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

and let the better not be dragged down by the worse. but let the spirit be master and act for the better. that you may keep from being overwhelmed by the tempest of the passions. and a tempest drowned me [Psalm 68. Flee the destructive places and ways of sin.and all the other exertions of holiness. says Scripture. Jacob ate and was filled. they ease off and have no worries about the storms and dangers of the sea. the passions become more ferocious with the relaxation of the flesh. the spirit of pride. 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. your food.3]. Sin is the cause of the everlasting punishments. stirs up a most dreadful storm for themselves. For a physical harbour is not like a harbour of the mind. Someone touched without meaning to and they were enflamed to lust and gave birth to iniquity. sin that has made humanity.13. the spirit of gluttony. the fuel of the unquenchable fire of Gehenna. as it is related of Saint Arsenios. For if they manfully shake off unseemly thoughts. and the spirits of wickedness join in the assault like storms: the spirit of fornication. and readers know what he suffered. you who are listening to this. drink and sleep. taste and touch. I entered the depths of the sea. will end by repeating those miserable words. But one whose senses are unbridled and who lets in desires like streams. they are filled with calm. the spirit of avarice. the food of the undying worm. be compared to the unreasoning beasts [Cf. Govern your sight. Psalm 48. In the latter on the contrary. Unless the person does not swiftly smooth out their tempestuous thoughts. David once looked unguardedly on Uria’s wife. and the beloved kicked [Deut 32. having the Holy Spirit as the companion of their voyage. . the spirit of dejection. Therefore let reason be in control. Take care. the spirit of despondency. When someone comes to anchor in the former. that was in honour. while someone who crosses the water of the mind is lord of tempest and of calm. hearing. smell. The fear is that we may be sunk in harbour.21]. This is worth remembering: someone who sails across the physical sea is subject to storms and tempests without their wanting it.15].

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

15-16]. When it was already the mid-point of the feast. as a truly master perfumer. but repels demons. like a fragrant meadow filled with flowers. What do you say to that. Handle me and see. With this perfume too let us also run as we celebrate with sincerity the holy Mid-Pentecost. so was the former. See. This perfume is sweet to God. will pay the penalty of everlasting destruction [2 Thess. See my hands and feet. let us give off a sweet spiritual fragrance. And to those who thought that he was a spirit he said. Adam too was a sweet fragrance for God. since it is written. after the Resurrection.3-4] with the holy Apostles. But he himself silently bears witness also to his being portrayed. appropriately he dwelt in Paradise. giving off the virtues. a perfume that each one produces [unattested] for themselves by a blending of the virtues. For we are the sweet fragrance of Christ for God among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. ‘How does this man know letters. This perfume attracts angels.39].9]. made bright by immortality and incorruption and engrossed in heavenly contemplation. for the latter a scent of death leading to death. without having learnt?’ [John 7. and the Apostle bears witness to this when he says. my brothers.4 LXX]. the scent of my son is like the scent of a fertile field that the Lord has blessed [Gen. and the Jews marvelled. because a spirit does not have flesh and bones. Acts 1. And therefore. This perfume is blessed.27]. But the iconoclasts. So then. he appears to and eats [Cf. initiating them into greater and more ineffable mysteries. And it is possible to say this as well. so as to confirm his Resurrection. But nevertheless. when he smelt a sweet aroma on his son Jacob. 27. With this perfume women ran behind Jesus. for each of them confirms the other. for the former an scent of life leading to life [2 Cor. while now.virtue is truly the sweet fragrance of Christ. The patriarch Isaac also. Before his transgression. as it says in the Song of Songs [1.14-15] But this was before the Passion. 1. saying. said. who think like the Manicheans. that is to say the scent that has been received spiritually. does he not have the possibility of being portrayed in an image? So if the latter is impossible. which is at the doors. enemy of Christ? If he has flesh and bones. Jesus went up to the Temple and taught. and — O what inexpressible condescension! — after the Resurrection he touched food. that it is I myself. he ate and drank and let his side be handled. 2. though his holy flesh had no need to. as it is written. Let us . as you see I have [Luke 24.

