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. and readers know what he suffered.and all the other exertions of holiness. as it is related of Saint Arsenios. hearing. Flee the destructive places and ways of sin. be compared to the unreasoning beasts [Cf.13. and a tempest drowned me [Psalm 68. stirs up a most dreadful storm for themselves. But one whose senses are unbridled and who lets in desires like streams. In the latter on the contrary. drink and sleep. and let the better not be dragged down by the worse. sin that has made humanity. the passions become more ferocious with the relaxation of the flesh. I entered the depths of the sea.3]. Jacob ate and was filled. the spirit of pride. they are filled with calm. and the beloved kicked [Deut 32. 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. the spirit of avarice. For if they manfully shake off unseemly thoughts. your food. the spirit of gluttony. Govern your sight. Unless the person does not swiftly smooth out their tempestuous thoughts. Take care. the spirit of dejection. they ease off and have no worries about the storms and dangers of the sea. The fear is that we may be sunk in harbour. but let the spirit be master and act for the better. the fuel of the unquenchable fire of Gehenna. the food of the undying worm. When someone comes to anchor in the former.21]. Someone touched without meaning to and they were enflamed to lust and gave birth to iniquity. having the Holy Spirit as the companion of their voyage. smell. that you may keep from being overwhelmed by the tempest of the passions. says Scripture. For a physical harbour is not like a harbour of the mind. the spirit of despondency. . This is worth remembering: someone who sails across the physical sea is subject to storms and tempests without their wanting it. while someone who crosses the water of the mind is lord of tempest and of calm. and the spirits of wickedness join in the assault like storms: the spirit of fornication. Psalm 48.15]. David once looked unguardedly on Uria’s wife. taste and touch. Sin is the cause of the everlasting punishments. will end by repeating those miserable words. Therefore let reason be in control. that was in honour.

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

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

Brethren and fathers. to whom be glory and might with the Father and the holy Spirit. All the texts in the New Testament speak of Christ’s being ‘taken up’. whose feast falls on 15 May. CATECHESIS 7 On the Assumption of our Saviour Jesus Christ and on conducting ourselves in a manner pleasing to God. which St Theodore would have known. since he refers to the recent celebration of St Pachomius. [Romans 8.16 is one of the key quotations in the liturgical texts for the feast. and he has raised us up together and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.5-6] who is at the right hand of God. Apart from the necessary change of person in the verb. so as not to limp on either account. a feast of feasts.34] far above every principality and authority and power and dominion. but in that which to come. blameless. who believe with orthodox understanding that we both see and worship our Lord Jesus Christ in an image.[Ephesians 2. not only in this age. and to the ages of ages. The Greek name of the feast means ‘Assumption’. And he has put all things under his . as it written: By grace you have been saved. and a great and supernatural mystery. for our nature is being taken up beyond heaven. is at our doors. but well-pleasing on both we may attain the kingdom of heaven. the Assumption of our Saviour Jesus Christ. The quotation from 1 Timothy 3. and this language has been preserved in the hymns of the Church. pure. brethren. and every name that is named.though. not ‘Ascension’. display a way of life worthy of the faith. 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. in Christ Jesus our Lord. which comes from the Latin name for the feast. INTRODUCTION The feast seems to have fallen in the second half of May in the year that St Theodore gave this instruction. guiltless. Amen. now and for ever.

17-18] and their ears blocked up so as not to distinguish good from bad. and what the wealth of the glory of his inheritance in the saints. finally he was taken up in glory {1 Timothy 3. who see and do not see and hear and do not hear. and gave him to be head over all things to the Church. light from darkness. let us not make the members of Christ members of a harlot. [Ephesians 1. and now our nature is worshipped in the heavens by every creature seen and unseen. the fullness of him who fills all in all. let us reverence the gift. Such is the mighty work of the ineffable love for mankind of our good God. through our Lord Jesus Christ. let us not betray the grace. These then briefly are the events of the holy feast.18]. he ascended the cross. according to the working of the might of his strength which he worked in Christ? {Ephesians 1. peaceable.feet. nailing to it the record against us. life from death. have not only been reconciled to God the Father.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. For the desire of the flesh is fire. he became a slave to the normal laws of nature. Mark 8. obedient. let us yet refrain from carnal desires that war against the soul. although we were alienated and hostile in our intent by evil deeds. and what the exceeding greatness of his power towards us who believe. compliant. [1 Corinthians 6. and because we are the body of Christ. for their hearts are insensitive [Cf. and with this in mind the blest Apostle cried out: What is the hope of his calling. which is his body. but so as to go towards the fire that is ready. but we have also soared aloft to sonship. manifesting himself for us to God the Father.15] and abolished the pains of death and raised humanity with himself. And as we contemplate them. And this is the blessed life: but pleasures and trifles. reliable. love of money is a pit. he descended to the lowest parts of the earth [Psalm 138. and yet they rush towards it unbridled. occasions of laughter and dissoluteness and all such inordinate behaviour should be left to the lovers of the flesh and to the lovers of life.15] but let us sanctify ourselves in both thoughts and deeds.18-20] For what came to pass? He who is supremely good came to us through a virgin birth.[1 Peter 2. let us preserve the nobility. humble. and yet deep embedded they do not cease to follow their self-chosen demon and to be entitled to be . brethren.11] maintaining good conduct in ourselves.

