned to disregard their taunts. Still in his youth, the Saint distributed his possessions among the poor and went to a monastery where he became a monk. After mastering the virtues of obedience and humility, he was graced with a divine vision whereby he was led to an uninhabited mountain. There he built a small hut for himself. Dressed only in a leather coat end sustaining himself on wild plants, he spent his time in fasting, prayer, vigil and other ascetic labors, preserving a golden silence which is, in the words of St. Isaac the Syrian, the mystery of the future age.

-- on St. John of Rila (d. 946), Source
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #105 on: August 19, 2013, 08:01:12 AM »
This holding of synods had fallen into desuetude through the constant fear of war and the hostility and attacks of the surrounding barbarian tribes and through the attempts of hostile enemies to destroy the Frankish realm by violence. They had been forgotten so completely that no one could recall such an assembly's having taken place within living memory. For it is in the nature of the world to fall into ruin even though it is daily restored, while if no attempt is made to reform it it quickly disintegrates and rushes headlong to its predestined doom. Therefore if in the course of this mortal life means have been discovered to remedy such evils they should be preserved and strongly defended by Catholics and fixed indelibly in the mind. Otherwise human forgetfulness and the enticement of pleasure, both of them instigated by the devil, will prove a stumbling block. For this reason the holy bishop, in his anxiety to deliver his people from the baleful influence of the devil, repeatedly urged Carloman to summon the episcopal synods already mentioned in order that both present and later generations should learn spiritual wisdom and should make the knowledge of Christianity available to all. Only in this way could unsuspecting souls escape being ensnared.

-- Willibald (d. c. 787), The Life of St. Boniface
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #106 on: November 17, 2013, 01:17:31 PM »
...This light is not the essence of God, for that is inaccessible and incommunicable; it is not an angel, for it bears the marks of the Master. Sometimes it makes a man go out from the body or else, without separating him from the body, it elevates him to an ineffable height. At other times, it transforms the body, and communicates its own spleandour to it when, miraculously, the light which deifies the body becomes accessible to the bodily eyes.

-- St. Gregory Palamas (d. 1359), Source
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #107 on: November 18, 2013, 10:16:50 PM »
A passion is not the same thing as a sinful act: they are quite distinct. A passion operates in the soul, a sinful act involves the body. For example, love of pleasure, avarice and love of praise are three particularly noxious passions of the soul; but unchastity, greed and wrong-doing are sinful acts of the flesh. Lust anger and arrogance are passions of the soul produced when the soul's powers operate in a way that is contrary to nature. Adultery, murder, theft, drunkenness and whatever else is done through the body, are sinful and noxious actions of the flesh.

-- St. Nikitas Stithatos (d. c. 1090), On the Practice of the Virtues: One Hundred Texts, 27 (The Philokalia, Volume 4, page 89)
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #108 on: November 19, 2013, 06:29:26 PM »
It is better to dress your immortal soul in good ways than to deck with fine clothes the body that soon rots in dust. Clothe and feed Christ in the poor, that so doing you may reign with Christ. Redemption is a man's true riches. If we loved gold we should send it to heaven to be kept there for us. We have what we love: let us love the eternal which will not perish. Let us love the true, not the transitory, riches. Let us win praise with God, not man. Let us do as the saints whom we praise. Let us follow in their footsteps on earth, to be worthy to share their glory in heaven.

-- St. Alcuin of York (d. 804), Letter to Higbald (793)
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #109 on: November 20, 2013, 12:10:26 PM »
At their first Coming into Frisland, as soon as [Willibrord] found he had leave given him by the prince to preach, he made haste to Rome, where Pope Sergius then presided over the apostolical see, that he might undertake the desired work of preaching the Gospel to the Gentiles, with his licence and blessing; and hoping to receive of him some relics of the blessed apostles and martyrs of. Christ; to the end, that when he destroyed the idols, and erected churches in the nation to which he preached, he might have the relics of saints at hand to put into them, and having deposited them there, might accordingly dedicate those places to the honor of each of the saints whose relics they were. He was also desirous there to learn or to receive from thence many other things which so great a work required. Having obtained all that he wanted, he returned to preach.

Concerning St. Willibrord (d. 739)

(found in: St. Bede the Venerable, Ecclesiastical History of the English Nation, 5.11)
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #110 on: November 22, 2013, 11:01:57 PM »
A true sanctuary, even before the life to come, is a heart free from distractive thoughts and energized by the Spirit, for all is done and said there spiritually. If we do not attain such a state in this life, we may because of our other virtues be a stone fit for building into the temple of God; but we will not ourselves be a temple or a celebrant of the Spirit.

-- St. Gregory of Sinai (d. 1346), On Commandments and Doctrines..., 7  (The Philokalia, Volume 4, page 213)
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #111 on: November 24, 2013, 03:12:47 AM »
For because of the very nature of agitation the troubled mind is quite powerless to approach God. Peace establishes unity among many, but agitation divides one into many, and how could an individual so disturbed be united to the One and Indivisible God? Therefore he who is not at peace cannot pray aright, and cannot expect any good to come of his prayer. If anger disturbs his soul or if ill-feeling has driven out peace, his prayer will not obtain forgiveness of his sins, and still less will he receive any other grace. If his conscience pricks him because of his sins and he is agitated by self-accusation and misgivings he will be deprived of confidence in God according to the saying "And when he prays, he prays without confidence," that is, without faith, and the man who prays without faith prays in vain and to no purpose. That is why we are commanded to pray to God in peace, and above all to ask for the peace from above.

-- St. Nicholas Cabasilas (d. c. 1391), A Commentary on the Divine Liturgy (Source)
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #112 on: November 26, 2013, 01:58:45 AM »
There is no better teacher than death. Have death before your minds: the time when you will leave this unreal world and will go to the other one, which is eternal.

-- St. Cosmas of Aetolia (d. 1779), Source
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #113 on: December 01, 2013, 10:11:25 AM »
"But when the Pharisees had heard that He had put the Sadducees to silence, they were gathered together. Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, and saying, Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets." - (Matt. 24:34-40)

Out of immeasurable spite this man comes forward to put the Lord to the test. For when they saw the Sadducees put to shame and the Lord praised for His wisdom, they came forward to test Him to see if He would add something to the first commandment, and thus give them the chance to accuse Him of being an innovator who corrects the law. But the Lord discloses their malice, and because they came not to learn, but rather, devoid of love, to show their envy and their spite, He reveals to them the exceedingly great love expressed by the commandments. And He teaches that we ought not to love God partially, but to give all of ourselves to God. For we perceive these three distinctions of the human soul: the vegetative, the animal, and the rational. When the soul grows and is nourished and begets what is like unto it, it resembles the plants; when it experiences anger or desire, it is like the animals; when it understands, it is called rational.

See, then, how these three facets are indicated here. Thou shalt love thy God with all thy heart—this is the animal part of a man; and with all thy soul (or life)—this is the vegetative part of a man, for plants are alive and animate; and with all thy mind—this is the rational. So one must love God with all one's soul, that is, attend to Him with all the parts and powers of one's soul. This is the first and great commandment, training us in piety. The second is like unto it, exhorting us to do to other men what is just and right. For there are two things which lead to perdition, evil doctrines and a corrupt life. Lest we fall into unholy doctrines, we must love God; so that we do not lead a corrupt life, we must love our neighbor. For he who loves his neighbor fulfills all the commandments, and he who fulfills all the commandments, loves God. So by means of each other these two commandments are welded together and united, containing within themselves all the other commandments. Who is it that loves God and his neighbor, but also steals, or bears grudges, or commits adultery, or murders, or fornicates? This lawyer, then, at the onset came to test Him but then, hearing Christ's answer, he amended his ways, and the Lord praised him, as Mark also says that Jesus looked at him with love, and said, Thou art not far from the kingdom of heaven (Mk. 12:34).

-- St. Theophylact of Ohrid (d. c. 1108), Commentary on Matthew 22:34-40
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #114 on: December 06, 2013, 12:12:01 AM »
For now, those who are ignorant of You live in bodily self-indulgence,
and here they exult like leaping, irrational beasts.
They have all things that You have given for the enjoyments of life,
and seeing only these things, they suppose it will be the same after the departure of their soul and of their life.
But they speculate badly, and badly do they believe
when they say that they are not with You, but still they prepare a certain place of repose--oh the folly!--(Jn. 14:2)
They do not receive light, yet they have no share in darkness,
they are outside the Kingdom, but also outside of hell,
both outside the bridal chamber, and away from the fire of punishment, (Jude 7)
the wretched pray to arrive at such a place.
And they say there is no need for your eternal glory
or the Kingdom of Heaven, but it is enough to be in repose. (Mt. 3:2)
Alas for their darkness! Alas for their ignorance!
Alas their wretchedness and vain hopes!
Nowhere has this been written nor shall this be,
but only those who do holy things are in the light of good things,
and the workers of worthless things shall be in the darkness of vengeance. (1 Jn. 3:18-21)

-- St. Symeon the New Theologian (d. 1022), Divine Eros: Hymns of Saint Symeon the New Theologian, Hymn 1.99-117
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #115 on: December 16, 2013, 07:12:20 AM »
If you want to find perfect love, go sell all your belongings, give them to the poor, go where you find a master and become a slave. Can you do this and be perfect? You say this is too heavy? Then do something else. Don’t sell yourself as a slave. Just sell your belongings and give them all to the poor. Can you do it? Or do you find this too heavy a task? All right, you cannot give away all your belongings. Then give half, or a third, or a fifth. Is even this too heavy? Then give one tenth. Can you do that? Is it still too heavy? How about this. Don’t sell yourself as slave. Don’t give a penny to the poor. Only do this. Don’t take your poor brother’s coat, don’t take his bread, don’t persecute him, don’t eat him alive. If you don’t want to do him any good, at least do him no harm. Just leave him alone. Is this also too heavy? You say you want to be saved. But how? How can we be saved if everything we are called to do is too heavy? We descend and descend until there is no place further down. God is merciful, yes, but he also has an iron rod.

-- St. Cosmas of Aetolia (d. 1779), Source
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #116 on: December 17, 2013, 01:47:17 PM »
Blessed John the Merciful of Rostov (also known as “the Hairy”) struggled at Rostov in the exploit of holy foolishness, enduring much deprivation and sorrow. He did not have a permanent shelter, and at times took his rest at the house of his spiritual Father, a priest at the church of the All-Holy, or with one of the aged widows. Living in humility, patience and unceasing prayer, he spiritually nourished many people, among them St Irenarchus, Hermit of Rostov.

-- St. John, Fool For Christ of Rostov (d. 1580), Source
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #117 on: December 18, 2013, 01:15:03 PM »
For a long-standing habit assumes the strength of nature; but if you do not give way to it, it loses strength and is gradually destroyed. Whether a habit is good or bad, time nourishes it, just as wood feeds a fire. Thus, so far as we can, we should cultivate and practice what is good, so that it becomes an established habit operating automatically and effortlessly when required. It was through victories in small things that the fathers won their great battles.

-- St. Peter of Damascus (12th century), The Philokalia, Volume 3, p. 87)
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #118 on: January 20, 2014, 06:03:21 PM »
You shall not store up gold in your monastery, but you should share your abundance of whatever sort with those in need at the portal of your court as the holy fathers did.

-- St. Theodore the Studite (d. 826), Testament of Theodore the Studite for the Monastery of St. John Stoudios of Constantinople (Source)
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #119 on: January 22, 2014, 01:10:38 AM »
Moreover, faith is twofold. For faith comes by hearing (Rom. 10:17). For by hearing the divine Scriptures we believe in the teaching of the Holy Spirit. The same is perfected by all the things enjoined by Christ, believing in work, cultivating piety, and doing the commands of Him Who restored us. For he that believes not according to the tradition of the Catholic Church, or who has intercourse with the devil through strange works, is an unbeliever. But again, faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen (Heb. 11:1), or undoubting and unambiguous hope alike of what God has promised us and of the good issue of our prayers. The first, therefore, belongs to our will, while the second is of the gifts of the Spirit.