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

and with this in mind the blest Apostle cried out: What is the hope of his calling. let us yet refrain from carnal desires that war against the soul. For the desire of the flesh is fire.15] and abolished the pains of death and raised humanity with himself. compliant. and what the wealth of the glory of his inheritance in the saints. he became a slave to the normal laws of nature. through our Lord Jesus Christ. but we have also soared aloft to sonship. And this is the blessed life: but pleasures and trifles. and now our nature is worshipped in the heavens by every creature seen and unseen. have not only been reconciled to God the Father. and gave him to be head over all things to the Church. and because we are the body of Christ. but so as to go towards the fire that is ready. [Ephesians 1.17-18] and their ears blocked up so as not to distinguish good from bad. let us not make the members of Christ members of a harlot. life from death. although we were alienated and hostile in our intent by evil deeds. reliable. which is his body.[1 Peter 2. who see and do not see and hear and do not hear.18].15] but let us sanctify ourselves in both thoughts and deeds. and yet deep embedded they do not cease to follow their self-chosen demon and to be entitled to be . Mark 8. brethren.11] maintaining good conduct in ourselves. the fullness of him who fills all in all. and what the exceeding greatness of his power towards us who believe. obedient.feet. and yet they rush towards it unbridled. light from darkness. love of money is a pit. Such is the mighty work of the ineffable love for mankind of our good God. let us preserve the nobility.18-20] For what came to pass? He who is supremely good came to us through a virgin birth. for their hearts are insensitive [Cf. manifesting himself for us to God the Father. he descended to the lowest parts of the earth [Psalm 138. [1 Corinthians 6. 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. nailing to it the record against us. let us not betray the grace. according to the working of the might of his strength which he worked in Christ? {Ephesians 1. And as we contemplate them.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. he ascended the cross. finally he was taken up in glory {1 Timothy 3. let us reverence the gift. humble. peaceable. These then briefly are the events of the holy feast.

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

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

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

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

Manasse perverted Israel for fifty two years. David was a prophet and. Mary of Egypt. Do you see God’s ineffable love for humankind? Not only has he promised to purify. he received the grace of prophecy once again. I will make them white as wool’ [Isaias 1.14]. but will have the light of life’ [John 8.18]. And examples are manifest. had reached the uttermost limit of debauchery. but when he repented. he did not give up. ‘Though your sins are like scarlet. but to bring the one who repents to the pinnacle of loveliness. unless they are insensible or bent on death3. that we may be worthy to be called friends. after his denial. stained as they are by many sins. and I will give you rest’ [Matthew 11. let us do all that we have been commanded.for who will boast that they have a pure heart? -. And we are unwilling to get rid of the heavy load of our sins. she attained the highest degree of virtue. ‘Walk by the light of your fire and the flame you have kindled’ [Isaias 50. One who follows me will not walk in darkness. ‘Come to me all you that toil and are heavy laden. ‘We do not want to know your ways’ [Job 21. All that remains is for us to hear. house of Israel?’ [Ezekiel 18. lest by delaying in evil it gives birth to death. to inherit the kingdom of heaven. But we hear the words. . to pass over the numberless others. my brothers.31]. when he fell into the crime of adultery and murder. says the Lord. And let no one ever say that they cannot be made clean again. if you do all that I command you’ [John 15. But we turn to the opposite.28]. But God forbid that such things should be said of us. he too found salvation. So then.11]. when they listen to the One who said. but after he had swiftly had recourse to repentance.12].chief pursuit. I will make them white as snow. So there is no excuse for claiming incapacity for someone who chooses to be saved. proclaiming by our actions. Though they are like crimson. The same Master cries. by the medicine of tears took up again the burden of the apostolate.21]. The prince of the Apostles. ‘I am the light of the world. but once she had come to a remarkable repentance. and why do we choose everlasting death rather than immortal life that is set before us? Our good Master cries out each day. ‘For you are may friends.14]. in Christ our Lord. And Scripture says. ‘Why would you die.let it be quickly made clean again and brought back to its former condition. But if admittedly it frequently happens that the soul grows slack and is defiled by unseemly thoughts -. ‘Those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God’ [Galatians 5.

