Author Topic: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)  (Read 45639 times)

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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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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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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #194 on: October 10, 2017, 10:07:29 PM »
The first gate of entry to the noetic Jerusalem--that is, to attentiveness of the intellect--is the deliberate silencing of your tongue, even though the intellect itself may not yet be still. The second gate is balanced self-control in food and drink. The third, is ceaseless mindfulness of death, for this purifies intellect and body. Having once experienced the beauty of this mindfulness of death, I was so wounded and delighted by it--in Spirit, not through the eye--that I wanted to make it my life's companion, for I was enraptured by its loveliness and majesty, its humility and contrite joy, by how full of reflection it is, how apprehensive of the judgment to come, and how aware of life's anxieties. It makes life-giving, healing tears flow from our bodily eyes, while from our noetic eyes rises a fount of wisdom that delights the mind. This daughter of Adam--this mindfulness of death--I always longed, as I said, to have as my, companion, to sleep with, to talk with, and to inquire from her what will happen after the body has been discarded. But unclean forgetfulness, the devil's murky daughter, has frequently prevented this.

-- St. Philotheos of Sinai (d. 10th century), Forty Texts on Watchfulness, 6

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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #195 on: October 11, 2017, 08:10:09 PM »
Yet upon reaching manhood at fifteen, he decided to become a soldier of fortune. He collected a great troop of armed followers around him and, together, they ravaged the countryside, burning, raping and pillaging as they went. For nine years, Guthlac carried on with this thoughtless way of life until, one night, he had a heavenly dream that instilled him with love and compassion for his fellow man. He made an oath to dedicate his life to the service of the Lord and, in the morning, bade his companions farewell. He forsook his accumulated wealth and went off to join the dual-monastery at Repton in Derbyshire, where he received the tonsure from Abbess Aelfthrith.

After two years in the monastery, Guthlac began to long for the more secluded life of a hermit. So, having acquired leave from the monastic elders, he departed for the great Fens, north of Cambridge. Unlike the well drained arable land of today, the Fens were then a labyrinth of black wandering streams, broad lagoons and quagmires with vast beds of reeds, sedge and fern. The islands amongst this dismal swamp were a great attraction for the recluse. Guthlac was directed to a particular one of these islands by a local man named Tatwin. Many people had attempted to inhabit it before, but none had succeeded, on account of the loneliness of the wilderness and its manifold horrors. The twenty-six year old Guthlac eagerly rose to such a challenge and arrived in a little boat at his new home of the "Crow Land" on St. Bartholomew's Day. He surveyed the area a while before returning to Repton for supplies and building materials with which he returned with the help of two servants.

-- said of St. Guthlac of Crowland (d. 714), Source
« Last Edit: October 11, 2017, 08:10:26 PM by Asteriktos »

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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #196 on: October 13, 2017, 07:19:12 PM »
All the passions of Christ which He bore in the head, that is in Himself, and are also borne in the members, that is in us, should therefore be borne by each of us... For in ourselves we ought to transform what we read so that, when the soul is roused by hearing, our life should cooperate to do what it hears.

-- St. Odo of Cluny (d. 942), Source

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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #197 on: October 14, 2017, 04:44:47 PM »
It would be just to anathematize the Latins, and call them heretics. But the Orthodox Fathers have mitigated the sentence; they have only cut off and abjured the Latins, but have not openly declared them heretics, neither have they adjudged them to the same punishment with heretics.

-- Pat. Michael III of Constantinople (d. 1178), (found in: Basil Popoff, The History of the Council of Florence, p. 122 (fn 2))

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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #198 on: October 15, 2017, 03:25:15 PM »
We are made clean by prayer and instructed by reading. Both are good if both can be done; if not, it is better to pray than to read. One who wishes to be always with God must frequently pray and frequently read. For when we pray, we speak with God; but when we read, God speaks with us. All progress comes from reading and meditation. For what we do not know we learn by reading; and what we have learned we preserve by means of meditation.

-- Smaragdus of Saint-Mihiel (d. 840), Source

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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #199 on: October 16, 2017, 07:14:31 PM »
Our mind too, since it is created in the image of God, possesses the image of this highest love in the relation of the mind to the knowledge which exists perpetually from it and in it, in that this love is from it and in it and proceeds from it together with the innermost word. The insatiable desire of men for knowledge is a very clear indication of this even for those who are unable to perceive their own innermost being. But in that archetype, in that absolutely and supremely perfect goodness wherein their is no imperfection, leaving aside the being derived from it, the divine love is indistinguishably identical in every way with that of goodness.

