Catecheses of St.

Theodore the Studite to his Monks
There is some confusion as to when the post-paschal instructions were given. The Greek text of the Small Catecheses by Skrettas, based on Auvray’s edition, gives no indication of dates for numbers 1-6; the list in the introduction to the Migne edition gives this one as In Dominica Sancti Thomae, sive prima post Pascha, but the Latin heading of the sermon itself has simply Post Pascha, and for number 5 In Octavam Paschae, though the Greek list gives this as for the Wednesday of Mid-Pentecost. It should be remembered that St Theodore and his monks were in exile in the Propontis at this time. This perhaps explains a number of allusions to shipping and metaphors taken from it in these Instructions. He appears to have some difficulty in keeping the community together. He refers to the problem again in no. 103, where he says he has to keeping mentioning it.

That we must always die the chosen death, and on good order. Brethren and Fathers, Pascha is gone by and the feast has been completed; but rejoicing and feasting, should we wish, have by no means gone by, for we are always allowed to rejoice and feast spiritually, in accordance with the saying of Scripture, Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I will say: Rejoice! [Phil. 4:4.] But how shall this be? If we always keep fresh the memory of the sufferings of our Saviour Christ; that the Lord of glory was crucified for our sake, that he was buried and that he was raised on the third day, raising us with himself and giving us life with himself, so that being alive we may no longer live for ourselves, but for him who died and was raised for our sake, [2 Cor. 5:15.] so that we can confidently say with the Apostle, I

live, but no longer I; Christ lives in me. What I now live in the flesh, I live in the faith of the Son of God who loved me and who handed himself over for me.[ Gal. 2:20.] This is the sum of the mystery: to be corpses to the world but alive to God. And so after Pascha we must be watchful and awake, pray and be stirred to compunction, weep and be illumined, always bearing in our bodies the death of the Lord Jesus, [2 Cor. 4:10.] dying each day by choice, always journeying from the body and dwelling with the Lord through leaving the thoughts of the flesh. Do not say, ‘It is not Lent now ‘. It is always Lent for the watchful. Do not say, ‘I have spent hours in ascetic activity and it is necessary to rest’. There is no rest here. Do not say, ‘I have grown old in virtue and I am not afraid’. There is always fear of reversal; and Satan in one instant has cast into the deep of sin many who had grown old in virtue. So let the one who thinks they stand beware lest they fall, [1 Cor. 10:12.] and the one who thinks they have been guarded see to it that they are not off their guard. So let there be guard and attention and moderation with regard to sleep, to food, to drink and to whatever else, so that the body may be kept under control and brought into servitude, [Cf. 1 Cor. 9:27.] lest, like a colt in fine condition which takes the bit between its teeth [St Theodore is thinking of the myth of the Charioteer in the Phaedrus, where this precise phrase occurs [254D], it push us down the precipice of sin. I ordered you in a previous instruction not to go off on your own and live by yourselves in more inaccessible places [St Theodore refers to this problem again in number 103, where he says he has to keep referring to it.]. Yet again some of you are doing just that. What do you want? That I should come to you with a rod, or with love and a spirit of gentleness?[ 1 Cor. 4:21.] In short, I spoke and I was not listened to; in short, you clearly saw your brother disciplined for this very thing and you were not restrained. Take care that none of you falls into a similar sort of disobedience. These instructions are not given to no purpose or vainly. Because God is not a God of disorder but of peace, as in all the churches of the Saints.[ 1 Cor. 14:33.] And so let everything be done fittingly and in order, [1 Cor. 14:40.] so that in all things the Lord may be glorified in you. Those of you, brethren, who come alongside [The metaphor is of a ship coming to harbour.] here and there take care for yourselves where and how you settle and dwell. Do not be like dissolute people, but like ones bound by the spirit; not like ones

without supervision, but like ones under the supervision of the Lord, who oversees your every movement and action; not ones being driven randomly here and there, but remaining in stillness in your cells, attending to your manual work, your prayers and psalmody; not amassing treasure for yourselves from love of money, but content with what you have now. For he himself said, I will not abandon you, I will not desert you, so that we may say confidently, The Lord is my helper, and I shall not fear what man will do to me. Remember your brethren, and keeping before you the outcome of their lives imitate their faith. [Hebrews
13:5-7. St Theodore has freely adapted verse 7, which in the original refers to ‘leaders’ rather than ‘brothers’.]

Such was the blessed Dometianos, whom we have praised and whose memorial is with the Saints. How great the business he achieved, how great the life he accomplished by few toils and struggles, inheriting eternal glory, a man of no worth in human terms, but since he chose virtue and loved God, God exalted him, in accordance with what is written, Because I will glorify those who glorify me, and the one who despises me will be dishonoured [1 Kingd. 2:30.]. It is right to rejoice and be glad in such brothers; but it is of no use unless we also make our own contribution. If we contribute as best we can, we too will have a portion with the Saints in Christ Jesus our Lord, to whom be the glory and the might with the Father and the holy Spirit now and for ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

On taking care for ourselves and fleeing sin’s destructive places and ways. [Given on the Sunday of the Paralysed Man]
Brethren and fathers, after the feast the season invites us once again to talk with you and to return to the usual instruction. And we have come with enthusiasm knowing that we are appointed for this, and woe to us if we do not talk with you as much as possible. So, what is there to say in the present circumstances? That each of you, like a merchant, having amassed spiritual wealth for himself during holy Lent, has reached holy Pascha like a harbour, laden with many excellent stocks of virtue, namely: fasting, vigil, prayer, hard work

I entered the depths of the sea. as it is related of Saint Arsenios. . but let the spirit be master and act for the better. the spirit of despondency. For a physical harbour is not like a harbour of the mind. Psalm 48. sin that has made humanity.and all the other exertions of holiness. the spirit of pride.21]. drink and sleep. that was in honour.15]. and readers know what he suffered. For if they manfully shake off unseemly thoughts. having the Holy Spirit as the companion of their voyage. stirs up a most dreadful storm for themselves. Jacob ate and was filled. you who are listening to this. When someone comes to anchor in the former.13. they ease off and have no worries about the storms and dangers of the sea. they are filled with calm. the fuel of the unquenchable fire of Gehenna. that you may keep from being overwhelmed by the tempest of the passions.3]. and the beloved kicked [Deut 32. and the spirits of wickedness join in the assault like storms: the spirit of fornication. In the latter on the contrary. smell. This is worth remembering: someone who sails across the physical sea is subject to storms and tempests without their wanting it. hearing. and let the better not be dragged down by the worse. the spirit of avarice. the spirit of gluttony. Or don’t you know what sin produces? Didn’t it introduce death into the world? Didn’t it destroy the earth? Hasn’t it filled the inhabited world with graveyards and tombs from the beginning of time until now? For humanity was incorrupt before the fall and none of the things I have mentioned would have started if the first-formed had steadfastly observed the commandment that had been given. while someone who crosses the water of the mind is lord of tempest and of calm. and a tempest drowned me [Psalm 68. taste and touch. will end by repeating those miserable words. the passions become more ferocious with the relaxation of the flesh. David once looked unguardedly on Uria’s wife. be compared to the unreasoning beasts [Cf. Therefore let reason be in control. your food. the spirit of dejection. Sin is the cause of the everlasting punishments. the food of the undying worm. Govern your sight. But one whose senses are unbridled and who lets in desires like streams. Flee the destructive places and ways of sin. The fear is that we may be sunk in harbour. Someone touched without meaning to and they were enflamed to lust and gave birth to iniquity. says Scripture. Unless the person does not swiftly smooth out their tempestuous thoughts. Take care.

might and honour. The list in Migne gives it as number 5 and assigns it to the Wednesday of Mid-Pentecost. But I must explain why I have said this. now and for ever. but in the text it is given as number 6 and described as Ante Mesopentecosten. Brethren and fathers. CATECHESIS 6 That one must give off a sweet fragrance through acquiring the virtues. and choose virtue. but St John Chrysostom and St Jerome. how much more ought we. we see the earth wearing green. May we all reach it too by the grace and love for humankind of our Lord Jesus Christ.And so. In the text the feast is said to be ‘at the doors’. and the ages of ages. resists the demons. who have been honoured with reason and the image of God. destructive and deadly. ‘gather’ and ‘eat’. prefer the second. the sea tamed and everything being changed for the better. For one who strives after . raises them from death. Amen. like a deadness puts out fresh shoots and as it were comes to life again. who has ‘conuescens’. at Christ’s resurrection creation too. which would suggest that the sermon was given before the day itself. and finally betroths them to the kingdom of heaven. except for the second verb in the allusion to Acts 1. which makes humans angels. we must flee from it. but their meaning is clear. with all our might.3-4. brethren. the animals skipping around [an unattested word]. with whom to the Father and the holy Spirit belong glory. And yes. overcomes the rulers of this age. because sin is like all this. make ourselves bright by our life and give off sweet fragrance by the spirit. If inanimate and irrational creatures are made radiant and lovely by the resplendent resurrection. putting away its winter gloom. This Instruction contains a number of words that are not attested in the standard lexica. the plants flourishing. Most English versions of the New Testament give the former. INTRODUCTION There is some confusion over the numbering of this instruction. where the commentators are divided between ‘meet with’.

does he not have the possibility of being portrayed in an image? So if the latter is impossible. though his holy flesh had no need to. and the Apostle bears witness to this when he says. And therefore.14-15] But this was before the Passion. he ate and drank and let his side be handled. when he smelt a sweet aroma on his son Jacob. the scent of my son is like the scent of a fertile field that the Lord has blessed [Gen. my brothers. And it is possible to say this as well. that is to say the scent that has been received spiritually. after the Resurrection. as it says in the Song of Songs [1. With this perfume too let us also run as we celebrate with sincerity the holy Mid-Pentecost. What do you say to that. Let us .virtue is truly the sweet fragrance of Christ. for each of them confirms the other. But the iconoclasts. so was the former.4 LXX]. for the former an scent of life leading to life [2 Cor. as a truly master perfumer. 27. but repels demons. When it was already the mid-point of the feast. ‘How does this man know letters. See. as you see I have [Luke 24. because a spirit does not have flesh and bones. that it is I myself. made bright by immortality and incorruption and engrossed in heavenly contemplation. while now. will pay the penalty of everlasting destruction [2 Thess. Adam too was a sweet fragrance for God.39]. without having learnt?’ [John 7. so as to confirm his Resurrection. appropriately he dwelt in Paradise. a perfume that each one produces [unattested] for themselves by a blending of the virtues.27]. which is at the doors. And to those who thought that he was a spirit he said.3-4] with the holy Apostles. The patriarch Isaac also. Acts 1. and the Jews marvelled. Before his transgression. and — O what inexpressible condescension! — after the Resurrection he touched food. like a fragrant meadow filled with flowers. This perfume is sweet to God. saying. See my hands and feet. since it is written. Handle me and see. let us give off a sweet spiritual fragrance. For we are the sweet fragrance of Christ for God among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. as it is written. initiating them into greater and more ineffable mysteries. With this perfume women ran behind Jesus. giving off the virtues. But nevertheless. for the latter a scent of death leading to death. But he himself silently bears witness also to his being portrayed. So then. Jesus went up to the Temple and taught.15-16]. enemy of Christ? If he has flesh and bones. This perfume attracts angels. 2. 1. This perfume is blessed. he appears to and eats [Cf. who think like the Manicheans. said.9].

since he refers to the recent celebration of St Pachomius. and every name that is named. to whom be glory and might with the Father and the holy Spirit. not ‘Ascension’. CATECHESIS 7 On the Assumption of our Saviour Jesus Christ and on conducting ourselves in a manner pleasing to God. but well-pleasing on both we may attain the kingdom of heaven. and this language has been preserved in the hymns of the Church. Brethren and fathers. not only in this age. and to the ages of ages. which comes from the Latin name for the feast. for our nature is being taken up beyond heaven. [Romans 8. Apart from the necessary change of person in the verb. brethren. Amen. who believe with orthodox understanding that we both see and worship our Lord Jesus Christ in an image. All the texts in the New Testament speak of Christ’s being ‘taken up’.16 is one of the key quotations in the liturgical texts for the feast. a feast of feasts. the Assumption of our Saviour Jesus Christ. pure. is at our doors. now and for ever. The quotation from 1 Timothy 3.though.34] far above every principality and authority and power and dominion.5-6] who is at the right hand of God. The Greek name of the feast means ‘Assumption’. guiltless. the whole clause ‘he descended into the lowest parts of the earth’ is the opening of the Irmos of the 6th Ode of St John of Damascus’s Easter Canon.[Ephesians 2. And he has put all things under his . as it written: By grace you have been saved. blameless. but in that which to come. and he has raised us up together and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus. INTRODUCTION The feast seems to have fallen in the second half of May in the year that St Theodore gave this instruction. which St Theodore would have known. display a way of life worthy of the faith. so as not to limp on either account. whose feast falls on 15 May. and a great and supernatural mystery. in Christ Jesus our Lord.

let us yet refrain from carnal desires that war against the soul. he became a slave to the normal laws of nature. nailing to it the record against us. but we have also soared aloft to sonship.22-23] Do you see then to what height of glory human nature has been raised? Is it not from earth to heaven? Is it not from corruption to incorruption? How hard would not someone toil in order to become the intimate friend of a corruptible king here below? But we.18]. manifesting himself for us to God the Father.feet. life from death.[1 Peter 2. brethren.18-20] For what came to pass? He who is supremely good came to us through a virgin birth. finally he was taken up in glory {1 Timothy 3. and gave him to be head over all things to the Church. let us reverence the gift. but so as to go towards the fire that is ready. love of money is a pit. And this is the blessed life: but pleasures and trifles. let us not make the members of Christ members of a harlot. he descended to the lowest parts of the earth [Psalm 138. peaceable. [1 Corinthians 6.15] and abolished the pains of death and raised humanity with himself. compliant. and yet they rush towards it unbridled. occasions of laughter and dissoluteness and all such inordinate behaviour should be left to the lovers of the flesh and to the lovers of life. Such is the mighty work of the ineffable love for mankind of our good God. have not only been reconciled to God the Father. These then briefly are the events of the holy feast. and with this in mind the blest Apostle cried out: What is the hope of his calling. he ascended the cross. the fullness of him who fills all in all.11] maintaining good conduct in ourselves. light from darkness. through our Lord Jesus Christ. and now our nature is worshipped in the heavens by every creature seen and unseen. although we were alienated and hostile in our intent by evil deeds. who see and do not see and hear and do not hear. reliable. for their hearts are insensitive [Cf.15] but let us sanctify ourselves in both thoughts and deeds. humble.17-18] and their ears blocked up so as not to distinguish good from bad. And as we contemplate them. let us not betray the grace. Mark 8. For the desire of the flesh is fire. and because we are the body of Christ. [Ephesians 1. according to the working of the might of his strength which he worked in Christ? {Ephesians 1. and yet deep embedded they do not cease to follow their self-chosen demon and to be entitled to be . which is his body. let us preserve the nobility. and what the exceeding greatness of his power towards us who believe. obedient. and what the wealth of the glory of his inheritance in the saints.

