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

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

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

Handle me and see.14-15] But this was before the Passion. that it is I myself. With this perfume too let us also run as we celebrate with sincerity the holy Mid-Pentecost.virtue is truly the sweet fragrance of Christ. But the iconoclasts. But he himself silently bears witness also to his being portrayed. saying. as it is written. he appears to and eats [Cf. let us give off a sweet spiritual fragrance. as you see I have [Luke 24. will pay the penalty of everlasting destruction [2 Thess. he ate and drank and let his side be handled. Jesus went up to the Temple and taught. and the Jews marvelled. the scent of my son is like the scent of a fertile field that the Lord has blessed [Gen. like a fragrant meadow filled with flowers. and the Apostle bears witness to this when he says.39]. This perfume is sweet to God. while now. What do you say to that. Let us . though his holy flesh had no need to. because a spirit does not have flesh and bones. for each of them confirms the other.9]. So then. as a truly master perfumer. but repels demons. who think like the Manicheans. initiating them into greater and more ineffable mysteries. which is at the doors. appropriately he dwelt in Paradise. giving off the virtues. said. But nevertheless. when he smelt a sweet aroma on his son Jacob. made bright by immortality and incorruption and engrossed in heavenly contemplation. The patriarch Isaac also. enemy of Christ? If he has flesh and bones. 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. And to those who thought that he was a spirit he said. And it is possible to say this as well. Adam too was a sweet fragrance for God. This perfume attracts angels. that is to say the scent that has been received spiritually.15-16].4 LXX].3-4] with the holy Apostles. See my hands and feet. does he not have the possibility of being portrayed in an image? So if the latter is impossible. With this perfume women ran behind Jesus. and — O what inexpressible condescension! — after the Resurrection he touched food. so as to confirm his Resurrection. See. without having learnt?’ [John 7. for the former an scent of life leading to life [2 Cor. as it says in the Song of Songs [1.27]. ‘How does this man know letters. my brothers. Before his transgression. 2. since it is written. When it was already the mid-point of the feast. a perfume that each one produces [unattested] for themselves by a blending of the virtues. so was the former. after the Resurrection. This perfume is blessed. Acts 1. And therefore. 1.

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

15] and abolished the pains of death and raised humanity with himself. These then briefly are the events of the holy feast. brethren.11] maintaining good conduct in ourselves. he became a slave to the normal laws of nature. the fullness of him who fills all in all.feet. finally he was taken up in glory {1 Timothy 3. through our Lord Jesus Christ. let us not make the members of Christ members of a harlot. life from death. and gave him to be head over all things to the Church. manifesting himself for us to God the Father. for their hearts are insensitive [Cf. [Ephesians 1. let us preserve the nobility. and because we are the body of Christ. have not only been reconciled to God the Father. although we were alienated and hostile in our intent by evil deeds. and yet deep embedded they do not cease to follow their self-chosen demon and to be entitled to be . let us reverence the gift. humble. [1 Corinthians 6. light from darkness. peaceable. and with this in mind the blest Apostle cried out: What is the hope of his calling. Mark 8. but we have also soared aloft to sonship. he ascended the cross. let us yet refrain from carnal desires that war against the soul. who see and do not see and hear and do not hear.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. love of money is a pit. and now our nature is worshipped in the heavens by every creature seen and unseen. he descended to the lowest parts of the earth [Psalm 138. let us not betray the grace. and what the exceeding greatness of his power towards us who believe. 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. And as we contemplate them. which is his body.18]. compliant. and what the wealth of the glory of his inheritance in the saints.18-20] For what came to pass? He who is supremely good came to us through a virgin birth. and yet they rush towards it unbridled. obedient. Such is the mighty work of the ineffable love for mankind of our good God. For the desire of the flesh is fire. reliable.17-18] and their ears blocked up so as not to distinguish good from bad. nailing to it the record against us.[1 Peter 2.15] but let us sanctify ourselves in both thoughts and deeds. according to the working of the might of his strength which he worked in Christ? {Ephesians 1. And this is the blessed life: but pleasures and trifles. but so as to go towards the fire that is ready.

