Author Topic: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)  (Read 57282 times)

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Offline Asteriktos

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

-- St. Theodoros the Great Ascetic (d. 9th century), Theoretikon (Philokalia, v. 2, p. 39)
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #226 on: November 11, 2017, 10:14:48 PM »
The emergence of a class of professional intellectuals was also related to a new attitude toward Byzantium's classical inheritance. As discussed in Chapter 1, the tenth century can be called encyclopedic for its reference works, lexicons, and florilegia. This was a time of concern for the maintenance of the classical tradition, and the transmission of texts became exceedingly important. The Bibliotheke of Photius marked the beginning of this period; other compilations included Kephalas's Anthology, Daphnopates' collection of John Chrysostom's fragments, the Geoponika, an agricultural manual derived from antiquity, and the souda, a dictionary of sorts. Epitomatory activity thrived in Constantine Porphyrogenitus's intellectual milieu. Once collected, texts were recopied in minuscule script; thus ancient works were preserved. But the concern with the collection and transmission of classical culture does not necessarily imply a Byzantine mastery of the ancient heritage. This seems to have followed only later, in the eleventh and twelfth centuries...

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

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

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

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

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

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

-- Met. Theoliptos of Philadelphia (d. 1322), On Inner Work in Christ  And the Monastic Profession (Philokalia, v. 4, p. 185)
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #228 on: November 13, 2017, 11:28:43 PM »
First of all I shall set forth the best contributions of the philosophers of the Greeks, because whatever there is of good has been given to men from above by God, since 'every best gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights.' (James 1:17) If, however, there is anything that is contrary to the truth, then it is a dark invention of the deceit of Satan and a fiction of the mind of an evil spirit, as that eminent theologian Gregory once said. In imitation of the method of the bee, I shall make my composition from those things which are conformable with the truth and from our enemies themselves gather the fruit of salvation. But all that is worthless and falsely labeled as knowledge I shall reject.

-- St. John of Damascus (d. 749), The Fount of Knowledge
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #229 on: November 15, 2017, 03:11:09 AM »
All the walls of the palace and churches were covered with frescoes recalled to us by witneses at Malles, Reichenau, Trier, Auxerre, and Rome. The first storey of the porch of Lorsch was painted with a trompe-l'oeil decoration in the antique fashion: a low wall painted in a checkered pattern supported columns crowned by an architrave. Poets described the frescoes that decorated refectories and state rooms. At Ingelheim, scenes from antiquity and Frankish history could be viewed. One text describes paintings of armed men, agricultural workers reaping and gathering grapes, fishermen standing in their barques, and hunters setting their traps or chasing does and harts. Painters also depicted mythological scenes: the sun and the moon with radiating hair; winds, months, or seasons displayed either nude or clothes. Alas, it has all disappeared. Still, despite their distrust of the cult of painted images in church which we shall consider further on, we can see that Carolingians fully appreciated the beauties of artistic form.

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

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

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

-- Archbishop Lanfranc of Canterbury (d. 1089), On the Body and Blood of the Lord
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #232 on: November 19, 2017, 02:35:23 AM »
As I returned from my wearisome journey of many days, most honoured Lord, the letter of your holiness fell into my hands, and it appeared sweeter to me than a following wind to sailors after they have toiled at rowing, or (if you prefer) than a fountain to a thirsty deer. May you never rob me of your beautiful speech, and for ever and ever may you make me hear your voice, which is the same as saying your rejoicing. But in these pitiless parts of the world, the workshop of all evil, if you do not spoonfeed us with these sweet pages, what else is there for us, but to descend into hell or to float away towards evil?

-- St. Theophylact of Ohrid (d. 1107), Source
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #233 on: November 19, 2017, 08:01:00 PM »
Have faith that is as unshakeable as a rock, so that nothing frightens you... The person who has deep faith within himself, and fixes his attention on the good path, and seeks to improve the condition of his soul and to adapt his thought to the good is happy... The happiness of man consists in faith in God and in good acts which are done with love.

-- St. Raphael Of Lesbos (d. 1463), Source
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #234 on: November 23, 2017, 07:28:21 AM »
"Those who walk according to the flesh, think the things of the flesh; those who walk according to the spirit, the things of the spirit; for the thought of the flesh is death; but the thought of the spirit, life and peace. And so the thought of the flesh is hostile to God, for it is not subject to the law of God. Indeed it cannot be. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God" (Rom. 8:5-8). In brief this is the power of the mystery, and this is why we should celebrate spiritually and behave spiritually, with holiness and justice, with love, with gentleness, with peace, "with forbearance, with goodness, with the Holy Spirit" (2 Cor. 6:6), so that as far as we ourselves are concerned we do not render the dispensation of our Lord Jesus Christ empty and ineffectual.