The title of the one for the Sunday of the Blind Man is the same as this one. apart from you my most dear members and children and brothers and fathers. because despising what is truly good they embrace rather perishable corruption. since after God I have no one else. My brothers. using all our members healthily. This affiliation is of the Holy Spirit.called miserable rather than blessed. talking to you and seeing you is for me comfort and consolation. and let us boast in the hope of the glory of God. and the reference to spring suggests that it the one meant. an unprofitable sinner. as indeed did the blessed Pachomius. So then I rejoice each time I speak to you and address you. let us hold fast to the confession in which we stand. [Romans 5. Let us see healthily. brethren. now and for ever. But we. and am filled with zeal and am on fire for your love according to God and your salvation that your work as it progresses may progress. let us touch healthily. the denial of parents and all fleshly connections1 have secured this union for us. not mother. whom we recently celebrated. [Cf. fathers and children. not brothers. Flight from the world. as it . INTRODUCTION This Instruction is no. Therefore this sacred fellowship is acknowledged to be one soul and one will for all. 14 of the Large Catechesis. so that guided by the word and as servants of the word we may become inheritors of eternal life according to the promise.2] let us keep to the discipline in which the saints disciplined themselves. not father. let us hear healthily. alienation. not have you any except me. not relatives. since two instructions are numbered ‘7’. LARGE CATECHESIS 14 On freedom from affections and on self-mastery. The list in Migne is confused. and to the ages of ages. while I am convinced that your reciprocal love and sight of me is the same also for you.8] in Christ Jesus our Lord. to whom be the glory and the might with the Father and the Holy Spirit. 1 Timothy 4. not friends. Amen.

not to the sick but to those who are in good health. Ps. may increase. why then do we add the waves of wine to it? Taste therefore and see that self-mastery in this regard is good. for the sake of your precious souls.] show yourselves to be above the passions as you trample down the pleasures and desires of the flesh and guard from every side your virginity and purity of soul and body.3 But you are to act with regard to eating and drinking and everything else so as to rule and not be ruled by pleasures. 14:21. I beg you then. 6:11.[Rom. particularly for the younger ones. now too stand steadfast and immovable from hope in God and by tearing apart the tangled wiles of the devil [ Cf. so as to master and not be mastered by the flesh. as I said to you before Easter. may shine to my inexpressible joy.] For you will see yourself by abstinence from wine rising above thoughts. 33:8. it is good not to drink wine. for through wine the passions are enflamed. for I have not issued an order. awake to the love of God and aroused for those things that are better and abound in salvation. my brothers.2 It is good. Be careful regarding journeys outside and worldly contacts not to bring disturbances to the brotherhood. Let your sleep be in moderation. says the Apostle. my children. One who abstains from wine is filled with the Holy Spirit. And with regard to foods. as you are able. I have the same advice. let your food be regulated as prescribed. or do anything that makes your brother stumble. but I am giving you advice in the matter. And those of you who are assigned to the boats for going in and out and bringing in what is needed. from which come dissolute behaviour and the seeds of Sodom. not to eat meat or to drink wine. act thus to preserve your bodily health or in proportion to your toil.increases. freed from fever of the soul. to flee irrational surfeiting and wanton indulgence. do not associate with secular people. not as a regulation. [Cf. but let your sailing4 be seemly. say by way of advice. as it shines. And this is the best. Eph. neither talk nor shout like them. This is the best formula for soul and body: for the better not be dominated by the worse. so that God may be glorified by it. one who drinks water has drunk the streams of compunction.] And I too. However. . my children. We have in ourselves the tempest of the physical pleasures. You realize that it is springtime when every animate nature is moved to reproduction.

and to refer to ‘relatives’. The elder brother in the parable asserts that his asotia includes squandering his money on harlots among other things. 32:11. 2 1 The word is not in the lexica. very great from small. This is utterly satanic and is to occur no longer. now and for ever. 4 Another . with the Father and his all-holy and life-giving Spirit.] Thus he loves to save us. for to him belongs glory. for war with the adversary. sodomitikos. for his praise. In view of St Theodore’s earlier remarks about spring this seems the most likely connotation of the word. In short people both do become and have become perfect from imperfect. unattested word. Is what is put before you not sufficient? How are you going to make war on passion if you are defeated by a cabbage? You will become weaker than a feather if you do not fortify yourself by thought through self-mastery. and we too at least have become and let us continue to become and let us not be slothful.] Thus then the Lord of glory will comfort your hearts and firmly establish your souls and tightly gird your loins. because of the rule. but the meaning is clear. Here it is linked with asotia. for the routing of opponents. for inheritance of the kingdom of heaven. 144:18. let us not be sluggish. healthy from weak. which echoes the parable of the Prodigal Son. thus he is near to those that call on him. for victory. and to the ages of ages. beloved children. since those of you who behave thus will be subjected to punishments. they pick a fight with the gardener. [Deut. 3 The adjective. not neuter. for glory. [Ps. The Lord gives strength and might. Amen. men from boys. is not attested in the lexica. [Cf Ps. for the battle line.] Spreading his wings he received them and took them on his back.I learn that some people are going down to the gardens and asking the gardener for vegetables to eat and that when. they do not get any. 67:35. This suggests that the adjective also has sexual connotations. NOTES I take the Greek here to be masculine. This remark of St Theodore’s may explain why the normal fast days were prescribed from Thomas Sunday onwards.

And as Peter. since we have been counted worthy to celebrate the forefeast of the divine Transfiguration. and about repentance.8]. that is to say as a figure1 of the divine beauty. having turned away towards the ugly passions of sin and become disfigured. in the same way he will come from heaven like lightning. On the one hand. So there is nothing fair and loveable but exemplary virtue. And this we can learn from the end of things. while the mystery of the Transfiguration hints at the restoration in the age to come. that he was baptized. that is to say to the beauty of the soul. that he was buried. Since therefore it is agreed that our soul should be like this. discharging our duty in a few words. that he was taken up in glory. from this then let us compose an instruction. lovely and beautiful. such as that he was born. he will also ask it from us pure.2]. James and John were with him on the holy mountain. while his garments became white as light’ [Matt. or rather the highest light. it has also shared in that beauty. he comes to the pure. which should be our . I beg and urge that we love this beauty and carefully guard this loveliness. all the feasts of the Lord expound the mysteries of his sojourn in the flesh. And knowing this the poet speaks thus. And who is adequate for all this? Who is worthy to attain that joy? Who else but one whose way of life is pure and undefiled? For since our God is pure. they are rather corruption and change. lest. 17. so the elect will be with him in the kingdom of heaven. with power and great glory to judge the universe. that he was raised on the third day. enjoying his ineffable manifestation as God and inexpressible joy.CATECHESIS 20 That we must preserve the beauty and untarnished loveliness of the soul. and as he has placed a pure soul in us. For in the same way that ‘his face blazed like the sun. They are not beauties. but idols of beauty. by your will you granted power to my beauty’ [Psalm 29. for one who today is outstandingly beautiful and fair of face2 is tomorrow cast into a tomb. that he was crucified. it fall from God and his divine rewards. stinking and abhorrent. For since it has been made according to God’s image and likeness. not turning back to the fair things of the present age or to the beauties of flesh and blood. ‘Lord. and that we should give it back to God like a pledge on the last day. the day of resurrection. Brethren and fathers.

‘We do not want to know your ways’ [Job 21. The prince of the Apostles. The same Master cries. my brothers. when they listen to the One who said. One who follows me will not walk in darkness. ‘Walk by the light of your fire and the flame you have kindled’ [Isaias 50. but to bring the one who repents to the pinnacle of loveliness. And examples are manifest. in Christ our Lord. after his denial. to pass over the numberless others.14]. by the medicine of tears took up again the burden of the apostolate. he did not give up. But if admittedly it frequently happens that the soul grows slack and is defiled by unseemly thoughts -.12]. ‘For you are may friends. Manasse perverted Israel for fifty two years. And we are unwilling to get rid of the heavy load of our sins. ‘Come to me all you that toil and are heavy laden. So then. Do you see God’s ineffable love for humankind? Not only has he promised to purify. Though they are like crimson. I will make them white as wool’ [Isaias 1. lest by delaying in evil it gives birth to death. But we turn to the opposite. .31]. let us do all that we have been commanded. to inherit the kingdom of heaven. And let no one ever say that they cannot be made clean again. but when he repented. ‘Why would you die.11].21]. if you do all that I command you’ [John 15. But we hear the words. But God forbid that such things should be said of us. he too found salvation. proclaiming by our actions. ‘Though your sins are like scarlet.chief pursuit. that we may be worthy to be called friends. ‘I am the light of the world. but once she had come to a remarkable repentance. Mary of Egypt. he received the grace of prophecy once again. I will make them white as snow. she attained the highest degree of virtue. says the Lord. and I will give you rest’ [Matthew 11. unless they are insensible or bent on death3. had reached the uttermost limit of debauchery.18]. house of Israel?’ [Ezekiel 18. ‘Those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God’ [Galatians 5. David was a prophet and. So there is no excuse for claiming incapacity for someone who chooses to be saved. but will have the light of life’ [John 8.28]. stained as they are by many sins. but after he had swiftly had recourse to repentance. All that remains is for us to hear.14]. and why do we choose everlasting death rather than immortal life that is set before us? Our good Master cries out each day.let it be quickly made clean again and brought back to its former condition. And Scripture says. when he fell into the crime of adultery and murder.for who will boast that they have a pure heart? -.

he has sent me to bring good tidings to the poor. NOTES 1. 58:6]. we captives be freed. may we. It was spoken at the beginning of the year. for he is a physician of souls as well as bodies. to proclaim forgiveness to captives and sight to the blind. and to the ages of ages. Who is blind? One short-sighted through attachment to the passions. And he was not only present in bodily form to those at that time. with the same good . Amen. and of humility. This word is unattested in the lexica. to send the oppressed away with forgiveness. this Instruction was intended for the first day of the new ecclesiastical year. invisibly. Isa. 3. with the Father and the Holy Spirit. the beginning of the Indiction on 1 September. because he has anointed me. of love for him and hatred of the devil. This word is unattested in the lexica. Since then the only-begotten Son of God has been sent from the Father as propitiation for the world. The Greek word is ‘agalma’. Brethren and fathers. we oppressed be forgiven. Who is captive? One led away by unseemly thoughts. to heal the broken hearted. Who is oppressed? One broken by sins.The Spirit of the Lord is upon me. 2. The beginning of the second paragraph contains a quotation from the Anaphora of St John Chrysostom. now and for ever. the blind. The Lord heals them. It is however used occasionally by the Fathers to refer to the ‘image of God’ in human beings. 61:1-2. which is the usual word for a ‘statue’. on which the Good Tidings are read in these words. INTRODUCTORY NOTE As the opening quotation from the Gospel of the day makes clear. see again. but he is also present now. CATECHESIS 24 Of the surpassing gift of God. the beginning of the year has already whom be glory and might. to announce a year acceptable to the Lord [Luke 4:18-19.

For he is the destroyer of our life. what ineffable love for humankind! He brought us from nonexistence into existence. In the words of the Master. heaven would instantly cry out against us. and the Lord came to my assistance [Ps. hating and rightly turning away from the devil. with regard to the soul with the most pure Mysteries. and this permanently. and how they have at once found the good God to be their helper in their afflictions. and when we are about to fall into pit of Hell itself. my soul had almost dwelt in Hell [Ps. what unfathomable goodness! And oh. 9:35]. but he draws near and consoles us when we are afflicted. 23:5]. taking away the sin of the world. and mercy from God their Saviour [Ps. Matt. so the wicked one should be hated and rejected for his ways in equal proportion. but let them draw near with faith and they will receive blessing from the Lord. And each one knows the temptations into which they have fallen. he is a murderer from the beginning [John 8:44].93:17]. let us hold fast to love of him. wounding it with many darts of . For a mother nourishes her child with milk for a time. He is the one who has divided our race into ten thousand opinions. he goes ahead and snatches us from dangers in his love for humankind. he does not therefore turn away. And I was thrust down and overthrown so as to fall. For as our benefactor is loved and cherished in proportion to his benefactions. as he longs for us more than a mother or a nurse and embraces us with affection. strengthens us when enfeebled and heals us when wounded. with regard to our bodies with the fruits that the earth bears year by year. what an incomparable gift! How then can we fail to love him? How fail to cherish him? How fail to cling to him unceasingly? So that if we were not so disposed. and though we are still sinning. while he our true master and father gives his own body and blood as food and drink. he has granted us a third grace: monastic completeness. earth would groan. massages us when we are running. 117:13]. so that it would be appropriate for each of us to say. Oh. the very stones would condemn our utter insensibility. he raised us up again. So that this may not happen. Oh. In addition he who is supremely good nourishes us when we hunger.tidings. when we had fallen. Let no one then remain unenlightened and unhealed. If the Lord had not helped me. encourages us when we are sorrowing. and healing every disease and every weakness [John 1:29.

And so let us chose the good with all humility and meekness and modesty serving the Lord. that the Son of God has come to us. So let those of us whose ideas are puffed up humble ourselves beneath the mighty hand of God [1 Peter 5:6]. the hostility between us. run on. Brethren and Fathers. there will be no escaping the punishment that will be meted out to us. There has been nothing more blest than this in generations of generations. What is flight? The avoidance of wicked actions and thoughts. in Christ Jesus. and also affinity with God. press forward. that we may inherit the kingdom of heaven. doing well. who is glorified in the highest. to whom be glory and might. that we may attain. He has abolished the law with its . already the Manifestation of God is near and the day of joy is at the doors. the assumption of good works.sin and seeking to swallow down the inhabited world. For this reason Angels are proclaiming the good tidings of the mystery and a star revealing that the heavenly has been brought to birth on earth. such as has not been since time began. knowing that every achievement that is not guarded by humility is worthless. And the Apostle bears witness when he says. but by coming to live with us and manifesting himself in his own person through his birth from a Virgin. now and ever and to the ages of ages. pursue. has appeared as peace on earth. breaking down the middle wall of partition. lest we run in vain. who has made both one. for this reason Shepherds are running to see the salvation that has been proclaimed. because God. as he appeared of old to the fathers. with the Father and the Holy Spirit. our Lord. because we joined to our foe and murderer. for it is a great joy. Amen. If we do not hate him. CATECHESIS 32 On the Nativity of the Saviour and the vigorous pursuit of our ascetic life. nothing more wonderful among all the wonders that God has done since time began. let us fly from him! Let us fly most certainly. in his flesh. But. but let all of us. for this reason a new song is being sung for new events. not through riddles and symbols. For he is our peace. my brothers. and Magi are bringing gifts fit for a king.

