Saturday, 22 December 2012

And lo, the Star… St. Simon the Myrrh-gusher

+1287 – December 28
 And lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young Child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. (Matt. 2:9-10)

       On December 28, shortly after the Feast of the Nativity, the Church celebrates the memory of St. Simon the Myrrh-gusher through whom the Lord wrought great wonders. A star, like that which led the Magi to Bethlehem, miraculously revealed to the saint the site upon which, by divine command, he was to found a monastery. The monastery was appropriately dedicated to the Feast of the Nativity and was named New Bethlehem. Today, seven centuries later, it is still one of the flourishing monasteries on Mt. Athos.

Holy Monastery Simonopetra (Mount Athos)

       The life of the venerable Simon was arrayed with mighty ascetic feats and miracles not only during his lifetime, but even after his repose when there gushed forth from his relics are abundant fount of myrrh in a manner similar to that of the Great Martyr Demetrius of Thessalonica. Where he came from, who his parents were, and where he began his monastic labors, no one knows. Some time in the 13th century, he arrived on the Holy Mountaim Recalling the saying of the Fathers that without obedience one cannot be saved, the venerable Simon sought before all else to find a spiritual elder, one to whom he could entrust his soul without reserve, an elder who would be not only a faithful guide unto salvation and a radiant model of ascetic perfection, but also strict in bodily discipline.
     After looking all over the Holy Mountain, he finally chose out of the multitude of monks leading virtuous lives, an unknown elder, perfect in all respects in the ascetic life. He labored in complete submission to his elder, fulfilling all his obediences with love and zeal and soon attained to such great spiritual heights that he became known all over the Holy Mountain for his irreproachable life. Finally. the time came when the elder was convinced that his period of trial was over. Casting aside his paternal kindness towards the venerable Simon, he decided to dwell with him. as with a brother and on several
· occasions he even asked for his advice and counsel.
     But instead of rejoicing over the benevolence and honor bestowed upon him by his elder, Simon was utterly grieved. He decided to leave, seeking for himself total reclusion. Expressing his intention to his elder, he asked his blessing amidst a shower of tears, desiring with heartfelt sorrow that the elder would grant his consent. In this way, he took leave of his dear elder for whom he had already become not so much a disciple as another mighty co-struggler in the angelic life.
      For a long time St. Simon searched all over the Holy Mountain for a secluded hermitage where no one would know of his existence and no one would find him. Finally, with God's help, he found a deserted mountainside with caves on the southern part of the Holy Mountain. Knowing that before him lay the relentless struggle of unseen warfare, the saint clothed himself with spiritual armor with the help of the Holy Spirit, taking the cross, prayer, faith, patience, fasting, and everything that could crush the wily schemes of the demons and raise a man to angelic purity and childlike simplicity. It is difficult to recount the fierce s c h e m e s and hidden traps with which satan tormented and tried to catch unawares Saint Simon. The holy ascetic, however, boldly trampled upon the brazen arrogance of his adversary and crushed all his plans. For many years St. Simon remained secluded within his cave where he manfully endured the constant battle with the unseen enemies of his soul. He lived in sorrows and utter deprivation, lacking even the assurance of his own salvation.
    Meanwhile, hearing of the severity of his life and in particular of his spiritual discernment and insight, many monks on the Holy Mountain began to come to him and to receive great spiritual benefit from his soul-profiting counsel, thus fulfilling the word of God: "A city that is set on a hill cannot he hid" (Matt. 5:14). Together with those who came to him, Simon was accounted worthy to receive from the Lord the gift of foreknowledge. However, through his humility he grew weary of such earthly honor, and he sought refuge from the disturbance created by all those who came to him. He was burdened by the stream of visitors which, it seemed to him, only served as a hindrance to his desire for a life of seclusion. He yearned, therefore, to abandon his dwelling for a yet more isolated one. But God, desiring the well-being and salvation of each and every one, prevented the. realization of his desire in the following way:
    One night, while persevering in prayer, the righteous one saw outside his cave, as if before his very eyes, the effulgence of a divine light; an ineffable fragrance spread all around him and he heard a loud voice: "Simon, Simon, thou faithful friend and servant of my Son! Do not go away from here. I shall glorify this place; you shall be its guiding light, and your name shall be glorified.'' Out of caution, Simon chose at first not to believe this vision, not desiring to fall into the nets of the evil one; for he knew, according to the word of the Apostle, that satan could transform himself into an angel of light. Neyertheless, he continued to ponder upon the actual source of the voice. This took place shortly before the Feast of the Nativity of Christ. Then, one night, walking outside his cave, he saw a strange apparition: a star descended from the heavens and came to rest just above the rocky cliffs where later the holy monastery was to be situated. This same vision repeated itself on the following evenings; but the venerable Simon was still fearful. Wasit possible that this was solely one of the consequences of his intense spiritual warfare? And he continued to distrust the vision.