-- St. Theodore the Studite (d. 826), Source
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #235 on: November 24, 2017, 07:00:08 AM »
At this point it must be asked why the holy fathers sometimes say that anger and desire are powers pertaining to the body and sometimes that they are powers pertaining to the soul. Assuredly, the words of the saints never disagree if they are carefully examined. In this case, both statements are true, if correctly understood in context. For indescribably body and soul are brought into being in such a way that they coexist. The soul is in a state of perfection from the start, but the body is imperfect since it has to grow through taking nourishment. The soul by virtue of its creation as a deiform and intellective entity possesses an intrinsic power of desire and an intrinsic incensive power, and these lead it to manifest both courage and divine love. For senseless anger and mindless desire were not created along with the soul. Nor originally did they pertain to the body.

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

-- St. Gregory of Sinai (d. 1346), Philokalia, v. 4, p. 227
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #236 on: November 26, 2017, 03:43:08 PM »
By a marvelous distinction, this apostolic sentence (James 1:17) differentiates the divine act of giving from the divine act of granting, correlating the excellent giving with the substantiation of the entire creation, and the perfect granting to the munificence of divine grace. For everything that exists participates in the divine goodness in two ways, the first seen in the creating of nature, the other in the distribution of grace.

-- John Scotus Eriugena (d. 877), Source
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #237 on: November 28, 2017, 02:18:53 PM »
In the last decade of the seventeenth century, after the death of his wife, he joined the famous Kiev-Pechery Lavra (Monastery of grottoes), taking the monastic name Filofei. In 1701 he was appointed abbot of the Svensk Dormition Monastery in the province of Orel, and less than a year later was consecrated metropolitan of Siberia and Tobolsk. On April 4, 1702, with a group of young monks, he set off for Tobolsk to evangelize the aboriginal people...

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

-- St. Filofei Leshchinsky (d. 1727), Source
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #238 on: November 30, 2017, 06:08:09 PM »
All beings received their movement and their natural characteristic from Him who created them by the Logos; therefore, the nous, as well. But the movement of the nous has as its characteristic the “for ever," in other words it is uninterruptible; and the “for ever” is infinite and unlimited. Therefore, it would have been beneath the value and the nature of the nous if it moved in a finite or limited way. And this would have happened to it if it had its movement in finite and limited things. Because it is not possible that, while something is finite and limited, the movement of the nous for, or concerning it, would advance towards the Infinite. The perpetual motion of the nous then also has the need for something eternal and unlimited, towards which to move by the logos and by its own nature. Nevertheless, nothing is really infinite and unlimited but God, Who by nature and above all is One. The nous then must fly to, gaze at and move towards the -above all- infinite One: God.

-- Kallistos Katafygiotis (14th century), On Union With God and Life of Theoria
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #239 on: December 07, 2017, 10:21:00 PM »
Now the matter of Baptism is pure water, and no other liquid. And it is performed by the Priest only, or in a case of unavoidable necessity, by another man, provided he is Orthodox, and has the proper intention to Divine Baptism. And the effects of Baptism are, to speak concisely, firstly, the remission of the hereditary transgression, and of any sins of any kind that the baptized may have committed. Secondly, it delivers him from the eternal punishment, to which he was liable, as well for original sin and for mortal sins he may have individually committed. Thirdly, it gives to the person immortality; for in justifying them from past sins, it makes them temples of God.

-- The Confession of Dositheus (1672), Decree 16
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #240 on: February 23, 2018, 02:28:53 AM »
Thus while each holy festival both affords the enjoyment of common gifts and lights up its peculiar glow of grace, the present feast honoring the birth of the Virgin Mother of God easily carries off the glittering prize of seniority against every competitor. For, just as we know the root to be the cause of the branches, the stem, the fruit and the flower, though it is for the sake of the fruit that care and labor are expended on the others, and without the root none of the rest grows up, so without the Virgin's feast none of those that sprang out of it would appear... the Virgin's feast, in fulfilling the function of the root, the source, the foundation (I know not how to put it in a more appropriate way), takes on with good reason the ornament of all those other feasts, and it is conspicuous with many great boons, and recognized as the day of universal salvation...

Humanity therefore, having, long been enslaved by the power of ancestral sins, the birth of its daughter, heralding Him who shall remove these sins, gives manifest signs of our deliverance from that domination and our release from servitude. Wherefore Adam, too, along with Eve, having cleansed themselves of the ancient stains of their transgression, and putting off the sullenness of despondency, gladly join the choir of the Virgin's feast with a confident voice and face, or rather, they are become its leaders. For they, through whom the seed of sin had become ingrown in the whole race and had perverted it, are especially fit, once the seed has been uprooted, to lead the joyful choir, to seek out and call together their descendants.