And so. now and always and to the ages of ages. But may it be given to us too. . but throughout our life. This is what the prophets and the just since time began desired to see. and the more so as we see the day drawing near. with all the saints. but did not see except through faith. Indeed it is written. and this life has been revealed. we remain in the house for ever. thus making peace. let us still hold to our monastic state. and let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds. but the slave does not abide in the house for ever. just as those who are governed by the flesh and in thrall to the passions are unable to feast. to meekness. I shall take the cup of salvation and call on the name of the Lord. Meanwhile it is not for us to feast for just one day. on which the judge of all will be revealed and will appear in the glory in which he appeared to the Apostles at his divine Transfiguration. For the great and manifest day of the Lord is drawing near. for they are slaves of the passions sold under sin. but straining ever more and more. as it is written. So then let us rejoice. nor are they at liberty. The son abides for ever. empowered by the Holy Spirit. thus putting to death that hostility through it.commandments and ordinances. to see him looking upon us with a kindly face and taking us into the kingdom of heaven. brethren. not weakening in our resolve. to whom are due glory. But what shall we give in return for all that the Lord has given to us? Already holy David anticipated and cried out the answer. and let us be eager for everything which is of the best. while we have both seen and our hands have touched. and might reconcile both to God in one body through the Cross. And what is this return? The cross-bearing way of life that we have taken on. if we hold firm the beginning of our undertaking to the end. Amen. and the confession in which we stand and we boast in our hope of the glory of God. by the grace and pity and love for mankind of our Lord Jesus Christ. and we have received sonship. honour and worship with the Father and the Holy Spirit. Since then we too have been granted to have been called sons according to grace. concerning the Word of life. And this is confessedly a witness. even if they seem to feast. as he brings and judges every creature and rewards each according to its work. to obedience. because we have been granted to give the Lord a return for all that he has given us. to humility. that he might create in himself one new humanity in place of two. Everyone who sins is a slave of sin.

says Scripture. What then is the present word? For. If we are slothful. We were buried then with him through baptism to death. Therefore the only Son of God came. how shall we continue to live in it? Or are you ignorant that as many of us as were baptized into Christ were baptized into his death. poor wretches. so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but have eternal life [2]. we too might walk in newness of life. giving himself as a ransom for all. just as the hungry long to eat and the thirsty to drink. guilty and captive. This is newness. as befits saints [9] with peace and harmony. we become even more eager. if we are eager. [5] Have you seen the mighty love of his strength? Have you seen the measureless mercy of his love for humanity? How unsearchable are his mercies and inscrutable his acts of compassion [6]. and as a result he passed his whole life in fear and groaning. we were under the reign of death. brothers. with holiness and dispassion.CATECHESIS 40 That we should conduct ourselves in newness of life. he made us a kingdom (of heaven) and priests to his God and Father. but also. so we should be enthusiastic to listen to the word of God. death on a cross [3]. just as we promised when we took the habit. Nor did he simply give him. but fleeing our former notions like fire and standing fast on the rock of our faith. [1] Brethren and Fathers. [8] So. this is how God loved the world: he gave his only Son. Let us conduct ourselves with righteousness and holiness. we put away sloth. so that. by which Cain was inflamed and murdered his brother Abel because his gifts were preferred. just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father. For by listening we gain the greatest benefits. And what is 'oldness'? Indulgence. which he has poured out on us through Jesus Christ our Saviour! [7] What may we. From these . but even to death. say to all this? What may we think? Shall we willingly return to sin? Shall we long for dishonour? Shall we choose corruption and condemnation? By no means. with reverence and piety. He not only delivered us from death's possession. says the Apostle. not being led away in ignorance by our former [10] deceits. let us walk in newness of life. How? We were enslaved to the devil through Adam's transgression. we have died to sin. just as we promised through the holy Schema. sold under sin [4]. Envy. subject to corruption. having washed us from our sins by his own blood. by which Adam our forefather was caught and became an outcast from Paradise and underwent a life of much grief. and from both the outcome is good.

[6] Cf. and the reference in the last paragraph to 'our holy fathers and brothers. holding on to the word of life. The standard Byzantine text has 'kings'. [5] Apocalypse 1:5-6. persecution as happiness. support this. reckoning them all secondary for the sake Christ: dishonour as honour. The references to Adam and his banishment from Paradise. and let us be guarded by the glory with which Christ has glorified us. St Theodore is probably quoting from memory The word 'heaven' is not in the text of the Apocalypse. . the theme of the next day's services. [4] Cf. It may be that St Theodore has the Anaphora in mind here. Romans 11:33. [11] But nevertheless. who have been commemorated by us today' strongly suggest that it was given on the Saturday before Cheese Sunday. we have been called by God's mercy. Do you see what sin has brought about and the desire of the eyes and pride in one's way of life. 2:8. Let us then stand with the freedom with which Christ has freed us. death as life. Because of these Sodom and Gomorra were reduced to ashes by fire and brimstone as a warning to the impious. to whom be glory and might with the Father and the Holy Spirit. chose to do. It is also that underlying the Vulgate's 'regnum'. we have run to be adopted as sons. just as our holy fathers and brothers.two sins ten thousand evils surfaced in the world. as has been said before. but its place. and to the ages of ages. [12] whom we have remembered today. spitting on everything that belongs to empty vanity. [13] while in the age to come we shall inherit the kingdom of heaven in Christ Jesus our Lord. blows as pleasures. For if we too live like this. Romans 7:14. whose names are in the book of life. rather than Romans. we have gained freedom. Because of these the Flood utterly wiped out all the high ground of the earth. [7] Titus 3:6. we shall appear here like beacons in the world. between Theophany and Lent. [1] The manuscripts give no particular date for this Instruction. now and ever . [2] John 3:16 [3] Phil. affliction as joy. which is the accepted reading in modern critical editions. The Latin in Migne does not include the word. which is alluded to in the Anaphora of St Basil in a similar context in the first person plural. rather than 'kingdom'.

flee intemperance even in partaking of things that are permitted. Nevertheless evil has progressed into law and leads the world as it wishes. [11] 1 John 2:16. not indulgence in drunkenness and intoxication. for revels and inebriation.3. it is the business of Christians to exercise self-control ‘and not to satisfy the desires of the flesh’. CATECHESIS 49 On self-mastery and our present confession. 'standard of living'. for we know that intemperance is the mother of sin. most people call the present days ‘feasts’. but when he acted intemperately and partook of the tree of disobedience. St Theodore replaces 'desires' by 'deceits'. That is proper to a pagan feast. [3] and drew down upon themselves the anger of God and were overwhelmed with fire and brimstone. Perhaps 'style of life'. because of they get drunk and debauched during them. For our forefather Adam. On Friday of Meat Week [1] Brethren and fathers.[8] Romans 6:2-4. rejoiced and was made glad by divine visions and filled with divine revelations. he was at once exiled from the delight of Paradise and intemperance for him became the begetter of death. and through it death . and arose to play’. [10] 1 Peter 1:14. So too the inhabitants of Sodom behaved wantonly ‘with food in abundance’. So too Esau the hated. as long as he abstained from the forbidden food in Paradise. Some translators go so far as to put 'riches'. [5] These are the sort of things that are going on during these days. [9] Ephesians 5:3. not understanding that these days demand abstinence from meat. shouting and demonic leapings require not only the day but most of the night as well. So intemperance is an evil. brethren. [4] ‘But the people of God sat down to eat and drink. [13] Philippians 2:15-16. [12] Philippians 4. But let us. entrapped by gluttonous eyes. [2] as the Apostle teaches. The Greek bios is not easy to translate here. exchanged his birth right for a meal.

friends and intimates. but purity. attained heavenly glory. our obedience. were a cause of wonder in the world. and that we imitate it our monastic profession bears witness. not abuse. let us hold mightily to our ascetic practice and this confession. not hubbub. estrangement from fatherland. rivalled angels.entered the world. because he has rescued us from such empty behaviour and transferred us to this blessed life. for which we have also been persecuted. 13:14. brethren loved by the Lord. From this it was that our inspired fathers sprang up. not disturbance. only let us attend [11] without faltering. [1] This Instruction is suggested for the Sunday of the Prodigal Son by the current Slavonic Triodion from Moscow. our subjection. should we so wish. our denial of the world. performed signs from God. but tranquillity. Accordingly. and he himself will give power to all who lead to the end a life that is well-pleasing to him to gain the kingdom of heaven in Christ Jesus our Lord. but thanksgiving. expelled demons. but peace. and that we are leading a spiritual life. how would he not help in the future? Only let us stand nobly. for a word has gone out that the Mighty [8] is keeping an eye on our affairs and doubtless a royal official will suddenly arrive. this present confession. but moderation. in which there is not intemperance. [2] Rom. in which it is always open to us to keep festival every day. who is against us?’ [10] And if he helped us in the past. But we should give thanks to God. ‘If God is on our side. Amen. but vigilance. which only gives Catecheses for the Sundays of these weeks. . so that the kings of the earth thought it important to write to him and to hear from him a written voice. and to rejoice with unlimited [7] joy. now and for ever. And so we too. humble wretches. and we have learnt how God magnified him in this world under heaven. and to the ages of ages. holiness and temperance. [9] But don’t be scared at what has been said. not wantonness. [6] who with God trampled down the passions. follow their way of life. One of them was the blessed Antony. to whom be the glory and the power with the Father and the Holy Spirit. whose life we have been reading. race. let us rejoice and congratulate one another that we have been given these gifts of grace by God. Therefore I beg you. not drunkenness.

[3] Ezekiel 16.49. [4] Cf. Genesis 25:29-34 and Mal. 1: Esau I hate. [5] Exod. 32:6. [6] The verb anatello means to ‘rise up’, sometimes of the sun, at others of plants, and is used metaphorically of people with either image understood. In this passage the idea of plants is the one of which St Theodore is thinking. [7] This adjective, amuretos, is not in the lexica. The Greek editor suggests, ‘incorruptible’, ‘unending’, though he gives no reasons. [8] That is to say the Emperor. St Theodore plays on the words ‘mightily’, krataios, and ‘mighty’, kraton’. [9] This echoes the troparion from the Midnight Office, ‘The Judge will come suddenly and the deeds of each will be laid bare’. St Theodore implies that it is not only the just Judge who arrives suddenly. [10] Romans 8:31. [11] St Theodore in these two clauses deliberately echoes the deacon’s invitation at the beginning of the anaphora. Hence my somewhat unidiomatic translation of prosechomen. The present subjunctive of continuous action here contrasts neatly with the aorist of immediate action in the Liturgy.

On the great and manifest day of our Lord Jesus Christ. It was spoken on Meat Sunday. Brethren and fathers, it is a universal law on this day for those who live in the world to stop eating meat and one may see among them great competition in meat-eating and wine-bibbing, and even spectacles of outrageous pastimes which it is shameful to speak about. It is necessary to participate with moderation and to give thanks to the Lord for what we have and to make worthy preparation for the banquet before us; while they possessed by the wiles of the devil do the opposite, demonstrating that they have accepted one rather than the other. Why have I mentioned these things? So that we humble monks may not direct our thoughts in that direction, nor desire their desire, which is not worthy of desire, but rather of misery; let us rather turn to consider the Gospel we are

going to listen to, thinking, while the canon is being chanted, about the great and manifest day of the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, when the judge will stand the sheep on his right but the goats on his left. And to those on the right he will utter that blessed and most longed for invitation, Come, blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; while to those on the left he will utter that most unwelcome and piteous sentence, Depart from me, accursed, into the everlasting fire that was prepared for the devil and his angels. These words are full of dread, fear and alarm; they should make us, and them, as we reflect fall down and weep and make God merciful to us, before he has come to test those who listen. But although they are thus, let us, I beg, hear and heed the message of the Gospel, striving keenly to serve the Lord with fear and trembling, removing all wickedness from the soul, introducing instead all knowledge of good works, compassionate pity, goodness, humility, meekness, longsuffering, and whatever else is good and estimable, that when we have led lives worthy of the Gospel of Christ we may become heirs of the kingdom of heaven, in Christ Jesus our Lord, to whom belong glory and might with the Father and the Holy Spirit, now and for ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

On being confident and courageous in the present persecution. Given on Wednesday of Cheese Week. Brethren and fathers, the question for us to discuss to-day should be self-mastery, because the holy Lent is at our doors. However the common talk does not allow us to do this, as our thought and our talk is preoccupied with something else. For I have already told you in the previous instruction that the Emperor is commanding things against us, and now, so they say, is making threats against us through Nikomedes. If we were to meet them in a manner fitting God, he would not endure at all, but do what occurred to him. What more is to be said then? That to be persecuted again is to be crowned again; and that where sufferings are multiplied, there too the consolations of the Holy Spirit are multiplied; for the Apostle says, For just as the sufferings of Christ are abundant for us, so also our consolation is abundant through Christ. If we are being afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we are also suffering, and our hope for you

is sure; if we are being consoled, it is for your consolation and salvation, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our consolation. See how by these words he showed that we are partakers with one another in sufferings and in consolations, as being one body and one spirit, as we have also been called in one hope of our calling. So then, brethren, let us not fall, let us not lose heart, but let us all stand together, as good soldiers of Christ, bearing our arms, not physical ones, but ones empowered by God, for the destruction of strongholds, that is to say: prudence, courage, temperance and justice; and with them fulfilling that which was said by God, When they persecute you in one city, flee to another. And as we depart there, let us not worry what we shall eat, or what we shall drink, or how we shall be clothed. For he himself has said, I shall not leave you, or desert you. So that there too he would be opening a door for us and helping us in all ways. Do we not rejoice then, having such promises? Are we not leaping for joy that we are the Lord's disciples. Thus they persecuted the holy apostles also, to whom the Lord said, Blessed are you, when they revile you and persecute you and say all manner of evil against you falsely for my sake; rejoice and leap for joy on that day. So the present situation is one for joy and gladness; for it is for us the cause of inexpressible joy and eternal life and the kingdom which has no end. Do not go into the way of the nations, he says, and do not enter a city of the Samaritans. This is to be understood of the heretics; then let us not enter their churches, nor their houses; but where the son of peace is, the seed of true religion, there let us stay, and there let us pass our time, as in times past. Let us guard ourselves from those who counterfeit the truth, from those who call themselves guides and are not guides, but deceivers who both deceive and are deceived, mislead and are misled, whose condemnation is deserved. Let us guard the faith unswerving and our way of life intact, not maltreating the one by the other, but being safe and perfect on either hand. The subject of the confession is about the incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore one who does not confess that our Lord Jesus Christ is portrayed in picture is one who does not confess that he appeared in flesh; for it is the same to appear in flesh and to be portrayed in picture. One who does not worship his holy image, does not worship the Lord; for the prototype is revealed and worshipped in the image, and the image in the prototype of each person that is depicted. And if the Iconoclasts say that they worship, they lie; for they profess, he says, to know God, but by their deeds they deny him. We then worship Christ and his image, we worship the Mother of God and her image, the

to whom be glory and might. and what the house of my . So then each one of us is a debtor. who has granted us to be admitted to such a way of life. to say always with a contrite heart. as you see. lowly as we are. that is not discordant. What you are doing. For the rest pray for our humble selves. now and always and to the ages of ages. reading reading. Amen.saints and their images. spoken on the Friday of Cheese Week. for we have done nothing good upon earth. revels and intoxication. But our manner of life is not like this. and all the other things. Brethren and fathers. shouts and caperings. do quickly. Psalmody succeeds psalmody. which are the results of the activity of the evil one. to answer according to reason. drinking bouts and drunkenness. and that we may not be ashamed of our expectation and that we may without condemnation accomplish with you the contest now proposed and that we may all reach the kingdom of heaven. or that he should give something to the poor. but according to his mercy the call is freely given. but I aim to make you more fervent. Not one of those at table knew why he said this to him. not because of any works of justice that we have done. as it is written. in the heart meditation of divine words. But blessed is God. CATECHESIS 52 On self-mastery and prayer. which we have received from our holy fathers. not by way of flattery but truth. and if there is need for some bodily consolation at the feast. for hear what the Lord says to Judas. I often call your way of life blessed. and this is the deposit which I entrust to you to guard unharmed and unperverted. And this is the apostolic teaching. Jesus was telling him. prayer prayer. my Lord. we keep close to one another. Do you see that among them the consideration both of the feast and of the poor was a matter for concern? Which we also. in Christ Jesus our Lord. with the Father and the Holy Spirit. But what is it? Night and day we praise the Lord according to the legislation which has been handed down to us by our holy fathers. Government of thoughts in accord with the mind. everything is ordered with stability and measure. nor do I wish to call those in the world unhappy. fitting speech. whose condemnation is deserved. Who am I. try to achieve. ‘Buy what we need for the feast’. O Lord. Since too you know the sort of things that take place in the world. that on opening our mouth the Lord may give us utterance. For some thought that. because Judas held the purse. timely stillness. We serve one another.