     When the Eve of the Nativity of Christ arrived, he saw in a dream a brilliant star and heard a divine voice: "Simon! you must build a monastic dwelling here. I myself shall help you. Cast aside your doubts, or you shall be punished for your unbelief." The same voice spoke to him three times. At that time (as he later related to his disciples) it seemed to him that he was in Bethlehem of Judea, in the very place where the shepherds were tending their flocks, and he heard the sweet sound of angelic singing: "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men: fear not, for, behold, I bring you tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people" (Luke2:l4, 10). After this, said the saint, all fear and uneasiness were dispelled from my soul and I rejoiced in spirit, and secretly beheld the scene in Bethlehem; there, before the manger, the Sovereign Lady stood before the Divine Child, lying in swaddling clothes.
     Several days after the Feast of the Nativity, three rich men, brothers after the flesh, came to the venerable one. They confessed all their sins and began persuasively to entreat him to permit them to live in obedience under his direction. After a brief period of trial and testing, St. Simon revealed unto them, as to his own sons according to the spirit, the divine vision. More than once he related to them the v i s i o n concerning the building of a monastery on the neighboring cliffs, asking them not to speak of this to any, one while he was still alive until the proper time. Hearing all this, the brothers with love offered to the saintly elder all of their earthly wealth for the construction of the monastery, and in accordance with the saint's wish and blessing, they offered immediately to prepare everything necessary for such an important and God-pleasing labor.
     All necessary preparations were made. They had yet to learn, however, of the exact site for the foundation upon which the monastery was to be built. When St. Simon directed the brothers to the location where the church and other buildings were to be constructed they w e r e horrified, seeing t h e sheer cliffs which, according to his orders, were to serve as the monastery's foundation. "Are you trying to fool us, Abba?" they asked the saint, 'or are you speaking the truth? How can this be the site, when that cliff might be quite dangerous for the workers and even more so for those that will dwell here. If this is your desire, we shall surely oppose you !"
      The matter was left undecided. In the : meantime, seeing that he could not convince them to proceed with the work, St. Simon ordered the trapeza meal to be served. While they were eating, one of the saint's disciples who was bringing wine to the table, lost his , balance ,through the prompting of a demon, and fell off the cliff into a great abyss; still holding in one hand a pitcher and in the other several glasses of wine. Stricken with horror at this sudden tragedy, the spokesman of the brothers strongly rebuked the venerable one: "Behold, Abba, what has already been wrought by these deadly crags before you have even begun your undertaking. How many similar incidents of such a frightful death will occur if we should agree to build the monastery here." The saint did not answer but secretly prayed to the Sovereign Lady Theotokos that he would not be put to shame in placing his trust in her intercession. "Who can tell of all thy miracles, O Sovereign Lady, and who can praise thy majesty?' What happened next was entirely unexpected: the brother who had fallen over the precipice suddenly appeared before them. Through the intercession of the Most Holy Theotokos he was not only perfectly whole and unscathed, but he even held the glasses and pitcher from which not a drop of wine had spilled! Such a miracle brought fear and trembling upon the laborers. They fell to their knees before the saint and beseeching forgiveness said: "Now we know, O father, that you are truly a man of God." With heartfelt sincerity they were all grateful to be numbered among the saint's disciples and were soon accounted worthy of the angelic habit. Then, under the immediate supervision of the venerable Simon himself, his disciples, formerly simple laborers, proceeded with the construction of the Monastery.
     The situation, however, was such that before anything else it was necessary to lay the foundation. According to the instruction of the saint, they were to use a nearby stone of enormous size. The elder ordered them to move it, but they, forgetting about the miracle of the unspilled wine, were of the firm opinion that not only was it impossible for them with their combined efforts to move that massive weight, but that it could not even be budged. They stood there bewildered, not having the slightest idea what to do. Seeing this, the saint approached them and, making the sign of the life-giving Cross on the stone, he single-handedly lifted it upon his shoulder and carried it to the designated site. In this way he demonstrated in actual fact the truth of the word which the Lord spoke unto the Apostles: "Verily I say unto you, if ye have :faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove" (Matt. 17120).
    That such a man, whose body was weakened by fasting and ascetic labor, should lift such a weight far exceeding human strength, can only serve as a testimony of God's almighty power and His readiness to help those who turn to Him with faith.
    Having established the monastery which he named New Bethlehem, and having spent his life in God-pleasing labors, St. Simon reposed on the 28th of December, 1287. On the morning of the next day, in the presence of the entire brotherhood, the face of the righteous one shone with a wondrous light. After his soul had ascended unto the choirs of the righteous, a fragrant myrrh issued forth from his holy relics through which St. Simon worked many miracles to the glory of God, for kings, monks, and laymen.
    Many years after the saint's earthly departure, a pious Serbian king helped to greatly enlarge and rebuild the monastery in honor of its founder. Since that time it has been known as Simonopetra, or the "Rock of Simon". Today it is perhaps one of the most awe-inspiring architectural monuments in the world, a standing testimony to the power of faith and God's good will toward men.
(taken from the Russian "Athonite Patericon" by'Rassophore-monk Gerasim)