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

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

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

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

How? We were enslaved to the devil through Adam's transgression. If we are slothful. He not only delivered us from death's possession. Let us conduct ourselves with righteousness and holiness. but also. And what is 'oldness'? Indulgence. death on a cross [3]. with holiness and dispassion. as befits saints [9] with peace and harmony. Therefore the only Son of God came. We were buried then with him through baptism to death. so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but have eternal life [2]. and as a result he passed his whole life in fear and groaning. [8] So. which he has poured out on us through Jesus Christ our Saviour! [7] What may we. From these . Nor did he simply give him. subject to corruption. he made us a kingdom (of heaven) and priests to his God and Father. so we should be enthusiastic to listen to the word of God. For by listening we gain the greatest benefits. this is how God loved the world: he gave his only Son. just as we promised through the holy Schema. having washed us from our sins by his own blood. [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]. guilty and captive. just as the hungry long to eat and the thirsty to drink. [1] Brethren and Fathers. we too might walk in newness of life. we were under the reign of death. we put away sloth. says the Apostle.CATECHESIS 40 That we should conduct ourselves in newness of life. giving himself as a ransom for all. and from both the outcome is good. just as we promised when we took the habit. sold under sin [4]. This is newness. Envy. 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. by which Adam our forefather was caught and became an outcast from Paradise and underwent a life of much grief. but even to death. just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father. 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. so that. with reverence and piety. we have died to sin. What then is the present word? For. brothers. by which Cain was inflamed and murdered his brother Abel because his gifts were preferred. let us walk in newness of life. poor wretches. we become even more eager. but fleeing our former notions like fire and standing fast on the rock of our faith. if we are eager. says Scripture. not being led away in ignorance by our former [10] deceits.

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

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

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

[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

as it is written. For the rest pray for our humble selves. to whom be glory and might. timely stillness. to say always with a contrite heart. Since too you know the sort of things that take place in the world. 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. and this is the deposit which I entrust to you to guard unharmed and unperverted. or that he should give something to the poor. O Lord. So then each one of us is a debtor. shouts and caperings. and what the house of my . in Christ Jesus our Lord. because Judas held the purse. for hear what the Lord says to Judas. in the heart meditation of divine words. I often call your way of life blessed. We serve one another. to answer according to reason. nor do I wish to call those in the world unhappy. not because of any works of justice that we have done. And this is the apostolic teaching. For some thought that. Jesus was telling him. But blessed is God. But our manner of life is not like this. we keep close to one another. my Lord. Not one of those at table knew why he said this to him. but according to his mercy the call is freely given. not by way of flattery but truth. fitting speech. Government of thoughts in accord with the mind. reading reading. for we have done nothing good upon earth. that is not discordant. ‘Buy what we need for the feast’. try to achieve. Do you see that among them the consideration both of the feast and of the poor was a matter for concern? Which we also. now and always and to the ages of ages. revels and intoxication. as you see.saints and their images. everything is ordered with stability and measure. but I aim to make you more fervent. and all the other things. Psalmody succeeds psalmody. whose condemnation is deserved. CATECHESIS 52 On self-mastery and prayer. who has granted us to be admitted to such a way of life. that on opening our mouth the Lord may give us utterance. lowly as we are. Brethren and fathers. which we have received from our holy fathers. do quickly. Amen. spoken on the Friday of Cheese Week. and if there is need for some bodily consolation at the feast. drinking bouts and drunkenness. with the Father and the Holy Spirit. prayer prayer. 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. which are the results of the activity of the evil one. What you are doing. Who am I.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

the Lord Jesus Christ. let us bear the toils of virtue with long-suffering. now and for ever and to the ages of ages. not just on Wednesdays and Fridays. but the work of virtue endures for ever. according to the working by which he is able even to subdue all things to himself. 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. said the Lord. despite certain earlier difficulties. had a great respect for St . The grass withered and the flower faded. 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. 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. So that looking at the recompense. INTRODUCTION Catechesis 60 contains a number of interesting details.working for us a far more exceeding weight of glory. from which we also eagerly wait for the Saviour. He has delivered us from the power of darkness and translated us into the kingdom of the Son of his love. the Patriarch. let us rejoice and be glad as we repudiate every pleasure. Blessed is the one who endures temptation. This would imply that during Lent the Liturgy of the Presanctified was celebrated every weekday. who had died in 812. with the Father and the Holy Spirit. All flesh is grass. my brothers. Amen. for example. Who.] What could be sweeter and more filled with enjoyment than this. The most likely person is St Nikephoros. If you know these things. who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to his glorious body. Is anyone sad? Let him sing psalms. giving thanks to the God and Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light. for when he has been proved. And so. Is anyone among you suffering? as the brother of God says. to whom be glory and might. he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love him. and all human glory like the flower of the grass. 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. it cannot be St Platon. Let him pray. The latter. blessed are you if you do them.

