Author Topic: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)  (Read 56633 times)

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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #270 on: April 11, 2018, 08:44:20 PM »
The body and blood of Christ can also be called signs, in another way, inasmuch as that which we eat and transfer into our body of Christ seems to be incorporated and united in some kind of way with us. Therefore this bodily and temporal eating and incorporation of the flesh and blood of Christ signifies that spiritual and perpetual vision of eternal society and refreshment, whereby we shall be with Him incorporated and united in the future, so to remain with Him forever... This also the faith of those who receive this Sacrament ought firmly to hold, that, whatever fragment they may seem to receive of this Sacrament, they receive the body of Christ not divided and separated into parts but wholly complete... He is no different from an unbeliever who irreverently, when he is defiled by all the offences of sin, presumes to approach the Table of the Lord; or rather he is worse than an unbeliever and deserves more severe punishment... 'That ye come not into judgment,' (1 Cor. 11:34) that is, that ye do not receive the body of Christ blameably to your condemnation.

-- Hincmar of Rheims (d. 882), Source

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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #271 on: April 12, 2018, 11:14:30 PM »
Not only did He wash us from our sins in His blood when He gave His blood for us on the cross, or when any one of us was washed in the mystery of His most holy passion and in the Baptism of water; but also He daily takes away the sins of the world, and daily washes us from our sins in His blood, when the commemoration of His blessed passion is reproduced on the altar, when the creature of bread and wine is translated into the Sacrament of His flesh and blood by the ineffable sanctification of the Spirit... That our Redeemer still to this day celebrates by the daily memorial of His blessed passion all which He did once for all at the time of His passion is, I think, the chief reason why we continually reproduce the memory of His most holy death by daily offering the sacrifice of His most sacred body and blood on the altar.

-- Paschasius Radbertus (d. 865), Source

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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #272 on: April 13, 2018, 09:00:32 PM »
"And the Lord God made for Adam and his wife garments of skins and clothed them." (Gen. 3:21)

"This was done for the sake of its allegorical meaning, but nevertheless it was done." (St. Augustine) For by a garment of this kind the Lord teaches that they had now been made mortal. Skins, of course, which are not removed except from dead animals, contain the allegorical figure of death, Thus, "when, against the command, man desires to be God not by lawful imitation, but by unlawful pride, he is cast down to the mortal nature of wild beasts." (St. Augustine) And indeed they had made for themselves aprons of leaves of the fig-tree, with which to cover their genitals; but God makes them garments of skin, with which he clothes their whole body. Because, having lost the glory of innocence by their transgression, they claimed for themselves the garment of an excuse, by which to transfer their fault to the Creator; and the Creator himself punished them with a sentence of a just judgment when he deprived them of the condition of eternal life by the penalty of mortality both in the soul and in the flesh.

But the parable of the Gospel (Luke 15:11-22) relates that among other gifts the devoted father ordered even 'the first robe' to be brought forth for his dissolute son who was returning to him penitently and that he be clothed, mystically teaching that the elect are to receive in Christ at the end of time the garment of immortality, which they lost in Adam at the beginning of time, and indeed with a fuller blessing. For Adam was made immortal, in that he could not die if he kept the command; but the children of the resurrection will be immortal, in that they can never die nor be affected by the fear of death. Concerning the receiving of this robe the Apostle says, "For this corruptible must put on incorruption; and this mortal must put on immortality." (1 Cor. 15:53)  Where the word 'clothe' is used, it of course signifies that the nakedness was removed, which Adam and Eve blushed for in themselves when they recognized it.

-- St. Bede the Venerable (d. 735), On Genesis

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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #273 on: April 14, 2018, 07:05:21 PM »
We are not mightier than Samson, wiser than Solomon, more knowledgeable about God than David, and we do not love God better than did Peter, prince of the apostles. So let us not have confidence in ourselves; for he who has confidence in himself will fall headlong.     