The Gifts of the Magi - Homily on the Day of Christ’s Nativity

by Archbishop Innocent of Kherson

And when they had opened their treasures they presented unto Him gifts: gold, and frankincense, and myrrh. (Matt. 2:11)
       Not without reason, my brethren, were there three gifts at the manger Of Christ; three--no more, no less. Was this a sign of the Most Holy Trinity as the essence of the Godhead; or did it symbolize the triune nature of Christ's future ministry: prophetic, royal, priestly; or was it perhaps an expression of the three parts of the nature of man: spirit, soul, and body? We leave it up to your faith and reasoning to consider this question. Here our attention rests upon the gift-'bearing magi.
      One could say that these pilgrims of the Orient stood before the manger of Christ for all mankind. Their gifts represent symbolically all that we, followers of the Saviour, bring to Him. The gold signifies material gifts; the frankincense--immaterial gifts, gifts of the spirit; and the myrrh represents those gifts that are at once both spiritual and material. There are, accordingly, persons who bring the Lord gold; there are those who bring frankincense; still others bring myrrh; lastly, some bring several gifts together. Who are these individuals? In examining this question, we shall see how we too, like the magi, can serve our Lord and Saviour. Who brings the Lord gold?

     Gold is brought by those who, for the glory of God and the benefit of their neighbor, offer anything of their labor s and possessions. For example, you bring gold to the Lord if you build, renew or adorn God's temple. Your gift pleases Him, for even though He sits now on the throne of glory, for the sake of our salvation He continues at the same time to appear in the manger as well. This manger is present in church upon the table of oblation, where at every Liturgy He is, as it were, born again so as to offer Himself anew as a sacrifice for our sins. How often He suffers want in this manger. Here He needs both clothing and shelter, light and warmth. Therefore, if you do anything for the benefit of the church, your offering delights the Lord -as much as did the gift of the magi who brought Him gold.
     HOW much of this gold is brought to the Lord? Oh, if we were to compare what is brought with that which is spent to answer the demands of the passions, for the satisfaction not only of our needs, but of our very whims--or even With that which is patently surrendered for the flesh and the world to consume--then it shall turn out to be the very smallest part ....   Before us a poor man shakes from bitter cold, hunger, and disease; we either rebuff him harshly or give him a measly pittance, and that same day we are ready to exhaust half our fortune in a senseless game, or to display Our munificent squandering at some gaudy spectacle.
    Such is our gratitude to Him Who, being rich, for our salvation is this day embeggared, that we through His poverty might be rich (II Cor. 8:9).
Who brings the Lord frankincense? These are they who apply their abilities, knowledge, and talents to the glory of God and the benefit of their neighbors; for these are immaterial gifts of greater value than gold or silver.. These are gifts which God gives to men but, they, also are--and should be made--men's gifts to God.
    This costly frankincense is offered to the Lord by each one who, sparing not himself, serves his neighbor. Frankincense is offered to the Lord by that shepherd of the Church, who faithfully stands alert guarding souls and hearts against the confusions and temptations of the age, who ardently proclaims the ways of the Lord, who guides those who have lost their way, comforts those in despair, instructs all. Frankincense is brought to the Lord by that mother who does not rely upon servants, who does not spend time in idleness and vain amusements, but rather devotes her time and abilities to the rearing of her children in the fear of God, to nurturing in them the habit of self-denial, the spirit of meekness, of prayer, and of love for mankind. Permeating the home, the fragrance of this frankincense is thereafter diffused everywhere by those who received in that home a pious upbringing. Frankincense is brought to the Lord by that artist who does not utilize his talents to pander to human lust in keeping with the spirit of the time, but rather, strives to turn all his creative powers into m e a n s of disseminating--'with the refined and beautiful--What is True and good, This frankincense envelops many with its heavenly fragrance. And just as there is no -one who does not possess abilities or talents
of some kind, neither is there anyone who is unable to bring the Lord frankincense by using his abilities to the glory of God and the true profit of his neighbors.
    · The third gift to the Lord from the magi · was myrrh. This was the last gift and therefore more exalted than gold or even frankincense. What kind of gift is this, and why is it so important? Like frankincense, myrrh exudes a heavenly fragrance, but its distinguishing quality lies in its great bitterness; for this reason it represents our trials and sorrows, our tears and sufferings.

     Now it is clear who brings to the Lord the gift of myrrh. They bring it who patiently bear trials in life and. suffer blamelessly without giving in to bleak despair, nor fainthearted complaining, nor useless sighing; those Who, in enduring their trials, are moved neither to prideful scorn towards others, nor to the desperate stifling in themselves of all · human feeling, but to a lively hope in the living God--to the thought that through suffering he or she is cleansed from sins, made perfect in virtue, and, what is even more gladdening, made like unto their Saviour Who, died for them upon the Cross. Such endurance, in the spirit of faith and love, of the tribulations and sorrows of the age is also a gift to the Lord, a gift more precious than ~old and of a sweeter savor even than frankincense.
    May all those who suffer cruelly hear this, and may they come to fathom the advantage of their condition which is seemingly bitter, but actually not without its sweetness if only they consider their faith and the Cross of Christ. May they hasten to bring their myrrh to the Lord as a gift. Those who are satisfied in this world cannot do this; unacquainted with want, they seem to lack nothing; but they have no myrrh. Many of those who possess frankincense-that is, exceptional talents, also cannot do this: they have no heavy trials to bear, no myrrh. It is all with you, God's bloodless passion-bearers; you, who through no guilty act of your own--whether by the lot of your birth or by the perversity of circumstance, by human malice or by our corruptible physical nature--greet virtually every day, and also end it, with sighs; and who, it may be, this very morning greeted Christ's holy Feast day with tears. Those who look upon you disdain your hardship; you yourselves, perhaps, stumble at times beneath the weight of earthly trial. But we, in the name of our Saviour, greet you with the precious likeness of His Cross! Cherish the precious myrrh which you have received as your portion; do not exchange it for frankincense, and even more guard against trading it for mere gold. And do not rob it of its heavenly fragrance by complaint or fainthearted murmuring. What is the use of complaining? The Lord sees everything without it. Each of your tears counts with Him, each of your sighs knows its weight--and in time you shall receive for all of these a hundredfold.                                 Amen.
(Translated by Maria Belaeff from a leaflet published by the Vladimir Mother of God Convent, San Francisco.)

St. Ephrem the Syrian:Hymn of Nativity

Here is a Hymn on the Nativity, by St. Ephrem the Syrian. As we prepare ourselves to again welcome our Lord into the manger of our hearts, let us allow these words to form words of worship in our soul.