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

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

14. of course. prayer is good. seasoned with salt. Therefore let us become cheerful. The time for talk? Let us talk suitably. The moment for psalmody? Let us advance keenly. brethren.]. because it tames the passions and subjects the flesh to the spirit. while watch is kept over the body’s health.5-6. The moment for work? Let us work earnestly. because it disregards what concerns itself for the advantage of the neighbour. as it is written. zeal is good. the task of pressing on eagerly again and again to what follows as each has chosen. The moment for stillness? Let us be still reasonably. and particularly because everywhere there are edicts of the rulers that no one is to lag behind from having a share in heretical fellowship. where there is no food and drink.he knows how to crown from the intention alone the one who chooses the good. to the resurrection of Christ. let us be eager.17.4].] as we have been instructed. 9. not reluctantly or under constraint. with the . nor should we pass God’s word over in silence. in Christ Jesus our Lord. and make us worthy of the kingdom of heaven.]. according to each one’s power. Fasting then is good. for God loves a cheerful faster [1 Cor. Except that the coenobitic rule does not let each one act according to their own will. weeping is good. to whom be glory and might.7. has ‘giver’. because it wipes clean and washes the heart of sins and sets it pure before the Lord. but again and again it continues. Conduct yourselves wisely toward outsiders. because it lightens toils and makes the spirit young. 14. making the most of the opportunity. My soul takes no pleasure in anyone who draws back [Heb 10. Would that we might share in them richly. Let the measure of genuflexions be completed and the customary recitation be fulfilled.[1 Cor. But that’s enough of these matters. because it gives the mind wings and makes it a companion of God. And to speak simply. Already the fast has advanced and lays on us. as it makes the elder young again. And would that the God of peace might bring us to the queen of days. in the Holy Spirit [Rom.40.]. And so let us hear the Apostle when he says. St Paul. doing everything decently and in order.8 = Hab 2. By this he teaches us that we should not submit just anyhow to trials. let us remain outside tumult and all idle chatter. but justice and peace and joy. Let your speech be always gracious. for he says. but this is the common limit of self-mastery for those living in obedience: the cutting of their own will. But in fact the trial has not been dispelled. love is good. so that you may know how you should respond to each one [Col 4.

[Isa.] Brethren and fathers. St Theodore seems to be quoting from memory ] when. Come out from among them and be separated. Amen. CATECHESIS 62 On our imitating the Lord’s sufferings. but in all these we must be supremely victorious through the God who loved us. 52. You see that the same distinction withdraws us from the world and drives us to trouble. because when the moment summoned they did not choose persecution on behalf of Christ. they will render an account to the Lord on the day of judgement. gives it force to be able to endure sufferings on his behalf. to prison.29. to persecution. which means a ‘disposition’. 8. whose memorial we have just celebrated. In the LXX and NT it is the regular word for ‘covenant’. unless diatheke can be taken in the sense of something like an ‘ultimatum’. The text as it stands may be corrupt.11. [1] The Greek has diatheke. which the other party may accept or reject.’ Migne has ‘tumultus’. it is necessary to listen to the Prophet when he says. but since it does not print the Greek.] 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 now. whenever he sees a soul thirsting for him. And to this the Forty Martyrs. [Rom. an ‘arrangement’ made by one party with plenary power. though Moulton Milligan’s comment on the word is interesting: ‘diatheke is properly disposition. But it seems to have been given after the day itself. as certain others. to distress. If others act otherwise over these matters. whether this represents a different text. to death. for . now and always and to the ages of ages. in the sense of a ‘will’ or ‘testament’. for it seems to me that to be brought under their power is equivalent of being indifferent towards the heretics.Father and the Holy Spirit.] says the Lord. [Migne adds: On the Forty Martyrs [March 9th]. 10. It does not seem to make any sense in the context.37. but cannot alter. to hunger. bear witness with the others. or is simply a guess to fit the sense is unclear. 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.

