Thursday, 13 September 2012


The Cross as a Symbol
 Saint Gregory of Nyssa (ca.335--ca.395)   Comments,  "For  truly,  to those who are able to see,the mystery of the Cross is especially contemplated in the law. Therefore,the Gospel says somewhere that not one  iota  or  one  tittle shall pass away from the law (Mt.5;18), signifying in these words the vertical and horizontal lines by which the form of the Cross is drawn."

 At the Feast of the Cross,we chant,"The four ends of the earth are
sanctified  today by the exaltation of Thy Cross with its four arms."
Saint Gregory of Nyssa speaks of the symbolic implications of the physical attributes of the Cross,saying,"This is the very thing we learn from the figure of the Cross:that He Who was stretched upon it binds together all things into Himself,and by Himself brings to one harmonious agreement the diverse natures of actual existences."Saint Paul prays that Christ might dwell in our hearts through the Faith,which has been rooted and founded in love,in order that we might be able to apprehend with all the saints what is
the breadth and length and depth and height(cf.Eph.3:17,18).

Saint Gregory of Nyssa says the apostle" is describing by the figure of the Cross the power that controls and holds together the

universe,when he expresses a desire that they may be exalted to know the exceeding glory of this power, calling it height,and
depth,and breadth,and length....It manifests a great
mystery:that both things in heaven,and things under the earth,and all the furthest bounds of the things that are,are ruled and sustained by Him Who gave an example of this unspeakable and mighty power in the figure of the Cross.

Saint Kosmas chants to the Cross,saying,"Stretched out in wondrous fashion, the Cross sent forth rays as the sun,and 'the heavens declared the glory of our God(ps.18:1),"Saint Ephraim the Syrian chants,"The Height and the depth have been reconciled in Him!"

The Tree Of Life
Saint Irenaeos(ca.130ca,236),Bishop of Lyons writes:The sin that was wrought through the tree was undone by the obedience of the Tree, obedience to God whereby the Son of Man was nailed to the Tree,destroying the knowledge of evil,and bringing in and conferring the knowledge of good...So by the obedience,whereby He obeyed unto death,hanging on the tree,He undid the old disobedience wrought in the tree.
And because He is Himself the Logos of God almighty,Who in His invisible form pervades us universally in the whole world, and encompasses both its length and breadth and height and depth-for by God's Logos everything is disposed and administered-The Son of God was also crucified in these,imprinted in the form of a cross on the universe for He had necessarily,in becoming visible,to bring to light the universality of His Cross,in order to show openly
through His visible form that activity of His:that it is He Who makes bright the height,that is, what is in heaven,and holds the deep,which is in the bowels of the earth,and stretches forth and extends the length from east to west, navigating also the northern parts and the breadth of the south,and calling in all the dispersed from all sides to the knowledge of the Father."

The Cross,the Tree of Life,was planted in the Place of the Skull
(Mt.27;33,Mk. 15:22, Jn.19:17),and upon it the eternal King worked salvation in the midst of the earth(Ps. 73:13).It sanctifies the ends of the world,and both angels and men rejoice.Saint Theodore the Studite(759-826) chants,"The Church has been revealed as a second Paradise,having within it, like the first Paradise of old,a tree of life,Thy Cross,O Lord.

By touching it, we share in immortality."Saint Joseph the
Hymnographer(810-886) writes: "Christ stretched out His hands upon the Cross,and so destroyed the sin of our forefather who stretched out his hand in greed.By the Tree He healed the curse of the tree(Deut.21:23).

You write about anger in the heart of a fool

Elder Joseph the Hesychast (Sixth Letter)

  "So listen to me once again. Lay a solid foundation. 
Build a beautiful  little palace in the heavens. Clean the inside of the cup, as the Lord instructs us, so that the outside becomes clean as well, because everything done with the body  resembles leaves which merely decorate the outer man.
Those works are well and good, but everything I have written

to you about previously is what cleanses a person internally.
These things will open the eyes of the soul. It is through them
that the heart is purified to see God on that day. For without 
noetic work, there is little benefit from outer works.

If you do not see tears pouring forth every time you remember God, you suffer from ignorance, which leads to pride and 
hardness of heart. So let humility serve as a garment in all your actions, and become a sponge in the brotherhood that mops up every reproach and abasement. Do not water your soul with honors and praises but with reproaches and accusations, even if you are innocent.

Never seek to find what is just, because then you are unjust.
On the contrary, learn to endure temptations bravely, regardless of what kind the Lord permits. Without a lot of excuses, just say, "Forgive me !" and without actually being at fault, repent as if you were. Do so with conviction of soul; not just outwardly admitting to be at fault for the sake of praise, while inwardly judging.

Taken from, Monastic Wisdom, The
of Elder Joseph the Hesychast

Δῶστε, δῶστε στοὺς φτωχούς!