-- St. Hesychios the Priest (c. 9th century), On Watchfulness and Holiness 37

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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #274 on: April 15, 2018, 09:35:58 PM »
Under the heading for the 6273rd year of the world since its creation, the writer of the Chronographia attributed to Theophanes, makes a grand claim: God now permitted a widow and her orphan son to glorify Him as had once been done by 'the weak hands of fisherman and illiterate folk.' To compare a woman to the apostles was obviously extraordinary, but in his eulogistic account of her rule Theophanes lavishes praise on 'the most pious Irene'. This is, of course, dependent on what she will do later for the church, by restoring the icons to their honoured place. But he reads back into the moment of Leo's death a miraculous and divine intervention...

As Irene must have anticipated, the caesars reacted to the news of their half-brother's death with renewed hope. Immediately after the forty days of mourning following his burial, they challenged Irene's position by conspiring to elevate the eldest, Nikephoros, as emperor. The plot was discovered, however, and many eminent officials... were apprehended. Irene had them all scourged, tonsured and banished. For Nikephoros and his brothers she reserved the punishment of forcing them to become clerics (which meant that they could no longer marry) and making them serve in the Great Church at the following feast of Christmas. She also decided that during this celebration she would perform the ceremonial restoration of the crown which had allegedly caused her husband's death to its rightful place. This crown had been further embellished with pearls at her orders...

By using a liturgical event to make a political gesture which brought her prominently into public view while displaying her generosity, Irene demonstrated a particular flair for publicity. It was to become one of the hallmarks of her style of government. Obviously she understood how to make the most of an official function by transforming it into a personal intervention. On this occasion, the Christmas feast required her presence in the cathedral church. Her imperial role in the celebration of Christ's birth was greatly enhanced when those who had recently opposed her were forced, as clerics, to administer the Eucharist to the population. She must have sensed the public impact that her presence would have beside them: the sons of Constantine V, dressed in clerical garb, serving at the alter rail, while she flaunted the most colourful and gold-embroidered imperial costume, and returned the crown to its hallowed place above the high altar.

-- said of: St. Irene of Athens (d. 803), Women in Purple: Rulers of Medieval Byzantium, pp. 75-77

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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #275 on: April 16, 2018, 09:31:14 PM »
Was there a gift more suitable to a Christian ruler visiting a royal monastery than a commentary on the Books of Kings? When in 834 or shortly thereafter Hrabanus sent his commentary  on Chronicles to Louis the German, he wrote:  "It used to be the custom that a most Christian king, much occupied with divine precepts, was offered the history of the kings of Judah, that is, of the confessors, with some explanation of its spiritual meaning. Because your noble prudence rules over a Christian people [populus ecclesiasticus] redeemed by the precious blood of God's son and most accustomed to profess God's name, it suits a pious prince, that is to say, the rector of the members of the true king Christ, God's only son, to have and practice the right form of government which is in accordance with Scripture..."

This neatly summarizes Hrabanus' views on the uses of biblical commentary for rulers. It should be a practical guide to Christian kings who were rectores, first and foremost, ruling a people defined by the face that it was 'ecclesiasticus'. Yet it was not merely biblical history itself, but above all its spiritual commentary which was harnessed to this cause. 'Accept this history of earlier kings [regum priorum historia] and love most in it everything concerning its spiritual meaning, which pertains to the grace of Christ.' The reference to David's key (Apoc. 3:7) was another allusion to the ability of kings to fathom the spiritual meaning of Scripture. Hrabanus was adamant that his exegesis was, above all, meant to be useful, but this 'practicality' operated primarily at an allegorical level: it was to aid the royal understanding of the deeper and truly Christian meaning of the 'history of prior kings'. After his usual protestations about following the vestigia patrum and doing so with the required brevity, Hrabanus clearly stated his intentions: instead of presenting long flowery treatises, 'I have decided to write commentaries on divine histories, of which the function is to pass over the obvious, and to explicate the obscure'.