-- St. John of Damascus (d. 749), Exact Exposition of the Orthodox Faith, 4.10
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #120 on: February 13, 2014, 02:29:50 AM »
To dispel sleep and indolence while practicing mental prayer you may occupy your hands with some quiet task, for this, too, contributes to the ascetic struggle. All such tasks when accompanied by prayer quicken the intellect, banish listlessness, give youthful vigor to the soul, and render the intellect more prompt and eager to devote itself to mental work.

-- St. Theoliptos, Metropolitan of Philadelphia (d. 1322), On Inner Work in Christ And the Monastic Profession (Philokalia, Volume 4, p. 185)
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #121 on: February 21, 2014, 02:54:46 AM »
The most important task for an ascetic is to enter into his heart, to wage war against Satan, to hate him, and to battle with him by wrestling against the thoughts he provokes. If you keep your body outwardly chaste and pure, but inwardly are adulterous where God is concerned and profligate in your thoughts, then you gain nothing from keeping your body chaste. For it is written, 'Whoever looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart' (Matt. 5:28). In other words, you can fornicate through the body, and you also fornicate when your soul communes with Satan.

-- Nikiphoros the Monk (d. 13th century), On Watchfulness and the Guarding of the Heart (Philokalia, v. 4, p. 201)
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #122 on: February 23, 2014, 09:07:56 AM »
The words, commands, and sayings of the Lord are not bound to time, and thus the intellect must properly interpret obscure phrases. It was on account of their impiety that He described their shamelessness. After saying, 'I am going to the Father' (John 14:28), He said, 'But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. But the truth I speak to you. It benefits you that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Paraclete will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you.' (John 16:6) 'I still have many things to say to you, but you are not now able to understand them. But whenever that One comes, the Spirit of truth, that One will guide you into all truth; for that One shall not speak from Himself, but whatever that One hears will that One speak, and the things coming that One will announce to you. That One will glorify Me, for that One shall receive of Mine and shall announce it to you. All things which the Father has are Mine. Therefore, I said that One shall receive of Mine and shall announce it to you.' (John 16:12-14) Are these words not sacred, since they are delivered from God?

-- St. Photius the Great (d. 893), Mystagogy of the Holy Spirit, 24
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #123 on: April 28, 2014, 09:56:42 PM »
If someone is rightly offended with you, but you repent before he calls on you to do so, you lose nothing; but if you repent only after you have been asked to, you forfeit half the harvest. If you never cause estrangement by giving offence to others, you recover all the seed that you sowed; but if you always put the blame on yourself, you gain in addition more than you originally laid out.

-- Ilias the Presbyter (d. c. early 12th century), A Gnomic Anthology, 36
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #124 on: May 01, 2014, 02:00:57 AM »
First there is provocation; then a coupling with the provocation; then assent to it; then captivity to it; then passion, grown habitual and continuous. This is how the holy fathers describe the stages through which the devil gets the better of us.

-- St. Philotheos of Sinai (d. 10th century), Forty Texts on Watchfulness, 34
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #125 on: May 10, 2014, 03:24:20 PM »
The first step is that of purest prayer.
From this there comes a warmth of heart,
And then a strange, a holy energy,
Then tears wrung from the heart, God-given.
Then peace from thoughts of every kind.
From this arises purging of the intellect,
And next the vision of heavenly mysteries,
Unheard-of light is born from this ineffably,
And thence, beyond all telling, the heart's illumination.
Last comes--a step that has no limit
Though compassed in a single line--
Perfection that is endless.

-- Theophanis the Monk (8th century?), The Ladder of Divine Graces
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #126 on: May 13, 2014, 06:44:36 PM »
Just as lightning presages thunder, so divine forgiveness is followed by the calming of the passions. This in its turn is accompanied by a foretaste of the blessedness held in store for us. There is no divine mercy or hope of dispassion for the soul that loves this world more than its Creator, and is attached to visible things and clings wholly to the pleasures and enjoyments of the flesh.

-- St. Theognostos, On the Practice of the Virtues, Contemplation and the Priesthood, 8
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #127 on: May 22, 2014, 10:15:18 PM »
Even if you are not what you should be, you should not despair. It is bad enough that you have sinned; why in addition do you wrong God by regarding Him in your ignorance as powerless? Is He, who for your sake created the great universe that you behold, incapable of saving your soul? And if you say that this fact, as well as His incarnation, only makes your condemnation worse, then repent; and He will receive your repentance, as He accepted that of the prodigal son (Luke 6) and the prostitute (Luke 7). But if repentance is too much for you, and you sin out of habit even when you do not want to, show humility like the publican (Luke 18): this is enough to ensure your salvation.

-- St. Peter of Damascus (12th century), The Philokalia, Volume 3, p. 160
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #128 on: May 23, 2014, 06:50:58 PM »
Thou wilt say: I will shew thee the contrary, for the Scripture saith: 'I will kill and I will make alive; I will smite, and again I will heal.' (Deut. 32:39) And these are contraries; therefore there are contraries with God.

Answer: What is contrary may be of two kinds—of choice or disposition, or of action. That of action only hindereth nothing, nor argueth defect. For he that purposeth to restore a house, first pulleth down, and then rebuildeth; but these are contraries of action only, but not of defect; and this is true of God in His building. But those of disposition are when any one thinketh or purposeth one thing today, and another tomorrow; such is a defect, but is not found with God. For if He killeth and maketh alive, it is not that He desireth death, which He made not. For He is the maker and fashioner, but far be it that He should desire the death of what He Himself hath formed. But we see man subjected to death. Is God, therefore, unwillingly impelled to such destruction? Far be it; for the counsel of God is good always.

-- Cyril Lucaris (d. 1638), Homily [for the Lord's day] after the Exaltation [of the Cross] (as quoted at the Synod of Jerusalem in 1672)
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #129 on: June 24, 2014, 12:44:41 AM »
-- St. Tikhon of Zadonsk (d. 1783), Journey to Heaven: Counsels On the Particular Duties of Every Christian, pp. 141-142

One year later...


We note five causes of sin:
 
1. The corruption of human nature.  Man is conceived in iniquity and born in sins, as the Psalmist says, 'For behold, I was conceived in iniquities, and in sins did my mother bear me' (Ps. 50:7). The sinful passions with which he is born incline and draw him to sin. 'O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?' (Rom. 7:24).  Corruption and accursedness have entered into man from the fall of Adam.  This inclines a man to every sin.  'That which is born of the flesh is flesh' (Jn. 3:6). But Christians must stand against inclinations and passions and struggle according to the power of holy Baptism and the vows made then, and not allow them to progress into deed. 
 
2. The devil leads man to sin.  Of this the Apostle says, exhorting Christians to be on guard against him, 'Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour. Oppose him firm with faith' (I Pet. 5:8-9). The Apostle says the same in another place, 'Be strong, in the Lord, and in the power of His might.  Put on the whole armour of God, that ye be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.  For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places' (Eph. 6:10-12). These unseen enemies are always eager for our destruction, O Christian! Be vigilant, and make haste to guard against every sin.  We must not, therefore, slumber.
 
3. The seductions of the world also lead toward sin.  We see that evil grows; one does such and such a thing.  Another either sees it or hears of it, and recklessly imitates it.  Temptation is like a pestilence that begins in one man and infects many living near him.  'Woe unto the world because of offences! For it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!' (Mt. 18:7).
 
4. A cause of sin is often the bad upbringing of children.  Such children, when they come of age hasten toward every manner of evil.  This comes about from the carelessness of parents.  Give heed to this, fathers and mothers!
 
5. Habit strongly attracts a man toward sin.  We see this evil; we see that drunkards are always drawn toward drunkenness, thieves toward theft, fornicators and adulterers toward impurity, slanderers toward slander, and so on.  For their habit draws them like a leash toward sin, and they are drawn toward the sin to which they have become accustomed just as a hungry man is drawn toward bread and a thirsty man toward water.

-- St. Tikhon of Zadonsk (d. 1783), Journey to Heaven: Counsels On the Particular Duties of Every Christian, pp. 67-69
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #130 on: December 12, 2014, 01:00:51 AM »
We must not be surprised if we do not find among the ancients any clear and defined distinction between the essence of God and His energies. If, in our time, after the solemn confirmation of this truth, the partisans of profane wisdom have created so much trouble in the Church over this question - and have accused Her of polytheism - what mischief would not have been perpetrated in earlier times against this truth by those puffed up with vain learning. This is why our theologians always insisted in the simplicity of God more than the distinctions which exist in Him. It would have been inopportune to exhibit the teaching concerning the essence and energies before those who had enough trouble admitting the distinction of hypostases. Thus, by a wise economy this sacred teaching has become clarified in the course of time, God using for this purpose the foolish attacks of heretics.

-- St. Mark of Ephesus (d. 1444), Source
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #131 on: December 20, 2014, 09:25:38 PM »
Unbelievers, those who believe with difficulty, or believe in part, are those who do not show their faith through works. Apart from works the demons also believe and confess Christ to be God and Master. 'We know who you are' (Mk. 1:24), they say, 'you are the son of God' (Mt. 8:29), and elsewhere, 'These men are the servants of the Most High God' (Acts 16:17). Yet such faith will not benefit demons, nor even humans. This faith is of no use, for it is dead, as says the divine apostle, 'Faith apart from works is dead' (James 2:26), just like works without faith. How is it dead? Because it has not in itself God who gives life. It has not laid hold of Him who said, 'He who loves Me will keep My commandments, and I and the Father will come and make Our home with him' (Jn. 14:21, 23), so that by His coming He may raise from the dead him who has attained faith and give him life, and grant him to see Who has risen in him and who has raised him up.

For this reason such faith is dead, or, rather, they are dead who have faith apart from works. Faith in God is always alive, and since it is living it gives life to those who come with a good intention and receive it. Even before they have practiced the commandments it has brought many out of death into life and has shown them Christ our God. Had they persevered in His commandments and kept them until death, they too would have been preserved by them--that is, in the state to which faith alone had brought them. But since they 'turned aside like a bent bow' (Ps. 78:57) and speared themselves on their former actions, they inevitably at once made shipwreck of their faith and miserably deprived themselves of the true riches, who is Christ our God. So I urge you, let us keep God's commandments with all our might, so that we may not share in their fate, but enjoy both present and future blessings, that is, the very vision of Christ.

-- St. Symeon the New Theologian (d. 1022), The Discourses, 13.5
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #132 on: March 24, 2015, 01:03:35 AM »
The soul's death sentence, brought into effect by man's transgression, was in accord with the Creator's justice; for when our forefathers forsook God and chose to do their own will, He abandoned them, not subjecting them to constraint. And, for the reasons we have stated above. God in His compassion had already forewarned them of this sentence (cf. Gen. 2:17). But in the abyss of His wisdom and the superabundance of His compassion he forbore and delayed in executing the sentence of death upon the body; and when He did pronounce it He relegated its execution to the future. He did not say to Adam, 'Return whence you were taken', but 'You are earth, and to earth you will return' (Gen. 3:19). Those who listen to these words with intelligence can gather from them that God did not make death (cf. Wisd. 1:13), neither that of the soul nor that of the body. He did not originally give the command, 'Die on the day you eat of it'; on the contrary, He said simply, 'You will die on the day you eat of it' (Gen. 2:17). Nor did He say, 'Return now to earth', but 'You will return' (Gen. 3:19). This He said as a forewarning, but He then delayed its just execution, without prejudicing the eventual outcome.