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

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

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

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

But if admittedly it frequently happens that the soul grows slack and is defiled by unseemly thoughts -. David was a prophet and. that we may be worthy to be called friends.11]. And examples are manifest. The same Master cries. And let no one ever say that they cannot be made clean again. Mary of Egypt. .18]. but after he had swiftly had recourse to repentance. but once she had come to a remarkable repentance. ‘For you are may friends. if you do all that I command you’ [John 15. she attained the highest degree of virtue. had reached the uttermost limit of debauchery. One who follows me will not walk in darkness. All that remains is for us to hear. he did not give up. ‘We do not want to know your ways’ [Job 21.31]. But we hear the words. So then. The prince of the Apostles. And Scripture says. stained as they are by many sins. to pass over the numberless others. when he fell into the crime of adultery and murder.14]. ‘Come to me all you that toil and are heavy laden. after his denial. 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. but when he repented. proclaiming by our actions. unless they are insensible or bent on death3. and I will give you rest’ [Matthew 11. And we are unwilling to get rid of the heavy load of our sins. he received the grace of prophecy once again. ‘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. Do you see God’s ineffable love for humankind? Not only has he promised to purify. but to bring the one who repents to the pinnacle of loveliness. But we turn to the opposite. I will make them white as snow. he too found salvation. my brothers. let us do all that we have been commanded. in Christ our Lord.14]. ‘Those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God’ [Galatians 5. but will have the light of life’ [John 8. Manasse perverted Israel for fifty two years.21]. when they listen to the One who said. to inherit the kingdom of heaven. ‘Why would you die. So there is no excuse for claiming incapacity for someone who chooses to be saved.for who will boast that they have a pure heart? -.chief pursuit. lest by delaying in evil it gives birth to death. I will make them white as wool’ [Isaias 1.28].12]. says the Lord. ‘Walk by the light of your fire and the flame you have kindled’ [Isaias 50. But God forbid that such things should be said of us. Though they are like crimson. by the medicine of tears took up again the burden of the apostolate.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

on the contrary we are pained and crushed accomplishing nothing useful. touch. This is the way of true Christians. be of the same mind. now and ever and to the ages of ages. Brethren and fathers. or clothe ourselves. but blessed is God. who has also dispelled the trial and given you power to remain unmoved in the expectation of threats. And let us not grow despondent [The verb from akedia. I exhort. Do nothing from selfish ambition or vainglory. yes. I don’t say: we shouldn’t eat. There is one repose then and one pleasure. And by living thus may we reach the kingdom of heaven in Christ Jesus our Lord.2-3.each one of our brothers departs. but let us hasten and press forward intently with diligence to right every defect. [1 Cor 10. 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. Things here are more fearful than those there. my brothers. I don’t say that. taste. I implore. through them death enters. not to picture to ourselves evil images nor to conceive sinful desires. and they left not so much amazed as ashamed. this is the way of authentic monks. Yes. drink. yesterday a tempest and to-day calm. Let us secure our senses. being in full accord and of one mind. smell. to whom be glory and might with the Father and the Holy Spirit. as the Apostle again says. CATECHESIS 61 That we must not submit ourselves in temptations. and so we should be on our guard. Those who came said what they said. and being rich in mercy . but whether we eat. but in humility think of others as better than yourselves [Phil 2.31-32.] when called to repose and the joy of dispassion. as the Apostle teaches. and God is our helper. from which we gain no profit or pleasure. to cleanse the soul and to look towards dispassion.] giving no offence to Jews or Greeks or to the Church of God. having the same love. let us do everything to the glory of God. while to you may the Lord grant the perfect reward in return for your having chosen to be persecuted for his sake.]. hearing. sight. for the Lord is near those who wait for him. make my joy complete. not to step into the pitfall of unseemly things. and about fasting. Let us bridle our mind not to be carried off to things it should not. Given on Friday of the 3rd Week. yesterday a <disturbance> [1] and today quiet. or whatever we do. or drink. Amen.