-- said of: Rabanus Maurus (d. 856), Source

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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #276 on: April 17, 2018, 05:24:44 PM »
During the reign of Theophilos, an iconoclast emperor opposed to all holy images, Lazarus stubbornly continued his craft of painting icons and began restoring images defaced by heretics. Theophilus sought out Lazarus, who was then famous for his painting, and intended to make an example of him. After being asked several times to cease painting, Lazarus was brought before the emperor where he refused to destroy any of the images he painted. The emperor soon found that Lazarus was above flattery and bribery. He was then threatened with the death penalty, which at the time was not an uncommon outcome for those who favored icons. However, Lazarus being a man of the cloth, could not be put to death and so he was instead thrown in prison... He was left to die of his wounds but recovered. He then began to paint holy images on panels from his prison cell. Hearing of this, Theophilos gave orders to have “sheets of red hot iron to be applied to the palms of his hands where, as a result, he lost consciousness and lay half dead.” It is also said his hands were burned with red-hot horseshoes until his flesh melted to the bone. As Lazarus lay on his deathbed, the Empress Theodora, an iconodule, convinced Theophilos to release Lazarus from prison...

In 856, Lazarus was served as a diplomat for Michael III, Theophilos and Theodora’s son, who sent him as an emissary to visit Pope Benedict III to discuss the possibility of reconciliation between the Catholic Church of Rome and the Orthodox Church of Constantinople, who at this point had very strained relations. In 867, during his second mission to Rome as an ambassador, Lazarus died in Galata...

-- St. Lazarus Zographos (d. 867), Source

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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #277 on: April 18, 2018, 12:09:25 AM »
Near the famous Church of the Archangels, which is commonly known as Kambana, there lies one dedicated to the Theotokos and called Marmariotissa. At this parish there lives a woman named Angerou, whose husband, Frangoulis, was originally a Roman Catholic and then espoused our Eastern Faith through Divine Baptism. Now the four-year-old daughter of this couple, Argyri, was assailed by the dreadful and dangerous disease of small pox, and her condition became pitiful and miserable. For four years she suffered continuously from fourteen sores, which the disease caused on her right arm. We saw these with our own eyes, and were horrified.

Although she was treated during this period by the best surgeon in Chios, Dominikos, who removed many small bones from the sores, causing her terrible pains, her condition did not improve at all. Rather, she was heading towards death. Her hand became immovable, as if it were dead, being suspended from the neck by a sling and having the fingers turned in towards the palm.

When the news spread that the holy Makarios had died, the sick girl's mother, who had very great reverence for the holy Father, upon hearing it made haste to attend his funeral. She gave her little daughter to a friend who was going to the place of the funeral by donkey, while she followed by foot, accompanied by her niece Roxandritsa.

The man who went by donkey arrived at the dwelling of the holy Makarios ahead of them, and told the story about the girl's sickness to the servant who was present there. The latter felt compassion for her, and entering the cell took the head covering of the holy Father and with faith and confidence crossed the arm of the girl. Shortly after this, the child's mother arrived with her niece, venerated the body of the Saint and prayed.

When they returned home, the mother suddenly saw her daughter moving, without any effort or difficulty, every part of her arm which until that moment had been motionless. And she cried: "Great is our Lord, and great is His power!" She did not untie the bandages with which the sores of the child's arm had been covered and observe them, but took the girl to the above mentioned surgeon, Dominikos, as she was accustomed to do. The surgeon untied the bandages, and seeing the sores healed, he was astonished and said: "Incomprehensible! All the sores have healed!" He glorified God, as did all those who witnessed this miracle.

-- said of the relics of St. Makarios of Corinth (d. 1805), as recorded by St. Athanasios of Paros
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I thought he had, a few posts ago.

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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #278 on: April 18, 2018, 07:34:16 PM »
Far and wide resounded the exalted fame of the illustrious martyr and the miracles that the Lord deigned to perform in order to proclaim his glory. Not content to be confined to the boundaries of Norway, it spread to the ends of the earth. In the royal city of Constantinople his memory is renowned, and in that city a church has been built in honour of the martyr. For it befell at one time that the emperor of the aforesaid city, having assembled his army, went forth to do battle against a certain king of the heathens. The armies on both sides being arrayed for warfare and positioned with martial skill, they entered into combat. The foreigners fell upon the Christians most fiercely, and in the first encounter they were the victors. The greater part of the Greeks fell and the might of the Christian army was enfeebled. A small force remained which expected nothing but death.