Death was thus to become the lot of our forefathers, just as it lies in store for us who are now living, and our body was rendered mortal. Death is thus a kind of protracted process or, rather, there are myriads of deaths, one death succeeding the next until we reach the one final and long-enduring death. For we are born into corruption, and having once come into existence we are in a state of transiency until we cease from this constant passing away and coming to be. We are never truly the same, although we may appear to be so to those who do not observe us closely. Just as a flame that catches one end of a slender reed changes continually, and its existence is measured by the length of the reed, so we likewise are ever changing, and our measure is the length of life appointed to each of us.

-- St. Gregory Palamas (d. 1359), Topics of Natural and Theological Science and on the Moral and Ascetic Life: One Hundred and Fifty Texts, 51-52 (Philokalia, v. 4, pp. 370-371)
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #133 on: July 01, 2015, 12:04:00 PM »
Some praise life in the desert, others life in monasteries, still others a place of authority among people, to instruct and teach them and organize churches where many may find food for body and soul. I would not give preference to any of these, nor would I say that one is worthy of praise and another of censure. In all ways of life, blessed is the life lived for God and according to God in all actions and works.

-- St. Symeon the New Theologian (d. 1022), Practical and Theological Precepts, 100 (Writings from the Philokalia on Prayer of the Heart, p. 120)

« Last Edit: July 01, 2015, 12:13:06 PM by stavros_388 »

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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #134 on: July 01, 2015, 12:10:22 PM »
What is the aim of the incarnate dispensation of God's Word, preached in all the Holy Scriptures but which we, who read them, do not know? The only aim is that, having entered into what is our own, we should participate in what is His. The Son of God has become Son of Man in order to make us, men, sons of God, raising our race by grace to what He is Himself by nature, granting us the kingdom of heaven, or rather, granting us this kingdom of heaven within us (Luke xvii. 21), in order that we should not merely be fed by hope of entering it, but entering into full possession thereof should cry: our 'life is hid with Christ in God' (Col. iii. 3).

-- St. Symeon the New Theologian (d. 1022), Practical and Theological Precepts, 120 (Writings from the Philokalia on Prayer of the Heart, p. 126)
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #135 on: July 03, 2015, 03:48:35 PM »
Nothing is better for rendering the heart penitent and the soul humble than wise solitude and complete silence. Nothing has a greater power of disturbing the state of silence, and of depriving it of God's help, than the following principal passions: presumptuousness, gluttony, talkativeness and vain cares, arrogance and the mistress of all passions - self regard. Whoever readily permits himself to acquire the habit of these passions will become, in the course of time, more and more shrouded in darkness, until finally he is completely deadened. If, however, he comes to himself and begins to practice the necessary observances with faith and zeal, he will once more obtain what he seeks, especially if he seeks it with humility. But if, through negligence, even one of the passions mentioned begins to rule in him, then the whole host of evils, with pernicious unbelief at its head, attacks and overpowers him and completely devastates his soul. The soul is then filled with diabolical confusion and turmoil and become another Babel, so that 'the last state of the man is worse than the first' (Matt. xii. 45). Then the man turns into a violent enemy and defamer of those who practice silence, always sharpening his tongue against them, like a razor or a double-edged sword.

--St. Gregory of Sinai (d. 1360), Texts on Commandments and Dogmas, 104 (Writings from the Philokalia on Prayer of the Heart, p. 59)

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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #136 on: July 04, 2015, 10:29:14 AM »
If a man constantly looks at the physical sun, he involuntarily suffers a change in his vision, for he can no longer see anything else of the visible, and sees nothing but the sun in everything. It is the same with the man who is always looking at the sun of truth with mind and heart; involuntarily he will suffer a change in his mental vision, for he will be unable to imagine anything earthly and will see only God in all things.

--St. Symeon the New Theologian (d. 1022), Practical and Theological Precepts, 182 (Writings from the Philokalia on Prayer of the Heart, p. 141)

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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #137 on: July 18, 2015, 10:30:31 PM »
104. He who is distracted during prayer stands outside the first veil. He who undistractedly offers the singlephrased
Jesus Prayer is within the veil. But he alone has glimpsed the holy of holies who, with his natural thoughts
at rest, contemplates that which transcends every intellect, and who has in this way been granted to some extent a
vision of the divine light.

105. Whenever the soul, paying no attention to external things, is concentrated in prayer, then a kind of flame
surrounds it, as fire surrounds iron, and makes it wholly incandescent. The soul remains the same, but can no longer be touched, just as red-hot iron cannot be touched by the hand.

-- Ilias the Presbyter (d.c. early 12th century), A Gnomic Anthology, 2.104-105
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #138 on: July 24, 2015, 11:26:11 PM »
"...thrice radiant, thrice bright, thrice brilliant; Light is the Father, Light the Son, Light the Holy Ghost; Wisdom the Father, Wisdom the Son, Wisdom the Holy Ghost..."

-- St. John of Damascus (d. 749), The Fount of Knowledge: Part 2, On Heresies, 103
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #139 on: August 01, 2015, 11:39:07 PM »
My dearest brother, we do not deny to the Roman Church the primacy amongst the five sister Patriarchates; and we recognize her right to the most honorable seat at an Ecumenical Council. But she has seperated herself from us by her own deeds, when through pride she assumed a monarchy which does not belong to her office... How shall we accept decrees from her that have been issued without consulting us and even without our knowledge? If the Roman Pontiff, seated on the lofty throne of his glory, wishes to thunder at us and, so to speak, hurl his mandates at us from on high, and if he wishes to judge us and even to rule us and our Churches, not by taking counsel with us but at his own arbitrary pleasure, what kind of brotherhood, or even what kind of parenthood can this be? We should be the slaves, not the sons, of such a Church, and the Roman See would not be the pious mother of sons but a hard and imperious mistress of slaves.

-- Archbishop Nicetas of Nicomedia (12th century). Quoted taken from: Met. Kallistos, The Orthodox Church (1993), p. 50
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #140 on: January 02, 2016, 11:59:52 PM »
Letters cannot be written on air; they have to be inscribed on some material if they are to have any permanence. Similarly, we should weld our hard-won watchfulness to the Jesus Prayer, so that this watchfulness may always be attached to Him and may through Him remain with us forever.

-- St. Hesychios the Priest (c. 9th century), On Watchfulness and Holiness (Written for Theodoulos), 183
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #141 on: February 19, 2017, 12:48:44 AM »
Bear in mind how vile a thing it is to change the image of God which has been created in you into the likeness of the devil through lust.

-- St. Boniface (d. 754), A Letter of Admonition to King Aethelbald of Mercia
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #142 on: March 08, 2017, 07:43:04 PM »
In particular he founded a hospital for the poor at Bremen, to which he assigned the tithes from certain hamlets so that those who were poor and sick might be daily sustained and refreshed. Throughout the whole of his episcopacy he gave away for the support of the poor a tenth of the animals and of all his revenues and a tenth of the tithes which belonged to him, and whatever money or property of any kind came to him he gave a tenth for the benefit of the poor. In addition every fifth year he tithed again all his animals although they had been already tithed in order to give alms. Of the money that came to the churches in the monasteries he gave a fourth part for this purpose. He was ever most careful of scholars and of widows and wherever he knew that there were hermits, whether men or women, he endeavoured to visit them frequently and to strengthen them in God's service by gifts, and minister to their wants. He always carried in his girdle a little bag containing coins, so that, if anyone who was in need came and the dispenser of charity was not there, he might himself be able to give at once. For in all things he strove to fulfil the saying of the blessed Job, that he would not even cause the eyes of the widow to wait. (Job 31:16) Thus did he endeavour to be an eye to the blind, and a foot to the lame and the father of the poor.

-- Life of St. Ansgar (d. 865)
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #143 on: March 09, 2017, 08:47:18 PM »
Our story wishes to make known another work dear to God, so that He may be further glorified by His true servants, and that those who fear Him may become more eager to do good things. Once, the holy man came into our refectory so that we could eat bread together. For each of us ate and chanted alone and by himself except on certain days, as is the custom for those living in solitude. And an unknown monk came and began cutting wood near our cell. I came out and very severely said to him, "Who are you, brother, that dare to cut wood near our dwelling?" He, speaking as a stranger and in a gentle voice, said, "Forgive me, father, for I am a stranger, and did not know there was a cell here." And the holy man, hearing this, said to me, "Tell him to come in." When he had come, the holy man told me, "Give him something to eat." And I did this. Then he said to the stranger, "Where are you from, brother?" "I am from Trebizond, father," he said, "I have just arrived at the Holy Mountain." When he had learned from him, after close inquiry, everything about him, and that he was hardly able to find his daily bread, he said to me at once, "Gregory, divide what you have in your cell into two, and give half to this poor man." I replied to him, "We are many, father, and we clearly need more than he." He gave me a stern look and said, "Did I not say to you that if you have faith, then you will never lack the necessary things?"

-- The Life of St. Romylos (d. late-14th century)
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #144 on: March 11, 2017, 07:27:12 PM »
However great your zeal and many the efforts of your asceticism, they are all in vain and without useful result unless they attain to love in a broken spirit (Ps. 51:19). By no other virtue, by no other fulfillment of the Lord's commandment, can anyone be known as a disciple of Christ...

-- St. Symeon the New Theologian (d. 1022), Discourses, 1.5
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #145 on: March 13, 2017, 12:49:47 AM »
The immersion into water, and specifically a triple immersion, and also a triple coming out of the water was not instituted arbitrarily or accidentally, but as the image of the Resurrection of Christ on the third day. "The water," says blessed Basil, "has the symbolic meaning of death, and accepts the body as into a coffin." How then, do we liken ourselves to the One Who descended into hell, imitating His burial through baptism? The bodies of those who are baptized in water are buried, in a certain sense. Consequently, baptism mystically represents the laying aside of bodily cares, by the word of the apostle: "In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ" (Col. 2: 11).

-- Archbp. Nikephoros of Slaviansk and Kherson (d. 1800), Against Baptism By Pouring
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #146 on: March 14, 2017, 02:47:29 PM »
Have the word of God preached to the people coming to the church on holidays; and wherever you go, let clerics completely fulfill the service of God; let those with you be soberly adorned and not given over to hilarity; let the respectability of their lives be a lesson of salvation to others; and everywhere you should have the greatest care for the poor, widows and orphans, that together with others doing charitable works, you might hear from the Lord Christ on that frightful day: "Whatever you did to the least of these, you did to me" (Matt. 15:40). Be like a father to the poor, and carefully discuss the complaints brought to you, and spare those sinning against you, that God may spare your sins. Be fair in judgments, and merciful in debts. [Be] a teacher of virtue, blameless in manners, pleasant in word, praiseworthy in your way of life, devout in all the works of God. Also urge the brothers that they should read the holy scriptures most conscientiously. They should not believe in word of mouth, but in the knowledge of truth, that they might be able to resist those speaking aginst the truth. These are dangerous times, as the Apostles predicted, because many false teachers are springing up, introducing novel doctrines, conspicuous in staining the purity of the Catholic faith with wicked assertions (2 Tim. 3:1; 2 Pet. 2:1). Therefore it is necessary for the Church to have many guardians who, not only by holiness of life but also by the doctrine of truth, may be able to defend bravely the fortress of God.

-- St. Alcuin of York (d. 804), Source
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #147 on: March 16, 2017, 02:23:06 AM »
We cannot both sate ourselves with food and spiritually enjoy divine and noumenal blessings; the more we pander to the stomach the less can we experience such enjoyment. But to the degree that we discipline the body we are filled with spiritual nourishment and grace.