For are we not all one another’s brothers? Are we not of one blood? Are we not of the same dust? Is not someone who sees a beast of burden being carried over a precipice seized with pity? How much more then for brothers and fellow believers. Should not we then. For this reason one must grieve and be sad for one who is truly conscious that he is under this sentence. being filled with compunction and cleansed of passionate habits. they wrangle with one another. if want to walk in their footsteps. The majority of the world is hardly to be saved. so that a person is unable to draw breath. Adultery and theft and cursing and lying have been poured out upon the earth. has brought us also with love for mankind to this . but nevertheless it is true. Given on Cheese Sunday. CATECHESIS 53 On fasting. having mercy and pity for those who are living in the distraction of life. that you have loved me? And such is ours. with the Father and the Holy Spirit. while rarely are such things found in the world. praying with unremitting grief of heart. those in the darkness of paganism. For thus we shall profit ourselves before the rest. And indeed each of the saints had the same sympathy and made entreaty for the others. Because day succeeds night with the care of this age. if not. Brethren and Fathers. according to what we have been commanded by the Apostle to make supplications and prayers. our good God who gives us life and brings us from year to year. wipe me out of your book of life. Amen. forgive. and that the true fast of the obedient and the subject is the cutting off of one’s will. People bring trouble on each other. to whom be glory and might.father. in brief all mankind. with the other concerns. Hence the blessed Apostle wept for the enemies of the Cross of Christ. the deception of wealth. and delivered from which may we be granted to reach eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. but also pray on behalf of the world. those who have been led away into error. With all this in mind the blessed Chrysostom has already said. Hence the Prophet Jeremy lamented over Israel and left behind various lamentations in writing. It is a fearful word. to speak like the Prophet. those who are in the grip of heresies. not simply have in view what concerns ourselves. and all those other things which it is not easy to detail. Hence the great Moses cried to God. If you will forgive them their sin. now and always and to the ages of ages.

as we are taught. but in no way to enter. compliant. unwounded by the arrows of the thoughts. breathing in seasonable stillness. let us welcome gladly the gift of the fast. one devoting himself to self-mastery. spoken at the beginning of the fast. as their choice directs. But the true subject behaves with obedience not at any particular time. let us not open our door to the devil. multiplication of prostrations and increase of psalmody are in accord with the established tradition from of old. innocent. not envying. for thus we are able to become a dwelling of God in Spirit. in which each of the eager. do not let it find your place. yet above all unsleepingly keeping watch over our thoughts. So that the enemy has power to suggest. for they shall see God. but keeps up the struggle always. keeping vigil for so long or so long. not making ourselves miserable. eating only every two or three days. Thus we may be made worthy to hear. except that for you there is also change of diet. What is the struggle? Not to walk according to one’s own will.present time of fasting. rise up against you. enters the contest. our Lord. if there is anything virtuous. whatever just. Amen. if there is anything praiseworthy. and the God of peace will be with you all. speaking suitable words. and others in other ascetic actions. And so I ask. and loving. whatever of good report. not opening the door to the passions. do it. it says. Given on Wednesday of the First Week. full of mercy and good fruits. and to the ages of ages. Whatever is true. Quite simply during these holy days it is possible to see great zeal and attention. not slandering. We are lords of ourselves. now and for ever. another spending even longer in prostrations. Quite simply. CATECHESIS 54 On fasting and dispassion. to speak like the Apostle. If the spirit of the powerful one. but to let oneself be ruled by the disposition of the superior. whatever lovely. not giving place to the devil. . in Christ Jesus. whatever pure. rather let us keep guard over our soul as a bride of Christ. whatever noble. since hubbub is damaging in a community. This is better than the other works of zeal and is a crown of martyrdom. Blessed are the pure in heart. fair. not evil. not set about with tumult. since too unreasonable stillness is profitless. rather peaceable towards each other. with the Father and the Holy Spirit. another to vigil. but let us advance with cheerfulness of heart. to whom be the glory and the might. not angry.

for emperors and priests. while psalmody and hymns. If then such is the grace of fasting. made a banquet for thousands in the wilderness from bread and water. strife. in which all who are sailing together enjoy a spiritual calm. jealousy. though he is able to nourish lavishly. we will only fall down before him with fear and trembling and weep before him. but by every abstinence from evil. And if it is being renewed. for great and small. for just as those who run in the stadium need the vocal support of their fellow contestants. let us abstain from despondency. Let us listen to the one who says. will also talk to you briefly. let us abstain from destructive desire which the many-shaped serpent lays before us when we are fasting. self-indulgence. For the present season is one of salvation not for monks and nuns only. as our godly fathers have explained. This is what our forefather Adam suffered when he was tricked by the serpent. I and the Father will come and make our dwelling with him. by which our good God is propitiated and so guides our spirits to peace and pardons our offences. with a sincere heart. I beg you. For just as if someone taking a pomegranate decked out with a scarlet rind should find it rotten. made beautiful in itself it is being drawn lovingly to the one who said. Also because what is unusual. may be likened to a storm-free harbour. And so. maliciousness. brethren. the season of Lent. Fasting is not defined by foods alone. prayers and entreaties take their place. or rather. we must welcome it. yet the inward is being renewed day by day. promising improvement for the future. so fasters need the encouragement of their teachers. for the holy Apostle says. For cities and villages reduce their hubbub and bustle. gladly. for every race and for every age. And observe: he says beautiful to behold. in the same way pleasure feigns untold sweetness. for when he touched the forbidden food. Even though our outward man is perishing. ‘The fruit which slew me was beautiful to behold and fair to eat’. clearly it is being made beautiful according to its original beauty. not grieving at the plainness of the diet. But let the leaders of the churches speak of what is suitable to lay people. But I. . sluggishness. since I have been placed at your head. for rulers and ruled. honoured brethren.Brethren and fathers. Fasting then is a renewal of the soul. with enthusiasm becomes acceptable and painless. that it makes us into a dwelling place of God. but also for lay people. when compared to the whole year. than a sharpened two-edged sword which devours the soul it has captured. idleness. if. self-reliance. not beautiful by nature. but when it is plucked it is found more bitter than gall. for we know that the Lord.

For just as he. but in the age to come at the resurrection of the dead to gain the kingdom of heaven in Christ Jesus our Lord. In addition let us welcome the times of psalmody. so that there is no provoking to jealousy among evil people. compassionate. labouring until they have achieved their object. with the Father and the Holy Spirit. dark into light. working with our own hands. CATECHESIS 55 On decorating our incorruptible house through the assumption of the virtues. making prostrations according to the given measure at each hour. to whom be the glory and the might. full of mercy and good fruits. not be led astray by his manifold deceptions. because working is good and because one who does not work is not judged worthy of eating. In everything be good to one another. Given on Friday of the First Week. and the peace of God which passes all understanding will keep your hearts and thoughts. reasonable. ugly into beautiful. This too is what all they have suffered who from then until now have been similarly deceived by the dragon. how the floor.he found death instead of life. will offer lovers of fine sights the most . and to the ages of ages. brethren. attentive to the readings. transforms himself into an angel of light. And now. Let us bear one another’s burdens. and such is the longing that fills them that their mind is wholly occupied in this and in considering how the roof may be wellcovered. Let us rather look on the outer coverings of evil as dung and when with the mind we have looked on evil in its nakedness we shall flee from it at once. Brethren and fathers. But let us at least. nor suffer the fate of the birds who greedily approach what seems to be food and fall into the hunter’s trap. bitter into sweet. be enthusiastic for hymnody. adorned with many different marbles with every other form of elegance. making use of food and drink and the other necessities with moderation. for one is weak and another strong. deadly into life-giving. Amen. who is darkness. and so the all-evil one does not cease to lead the world astray at every opportunity. may you be found worthy without condemnation to reach the supreme day of the Resurrection. so he knows how to transform bad into good. but zeal in goodness. now and for ever. obedient. people in the world when they erect a luxurious house give themselves no rest at night and at the end of the day they toil and plan.

as it is written. the prophet Elias would not have been nourished each day in the desert by a raven. But since one of the virtues is self-mastery. if you will. but the meaning here is surely ‘eating late’. and by mastering the one the other has become weak. let us give glory to God that we have arrived at the one stadium for it. that is after Vespers in the late afternoon. who dwelt in the desert before the godly Antony. so that we may have the Holy Spirit for its inhabitant. since we are a temple of the living God and the Spirit of God dwells in us. would have received bread from God every day. where Lampe translates ‘eating slowly’. But if someone were to wish to tear them away from that care. how can we be idle and come far below these others in zeal? How should this not be the greatest of wrongs? That other house harbours people who love the flesh and when it has passed through many masters it will be pulled down and deserted. But we. What is the material of this building? The assumption of the virtues. as the divine Apostle says. as though they were being seriously wronged. Let us be building this temple. Your faces have been changed from what they were before. they would be most distressed. and we are more closely concerned about this one. when we are building not a corruptible house but an incorruptible. Not at all! Otherwise our Lord would not have ordered us to ask each day for our daily bread. justice. for since our body . Moreover with those who depart from things here it leaves too and abides in heaven intact and eternal. Antony the Great preferred as almost necessary eating daily to a fast of above a day or for a week. Take first. since the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.pleasing appearance. [The only reference in the lexica for this word is the Greek Ephrem. filled with the bile of eating late. flying on wings of hope. brethren. The other knows that it welcomes the Holy Spirit. And this is how it seems to me. but they shine with a fair change: the pallor that comes from selfmastery. the fear of God. Next understanding. when the only meal is eaten on fast days] but your spirits have been sweetened. your mouths have become embittered. so that by the pleasantness of our life we may turn the attention of angels and men to ourselves. not one made out of stones and wood but one skilfully constructed from spiritual graces. and so with one attached firmly to the other and fitted together with the bond of love it will grow into a holy temple of the Lord. Paul. sobriety. And these things are opposed to one another. courage. at every moment. and let us not fail to adorn it with the beauty of the virtues. Perhaps some one will say that to eat every day is a failure of perfection. as a foundation stone. so that we may rejoice for we are sided with the stronger.

three and five days. to whom be glory and might. so necessarily the creator of our nature has arranged for it to be strengthened by its daily nourishment so that it might run well for the future. unless something truly extraordinary happens. in which may you shine out like the sun as heirs of the kingdom of heaven. the first fruits of the fast corresponding to the change of diet and of works of zeal produce a certain difficulty and roughness. rather than attentively keeping in . which what they suffer who drag out their fast over two. now and always and to the ages of ages. but very much for the perfect by the traditional definition and canon. and needs its rest. No chastening seems to be joyful for the present. not to join more lustily in psalmody. but not be exhausted and fading. The opposite is true: idleness makes what is light heavy and what is easy difficult. nevertheless. which was not yet the Sunday of Orthodoxy. knowing that enthusiasm strengthens both soul and body. However let us not strive beyond our power in our works of zeal. making what is heavy light and what is difficult easy. And so let us too. CATECHESIS 56 On not being stretched beyond our power in our works of zeal for God and about nourishing the soul with spiritual speculations. but with persistence and practice it is soothed and softened. with the Father and the Holy Spirit. in Christ Jesus our physically exhausted through its toil for the whole day. but grievous. since every beginning is difficult. And may you be granted again and again both health of body and strength of spirit to serve the living and true God and to await the last day. but with our spiritual father keep a watch over our bodily health also. this is why it is written. Given on the First Sunday. And so daily nourishment is not simply for the imperfect. afterwards it yields the peaceable fruit of justice to those who have been trained by it. like a racing colt. For what use is there in walking too hard from the start and falling down more quickly. Brethren and fathers. And thank goodness these things have been laid down by the fathers. who have been allowed to traverse the first week of the fast. Amen. become more enthusiastic for the future through experience. Nor would they be able to prostrate more frequently. nor to accomplish their other services easily.

in Christ Jesus our Lord. both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. and since we have our home in heaven and our lives have nothing in common with those who live according to the world. to whom be glory and might. are the things that we should be caring about and thinking about. let us sustain the soul with good pursuits and spiritual thoughts. For what it is to see a body healthy-looking and sleek through pleasure. where the souls of the just and of sinners are now. since we live out of the world.view the extent of the dwelling. I remembered God. so that by humbling the body we shall bring about the beauty of the soul. on the beauties of Paradise. and I was glad. Brethren and fathers. what his voice that we shall hear. These. Our mind then should be on God. now and always and to the ages of ages. confusion. But even if our outward nature is wasting away. the heavens will pass away with a great noise. the inner is being renewed day by day. CATECHESIS 57 On guarding the soul from destructive passions. then how each soul is going to take again its yoke-fellow the body. with the Father and the Holy Spirit. both to lead a life of peace here and to have hope of attaining the eternal good things to come. Amen. brethren. but in ones in which are sweetness and joy. and last. and the elements melt with fervent heat. with which we should be occupied. with these it is possible to be moved to compunction. leaner and paler. not with those of a worldly sort. on the everlasting dwellings. on heavenly sights. in which. what a gathering that will be of every human from Adam to the final consummation. But since the day with exertion is accustomed to produce despondency. it says. on how the appearing of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ will be. by your will . on the regime there. in which are emptiness. Lord. this it is to understand what follows for the soul through self-mastery. what will be the final state of the just who are admitted into the kingdom of heaven and of the sinners who are sent away to eternal punishments. Wednesday of the Second Week. that beauty which the holy David longed for when he prayed. to weep and to be enlightened. according to the sacred saying. now that we have fasted for the first week we appear to each other somewhat different to what we were. how great and fearful and more dazzling than the rays of the sun will be the face of Christ. as the Apostle says. wretchedness and bitterness.