-- St. Photius the Great (d. 893), Homilies of Saint Photius: Homily IX: The Birth of the Virgin
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #241 on: February 23, 2018, 10:53:06 PM »
My dear fathers and brethren, as soon as I called to mind the beauty of undefiled love, its light suddenly appeared in my heart. I have been ravished with its delight and have ceased to perceive outward things; I have lost all sense of this life and have forgotten the things that are at hand. Yet again--I am at a loss how to say it--it has removed far from me and left me to lament my own weakness. O all-desirable love, how happy is he who embraced you, for he will no longer have a passionate desire to embrace any earthly beauty! Happy is he who is moved by divine love to cling to you! He will deny the whole world, yet as he associates with all men he will be wholly untainted. Happy is he who caresses your beauty and with infinite desire delights therein, for he will be spiritually sanctified by the water and blood that in all purity issue from you!

-- St. Symeon the New Theologian (d. 1022), The Discourses, 1.3
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #242 on: February 26, 2018, 05:24:52 PM »
The only other orphanage of this period (6th century) known by name was that of St. Paul in Constantinople... [which] continued to offer its services for many centuries. Theophanes writes that it was taxed in the early part of the ninth century, when the Emperor Nicephoros I (802-811) was in need of money for his war against the Slavs and the Bulgars. Nicephoros levied a hearth tax on all monasteries and churches, as well as upon "the numerous charitable institutions in Byzantium." He also taxed the tenants of the monasteries, churches, orphanages, the xenones, and the gerocomeia...

In the year 1032 a great earthquake damaged many buildings both on the Asiatic coast and in Constantinople. St. Paul's also was ruined, but it was promptly repaired by the Emperor Romanos III Argyros (1028-34). St. Paul's must have had rooms other than those used for the orphans. The author of the Strategicon, relates that the orphanage served also as a refuge for bankrupt individuals.  During the eleventh century St. Paul's must have suffered further damage, for its doors were closed. Later it was completely reconstructed and transformed by the Emperor Alexios Comnenos (1081-1118), as part of the extensive program of rehabilitation and philanthropic works he undertook upon his return from his expedition against the Turks of Econium. He also built a number of establishments for indigents, for the blind, for the crippled, for the aged and disabled, and for veterans, making a "new city," like the Basileias of the fourth century or a "second city in side the Queen of cities," in the words of Anna Comnena.

Among these, St. Paul's orphanage must have been especially impressive, for it was praised by others less favorably inclined to Alexios than his illustrious daughter. The Emperor also built a school for those orphans anxious to improve themselves, and assigned to it teachers and governors whom he instructed to give the orphans "a good general education." The complex around St. Paul's Church must have been very extensive: to visit the whole of it required an entire day, according to Anna, and both she and Theodore Scutariotes allege that thousands lived there. To assure their subsistence, Alexios granted to his "new city" many estates and made it financially "a safe harbor for many..."

-- Demetrios J. Constantelos, Byzantine Philanthropy and Social Welfare (2nd [Revised] Edition), pp. 178-179
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #243 on: February 27, 2018, 07:50:04 PM »
All glory, laud, and honour,
To Thee, Redeemer, King!
To whom the lips of children
Made sweet hosannas ring.

Thou art the King of Israel,
Thou David's royal Son,
Who in the Lord's name comest,
The King and Blessed One.

The company of angels
Are praising Thee on high,
And mortal men, and all thing
Created make reply.

The people of the Hebrews,
With palms before Thee went;
Our praise, and prayers, and anthems
Before Thee we present.

To Thee before thy passion,
They sang their hymns of praise;
To Thee, now high exalted,
Our melody we raise.

Thou didst accept their praises;
Accept the prayers we bring,
Who in all good delightest,
Thou good and gracious King.

-- Theodulph of Orleans (d. 821), Source
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #244 on: March 01, 2018, 06:00:09 AM »
Whoever washes his neighbors garment with inspired words, or who sews it up by contributing to his needs, has the outward appearance of a servant, but is really a master. But when he acts in this way he must be careful to do so truly as a servant, lest by growing conceited he lose both his reward and his proper rank.

-- Ilias the Presbyter (d.c. early 12th century), A Gnomic Anthology, 1.50
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #245 on: March 01, 2018, 06:17:42 PM »
He who has no foothold on this ladder, 
Who does not ponder always on these things,
When he comes to die will know 
Terrible fear, terrible dread, 
Will be full of boundless panic. 
My lines end on a note of terror.
Yet it is good that this is so:
Those who are hard of heart--myself the first--
Are led to repentance, led to a holy life, 
Less by the lure of blessings promised 
Than by fearful warnings that inspire dread.
"He who has ears to hear, let him hear."

-- Theophanis the Monk (8th century?), The Ladder of Divine Graces (Philokalia, v. 3, p. 68)
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #246 on: March 02, 2018, 06:37:22 PM »
What I have personally seen should not be passed over in silence. A certain brother was made provost. Falling into pride, he was deposed from his office. At length he became so spiteful that he decided to leave the monastery and practice robbery. Thus it was that he decided to steal a horse surreptitiously from the monastery itself. When he tried to do so, Benedict commanded him to be driven away with his feet tied under the horse. But he began to bawl and swear that he would never depart from the monastery. Because of his folly, Benedict gave order to beat him lightly with switches. Thereafter he remained in the monastery, living properly and piously, as if he himself were the smitten malign foe.