-- St. Symeon the New Theologian (d. 1022), One Hundred and Fifty-Three Practical and Theological Texts, 26
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #148 on: March 18, 2017, 12:57:12 AM »
It is as St John Chrysostom says about Gehenna: it is almost of greater benefit to us than the kingdom of heaven, since because of it many enter into the kingdom of heaven, while few enter for the sake of the kingdom itself; and if they do enter it, it is by virtue of God’s compassion. Gehenna pursues us with fear, the kingdom embraces us with love, and through them both we are saved by Christ’s grace.

-- St. Peter of Damascus (d. c. 12th century), Philokalia, v. 3, p. 160
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #149 on: March 19, 2017, 09:16:12 PM »
The human mind also, and not only the angelic, transcends itself, and by victory over the passions acquires an angelic form. It, too, will attain to that light and will become worthy of a supernatural vision of God, not seeing the divine essence, but seeing God by a revelation appropriate and analogous to Him. One sees, not in a negative way--for one does see something--but in a manner superior to negation. For God is not only beyond knowledge, but also beyond unknowing; His revelation itself is also truly a mystery of a most divine and extraordinary kind, since the divine manifestations, even if symbolic, remain unknowable by reason of their transcendence.

-- St. Gregory Palamas (d. 1359), The Triads, 1.3.4
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #150 on: March 24, 2017, 08:37:00 PM »
Read an extended work, voluminous even, in fifteen books and five volumes. In this work, testimonies and quotations of entire books not only by Greek authors but  also by Persian, Thracian, Egyptian, Babylonian, Chaldaean and Roman authors considered notable in each one of these countries are thrown pell-mell together. The author tries to show that there is in them a supplement in favour of pure, supernatural and divine Christian religion, that these texts proclaim and announce the  supernatural Trinity, one in its substance, the arrival of the Word in a body of flesh, the signs of his divinity, the Cross, the Passion, the placing in the tomb, the Resurrection, the Ascension, the grace of the Holy Spirit manifested miraculously on the Apostles by tongues of fire, the terrifying  second coming of Christ our God, the resurrection of the dead, the judgement, the reward for what everyone did in life. Moreover, the creation of the universe, Providence, Paradise and other subjects of the same order, the virtue which is practised among Christians and all that touches on this subject. He tries to show that, on all these ideas, the Greeks, the Egyptians, Chaldaeans and those enumerated above reflected and proclaimed them strongly in their own writings.

And it is not only from those listed that he gathers and groups testimonies, but he has not failed in taking even some from the alchemical writings of Zosimus (the latter was a Theban from Panopolis) to demonstrate the same propositions; to this end, he explains the meaning of Hebrew words and the places where each Apostle preached the doctrine of salvation and ended his human labours. At the end of his book, he develops his own exhortation in which he mixes, to reinforce it, pagan sentences and sentences borrowed from Scripture; it is there especially that one can recognize the love of this man for virtue and his irreproachable piety. As for the form of his writings, little need be said; because, in many passages, his construction and vocabulary are so neglected that sometimes he does not even escape clichés. And often the sense of his writings is no better.

As for the method which the author used to reach his goal, no man of goodwill could blame him, but the same does not go for his work. Because there are not only many words which are often inappropriate to our divine dogmas which he forces into agreement with them, but there are also fables and dreams whose inventors must have laughed if they had any sense and which our author does not hesitate to say are in harmony with our divine wisdom; he goes as far as trying to put the completely foreign significance of the fables and the dreams in agreement with the true, divine, unquestionable and pure ideas of the divine dogma. No advantage for religion results from this; but the author could without unreason avoid procuring materials for amateurs to launch quarrels on critical matters if they can show that some relate to ours, just to confirm our religion. Our religion does not need it and is the only one which is pure and true; this is an attempt to twist into agreement the interpretation of texts which have nothing to do with it, are for the most part strangers to it, and the ideas which come from them differ more from ours than night from day.

And the author has taken upon himself this very arduous task, as he frequently says himself, in order to show that the Christian dogma was announced and proclaimed in advance among all peoples by the remarkable men in each and to thus remove any excuse for those of the gentiles who did not come to the divine message. The goal is creditable, but it is not right to try to carry it out by difficult and not very convincing means, but by those which are easy to reach and that the faith suggests. As for the name of the author, I have at present been unable to obtain knowledge, because the volumes which we saw did not carry it. It is known only that he lived in Constantinople, was married with a wife and children and that he lived after the time of [Emperor] Heraclius (d. 641).

-- St. Photius the Great (d. c. 893), Bibliotheca, 170
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #151 on: March 26, 2017, 02:13:28 AM »
What meditates thy thoughtful gaze, my father?
To tell me some new truth?  Thou canst not so!
For all that mortal hands are weak to gather,
Thy blessed books unfolded long ago.

-- Met. John Mauropous (d. c. 1075), Ikons: Gregory of Nazianzen
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #152 on: March 27, 2017, 01:21:14 AM »
Those who would refuse to reject and to correct this error [of the filioque] would be unworthy of pardon even if they spoke from the height of the throne which they professed to be the highest of all and even if they should put forth the confession of Peter and the blessing which he received from Christ for it, even if they should shake before our eyes the keys of the kingdom. For in proportion that they pretend to honor Peter by these keys, they dishonor him if they destroy what he established, if they root up the foundations of the Church which he is supposed to support.

-- St. Theophylact of Bulgaria (d. c. 1107), Source
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #153 on: March 28, 2017, 01:54:48 PM »
The right to judge [worldly affairs] rests with the emperor and the secular tribunal. But here [in our discussion] it is a question of divine and heavenly decisions and those are reserved only to him to whom the Word of God has said: "Whatever you bind on earth will be bound in Heaven, and whatever you shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven" (Matt. 16:19). And who are the men to whom this order was given? The apostles and their successors. And who are their successors? He who occupies the throne of rome and is the first; the one who sits upon the throne of Constantinople and is the second; after them, those of Alexandria, Antioch and Jerusalem. That is the pentarchic authority in the church. It is to them who all decisions belong in divine dogmas. The emperor and the secular authority have the duty to aid them and to confirm what they have decided.

-- St. Theodore the Studite (d. 826), Eastern Orthodox Christianity: The Essential Texts, pp. 228, 230
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #154 on: March 29, 2017, 03:18:45 AM »
"Our God is refuge and power." (Ps. 45:2) Christ in whom we have believed is refuge when we are fleeing and power when we are resisting, for he commanded to flee trials, but on falling into them to resist through patient endurance so as not to be defeated by them. "A helper very greatly in afflictions that beset us." (Ps. 45:2) Chrysostomos relates the ‘very greatly’ to the ‘helper’. Note that afflictions beset those who live in a godly way, pursuing them by God’s consent so that having been exercised they may become stronger, for as is written, "Affliction produces endurance, and endurance strength of character" (Rom. 5:3). God does not prevent trials for the reason mentioned, but when they supervene he stands by as a helper.

-- Euthymius Zigabenus (d. 12th century), Commentary on the Psalms
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #155 on: March 29, 2017, 07:00:45 AM »
Try reading a contemporary book of modern times, .. Not 8th century.
Learn meditation.

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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #156 on: March 29, 2017, 07:32:13 AM »
Try reading a contemporary book of modern times, .. Not 8th century.

What's wrong with the 8th century? Sure it doesn't have cool saints like the 20th or the 21st, but it's still alright...
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #157 on: April 01, 2017, 09:47:17 PM »
Those who pursue the carnal mode of life and in whom the will of the flesh is imperious--who are, quite simply, carnal--are not able to conform to God's will (cf. Rom. 8:8). Their judgment is eclipsed and they are totally impervious to the rays of divine light: the engulfing clouds of the passions are like high walls that shut out the resplendence of the Spirit and leave them without illumination. Their soul's senses maimed, they cannot aspire to God's spiritual beauty and see the light of the true life and so transcend the lowliness of visible things. It is as if they had become beasts conscious only of this world, with the dignity of their intelligence fettered to things sensory and human. They strive only for what is visible and corruptible, on this account fighting among themselves and even sacrificing their lives for such things, avid for wealth, glory and the pleasures of the flesh, and regarding the lack of any of these things as a disaster. To such people applies the prophetic statement that comes from God's own mouth: 'My Spirit shall not remain in these men, for they are flesh' (Gen. 6:3 LXX)

-- St. Nikitas Stithatos (d. c. 1090), On the Inner Nature of Things and on the Purification of the Intellect: One Hundred Texts, 5
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #158 on: April 05, 2017, 09:13:57 PM »
Question 64. Do not some die, so as to be in a medium between the Blessed and the Damned?
Answer. Of these there be not any; nevertheless, it is certain that many Sinners are freed from the Chains of Hades; not by their own Eepentance or Confession, as the Scripture saith {Ps. 6:5), "In the Pit who shall give Thanks unto thee?" And elsewhere (Ps. 115:17), "The Dead praise not thee, Lord; neither all them that go down into the Pit"; but for the good Works and Alms of the Living, and for the Prayers of the Church, made in their Behalf; but chiefly for the sake of the unbloody Sacrifice (the Liturgy) which the Church daily offers up for the Living and the Dead; in like manner as Christ also died for both. But the Souls of such are by no means to be delivered by their own Works; as Theaphylact, treating on these Words of Christ, in the sixth Chapter of Luke, "To whom Power is given offorgiving Sins on earth;" saying, "Observe, it is said on Earth; For so long as we continue on Earth we can wipe out our Sins, but after we leave this Earth we are no more able of ourselves to cancel our Sins by our Confessions. The 'Doors then are shut.'" And again, on the Words of Matthew (22:13), "Bind him Hand and Foot," by which the active faculties of the soul are meant, he says, "In this Life we may labour and endeavour, but afterwards the active Faculties of the soul are bound, nor can we any more do ought atonement for our offences." And farther, on the 25th chapter of the same Gospel, he says, "There is no more time for repentance and good Works after this life." From all which it is clear, that after its separation the Soul can no more perform penance, nor do any other work whereby it might be freed from the chains of hades. Therefore, only the sacrifices, the prayers and alms, which are performed by the Living, for their sakes, do comfort and greatly benefit the Souls, and free them from the Bonds of Hades.

Question 66. What are we to think of the Fire of Purgatory ?
Answer. It is nowhere taught in the holy Scriptures that there is any temporary Punishment, whereby the soul, after death, may be purged. On the contrary, the Church, in the second Council of Constantinople, did condemn Origen for this very opinion. Moreover, it is evident that the soul, when once departed, cannot again become a partaker of the sacraments of the Church. Could this be, that the soul could satisfy there for sins committed in this life, then, by like reason, it might partake of the Sacraments of Penance there; which being contrary to orthodox doctrine, the Church rightly and wisely offers the unbloody sacrifice for those souls, together with her prayers, that they may be forgiven those things wherein they had offended, whilst they continued in this Life: And not that they might be delivered from any punishment that they were then suffering for a time only. Our Church doth not admit or approve of such fables as some Men have fancied concerning the state of souls after death; as that they are tormented in pits and waters, and with sharp prongs, when they are snatched away by death before they can have done sufiicient Penance for their Faults.

-- St. Peter Mogila (d. 1647), The Orthodox Confession of the Catholic and Apostolic Eastern Church
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #159 on: April 06, 2017, 05:36:09 PM »
The energy of delusion is the passion for sin, inflaming the soul with thoughts of sensual pleasure and arousing phrenetic desire in the body for intercourse with other bodies. According to St. Diadochos it is entirely amorphous and disordered, inducing a mindless joy, presumption and confusion, accompanied by a mood of ill-defined sterile levity, and fomenting above all the soul's appetitive power with its sensuality. It nourishes itself on pleasure, aided and abetted by the insatiable belly; for through the belly it not only impregnates and enkindles our whole bodily temperament but also acts upon and inflames the soul, drawing it to itself so that little by little the disposition to self-indulgence expels all grace from the person thus possessed. 

