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

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

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

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

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

and now our nature is worshipped in the heavens by every creature seen and unseen. and what the wealth of the glory of his inheritance in the saints. let us yet refrain from carnal desires that war against the soul. 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. he became a slave to the normal laws of nature.15] and abolished the pains of death and raised humanity with himself. Such is the mighty work of the ineffable love for mankind of our good God. and with this in mind the blest Apostle cried out: What is the hope of his calling. according to the working of the might of his strength which he worked in Christ? {Ephesians 1. manifesting himself for us to God the Father. although we were alienated and hostile in our intent by evil deeds. compliant. And as we contemplate them.17-18] and their ears blocked up so as not to distinguish good from bad. let us reverence the gift. for their hearts are insensitive [Cf. which is his body. let us not betray the grace. life from death. reliable. And this is the blessed life: but pleasures and trifles. [Ephesians 1. through our Lord Jesus Christ. and yet deep embedded they do not cease to follow their self-chosen demon and to be entitled to be .11] maintaining good conduct in ourselves. peaceable. and what the exceeding greatness of his power towards us who believe. brethren. love of money is a pit. and yet they rush towards it unbridled. have not only been reconciled to God the Father. These then briefly are the events of the holy feast. Mark 8. the fullness of him who fills all in all.15] but let us sanctify ourselves in both thoughts and deeds. who see and do not see and hear and do not hear. but so as to go towards the fire that is ready. let us not make the members of Christ members of a harlot. light from darkness. [1 Corinthians 6.22-23] 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 descended to the lowest parts of the earth [Psalm 138. finally he was taken up in glory {1 Timothy 3.[1 Peter 2. and because we are the body of Christ. let us preserve the nobility.18]. obedient. he ascended the cross. humble.18-20] For what came to pass? He who is supremely good came to us through a virgin birth. but we have also soared aloft to sonship. and gave him to be head over all things to the Church.feet. nailing to it the record against us. For the desire of the flesh is fire.

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

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

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

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

she attained the highest degree of virtue. but once she had come to a remarkable repentance. when they listen to the One who said. but after he had swiftly had recourse to repentance. ‘We do not want to know your ways’ [Job 21. So then. but to bring the one who repents to the pinnacle of loveliness. to inherit the kingdom of heaven. ‘I am the light of the world. he too found salvation. But God forbid that such things should be said of us. Do you see God’s ineffable love for humankind? Not only has he promised to purify. proclaiming by our actions.chief pursuit. The prince of the Apostles. But if admittedly it frequently happens that the soul grows slack and is defiled by unseemly thoughts -. to pass over the numberless others. that we may be worthy to be called friends.11]. ‘Those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God’ [Galatians 5. ‘Come to me all you that toil and are heavy laden. And let no one ever say that they cannot be made clean again. I will make them white as snow. had reached the uttermost limit of debauchery. and why do we choose everlasting death rather than immortal life that is set before us? Our good Master cries out each day.14]. One who follows me will not walk in darkness. Though they are like crimson.18]. ‘Walk by the light of your fire and the flame you have kindled’ [Isaias 50. by the medicine of tears took up again the burden of the apostolate. he did not give up. unless they are insensible or bent on death3. my brothers. Manasse perverted Israel for fifty two years. but will have the light of life’ [John 8. in Christ our Lord. says the Lord. when he fell into the crime of adultery and murder. And we are unwilling to get rid of the heavy load of our sins.21]. ‘Why would you die. house of Israel?’ [Ezekiel 18. But we hear the words. ‘Though your sins are like scarlet. And examples are manifest. and I will give you rest’ [Matthew 11. But we turn to the opposite. let us do all that we have been commanded.12]. lest by delaying in evil it gives birth to death. Mary of Egypt.28]. I will make them white as wool’ [Isaias 1. ‘For you are may friends.let it be quickly made clean again and brought back to its former condition. And Scripture says. after his denial. he received the grace of prophecy once again. All that remains is for us to hear. . stained as they are by many sins. The same Master cries. David was a prophet and. if you do all that I command you’ [John 15.for who will boast that they have a pure heart? -. So there is no excuse for claiming incapacity for someone who chooses to be saved.31].14]. but when he repented.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cf. St Theodore is quoting from memory]. Day by day our life. selling and suddenly the flood came. as you see. The Patriarch called himself St Theodore’s ‘son’ [Letters II:79 — PG 99:1317C]. Already it is not the ark which is being got ready. and we must remove hence and be joined to our brothers and fathers. whose father. Brethren and fathers. 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. Let us be on the watch then lest we find ourselves without realising it in the same state of which we accuse them. If the Catecheses were all given at the same time. so too it will be at the coming of the Son of Man [Cf Mt 24. in the presence of our holy father and teacher we have no need to discourse. PG 99:1176A]. in particular Life A chap. Given on Wednesday of the 3rd Week. into which we are about to crawl.]. Kroumos (802-814) had carried off into captivity some 30. and the Lord in the Gospels saying: As in the days of Noλ they were eating. to say the least. but nevertheless because of our custom let us say just a little.26s.12.000 Christians some years before. 120 [PG 99:221-224]. and were not rather trembling and terrified. In number 63 the reference to ‘the ruler’ in Bulgaria is almost certainly to Omurgat (813-831). Lk 17.37-39.Theodore. they must be dated between 820 (the death of Metropolitan Michael. II:18. is passing and we are getting nearer to death. buying. so that there is need of much vigilance and attention and preparation of heart. not improbable. drinking. We hear the story of the Flood being read. the subject of Catechesis 21) and 826 (the death of St Theodore himself). And perhaps we wonder in this case how insensibly they were disposed. CATECHESIS 60 On our sudden departure from here and teaching about keeping safe watch over our senses and our mind from unseemly desires. which was being filled up during one hundred years. marrying. That he should visit his friend St Theodore and his monks is. Already each day death is at work [Cf. when . St Nikephoros had been deposed in 815 and was at this time also in exile in his own monastery on the Propontis. and St Theodore refers to himself as the Patriarch’s ‘child’ [ibid. but every day the tomb is seen filled. 2 Cor 4.