-- St. Benedict of Aniane (d. 821), Source
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #247 on: March 03, 2018, 10:52:20 PM »
Some of the later hagiographies show signs that they were consciously being used to correct social injustices. This is why (as in the Life of St. Mary the Younger, d. c. 903) sometimes the heroine is a married woman (normally monastics or bishops are the main subjects of canonization). In the case of Mary the Younger she was the victim of domestic violence. The Life points out in no uncertain terms how her husband's boorish behavior (which was common in antiquity) was despicable and contrary to a Christian life, as well as being the occasion of Mary's "martyrdom." By means of the hagiography, her example of domestic prayer and charitable living was advocated as a common standard for all, and her canonization was advanced on the "extraordinary" grounds of her martyrdom in the act of Christian witness (she was beaten to death by her husband for giving away family wealth).

-- Fr. John McGuckin (b. 1952), Volume 3 of Collected Studies, Illumined in the Spirit: Studies in Orthodox Spirituality, p. 171

St. Mary the Younger (wiki)
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #248 on: March 04, 2018, 05:49:56 PM »
During the time when Saint Leo was bishop in Catania, there lived a certain sorcerer magician named Heliodorus, who impressed people with his fake miracles. This fellow was originally a Christian, but then he secretly rejected Christ and became a servant of the devil. Saint Leo often urged Heliodorus to be done with his wicked deeds and return to God, but in vain. One time Heliodorus got so impudent that, having entered into the church where the bishop was celebrating Divine-services, he by his sorcery sowed confusion and temptation there, trying to create a disturbance. Seeing the people beset by devils under the sorcerous spell, Saint Leo realised, that the time of gentle persuasions had passed. He calmly emerged from the altar and, grabbing the magician by the neck with his omophorion, he led him out of the church into the city-square. There he forced Heliodorus to own up to all his wicked deeds; he commanded a bon-fire be built, and without flinching he jumped together with the sorcerer into the fire, while having on his omophorion. Thus they stood in the fire, until Heliodorus got burnt, while by the power of God Saint Leo remained unharmed.

-- St. Leo of Sicily (d. c. 780), Source
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #249 on: March 05, 2018, 06:52:42 PM »
Saint Procopius was a German Catholic. He was running a merchant business in Novgorod when he became enraptured by the beauty of the Orthodox services. He converted into Orthodoxy, gave his wealth and possessions to the indigent and became a monk at the Saint Varlaam-of-Khutyn monastery outside Novgorod. After some time shunning from fame he left for Ustiug where Procopius chose to accomplish the ordeal of God’s fool pretending to be a fool in order to attain utmost humility. Thus he became the first fool-for-Christ's-sake in Russia. He had to go through many afflictions accomplishing this hard feat. Carrying three wooden staffs he walked barefoot and poorly dressed all year round. He slept on church porches or simply on the ground. He would take alms from the compassionate simple people, but he would never accept any charity from the rich, whom he considered obtained their possessions by unrighteous ways; even though this would cause him to go hungry for several days.

-- St. Procopius of Ustyug (d. 1303), Source
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #250 on: March 06, 2018, 10:08:31 PM »
There are two sorts of catechumens. For some have only just come in and these, as still imperfect, go out immediately after the reading of the scriptures and of the Gospels. But there are others who have been for some time in preparation and have attained some perfection; these wait after the Gospel for the prayers for the catechumens, and when they hear the words Catechumens, bow down your heads to the Lord, they kneel down. These, as being more perfect, having tasted the good words of God, if they fall, are removed from their position; and are placed with the hearers; but if any happen to sin while hearers they are cast out of the Church altogether.

-- John Zonaras (d. 12th century), Source
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #251 on: March 08, 2018, 12:20:17 AM »
Behind the scenes of city and court throughout most of the critical years of recovery was Tarasios, a careful and tactful man of noble rank who began his career as a high-ranking imperial official and afterwards served out a long term (784-806) as patriarch of Constantinople. Tarasios' deep sympathy for the monastic life manifested itself quite early on in life and continued to the end. Although never embracing the vocation himself, he is said to have lived a life of sober piety and renunciation from early on, even during his years as a mere layman. Then, upon becoming patriarch, he deepened his personal commitment to the fundamental values of the ascetical life, fighting material extravagance within his own clergy and applying himself to a daily regime of hard work, long study, reduced sleep, a strict diet, and very little physical comfort.