-- St. Gregory of Sinai (d. 1346), On the Signs of Grace and Delusion, Written for the Confessor Longinos: Ten Texts, 10
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #160 on: April 07, 2017, 07:08:44 PM »
When she succeeded in fixing her attention on heavenly things by these and other practices in the pursuit of virtue she had a dream in which one night she saw a purple thread issuing from her mouth. It seemed to her that when she took hold of it with her hand and tried to draw it out there was no end to it; and as if it were coming from her very bowels, it extended little by little until it was of enormous length. When her hand was full of thread and it still issued from her mouth she rolled it round and round and made a ball of it. the labor of doing this was so tiresome that eventually, through sheer fatigue, she woke from her sleep and began to wonder what the meaning of the dream might be. She understood quite clearly that there was some reason for the dream, and it seemed that there was some mystery hidden in it.

Now there was in the same monastery an aged nun who was known to possess the spirit of prophecy, because other things that she had foretold had always been fulfilled. As Leoba was diffident about revealing the dream to her, she told it to one of her disciples just as it had occurred and asked her to go to the old nun and describe it to her as a personal experience an learn from her the meaning of it. When the sister had repeated the details of the dream as if it had happened to her, the nun, who could foresee the future, angrily replied: "This is indeed a true vision and presages that good will come. but why do you lie to me in saying that such things happened to you? These matters are no concern of yours: they apply to the beloved chosen by God."

In giving this name she referred to the virgin Leoba. "These things," she went on, "were revealed to the person whose holiness and wisdom make her a worthy recipient, because by her teaching and good example she will confer benefits on many people. The thread that came from her bowels and issued from her mouth, signifies the wise counsels that she will speak from the heart. the fact that it filled her hand means that she will carry out in her actions whatever she expresses in her worlds. Furthermore, the ball which she made by rolling it around and round signifies the mystery of the divine teaching, which is set in motion by the words and deeds  of those who give instruction and which turn earthward through active works and heavenward through contemplation, at one time swinging downward through compassion for one's neighbor, again swinging upward through the love of God. By these signs God shows that your mistress will profit many by her words and example, and the effect of them will be felt in other lands afar off wither she will go." That this interpretation of the dream was true later events were to prove.

-- The Life of Saint Leoba (d. 782), English missionary to Germany
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #161 on: April 08, 2017, 10:24:20 PM »
As the Lord affirms, the person who seeks and knocks and who never gives up asking will attain what he asks for (Matt. 7:8). Only he must have the courage to entreat continually with intellect and tongue, and to cleave to God relentlessly with bodily worship; and he must not entangle himself in worldly things or indulge in evil passions. He who said, "Whatever you ask for in prayer, believing, you will receive" (Matt. 21:22), is not a liar. Those who say that even if you fulfill all the commandments in the hope of attaining grace in this present life, you will gain nothing, are ignorant and what they say is wrong and contrary to divine Scripture. There is no injustice in God that would make Him fail to fulfill His obligations if we fulfill ours. Only you must see to it that when the time comes for your soul to leave your hapless body you are still engaged in spiritual struggle, pressing on, awaiting the promise, persevering, trusting, seeking with discrimination. Do not disbelieve me when I say that you will go forth joyfully, with confidence, and you will be found worthy to see the kingdom of God. Indeed, if your soul is refined through your faith and ardor, you are already in communion with God.

-- St. Symeon Metaphrastis (d. 10th century), Paraphrase of the Homilies of St. Makarios of Egypt, 40
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #162 on: April 09, 2017, 11:03:03 PM »
Although the divine Paul always lived in the mountains and in desert places, and shared his solitude and his food with wild animals, there were nevertheless times when he went down to the Lavra in order to visit the brethren. He counseled them, exhorting them not to be fainthearted and not to neglect the assiduous practice of the virtues, but to persevere with all attentiveness and discrimination in their efforts to live according to the Gospels and in their courageous fight against the spirits of evil. He also taught them a method by which they could expunge ingrained passion-imbued dispositions as well as counteract new seeds of passion. You see how this holy father teaches his uninitiated disciples a method through which they could ward off the attacks of the passions? This method was none other than the art of keeping watch over the intellect, for it is only by keeping such watch that we can ward off the passions.

-- (St.?) Nikiphoros the Monk (d. 13th century), On Watchfulness and the Guarding of the Heart (From the Life of St. Paul of Mount Latros)
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #163 on: April 12, 2017, 07:16:33 PM »
Christ thought to preserve in His body the witness of His sacrifice and to bear in His own person the scars of the wounds He received in His crucifixion. In this way He wished to show that when He comes again in dazzling light he will remain for His servants the same Lord, crucified and pierced, and these wounds will serve as His kingly adornments.

-- St. Nicholas Cabasilas (d. c. 1391), Source
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #164 on: April 13, 2017, 05:33:53 PM »
If you grasp the meaning of what you chant you will acquire knowledge. From such knowledge you will attain understanding. From understanding springs the practice of what you know. From practice you will reap abiding spiritual knowledge. Experiential spiritual knowledge gives rise to true contemplation. From true contemplation is born wisdom, filling the firmament of the mind with refulgent words of grace and elucidating what is hidden to the uninitiated.  First the intellect seeks and finds, and then it is united to what it has found. The searching is effectuated by means of the intelligence, the union by means of love. The search by means of the intelligence is undertaken for the sake of truth, the union by means of love is consummated for the sake of sanctity.

-- Met. Theoliptos of Philadelphia (d. 1322), Philokalia, v. 4, p. 190
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #165 on: April 19, 2017, 01:26:44 AM »
The fact that King Ahasuerus gave Queen Esther the house of Haman (Est. 8:1-2), the enemy of the Jews, clearly signifies that the true king who is our Lord transferred to the holy church all the dignity and honor which the people previously possessed because of their knowledge of the law and the prophets and because of their holy and religious worship. This happened because they despised the advent in the flesh of the Mediator between God and humanity and because they had no desire to receive his gospel. And so the church was able to possess all the spiritual riches and become the sincere guardian of all virtue. Therefore it is written in the book of Proverbs, "the sinner's wealth is laid up for the righteous." (Prov. 13:22) And the Lord says to the Jews themselves in the gospel, "The kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people that produces the fruits of the kingdom." (Matt. 21:43) And again it is said through Solomon, "The good obtain favor from the Lord." (Prov. 12:2)

-- St. Rabanus Maurus (d. 856), Source
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #166 on: April 21, 2017, 12:14:38 AM »
So then this blessed woman obtained, as we have said, both much humility and great and incomparable meekness. Now often when she prayed and stared into the heavens, she would be filled with ecstasy and awe; for she would see a shining cloud emitting rays of sunlight, and in the middle of it a beautiful man, brilliant in form, so that his beauty was incomparable. Now often while seeing this and being amazed at the vision of the man, she would say to herself, “I wonder, who bestowed so much grace on this man? What sort of virtue produced one so illustrious and very beautiful?” speaking and pondering these things, she seemed to hear a voice telling her, “Humility and meekness have rendered this man upon whom you look with amazement so illustrious that if you imitate <these virtues> it is evident that you will be outstandingly enlightened.” So day by day when she perceived this, she so embellished herself with these two virtues that there could not be found in her any trace of anger or pride. So it is not strange if God adorned her with incredible miracles, since she had ascended to a spectacular height of such virtue and had seen in the purity of her heart visions in heaven.

-- Life of St. Athanasia of Aegina (d. 860), Source (pdf)
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #167 on: April 21, 2017, 09:48:54 PM »
A rich man named Theognostus, was serving as a bodyguard in Constantinople under the Emperor Leo the Great (886-912). Among his slaves there was Andrew, a Slav by birth. He was a calm and kindhearted young man. Theognostus liked him and took care of his education. Andrew frequented the church of God, studied the Scriptures diligently and liked to read the lives of Saints. Gradually the desire to devote himself totally to God grew stronger in him and following a sign from above he took upon himself a very difficult and unusual ascetic feat of fool-for-Christ, that is he started acting as if he was insane.

Acting insane, Andrew was brought to the Saint Anastasia church to be taken care of. Saint martyr Anastasia appeared to him in a dream and encouraged him to continue his ascetic feat. So Andrew was faking madness to the extent that he was regarded hopelessly insane and they drove him away from the territory of the church. After that Saint Andrew lived in the streets of the capital going around hungry and half-naked. Most people shunned him, some would mock and beat him up. Even the beggars to whom he gave his last coins would despise him. But Saint Andrew endured all his sufferings humbly and was praying for those who hurt him.

Yet, it was not always that Andrew pretended to be insane; talking to his spiritual father or to his disciple - a wealthy young man Epiphanus - Saint Andrew would remove the mask of folly, and then his holy wisdom and extraordinary spiritual beauty would be revealed.

-- Said of St. Andrew the Fool for Christ (d. 936), Source
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #168 on: April 24, 2017, 06:48:19 PM »
The true lover of God keeps God ever in mind, and His love toward us and His benefactions.  We see this even in human love, for we often remember the one we love.  So whoever loves God, remembers Him, thinks of Him, and finds consolation in Him, and is enrapt in Him.  For wherever his treasure is, there his heart is also (Mt. 6:21).  To him the priceless and most beloved treasury is God.  Therefore his heart also holds itself inseparably before Him.  Whence it is that he also remembers His holy name often and with love.  For the heart filled with the love of God reveals outward signs of love.  From this we see that those who forget God do not love Him, for forgetfulness is a manifest sign of no love for God.  The lover can never forget his beloved.
 
One who loves, desires never to be separated from the one he loves.  Many Christians desire to be with Christ the Lord when He is glorified, but they do not wish to be with Him in dishonor and reproach, nor to carry their cross.  They entreat Him that they may come into His Kingdom, but they do not wish to suffer in the world, and thereby they show that their heart is not right  and that they do not truly love Christ.  And to tell the truth, they love themselves more than Christ.  For this reason the Lord says, 'He that taketh not his cross, and followeth after Me, is not worthy of Me' (Mt. 10:38).  A true friend is known in misfortune.  Likewise the true lover of Christ is he who abides with Christ in this world, and cleaves to Him in his heart, and uncomplainingly endures the cross with Him, and desires to be with Him inseparably in the age to come.  Such a one says unto Christ, 'It is good for me to cleave unto God' (Ps. 72:28).

-- St. Tikhon of Zadonsk (d. 1783), Journey to Heaven: Counsels on the Particular Duties of Every Christian, p. 6
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #169 on: April 25, 2017, 07:42:51 PM »
Perfectus, who served at the basilica of St. Aciscius just outside the city walls, was stopped one day on his way to market by a group of Muslims. Seeing that he was a priest, they asked him to explain the "catholic faith" and to share with them his opinions about Christ and Muhammed. Fearing that he would only provoke his audience, Perfectus declined. But when the Muslims swore to protect him, he proceeded, in Arabic, to decry Muhammed as one of the false prophets foretold by Christ and as a moral reprobate who had seduced the wife of his kinsman. Though angered by the harsh attack, the Muslims respected their oaths and let Perfectus go on his way. But a few days later the priest ran into some of the same group, who no longer felt constrained by their earlier promise. Seizing Perfectus, they took him before the magistrate and testified that he had disparaged the prophet. As they led Perfectus to prison to wait out the holy month of Ramadân, he repeatedly denied his guilt. Only when he realized that his fate was sealed did he repeat his denunciation of Islam. On April 18, 850, Perfectus was decapitated before the crowds that had gathered to celebrate the end of the feast.