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.we cannot say that they possessed a different nature to the one we have. he is not able to deny himself. concerning the Christians who were massacred in Bulgaria during the holy Lent. 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. the imprisoned. those who obeyed would live. because he too was reviled. nor all scourged. in Christ Jesus our Lord.26] And would that we were even more one body and one spirit. of what sort and how great they are? For the rest then. he remains faithful. they were empowered in their weakness to throw down the invisible enemy by the flesh.11-13] Do you see the promises and the threats. CATECHESIS 63 Historical. he too will deny us.[ Cf. 1 Pet. because he too was scourged. to gain the kingdom of heaven. We may not all have been imprisoned. the imprisonments. the scourgings. because he too was imprisoned. but nevertheless the fellowship of life itself becomes a fellowship of sufferings. the reviled. On the 3rd Sunday. brethren. all the limbs suffer with it. to become wellpleasing to God. the scourged. if we deny. the arrested. those who disobeyed would be killed. Amen. we shall also live with him.13. and to accomplish a struggle of such a quality and greatness that all Christians praise it in song. [2 Tim. on account of meat-eating. [1 Cor. 12. The story is this: In Bulgaria. [Eph. we shall also reign with him. But since they loved God with a true heart. now and always and to the ages of ages. all the limbs rejoice with it. if we are faithless. if one limb is glorified. see too why it is written. the banishments. if we endure.4. let us strive. because he too was persecuted. let us struggle by the grace of Christ not to shame those things that have been previously mentioned. If we have died with him. 4.] having Christ as the head.] even to some extent at least: the persecuted. for if one limb suffers. 4. 2. Brethren and fathers. as those who were accurately informed have reported. The word of the godless was exceedingly strong and the people assembled and there was weeping and groans and much lamentation . because he too was arrested. as we have been called in one hope of our calling. in the present instruction I want to urge you to consolation from a certain story.

it says. rather fear one who can destroy both soul and body in Gehenna [Matt. but they considered all things as secondary for the love of Christ. Do not fear those who kill the body. imitating the holy Maccabees and doubling their number.28. the latter so as not to partake of any meat in violation of the Christian rule. the former so as not to taste swine’s meat in violation of the law. when he saw the implacable determination of the men. 10. for the Maccabees were seven. The Scythian then. And again. and having slain him he at once distributed his children and his wife among the Scythians as slaves. 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. they obeyed the authority of the Lord and were wreathed with the crown of martyrdom. this latter seems stricter. appeals and exhortations by the people: Let them yield to constraint. O blessed men! O blessed action! in a single instant to have received in exchange eternal rest! What will they say to this. They were obedient then to the commands of the Gospel. on the other of those quailing before the death of the flesh. on the one side of those clinging to the Christian law. and one who loves son or daughter or wife more than me is not worthy of me. 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.37-38]. and one who does not take up his cross and follow after me. But since the order from the Scythians was aimed at the rejection of the faith.with women and children. more than me is not worthy of me. 10. 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. thought to subdue the rest by means of one. but they were fourteen. not die foolishly. Where too are those who say that there is no ground for martyrdom in the image of . but for these men it was permissible to partake of any meat under necessity. that even now too the Gospel of the kingdom of God is active. and through repentance they can be restored again. and our lot is that of our dead brother’. brethren. therefore. so that the others weakened by this would be brought over. they refused. because for the Maccabees partaking of pork was utterly forbidden. is not worthy of me [Matt. But they rather remained unbowed and shouted out. Finally — ah. One who loves father or mother.]. At this. At this confession they were crucified on planks and died in the Lord. the pitiable announcement — they were defeated and submitted to the godless order. ‘We are Christians. You see. but cannot kill the soul.