I ask and beseech you. both by good works making the soul resplendent. from sordid thoughts. resplendent by good works. until her departure. see The Philokalia. if she were comely. things which Angels too hope to glimpse. we may depart in unspeakable joy to heaven and delight in the joy of the heavenly bridal chamber. not thinking any wickedness at all. keeping herself within the bridal chamber. control of thoughts and unrelenting wrestling against invisible foes? And how should these things not afflict the flesh? But this slight momentary affliction of ours. which defile us. so that. which is pitiable both to speak and to think about. Do you each see the greatness of the gift. that keep our own soul pure from evil deeds. It means ‘the initial incitement to evil’]. as it is written. 365. with every care to keep herself pure from the corrupting passions of sin. to present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. brethren. reining in the impulses of the flesh. she would give joy to the holy Angels. to whom be glory . 1. when we have in purity passed over from things here. With this beauty moreover the blessed Paul confirms that we are betrothed to Christ. for the Bridegroom Christ to whom we are betrothed. For I have betrothed you to one husband. for by thinking desire is set alight like fire. beyond all have granted power to my beauty. exercising every care to preserve herself incorrupt. as though going from the body as from a bridal chamber. she will be an object of malignant delight for the demons. and holding fast more fervently to the self-mastery which lies before us. Just as she deprives herself of the sight of males. as the Lord said. but throughout the whole of life. the soul too requires the same behaviour. but if she were ugly through wickedness. p. This is the reason for the punishing of the body. But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by its cunning. because our aim is not what can be seen but what cannot be seen. so as not to unseat the charioteer — the mind. is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory. at which. For what is the ascetic life but mastery of the passions. because of this there is austerity. in Christ Jesus our Lord. not only at the present moment. that we have been granted to have Christ as Bridegroom? Does each of you see how afraid our groomsman is for our safety? So our soul is like a maiden who has been brought into the bridal chamber. so your thoughts may be corrupted from a sincere commitment to Christ. So then for things which cannot be seen. an insult to Christ. like a bit. but taking our stand far from the passions and beating off the tempter from the moment of provocation [For this technical term. until the moment comes for her marriage. indeed most fittingly. Vol.

88-91 for St John Cassian’s account. And this is for your salvation and for our hope. let us fall away from the good state and the praiseworthy way of life. secondly they are set forth as an example of virtue to others. does not fall. to enjoy the everlasting good things. For as those who are causes of scandals inherit the Woe. shall we not endure all things with all enthusiasm and energy. in my lowliness I rejoice over you. and sets enthusiasm alight with enthusiasm. conducting yourselves peaceably and continuing the season of the fast with endurance. to escape the everlasting punishments. not allowing themselves any relaxation whatsoever? For what? So that they may acquire a little gold. is not overtaken by despondency [The translators of the Philokalia use ‘listlessness’ for this well known monastic scourge.and might. while we. brethren. and this unremittingly. akedia See Volume 1 pp. because you are walking in harmony. already evils are kept far away: disorder and instability. Amen. You shall love the Lord your God with your whole heart and your whole soul and your whole strength and your whole mind. if it were necessary to shed . disposing ascents of virtues in his heart and going from power to spiritual power. CATECHESIS 58 On harmony and love and on nobly enduring the toils of virtue for gaining the kingdom of heaven. And never. disobedience and pride and any other wickedness that may exist! Such people in the first place find good for themselves. so that they may take home what they need for their families. to become rich with the things of God. or Step 13 of The Ladder]. Brethren and fathers. One then who loves thus is not satiated. nor let us leave off loving God. Friday of the Second Week.] pass the whole day in toil . with the Father and the Holy Spirit. rather he adds fire to fire. Do you not see how much those who toil according to the flesh toil for vain and perishable things? Do you not see how those who build ships here under your very eyes [St Theodore and his monks were in exile at this time at the monastery of Crescens on the narrow gulf of Nikomedia (the modern Izmit Kφrfezi) at the NE end of the Sea of Marmara. for peace and harmony are a considerable good in a community. and thence they gain the greatest benefits. to reach the kingdom of heaven.. so those who incite to virtue inherit blessing. contradiction and slander. now and ever and to the ages of ages. for it is written.

But the devil hurries to suggest the opposite to fasters and to make them insolent. to whom be glory and might. attentive to our manual work. since idleness is the mother of wickedness. while work is the guardian of the mind. so that from either side both we and you may be saved. now and always and to the ages of ages. Amen. by so much the inner is being renewed day by day. but at any rate praying earnestly for my humble person. gently. let us stand nobly. which is but for a moment. to be entirely ready to do so for the Lord? Yes. the repose of our neighbour. it is reasonable to allocate it to the 2nd Sunday. rejoicing in hope. all the other things which bring about the salvation of our soul. well-established. angry. which are to be peaceable. the readings. Not however through these being turned from our state. so as to produce hurt more than gain. And Our light affliction. puffed up. CATECHESIS 59 On our accomplishing the days of the fast gently and readily in the hope of life without end. but continue our path peaceably. that by such occupation we may keep a hold on the mind. There is no indication of date for this Instruction. But let us not be ignorant of his plans. Brethren and fathers. for concerning them too. meek. Because while fasting batters and wastes the body. that a word may be given me when I open my mouth. patient in tribulation. bad-tempered. good order. to the psalmody. knowing that this is what is acceptable to God. meekly and steadfastly bearing with one another in love. in Christ Jesus our Lord. fasting is good if it possesses its own special characteristics. you would not be well-pleasing to him. sympathetic and all the other forms of virtue.our blood. humble. and a life free from deformation. besides all these praying also for our brothers who have been scattered here and there. I ask you. with the Father and the Holy Spirit. if these qualities are lacking to you. it clears the soul and makes it flourish. For as much as our outer nature is perishing. persevering in prayer. obedient. but since it comes between the ones for Friday of the 2nd Week of Lent and Wednesday of the 3rd. whom I cannot see before my eyes. for though you bend your neck double like a hoop and smother yourself with sackcloth and ashes. is . my brothers. it says. dragging it away from being occupied with vanities. but placing even greater emphasis on obedience. it is an anguish for me how each one is coming through safely. the recitation.

blessed are you if you do them. Is anyone sad? Let him sing psalms. who had died in 812. The most likely person is St Nikephoros. let us bear the toils of virtue with long-suffering. Is anyone among you suffering? as the brother of God says. had a great respect for St .] What could be sweeter and more filled with enjoyment than this. it cannot be St Platon. from which we also eagerly wait for the Saviour. for when he has been proved. Blessed is the one who endures temptation. Let him pray. now and for ever and to the ages of ages. and all human glory like the flower of the grass. Do we not communicate each day of his immaculate body and blood? [This suggests that daily Communion was the norm for St Theodore’s monks. the Lord Jesus Christ. INTRODUCTION Catechesis 60 contains a number of interesting details. All flesh is grass. He has delivered us from the power of darkness and translated us into the kingdom of the Son of his love.working for us a far more exceeding weight of glory. with the Father and the Holy Spirit. Who. despite certain earlier difficulties. The latter. Is anyone tempted by evil passion? — since the tempter is always at work — let him endure patiently as he listens to the one who says. So that looking at the recompense. for example. since those who partake with a pure conscience will obtain eternal life? Do we not converse each day with the godly David and the other holy fathers through taking in the readings? What could bring greater consolation to the soul? Have we not broken off contact with the world and with our relatives according to the flesh? Again is anything more blessed or higher than this? For our citizenship is in heaven. The grass withered and the flower faded. And so. Amen. not just on Wednesdays and Fridays. my brothers. giving thanks to the God and Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light. the Patriarch. said the Lord. but the work of virtue endures for ever. according to the working by which he is able even to subdue all things to himself. to whom be glory and might. let us rejoice and be glad as we repudiate every pleasure. if the ‘holy father and teacher’ referred to in the opening sentence? If the Short Catecheses were given during St Theodore’s exile to the Propontis in 820. who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to his glorious body. he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love him. If you know these things. This would imply that during Lent the Liturgy of the Presanctified was celebrated every weekday.

Given on Wednesday of the 3rd Week. Cf.37-39. Lk 17. St Nikephoros had been deposed in 815 and was at this time also in exile in his own monastery on the Propontis.26s. 2 Cor 4. Kroumos (802-814) had carried off into captivity some 30. so that there is need of much vigilance and attention and preparation of heart. into which we are about to crawl. Already each day death is at work [Cf. they must be dated between 820 (the death of Metropolitan Michael. Brethren and fathers. CATECHESIS 60 On our sudden departure from here and teaching about keeping safe watch over our senses and our mind from unseemly desires. is passing and we are getting nearer to death. drinking. PG 99:1176A]. buying. as you see. when . to say the least. We hear the story of the Flood being read.12. Let us be on the watch then lest we find ourselves without realising it in the same state of which we accuse them. so too it will be at the coming of the Son of Man [Cf Mt 24. but nevertheless because of our custom let us say just a little. If the Catecheses were all given at the same time. and we must remove hence and be joined to our brothers and fathers. and were not rather trembling and terrified. Already it is not the ark which is being got ready. The Patriarch called himself St Theodore’s ‘son’ [Letters II:79 — PG 99:1317C]. but every day the tomb is seen filled. and St Theodore refers to himself as the Patriarch’s ‘child’ [ibid. not improbable. the subject of Catechesis 21) and 826 (the death of St Theodore himself). and the Lord in the Gospels saying: As in the days of Noλ they were eating. selling and suddenly the flood came. 120 [PG 99:221-224].000 Christians some years before. in particular Life A chap. II:18. in the presence of our holy father and teacher we have no need to discourse. The reference to ‘the story of the Flood’ suggests that the readings at Vespers were the same in St Theodore’s day as they are today. That he should visit his friend St Theodore and his monks is. whose father. Day by day our life. St Theodore is quoting from memory]. In number 63 the reference to ‘the ruler’ in Bulgaria is almost certainly to Omurgat (813-831). which was being filled up during one hundred years.]. marrying. And perhaps we wonder in this case how insensibly they were disposed.Theodore.

having the same love. Things here are more fearful than those there. Let us bridle our mind not to be carried off to things it should not. now and ever and to the ages of ages. or drink. for the Lord is near those who wait for him. be of the same mind. smell. I implore. and they left not so much amazed as ashamed.2-3. hearing. while to you may the Lord grant the perfect reward in return for your having chosen to be persecuted for his sake. and God is our helper. Brethren and fathers. touch. not to step into the pitfall of unseemly things. taste. let us do everything to the glory of God. This is the way of true Christians. [1 Cor 10. this is the way of authentic monks. CATECHESIS 61 That we must not submit ourselves in temptations.31-32. to whom be glory and might with the Father and the Holy Spirit. my brothers. Do nothing from selfish ambition or vainglory. who has also dispelled the trial and given you power to remain unmoved in the expectation of threats. not to picture to ourselves evil images nor to conceive sinful desires. sight. as the Apostle teaches. And let us not grow despondent [The verb from akedia. Those who came said what they said. Yes.]. but in humility think of others as better than yourselves [Phil 2. as the Apostle again says. Let us secure our senses. I exhort. drink.] giving no offence to Jews or Greeks or to the Church of God. or clothe ourselves. through them death enters. I don’t say that.each one of our brothers departs. to cleanse the soul and to look towards dispassion.] when called to repose and the joy of dispassion. yesterday a <disturbance> [1] and today quiet. And by living thus may we reach the kingdom of heaven in Christ Jesus our Lord. or whatever we do. but let us hasten and press forward intently with diligence to right every defect. on the contrary we are pained and crushed accomplishing nothing useful. being in full accord and of one mind. but whether we eat. There is one repose then and one pleasure. to hold themselves always in readiness in the face of dangers on behalf of virtue and to consider nothing more precious that the commandment of God. I don’t say: we shouldn’t eat. and about fasting. make my joy complete. and being rich in mercy . Given on Friday of the 3rd Week. Amen. and so we should be on our guard. from which we gain no profit or pleasure. yesterday a tempest and to-day calm. yes. but blessed is God.

14. so that you may know how you should respond to each one [Col 4. of course. Would that we might share in them richly. and particularly because everywhere there are edicts of the rulers that no one is to lag behind from having a share in heretical fellowship. as it is written. Already the fast has advanced and lays on us. Let the measure of genuflexions be completed and the customary recitation be fulfilled.]. nor should we pass God’s word over in silence. Conduct yourselves wisely toward outsiders. where there is no food and drink. The moment for psalmody? Let us advance keenly. But in fact the trial has not been dispelled. to whom be glory and might.he knows how to crown from the intention alone the one who chooses the good. but justice and peace and joy.40. The moment for stillness? Let us be still reasonably. doing everything decently and in order. St Paul. while watch is kept over the body’s health. let us remain outside tumult and all idle chatter. because it wipes clean and washes the heart of sins and sets it pure before the Lord. making the most of the opportunity. to the resurrection of Christ. Let your speech be always gracious. The time for talk? Let us talk suitably. brethren. 14.8 = Hab 2.4].17. and make us worthy of the kingdom of heaven. but this is the common limit of self-mastery for those living in obedience: the cutting of their own will. The moment for work? Let us work earnestly. because it disregards what concerns itself for the advantage of the neighbour. prayer is good.[1 Cor.5-6. But that’s enough of these matters. for God loves a cheerful faster [1 Cor.7. And so let us hear the Apostle when he says. has ‘giver’. 9. zeal is good. for he says. but again and again it continues. let us be eager. And to speak simply. seasoned with salt. the task of pressing on eagerly again and again to what follows as each has chosen. weeping is good. as it makes the elder young again. Fasting then is good. By this he teaches us that we should not submit just anyhow to trials.] as we have been instructed. not reluctantly or under constraint. My soul takes no pleasure in anyone who draws back [Heb 10. And would that the God of peace might bring us to the queen of days. because it lightens toils and makes the spirit young. because it tames the passions and subjects the flesh to the spirit.]. according to each one’s power. love is good. in Christ Jesus our Lord.]. because it gives the mind wings and makes it a companion of God. in the Holy Spirit [Rom. with the . Therefore let us become cheerful. Except that the coenobitic rule does not let each one act according to their own will.