Tarasios also promoted the interests of monks in several practical ways. While still a layman he founded a monastery in Constantinople out of family funds and recruited capable monks to serve there. This was a serious place, where plain dress, rigorous ascesis and constant prayer dominated daily life. Once he became patriarch Tarasios lent support to individuals and institutions of a similar bent within the monastic world. By tradition he is said to have encouraged the vocations of two extraordinary women. One of them Anthousa, the already mentioned daughter of Emperor Constantine V whom he tonsured as a nun after she had spent years living as a crypto-monk in the imperial palace. The other was Anna-Euphemios, a nun of equally cryptic qualities to whom Tarasios, hearing of her fame and thinking that she was a male eunuch, reportedly entrusted control of the monastery of Abramios in Constantinople.

-- St. Tarasios of Constantinople (d. 806), The Monks and Monasteries of Constantinople, Ca. 350-850
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #252 on: March 17, 2018, 11:24:40 AM »
Seeing these things are so, being thus well-testified unto us, we rejoice over them as he that hath 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.

-- Seventh Ecumenical Council (787), Canon 1
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #253 on: March 19, 2018, 03:37:19 AM »
Why do we anoint with chrism those of them who come to us? Is it not clear that it is because they are heretics? For the seventh canon of the Second Ecumenical Council states:

“As for those heretics who betake themselves to Orthodoxy, and to the lot of those being saved, we accept them in accordance with the subjoined sequence and custom: Arians, and Macedonians, and Sabbatians, and Novatians, those calling themselves Cathari (“Puritans”) and Aristeri (“Best”), and the Quartodecimans, otherwise known as Tetradites, and Apollinarians we accept when they offer libelli (recantations in writing), and anathematize every heresy that does not hold the same beliefs as the Catholic and Apostolic Church of God, and are sealed first with holy chrism on their forehead and their eyes, and nose, and mouth, and ears, and in sealing them we say: ‘The seal of the gift of the Holy Spirit.'”

Do you see with whom we number those who come from the Latins? If all those are heretics, then it is clear that these are the same.

And what does the most wise Patriarch of Antioch, Theodore Balsamon, say of this in reply to the Most Holy Patriarch of Alexandria, Mark?: “Imprisoned Latins and others coming to our Catholic churches request communion of the Divine Sacraments. We desire to know: Is this permissible?”

[Answer:] “He that is not with Me is against Me; and he that gathereth not with Me scattereth abroad (St. Matt. 12:30; St. Luke 11:23). Because many years ago, the celebrated Roman Church was separated from communion with the other four Most Holy Patriarchs, having apostatized into customs and doctrines foreign to the Catholic Church and not Orthodox—it was for this reason that the Pope was not deemed worthy of sharing in the commemoration of the names of the Eastern Patriarchs at Divine Services. Therefore, we must not sanctify one of Latin race through the Divine and most pure Gifts by priestly hands, unless he shall first resolve to depart from Latin dogmas and customs and shall be catechized and joined to those of Orthodoxy.”

Do you hear how they have departed not only in customs, but also in dogmas foreign to those of Orthodoxy—and what is foreign to Orthodox dogma is, of course, heretical teaching—and that, according to the canons, they must be catechized and united to Orthodoxy? And if it is necessary to catechize, then clearly it is necessary to anoint with chrism. How have they suddenly presented themselves to us as Orthodox, they who for so long, and according to the judgment of such great Fathers and Teachers, have been considered heretics? Who has so easily made them Orthodox? It is gold, if you desire to acknowledge the truth, and your own thirst for gain. Or, to express it better: It did not make them Orthodox, but made you like them and carried you into the camp of the heretics.

-- St. Mark of Ephesus (d. 1444), Source
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #254 on: March 19, 2018, 07:03:09 PM »
One night, radiant angels appeared in the guise of monks, and tonsured him. They told him that he would receive his health only on the day of his death. Several of the brethren heard the sound of singing, and coming to Saint Pimen, they found him attired in monastic garb. In his hand he held a lit candle, and his tonsured hair could be seen at the crypt of Saint Theodosius. Saint Pimen spent many years in sickness, so that those attending to him could not tolerate it. They often left him without food and water for two or three days at a time, but he endured everything with joy. Compassionate towards the brethren, Saint Pimen healed a certain crippled brother, who promised to serve him until death if he were healed. But after a while the brother grew lax in his service, and his former ailment overtook him. Saint Pimen again healed him with the advice, that both the sick and those attending the sick receive equal reward.

-- said of: St. Pimen the Much-Ailing of the Kiev Caves (d. 1110), Source
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #255 on: March 20, 2018, 08:37:56 AM »
One night, radiant angels appeared in the guise of monks, and tonsured him. They told him that he would receive his health only on the day of his death. Several of the brethren heard the sound of singing, and coming to Saint Pimen, they found him attired in monastic garb. In his hand he held a lit candle, and his tonsured hair could be seen at the crypt of Saint Theodosius. Saint Pimen spent many years in sickness, so that those attending to him could not tolerate it. They often left him without food and water for two or three days at a time, but he endured everything with joy. Compassionate towards the brethren, Saint Pimen healed a certain crippled brother, who promised to serve him until death if he were healed. But after a while the brother grew lax in his service, and his former ailment overtook him. Saint Pimen again healed him with the advice, that both the sick and those attending the sick receive equal reward.