-- St. Gregory Palamas (d. 1359), The One Hundred and Fifty Chapters, 37
« Last Edit: October 16, 2017, 07:14:45 PM by Asteriktos »

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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #200 on: October 17, 2017, 03:20:13 PM »
"Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law." (Gal. 3:13) From what curse? From the one spoken to Adam, "On whatever day you eat from it you will die" (Gen. 2:17). He redeemed us from this curse, which is to say that he called us back again to life from this death. For it was through his single death that he destroyed our double death. How did he do this? "He became a curse for us." As Saint Ambrose says, it is not that Christ himself became cursed as though he had sin. Rather, he became a curse, that is, a sacrifice offered up for the sake of the cursed and sinners, namely, for us who were bound under the curse and death of the first human being. Or perhaps it is, as Saint Augustine says, that Christ became a curse in the sense that he became mortal just as we are, although he was without sin.

"Because it is written: Cursed is everyone who hangs upon a tree." (Gal. 3:13) Euticus explains this verse in the following way. Cursed are all culpable people who hang upon a tree due to their own guilt and sin. If innocent people are hanged unjustly, however, they will not be cursed. What if Mordecai, although innocent, were hanged upon the three that Haman had prepared for him (Esth. 7:9-10); would he be cursed? Hardly. Hence, although Christ bore that curse of the passion and crucifixion and took on our sins, he was still neither cursed nor a sinner. For he accepted our sins, not that he might retain them but so that he might blot them out. As far as Jews were concerned, however, he may well have seemed cursed, that is, a sinner.

-- Haimo of Auxerre (d. 865), Source

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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #201 on: October 18, 2017, 07:41:37 PM »
Many decades later, John Zonaras questions the dominant tropes of Byzantine historiography, both in his metahistorical statements and, occasionally, in the formation of his narrative. Let me look here at a single example of the latter. Like Theophanes the Confessor, Zonaras mentions the statue erected by Constantine while founding his new City. In Zonaras, however, Constantine's statue is not inscribed, as in Theophanes, within a narrative context of cultural competition between defeated pagan and victorious Christian signs.

While Zonaras does indeed note the Christianization of the statue (Constantine, we are told, had nails from Christ's Holy Cross hammered to the head of the statue), the twelfth-century historian exhibits this most notable sign of imperial power as an aesthetic product of the Greco-Roman past. The statue, Zonaras reports, was originally a depiction of Apollo, brought to Constantinople from Ilion, the ancestral city of ancient Rome. Most importantly, it is a statue that 'displayed the precision (akribeia) of an ancient hand that could fashion objects that are almost breathing.' Akribeia is here restored to its original Hellenistic meaning, for it refers to a principle of artistry, verisimilitude and life-likeness. As opposed to Theophanes who speaks of Constantine's statue as an andrias, Zonaras' statue of Constantine is an agalma--a term that Theophanes reserves for, e.g., the pagan statue of Aphrodite. For Zonaras, the statue is a manifestation of imperial ideology but also an object of aesthetic delight.

-- said of John Zonaras (d. 12th century), Source

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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #202 on: October 19, 2017, 10:07:40 PM »
Let no one, therefore, believe, as Pelagius teaches, that he can live without sins and debts, when he sees the apostles praying earnestly for their own transgressions, as the Lord teaches. And there is also written elsewhere, "The righteous falls seven times and rises again." (Prov. 24:16) For it is impossible even for the saints to live without occasionally incurring guilt in very small sins which are committed through talk, thought, ignorance, forgetfulness, necessity, will, surprise. But still they do not cease being righteous, because with the Lord's assistance they rise again more quickly from their guilty act.

-- St. Bede the Venerable (d. 735), Source

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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #203 on: October 20, 2017, 08:37:48 PM »
Accordingly, always fulfilling but never acquitting myself of the duty of charity, I exhort you, my admirable brother, not to waste your talent on such questions any more, lest, occupied with them more than necessary, you should have insufficient strength for more useful research or teaching. Why should we so obstinately seek after the knowledge that perhaps is not yet profitable for us? Certainly it is a divinely illuminated mind who says to God: “The eye has not seen, O God, beside You, what You have prepared for those who wait for You” (Isa. 64:4). How can we desire to have full comprehension of this ineffable vision, our spirit still being aggravated by the dense dirt of our vices?