The emperor, stricken and well-nigh heartbroken, turned to divine aid, and with many tears they all together implored the help of the blessed martyr, who they knew by report often came to the aid of those fighting for righteousness. They vowed that they would build a church in the royal city, in the name of the martyr and in honour of the blessed Virgin Mary, if, by Óláfr’s intervention, they should return as victors. O glorious and extraordinary miracle! The martyr appeared to some of the soldiers and preceded the vanguard of the Christians as an illustrious standard-bearer. Dread seized the enemy army, and they all turned to flee, smitten with divine terror. Defended by the aid of the martyr, a force by no means large harried those fierce savages, although a great and powerful army, not long before, had been unable to withstand them. Inestimable slaughter was made of the pagans, and the Christian victors returned with great spoils.

-- said of: St. Olaf of Norway (d. 1030), The Passion and Miracles of the Blessed Olafr (pdf)

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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #279 on: April 19, 2018, 04:17:42 PM »
According to Christian of Stavelot's Commentary on Matthew, the "Christ" of which the text speaks is the "King of Christians"; "Peter" represents obedience, because he is "Simon Bar Jona," the son of the dove (Jerome), and firmness, because he is Petrus. On the firmness of faith which he professed, Christ will build His Church; that is, Petere with all the Church is constructed and built on Christ. The gates of hell, that is, vice and heresy, cannot prevail against the Church, because he who is firm in faith has the protection and help of God. The keys which Peter receives from Christ are "knowledge and the power of discernment by which he receives the worthy into the kingdom and excludes the unworthy." The power of binding and loosing is the power of forgiving sins which was granted to Peter and the Apostles and remains with their successors in the Church. Christian concludes his exegesis with an exhortation to imitate the firm faith of Peter, his dovelike simplicity, and his constancy in overcoming temptation.

-- said of: Christian of Stavelot (9th century), Source
« Last Edit: April 19, 2018, 04:19:21 PM by Asteriktos »

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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #280 on: April 21, 2018, 12:48:27 PM »
In his latter years Aymardus became blind an affliction which he bore without a murmur as he did all his other adversities. It was probably on account of his blindness that after sixteen years of rule he retired from active participation in the administration of the monastery His blindness was the occasion for an instance of marvellous humility of which Peter Damian wrote to a friend After Maiolus was appointed coadjutor and successor. Aymardus withdrew to the infirmary to spend his last years in peace. One day he wanted a cheese. When he asked the cellarius to fetch it the latter roughly replied that so many abbots were a nuisance and that he could not attend to all their commands. Cut off by his blindness Aymardus brooded over the insult as the blind are wont to do. Then he asked to be led to the chapter house where, approaching Maiolus, he said: "Brother Maiolus I did not set thee over me that thou shouldest persecute me or order me about as a master orders a slave but that as a son thou mightest have compassion on thy father." After many more words he concluded: "Art thou indeed my monk?" Maiolus replied that he was and never more so than at that moment. "If that be so," Aymardus rejoined, "give up thy seat and take the one thou hadst before." Immediately Maiolus obeyed and Aymardus seating himself on the abbatial chair accused the cellarer, whom prostrate on the ground he rebuked and enjoined to do penance. Then descending from the abbot's throne he ordered Maiolus to ascend which the latter did without either haste or delay.

-- said of: St. Aymard of Cluny (d. 965), Source

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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #281 on: April 22, 2018, 04:29:01 PM »
With the taste for intellectual pursuits, that for theological speculations and discussions also revived. During the reign of Manuel Comnenus the question was raised whether Christ had offered Himself a sacrifice for the sins of the world to the Father and to the Holy Ghost only, or also to the Logos, i.e., to Himself. At a synod held at Constantinople in 1156 the latter view was declared to be the orthodox. Ten years later a controversy arose as to whether the saying of Christ, "My Father is greater than I" (John 14:28), referred to His Divine nature, to His human, or to the union of these two natures. The question was discussed by persons of all classes, and that with an earnestness and ardour which recalls the kindred controversies in the fourth century. At last the view of the Emperor that the expression referred to the God man carried at the Synod of Constantinople in 1166. Those who refused to submit had their property confiscated or were exiled.