] says the Lord. whether this represents a different text. to prison. bear witness with the others. The text as it stands may be corrupt. CATECHESIS 62 On our imitating the Lord’s sufferings. in the sense of a ‘will’ or ‘testament’. to distress. If others act otherwise over these matters. Come out from among them and be separated. which the other party may accept or reject. In the LXX and NT it is the regular word for ‘covenant’. Amen. because when the moment summoned they did not choose persecution on behalf of Christ. [Rom. [1] The Greek has diatheke.’ Migne has ‘tumultus’. 8. unless diatheke can be taken in the sense of something like an ‘ultimatum’.11. It does not seem to make any sense in the context. whenever he sees a soul thirsting for him. for it seems to me that to be brought under their power is equivalent of being indifferent towards the heretics. which means a ‘disposition’. as certain others. But it seems to have been given after the day itself. for . an ‘arrangement’ made by one party with plenary power. whose memorial we have just celebrated. St Theodore seems to be quoting from memory ] when. but now. how good it has become for us the separation from the monastery here! For why should our liberty be subject to the judgement of another’s conscience? [1 Cor. but since it does not print the Greek. You see that the same distinction withdraws us from the world and drives us to trouble. to death. to hunger.] And why do we maltreat ourselves still for what is of no use? We managed as far as it was possible and the moment allowed. but cannot alter. or is simply a guess to fit the sense is unclear. 10. gives it force to be able to endure sufferings on his behalf. to persecution.Father and the Holy Spirit. [Migne adds: On the Forty Martyrs [March 9th]. now and always and to the ages of ages. [Isa. they will render an account to the Lord on the day of judgement. but in all these we must be supremely victorious through the God who loved us.29. 52. though Moulton Milligan’s comment on the word is interesting: ‘diatheke is properly disposition.] Brethren and fathers. And to this the Forty Martyrs. it is necessary to listen to the Prophet when he says.37.

of what sort and how great they are? For the rest then. Brethren and fathers. the imprisoned. On the 3rd Sunday. The story is this: In Bulgaria. to gain the kingdom of heaven. now and always and to the ages of ages. because he too was scourged. [1 Cor. brethren. to whom be glory and might with the Father and the Holy Spirit. And blessed is one who has been granted to share in the sufferings of Christ. he too will deny us. nor all scourged. he is not able to deny himself. those who obeyed would live. the reviled. because he too was reviled. because he too was imprisoned. if we endure. 4.26] And would that we were even more one body and one spirit. as we have been called in one hope of our calling.] even to some extent at least: the persecuted. [Eph. he remains faithful. all the limbs suffer with it. and to accomplish a struggle of such a quality and greatness that all Christians praise it in song. they were empowered in their weakness to throw down the invisible enemy by the flesh. we shall also live with him. on account of meat-eating. let us struggle by the grace of Christ not to shame those things that have been previously mentioned.we cannot say that they possessed a different nature to the one we have. the imprisonments. we shall also reign with him.] having Christ as the head. the banishments. an evil decree went out from the ruler there that the Christians in captivity and our brothers were to eat meat during the period of the holy Forty Days. all the limbs rejoice with it. let us strive. because he too was persecuted. the scourgings. for if one limb suffers. as those who were accurately informed have reported. the arrested. But since they loved God with a true heart. see too why it is written. those who disobeyed would be killed. If we have died with him. We may not all have been imprisoned. but nevertheless the fellowship of life itself becomes a fellowship of sufferings. 2. in Christ Jesus our Lord. because he too was arrested.[ Cf. 12. to become wellpleasing to God.13.4. CATECHESIS 63 Historical. concerning the Christians who were massacred in Bulgaria during the holy Lent. The word of the godless was exceedingly strong and the people assembled and there was weeping and groans and much lamentation . the scourged. if we deny.11-13] Do you see the promises and the threats. Amen. if one limb is glorified. 1 Pet. if we are faithless. 4. [2 Tim. in the present instruction I want to urge you to consolation from a certain story.

and our lot is that of our dead brother’. they obeyed the authority of the Lord and were wreathed with the crown of martyrdom. Do not fear those who kill the body. but they considered all things as secondary for the love of Christ.37-38]. But nothing could persuade them or weaken them from keeping their gaze fixed on God and on the blessedness that was laid up in his promises. But they rather remained unbowed and shouted out. and through repentance they can be restored again. this latter seems stricter. is not worthy of me [Matt. more than me is not worthy of me. they refused. 10. thought to subdue the rest by means of one. brethren. and one who loves son or daughter or wife more than me is not worthy of me. on the other of those quailing before the death of the flesh. rather fear one who can destroy both soul and body in Gehenna [Matt. One who loves father or mother. At this confession they were crucified on planks and died in the Lord. the latter so as not to partake of any meat in violation of the Christian rule. therefore. on the one side of those clinging to the Christian law. so that the others weakened by this would be brought over. it says. You see. But since the order from the Scythians was aimed at the rejection of the faith. O blessed men! O blessed action! in a single instant to have received in exchange eternal rest! What will they say to this. Finally — ah. 10. At this.28. for the Maccabees were seven. but cannot kill the soul. And again.]. the former so as not to taste swine’s meat in violation of the law. and having slain him he at once distributed his children and his wife among the Scythians as slaves. when he saw the implacable determination of the men. They were obedient then to the commands of the Gospel. Fourteen of them though broke away and stood apart saying it was not possible either to obey or to eat meat in violation of the Christian law.with women and children. not die foolishly. imitating the holy Maccabees and doubling their number. ‘We are Christians. appeals and exhortations by the people: Let them yield to constraint. Where too are those who say that there is no ground for martyrdom in the image of . but they were fourteen. The Scythian then. because for the Maccabees partaking of pork was utterly forbidden. that even now too the Gospel of the kingdom of God is active. those who deny that heretical communion is a breach of faith? For if there there was a breach of faith by the people over eating meat. as St Basil says. how much more here over the heretically sacrificed communion. but for these men it was permissible to partake of any meat under necessity. the pitiable announcement — they were defeated and submitted to the godless order. and one who does not take up his cross and follow after me.

What is the mystery? That the Son of God becomes son of man. See the important treatment by Prof.]. 1. also speak things that are dark as they try to embroil others in their own falls. married and with children gave everything up for the love of Christ. who reveals martyrs in this generation too. with the other batterings of the body. because they are dark themselves. but with understanding and with reverence for the mystery. the Annunciation is here and it is the first of the Feasts of the Lord. tom. let us stand firm for the uninterrupted martyrdom according to the conscience. now though. as we reflect on the fact that if men who were apparently lowly. A. glorify our good God. 15:31. when the moment calls. with supplications. now and for ever and to the ages of ages. with compunction. are a technical term in the monastic literature and I retain the slightly awkward definite article in English. who are unmarried and outside the world. we were reckoned as sheep for the slaughter [Ps. pp. But this is for a day when Christ calls us. and we should not simply celebrate as most do.]. Every day I die. But the heretics. so that we too may be able to say with the Apostle. brethren. which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord [1 Cor. how much more here is the ground for martyrdom resplendent for those who have not denied. The expression is effectively synonymous with ‘the demons’. in Christ Jesus our Lord. CATECHESIS 64 On the incarnate dispensation of our Lord Jesus Christ. and let us not give in when struck by the thoughts [‘The thoughts’. It was spoken on the day of the Annunciation. Amen. 54-98 [SC 170]]. using the . Brethren and fathers. Guillaumont in Ιvagre le Pontique. 43:23. to whom be glory and might. how much more should we. become as zealous as the saints. brethren. and with the holy David. who glorifies those who have glorified him. But let us. logismoi. With them may we be found worthy to become heirs of the kingdom of heaven. with the Father and the Holy Spirit. Traitι Pratique ou le Moine.Christ? For if there there was ground for martyrdom for those who did not eat meat. uneducated. let us rather quench the fiery arrows of the evil one with tears. and that we should celebrate spiritually. Because for you we die all the day. Let us not bow the knee to Baal. that is as certain as the boast in you.

prayers.holy Virgin as the means. with the Holy Spirit [2 Cor. those who have had his holy name invoked upon them reject him. no longer subject to the passions. Tribes and languages reject him. with peace. 2. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God [Rom. think the things of the flesh. entreaties. Why so? That he might ransom those under the law.]. but friends of God. I have not come to judge the world. brethren? That the genuine disciples are grieved by the rejections of their fellow-disciples. for I have prayed that I might be anathema to Christ for the sake of my brethren.5.].]. with holiness and justice. my kinsmen according to the flesh [Rom.]. dwelling in her and from her fashioning for himself a temple and becoming perfect man. Bridegroom.8. And still he is rejected. You see the power of love? You see . I do not lie. but according to the spirit. he gave us his body to eat and his blood to drink. but free. those who walk according to the spirit.5-8. he humbled himself. and this is why we should celebrate spiritually and behave spiritually.1-3. What should he have done and did not do? Being God he became man. for it is not subject to the law of God. life and peace. my conscience bears witness with me in the Holy Spirit. so that as far as we ourselves are concerned we do not render the dispensation of our Lord Jesus Christ empty and ineffectual. Those who walk according to the flesh. Teacher. for the thought of the flesh is death.47. For. as it is written. with goodness. no longer friends of the world. Brother. others through their evil lives. I speak the truth in Christ. Head. but the thought of the spirit. that I have a great grief and unceasing anguish in my heart. Fellow-heir and all the other titles which there is no time to mention now.1-2. the things of the spirit.6. with love.]. Not only that. 8. the death of the cross [Phil. the barbarian nations reject him. that we may no longer be slaves. thus showing love both for the teacher and for the disciples. he allowed us to call him Father. with gentleness. but we should both pray and grieve for the world. no longer walking according to the flesh. and the world rejects him. he says. 4. and elsewhere he says this on the subject. and that we might receive sonship [Gal. 9. for kings and for all in high positions [1 Tim. So too. thanksgivings on behalf of all mankind. Why so? Because the Son of God came to save the world. 6. but to save the world [John 12. What then is there to say. some through abandoning the faith.]. becoming obedient unto death. In brief this is the power of the mystery. This is why the great Apostle orders that we should offer supplications.]. And so the thought of the flesh is hostile to God. Indeed it cannot be. 2. genuine servants suffer in the same way from the desertions of their fellow-servants. but free of passions. and still he bears it. with forbearance.

where there is the blessed breakfast [3] of Christ and the new [4] drink of which Christ spoke. forgive. a choir of those who keep festival and contemplation of eternal light. From it pain.the height of friendship? Moses shows it too when he says to God. Lent is already galloping past and the soul rejoices at the imminence of Pascha. Amen. For this present Pascha. even though it is great and revered. For this Pascha is for one day and it passes. as genuine and not counterfeit disciples. as our fathers explain. I am going to prepare a place for you and. grief and sighing have fled away [1]. So we too. only a type of that Pascha to come. If you will forgive them their sin. gladness and rejoicing. and to the ages of ages. so that where I am you maybe also. is nevertheless. in Christ Jesus our Lord. there the sound of those who feast [2]. to whom be the glory and the might with the Father and the Holy Spirit. wipe me out of the book which you have written [Exodus 32. Brethren and fathers. I shall not drink of the fruit of this vine. And where I am going you know. until I drink it with you new in the kingdom of my Father [5] Of this he spoke to his disciples when he was about to ascend to heaven. I will prepare a place for you. INTRODUCTORY NOTE The place of these two catecheses in the numbering suggests that they may have been given during the 4th week of Lent. but we should grieve and pray for our brothers and for the whole world. and the way you know. for by so doing what is pleasing to the Lord we shall become inheritors of eternal life. there everlasting joy. Why did this thought sound for me in advance? Because it is as if our whole life directs its reason contemplating the eternal Pascha. I am coming again and I will take you to myself. should not only look to what concerns ourselves. if not. On that day you will know that I am in the . now and for ever. if I go. because by it it finds rest and is relieved of many toils. and about endurance and courage. while that Pascha has no successor.32]. CATECHESIS 66 That this Pascha is a type of the future and eternal Pascha. [6]And a little further on.

but also for those who through their word believe in me. the evil lust of every one of the destructive passions. [1] Isaias 35:10. This was how he ensnared our forefather. If we avoid experiencing them. bitter as sweet. when he indicates to us that the fruit is beautiful. [8] But because this concerns not only the Apostles. not leave the paradise of God’s commandments. harsh training as relaxation. bravely and courageously bear our present condition. otherwise we are being caught in the snare. Father. I wish that where I am they may be with me also. The phrase is familiar from the prayer for the departed. But let us flee by every means from looking. let the eye of soul or body be directed there. my brother. 42:4. and you are in me. in the prayers after Communion. [9] What could be more comforting than these words? What could be more appealing? What soul can they not soften? What heart not prick with compunction. deaths as lives. because you loved from before the foundation of the world. he also said. even should someone say that the human heart is a nature of stone? With thoughts like these the saints bore all that they bore. as you. but with the plural. are in me and I am in you. and to the ages of ages. Father. with all the Saints in Christ Jesus our Lord. [7] And elsewhere. now and for ever. constraints as freedoms [10].Father. and as a result through food casting him out of Paradise. [2] Cf. which you gave me. transforming himself into an angel of light. where the Greek has a singular. who have learned by experience what a deceiver he is. but rather roused with greater fervour watching for the wicked serpent who works to deceive us by the passions. Amen. to whom be glory and might with the Father and the Holy Spirit. But let us. considering afflictions as joys. not falling. but also ourselves. struggles as delights. bewitching his sight and depicting as beautiful what was not. should not we also. I beseech you. since we have the same aim and seek the same Pascha. Psa. and I am in you. show dark as light. . so that they may see my glory. The same phrase is found. not succumbing to despondency. so that all may be one. nor. that they may also be one in us. we shall be saved and easter [12] to age on age. What the is the fruit which seems beautiful? The love of the flesh. I do not ask this only for them. my brothers. [11]and altering things from what they are.