Meanwhile, let us stay in the most ample field of the Holy Scriptures and fully give ourselves up to meditations about them and seek the face of the Lord humbly, piously and at all times, “for those who seek the Lord, shall not lack any good thing” (Ps. 34:10). It will depend on His clemency, while “we do not try to understand things that are too difficult for us, or try to discover what is beyond our powers,” (cf. Sir. 3:21) when He, having considered our condition, would like to raise us to loftier and mightier things and would deign to show Himself to our purified mind’s eye, by which, as He revealed, He can be seen. But whether or not the [bodily] eyes after the resurrection will be given some qualities similar to the mind, let us leave this to the will of Him to whom judgment belongs, ignoring both this and innumerable other things without any detriment to ourselves.

-- Lupus Servatus (d. 862), Source

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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #204 on: October 21, 2017, 08:48:40 PM »
In order to avoid the marriage which his parents had intended for him, he secretly left home. He spent all his life wandering: he was in Constantinople, Rome, Corinth, and he lived as an ascetic on Olympus for a while. Saint Gregory preached the Word of God everywhere, denouncing the Iconoclast heresy, strengthening the faith and fortitude of the Orthodox, whom the heretics in those times oppressed, tortured and imprisoned.

Through his ascetic effort and prayer, Saint Gregory attained the gifts of prophecy and wonderworking. After overcoming the passions and reaching the height of virtue, he was permitted to hear angelic singing in praise of the Holy Trinity. Saint Gregory left the monastery of Saint Menas near Thessalonica, where he had labored for a long time, and he went again to Constantinople in order to combat the Iconoclast heresy. At the capital, a grievous illness undermined his strength, and he departed to the Lord in the year 816.

-- St. Gregory of Decapolis (d. 9th century), Source

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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #205 on: October 22, 2017, 01:44:14 PM »
The Martyrs won Paradise through their blood; the Ascetics, through their ascetic life. Now you, my brethren, who have children, how will you win Paradise? By means of hospitality, by giving to your brothers who are poor, blind, or lame.

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

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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #206 on: October 23, 2017, 08:21:47 PM »
From the Italian region, we have received a synodal letter citing many grave matters against the bishop of Old Rome. Accordingly, the Orthodox there ask us to free them from his great tyranny, for in that area sacred law is being scorned and Church order trampled. We were told this earlier by monks who came to us from there, and now we have received many letters stating frightening news about that region and asking us to relay their message to all the bishops and to the Apostolic Patriarchs as well. For that reason, I communicate to you their request by way of this epistle. Once a holy and ecumenical Christian synod has been assembled, it will fall upon us together to resolve all these matters with the help of God and according to the rules of previous Synods, that in so doing, a deep peace may again prevail in the Church of Christ.

Moreover, it is necessary to confirm the holy Seventh Ecumenical Synod, to the end that all the faithful in the Church everywhere reckon and include that Synod as Ecumenical together with the other six. For we have heard that in some places it is not yet so counted, although its decisions are accepted and honoured. This was the Synod that overcame and destroyed the great heretical godlessness of iconoclasm. Representatives of the other four patriarchates attended its sessions. After they were all assembled, together with our uncle, the most Tarasius, Archbishop of New Rome, this great and ecumenical synod crushed the Antichrist's blasphemous heresy. Therefore, this Synod must be declared and numbered with the six preceding ones, so as to show the union of Christ's Church and deny the godless iconoclasts of the claim that their heresy was condemned by only one throne. Thus do we seek and propose as brother to brethren, and we dutifully beseech your Holinesses and also ask that you remember our humble self in your prayers.

-- St. Photius the Great (d. 893), Encyclical Letter of Saint Photius (867)

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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #207 on: October 24, 2017, 06:23:21 PM »
To bear with our neighbor; not to distress him when he wrongs us but to help him to be at peace when he is troubled, as St. Dorotheos puts it; to show compassion towards him, sharing his burden and praying for him, full of longing that he may be saved and may enjoy every other blessing of body and soul--this is true forbearance; and it purifies the soul and leads it towards God.