 Blessed be that Child, Who gladdened Bethlehem to-day! Blessed be the Babe Who made manhood young again to-day! Blessed be the Fruit, Who lowered Himself to our famished state! Blessed be the Good One, Who suddenly enriched our necessitousness and supplied our needs! Blessed He Whose tender mercies made Him condescend to visit our infirmities!
Praise to the Fountain that was sent for our propitiation. Praise be to Him Who made void the Sabbath by fulfilling it! Praise too to Him Who rebuked the leprosy and it remained not, Whom the fever saw and fled! Praise to the Merciful, Who bore our toil! Glory to Thy coming, which quickened the sons of men!
Glory to Him, Who came to us by His first-born! Glory to the Silence, that spake by His Voice. Glory to the One on high, Who was seen by His Day-spring! Glory to the Spiritual, Who was pleased to have a Body, that in it His virtue might be felt, and He might by that Body show mercy on His household’s bodies!
Glory to that Hidden One, Whose Son was made manifest! Glory to that Living One, Whose Son was made to die! Glory to that Great One, Whose Son descended and was small! Glory to the Power Who did straiten His greatness by a form, His unseen nature by a shape! With eye and mind we have beheld Him, yea with both of them.
Glory to that Hidden One, Who even with the mind cannot be felt at all by them that pry into Him; but by His graciousness was felt by the hand of man! The Nature that could not be touched, by His hands was bound and tied, by His feet was pierced and lifted up. Himself of His own will He embodied for them that took Him.
Blessed be He Whom free will crucified, because He let it: blessed be He Whom the wood also did bear, because He allowed it. Blessed be He Whom the grave bound, that had [thereby] a limit set it. Blessed be He Whose own will brought Him to the Womb and Birth, to arms and to increase [in stature]. Blessed He whose changes purchased life for human nature.
Blessed He Who sealed our soul, and adorned it and espoused it to Himself. Blessed He Who made our Body a tabernacle for His unseen Nature. Blessed He Who by our tongue interpreted His secret things. Let us praise that Voice whose glory is hymned with our lute, and His virtue with our harp. The Gentiles have assembled and have come to hear His strains.
Glory to the Son of the Good One, Whom the sons of the evil one rejected! Glory to the Son of the Just One, Whom the sons of wickedness crucified! Glory to Him Who loosed us, and was bound for us all! Glory to Him Who gave the pledge, and redeemed it too! Glory to the Beautiful, Who conformed us to His image! Glory to that Fair One, Who looked not to our foulnesses!
Glory to Him Who sowed His Light in the darkness, and was reproached in His hidden state, and covered His secret things. He also stripped and took off from us the clothing of our filthiness. Glory be to Him on high, Who mixed His salt in our minds, His leaven in our souls. His Body became Bread, to quicken our deadness.
Praise to the Rich, Who paid for us all, that which He borrowed not; and wrote [His bill], and also became our debtor! By His yoke He brake from us the chains of him that led us captive. Glory to the Judge Who was judged, and made His Twelve to sit in judgment on the tribes, and by ignorant men condemned the scribes of that nation!
Glory to Him Who could never be measured by us! Our heart is too small for Him, yea our mind is too feeble. He makes foolish our littleness by the riches of His Wisdom. Glory to Him, Who lowered Himself, and asked; that He might hear and learn that which He knew; that He might by His questions reveal the treasure of His helpful graces!
Let us adore Him Who enlightened with His doctrine our mind, and in our hearing sought a pathway for His words. Praise we Him Who grafted into our tree His fruit. Thanks to Him Who sent His Heir, that by Him He might draw us to Himself, yea make us heirs with Him! Thanks to that Good One, the cause of all goods!
Blessed He Who did not chide, because that He was good! Blessed He Who did not spurn, because that He was just also! Blessed He Who was silent, and rebuked; that He might quicken us with both! Severe His silence and reproachful. Mild His severity even When He was accusing; for He rebuked the traitor, and kissed the thief.
Glory to the hidden Husbandman of our intellects! His seed fell on to our ground, and made our mind rich. His increase came an hundredfold into the treasury of our souls! Let us adore Him Who sat down and took rest; and walked in the way, so that the Way was in the way, and the Door also for them that go in, by which they go in to the kingdom.
Blessed the Shepherd Who became a Lamb for our reconcilement! Blessed the Branch Who became the Cup of our Redemption! Blessed also be the Cluster, Fount of medicine of life! Blessed also be the Tiller, Who became Wheat, that He might be sown; and a Sheaf, that He might be cut! [Blessed be] the Architect Who became a Tower for our place of safety! Blessed He Who so tempered the feelings of our mind, that we with our harp should sing that which the winged creatures’ mouth knows not with its strains to sing! Glory to Him, Who beheld how we had pleased to be like to brutes in our rage and our greediness; and came down and was one of us, that we might become heavenly!
Glory be to Him, Who never felt the need of our praising Him; yet felt the need as being kind to us, and thirsted as loving us, and asks us to give to Him, and longs to give to us. His fruit was mingled with us men, that in Him we might come nigh to Him, Who condescended to us. By the Fruit of His stem He grafted us into His Tree.
Let us praise Him, Who prevailed and quickened us by His stripes! Praise we Him, Who took away the curse by His thorns! Praise we Him Who put death to death by His dying! Praise we Him, Who held His peace and justified us! Praise we Him, Who rebuked death that had overcome us! Blessed He, Whose helpful graces cleansed out the left side!
Praise we Him Who watched and put to sleep him that led us captive. Praise we Him Who went to sleep, and chased our deep sleep away. Glory be to God Who cured weak manhood! Glory be to Him Who was baptized, and drowned our iniquity in the deep, and choked him that choked us! Let us glorify with all our mouths the Lord of all creatures!
Blessed be the Physician Who came down and amputated without pain, and healed wounds with a medicine that was not harsh. His Son became a Medicine, that showed sinners mercy. Blessed be He Who dwelt in the womb, and wrought therein a perfect Temple, that He might dwell in it, a Throne that He might be in it, a Garment that He might be arrayed in it, and a Weapon that He might conquer in it.
Blessed be He Whom our mouth cannot adequately praise, because His Gift is too great for skill of orators [to tell]; neither can the faculties adequately praise His goodness. For praise Him as we may, it is too little.
And since it is useless to be silent and to constrain ourselves, may our feebleness excuse such praise as we can sing.
How gracious He, Who demands not more than our strength can give! How would Thy servant be condemned in capital and interest, did he not give such as he could, and did he refuse that which He owed! Ocean of glory Who needest not to have Thy glory sung, take in Thy goodness this drop of praise; since by Thy Gift Thou hast supplied my tongue a sense for glorifying Thee.

