Author Topic: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)  (Read 42895 times)

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Offline stavros_388

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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)

Offline stavros_388

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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)

Offline Asteriktos

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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
« Last Edit: August 01, 2015, 11:39:50 PM by Justin Kissel »

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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)

Offline Asteriktos

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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
« Last Edit: March 16, 2017, 02:30:34 AM by Asteriktos »

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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.

Offline Asteriktos

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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...
« Last Edit: March 29, 2017, 07:37:13 AM by Asteriktos »

Offline Asteriktos

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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
« Last Edit: April 08, 2017, 10:24:55 PM by Asteriktos »

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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