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

in Christ Jesus our Lord. nor should we pass God’s word over in silence.]. Therefore let us become cheerful. but justice and peace and joy. for he says. but this is the common limit of self-mastery for those living in obedience: the cutting of their own will. seasoned with salt. The moment for stillness? Let us be still reasonably. My soul takes no pleasure in anyone who draws back [Heb 10. has ‘giver’.[1 Cor. where there is no food and drink. weeping is good. and make us worthy of the kingdom of heaven. 14. But in fact the trial has not been dispelled. as it is written. Let the measure of genuflexions be completed and the customary recitation be fulfilled. let us be eager. the task of pressing on eagerly again and again to what follows as each has chosen. brethren. prayer is good. Conduct yourselves wisely toward outsiders. of course. because it lightens toils and makes the spirit young.4]. to the resurrection of Christ. The time for talk? Let us talk suitably. according to each one’s power. but again and again it continues. Let your speech be always gracious. while watch is kept over the body’s health. for God loves a cheerful faster [1 Cor. Already the fast has advanced and lays on us.].].40. Except that the coenobitic rule does not let each one act according to their own will.7. 9. because it gives the mind wings and makes it a companion of God. because it wipes clean and washes the heart of sins and sets it pure before the Lord. because it tames the passions and subjects the flesh to the spirit.17. Would that we might share in them richly. By this he teaches us that we should not submit just anyhow to trials. and particularly because everywhere there are edicts of the rulers that no one is to lag behind from having a share in heretical fellowship. as it makes the elder young again. The moment for work? Let us work earnestly.5-6. And so let us hear the Apostle when he says. because it disregards what concerns itself for the advantage of the neighbour. to whom be glory and might. let us remain outside tumult and all idle chatter. not reluctantly or under constraint. with the .8 = Hab 2. so that you may know how you should respond to each one [Col 4.] as we have been instructed. And to speak simply. The moment for psalmody? Let us advance keenly. doing everything decently and in order. And would that the God of peace might bring us to the queen of days. love is good. 14. making the most of the opportunity. in the Holy Spirit [Rom. Fasting then is good. St Paul. But that’s enough of these matters. zeal is good.he knows how to crown from the intention alone the one who chooses the good.