17. Therefore let us become cheerful. And would that the God of peace might bring us to the queen of days. Let your speech be always gracious. in the Holy Spirit [Rom. And to speak simply. because it tames the passions and subjects the flesh to the spirit. to the resurrection of Christ. Conduct yourselves wisely toward outsiders. Fasting then is good.5-6.7. as it is written. while watch is kept over the body’s health. The moment for work? Let us work earnestly.4]. The moment for stillness? Let us be still reasonably. love is good. The time for talk? Let us talk suitably. And so let us hear the Apostle when he says.]. so that you may know how you should respond to each one [Col 4. because it gives the mind wings and makes it a companion of God. according to each one’s power.8 = Hab 2. Already the fast has advanced and lays on us. weeping is good. St Paul.[1 Cor. has ‘giver’. in Christ Jesus our Lord.].he knows how to crown from the intention alone the one who chooses the good. Would that we might share in them richly. 9. The moment for psalmody? Let us advance keenly. Let the measure of genuflexions be completed and the customary recitation be fulfilled. nor should we pass God’s word over in silence. doing everything decently and in order. and particularly because everywhere there are edicts of the rulers that no one is to lag behind from having a share in heretical fellowship. because it disregards what concerns itself for the advantage of the neighbour. not reluctantly or under constraint. let us remain outside tumult and all idle chatter. prayer is good.]. seasoned with salt. zeal is good. My soul takes no pleasure in anyone who draws back [Heb 10.40. with the . but again and again it continues. But in fact the trial has not been dispelled. Except that the coenobitic rule does not let each one act according to their own will. let us be eager. but justice and peace and joy. the task of pressing on eagerly again and again to what follows as each has chosen. where there is no food and drink. and make us worthy of the kingdom of heaven. of course. because it lightens toils and makes the spirit young. but this is the common limit of self-mastery for those living in obedience: the cutting of their own will.] as we have been instructed. But that’s enough of these matters. 14. By this he teaches us that we should not submit just anyhow to trials. because it wipes clean and washes the heart of sins and sets it pure before the Lord. brethren. for God loves a cheerful faster [1 Cor. for he says. to whom be glory and might. making the most of the opportunity. 14. as it makes the elder young again.

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

13. concerning the Christians who were massacred in Bulgaria during the holy Lent. for if one limb suffers. we shall also live with him.we cannot say that they possessed a different nature to the one we have. the scourgings. the arrested. because he too was persecuted. the imprisonments. but nevertheless the fellowship of life itself becomes a fellowship of sufferings. The word of the godless was exceedingly strong and the people assembled and there was weeping and groans and much lamentation . see too why it is written. and to accomplish a struggle of such a quality and greatness that all Christians praise it in song. the scourged. all the limbs rejoice with it. brethren. in Christ Jesus our Lord. as we have been called in one hope of our calling.[ Cf. because he too was reviled. all the limbs suffer with it. [2 Tim. we shall also reign with him. of what sort and how great they are? For the rest then. he remains faithful. 12. because he too was scourged. an evil decree went out from the ruler there that the Christians in captivity and our brothers were to eat meat during the period of the holy Forty Days. the banishments. let us strive. let us struggle by the grace of Christ not to shame those things that have been previously mentioned. Amen. if one limb is glorified.26] And would that we were even more one body and one spirit. if we deny. [Eph. because he too was arrested. 2. 4.] having Christ as the head. those who obeyed would live. to whom be glory and might with the Father and the Holy Spirit.] even to some extent at least: the persecuted. the imprisoned. those who disobeyed would be killed. CATECHESIS 63 Historical. If we have died with him. 4.4. to gain the kingdom of heaven. On the 3rd Sunday. The story is this: In Bulgaria. And blessed is one who has been granted to share in the sufferings of Christ. nor all scourged. [1 Cor. they were empowered in their weakness to throw down the invisible enemy by the flesh. because he too was imprisoned. as those who were accurately informed have reported. he is not able to deny himself. if we are faithless. the reviled. Brethren and fathers. in the present instruction I want to urge you to consolation from a certain story. if we endure. to become wellpleasing to God. now and always and to the ages of ages. on account of meat-eating. We may not all have been imprisoned.11-13] Do you see the promises and the threats. But since they loved God with a true heart. 1 Pet. he too will deny us.