To heal a person is the greatest thing one can do and excels all other virtue, because among the virtues there is nothing higher or more perfect than love for one's neighbor. The sign of this love is not just that one does not keep for oneself anything of which another has need, but also that, as the Lord enjoins, one should joyfully endure death for his sake (cf Jn. 15:13), looking on it as a debt we have to pay. And this is as it should be: for we should love our neighbor to the point of dying for him, not only because nature requires this of us, but also because of the precious blood poured out for us by Christ who commanded us to love in this way. Do not love yourself, says St. Maximos, and you will love God; do not pander to your ego, and you will love your brother.

-- St. Peter of Damascus (d. 12th century), A Short Discourse on the Acquisition of the Virtues and on the Abstinence from the Passions (Philokalia, v. 3)

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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #208 on: October 25, 2017, 08:30:05 PM »
The end is drawing near, my soul, is drawing near! But you neither care nor prepare. The time is growing short. Rise! The Judge is near at the very doors. Like a dream, like a flower, the time of this life passes. Why do we bustle about in vain? Come to your senses, my soul! Consider the deeds you have done, and bring them before your eyes, and pour out the drops of your tears. Boldly tell your thoughts and deeds to Christ, and be acquitted.

-- St. Andrew of Crete (d. 8th century), The Great Canon

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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #209 on: October 26, 2017, 06:51:07 PM »
Therefore I beseech you, brethren in Christ, let us not desire to learn by mere words that which is beyond utterance; it is equally impossible both for those who teach about such matters and for those who listen to them. Those who teach about intellectual and divine realities are not able to supply clear proofs, strictly speaking, from examples, or to express their truth concretely. Nor are their pupils able to learn by mere words the meaning of that about which they speak. It is by practice and effort  and labors that we must be anxious to grasp these things and attain to contemplation of them. May we thus be initiated into [the meaning of] the words that deal with such [realities], and may God be glorified in us when we are in that state! By the knowledge of such things may we glorify Him and He glorify us, in Christ Himself Who is our God, to whom is due all glory forever. Amen.

-- St. Symeon the New Theologian (d. 1022), Discourse 14

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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #210 on: October 27, 2017, 07:47:44 PM »
When the brethren had conceived a burning desire to follow the rule of the holy father St. Benedict, and had striven to conform their ideas and actions to the discipline of the monastic life, they formed a plan of sending some of their members to well­ established monasteries in other places so that they could become perfectly acquainted with the customs and observances of the brethren. When this prudent plan was submitted to the bishop [St. Boniface] he heartily approved of it and commanded Sturm to undertake the experiment himself. All necessary preparations were made for the journey, two other brethren were chosen to accompany him, and so, four years after the foundation of the monastery, he set out for Rome. There he visited all the monasteries and spent a whole year enquiring into the customs, observances and traditions of the brethren who lived in them. In the following year, much edified by the holiness he had met, he returned home.

-- said of: St. Sturm of Fulda (d. 779), Source

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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #211 on: October 28, 2017, 04:44:07 PM »
The precise reason for Saint Juvenal’s murder by the natives is not known. However, they later told Saint Innocent something about his death. They said that Saint Juvenal did not try to defend himself when attacked, nor did he make any attempt to escape. After being struck from behind, he turned to face his attackers and begged them to spare the natives he had baptized.

The natives told Saint Innocent that after they had killed Saint Juvenal, he got up and followed them, urging them to repent. The fell upon him again and gave him a savage beating. Once more, he got to his feet and called them to repentance. This happened several times, then finally the natives hacked him to pieces. Thus, the zealous Hieromonk Juvenal became the first Orthodox Christian in America to receive the crown of martyrdom. His unnamed guide, possibly a Tanaina Indian convert, was also martyred at the same time.

-- Said of St. Juvenaly of Alaska (d. 1796), Source

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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #212 on: October 28, 2017, 04:56:26 PM »
The precise reason for Saint Juvenal’s murder by the natives is not known. However, they later told Saint Innocent something about his death. They said that Saint Juvenal did not try to defend himself when attacked, nor did he make any attempt to escape. After being struck from behind, he turned to face his attackers and begged them to spare the natives he had baptized.

The natives told Saint Innocent that after they had killed Saint Juvenal, he got up and followed them, urging them to repent. The fell upon him again and gave him a savage beating. Once more, he got to his feet and called them to repentance. This happened several times, then finally the natives hacked him to pieces. Thus, the zealous Hieromonk Juvenal became the first Orthodox Christian in America to receive the crown of martyrdom. His unnamed guide, possibly a Tanaina Indian convert, was also martyred at the same time.

-- Said of St. Juvenaly of Alaska (d. 1796), Source

Yay! One of my favorite Saints!