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

in Christ Jesus our Lord. if one limb is glorified.] even to some extent at least: the persecuted.13. The word of the godless was exceedingly strong and the people assembled and there was weeping and groans and much lamentation . 12. [Eph. they were empowered in their weakness to throw down the invisible enemy by the flesh. 4. the arrested. because he too was scourged. all the limbs rejoice with it. [2 Tim. of what sort and how great they are? For the rest then.[ Cf. he is not able to deny himself. he remains faithful. On the 3rd Sunday. let us strive. CATECHESIS 63 Historical. the scourgings. and to accomplish a struggle of such a quality and greatness that all Christians praise it in song. we shall also reign with him. And blessed is one who has been granted to share in the sufferings of Christ. the imprisonments. concerning the Christians who were massacred in Bulgaria during the holy Lent. We may not all have been imprisoned.] having Christ as the head. the scourged. the imprisoned. all the limbs suffer with it. for if one limb suffers. if we are faithless. The story is this: In Bulgaria. see too why it is written. those who disobeyed would be killed. he too will deny us.we cannot say that they possessed a different nature to the one we have. if we endure. [1 Cor. now and always and to the ages of ages. to gain the kingdom of heaven. 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. those who obeyed would live. we shall also live with him. 2.26] And would that we were even more one body and one spirit. in the present instruction I want to urge you to consolation from a certain story. 1 Pet. to whom be glory and might with the Father and the Holy Spirit. as we have been called in one hope of our calling.11-13] Do you see the promises and the threats. If we have died with him. to become wellpleasing to God. Amen. 4. because he too was imprisoned. if we deny. But since they loved God with a true heart. as those who were accurately informed have reported. because he too was arrested. but nevertheless the fellowship of life itself becomes a fellowship of sufferings. because he too was reviled. the reviled. the banishments.4. nor all scourged. brethren. let us struggle by the grace of Christ not to shame those things that have been previously mentioned. because he too was persecuted. Brethren and fathers. on account of meat-eating.

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

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

the death of the cross [Phil. for kings and for all in high positions [1 Tim.8. with forbearance.]. Indeed it cannot be. that we may no longer be slaves. 2.]. for it is not subject to the law of God. Head. genuine servants suffer in the same way from the desertions of their fellow-servants. I have not come to judge the world. the barbarian nations reject him. brethren? That the genuine disciples are grieved by the rejections of their fellow-disciples.6. but free. prayers. And still he is rejected. my conscience bears witness with me in the Holy Spirit. This is why the great Apostle orders that we should offer supplications. dwelling in her and from her fashioning for himself a temple and becoming perfect man. 9. You see the power of love? You see . For. some through abandoning the faith. Why so? Because the Son of God came to save the world. What then is there to say. Brother. with the Holy Spirit [2 Cor. the things of the spirit. but the thought of the spirit. with peace.].holy Virgin as the means.]. with goodness. thanksgivings on behalf of all mankind. those who walk according to the spirit. Not only that. for I have prayed that I might be anathema to Christ for the sake of my brethren. Why so? That he might ransom those under the law. Those who walk according to the flesh.]. becoming obedient unto death. think the things of the flesh. Bridegroom. but to save the world [John 12. with gentleness. but we should both pray and grieve for the world. and this is why we should celebrate spiritually and behave spiritually. those who have had his holy name invoked upon them reject him. he says.1-2. and elsewhere he says this on the subject. for the thought of the flesh is death. 8. and the world rejects him. no longer friends of the world. with holiness and justice. 6.1-3. And so the thought of the flesh is hostile to God. as it is written. So too.5. but free of passions. no longer subject to the passions. he gave us his body to eat and his blood to drink. thus showing love both for the teacher and for the disciples. What should he have done and did not do? Being God he became man. I speak the truth in Christ.5-8. no longer walking according to the flesh. my kinsmen according to the flesh [Rom. 2. that I have a great grief and unceasing anguish in my heart. Teacher. 4.]. life and peace. he allowed us to call him Father. and that we might receive sonship [Gal. In brief this is the power of the mystery. with love.]. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God [Rom. but according to the spirit. but friends of God. he humbled himself. others through their evil lives.47. Fellow-heir and all the other titles which there is no time to mention now. and still he bears it. I do not lie. Tribes and languages reject him. so that as far as we ourselves are concerned we do not render the dispensation of our Lord Jesus Christ empty and ineffectual. entreaties.

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

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

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

that eternal and heavenly Pascha. with the Father and the Holy Spirit. paraskevi. But for you. let us make it our aim. we may give thanks to the giver. the ‘preparation’ for Pascha. or for someone possessed by sins to celebrate. conscious of the grace that has been given us by God. prayer. Philippians 3:19. like a wheel drawing us and joining us to God. because he too suffered for us. but is held fast by the passions. as far as we can. by the grace and love for humankind of our Lord Jesus Christ. [5] 1 Peter 2:21. brothers. to whom be glory and might. It is impossible for someone who has become dark to be enlightened. reading. and to the ages of ages. 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. [2] Colossians 3:5. cannot celebrate. The critical editions have the second person throughout. he will also give those that are in his promises. How truly excellent is this way of life. to those who genuinely serve him to the end. prayer. celebrate it every day. [4] The ordinary Greek word for ‘preparation’. . now and always. May we all attain it. leaving us an example that we should follow in his steps. glorify the benefactor. through the death of the passions and the resurrection of the virtues. Look at the reality: psalmody succeeds psalmody. repay the master. [3] Cf. we are confident of better things. study. in Christian Greek also means Friday. on the other hand. ones that promise salvation. Amen. It simply isn’t possible. and. [5] And I say this. or that someone shipwrecked was making a good voyage. in particular Good Friday. reading. my honoured brothers. who does not have all the foregoing. since we have been shown the sought for Pascha. Someone. but also. 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. who has not only granted our present blessings. how supremely excellent! How blessed this life and thrice-blessed! So then. [1] Psalm 143:4. study. in imitation of the Lord.does so each day. For our way of life is nothing other than preparation [4] for a feast.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