[1] and our life travels like a rapid rider. until it has driven us to the final boundary of life. [6] John 14:2-4. ‘Come. a clean conscience. tears of compunction. let drink a new drink’ (poma kainon). but the word should be kainon. the day of Pascha is drawing near. One who has been found worthy in all this does not easter and celebrate a much longed for feast to the Lord just once a year. . but. for there is nothing lasting inthe present age. impurity. But are we pressing forward to reach the Pascha that comes and goes? Have we not achieved this year after year? The present Pascha too will pass. John 21:12. CATECHESIS 67 That to feast each day and to easter to the Lord God consists in the death the passions and the resurrection of the virtues. contrition of heart. ‘common’. How could it not be? But we accomplish Pascha every day. [5] Matthew 26:29. [2] and any other evil that is at work. who uses it of the Quartodecimans. The only reference in Lampe is to St Theodore’s contemporary Theophanes. evil desire. [9] John 17:20-21. someone says. Brethren and fathers. but. M. [4] The Greek has koinon. And what is this? Cleansing from sins. and temptation to follow G. it very much to be desired. [11] 2 Corinthians 11:14. passion. [8] John 17:24. we may say. [7] John 14:20. who ‘easter’ with the Jews. since with God’s help we have passed the mid-point of the fast.[3] Cf. the death of the parts of us that are earthly: immorality. ‘new’. [12] St Theodore uses a very rare verb paschazein. ‘is Pascha not to be desired?’ Of course. All our days pass like a shadow. ‘What’. [10] It is difficult to reproduce the play in Greek on stenochoria and evrychoria. There is also an echo of the Paschal canon. Hopkins and use ‘easter’ as a verb is irresistible. as the following citation makes clear.

glorify the benefactor. [2] Colossians 3:5. Someone. but also. and. to whom be glory and might. since we have been shown the sought for Pascha. or that someone shipwrecked was making a good voyage. he will also give those that are in his promises. study. [4] The ordinary Greek word for ‘preparation’. brothers. May we all attain it. No one could possibly say that someone with a high fever was at rest. [5] And I say this. conscious of the grace that has been given us by God. . like a wheel drawing us and joining us to God. my honoured brothers. on the other hand. the ‘preparation’ for Pascha. Amen. because he too suffered for us. in Christian Greek also means Friday. how supremely excellent! How blessed this life and thrice-blessed! So then. in particular Good Friday. reading. But for you. Philippians 3:19. prayer. For our way of life is nothing other than preparation [4] for a feast. The critical editions have the second person throughout. How truly excellent is this way of life. It is impossible for someone who has become dark to be enlightened. we may give thanks to the giver. paraskevi. to those who genuinely serve him to the end. that eternal and heavenly Pascha. or for someone possessed by sins to celebrate. cannot celebrate. It simply isn’t possible. through the death of the passions and the resurrection of the virtues. and to the ages of ages. we are confident of better things. celebrate it every day. [5] 1 Peter 2:21. who does not have all the foregoing. Look at the reality: psalmody succeeds psalmody. [3] Cf. who has not only granted our present blessings. in imitation of the Lord. not so we become judges of the others —for each has their own load to carry [6]—but so that. For how can someone celebrate whose god is their stomach? [3] Or who is aflame with fleshly lust? Or melted by the heat of jealousy? Or drowned by the love of money? Or enslaved to vainglory? Or caught up by the other passions. prayer. let us make it our aim. by the grace and love for humankind of our Lord Jesus Christ. as far as we can. study. reading. ones that promise salvation. with the Father and the Holy Spirit. but is held fast by the passions. now and always. [1] Psalm 143:4.does so each day. leaving us an example that we should follow in his steps. repay the master.

peace. self-mastery [Gal. we see creation flourishing again. and it is reasonable to do so. brethren. and we take pleasure in all this and we glorify God the master craftsman who transforms and changes creation year by year. but that we may nourish and welcome Jesus as our guest. by these he is entertained. Hence. the plants are flowering.[6] Galatians 6:5. Brethren and fathers. but the word can also connote ‘beauty‘. because he will be nourished by him with eternal good things. have been understood and seen through the things he has made [Rom. patience. and that produces a crop useful to those for whom it is cultivated. faithfulness. ‘the bloom of youth’. invisible though they are. generosity. By these he is nourished. but to advance further and to examine carefully for ourselves the logic of creation. it will not fruit. ‘spring-time’.] So the list in Migne [PG 99:28]. unless it is first snowed on by afflictions. the earth is growing green. 5:22]. it will not flower. as it is written: Ground that drinks up the rain falling on it repeatedly. so he too enjoys the ripe beauty [The Greek has literally ‘the hour of our souls’. troubles and difficulties. joy. it bears fruit and partakes in a blessing from God. the fast we are drawing out as we hunger and thirst and are otherwise made wretched. the derivatives ‘beautiful’ and ‘ripe’. because he will be received by him as his guest in the . partakes in a blessing from God [Heb. and blest the one who receives him as his guest. every trouble. goodness. CATECHESIS 68 That we must be renewed for what is ahead through endurance of the trials that fall upon us. How? Because this renewal has winter as its cause. It would not have reached its prime had it not first undergone snows and rains and winds.] of our souls. so that we may bear fruit and partake of God's blessing. It is our duty not just to stay where we are. because winter has passed and spring has arrived. both visible and invisible. let us also endure every affliction. And so it is with the soul. [On the 5th Sunday. And blest the one who nourishes him. 6:7]. For just as we enjoy the sight of creation. Ever since the creation of the world his eternal power and divine nature. What are the fruits? Love. Therefore. and not only that. for example. gentleness. ‘ripeness’. every trial which assails us both visibly and invisibly. but by enduring. 1:20]. the birds are singing and everything else is being renewed.

he rejoices and is extremely glad. and let endurance have its full effect. lacking in nothing [James 1:2-4]. so that you may be perfect and complete.]. but as he returns from war he is filled with joy. Do you see then that in trials there is joy.kingdom of heaven! Indeed! So if someone is to receive a king as his house guest [The word that I have translated ‘house guest’ does not appear in the lexica. either ancient or modern. by doing violence to ourselves and yet greater violence. but reaps with gladness [Cf. 125:5]. So we too now that we have come near the end . whether it be word or action. So a farmer sows with tears. and this is how the saints led their lives. though the meaning is clear. but at the conclusion of the struggle joy and happiness. 1:24]. shall inherit the kingdom of heaven. this too how we. and by living our life in their footsteps. everyone who is starting something. because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance. the one who loves me will be loved by my Father. at the beginning has affliction and difficulty. hoe much more then someone who receives the King of kings and Lord of lords as his house guest. The soldier as he sets out to war is depressed. since such are the promises. now and always and to the ages of ages. and I shall love him and manifest myself to him [John 14:21]. and in tribulations gladness? For these are the things that are exchanged where God is concerned. as we sing. with the Father and the Holy Spirit. and in my flesh I complete what is lacking in Christ's afflictions for the sake of his body. whenever you face trials of any kind. to whom be glory and might. in Christ Jesus our Lord. That he is received is clear from what he himself has said: I and my Father will come and make our abode with him [John 14:23]. but let us endure with joy all things. Amen. And again Saint James who says: My brethren. CATECHESIS 69 That those who have passed through life in afflictions and miseries enjoy a pleasure which is without sorrow and ineffable.] Brethren and Fathers. those that are whispered about and those that are expected. consider it nothing but joy. as we listen to the Apostle when he says: Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake. [It was given on Wednesday of the 5th week of Lent. And again: One who has my commandments and keeps them. let us not only bear. that is the Church [Col. In PG the title adds ‘In memory of the godly Platon’. is the one who loves me. both those that are present. Ps. Therefore.

Rightly the Apostle cries out: The love of money is a root of all evils. was counted worthy to become by denouncing the adulterous Emperor [St Platon was St Theodore’s spiritual father. not abandoning our ascetic discipline nor the confession which lies before us. This resulted in the banishment of the two saints in 809. St Platon’s feast is on the 4th April]. by the same rule. whose imitator our venerable father Platon. those like Moses. And who are they? The glorious fathers and prophets before the Law and under the Law. whenever each of us rests from his works. the Iconoclasts. Among them and before them the great Forerunner. without other brothers. brethren. is common in the sense of ‘solitary’. For you have certainly all heard what the wretched Alexander has done. in the time of grace. When Christ our life appears [Col. For I testify to you that you have come through the time of the fast in the right spirit. as it is written. Both of them betrayed the Lord of glory. Would that you may excel in noble struggles for the time ahead. when he has abolished every rule and every authority and power [1 Cor. the blessed Apostles. because then the saints will have no sensation of their sufferings and struggles for the sake of virtue.of our abstinence. whose memory we are celebrating today. without disturbance. as the tree is known by its fruit. Let us then take this example. without conflict. And thanks be to the powerful God who has empowered you to achieve this completion. the one to the Jews. the other to those who think like the Jews. When he hands over the kingdom to God the Father. each one fulfilling his service properly. but here it means a monk who is isolated. he has denied his obedience and his confession. but will enjoy a pleasure without sorrow and ineffable. 3:4. And since the disciples of a good teacher should themselves be. I beg and implore you. in good order.]. And what caused him to suffer this but that fact that he had been on his own ? how do I blame those who are on their own [The Greek word used here.] ? and had become a lover of money like Judas. no longer remember the mortification of our former struggles. and at the completion of life here. He denounced the illicit marriages of Constantine VI. obediently. the victorious Martyrs. but we rejoice at our present ones and glorify the Master. The community was scattered at this time in semi-exile and St Theodore clearly had problems with monks who wanted to live on their own with all the attendant dangers. and in their eagerness to be rich some have wandered away from the faith and . that we too may follow in the same tracks that he and the rest of our fathers and brethren followed. those like Abraham. 15:24]. the whole choir of the Saints.

The latter speaks of no such threats. in Christ Jesus our Lord. is it a great matter if we unprofitable servants should also be arrested for his sake? And if he was bound and led away and put in prison. 1:19. then. since he was a lover of power and a lover of rank. in which we find the greatest consolation. Moreover according to some MSS there was one for Thursday of this week.pierced themselves with many pains [1 Tim. Amen. maimed by the devil. says the Lord. 3:1]. nobly.] no doubt pained you which indicated the trials that are being meditated against us. but if not. that is the remembrance of the life-giving sufferings of the Saviour. grief has filled your hearts. you connived with him. But because of what I have said to you. Given on the Friday of the 5th week of Lent. One of those mentioned by St Paul was also called Alexander. to whom be glory and might. he has lost the merchandise of virtue. he has grieved us too lowly as we are. number 33 of the Large Catechesis. by voting for him as priest. 6:10].]. And again the Apostle: It is not troublesome for me to speak. turned the game into reality. call him back finally from his fall when he has at last repented. I want next to rebuke some of you not unreasonably. with every spiritual safeguard. but I speak the truth to you [John 16:6-7]. Already Lent draws to its end and the time introduces the fair crown. he has caused as much scandal as he can to the Church of God. and he. it will not be without advantage for us as our good God accepts such preparation and without toils and blows crowns those who thus choose. Why so? Because. Brethren and Fathers. CATECHESIS 70 That we should endure every torment in imitation of Christ and the saints. now and for ever. For if our Lord and God was arrested for our sins. the poor fool. with the Father and the holy Spirit. may he pardon you for your rashness and idle speech. and may he save us all for his heavenly kingdom. we will meet it. 1 Tim. and to the ages of ages. as a joke in fact. who brings from the deep of destruction the soul that has been submerged. May we be safeguarded. while for you it is a safeguard [Phil. the previous instruction [Unless the renegade Alexander was more dangerous than St Theodore says this does not seem to have been Catechesis 69. Oh how the poor wretch has suffered! He has suffered shipwreck in the faith [Cf. and if what is being said passes into act. with God's help. But may our good God. is it .

let us mingle our blood with the holy blood. and to the ages of ages. for this is possible. Let us await him and he will crown us for the day of resurrection of the dead. Such was St Efstratios who cried out in the midst of torments and said. now and for ever. for its nature is not dissimilar nor has he changed who says: See. how much and how great the splendour they would enjoy in the age to come? Ineffable and unimaginable the reckoning! This is the fair business. he sets before all inexhaustible delight. and this to him is riches. 107:14] both seen and invisible. And good it is if anyone were to be found worthy to become a partaker in Christ's sufferings. for he says he is richly generous to all who call upon him [Rom. let no one make trouble for me. ‘Now I know that Christ lives in me’. let us bear the scourges. He loves all equally. Let us embrace him and he will bring our enemies to naught [Ps. with the Father and the holy Spirit. see that I am and I have not changed [Cf. whose relics do we venerate? Is it not those of the Martyrs? Those of the Confessors? Those of the Ascetics? And if here they have been found worthy of so great glory. O blessed voices and thrice-blessed souls! Whose memorials then do we celebrate? Whose nativities do we feast? To whom do we erect sacred churches. As though he were saying: Let no one despise me. he died on behalf of all. Such also was Saint Ignatios who called himself God-bearer by his bearing in himself the Lord's sufferings. this is immortality. and we have to be spat strange should we suffer the same treatment as the Master? Rather it would be exceedingly grievous not to encounter such things. brethren. 32:39 and Mal. Therefore let us call upon him in what befalls us and he will give power and might [Ps. for which may we too be found worthy to attain without condemnation and to stand uncondemned at his judgement seat. 6:17]. to whom be glory and might. let us bear the beatings. and finally if we must be put to death. for I carry the marks of the Lord Jesus branded on my body [Gal. Let us too then imitate them. and if we must be beaten. he is passionate for the salvation of all. But if we must be scourged. This is blessedness. in Christ our Lord. this the blessed exchange: by small struggles and toils to purchase goods that are eternal and without end. let us bear the spittings. 3:6]. for I bear the adornments of Christ the universal King in my flesh. Do we not hear what the Apostle says? From now on. for the day of his appearing. Dt. Amen. 10:12]. 67:36] to our souls. CATECHESIS 72 . giving a good defence. let us bear that revered death.

spat at. Then he is given gall with vinegar to drink. is not envious. or arrogant towards his brother. or embittered. but if well. These in brief are the Master's sufferings. 1:27-6]. or filled with vainglory. and when he has ascended he prays for his murderers: Father. They assembled together to plot an evil plan against the Master. and when he answers—O fearful report!—he is struck by a slave and bears it with longsuffering. for they do not know what they do [Luke 23:33]. and one who hears them with understanding is not angry. stand your ground unflinching and unmoving in the Lord striving side by side with one spirit and one soul for the faith of the Gospel. crushed. for from this day the Lord begins to take on himself the sufferings of the Cross for our sake. Is it not for the sake of his word and his testimony that you are in exile and persecution? [These Catecheses were given when St Theodore and his monks were in exile from Constantinople in the reign of Michael II (820-829). in accordance with David’s words: Why did the nations rage and the peoples imagine vain things? The kings of the earth rose up and the rulers assembled together against the Lord and against his Christ [Psalm 2:1-2]. because you have shared and are sharing in the Master's sufferings. saying: If I have spoken evil. the immortal is put to death. For you see where you are. Given on the Wednesday of Holy Week.] Have you not previously experienced prison? Have you not shed your blood under tortures? Have not some of our brothers died a martyr's death? Such then is our boast in the Lord. considers himself to be earth and ashes. give testimony to the evil. he is pierced by a lance. jeered at. in no way intimidated by your opponents [Phil. desires communion in Christ's sufferings. forgive them their sin. so that he may have a part in the glory of his resurrection. Brethren and Fathers.On the saving Passion. ridiculed. the present day is holy and to be venerated. to is eager to be conformed to his death. But since until the end beatitude is not assured because of the ease of reversal and the impossibility of knowing what the morrow will bring to birth. Rather he is humbled. mocked. He ascends the Cross. or enraged. is interrogated and answers. such our gift. scourged. and teaching on humility and patient endurance. stands before the judgement seat. The Lord of all things is led away prisoner. But you too take courage. The deceitful Judas denied him utterly and betrays the teacher with a deceitful kiss. not giving offence in anything. or puffed up. buffeted. why do you strike me? [John 18:23] Then he is scoffed at. but in everything recommending .