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

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

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

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

but after he had swiftly had recourse to repentance. ‘Walk by the light of your fire and the flame you have kindled’ [Isaias 50.21]. to inherit the kingdom of heaven. . unless they are insensible or bent on death3. lest by delaying in evil it gives birth to death. ‘Come to me all you that toil and are heavy laden. Though they are like crimson.18]. Mary of Egypt. But we turn to the opposite.14]. my brothers. But we hear the words. The prince of the Apostles. in Christ our Lord. says the Lord. So there is no excuse for claiming incapacity for someone who chooses to be saved. But if admittedly it frequently happens that the soul grows slack and is defiled by unseemly thoughts -. but when he repented. but once she had come to a remarkable repentance. had reached the uttermost limit of debauchery.14]. ‘Those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God’ [Galatians 5. All that remains is for us to hear. ‘We do not want to know your ways’ [Job 21. And examples are manifest. she attained the highest degree of virtue. he received the grace of prophecy once again. after his denial. and I will give you rest’ [Matthew 11. One who follows me will not walk in darkness. by the medicine of tears took up again the burden of the apostolate. Manasse perverted Israel for fifty two years. if you do all that I command you’ [John 15. but to bring the one who repents to the pinnacle of loveliness. Do you see God’s ineffable love for humankind? Not only has he promised to purify. I will make them white as wool’ [Isaias 1. But God forbid that such things should be said of us.28].for who will boast that they have a pure heart? -. and why do we choose everlasting death rather than immortal life that is set before us? Our good Master cries out each day. ‘I am the light of the world. he did not give up. he too found salvation. when they listen to the One who said. And Scripture says. The same Master cries.31]. ‘Though your sins are like scarlet.let it be quickly made clean again and brought back to its former condition. house of Israel?’ [Ezekiel 18. And we are unwilling to get rid of the heavy load of our sins. So then. And let no one ever say that they cannot be made clean again.chief pursuit. to pass over the numberless others. ‘Why would you die. when he fell into the crime of adultery and murder. David was a prophet and. but will have the light of life’ [John 8. stained as they are by many sins. proclaiming by our actions.12]. that we may be worthy to be called friends. let us do all that we have been commanded. I will make them white as snow.11]. ‘For you are may friends.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

but nevertheless because of our custom let us say just a little. they must be dated between 820 (the death of Metropolitan Michael. as you see. not improbable. the subject of Catechesis 21) and 826 (the death of St Theodore himself). That he should visit his friend St Theodore and his monks is. 2 Cor 4. whose father. Cf. Lk 17. Already it is not the ark which is being got ready.]. and St Theodore refers to himself as the Patriarch’s ‘child’ [ibid. and were not rather trembling and terrified. and the Lord in the Gospels saying: As in the days of Noλ they were eating.Theodore. St Theodore is quoting from memory]. to say the least. PG 99:1176A]. St Nikephoros had been deposed in 815 and was at this time also in exile in his own monastery on the Propontis. Kroumos (802-814) had carried off into captivity some 30. Day by day our life. into which we are about to crawl.37-39. Given on Wednesday of the 3rd Week. when . in the presence of our holy father and teacher we have no need to discourse. which was being filled up during one hundred years.000 Christians some years before. The Patriarch called himself St Theodore’s ‘son’ [Letters II:79 — PG 99:1317C]. If the Catecheses were all given at the same time. Brethren and fathers. in particular Life A chap. CATECHESIS 60 On our sudden departure from here and teaching about keeping safe watch over our senses and our mind from unseemly desires. buying. 120 [PG 99:221-224]. Let us be on the watch then lest we find ourselves without realising it in the same state of which we accuse them. selling and suddenly the flood came. is passing and we are getting nearer to death. and we must remove hence and be joined to our brothers and fathers. Already each day death is at work [Cf. In number 63 the reference to ‘the ruler’ in Bulgaria is almost certainly to Omurgat (813-831). drinking. so too it will be at the coming of the Son of Man [Cf Mt 24. 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. II:18.12. marrying. And perhaps we wonder in this case how insensibly they were disposed. We hear the story of the Flood being read.26s. but every day the tomb is seen filled. so that there is need of much vigilance and attention and preparation of heart.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

after they had been flogged.11].28-30]. Jeremias says. like a full table.41]. This then was how all the Saints lived their lives. ‘because they had been found worthy to be dishonoured for the name of Christ’ [Acts 5. as it is written! To us has been given. but a famine of hearing the word of God’ [Amos 8. and to the ages of ages. with the Father and the Holy Spirit. It is opportune then to say with the Apostle. let us too hear obediently what is said and love our beloved God with love.a covenant with you — an eternal covenant — that you may eat and drink for ever at my table in my kingdom’ [Luke 22.16]. with statements such as these they gloried triumphantly of their longing for God. that he chose us from the beginning for salvation by the sanctification of our profession here. Amen. but also to suffer for him’ [Philippians 1. yet rather he was raised from the dead. another and another from here and from there sweetens by his utterances.29]. and who will also bestow on us his eternal kingdom. whence one works the divine words like a goldsmith. When someone who loves God hears such words. brethren. 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. ‘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. while the Apostle again says. nor did I desire any human day’ [Jeremias 17. CATECHESIS 103 . And therefore. In short each of the Saints with words like these reveals their love for Christ. Similarly the Apostles. always giving thanks for all the good things that he has done for us. as Scripture says. for to him belong glory and might. who is against us? For the One who did not spare his own Son. ‘I did not grow weary following you. rejoiced. but handed him over for us all. now and for ever. Lord.3-4].31-34]. they not only rejoice but also choose to die for Christ every day. by villainy to the cunning of error’ [Ephesians 4. Who then condemns? It was Christ who died. the teaching of the Saints. that he gave us the grace to worship him with orthodox faith and not be carried astray. utterly deceived ‘by human trickery. who is also at the right hand of God and who also makes intercession for us’ [Romans 8. David says.14]! How many are famished ‘not with a famine of bread or thirst for water. to God the Father that is. ‘It has been given us by God not only to believe in Christ. ‘If God is for. For how many have gone astray.

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

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

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

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

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