The Incarnation - Nativity Icon

Orthodox Christians do not celebrate the birth of baby Jesus, we celebrate the Incarnation.  What?, you say. What is the Incarnation?  This is an important word as it means God becomes Man. This is what we celebrate. The birth of Jesus was that moment in history when God sent His only begotten Son to become like us, taking on human flesh for our healing. This miracle of miracles took place though the ascent of Mary whom we call the Theotokos, Birth-giver of God.  God with His divine will became man, taking on a human will in human flesh so Man could unite his human will with God’s divine will. From the time of Adam and Eve, man was separated from God ,unable to follow God’s law. The Incarnation is the beginning of the transformation of mankind so we can be reunited with God.
Nativity Icon
To the right you can see the icon of the Nativity. Let’s look at each element of this icon to learn what it communicates to us.
The Star
In the top center you see a blueish light, which represents the star which guided people to witness the Incarnation.  Was this a real star? Probably not.  It was most likely a spiritual sign not seen by everyone. You can see that it points to the Christ Child who is lying in a manger.
The birth place
Christ was born in a cave, which is shown as a dark place.  This was a reality as well as symbolic. Christ came to bring the light of knowledge to overcome the darkness of our ignorance. The star symbolizes this as well. It brings bright light to the dark cave, showing us the way to Christ. It is a light pointing us to the Truth. In the area where Christ was born, it was common to have a stable in caves carved in the hills of that region.
But why did he choose a stable?  Stables are where animals are kept and you can see the animals looking at the Christ child in the icon.  Where animals are it is also smelly and not the normal place anyone would choose to bear a child. This shows us the great humility of Christ. He could have chosen to be born in a palace if he wanted to, but he chose the most humble of places, a stable.  This is a message for us, to be humble like Him.
Christ’s clothing
What kind of clothes is Christ wearing?  He is wrapped in linen.  This is how a person was wrapped in those day for burial after his death.  This is showing us that  He is destined to the same fate after His Crucifixion where He was able to claim victory over death in His Resurrection.
Mary, The Theotokos.  
She is shown in the center of the icon to show her importance in this event. She was the instrument of God to bring about His incarnation. She gave her ascent to bear the Son of God. Surely an awesome responsibility. She is looking away to show her humility and wonder at this wondrous event.
Joseph and the devil
In the lower left corner of the icon you will see two men. An old man and one with a cane. The old man with the halo is Joseph. He was old because he was appointed as a mature man to protect Mary so she could remain a virgin. Some say he was 70 - 80 years old. Since he was not the father of the baby, he is being tempted by the man with the cane who is Satan. He is trying to raise Joseph’s doubts about the possibility of a virgin birth. This shows how difficult it is for all of us to accept things that are beyond our reason.
Near the top you can see angles.  Angels are from heaven and they glorify God.  You see them here to glorify the Christ Child and herald the good news to all the world, because it is not just a child that has been born, but God himself who has become man.
On the upper right you can see two shepherds with their sheep below. An angel is telling them about this miraculous birth calling them to come and glorify Him. Why shepherds?  Would you go to college to become a shepherd?  Of course not. Shepherds are among the simplest of people. This indicates that God did not become Man for those who are privileged, but for the simplest of people. He calls all to follow Him so all people can be united with God in eternal life.
One shepherd is playing a reed flute, which shows that human music is also appropriate for the glorification of God.
The wise men or Magi
To the left you will find three men on horses. These were men who came all the way from Persia following the star. They were probably astronomers, scientists of their day. They saw the star which was a symbol for them of a great cosmic event. They followed it to find the Incarnation of God.  Knowing how important this was they brought gifts of the highest value in appreciation of what God had done.  They came some time after the birth, so you can see that in an icon we can have many events that happen even at different times being shown to tell the complete story.
In the lower right we have the women who are preparing the font for the cleansing of the baby after it was born. This shows the humanity of Jesus. This too is symbolic of the baptism we are to undergo, to be united with Christ, cleansing us of our sins and receiving a transformation in our heart with the Holy Spirit, which is sealed with our Chrismation.
Biblical Story
The story of the Nativity of Christ is beautifully told in the Holy Scriptures. The story is found in Matthew 1:18-25 and in Luke 2:1-20.
Apolytikion: (Fourth Tone)
Your birth, O Christ our God, dawned the light of knowledge upon the earth. For by Your birth those who adored stars, were taught by a star, to worship You, the Sun of Justice and to know You, Orient from on High. O Lord, glory to You.
Kontakion: (Third Tone)
Today, the Virgin bears Him who is transcendent, and the earth presents the cave to Him who is beyond reach. Angels, along with shepherds glorify Him. The Magi make their way to Him by a star. For a new child has been born for us, the God before all ages.

ΤΑ ΔΩΡΑ ΤΩΝ ΤΡΙΩΝ ΜΑΓΩΝ: Ανεκτίμητο κειμήλιο της Ιεράς Μονής Αγίου Παύλου

«Και ελθόντες εις τον οικίαν είδον το παιδίον μετά Μαρίας της μητρός αυτού, και πεσόντες προσεκύνησαν αύτω και ανοίξαντες τους θησαυρούς αυτών προσήνεγκαν αύτω δώρα, χρυσόν και λίβανον και σμύρναν»
(Ματθ. β” 11).
Μεταξύ των ποικίλων θησαυρών και πολυτίμων κειμηλίων πού με πολλή ευλάβεια φυλάσσονται στην Ιερά Μονή του Αγίου Παύλου στο Αγιον Όρος, χωρίς αμφιβολία την πρώτη θέση καταλαμβάνουν τα Τίμια Δώρα πού προσέφεραν οι τρεις εξ Ανατολών Μάγοι στον ως Βρέφος ένανθρωπήσαντα Κύριο. Τα Δώρα αυτά ως γνωστόν είναι χρυσός, λίβανος και σμύρνα.
Ό χρυσός βρίσκεται υπό την μορφή εικοσιοκτώ επιμελώς σκαλισμένων επιπέδων πλακιδίων, ποικίλων σχημάτων (παραλληλογράμμων, τραπεζοειδών, πολυγώνων κτλ.) και διαστάσεων περίπου 5 εκ. χ 7 εκ. Κάθε πλακίδιο έχει διαφορετικό σχέδιο πολύπλοκης καλλιτεχνικής μικροεπεξεργασίας. Ό λίβανος1 και ή σμύρνα2 διατηρούνται ως μείγμα υπό την μορφή εξήντα δύο περίπου σφαιρικών χανδρών μεγέθους μικρής ελιάς.