that all who believe in him might not perish. and the world sees me no longer.1]. all we human beings have eyes and ears.]. I have made known to you’ [John 15. if you do whatever I command you. but have eternal life [John 3:16. The one who hears like this is attentive and moved by compunction. We should surely then listen with understanding to the things that are read to us. to whom be glory and might with the Father and the Holy Spirit. ‘Rejoice in the Lord. as we sing in David’s Psalms. but rather that we may able to say. ‘I will not leave you orphans. And again. Philippians 3.5]. as we serve him with an unceasing attitude of love. But you see me. now and for ever. CATECHESIS 78 On listening with understanding to the Holy Scriptures. That is why the Lord says in the Gospels.18-19]. so that we may become heirs with the saints of the eternal blessings in Christ Jesus our Lord. not simple-mindedly or anyhow. offered their own bodies and blood by asceticism and struggle. Just as he hears him saying to his Disciples. when they had nothing to offer. the saints. ‘The Lord’s training opens my ears’ [Isaias 50. ‘You have remained with me in my trials. I am coming to you. ‘Those who have ears to hear. but to those who in addition have a ear which obeys and an eye for looking. A little while. For such was the love God had for us that he gave his only Son. because the servant does not know what his lord does. cry out these words each day. ‘I am the vine and you are the branches’ [John 15. and I make . And again. ‘God gave them a spirit of compunction. brethren. While of those who are hard of hearing the Prophet says. as it is written. so that he may gain Christ [Cf.9].1415]. let them hear’ [Matthew 13. I no longer call you servants. you just’ [Psalm 32. Brethren and fathers. As an exchange for this love.Jesus our Lord [Rom. because everything that I have heard from my Father.5]. And again. 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. striving again and again for what is better. 8:38-39].8]. But I have called you friends. as it is written. eyes for not looking and ears for not hearing’ [Romans 11. because I live and you will live’ [John 14. so that we may not fall beneath the threat.8]. however it is not given to all to see and hear. ‘You are my friends. and to the ages of ages. Such a person considers everything here to be a passing shadow. considers everything to be rubbish.] Let us also.

as it is written! To us has been given. utterly deceived ‘by human trickery. the teaching of the Saints. CATECHESIS 103 . like a full table. but also to suffer for him’ [Philippians 1. nor did I desire any human day’ [Jeremias 17. and to the ages of ages. who is also at the right hand of God and who also makes intercession for us’ [Romans 8. ‘If God is for. that he chose us from the beginning for salvation by the sanctification of our profession here. to God the Father that is.11]. they not only rejoice but also choose to die for Christ every day. Similarly the Apostles. David says. ‘I did not grow weary following you. When someone who loves God hears such words. In short each of the Saints with words like these reveals their love for Christ. but a famine of hearing the word of God’ [Amos 8.3-4]. but handed him over for us all. as Scripture says. let us too hear obediently what is said and love our beloved God with love. It is opportune then to say with the Apostle. and who will also bestow on us his eternal kingdom.31-34]. with statements such as these they gloried triumphantly of their longing for God. yet rather he was raised from the dead.41]. Amen. who is against us? For the One who did not spare his own Son. whence one works the divine words like a goldsmith. Who then condemns? It was Christ who died.28-30].a covenant with you — an eternal covenant — that you may eat and drink for ever at my table in my kingdom’ [Luke 22.29].16]. for to him belong glory and might. that he gave us the grace to worship him with orthodox faith and not be carried astray. by villainy to the cunning of error’ [Ephesians 4. ‘It has been given us by God not only to believe in Christ. For how many have gone astray. always giving thanks for all the good things that he has done for us. And therefore. 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. Lord. another and another from here and from there sweetens by his utterances. while the Apostle again says. brethren. after they had been flogged. 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. ‘because they had been found worthy to be dishonoured for the name of Christ’ [Acts 5. now and for ever.14]! How many are famished ‘not with a famine of bread or thirst for water. This then was how all the Saints lived their lives. Jeremias says. with the Father and the Holy Spirit.

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

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

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

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

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