I didn't know about his martyred guide.
Quote
The breath of Thine Holy Spirit inspires artists, poets and scientists. The power of Thy supreme knowledge makes them prophets and interpreters of Thy laws, who reveal the depths of Thy creative wisdom. Their works speak unwittingly of Thee. How great art Thou in Thy creation! How great art Thou in man!
Akathist Hymn- Glory to God for All Things

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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #213 on: October 29, 2017, 04:07:32 PM »
It was for the new man that human nature was created at the beginning. It was for Him that our intellect and appetitive aspect were prepared. We have received our reason that we might know Christ, our desire that we might run towards Him; we have memory that we might bear Him within us. He is the archetype for all who have been created. It was not the old Adam who was the model for the new, but the new who was the model for the old. For it is is said that the new Adam was made in the likeness of the old (cf. Rom 8:3), this is because of the corruption which the one initiated and the other inherited, so that He might heal the sickness of our nature with the medicines which He brings and, as Paul says, "so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life" (1 Cor. 5:4)...

So then, for all these reasons man hastens towards Christ by his nature, his will and his thoughts, not only because of His divinity, which is the goal of all things, but because of His other, human nature as well. He is the fulfillment of human love. He is the delight of our thoughts. To love anything or to think about it apart from Him is a manifest failure to do what is right, a turning aside form the original first principles of our nature.

-- St. Nicholas Cabasilas (d. c. 1391), The Life in Christ (quoted from: Panayiotis Nellas, Deificiation in Christ, pp. 223-224)

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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #214 on: October 30, 2017, 08:56:48 PM »
On 6 July 1704, the Directors of the Levant Company wrote to Sir Robert Sutton, the Ambassador at Constantinople, to say that they did not intend to send any more students to Oxford. 'Those who have already been there,' they said, 'do not give us encouragement enough to make further trial of that kind, having no prospect of advantage, but the experience of a great deal of trouble and charge over them, for which reason we are resolved to have nothing more to do with them.' The Patriarch of Constantinople shared their attitude. On 2 March 1705, the Registrar of the Great Church wrote on behalf of the Patriarch Gabriel III, Callinicus II's successor, to say that: 'The irregular life of certain priests and lay-men of the Eastern Church living in London is a matter of grave concern to the Church. Wherefore the Church forbids any to go and study at Oxford, be they never so willing.' It seems unfair that Oxford should thus be blamed for the shortcomings of London; but it is clear that the students were all drifting to London and behaving very badly there.

We do not know how Dr Woodroffe took the failure of his scheme. He had been too hopeful. An Oxford education, however admirable it might be, was hardly a suitable training for a priest who was to spend his life ministering to a Christian minority in the Ottoman Empire. And it was hardly reasonable to expect that Greek boys coming from oriental homes would readily adapt themselves to the sober academic life at Oxford. None of the students at the Greek College made any mark in later life. Apart from the Jesuits' victims, the name of only one has survived, Francis Prossalenos, who several years later published a friendly little book describing Dr Woodroffe's quirks and foibles.

But Dr. Woodroffe had had his moment of glory, especially when in 1701 Noephytus, Metropolitan of Philippopolis and Exarch of All Thrace and Dragovia, came with his suite to England and was given the honorary degree of Doctor of Divinity at a special encaenia at Oxford. The Archdeacon Athanasius, the Archimandrite Neophytus and the Protosyncellus Gregory, who accompanied him, were all given honorary Masterships of Arts, and his doctor, whose name is not known, received a Doctorate of Medicine.

-- The Great Church in Captivity: A Study of the Patriarchate of Constantinople from the Eve of the Turkish Conquest to the Greek War of Independence, by Steven Runciman (Source)

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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #215 on: October 31, 2017, 06:07:30 PM »
Matthew Angelos Panaretos wrote extensively on the errors of the Latins, composing works on the Roman primacy, the procession of the Spirit, the use of azymes, and the fire of purgatory. He was active in the latter half of the fourteenth century, writing most plausibly in the 1350s-60s in reaction to the success of the Greek translations of Thomas [Aquinas] and to the pro-Latin policies of John V. His comprehensive treatment of the Latin questions earned him designation by Joseph of Methone as one of the authors of the schism and a principal source for Mark of Ephesus. His reputation as a leading anti-unionist writer proved enduring, prompting Patriarch Dositheus of Jerusalem to attempt to publish him in the early eighteenth century, a project that appears to have foundered. Only in the twentieth century were portions of his work edited and published. Panaretos composed over twenty works against the Latins, two of which are directed specifically against Thomas: one on the procession and one on purgatory. At the end of the treatise on purgatory, a brief note reads:

"This Italian flourished at the time of the pious emperor Andronikos Palaiologos. He had his home in Naples and belonged to the order of the Friar Preachers and wrote much in his own language on the whole of holy scripture, both the Old and New [Testament]... these works were unknown in the Church of New Rome and to all the Orthodox until the time of Emperor John Kantakuzene. Towards the end of his reign a native of Thessalonica named Kydones, who knew Latin, translated them all into Greek. Some of these were transcribed by the Emperor Kantakuzene and places in his library. If God gives me the time, I shall refute these works totally and utterly, both what he has written about the fire of purgatory and about the procession of the Holy Spirit."

-- Matthew Panaretos (14th century), Source

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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #216 on: November 01, 2017, 07:17:06 PM »
Theodore decides to defend the indwelling from the specific angle of God's presence on the heavenly throne. Why does he opt for this? Because in Muslim kalam on the incarnation, we repeatedly find the question: When God indwelt the womb of Mary as a Child, who was ruling the universe from the heavenly throne of divine lordship? Abu Qurrah himself, as the text of al-Mujadalah informs us, heard this question from a Qurayshi noble in the court of al-Mamun, and we also find the same inquiry raised before the Patriarch John I by the Muslim leader. In On the Triunity of the One God, we also see the Christian author responding indirectly to the same question by stating that, even when the Messiah descended from heaven to save his worshipers, he never abandoned the throne, but remained upon it with the Father and the Spirit. So, in this maymar on the incarnation, Abu Qurrah argues for the possibility of God's sending his Word to indwell human flesh in relation to the idea of God's throne.

How does Abu Qurrah develop his argument? He first addresses the audience's question about the reason behind the decision of God's Son, who is 'God and equal to God,' to be contined in flesh and for God to allow his Son to experience physical suffering, which otherwise would not touch him. Abu Qurrah's answer is similar to the one he gives in the debat at al-Ma'mun's court: God's Son indwelt flesh and bore physical suffering because he wanted to reveal his work and words to humankind in a humanly accessible and perceptibel way. Had the Son not done so, people's minds would have been distracted, and they would have not had any opportunity to know him or find peace and comfort in perceiving his truth. For Abu Qurrah, this is not only the purpose of the indwelling in human flesh, but also the ultimte intention behind God's establishment of a heavenly throne in the first place. As God does not need to indwell flesh unless he finds it necessary for us to do so, so also he does not need to have a throne in heaven unless he finds it useful for us to do so.

This association of indwelling with the establishment of a throne, and the linking of both to God's benevolent will and mercy is a subtle argument, as far as the Islamic belief in God's throne is concerned. In the Qur'an, the idea of 'God sitting on a throne' is quite prominent in various suras, and, as Abu Qurrah demonstrates, the heavenly throne of God is also a prominent theme in the Christian, Old Testament scriptures. By showing that God's throne is attested to in the Qur'an and the Bible, and by comparing the 'indwelling in the flesh' with 'the establishment of a throne,' Theodore wants to validate the former by virtue, and on the basis, of the scriptural support of the latter: God does not personally need a throne to sin on, but he established a throne in heaven in order to help us to perceive him and know the location of his will and decrees.

In the same way, God sent his Son or Word to indwell flesh in order to enable us to visibly encounter his words and actions and to benefit us by making us able to apprehend his salvation. God did this, even though neither God nor his Word, or eternal Son, needed to indwell anything whatsoever. So, if we concede the first decision to sin upon a throne in heaven, why would not we accept God's decision to allow his Son, or even himself, to indwell in human flesh, if that happened to be God's will. In principle, God does not need to be located in any specific place in heaven since he is omnipresent. The same also applies, Abu Qurrah goes on saying, to the eternal Son, who is also omnipresent like his Father. However, just as locating his presence on the throne is God's expression of mercy and goodwill to the angels, so is the indwelling of the divine in a specific human flesh an expression of the Word's/Messiah's mercy and redemptive grace that is shown to humankind.