Επειδή κυρίως ή πνευματική αλλά και ή υλική, ιστορική και αρχαιολογική αξία των Τιμίων Δώρων είναι ανυπολόγιστη, φυλάσσονται με ιδιαίτερη επιμέλεια στο θησαυροφυλάκιο της Ιεράς Μονής Αγίου Παύλου. Για λόγους ασφαλείας είναι κατανεμημένα σε διάφορες λειψανοθήκες, μόνο μέρος δε αυτών εκτίθεται εις προσκύνησιν των επισκεπτών της Ιεράς Μονής ή μεταφέρεται προς αγιασμό εκτός Αγίου Όρους στις κατά τόπους Ιερές Μητροπόλεις.
Γράφει ό Ευαγγελιστής Λουκάς για την Παναγία ότι «διετήρει πάντα τα ρήματα ταύτα εν τη καρδία αυτής» (Λουκ. β” 19, 51). Πιστεύεται δε από τους θεολόγους ερμηνευτές ότι ένα μεγάλο μέρος από αυτά τα «ρήματα», τα λόγια και τα γεγονότα δηλαδή της ζωής του Κυρίου, ή Θεοτόκος τα εκμυστηρεύθηκε στον Άγιο Απόστολο Λουκά ό όποιος και τα συμπεριέλαβε στο Ευαγγέλιο του.
Δεν χωρεί καμιά αμφιβολία ότι παράλληλα με τα άγια «ρήματα» του Κύριου, ή Υπεραγία Θεοτόκος «διετήρει» και ότι άλλο σχετικό με την επίγεια ζωή του Κυρίου, και φυσικά, και τα Τίμια Δώρα. Σύμφωνα με την ίστορικοθρησκευτική μας παράδοση, προ της Κοιμήσεως της ή Παναγία Μητέρα του Κυρίου τα παρέδωσε μαζί με τα Άγια Σπάργανα του Χριστού, την Τίμια Έσθήτα και την Αγία Ζώνη της στην Εκκλησία των Ιεροσολύμων οπού και παρέμειναν μέχρι το έτος 400 μ.Χ. περίπου.
Κατά το έτος τούτο ό αυτοκράτωρ Άρκάδιος τα μετέφερε στην Κωνσταντινούπολη προς αγιασμό του λάου και προστασία και προβολή της Βασιλευούσης. Εκεί παρέμειναν μέχρι και της αλώσεως της πόλεως από τους Φράγκους το έτος 1204 μ.Χ. Στη συνέχεια μεταφέρθηκαν για λόγους ασφαλείας μαζί με αλλά ιερά κειμήλια στη Νίκαια της Βιθυνίας, προσωρινή πρωτεύουσα του Βυζαντίου, όπου καί παρέμειναν για εξήντα περίπου χρόνια.
Με την υποχώρηση των Σταυροφόρων επί αυτοκράτορος Μιχαήλ Παλαιολόγου επεστράφησαν στην Κωνσταντινούπολη μέχρι της υποδουλώσεώς της στους Τούρκους το 1453 μ.Χ. Μετά την Άλωση ή ευλαβέστατη Μάρω, χριστιανή σύζυγος του σουλτάνου Μουράτ Β” (1421-1451) καί μητρυιά του Μωάμεθ Β” του Πορθητού, τα μετέφερε αυτοπροσώπως στην Ιερά Μονή Αγίου Παύλου στο Αγιον Όρος.
Ή Μονή αυτή της ήταν γνωστή καθόσον ό πατέρας της Γεώργιος Βράγκοβιτς, δεσπότης της Σερβίας, έκτισε το καθολικό της εις τιμήν του Αγίου Μεγαλομάρτυρας Γεωργίου του Τροπαιοφόρου. Κατά την αγιορείτικη παράδοση, καθώς η Μάρω ανήρχετο από τον αρσανά (λιμάνι) στην Μονή, ή Κυρία Θεοτόκος την εμπόδισε με υπερφυσικό τρόπο να πλησίαση στη Μονή και έτσι να παραβίαση το άβατον του Αγίου Όρους. Αυτή υπήκουσε και παρέδωσε ταπεινά τα Τίμια Δώρα στους ευλαβείς μοναχούς και πατέρες, οι όποιοι και έστησαν στο σημείο εκείνο της θεομητορικής παρουσίας ένα Σταυρό πού σώζεται μέχρι σήμερα και λέγεται «Σταυρός της Βασιλίσσης». Το σουλτανικό έγγραφο με τις σχετικές πληροφορίες παραδόσεως των Τιμίων Δώρων φυλάσσεται στο αρχείο της Μονής του Αγίου Παύλου.
Ή αυθεντικότητα των Τιμίων Δώρων στηρίζεται κατά ένα μέρος στην προφορική παράδοση καί κατά το υπόλοιπο στην ιστορία. Εκείνο όμως πού ακράδαντα βεβαιώνει την αυθεντικότητα των Τιμίων Δώρων είναι ή άρρητη εύωδία πού ώρισμένα άπ” αυτά αδιαλείπτως καί ώρισμένα κατά καιρούς αναδίδουν καί ή πλούσια ιαματική καί θαυματουργική χάρις πού μέχρι τις μέρες μας αναβλύζουν.
 1. κοινώς λιβάνι η λιβανωτός: αρωματική ελαιώδης ρητίνη του δένδρου βοσουελλίας της καρτερεί-ου, πού φύεται στις αμμώδεις εκτάσεις της Αραβίας, της Σομαλίας, των Ινδιών και του Λιβάνου. Χρησιμοποιήθηκε σαν θυμίαμα για κοσμική και λατρευτική χρήση από τα πανάρχαια χρόνια (Αιγύπτιοι, Βαβυλώνιοι, Εβραίοι).
2. κοινώς μύρον ή μύρρα: αρωματική υδατοδιαλυτή ρητίνη του φυτού μύρρας της κομμιοφόρου και άλλων συγγενών πού φύονται στην Αραβία και την Αιθιοπία 
ΠΗΓΗ: pentapostagma