37-38]. The Scythian then. but they were fourteen. for the Maccabees were seven. they refused. they obeyed the authority of the Lord and were wreathed with the crown of martyrdom. Do not fear those who kill the body. ‘We are Christians. therefore. They were obedient then to the commands of the Gospel. how much more here over the heretically sacrificed communion. and one who does not take up his cross and follow after me. appeals and exhortations by the people: Let them yield to constraint. on the one side of those clinging to the Christian law. the pitiable announcement — they were defeated and submitted to the godless order. not die foolishly. on the other of those quailing before the death of the flesh. But since the order from the Scythians was aimed at the rejection of the faith. and one who loves son or daughter or wife more than me is not worthy of me. One who loves father or mother. You see. O blessed men! O blessed action! in a single instant to have received in exchange eternal rest! What will they say to this. that even now too the Gospel of the kingdom of God is active. brethren. 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. the former so as not to taste swine’s meat in violation of the law. so that the others weakened by this would be brought over. because for the Maccabees partaking of pork was utterly forbidden. but they considered all things as secondary for the love of Christ. the latter so as not to partake of any meat in violation of the Christian rule. At this confession they were crucified on planks and died in the Lord. At this. Finally — ah.with women and children. 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 . and having slain him he at once distributed his children and his wife among the Scythians as slaves. 10. But they rather remained unbowed and shouted out. as St Basil says. it says. but cannot kill the soul. 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. is not worthy of me [Matt. And again.].28. but for these men it was permissible to partake of any meat under necessity. when he saw the implacable determination of the men. 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. and through repentance they can be restored again. rather fear one who can destroy both soul and body in Gehenna [Matt. thought to subdue the rest by means of one. and our lot is that of our dead brother’. imitating the holy Maccabees and doubling their number. this latter seems stricter. 10.

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

Not only that. he gave us his body to eat and his blood to drink. as it is written. And so the thought of the flesh is hostile to God. becoming obedient unto death. This is why the great Apostle orders that we should offer supplications. so that as far as we ourselves are concerned we do not render the dispensation of our Lord Jesus Christ empty and ineffectual. no longer walking according to the flesh. with forbearance.]. and this is why we should celebrate spiritually and behave spiritually. dwelling in her and from her fashioning for himself a temple and becoming perfect man. brethren? That the genuine disciples are grieved by the rejections of their fellow-disciples.8. Teacher. Tribes and languages reject him. 9. but we should both pray and grieve for the world. for the thought of the flesh is death. Head. but friends of God. So too. I speak the truth in Christ. with love. I have not come to judge the world.]. You see the power of love? You see . my conscience bears witness with me in the Holy Spirit. with peace.]. for kings and for all in high positions [1 Tim. Bridegroom. no longer subject to the passions. some through abandoning the faith. Brother.]. but free of passions.]. but free. those who walk according to the spirit.6.]. And still he is rejected. Fellow-heir and all the other titles which there is no time to mention now. For. but according to the spirit. the things of the spirit. that I have a great grief and unceasing anguish in my heart. and still he bears it. 2. for it is not subject to the law of God. and the world rejects him.1-2. thus showing love both for the teacher and for the disciples. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God [Rom. with holiness and justice. entreaties. Those who walk according to the flesh. What then is there to say. What should he have done and did not do? Being God he became man. Indeed it cannot be. with gentleness. no longer friends of the world. prayers. with the Holy Spirit [2 Cor. but to save the world [John 12.47. my kinsmen according to the flesh [Rom. 2. thanksgivings on behalf of all mankind. he says. that we may no longer be slaves. he humbled himself. 4. but the thought of the spirit. 6. those who have had his holy name invoked upon them reject him. Why so? That he might ransom those under the law.5-8. genuine servants suffer in the same way from the desertions of their fellow-servants. I do not lie. and that we might receive sonship [Gal.holy Virgin as the means. with goodness.5. Why so? Because the Son of God came to save the world. others through their evil lives. In brief this is the power of the mystery. life and peace. and elsewhere he says this on the subject. the barbarian nations reject him.1-3. think the things of the flesh. for I have prayed that I might be anathema to Christ for the sake of my brethren. he allowed us to call him Father.]. the death of the cross [Phil. 8.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