-- Bp. Theodore Abu Qurrah of Harran (d. 823), Source

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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #217 on: November 02, 2017, 03:11:44 PM »
Do not try to attain dispassion prematurely and you will not suffer what Adam suffered when he ate too soon from the tree of spiritual knowledge (cf. Gen. 3:6). But patiently labor on, with constant entreaty and selfcontrol in all things; and if by means of self-reproach and the utmost humility you keep the ground you have won, you will then in good time receive the grace of dispassion. The harbor of rest is reached only after many storms and struggles; and God is not being unjust to those walking on the true path if He keeps the gate of dispassion closed until the right moment comes.

-- St. Theognostos (14th century?), On the Practice of the Virtues, Contemplation and the Priesthood, 30 (Philokalia, v. 2, p. 359)

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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #218 on: November 03, 2017, 10:37:08 PM »
As a matter of fact, this very saintly Photius, after his formidable attack, far from unconditionally readmitting those [Latins] he had cast off to unite with him and the Church, first imposed proper guarantees that they would be orthodox in the future and recant the blasphemies they should never have uttered. They then addressed to him their symbol of faith, which they worded in orthodox terms, whereby they agreed to remain steadfast in that faith, to add or to subtract nothing, to number among the enemies of truth and the champions of mendacious error any who should dare to do so; they then followed the same procedure with the three other Patriarchs, according to the ancient custom by which one honoured with patriarchal and supreme dignity should send to his brothers and co-Patriarchs his encyclical letters of appointment to inform the whole world of his personal orthodoxy and agreement in faith with the Fathers who preceded him and were orthodox.

This, to my way of thinking, was what was fully meant by the canon on whose terms he readmitted the Italians, for we find the following: "Let the Pope as well as ancient Rome and the communion under him hold as rejected and likewise reject whosoever is considered rejected by the very saintly Photius, and through him by our Church in fulfilment of their duty." Now it is evident from this that this man acted like those wise doctors who skillfully forestall future diseases and administer preventive remedies to those suspected of being threatened with a possible affection, and in this sense deserved no blame but acted for motives of prudence, however changeable he may have seemed to be, when he meant and intended to obtain but one thing--that the Italians had no right to add in writing anything as truth to the Symbol, knowing full well that they were in duty bound never to do anything in disagreement with the feelings of the Greeks and their spiritual leaders in connection with the Divinity and what touches religion; and that if they should be so daring, they would, by their own previous admitssion, fall under the anathema.

-- Pat. Michael III of Constantinople (d. 1178), (quoted in: Francis Dvornik, The Photian Schism: History and Legend, pp. 398-399)

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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #219 on: November 04, 2017, 12:41:27 PM »
The true lover of God disdains the world and all that is in the world, and strives towards God, his most beloved.  He counts honor, glory, riches, and all the comforts of this world which the sons of this age seek, as nothing.  For him only God, the uncreated and most beloved good, suffices.  In Him alone he finds perfect honor, glory, riches and comfort.  For him God alone is the pearl without price, for the sake of which he holds everything else as little.  Such a one desires nothing in heaven or on earth besides God.  Such love is portrayed in the very words of the Psalter, 'For what have I in heaven? And besides Thee what have I desired upon earth? My heart and my flesh have failed, O God of my heart, and God is my portion forever' (Ps. 72:25).

-- St. Tikhon of Zadonsk (d. 1783), Journey to Heaven: Counsels on the Particular Duties of Every Christian, p. 5

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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #220 on: November 05, 2017, 04:20:44 PM »
It is no reverence to abstain from the celebration of the Mysteries. It is rather an obstacle to the saving sacrifice and to the benefit that results from it. So, St. Symeon concludes that if there is no real obstacle for understanding this celebration, the saving Sacrifice should be celebrated without ceasing. In this case, the priest becomes a truly sacred instrument. Otherwise, by remaining inactive, he will have to give an account to the Lord, as St. Basil pointed out to a certain Gregory, whom he rebuked for liturgical inactivity and sloth. St. Symeon paints with the darkest of colors the failure of priests to celebrate these sacred and saving Mysteries without any due reason. To be a priest, who fails to celebrate the Mysteries as often as possible, is to be a priest, who deprives people of the benefits of the sacred Sacrifice, of the commemoration of the Savior and the communication of the renewal that springs from the Lord's sacred passion. Priestly inactivity should only be associated with those penalties that the Fathers instituted for unworthy priests. Unworthy priests should avoid celebration as unworthy Christians should avoid communion.