Ὅσιος Συμεὼν ὁ Νέος Θεολόγος - Ὁ Λόγος σὰρξ ἐγένετο

Ἔκδοσις τῆς Ἱερᾶς Μονῆς Ὁσίου Συμεὼν τοῦ Νέου Θεολόγου, Κάλαμος Ἀττικῆς

Ἁγίου Συμεὼν τοῦ Νέου Θεολόγου: Βίβλος τῶν Ἠθικῶν, Λόγος Α´.
Κεφάλαιο γ´. Περὶ τῆς τοῦ Λόγου Σαρκώσεως καὶ κατὰ τίνα τρόπον δι᾿ ὑμᾶς ἐσαρκώθη.
Γιὰ νὰ προσεγγίσουμε τὴν σάρκωση τοῦ Λόγου καὶ τὴν ἀπόῤῥητη γέννησή του ἀπὸ τὴν ἀειπάρθενο Μαρία καὶ νὰ κατανοήσουμε καλὰ τὸ μυστήριο τῆς οἰκονομίας γιὰ τὴν σωτηρία τοῦ γένους μας τὸ κρυμμένο πρὸ τῶν αἰώνων (Ἐφεσίους 3:9), θὰ μᾶς βοηθήσει ἡ ἑξῆς γνωστὴ εἰκόνα:
Κατὰ τὴν δημιουργία τῆς προμήτορος Εὔας ὁ Θεὸς πῆρε τὴν ἔμψυχη πλευρὰ τοῦ Ἀδὰμ καὶ τὴν ὁλοκλήρωσε σὲ γυναῖκα, γι᾿ αὐτὸ δὲν ἐμφύσησε σ᾿ αὐτὴν πνοὴ ζωῆς καθὼς καὶ στὸν Ἀδάμ, ἀλλὰ τὸ μέρος ποὺ ἔλαβε ἀπὸ τὴν σάρκα του τὸ τελειοποίησε σὲ ὁλόκληρο σῶμα γυναικός, τὴν δὲ ἀπαρχὴ τοῦ πνεύματος ποὺ ἔλαβε μαζὶ μὲ τὴν ἔμψυχη σάρκα τὴν τελειοποίησε σὲ ψυχὴ ζωντανὴ δημιουργώντας μὲ τὰ δυὸ μαζὶ ἕναν ἄλλον ἄνθρωπο. Κατὰ τὸν ἴδιο ἀκριβῶς τρόπο ὁ πλαστουργὸς καὶ κτίστης Θεὸς πῆρε ἀπὸ τὴν Ἁγία Μαρία ἔμψυχη σάρκα σὰν ζύμη καὶ μικρὴ ἀπαρχὴ ἀπὸ τὸ φύραμα τῆς φύσεώς μας - δηλαδὴ ἀπὸ τὴν ψυχὴ καὶ τὸ σῶμα μαζὶ - καὶ τὴν ἕνωσε μὲ τὴν δική του ἀκατάληπτη καὶ ἀπρόσιτη Θεότητα. Ἢ μᾶλλον ἕνωσε πραγματικὰ ὅλη τὴν ὑπόσταση τῆς Θεότητός του μὲ τὴν δική μας φύση, τὴν ἔσμιξε ἄμικτα μ᾿ αὐτὴ καὶ τὴν ἔκανε ἅγιο ναό του. Ἔτσι ὁ ποιητὴς τοῦ Ἀδὰμ ἔγινε ἀτρέπτως καὶ ἀναλλοιώτως τέλειος ἄνθρωπος.
Ὅπως ἀκριβῶς λοιπὸν ἀπὸ τὴν πλευρὰ τοῦ Ἀδὰμ ἔπλασε τὴν γυναῖκα, ἔτσι, ἀφοῦ δανείστηκε τὴν σάρκα ἀπὸ τὴν θυγατέρα τοῦ Ἀδὰμ τὴν ἀειπάρθενο καὶ Θεοτόκο Μαρία καὶ τὴν ἔλαβε χωρὶς σπορά, γεννήθηκε κατὰ τὸν ἴδιο τρόπο μὲ τὸν πρωτόπλαστο. Ὥστε ὅπως ἀκριβῶς ὁ Ἀδὰμ μὲ τὴν παράβαση ἔγινε ἡ ἀρχὴ τῆς γεννήσεώς μας στὴν φθορὰ καὶ στὸν θάνατο, ἔτσι καὶ ὁ Χριστὸς καὶ Θεός μας μὲ τὴν ἐκπλήρωση κάθε δικαιοσύνης ἔγινε ἡ ἀπαρχὴ τῆς ἀναγεννήσεώς μας στὴν ἀφθαρσία καὶ τὴν ἀθανασία. Αὐτὸ ἐννοεῖ ὁ θεῖος Παῦλος ὅταν λέει: «Ὁ πρῶτος ἄνθρωπος πλάστηκε ἀπὸ τὴ γῆ χοϊκός. Ὁ δεύτερος ἄνθρωπος, δηλαδὴ ὁ Κύριος, εἶναι ἐπουράνιος. Ὅ,τι λογῆς ἦταν ὁ χοϊκὸς τέτοιοι εἶναι καὶ ὅλοι οἱ χοϊκοὶ καὶ ὅ,τι λογῆς εἶναι ὁ ἐπουράνιος τέτοιοι εἶναι καὶ ὅλοι ὅσοι γίνονται ἐπουράνιοι δι᾿ αὐτοῦ.»