ΙΩΑΝΝΗΣ ο Χρυσόστομος

Ξέρω ὅτι πολλοὶ ἀπὸ τοὺς συγκεντρωμένους πάλι θὰ μᾶς κατηγορήσουν, ὅταν μιλοῦμε γι' αὐτά, καὶ θὰ ποῦν «Μή, σὲ παρακαλῶ, μὴ γίνεσαι φορτικὸς καὶ βαρετὸς στοὺς ἀκροατές• ἄφησέ το στὴ συνείδηση τοῦ καθενός, ἄφησέ το στὴν κρίση τῶν ἀκροατῶν• ἔτσι τώρα μᾶς ντροπιάζεις, μᾶς κάνεις νὰ κοκκινίζουμε!...».

Ἀλλ' ὄχι! Αὐτὰ τὰ λόγια δὲν τὰ ἀνέχομαι! Γιατί οὔτε ὁ Παῦλος ντρεπόταν νὰ ἐνοχλῆ συνέχεια γιὰ τέτοια πράγματα καὶ νὰ ζητᾶ σὰν ζητιάνος. Ἐὰν ἔλεγα τοῦτο, δηλαδὴ δός μου, φέρε γιὰ τὸ σπίτι μου, ἲσως νὰ 'ταν ντροπή. Ἂν καὶ οὔτε τότε θὰ 'ταν ντροπή. «Οἱ γὰρ τῷ θυσιαστηρίῳ», λέγει, «προσεδρεύοντες, τῷ θυσιαστηρὶῳ συμμερίζονται» (Α' Κορ. 9,13). Πλὴν ὅμως πιθανὸν νὰ μὲ κατηγοροῦσε κάποιος, ὅτι μιλῶ γιὰ τὸν ἑαυτὸ μου• τώρα ὅμως παρακαλῶ γι' αὐτοὺς ποὺ στεροῦνται, μᾶλλον ὄχι γι' αὐτοὺς ποὺ στεροῦνται, ἀλλὰ γιὰ σᾶς ποὺ δίνετε• γι' αὐτὸ καὶ μιλῶ χωρὶς νὰ ντρέπομαι.
Γιατί ποῦ εἶναι ἡ ντροπὴ σὰν πῶ, δῶσε στὸν Κύριο ποῦ πεινᾶ, ντύσε τον ποὺ γυρίζει γυμνός, φιλοξένησέ τον ποῦ εἶναι ξένος; Ὁ Δεσπότης σου δὲν ντρέπεται μπροστὰ σ' ὅλη τὴν οἰκουμένη νὰ λέγη «ἐπείνασα καὶ οὐκ ἐδώκατέ μοι φαγεῖν» (Ματθ. 25,42), ὁ ἀνενδεής, ἐκεῖνος ποὺ δὲν ἔχει ἀνάγκη ἀπὸ τίποτε' καὶ ἐγὼ θὰ ντραπῶ καὶ θὰ διστάσω; Σὲ παρακαλῶ, μακριὰ τέτοια πράγματα! Τοῦ διαβόλου εἶναι αὐτὴ ἡ ντροπή!

Δὲν θὰ ντραπῶ, λοιπόν. Ἀντίθετα μάλιστα καὶ μὲ παρρησία θὰ πῶ• δῶστε σ' ὅσους ἔχουν ἀνάγκη, καὶ θὰ φωνάζω πιὸ δυνατὰ ἀπ' αὐτούς. Γιατί ἐὰν κάποιος ἔχη στοιχεῖα καὶ μπορῆ νὰ μᾶς κατηγορήση, ὅτι αὐτὰ τὰ λέμε γιὰ νὰ σᾶς παρασύρουμε πρὸς ὄφελός μας, καὶ μὲ τὸ πρόσχημα τῶν φτωχῶν κερδίζουμε ἐμεῖς, τότε πράγματι αὐτὰ δὲν εἶναι μονάχα ἄξια ντροπῆς, ἀλλὰ καὶ μυρίων κεραυνῶν, καὶ οὔτε ἀξίζει νὰ ζοῦν ὅσοι κάνουν παρόμοια.

Ἀλλὰ ἐάν, μὲ τὴ χάρη τοῦ Θεοῦ, καθόλου δὲν σᾶς ἐνοχλοῦμε γιὰ τὸν ἑαυτό μας καὶ κηρύττουμε ἀδάπανο τὸ εὐαγγέλιο, χωρὶς βέβαια νὰ κοπιάζουμε ὅπως ὁ Παῦλος, ἀρκούμενοι πάντως στὰ δικά μας, μὲ ὅλο τὸ θάρρος θὰ σᾶς λέγω, δῶστε στοὺς φτωχούς• καὶ δὲν θὰ σταματήσω νὰ τὸ λέγω, καὶ ὅταν δὲν δίνετε θὰ σᾶς εἶμαι σκληρὸς κατήγορος!

 Από Αὐτοβιογραφικὲς σελίδες καὶ ἀπάνθισμα κειμένων του
Εἰσαγωγὴ καὶ ἀπόδοση στὴ νεοελληνικὴ Ἀρχιμ. Χρυσόστομος Π. Αβαγιάνος, ἔκδ. Ἀποστολικὴ Διακονία τῆς Ἐκκλησίας τῆς Ἑλλάδος, Ἀθῆναι 1998.

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