-- Said of St. Perfectus of Cordoba (d. 850), Source
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #170 on: April 26, 2017, 09:46:27 PM »
The compassionate soul loves, helps, consoles, shares the suffering of an afflicted fellow human being. It works for the spreading of the Gospel, motivated by love for the sinner. We ought to feel sorrow within our souls for persons who live far from God. The stand of the Lord towards Zacchaeus should serve as a lesson for Christians. Through His stand the Lord showed that we ought to embrace sinners with our love and not to avoid them. It shows us that we ought to seek the power of God to bring them to the rengeneration which is effected by our Savior Jesus Christ. So let us approach sinners with love. And if in the end we do no succeed in bringing them close and fully to the path of God, let us even then not cease praying for them. Perhaps our fervent prayer will be listened to by our compassionate God and He will grant to them the regeneration of their soul.

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

Some biographical info from the same source:

Quote
This book presents one of the most astonishing true stories ever told. It is about the life, character, message and miracles of three Saints who suffered martyrdom by the Turks on the historic island of Lesvos in 1463, ten years after the fall of Constantinople, and began manifesting themselves in 1959 to many persons - men, women and children. These Martyrs are Raphael, Abbot of a monastery at the site called Karyes near the village of Thermi, Lesvos, his Deacon Nicholas, and the tweleve-year old Virgin Irene, daughter of the mayor of Thermi who happened to be at the monastery with her parents when the Turks invaded it.

Five hundred years after their martyrdom they began appearing to many residents of Thermi and nearby villages in dreams and visions. They revealed the cruel tortures to which they were subjected at the monastery, rendering it - in the words of St. Raphael - a "Second Golgotha." They offered guidance for the excavations there, which guidance led to important finds. And St. Raphael has been calling people to repentance, giving spiritual counsels and consolation, and curing every kind of disease.
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #171 on: April 27, 2017, 08:17:19 PM »
Being a devoted imitator of his Divine Master, Beornstan used to wash every day the feet of certain poor folk, and when the service was finished, and the people had been dismissed, he would remain on the spot for hours, absorbed in devotion. On one of these occasions he retired to his private chamber, and did not reappear. His servants, knowing his habit, abstained the whole day from intruding upon him, but at last in the dusk of the evening, they ventured to look in, and found their master lifeless. Little account was taken of his memory until the days of Bishop Ethelwold, thirty years later, to whom he appeared in a vision accompanied by two other figures. Beornstan, who was the spokesman of this threefold apparition, informed Ethelwold that his companions were Birinus and Swithun, that he enjoyed equal honour with them in the other world, and he therefore claimed to be reverenced in like manner on earth. Henceforth he was numbered amongst the local saints, although in a short time Swithun eclipsed him and all others in popular estimation.

-- Said of St. Beornstan of Winchester (d. 934), Source
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #172 on: April 28, 2017, 08:47:30 PM »
Every deiform soul is tripartite, according to Gregory the Theologian. Virtue, then established in the intelligence, he calls discretion, understanding and wisdom; when in the incensive power, he calls it courage and patience; and when in the faculty of desire, he calls it love, self-restraint and self-control. Justice or right judgment penetrates all three aspects of the soul, enabling them to function in harmony. Through discretion the soul fights against the hostile powers and defends the virtues. Through self-restraint it views things dispassionately. Through love it urges a man to love all men as himself. Through self-control it eliminates every sensual pleasure. Finally, through courage and patience it arms itself against its invisible enemies. This is the harmony of the melodious organ of the soul.

-- St. Theodoros the Great Ascetic (d. 9th century), A Century of Spiritual Texts, 24
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #173 on: April 29, 2017, 09:26:15 PM »
We believe our Lord Jesus Christ to be the only mediator, and that in giving Himself a ransom for all He has through His own Blood made a reconciliation between God and man, and that Himself having a care for His own is advocate and propitiation for our sins. Notwithstanding, in [our] prayers and supplications unto Him, we say the Saints are intercessors, and, above all, the undefiled Mother of the very God the Word; likewise, the holy Angels — whom we know to be set over us — the Apostles, Prophets, Martyrs, Pure Ones, and all whom He hath glorified as having served Him faithfully. We also count with those the Bishops and Priests, as standing about the Altar of God, and righteous men eminent for virtue. We learn from the Sacred Oracle that we should pray one for another, and that the prayer of the righteous avails much, (Jam. 5:16) and that God hears the Saints rather than those who are steeped in sins. And not only are the Saints while on their pilgrimage regarded as mediators and intercessors for us with God, but especially after their death, when all reflective vision being done away, they behold clearly the Holy Trinity in whose infinite light they know what concerns us. Just as we do not doubt that the Prophets while they were in a body with the perceptions of the senses knew what was done in heaven, and so foretold what was future; so also that the Angels, and the Saints become as Angels, know in the infinite light of God what concerns us, we do not doubt , but rather unhesitatingly believe and confess.

-- The Confession of Dositheus (1672), Decree 8
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #174 on: May 02, 2017, 01:55:57 AM »
Let me remind you again not to allow, under any circumstances, the heretic dissenters to build Roman temples, Lutheran churches, or Tatar mosques anywhere in your realm or dominions, nor to bring in any new Latin and alien customs, nor to introduce the wearing of foreign dress: for it is not through such practices that piety will spread in a Christian realm or faith in our Lord will grow.

-- The Testament of Patriarch Joachim of Moscow (d. 1690)
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #175 on: May 04, 2017, 11:55:13 AM »
[St. Mark of Ephesus said:] The Fathers of the Council having passed this Canon, have by their own example shown a great respect for the Nicene Creed, for they would not allow the addition of Theotokos, a name so necessary in the economy of our salvation. In the Canon of the Council of Ephesus, plane reference is made to the Nicene, and now the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed, in which the dogma of the procession of the Holy Ghost is more developed. To explain this, Mark said, that the Fathers of Ephesus receive both Creeds as one, and call it the Nicene Creed from respect to the Council which gave rise to it, just in the same manner as the following Councils also called it the Nicene Creed. Lastly, to explain the Ephesine Canon, and confirm all in the conviction, that this Canon prohibits not only the drawing up of any other Creeds, but also any explanation whatever of the Nicene Creed by means of any addition, Mark quoted the words of S. Cyril of Alexandria, who presided over the Council of Ephesus, contained in his epistle to John of Antioch. In this epistle S. Cyril forbids any change whatsoever in the Symbol, be it even in a word, or syllable. This epistle, Mark continued, was read with many other epistles at the Fourth Ecumenical Council, which received and confirmed it. Then was read the decree of the Fourth Ecumenical Council of Chalcedon (in the 5th act), commanding all to receive the Nicene Creed and Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creeds as one. "For the Fathers of this Council," added Mark, "on reading both these Creeds, said: This holy Creed is sufficient for the full knowledge of the truth, for it contains in itself the full doctrine on the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost."

-- From "The History of the Council of Florence" (15th century) by Ivan N. Ostroumov
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #176 on: May 05, 2017, 04:58:18 PM »
Saint John, Metropolitan of Tobolsk and All Siberia, the Wonderwonder, in the world was named John Maximovitch, and he was born in the city of Nezhino in 1651. His father Maxim Vasil’evich and mother Euphrosyne had seven sons, of which John was the eldest. Upon his completion of the Kiev-Mogilyansk College (afterwards the Kiev Spiritual Academy), the future hierarch emerged from it as a teacher of the Latin language. Thereafter, in 1680, he accepted monasticism at the Kiev Caves monastery and became absorbed in inner spiritual activity. With the general consent of the brethren, the young monk was given the obedience of preaching... In 1658 they sent him on a mission to Moscow. There he was appointed by Patriarch Joachim (1674-1690) as vicar of the Briansk-Svensk monastery, which was then under the Kiev Caves Lavra. Saint Theodosius, Archbishop of Chernigov, in 1695 shortly before his own death (February 5) appointed Hieromonk John as Archimandrite of the Chernigov Eletsk monastery, and designated him as his successor as bishop...

On January 10, 1697 Patriarch Adrian of Moscow and All Rus (1690-1700) consecrated Archimandrite John as Bishop of Chernigov, in the Dormition cathedral of the Moscow Kremlin. Upon entering into the administration of the diocese, Bishop John created a Collegium near the archbishop’s cathedral, similar to the Kiev Academy, which the saint intended should serve as an “Athens at Chernigov,” a school of pious enlightenment. In view of its high level of theological education and training, Saint John’s school received wide renown. In essence, this was the first seminary in Russia. Seminaries on the model of this one began opening in other dioceses of the Russian Church. The saint also later opened a printing press, at which he and his successors published many works of spiritual and moral content...

At Chernigov in 1714 the saint also first published his chief work, written in the Latin language. It was a peculiarity of the graduates of the Kiev school was that they wrote their works in classical Latin. Professor I. A. Maximovich in 1888 translated the “Heliotropion” into the modern Russian language and published it at first in parts in the “Chernigov Diocesan Newsletter”, and later on in a separate book (Kiev, 1896). With his name is connected also “The Latin-Greek-Russian Lexicon.” Saint John was known to have connections with Mount Athos. He had a special interest in the fate of Russian inhabitants on the Holy Mountain, and sent them substantial material aid during these difficult years. His archbishopal grammota to the Russian monastery of Saint Panteleimon has been preserved, and it testifies to his concern for those on Mount Athos.

On August 14, 1711, after his elevation to the dignity of metropolitan, Saint John arrived at the see of Tobolsk and All Siberia. The saint concerned himself constantly with the enlightening of his diocese. There he continued with his work, started at Chernigov. He improved the school which had been opened by his predecessor, the renowned missionary Metropolitan Philotheus (Leschinsky, + 1727), and he continued the apostolic preaching among the pagans of Siberia, converting many thousands to Christ. In 1714 Saint John set off to Peking to head a mission with Archimandrite Hilarion (Lezhaisky). At Tobolsk he again undertook publishing activity, using the printing press he set up at Chernigov. To this time belongs also the publication by Metropolitan John of the “Heliotropion” in the Slavonic-Russian language (1714), so that the Siberians could also understand it.

-- St. John Maximovitch the Metropolitan of Tobolsk (d. 1715), Source
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #177 on: May 07, 2017, 06:44:29 PM »
Man is created incorruptible, without bodily humors, and thus he will be when resurrected. Yet he is not created either immutable or mutable, since he possesses the power to choose at will whether to be subject to change or not But the will cannot confer total immutability of nature upon him. Such immutability is bestowed only when he has attained the state of changeless deification.

-- St. Gregory of Sinai (d. 1346), Philokalia, v. 4, p. 213
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #178 on: May 07, 2017, 06:48:22 PM »
As the death of the soul is authentic death, so the life of the soul is authentic life. Life of the soul is union with God, as life of the body is its union with the soul. As the soul was separated from God and died in consequence of the violation of the commandment, so by obedience to the commandment it is again united to God and is quickened. This is why the Lord says in the Gospels, "The words I speak to you are spirit and life" (John 6:63). And having experienced the truth of this, St. Peter said to Him, "Thy words are the words of eternal life" (John 6:68). But they are words of eternal life for those who obey them; for those who disobey, this commandment of life results in death (cf. Rom. 7:10). So it was that the apostles, being Christ's fragrance, were to some the death-inducing odor of death, while to others they were the life-inducing odor of life (cf 2 Cor. 2:16).