8]. as we serve him with an unceasing attitude of love. and I make . And again. but rather that we may able to say.8]. as it is written. all we human beings have eyes and ears. I no longer call you servants. cry out these words each day.9].5]. and the world sees me no longer. striving again and again for what is better. As an exchange for this love. ‘God gave them a spirit of compunction. Brethren and fathers. eyes for not looking and ears for not hearing’ [Romans 11.18-19]. if you do whatever I command you. and to the ages of ages. because everything that I have heard from my Father. but to those who in addition have a ear which obeys and an eye for looking. While of those who are hard of hearing the Prophet says. ‘You have remained with me in my trials. And again. But I have called you friends. considers everything to be rubbish. that all who believe in him might not perish. ‘The Lord’s training opens my ears’ [Isaias 50. That is why the Lord says in the Gospels. ‘I will not leave you orphans. Philippians 3. ‘You are my friends. The one who hears like this is attentive and moved by compunction. let them hear’ [Matthew 13.1]. For such was the love God had for us that he gave his only Son. so that he may gain Christ [Cf. offered their own bodies and blood by asceticism and struggle. CATECHESIS 78 On listening with understanding to the Holy Scriptures. 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. brethren.1415]. A little while. the saints. as we sing in David’s Psalms. not simple-mindedly or anyhow. But you see me. 8:38-39].]. now and for ever. to whom be glory and might with the Father and the Holy Spirit.] Let us also. We should surely then listen with understanding to the things that are read to us. when they had nothing to offer. because I live and you will live’ [John 14. ‘I am the vine and you are the branches’ [John 15.5].Jesus our Lord [Rom. however it is not given to all to see and hear. as it is written. I have made known to you’ [John 15. Such a person considers everything here to be a passing shadow. And again. but have eternal life [John 3:16. because the servant does not know what his lord does. ‘Those who have ears to hear. you just’ [Psalm 32. so that we may become heirs with the saints of the eternal blessings in Christ Jesus our Lord. Just as he hears him saying to his Disciples. ‘Rejoice in the Lord. I am coming to you. so that we may not fall beneath the threat.

to God the Father that is. CATECHESIS 103 . rejoiced. utterly deceived ‘by human trickery. but handed him over for us all.11]. 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. but also to suffer for him’ [Philippians 1. yet rather he was raised from the dead. who is against us? For the One who did not spare his own Son. whence one works the divine words like a goldsmith. as it is written! To us has been given. Amen. after they had been flogged. For how many have gone astray. David says. that he gave us the grace to worship him with orthodox faith and not be carried astray. while the Apostle again says. Who then condemns? It was Christ who died. This then was how all the Saints lived their lives. ‘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. Lord. It is opportune then to say with the Apostle. another and another from here and from there sweetens by his utterances. and who will also bestow on us his eternal kingdom.a covenant with you — an eternal covenant — that you may eat and drink for ever at my table in my kingdom’ [Luke 22. let us too hear obediently what is said and love our beloved God with love. for to him belong glory and might. ‘If God is for. When someone who loves God hears such words. Similarly the Apostles.14]! How many are famished ‘not with a famine of bread or thirst for water. ‘because they had been found worthy to be dishonoured for the name of Christ’ [Acts 5. Jeremias says. nor did I desire any human day’ [Jeremias 17. by villainy to the cunning of error’ [Ephesians 4. ‘It has been given us by God not only to believe in Christ.41].16]. with the Father and the Holy Spirit. In short each of the Saints with words like these reveals their love for Christ.29]. with statements such as these they gloried triumphantly of their longing for God. who is also at the right hand of God and who also makes intercession for us’ [Romans 8. but a famine of hearing the word of God’ [Amos 8.31-34]. always giving thanks for all the good things that he has done for us. brethren. as Scripture says. and to the ages of ages. like a full table.28-30]. they not only rejoice but also choose to die for Christ every day.3-4]. now and for ever. that he chose us from the beginning for salvation by the sanctification of our profession here. the teaching of the Saints. And therefore. ‘I did not grow weary following you.

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

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

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

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

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