-- said of: St. Pimen the Much-Ailing of the Kiev Caves (d. 1110), Source

I always liked St. Pimen.
It's the double-edged sword of being lazy and being bored.- Reliant K

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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!
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #256 on: March 20, 2018, 04:35:40 PM »
Descend into the depths of the heart, and search out the three powerful giants--forgetfulness, sloth and ignorance--which enable the rest of the evil passions to infiltrate into the self-indulgent soul, and to live, energize and flourish there. Then through strict attentiveness and control of the intellect, together with help from above, you will track down these evil giants, about which most people are ignorant; and so you will be able to free yourself from them by means of strict attentiveness and prayer. For when, through the action of grace, zeal for true knowledge, for mindfulness of God's words and for genuine concord is diligently planted and cultivated in the heart, then the last traces of forgetfulness, ignorance and sloth are expunged from it.

-- (St.?) Nikiphoros the Monk (d. 13th century), On Watchfulness and the Guarding of the Heart (From Abba Mark's Letter to Nicolas)
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #257 on: March 21, 2018, 06:41:57 PM »
It is evident that the magnificent banquet for Esther's wedding, prepared for both the princes and the people, represents the greatest bliss that is enjoyed by the entire human race, both great and small, for the spiritual union of Christ with the church. In this banquet, in fact, no carnal foods are consumed by those who are worthy to participate in it. Instead they consume a spiritual diet of wisdom and virtue. In this banquet, all the faithful receive the holy mysteries of the body and blood of the Lord as a remedy for their salvation. Here the meal of eternal life resides. And our king gives peace to all the provinces, and bestows abundant gifts in freeing those who believe in him from the weight of sins, and rewarding them with spiritual gifts. Therefore he himself says in the gospel, "Come to me, all you who are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls." (Matt. 11:28-29)

-- Rabanus Maurus (d. 856), Explanation on the Book of Esther 4
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #258 on: March 22, 2018, 06:54:31 PM »
Maximos Kausokalybites remained on Mt Athos after an earlier peripatetic life, but constantly moved from one temporary abode to another in his attempt to avoid contact with other monks and casual visitors. His habit of burning his straw hut and then building another one in an isolated spot gave rise to his nackname the 'hutburner.' Despite his efforts to escape celebrity Maximos acquired such fame for his ascetic way of life that no less than four hagiographers wrote vitae of him.

-- Source


The stories of his life recount that as a child he was devoted to the Virgin Mary and gave his food and clothing to the poor. When his parents arranged his marriage at age 17 he instead moved to Mount Ganos, where he became the student of an elderly monk. Around this time he began his life of austerity, sleeping on the ground, staying awake for long periods, and fasting. After his spiritual father died, he went to Constantinople, where he pretended to be mad while living in the gateway of a famous church. A dream led him to an ascent of Mt. Athos, where he spent three days, ending with a vision of the Virgin Mary, who told him to remain on Mt. Athos. Thus began about ten years of wandering, including his frequent hut burning, ending with a permanent and very austere cell.

-- Wiki


-- St. Maximos the Hut Burner (d. 14th century)
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #259 on: March 23, 2018, 10:39:47 PM »
Once, in his travels through the Russian land, Metropolitan Maximus of Kiev and Vladimir visited the monastery with words of instruction and edification. Having received the blessing of Saint Maximus, Saint Peter presented him with an icon of the Dormition of the Most Holy Theotokos, which he had painted. Saint Maximus prayed before the icon for the salvation of the Russian land entrusted to him by God until the end of his days. When Metropolitan Maximus died, the See of Vladimir remained for a certain time unoccupied. An abbot named Gerontius, aspiring to become the primate of Russia, went to Constantinople with Saint Peter’s vestments, archpastoral staff, and the icon he had painted. The Great Prince of Vladimir, Saint Michael of Tver, sent him to the Patriarch of Constantinople with a petition that he be appointed as Metropolitan of Russia.

On the suggestion of Prince Yuri of Galicia, Igumen Peter reluctantly went to the Patriarch of Constantinople with a petition that he be consecrated as Metropolitan. God chose Saint Peter to nourish the Russian Church. The Mother of God appeared to Gerontius during a storm on the Black Sea and said, “You labor in vain, for you will never be bishop. The one who painted this icon, the Rata igumen Peter, shall be elevated to the throne of Kiev.” The words of the Mother of God were fulfilled. Patriarch Athanasius of Constantinople (1289-1293) elevated Saint Peter as Metropolitan of Russia, bestowing upon him the hierarchal vestments, staff and icon, brought by Gerontius. Upon his return to Russia in 1308, Metropolitan Peter arrived at Kiev after a year, and then proceeded on to Vladimir.