-- St. Gregory Palamas (d. 1359), To the Most Reverend Nun Xenia, 13
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #179 on: May 08, 2017, 04:59:00 PM »
The Muslims then took Seraphim, dragged him before the vali, whose name was Hamuza Bey, and accursed him as being with Dionysios and thus was an enemy and a traitor. Hamuza Bey repeated the offer that Abp. Seraphim become a Muslim. To which Seraphim reiterated that he was innocent and would not be separated from his Master and God Jesus Christ and that he was ready for anything the Bey had within his power. Hearing this, the Bey ordered Seraphim beaten mercilessly. Seraphim endured everything as though suffering no pain, thanking and blessing God. He was then put into prison where he was given no food or drink in an attempt to break him. After Abp. Seraphim was again confronted by the Bey, with Seraphim continuing his firm stand against him, Hamuza Bey ordered Abp. Seraphim tortured and then impaled

After his death, Seraphim’s body remained upon the stake longer than usual to serve as an example to the Orthodox Christians in the area, and to frighten them into submission. But Abp. Seraphim’s martyrdom had the opposite effect. It gave Orthodox Christians courage and hope, for they thanked God for strengthening the archbishop to make such a good confession of faith. Later, Seraphim’s head was cut off and sent to Phanarion together with the heads of other clergymen who were also executed as a result of the activities of Metr. Dionysius. The Orthodox Christians of Phanarion felt the need to recover the archbishop’s head. They, therefore, found an Albanian Orthodox Christian to whom they promised a reward if he were to recover the head. The Albanian was successful, but before he could escape entirely, he was detected and was pursued by the Muslims. Afraid of being caught at one point, the Albanian threw the head in the Peneios River. Seeing this, the Muslims gave up the pursuit. Days later the head was recovered by fishermen who took it to the Dousikon Monastery.

-- Said of St. Seraphim of Phanarion (d. 1601), Source
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #180 on: May 14, 2017, 07:48:36 PM »
The pattern for those who have received the sacerdotal dignity is found in the testimonies and instructions laid down in the canonical constitutions, which we receiving with a glad mind, sing unto the Lord God in the words of the God-inspired David, saying: "I have had as great delight in the way of your testimonies as in all manner of riches." "You have commanded righteousness as your testimonies for ever." "Grant me understanding and I shall live." Now if the word of prophesy bids us keep the testimonies of God forever and to live by them, it is evident that they must abide unshaken and without change. Therefore Moses, the prophet of God, speaks after this manner: "To them nothing is to be added, and from them nothing is to be taken away." And the divine Apostle glorying in them cries out, "which things the angels desire to look into," and, "if an angel preach to you anything besides that which you have received, let him be anathema."

Seeing these things are so, being thus well-testified unto us, we rejoice over them as he that has found great spoil, and press to our bosom with gladness the divine canons, holding fast all the precepts of the same, complete and without change, whether they have been set forth by the holy trumpets of the Spirit, the renowned Apostles, or by the Six Ecumenical Councils, or by Councils locally assembled for promulgating the decrees of the said Ecumenical Councils, or by our holy Fathers. For all these, being illumined by the same Spirit, defined such things as were expedient. Accordingly those whom they placed under anathema, we likewise anathematize; those whom they deposed, we also depose; those whom they excommunicated, we also excommunicate; and those whom they delivered over to punishment, we subject to the same penalty. And now "let your conversation be without covetousness," cries out Paul the divine Apostle, who was caught up into the third heaven and heard unspeakable words.

-- Seventh Ecumenical Council (787), Canon 1
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #181 on: May 16, 2017, 06:43:12 PM »
Though hitherto some bishops having descended to the habit of monks, have been forced nevertheless to remain in height of the prelacy, they have been overlooked when they did so. But, with this in mind, this holy and ecumenical Council, with a view to regulating this oversight, and readjusting this irregular practice to the ecclesiastical statutes, has decreed that if any bishop or anyone else with a prelatical office is desirous of descending to monastic life and of replenishing the region of penitence and of penance, let him no longer cherish any claim to prelatical dignity. For the monks’ conditions of subordination represent the relationship of pupilship, and not of teachership or of presidency; nor do they undertake to pastor others, but are to be content with being pastored. Wherefore, in accordance with what was said previously, we decree that none of those who are on the prelatical list and are enrolled pastors shall lower themselves to the level of the pastored and repentant. If anyone should dare to do so, after the delivery and discrimination of the decision hereby being pronounced, he having deprived himself of his prelatical rank, shall no longer have the right to return to his former status, which by actual deeds he has vitiated.

-- (Ecumenical?) Council of Constantinople (879), Canon 2
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #182 on: May 17, 2017, 10:01:17 PM »
I rejoice, beloved brother and fellow priest, that you are deserving of the highest prize of virtue. You have approached the hitherto stony and barren hearts of the pagans, trusting in the plenitude of your faith, and have labored untiringly with the plowshare of Gospel preaching, striving by your daily toil to change them into fertile fields. To you may well be applied the Gospel saying: "The voice of one crying in the wilderness," etc. Yet a part of the second prize shall be given, not unfittingly, to those who support so pious and useful a work with what help they can give and supplement the poverty of those laborers with means sufficient to carry on zealously the work of preaching which has already been begun and to raise up new sons to Christ. And so I have with affectionate good will taken pains to suggest to Your Prudence a few things that may show you how, according to my ideas, you may most readily overcome the resistance of those uncivilized people.

Do not begin by arguing with them about the origin of their gods, false as they are, but let them affirm that some of them were begotten by others through the intercourse of male and female, so that you may at least prove that gods and goddesses born after the manner of men are men and not gods and, since they did not exist before, must have had a beginning. Then, when they have been compelled to learn that their gods had a beginning since some were begotten by others, they must be asked in the same way whether they believe that the world had a beginning or was always in existence without beginning. If it had a beginning, who created it? Certainly they can find no place where begotten gods could dwell before the universe was made. I mean by "universe" not merely this visible earth and sky, but the whole vast extent of space, and this the heathen too can imagine in their thoughts.  But if they argue that the world always existed without beginning, you should strive to refute this and to convince them by many documents and arguments. Ask your opponents who governed the world before the gods were born, who was the ruler? How could they bring under their dominion or subject to their law a universe that had always existed before them? And whence, or from whom or when, was the first god or goddess set up or begotten?...

These and many similar things which it would take long to enumerate you ought to put before them, not offensively or so as to anger them, but calmly and with great moderation. At intervals you should compare their superstitions with our Christian doctrines, touching upon them from the flank, as it were, so that the pagans, thrown into confusion rather than angered, may be ashamed of their absurd ideas and may undertand that their infamous ceremonies and fables are well known to us... If they boast that the rule of the gods over those people has been, as it were, lawful from the beginning, show them that the whole world was once given over to idol-worship, until by the grace of Christ and through the knowledge of one God, its Almighty Founder and Ruler, it was enlightened, brought to life, and reconciled to God. For what is the daily baptism of the children of believing Christians but a purification of each one from the uncleanness and giult in which the whole world was once involved?

-- Bp. Daniel of Winchester (d. 745), Letter to Saint Boniface
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #183 on: May 18, 2017, 10:27:44 PM »
For what would be worse than separation from You, O Savior?
And what is more grievous than to be cut off from life,
and from thence to live as a corpse deprived of life,
at once to have all goods taken away?
For one who is separated from You is deprived of every good.
For then it will not be as it is now on earth.
For now, those who are ignorant of You live in bodily self-indulgence,
and here they exult like leaping, irrational beasts.
They have all things that You have given for the enjoyments of life,
and seeing only these things, they suppose it will be
the same after the departure of their soul and of their life.
But they speculate badly, and badly do they believe
when they say that they are not with You, but still they
prepare a certain place of repose--oh the folly--
They do not receive light, yet they have no share in darkness,
they are outside the Kingdom, but also outside of hell,
both outside the bridal chamber, and away from the fire of punishment,
the wretched pray to arrive in such a place.
And they say there is no need for your eternal glory
or the Kingdom of Heaven, but it is enough to be in repose.
Alas for their darkness! Alas for their ignorance!
Alas their wretchedness and vain hopes!

-- St. Symeon the New Theologian (d. 1022), Divine Eros: Hymns of Saint Symeon the New Theologian, Hymn 1
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #184 on: May 19, 2017, 09:10:02 PM »
As the son of a priest, Ephraim yearned for a spiritual and ascetical life from an early age. He fled to Mt. Athos when his parents wanted him to marry. He later returned and lived a life of asceticism in the Ibar gorge and in the Monastery of Dečani [Kosovo]. When rivalry and war broke out concerning precedence in the state and, unfortunately, even in the Church, the Synod [Sabor] chose Ephraim to succeed the deceased Sava as patriarch in 1375 A.D. When he was informed of his election, he wept bitterly but was unable to refuse. He crowned Prince Lazar as Tsar in 1382 A.D., then renounced his throne and turned it over to Spyridon and again withdrew to the wilderness. Following the death of Spyridon in 1388 A.D., Tsar Lazar begged him to accept the throne again. He governed the Serbian Church in the difficult time of the defeat at Kosovo [1389 A.D.] until 1400 A.D. when he died in the eighty-eighth year of his earthly life and took up his habitation with the Lord, Whom he loved. His relics repose in the Monastery of Peć [Kosovo].

-- Said of St. Ephraim of Serbia (d. 1400) in the Prologue of Ohrid
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #185 on: May 21, 2017, 03:12:30 PM »
It was with the instinct of a mother that the future saint taught her spiritual children. And in the same spirit she gave thanks for the immense fruit that it bore in their lives. These and other experiences instilled such assurance of the Lord’s presence in their work that Irene asked Him (our Lord God) for the most responsible charisma of all, that of foresight, so that she might be able to have knowledge of the sisters’ impending trials, not for the purpose of gaining fame but to be better able to advise them. In answer to this prayer, there appeared to her a guardian angle who greeted her, saying, “Hail, fruitful servant of God, the Lord has sent me that more might be saved through your guidance. I am to remain at your side and disclose the events of the future. He then disappeared, yet remained with her, continually revealing the hidden problems not only of the nuns but of all who sought her advice. Irene in no way used this knowledge to reprimand or humiliate people but corrected their confessions in such a way that they understood she had certain supernatural powers. Her fame spread to such an extent that rich and poor alike gathered to seek her advice and yet, continually offering thanks to God, she increased in humility.

Soon after, her sister, the wife of Prince Varda, sent her eunuch to see Irene who was thus able to inform him of a recent revelation that the Prince would soon die at the wish of the Emperor Michael, who would himself immediately lose his life and kingdom. Despite the obvious confidential nature of the information, the sister told her husband everything. Nevertheless, with characteristic pride and lack of faith, he dismissed the idea. The events took their course and as the saint predicted, the following week he was killed in battle, closely followed by the unworthy Emperor. Irene continued her very remarkable ministry in the reign of his successor, Basil the Macedonian.

-- The Life Of Saint Irene of Cappadocia (d. 9th century), Source
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #186 on: May 27, 2017, 08:50:32 PM »
The altar corresponds to the holy tomb of Christ. On it Christ brought Himself as a sacrifice to [His] God and Father through the offering of His body as a sacrificial lamb, and as highpriest and Son of Man, offering and being offered as a mystical bloodless sacrifice, and appointing for the faithful reasonable worship, through which we have become sharers in eternal and immortal life. This lamb Moses prefigured in Egypt "towards evening" when its blood turned back the destroyer so that he would not kill the people (cf Ex. 12:7-13). The expression "towards evening" signifies that towards evening the true lamb is sacrificed, the One who takes away the sin of the world on his cross, "For Christ, our Pascha, has been sacrificed for us" (cf 1 Cor. 5:7).

The altar is and is called the heavenly and spiritual altar, where the earthly and material priests who always assist and serve the Lord represent the spiritual, serving, and hierarchical powers of the immaterial and celestial Powers, for they also must be as a burning fire. For the Son of God and Judge of all ordained the laws and established the services of both the heavenly and the earthly (powers).