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

life and peace. Teacher. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God [Rom. I speak the truth in Christ.6.]. You see the power of love? You see . entreaties. What should he have done and did not do? Being God he became man. In brief this is the power of the mystery. he gave us his body to eat and his blood to drink. 2. he allowed us to call him Father.]. brethren? That the genuine disciples are grieved by the rejections of their fellow-disciples. Bridegroom. and elsewhere he says this on the subject. And so the thought of the flesh is hostile to God. think the things of the flesh. with holiness and justice. but according to the spirit. no longer walking according to the flesh.1-3. that I have a great grief and unceasing anguish in my heart. but free of passions. 9. that we may no longer be slaves. those who walk according to the spirit. Head. my kinsmen according to the flesh [Rom. as it is written. but friends of God. 6.5. Tribes and languages reject him. Indeed it cannot be. he humbled himself.]. no longer subject to the passions. no longer friends of the world. And still he is rejected. 2. So too. those who have had his holy name invoked upon them reject him. but we should both pray and grieve for the world. the death of the cross [Phil. with goodness. and still he bears it. I have not come to judge the world.].]. prayers. with peace. and this is why we should celebrate spiritually and behave spiritually. Brother. for I have prayed that I might be anathema to Christ for the sake of my brethren. with forbearance. my conscience bears witness with me in the Holy Spirit. thus showing love both for the teacher and for the disciples.]. 8. but free. the things of the spirit.5-8. What then is there to say. dwelling in her and from her fashioning for himself a temple and becoming perfect man. and the world rejects him. Fellow-heir and all the other titles which there is no time to mention now.8. for it is not subject to the law of God. For. others through their evil lives. but the thought of the spirit. so that as far as we ourselves are concerned we do not render the dispensation of our Lord Jesus Christ empty and ineffectual. with the Holy Spirit [2 Cor.1-2.]. I do not lie. Not only that. but to save the world [John 12. 4. Why so? That he might ransom those under the law. some through abandoning the faith. he says. genuine servants suffer in the same way from the desertions of their fellow-servants. with love. becoming obedient unto death. This is why the great Apostle orders that we should offer supplications. with gentleness. Why so? Because the Son of God came to save the world.47. and that we might receive sonship [Gal. for kings and for all in high positions [1 Tim. the barbarian nations reject him. for the thought of the flesh is death. thanksgivings on behalf of all mankind. Those who walk according to the flesh.holy Virgin as the means.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The latter speaks of no such threats. as a joke in fact. Brethren and Fathers. Oh how the poor wretch has suffered! He has suffered shipwreck in the faith [Cf. with God's help. he has grieved us too lowly as we are. Why so? Because. CATECHESIS 70 That we should endure every torment in imitation of Christ and the saints. but if not. the poor fool. with the Father and the holy Spirit. Amen. But may our good God. while for you it is a safeguard [Phil. 1:19. Given on the Friday of the 5th week of Lent. And again the Apostle: It is not troublesome for me to speak. but I speak the truth to you [John 16:6-7]. is it . turned the game into reality. he has caused as much scandal as he can to the Church of God. 6:10]. 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. in Christ Jesus our Lord. and to the ages of ages. in which we find the greatest consolation. with every spiritual safeguard. we will meet it. then.]. the previous instruction [Unless the renegade Alexander was more dangerous than St Theodore says this does not seem to have been Catechesis 69. call him back finally from his fall when he has at last repented.pierced themselves with many pains [1 Tim. But because of what I have said to you. you connived with him. may he pardon you for your rashness and idle speech.] no doubt pained you which indicated the trials that are being meditated against us. Moreover according to some MSS there was one for Thursday of this week. grief has filled your hearts. maimed by the devil. number 33 of the Large Catechesis. and if what is being said passes into act. 3:1]. says the Lord. For if our Lord and God was arrested for our sins. he has lost the merchandise of virtue. by voting for him as priest. and he. May we be safeguarded. One of those mentioned by St Paul was also called Alexander. 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. and may he save us all for his heavenly kingdom. nobly. now and for ever. who brings from the deep of destruction the soul that has been submerged. since he was a lover of power and a lover of rank. I want next to rebuke some of you not unreasonably. Already Lent draws to its end and the time introduces the fair crown. that is the remembrance of the life-giving sufferings of the Saviour. to whom be glory and might. 1 Tim.

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

jeered at. These in brief are the Master's sufferings.] 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. Brethren and Fathers. not giving offence in anything. such our gift. buffeted. for from this day the Lord begins to take on himself the sufferings of the Cross for our sake. is interrogated and answers. 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. but in everything recommending . give testimony to the evil. and one who hears them with understanding is not angry. forgive them their sin. They assembled together to plot an evil plan against the Master. or puffed up. ridiculed. is not envious. scourged. spat at. and teaching on humility and patient endurance. and when he answers—O fearful report!—he is struck by a slave and bears it with longsuffering. For you see where you are. or filled with vainglory. or embittered. The deceitful Judas denied him utterly and betrays the teacher with a deceitful kiss. stands before the judgement seat. to is eager to be conformed to his death. so that he may have a part in the glory of his resurrection. But you too take courage. Rather he is humbled. in no way intimidated by your opponents [Phil. crushed. considers himself to be earth and ashes. 1:27-6]. Given on the Wednesday of Holy Week. for they do not know what they do [Luke 23:33]. but if well. The Lord of all things is led away prisoner. mocked.On the saving Passion. because you have shared and are sharing in the Master's sufferings. the immortal is put to death. 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]. or arrogant towards his brother. and when he has ascended he prays for his murderers: Father. or enraged. why do you strike me? [John 18:23] Then he is scoffed at. He ascends the Cross. he is pierced by a lance. 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. saying: If I have spoken evil. 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). the present day is holy and to be venerated. desires communion in Christ's sufferings. Then he is given gall with vinegar to drink.