-- said of: St. Peter of Moscow (d. 1326), Source
« Last Edit: March 23, 2018, 10:40:07 PM by Asteriktos »
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #260 on: March 25, 2018, 10:11:55 PM »
Guarding the intellect with the Lord's help requires much humility, first in relation to God and then in relation to men. We ought to do all we can to crush and humble the heart. To achieve this we should scrupulously remember our former life in the world, recalling and reviewing in detail all the sins we have committed since childhood (except carnal sins, for the remembrance of these is harmful). This not only induces humility but also engenders tears and moves us to give heartfelt thanks to God. Perpetual and vivid mindfulness of death has the same effect: it gives birth to grief accompanied by a certain sweetness and joy, and to watchfulness of intellect. In addition, the detailed remembrance of our Lord's Passion, the recollection of what He suffered, greatly humbles and abashes our pride, and this, too, produces tears. Finally, to recount and review all the blessings we have received from God is truly humbling. For our battle is against proud demons.

-- St. Philotheos of Sinai (d. 10th century), Forty Texts on Watchfulness, 13
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #261 on: March 27, 2018, 06:23:40 PM »
When you hear that Christ descended into hell in order to deliver the souls dwelling there, do not think that what happens now is very different. The heart is a tomb and there our thoughts and our intellect are buried, imprisoned in heavy darkness. And so Christ comes to the souls in hell that call upon Him, descending, that is to say, into the depths of the heart; and there He commands death to release the imprisoned souls that call upon Him, for He has power to deliver us. Then, lifting up the heavy stone that oppresses the soul, and opening the tomb, He resurrects us - for we were truly dead - and releases our imprisoned soul from its lightless prison. 

-- St. Symeon Metaphrastis (10th century), Paraphrases of the Homilies of St. Makarios of Egypt (Philokalia, v. 3, p. 337)
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #262 on: March 28, 2018, 11:01:47 PM »
One could ask why the Word of God delayed His descent to the earth and His incarnation to save fallen humanity. But before the middle of the 6th Millennium since the fall of Adam, it was not possible to find a virgin pure in body as well as in spirit. There was only one such, unique by her spiritual and bodily purity who was worthy to become the Church and the temple of the Holy Spirit.

-- St. Dimitri of Rostov (d. 1709), Source
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #263 on: March 30, 2018, 07:48:44 PM »
St. Ioannicius was walking past a monastery one day. Among the many nuns, there were a mother and daughter. Evil spirits continually assaulted the young daughter with bodily temptations, and inflamed the passion of lust in her to such a degree that she wanted to leave the convent to marry. In vain did her mother counsel her to stay. Her daughter would not even hear of it. When the mother saw St. Ioannicius, she begged him to counsel her daughter to remain in the monastery and not expose her soul to perdition in the world. Ioannicius summoned the maiden and said: "Daughter, place your hand on my shoulder!" She did so. Then the compassionate saint prayed to God with a fervent heart that He deliver her from temptation, and that her bodily lust be transferred to him. Thus, it happened. The maiden was completely calmed and remained in the monastery, and the saint of God went on his way. But as he went, the passion of lust was inflamed in him, and his blood began to boil as though on fire. He desired to die rather than to give the passion its way and, seeing a large poisonous snake, ran to it so as to be bitten and to die. But the snake would not bite him. He provoked it to make it bite him, but as soon as he touched it the snake died. At that moment the flame of lust disappeared from Ioannicius.

-- said of: St. Joannicius the Great (d. 846), Source
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #264 on: March 31, 2018, 03:14:09 PM »
Be a preacher; not a flatterer. It is better to fear God than man, to please God than to fawn upon men. What is a flatterer but a fawning enemy? He destroys both himself and his hearer. You have received the pastoral rod and the staff of fraternal consolation; the one to rule, the other to console; that those who mourn may find in you consolation, those who resist may feel correction. The Judge's power is to kill; thine, to make alive... Do you, who along with the Apostles have received from Christ the key of the kingdom of heaven, the power of binding and loosing, open with assiduous prayer the gates of heaven to the people of God. Be not silent, lest the sins of the people be imputed to you: for of you will God require the souls which you have received to rule. Let your reward be multiplied by the salvation of those in your charge.

-- St. Alcuin of York (d. 804), Epistle 28: To Archbishop Athelhard of Canterbury (Source)
« Last Edit: March 31, 2018, 03:14:49 PM by Asteriktos »
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #265 on: April 03, 2018, 10:08:33 PM »
But you should not consider that God allows himself to be seen in his superessential essence, but according to his deifying gift and energy, the grace of adoption, the uncreated deification, the enhypostatic illumination. You should think that that is the principle of divinity, the deifying gift, in which one may supernaturally communicate, which one may see and with which one may be united. But the essence of God, which is beyond priniciple, transcends this principle, too.