-- Beliefs of: St. Symeon of Thessalonica (d. 1429), Source

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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #221 on: November 06, 2017, 09:11:16 PM »
Father Gregory said to himself, 'Since the brethren in my monastery are superior in virtue to the monks of this age, a set of ecclesiastical rules ought to be instituted for my church, so that it may not be exposed to criticism from expert theologians.' For this purpose he made plans to go to the treasury of Christ, the second Jerusalem, which is Constantinople, to visit all the remarkable holy places of Greece and pray there. Just then, he found that one of his friends was making a trip to Jerusalem, so he asked him to write down the monastic rules of St. Savva and send them to him.

Then he appointed deputies to look after the brethren and took leave of them, promising to return soon. He took with him his cousin Saba and another disciple of his and set off for Greece. Arriving at Constantinople, he made obeisance to the Wood of Life and all the other holy relics, and joyfully went round to pray at all the sacred shrines ; for he knew many languages and was versed in godly knowledge. Some of the things he saw served him as a model of excellent; while others provided a warning against evil. In this way his heart was filled with the ineffable riches of the New Testament. Cheered by spiritual grace, they set off on their homeward way...

And so they arrived at Khandzta, their own monastery, bringing with them relics of the saints, holy icons and many other sacred objects. They found all the brothers well and in good spirits, and were glad now that the grace of our Savior had once more reunited His servants. After a few days Gregory sent Saba to Ishkhan and gave him two of his disciples. He himself directed the spiritual life of Khandzta in accordance with God's will. Afterwards, the man who had been to Jerusalem returned, and handed over a document containing the monastic rules of St. Savva. The blessed Gregory then laid down regulations for his own church and monastery, as selected and compiled from those in force at all the holy places.

-- said of St. Gregory of Khandzte (d. 861), Source

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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #222 on: November 07, 2017, 11:52:56 PM »
Performing in Himself the sacred mystery of our re-creation, the Logos offered Himself up on our behalf through His death on the Cross, and He continually offers Himself up, giving His immaculate body to us daily as a soul-nourishing banquet, so that be eating it and by drinking His precious blood we may through this participation consciously grow in spiritual stature. Communicating in His body and blood and refashioned in a purer form, we are united to the twofold divine-human Logos in two ways, in our body and in our deiform soul; for He is God Incarnate whose flesh is the same in essence as our own. Thus we do not belong to ourselves but to Him who has united us to Himself through this immortal meal and has made us by adoption what He himself is by nature.

-- St. Niketas Stethatos (d. 1090), On the Inner Nature of Things (Philokalia, v. 4, p. 135)

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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #223 on: November 08, 2017, 03:57:18 PM »
Above all, in leaving this temporal world, he has not left us orphaned. How could we, indeed, call ourselves orphaned when we see his legacy to the throne, his real helpmate in life, a ruler like him after his demise, you, most gracious and autocrat Empress, great heroine and monarch, and mother of all the Russians? The whole world is a witness that your sex does not prevent your being like Peter the Great. Who does not know your wisdom as a ruler, and your motherly womanliness, and your natural God-given talents? And all this took place and was confirmed in you not merely through your association with so great a monarch, but also in your communion with his wisdom, labours and various calamities. He, having tried you during a series of years, like gold in the crucible, deemed it insufficient to have you as a cohabiter of his bed, but made you also the heir to his crown, and power, and throne. How can we help hoping that you will confirm what he has done, will create anew what he has left undone and will keep all in good condition?

-- Archbishop Theophan of Novgorod (d. 1736), Funerary sermon on Peter I

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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #224 on: November 09, 2017, 07:23:56 PM »
What is particularly striking is that Juliana's exalted humility and boundless love for her neighbors sprang forth only from the depths of her own pure heart, full of Christian meekness. She had no guides and teachers; she was unable either to read the sacred Scriptures or to derive instruction therefrom; during the years of her girlhood she did not even attend church, for there was none nearby. When Juliana reached the age of sixteen, she was married by the priest Patapius to George Ossorgin, a rich merchant of Murom, in the village of Lazarevo, which was on Ossorgin's estate. After the wedding ceremony, the priest delivered to the newlyweds a discourse on how they should live, how they should raise their children in the fear of God, how they should instill virtue in the members of their household and, in general, make of their family a little church. The words of the priest penetrated deeply into the soul of Juliana, and she followed them devoutly all throughout her life.

-- Juliana of Lazarevo (d. 1604), The Life of the Holy and Righteous Juliana of Lazarevo