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

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

because everything that I have heard from my Father. ‘God gave them a spirit of compunction. cry out these words each day. if you do whatever I command you. brethren. Brethren and fathers. ‘You have remained with me in my trials.] Let us also. ‘I will not leave you orphans. ‘Those who have ears to hear. ‘I am the vine and you are the branches’ [John 15. The one who hears like this is attentive and moved by compunction. as it is written. While of those who are hard of hearing the Prophet says. And again.Jesus our Lord [Rom. and to the ages of ages. you just’ [Psalm 32. however it is not given to all to see and hear. ‘Rejoice in the Lord. ‘The Lord’s training opens my ears’ [Isaias 50. and I make . 8:38-39]. We should surely then listen with understanding to the things that are read to us. not simple-mindedly or anyhow. but rather that we may able to say. And again. A little while. I no longer call you servants. that all who believe in him might not perish.]. so that we may become heirs with the saints of the eternal blessings in Christ Jesus our Lord. ‘You are my friends.8]. to whom be glory and might with the Father and the Holy Spirit. now and for ever. but have eternal life [John 3:16. But I have called you friends. And again.1415].5]. Just as he hears him saying to his Disciples. That is why the Lord says in the Gospels. But you see me. considers everything to be rubbish. eyes for not looking and ears for not hearing’ [Romans 11.9]. because I live and you will live’ [John 14.1].5]. offered their own bodies and blood by asceticism and struggle. Philippians 3. as it is written. when they had nothing to offer. I have made known to you’ [John 15. let them hear’ [Matthew 13. so that he may gain Christ [Cf. striving again and again for what is better. CATECHESIS 78 On listening with understanding to the Holy Scriptures. because the servant does not know what his lord does. as we serve him with an unceasing attitude of love. the saints. all we human beings have eyes and ears. 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. For such was the love God had for us that he gave his only Son.8]. As an exchange for this love. so that we may not fall beneath the threat. but to those who in addition have a ear which obeys and an eye for looking.18-19]. Such a person considers everything here to be a passing shadow. and the world sees me no longer. as we sing in David’s Psalms. I am coming to you.

‘If God is for. always giving thanks for all the good things that he has done for us. Who then condemns? It was Christ who died. who is also at the right hand of God and who also makes intercession for us’ [Romans 8. It is opportune then to say with the Apostle. 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.a covenant with you — an eternal covenant — that you may eat and drink for ever at my table in my kingdom’ [Luke 22. David says.16]. utterly deceived ‘by human trickery.29]. with the Father and the Holy Spirit. that he gave us the grace to worship him with orthodox faith and not be carried astray. as it is written! To us has been given. CATECHESIS 103 . while the Apostle again says. the teaching of the Saints. but a famine of hearing the word of God’ [Amos 8. whence one works the divine words like a goldsmith. Amen. ‘because they had been found worthy to be dishonoured for the name of Christ’ [Acts 5.41]. ‘I did not grow weary following you. but handed him over for us all. let us too hear obediently what is said and love our beloved God with love. to God the Father that is. ‘It has been given us by God not only to believe in Christ. by villainy to the cunning of error’ [Ephesians 4. rejoiced. ‘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. after they had been flogged.31-34].11].14]! How many are famished ‘not with a famine of bread or thirst for water. now and for ever. yet rather he was raised from the dead. another and another from here and from there sweetens by his utterances.28-30]. In short each of the Saints with words like these reveals their love for Christ. as Scripture says. brethren. When someone who loves God hears such words. who is against us? For the One who did not spare his own Son. that he chose us from the beginning for salvation by the sanctification of our profession here.3-4]. for to him belong glory and might. but also to suffer for him’ [Philippians 1. like a full table. This then was how all the Saints lived their lives. For how many have gone astray. they not only rejoice but also choose to die for Christ every day. Similarly the Apostles. nor did I desire any human day’ [Jeremias 17. And therefore. and who will also bestow on us his eternal kingdom. Jeremias says. Lord. with statements such as these they gloried triumphantly of their longing for God. and to the ages of ages.

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

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

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

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

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