-- St. Gregory Palamas (d. 1359), Source
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #266 on: April 04, 2018, 03:52:48 PM »
Sometime before Abbo reached the age of fourteen, during Wulfald's abbacy (948-963), he took the monastic habit and became a monk of Fleury. The Monastic Ritual of Fleury required from each candidate a thorough knowledge of the monastic rule and acceptance by the abbot and the entire congregation. Before entering the chapter house, each boy underwent an examination on the monastic rule. Then the prospective monks went with their master (magister) before the entire chapter, where each one of them in turn prostrated himself before the abbot and requested admittance to the monastic life from the entire congregation. When admission had been granted, the novice kissed the abbot's feet and wrote his profession. Interestingly enough, despite the strong emphasis on knowledge of the monastic rule, the novice did not have to be able to write. If he were unable to write for himself the ritual allowed him to have someone else right for him. The new monk promised his stability, profession, and obedience according to the Benedictine Rule. Finally, after many prayers, the abbot brought the monastic habit for each young man. Abbot Wulfald seems to have asked each entrant his name. When he came to Abbo, Aimoinus tells us, Wulfald punned on the name, noting that the name Abbo differed in only one letter from the Greek (actually Aramaic) for "father" (abba), the root of the Latin abbas, meaning "abbot," and admonished the boy to live up to the promise of the name.

-- said of: St. Abbo of Fleury (d. 1004), Source
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #267 on: April 08, 2018, 09:06:56 PM »
Pardon of guilt hath made her soul
A golden for an earthen bowl:
And for a vessel of disgrace
A precious vessel finds its place.

To Christ, arisen from the dead,
And Death's great Conqueror, as she pressed,
His earliest sight she merited
Who loved Him more than all the rest.

To God alone be honour paid
For grace so manifold displayed:
Their guilt He pardons who repent,
And gives reward for punishment.

-- St. Odo of Cluny (d. 942), Hymn for St. Mary Magdalene's Day
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #268 on: April 09, 2018, 06:47:29 PM »
It happened one day that a swineherd, Eoves by name, wandering far into the wood in search of a stray beast, beheld three maidens; one of them, who was surpassingly lovely, held a book in her hand, and as she stood before the astonished herdsman, sang heavenly canticles, in which her companions joined. The poor man was struck dumb with amazement, and left the place in great fear. He at once informed the Bishop of the occurrence, and the Saint, remembering that Christ, on the night of His birth, had sent the Angels to announce the good tidings first to poor shepherds, weighed the matter in his mind, and begged God's light by fasting and prayer. Thus prepared, he set out barefoot for the place described by Eoves, taking with him three attendants, and singing psalms and hymns as he went along.

At some little distance from the scene of the vision Egwin left his companions, and going forward alone, fell prostrate on the ground, imploring our Lord and His blessed Mother to favour his holy quest. Rising from his prayer, he himself beheld thevision which had been described to him. There stood the three maidens, all lovely, but one fair beyond compare, who held in her hand a book and a radiant Cross. Our Saint was convinced that this beautiful and gracious maiden was the Queen of Heaven herself; the Lady smiled, as if to confirm his belief, and, blessing him with the Cross which she carried, she and her heavenly companions vanished. The Saint was deeply consoled by this heavenly favour, and he saw in it an indication of God's will regarding a matter which he had at heart. In a time of spiritual trouble Egwin had vowed, that if restored to peace, he would build a church in God's honour. Taking the vision, therefore, as a sign of divine predilection for this wild spot, he resolved that there should be the site of a temple dedicated to God and Our Lady.

-- Said of: Egwin of Evesham (d. 717), Source
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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #269 on: April 10, 2018, 09:58:07 PM »
Fourth, facilitated by their intellectual abilities, Cyril and Methodius were quite committed to learning new languages in the task of mission. In addition to their native Greek language, bot hmen probably learned Slavic growing up in Thessalonica and Methodius, of course, mastered the language while serving as a governor. During the Khazar mission, they gained proficiency in Russian and Hebrew in order to speak with their hosts and make arguments from the Old Testament. A commitment to and excellence with language certainly characterized the brothers' mission to the Slavs. As discussed, Cyril and his team are credited with finalizing the first Slavonic alphabet in the Glagolithic script. Under the supervision of Bishop Constantine of Preslav (Bulgaria), the alphabet underwent a revision toward the end of the ninth century and it was named "Cyrillic" in honor of the Greek missionary. Fresh translations of Scripture and other works in Cyrillic were also completed in Bulgaria in the late ninth century. The fact that these revisions occurred should not suggest that Cyril's initial work was insufficient. On the contrary, Dvornik notes that "Slavic philologists [today] recognize the excellent qualities of his translation, which reveal a very deep knowledge of the Greek and Slavic languages and their character. Later, Cyrillic would be the key vehicle for spreading Christianity into the Slavic regions of Eastern Europe and Russia and also for being the primary means of expressing Eastern Orthodox Christianity.

-- said of: Sts. Cyril of Methodius (d. 869 & 885), Source
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