if we endure. we shall also reign with him. he will also disown us. by obedience. the blows. meekness. 12:9-12]. 6:3-4]. of eternal destruction. great endurance. patient in affliction.ourselves as God's ministers [2 Cor. outdoing one another in showing honour. we shall also live with him. striving for what is more perfect. Amen. Given on Good Friday. and to the ages of ages. hating what is evil. What then are they? The murderous council against him. serving the Lord. 1:9-10]. loving one another with brotherly affection. as we contemplate and think on these things. his arraignment before Pilate's tribunal. brethren. holding fast to what is good. 7:1]. rejoicing in hope. being ardent in spirit. now and for ever. when he comes to be glorified in his saints and marvelled at among all who have believed [2 Thess. cut off from his presence and from the glory of his strength. why do we hate being in afflictions and do not rather choose to die each day for the Master? For it is written: If we have died with him. while the sufferings of our Lord Jesus Christ when they are recalled are always able to pierce the soul. and be counted worthy to enjoy the eternal blessings in Christ Jesus our Lord. on which each of them reached its end. Brethren and Fathers. crowning them and becoming their companion for ever and ever? What anguish will they have who have disobeyed the Gospel and transgressed his commandments? They will suffer the penalty. CATECHESIS 73 On the saving passion of our Lord and Master Jesus Christ. humility. zealous for what is better. the scourging. the . persevering in prayer [Rom. they do so especially in these present days. he remains faithful. again and again let us purify ourselves from every defilement of flesh and spirit. But if he will come and not delay. And so. longsuffering. 1:7]. that by such sincerity we may worthily celebrate the imminent Pascha. to whom be glory and might with the Father and the Holy Spirit. the interrogation. as it is written. not lagging in zeal. For in a little while he who is coming will come and not delay [Heb 10:36-37]. 2:11-13]. For you need endurance in order to do God's will and obtain the promise. his being led away to death. he cannot disown himself [1 Tim. inviting them with inexpressible joy. the Jewish arrest. if we are unfaithful. How great joy the saints will have when they see the Lord coming from heaven with the angels of his power [2 Thess. if we disown him. perfecting holiness in the fear of God [2 Cor.

nor can anyone worthily proclaim. O great and more then natural sights! The sun saw them and faded. the mockeries. which the world cannot contain. neither angels nor rules nor powers. were amazed and altered. and do we. the rocks perceived them and were rent. who have been honoured with reason. changing insults for insults and exchanging wounds for wounds. Fittingly then the blessed Apostle. the condemned.] is the one who is struck by the hand of a servant. the tasting of gall. the other through unflinching confession. Do we not see the burning incitements of divine love? Who ever dwelt in prison for a friend? Who accepted slaughter for their beloved? But our good God not only did the one and both of them. the Lord who adorned the boundaries of the earth with flowers is the one who is dishonourably crowned with thorns. the insults. The Lord who reveals the counsels of hearts [1 Cor. sacrifice the passions. neither present nor future. neither height nor depth. all creation was turned back at the outrages done to the Master. more unfeeling than the stones? In no way. Let us rather be amazed in a manner worthy of God. by being changed with a fair change. for whose sake Christ died. For let us consider. the Lord who measures the heavens with the span of his hand and the earth in a handful and weighed all the mountains in the balance [Isaias 40:12. the ascent of the Cross. the Lord who binds the water in the clouds [Job 26:8. the one through obedience. not human tongue.]is the one who is handed over to sinners.] and sows in the earth in due season and uniformly is the one who is led away prisoner. let us draw down tears. this great and ineffable mystery. said For I am persuaded that neither death nor life. The lifeless elements which have no senses. the piercing of his side and all the other things which blazed forth [This word is not in the lexica. nor even all the tongues of angels together. brethren. my brothers. nor any other creature will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ .] with them. 4:5] and knows every human desire is the one who is taken before a council of death. the nailing of his hands and feet. but accepted ten thousand sufferings for the sake of us. when he thought on these things and became powerfully aware of the love of God. the Lord who planted the tree of life in Paradise is the one who is hanged upon an accursed tree.spittings. remain untouched and unweeping in these days? How could we be less rational than things which have no reason. the Lord who bears all things by the word of his power [Hebrews 1:3. the earth perceived them was shaken. but the meaning is clear. as if endowed with life and sensation from fear of the Lord and from the spectacle of what is seen. the moon saw them and was darkened. in no way.

And again. That is why the Lord says in the Gospels. ‘Rejoice in the Lord. 8:38-39].]. as it is written. because I live and you will live’ [John 14. and to the ages of ages.Jesus our Lord [Rom.] Let us also. so that he may gain Christ [Cf. I no longer call you servants. singing with blessed David the song: What return may we make to the Lord for all that he has given to us? [Psalm 115:3.1415]. I have made known to you’ [John 15. that all who believe in him might not perish. And again. as it is written. ‘Those who have ears to hear. not simple-mindedly or anyhow. Such a person considers everything here to be a passing shadow. but to those who in addition have a ear which obeys and an eye for looking.8]. ‘God gave them a spirit of compunction. A little while. when they had nothing to offer. however it is not given to all to see and hear. ‘You are my friends. if you do whatever I command you. but rather that we may able to say. the saints. But you see me.9]. CATECHESIS 78 On listening with understanding to the Holy Scriptures. We should surely then listen with understanding to the things that are read to us. Brethren and fathers. cry out these words each day.5]. ‘I am the vine and you are the branches’ [John 15. ‘I will not leave you orphans.18-19]. Philippians 3. brethren. let them hear’ [Matthew 13. you just’ [Psalm 32. ‘You have remained with me in my trials.1]. considers everything to be rubbish. now and for ever.5]. For such was the love God had for us that he gave his only Son. The one who hears like this is attentive and moved by compunction. But I have called you friends. Just as he hears him saying to his Disciples. As an exchange for this love. And again. and I make . eyes for not looking and ears for not hearing’ [Romans 11. as we sing in David’s Psalms. ‘The Lord’s training opens my ears’ [Isaias 50. I am coming to you. so that we may become heirs with the saints of the eternal blessings in Christ Jesus our Lord. as we serve him with an unceasing attitude of love. and the world sees me no longer. all we human beings have eyes and ears.8]. to whom be glory and might with the Father and the Holy Spirit. but have eternal life [John 3:16. offered their own bodies and blood by asceticism and struggle. striving again and again for what is better. so that we may not fall beneath the threat. because the servant does not know what his lord does. While of those who are hard of hearing the Prophet says. because everything that I have heard from my Father.

as Scripture says. ‘What shall I give the Lord in return for all that he has given me? I will take the cup of salvation and call on the name of the Lord’ [Psalm 115. and who will also bestow on us his eternal kingdom. always giving thanks for all the good things that he has done for us. but also to suffer for him’ [Philippians 1.a covenant with you — an eternal covenant — that you may eat and drink for ever at my table in my kingdom’ [Luke 22.29].28-30]. the teaching of the Saints. brethren. by villainy to the cunning of error’ [Ephesians 4.3-4]. rejoiced. after they had been flogged. ‘I did not grow weary following you. with the Father and the Holy Spirit. Lord. another and another from here and from there sweetens by his utterances. as it is written! To us has been given. For how many have gone astray. while the Apostle again says. This then was how all the Saints lived their lives. who is also at the right hand of God and who also makes intercession for us’ [Romans 8. David says. And therefore. nor did I desire any human day’ [Jeremias 17. ‘It has been given us by God not only to believe in Christ. whence one works the divine words like a goldsmith.16]. now and for ever. but a famine of hearing the word of God’ [Amos 8. that he chose us from the beginning for salvation by the sanctification of our profession here.11]. they not only rejoice but also choose to die for Christ every day. for to him belong glory and might.14]! How many are famished ‘not with a famine of bread or thirst for water.41]. utterly deceived ‘by human trickery. that he gave us the grace to worship him with orthodox faith and not be carried astray. and to the ages of ages. yet rather he was raised from the dead. but handed him over for us all. Who then condemns? It was Christ who died. Similarly the Apostles. Jeremias says. ‘because they had been found worthy to be dishonoured for the name of Christ’ [Acts 5. Amen.31-34]. CATECHESIS 103 . who is against us? For the One who did not spare his own Son. to God the Father that is. In short each of the Saints with words like these reveals their love for Christ. ‘If God is for. like a full table. It is opportune then to say with the Apostle. with statements such as these they gloried triumphantly of their longing for God. When someone who loves God hears such words. let us too hear obediently what is said and love our beloved God with love. how will he not with him also grant us all things? Who will bring a charge against God’s chosen one? It is God who justifies.

Nevertheless there are some of you who. teaching them to observe everything that I have commanded you’. so that sin may not put down roots from there. ‘it was said. your poor Abbot. let no one live on their own. But I say to you. [13] From these come greater and more serious sins. [8] Again. behave without discretion. ‘it was said. as one might say. ‘it was said to those of old. And I. what shall we suffer on that day? [10] ‘Do not be led astray’. he gave them this command. [3] But what are the things he commanded? According to the old covenant. being disobedient. bless those who curse you. the Son and the Holy Spirit.On keeping God’s commandments and the just threat against those who neglect them. But I say to you. [2] has placed us in this life as in a schoolroom to learn to gospel of his kingdom. ‘Go and make disciples of all the nations. with paganism. do good to those who hate you’. to summarise. quarrel with the truth. as I have often declared by way of putting you on your guard and do so now. you are not to swear at all’. when he sent out his disciples to preach. Love your enemies. ‘You shall not murder. [7] Again. For this reason too. ‘You shall not commit perjury’. ‘neither fornicators nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor Sodomites nor thieves nor extortioners nor drunkards nor slanderers nor robbers will inherit the kingdom of God’. ‘You shall love your neighbour and hate you enemy’. everyone who is angry with their brother without good cause will be liable to judgement’. things that are higher and more precise. [4] According to the new. who fashioned us and brought us out of non-existence into being. ‘You shall not murder’. while the other the impulses from which the acts come. [6] ‘You shall not commit adultery’. ‘it was said to those of old. But I say to you. God. everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart’. whoever commits murder will be liable to judgement. and being quarrelsome. you shall not steal. amass money. but rather. But I say to you. Scripture says. baptizing them in the name of the Father. you shall not commit adultery. [5] Again. [14] ‘am not responsible for the blood . [9] Do you see how great the difference is between the two covenants? The one forbids the acts themselves. [11] And for this reason. disobey. let no one be a horse breeder or cattle herdsman or engage in any activity [12] beyond the rule under persecution. For Scripture says. If then we are found to be living in accordance with neither law nor Gospel. acquire a slave. you shall not bear false witness’. [1] Brethren and fathers.

tears. for I have not shrunk from declaring to you’ God’s ordinance. if we have not obtained the necessities for the journey? How are we to take our stand at the judgement seat of Christ. compunction. as they come to take us from the body? How are we to journey on that long and unending road. The series for the Triodion begins with number 13 in Greek. Therefore every tree that does not bear good fruit will be cut down and thrown onto the fire’. purity and every form of good conduct. let us worship and let us weep to our good God. prayers. Let us come into his presence with confession’. for the Sunday of the Tax Collector and the Pharisee. brethren.of any of you. [15] ‘Or are we provoking the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than he?’ [16] ‘The axe is already being laid to the root of the trees. [24] and he has not shut the doors against us. Yes. though there is nothing to suggest this either in the text itself or in the numbering of the Greek MSS. [23] supplication. nor by. [2] A quotation from the Anaphora of St John Chrysostom. in a Russian translation. now and for ever and to the ages of ages. we too. [21] where there is ‘weeping and gnashing of teeth’. so that. I beg you. so that this does not happen. Amen. [17] Are you frightened by this example? [18] Do you not tremble at the threat? Are you not afraid of death. have I failed to reveal the sword that is coming ‘upon those who disobey’. when we have been dismissed from the life here. . may depart with joy for the everlasting life in Christ Jesus our Lord. [20] if we have a bad conscience? Will we not inevitably be sent away from there to the place ‘where the fire is not quenched and the worm does not die’. which we shall all face [19] in a little while? How are we to look on the fearsome angels. brethren. for the Wednesday before Meat Sunday. when they are dismissed. with the Father and the Holy Spirit. but he lets them approach like the harlot. [22] But. [1] The current Moscow edition of the Lenten Triodion gives this catechesis. ‘Come. ‘He is expiation for our sins’. he has not turned away from someone who turns back. let us rouse ourselves and let us compete. as genuine disciples of the Gospel. let us stand up. go home rejoicing. who are ready learners. like school children. fasts. to whom ‘every knee shall bow and every tongue confess’.. where it is numbered 116. to whom belong glory and might. the prodigal and the thief. keeping silent.

[14] Literally. 5:43-44.’ but this is most unnatural in English and I have taken the liberty of trying to convey a tone of voice rather than the ‘literal’ sense of the words. [9] Mat. The phrase in the New Testament refers to those who oppose God. without further explanation. [17] Mat. 7:22. [16] 1 Cor. Cf. 5:21-22. The words ‘without good cause’ (one word in Greek) are not in many ancient MSS. [12] This meaning is not attested in the lexica. Mat. citing a number of passages from Demosthenes for it. 5:27-28. also Ephesians 2:2 and 5:6. which is a Semitism for ‘the disobedient’. nor in some of the versions and are generally rejected by contemporary scholars. . The Greek has ‘sons of disobedience’. the humble. ‘And I. [6] Most modern editors omit ‘to those of old’ in this verse. [10] The day of judgement. as a glance at the many contemporary commentaries and versions of the New Testament will show. Neither St John Chrysostom nor Theodoret comment on the individual categories. 5:33-34. The phrase. but the word ‘sons’ is particularly apposite in the context of a monastic brotherhood. [4] Exodus 20:13-15. [5] Mat.[3] Mat. The latest edition of Liddell and Scott adds this meaning to the article in question. is found already in the New Testament. 10:22. [18] Cf. [15] Colossians 3:6. [8] Mat. [7] Mat. 3:10. Hebrews 4:11. 2 Timothy 1:18 and 4:8. The exact meaning of some of these terms is much disputed. 18:19-20. but are part of the Church’s text. 6:9-10. Cf. [13] One of a number of references by St Theodore to the problems of keeping community life and discipline when the brotherhood is in exile and dispersed. [11] 1 Cor.

The Greek word exomologesis means both ‘thanksgiving’ and ‘confession’ (sc. Rom. [23] This is a free citation of Psalm 94 vv. 6 and 2. 14:11 and cf. . Mark 9:48. St Theodore reverses the two clauses. ‘of sins’).[19] The use of this verb suggests that St Theodore may be thinking of Malachy 3:2. to make the beginning of his list [24] 1 John 2:2. The phrase occurs six times in Matthew and once in Luke. Phil 2:10-11. [22] Mat. [21] Isa. except predicatively in Psalm 72:1. and this is why he has put verse 2 after verse 6. 8:12. The latter is clearly the meaning St Theodore intends here. [20] Isaias 45:23. The actual expression ‘good God’ does not occur in Scripture. 66:24.

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