Category Archives: Church History

With the Fire Divine

Aflame in thy heart, O Laurence, with the fire divine, thou burntest
away the fire of passions utterly, O firm staff of athletes, O thou
God-bearing Martyr; and thou in truth while contesting didst cry with faith:
Nothing shall separate me from the love of Christ.

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Tradition and the Future

Compelling series of posts on the Fathers and Tradition over at Fr. Ted’s Blog. A couple quotes that stood out:

“In the light of eschatology, even the tradition of the Church itself acquires a new meaning and a different dimension — an optimistic and hopeful perspective. In this perspective, Tradition is not identified with habits, customs, traditions or ideas or in general with historical inertia and stagnation, but with a person, Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory who is coming. As Saint Cyprian of Carthage reminds us, “The Lord said: I am the Truth. He did not say: I am the custom.” Tradition, in other words, does not refer chiefly to the past; or to put it differently, it is not bound by the patterns of the past, by events that have already happened. Strange as it may sound, in the authentic ecclesial perspective, tradition is orientated toward the future. It comes principally and primarily from the future Kingdom of God, from the One who is coming, from what has yet to be fully revealed and made manifest, from God’s love and the plan He is preparing for us, for the salvation of the world and man. So the eschatological understanding of tradition appears as the counterpart to the Pauline definition of faith: ‘Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen’ (Heb. 11:1. cf. Heb. ch. 11; Rom. 8:24)

And:

“The future is not merely something exacted or awaited – it is something created … And genuine historical synthesis lies not in interpreting the past, but in creatively fulfilling the future.” -Fr. George Florovosky

Read it all.

Love Thinketh What?

“Do not regard the feelings of a person who speaks to you about his neighbor disparagingly, but rather say to him: “Stop, brother! I fall into graver sins every day, so how can I criticize him?” In this way you will achieve two things: you will heal yourself and your neighbor with one plaster. This is one of the shortest ways to the forgiveness of sins; I mean, not to judge. ‘Judge not, and ye shall not be judged.’ (Luke 6:37)”

-St. John Climacus

“If we have true love with sympathy and patient labor, we shall not go about scrutinizing our neighbor’s shortcomings. As it is said, “Charity shall cover the multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8), and again, “Love thinketh no evil… hides everything, etc.”(1 Cor.13:5,6) As I said, if we have true love, that very love should screen anything of this kind, as did the saints when they saw the shortcomings of men.Were they blind? Not at all! But they simply would not let their eyes dwell on sins.”

-Saint Dorotheos of Gaza

“My children, avoid criticism — a very great sin. God is grieved whenever we criticize and loathe people. Let us concern ourselves only with our own faults — for these let us feel pain; let us criticize ourselves and then we will find mercy and grace from God.”

-Elder Ephraim of Philotheou Mount Athos

(via Our Garden of Virtues)

Never Be Deceived

“Someone who lives
not by his own decisions
but by the example of the ancients
will never be deceived.”

-John Cassian, Conferences, 67.

(H/T: The Virtuous Life)

Deeper into the Mystery of Christ

I picked up this quote at Steve’s blog and wanted to share it here too:

“This process of becoming Orthodox is not something that you can do just after 6 months of catechesis and a little bit of chrism on your forehead. It’s a life-long process, because it’s being transformed into Christ. And if we can keep our focus that coming into the Orthodox Church is not about joining a new organization; it’s not joining ‘the right church’; it’s not ‘joining the historical church or the apostolic church’; or it’s not ‘joining the right church instead the wrong church that I was in.’

“But rather, it’s an entrance deeper and deeper into the mystery of Christ. Then I think we’re on the right track. Because otherwise all we’re doing is getting stuck in our heads and caught up in judgment and condemnation. In other words, we’re just stuck in our passions and we might as well have not converted anyway, because we still haven’t left the world behind.

“Our task is to incarnate that life in Christ that is not of this world. We have to be in the world, but not of it.”
– Metropolitan JONAH, “Baptizing the Culture”

Ouch (in a good way).

Ripened on the Field of Life

“…O Lord, inasmuch as Thou containest a sea of longsuffering and an abyss of kindness, do not allow me to be felled as a fruitless fig tree; and do not let me be burned without having ripened on the field of life. Snatch me not away unprepared; seize not me who have not yet lit my lamp; take not away me who have no wedding garment; but, because Thou art good and the lover of mankind, have mercy on me. Give me time to repent, and place not my soul stripped naked before Thy terrible and unwavering throne as a pitiful spectacle of infamy.”

-St. Ephraim the Syrian

Read more on Seth’s blog.

The Treasure House within You

Be at peace with your own soul
then heaven and earth will be at peace with you.

Enter eagerly into the treasure
house that is within you,

And you will see the things that are in heaven,
for there is but one single entry to them both.

The ladder that leads to the Kingdom
is hidden within your soul…

Dive into yourself and in your soul
and you will discover the stairs
by which to ascend.

-St. Isaac of Syria