-- St. Germanus of Constantinople (d. 740), On the Divine Liturgy (Source)
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #187 on: May 29, 2017, 04:55:17 PM »
There are pleasures of the soul and pleasures of the body. The pleasures of the soul are those which are the exclusive possession of the soul, such as the pleasures of learning and contemplation. The pleasures of the body, however, are those which are enjoyed by soul and body in fellowship, and hence are called bodily pleasures: and such are the pleasures of food and intercourse and the like. But one could not find any class of pleasures belonging solely to the body. Again, some pleasures are true, others false. And the exclusively intellectual pleasures consist in knowledge and contemplation, while the pleasures of the body depend upon sensation. Further, of bodily pleasures , some are both natural and necessary, in the absence of which life is impossible, for example the pleasures of food which replenishes waste, and the pleasures of necessary clothing. Others are natural but not necessary, as the pleasures of natural and lawful intercourse. For though the function that these perform is to secure the permanence of the race as a whole, it is still possible to live a virgin life apart from them.

Others, however, are neither natural nor necessary, such as drunkenness, lust, and surfeiting to excess. For these contribute neither to the maintenance of our own lives nor to the succession of the race, but on the contrary, are rather even a hindrance. He therefore that would live a life acceptable to God must follow after those pleasures which are both natural and necessary: and must give a secondary place to those which are natural but not necessary, and enjoy them only in fitting season, and manner, and measure; while the others must be altogether renounced. Those then are to be considered moral pleasures which are not bound up with pain, and bring no cause for repentance, and result in no other harm and keep within the bounds of moderation, and do not draw us far away from serious occupations, nor make slaves of us.

-- St. John of Damascus (d. 749), Exact Exposition of the Orthodox Faith, 2.13
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #188 on: May 29, 2017, 09:44:41 PM »
And she said to them, " Just as you know, what I have been able to say is of God. Thus that what I intend to do to, you shall prove whether if it be of God, [and] you shall pray that God may make my plan strong. Stand at the gate this night, and I will go with my maidservant and you shall pray just like what you have said, that in five days the Lord may look down upon his people Israel" (Judith 8:30-32). Judith entrusts the gate with the presbyters, because the holy Church entrusts the careful protection of the fortress of God to the priests of Christ, so that they will strive to defend it through the armament of prayers with careful effort and skill, and to keep her unhurt from the snares of the enemy.

- St. Hrabanus Maurus (d. 856), Exposition on Judith, Patrologia Latina 109: 0563A-0563B
« Last Edit: May 29, 2017, 09:45:21 PM by Rohzek »
"Il ne faut imaginer Dieu ni trop bon, ni méchant. La justice est entre l'excès de la clémence et la cruauté, ainsi que les peines finies sont entre l'impunité et les peines éternelles." - Denise Diderot, Pensées philosophiques 1746

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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #189 on: June 02, 2017, 06:00:49 PM »
"Then," it says, "when all things were prepared for the journey, Tobias bade his father and mother farewell, and the two set out together." (Tob. 5:22) When the Lord appeared in the flesh, all those things that pertained to the world's redemption were prepared, namely, Christ's virtues, his teaching, temptation, suffering, resurrection, ascension, the sending of the Holy Spirit, the faith of believers, and persecution by unbelievers. By these thins the faith and life of the Holy Church are nourished and strengthened until he brings the life of this age to a close. When these things came to pass in Judea, that "mediator between God and humans" (1 Tim. 2:5) proclaimed the joys of heavenly salvation and peace through the apostles to the people and synagogue, whence he had received his origin in the flesh; and to those who through him were willing to believe and accept these things he gave himself, and in this way also he came to save the Gentiles through these same teachers.

"Tobias thus set out and the dog followed him." (Tob. 6:1) When the Lord came to save the nations, holy preachers followed in his footsteps to fulfill what he commanded: "Go and teach all nations." (Matt. 28:19) And so the Lord himself first filled Cornelius' household with the Holy Spirit and peter duly baptized them with water. (Acts 10:44-48) Now teachers are [here] called 'dogs' because they defend their Master's spiritual household, wealth, and sheep from thieves and beasts, that is, from unclean spirits and heretical persons. Having set out with the angel as a guide, Tobias "spent the first night by the river Tigris, and when he went out to wash his feet, behold, an enormous fish sprang up to devour him." (Tob. 6:1-2) Here again the mystery of the Lord's suffering is plainly signified. For the huge fish that Tobias killed at the angel's prompting, after it tried to devour him, signifies the ancient devourer of humankind, namely the devil, whom the divine power snared while [the devil] was eagerly anticipating the death of the flesh in our Redeemer.

The river Tigris, which owing to its rapid course takes its name from the tiger, the swiftest beast, indicates the downward course of our death and morality. In it the enormous fish lay hidden because humanity's invisible seducer "had power over death." (Heb. 2:14) Tobias remained at the flowing Tigris because when the Lord appeared in the world, he led his life among sinners and mortals, yet the water of sin did not touch him nor did the prince of darkness find anything of his own in [the Lord] when he came near. And just as Tobias went out to the river to wash his feet, so the Lord accepted death, to which he owed no debts, so that he might wash all the faithful (that is, his own members) from death's and sin's contagion. The fish fell upon Tobias and wanted to devour him; when the Lord suffered the cross, the devil--who had instructed that he be crucified--came, hoping by chance to find some wickedness in his soul. Terrified of the fish, Tobias cried out in a loud voice saying, 'Sir, it is coming upon me.' (Tob. 6:3) So also, when the point of death drew near, the Lord "began to fear and grow weary." (Mark 14:33) He feared not the devil, but did shudder at death, which 'entered the whole world through the devil's envy' through the natural weakness of the flesh. (Wis. 2:24) Because of this "he also prayed that if it might be done, the house might pass from him, and he said, 'Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Take this cup from me, but [do] not what I want, but what you want.'" (Mark 14:35-36)

"The angel said to Tobias, 'grab the fish's gill and draw him to you.'" (Tob. 6:4) The Lord grabbed the devil and through his own dying took and vanquished the very one that had wanted to take him in death. Now he grabbed his gill so that he might cut off that most vile head from the trapped body with the right hand of his power; that is, so that the loving Redeemer might both sever the ancient enemy's wickedness from the heart of those whom he had wickedly united to himself--and had made as though they were one body with him--and ingraft these into the body of his own Church. For a fish has its gill where its head and body meet. Now just as our Lord is head of his Church, and the Church is truly his body, so too is the devil head of all the wicked and they are all his body, his members. (Eph. 1:22-23; 5:23) So the Lord grabbed that monstrous fish's gill, drew [the fish] to himself, and threw it upon the shore because in shattering the devil's power he openly delivered and confidently uprooted those whom he foreknew to be sons of light from the power of darkness. (Col. 1:13)

-- St. Bede the Venerable (d. 735), On Tobias
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #190 on: June 09, 2017, 11:02:30 PM »
When at times the sound of useless things beat on the ears of some well-tested men, and the obscene song of laymen disturbed their sanctity, asked by certain brothers worthy of memory, and especially when the words of a certain reverend lady, by the name of Judith, urged me to write for them in German part of the Gospels, so that a small amount of the reading of this song might cancel out the play of worldly voices and, occupied with the sweetness of the Gospels in their own language, they would be able to forego the sound of useless things...
 
Therefore, since through love of those who were spurring me on, I could not refuse, I acted, not as a skilled person, but as one forced by brotherly petition.  I wrote, you see, supported by the demand of their prayers, a portion of the Gospels set down in Frankish, mixing in now and then spiritual and moral  words, in order that whoever is put off by the difficulty of a foreign language as to them, might comprehend the most  holy words here in his own language, and understanding the law of God in his own language, might shrink from deviating from it evan a little through his own thinking...

This book, therefore, I have taken care to transmit to your wise judgment for approval -- because my humble self was educated by Rhaban of blessed memory, formerly worthy Bishop of your see -- I have taken care to commend it to the dignity of your Bishopness and to the equal wisdom in you.  If it pleases the vision of Your Holiness and should it not judge it to be to be rejected, may your authority grant that it be used freely by the faithful; but, if indeed it appears less fitting and is commensurate with my carelessness, may that same venerable and holy authority condemn it.  My humble little person, indeed, recommends that the judgment of either action be left up to your will.

-- Otfrid of Weissenburg (d. 870), Source
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Offline Rohzek

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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #191 on: June 09, 2017, 11:39:52 PM »
And Holofernes said to Judith, "Drink and lie down in delight, because you have found favor before me." And Judith said, "I drink, [my] lord, because today my soul is magnified before all my days." And she received and chewed and drank before THAT man everything which her maidservant had prepared for her (Judith 12:17-19). Notice that Judith flirting with Holofernes was not polluted with the foods or drink of the pagans, but she chewed it and drank what her maidservant had prepared for her. For the Church dwelling among the nations is in no way polluted by idolatry or the superstition of the pagans, but uses these [prepared foods], which it judges to be worthy for its victory, which the devotion of the faithful prepares for itself through obedience and the exercise of good works. Concerning the food the Truth itself in the Gospel says, "You all work for food, which does not perish, but which abides in eternal life (John 6:27)." And elsewhere, when the disciples question him, as they were chewing, he responded, "I have food to eat, which you know nothing of. Indeed, my food is that I do the will of Him who sent me and that I accomplish His work. (John 4:32;34)."

- St. Hrabanus Maurus (d. 856), Exposition on Judith, Patrologia Latina 109: 0572A - 0572B
« Last Edit: June 09, 2017, 11:41:34 PM by Rohzek »
"Il ne faut imaginer Dieu ni trop bon, ni méchant. La justice est entre l'excès de la clémence et la cruauté, ainsi que les peines finies sont entre l'impunité et les peines éternelles." - Denise Diderot, Pensées philosophiques 1746

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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #192 on: June 17, 2017, 09:26:05 PM »
St. John wore heavy iron crosses on his body, and on his head he wore a large iron cap, for which he was known as “John the Big Cap.” When he later came to Moscow he walked around barefoot and almost naked even in the bitterest cold...

John feared God alone, and spoke the truth to every person no matter how highly placed. Even to Tsar Boris Gudunov he would often repeat the words: “You, with your smart head in the air, take a look at God’s affairs. God has a lot of patience [at] first, but when He [punishes], it really hurts.”...

Not long before his death in 1589, healings occurred at his prayers. For example, one day a lame man was walking by the church as St. John was coming out. The fool-for-Christ, as if accidentally, stepped on his toes and he leg was restored to health.

-- St. John of Moscow the Fool for Christ.. (d. 1589), Source
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #193 on: July 24, 2017, 07:17:21 PM »
If there is little evidence of Scottish clergy keeping contact with Irish councils, there is even less for their participation in any of the general councils of the church as a whole. The only possible example is a council held in Rome by Pope Gregory II in 721, when the sederunt included two bishops who are accorded titles that identify one as a Scot and the other as a Pict. Just possibly their areas of episcopal authority were Strathclyde and Abernethy in Perthshire; but alternatively it has been assumed that they both came from Ireland or at any rate Gaeldom. No other general councils are known to have been attended by bishops from Scotland until the Twelfth century.

And contacts of any kind with Rome since the earlier missionary days were very few indeed--Cellach II bishop of St. Andrews is said to have exceptionally gone there for confirmation 966 x 971; and King Macbeth is reported to have gone there in 1050. Mentions of contacts with the Anglo-Saxon church after Whitby are similarly minimal: just once in 978 is an otherwise unidentified Beornelmus mentioned as bishop from Scotia (which at that date must surely mean Scotland north of the River Forth) when attending with Dunstan archbishop of Canterbury a council at Calne in Wiltshire.

-- Source
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