-- Source

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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #282 on: April 24, 2018, 05:59:59 PM »
[Emperor Leo] even summoned the holy patriarch Germanos, thinking he could persuade him to subscribe to opposing the holy icons. But in no way would the noble servant of Christ obey Leo’s abominable, wicked doctrine. He rightly taught the true doctrine, but bade farewell to his position as chief prelate. He gave up his surplice and, after many instructive words, said, “If I am Jonah, cast me into the sea. For, Emperor, I cannot make innovations in the faith without an ecumenical conference.” He went off to the Platanaion and went into seclusion at his ancestral home, having been patriarch for fourteen years, five months, and seven days.

-- said of: St. Germanos of Constantionpel (d. 733), Source
« Last Edit: April 24, 2018, 06:00:55 PM by Asteriktos »

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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #283 on: April 24, 2018, 06:01:39 PM »
I wonder what kind of "innovations" St. Germanos has in mind here as being possible, whether merely in terminology, or something deeper than that.

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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #284 on: April 26, 2018, 03:32:13 AM »
Then, you will say, if a living man has the dispositions you mention in his soul, and yet does not partake of the holy mysteries, will he nevertheless receive the sanctification which the sacrament gives? Not in all cases; only when it is physically impossible for him to receive the elements, as it is for the dead. Such was the case of the solitaries who lived in the desert, or in caves and grottoes in the mountain-side, and could not avail themselves of priest or altar. Christ gave them this sanctification in an invisible manner. We know this because they had life, which they could not have had without partaking of the sacrament, for Christ himself said: "Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, ye have no life in you." Another proof is the fact that God sent angels to several of these men with the sacrament.

-- St. Nicholas Cabasilas (d. 1392), Commentary on the Divine Liturgy 42

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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #285 on: April 26, 2018, 03:56:01 PM »
Like other Western hagiographers, Eigil adjusted the solitude to the environmental conditions of a cold and wet north-western Europe and, instead of hte heat of a bare desert, where the devil tested God's servants with demons in the shape of lions, leopards, serpents and scorpions, Sturmi encountered smelly pagans and the darkness of towering trees. Similar images cannot only be found in the Vita Sturmi, but also in both earlier and contemporary hagiography such as the Vita Wynnebaldi written by Wynnebald's sister, Hygeburc of Heidenheim, around 785. In this vita, Hygeburc carefully described the establishment of Heidenheim, the foundation of her brother, in Sualeveld, near Eichstatt, Heidenheim was a place of holiness in th emiddle of the woods in a region that was inhabited by pagans, foreordained by God to become a monastery.

Eigil described the environment of Fulda in full detail not only to demonstrate the remoteness and holiness of the area where the abbey was established according to hagiographic conventions, but also to illustrate the different phases by which Sturmi's journey progressed. One of his examples in this respect had been the Vita Antonii, in which Antony's ascent to the ideal of complete poverty, abstinence and solitude and his search for God is also expressed in terms of landscape and nature. As Antony moved deeper into the desert and further away from civilization, from his hometown via a deserted fort at the Outer Mountain to the foot of the so-called Inner Mountain, so too Sturmi penetrated Buchonia's forests until he discovered the idea place to found a monastery. Like Antony's biographer, Eigil invited his listeners and readers to follow Sturmi on his journey, which had been not only a physical experience but also a spiritual pilgrimage, and to relive it in a mystical sense.

-- about the establishment of monasticism in Fulda (8th century Germany), Source

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Re: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)
« Reply #286 on: April 27, 2018, 05:58:59 PM »
It is not without reason or by chance that we worship towards the East. But seeing that we are composed of a visible and an invisible nature, that is to say, of a nature partly of spirit and partly of sense, we render also a twofold worship to the Creator; just as we sing both with our spirit and our bodily lips, and are baptized with both water and Spirit, and are united with the Lord in a twofold manner, being sharers in the mysteries and in the grace of the Spirit. Since, therefore, God is spiritual light (1 John 1:5), and Christ is called in the Scriptures Sun of Righteousness (Mal. 4:2) and Dayspring , the East is the direction that must be assigned to His worship. For everything good must be assigned to Him from Whom every good thing arises... So, then, in expectation of His coming we worship towards the East. But this tradition of the apostles is unwritten. For much that has been handed down to us by tradition is unwritten.

-- St. John of Damascus (d. 749), Exact Exposition of the Orthodox Faith 4.12