(Α´ Κορ. ιε´ 47-48). Καὶ πάλι: «Ἡ ἀπαρχὴ εἶναι ὁ Χριστός, ἔπειτα ὅσοι εἶναι τοῦ Χριστοῦ.» (Α´ Κορ. ιε´ 23).
Ἐπειδὴ λοιπὸν ὁ Χριστὸς ἔγινε τέλειος ἄνθρωπος κατὰ τὴν ψυχὴ καὶ τὸ σῶμα, ὅμοιος μέ μᾶς σὲ ὅλα ἐκτὸς ἀπὸ τὴν ἁμαρτία, μᾶς μεταδίδει τὴν Θεότητά του λόγω τῆς πίστης μας σ᾿ αὐτὸν καὶ μᾶς καθιστὰ συγγενεῖς του κατὰ τὴν φύση καὶ τὴν οὐσία τῆς Θεότητάς του. Πρόσεξε τὸ νέο καὶ παράδοξο μυστήριο: Ὁ Θεὸς Λόγος ἔλαβε ἀπὸ μᾶς σάρκα, ποὺ δὲν εἶχε ἐκ φύσεως καὶ ἔγινε ἄνθρωπος, ποὺ δὲν ἦταν. Ἀπὸ τότε μεταδίδει στοὺς πιστοὺς τὴν Θεότητά του - τὴν ὁποία κανεὶς ἀπὸ τοὺς ἀγγέλους ἢ τοὺς ἀνθρώπους δὲν εἶχε ἀποκτήσει - καὶ μ᾿ αὐτὸν τὸν τρόπο γίνονται θεοὶ κατὰ χάρη καὶ θέση, ποὺ δὲν ἦταν. Ἔτσι χαρίζει σ᾿ αὐτοὺς τὴν ἐξουσία νὰ γίνονται τέκνα Θεοῦ (κατὰ Ἰωάννην 1:12) γι᾿ αὐτὸ καὶ ἔγιναν καὶ πάντοτε θὰ γίνονται καὶ ποτὲ δὲν θὰ πάψουν νὰ γίνονται. Ἄκουσε καὶ τὸν θεῖο Παῦλο ποὺ παρακινεῖ σ᾿ αὐτό: «Ὅπως φορέσαμε τὴν εἰκόνα τοῦ γήινου, ἂς φορέσουμε καὶ τὴν εἰκόνα τοῦ ἐπουράνιου.» (Α´ Κορινθίους 15:49).
Ὁ Θεὸς λοιπὸν τοῦ παντὸς μὲ τὴν σωματική του παρουσία στὴν γῆ ἦλθε γιὰ νὰ ἀναπλάσει καὶ νὰ ἀνακαινίσει τὸν ἄνθρωπο καὶ νὰ εὐλογήσει ὅλη τὴν κτίση ποὺ ἐπέσυρε ἐπάνω της τὴν κατάρα ἐξαιτίας τοῦ ἀνθρώπου. Καὶ πρῶτα ζωοποίησε τὴν ψυχὴ ποὺ ἔλαβε καὶ ἀφθαρτώντας την τὴν θέωσε, ἐνῶ τὸ ἄχραντο σῶμα του, ἂν καὶ τὸ θέωσε, ὅμως τὸ κρατοῦσε ἀκόμη φθαρτὸ καὶ ὑλικό. Γιατὶ τὸ σῶμα ποὺ τρώει καὶ πίνει, κοπιάζει καὶ ἱδρώνει, δένεται καὶ σέρνεται, ὑψώνεται στὸν σταυρὸ καὶ καρφώνεται, εἶναι βέβαια φθαρτὸ καὶ ὑλικό, ἀφοῦ μάλιστα πέθανε καὶ τοποθετήθηκε νεκρὸ στὸ μνημεῖο. Μετὰ δὲ τὴν ἀνάστασή του συνανέστησε καὶ τὸ σῶμα τοῦ ἄφθαρτο, πνευματικό, ὅλο θεῖο καὶ ἄυλο, γι᾿ αὐτὸ καὶ δὲν συνέτριψε τὶς σφραγῖδες τοῦ μνήματος, εἰσερχόταν δὲ καὶ ἐξερχόταν ἐλεύθερα μέσα ἀπὸ τὶς κλειστὲς πόρτες.
Ἀλλὰ γιατὶ μαζὶ μὲ τὴν ψυχὴ δὲν ἔκανε ἀμέσως καὶ τὸ σῶμα πνευματικὸ καὶ ἄφθαρτο; ἐπειδὴ καὶ ὁ Ἀδὰμ τρώγοντας τὸν ἀπαγορευμένο καρπὸ εὐθὺς μὲν μὲ τὴν παράβαση πέθανε κατὰ τὴν ψυχή, ἐνῷ κατὰ τὸ σῶμα ὕστερα ἀπὸ πολλὰ χρόνια. Γι᾿ αὐτὸ καὶ ὁ Χριστὸς πρῶτα ἀνέστησε καὶ ζωοποίησε τὴν ψυχὴ ποὺ τιμωρήθηκε μὲ τὸ ἐπιτίμιο τοῦ θανάτου, ἔπειτα δὲ οἰκονόμησε νὰ ἀπολαύσει καὶ τὸ σῶμα τὴν ἀφθαρσία διὰ τῆς ἀναστάσεως, αὐτὸ ποὺ διὰ τοῦ θανάτου ἐπέστρεφε στὴν γῆ κατὰ τὴν ἀρχαία ἀπόφαση. Κι ὄχι μόνον αὐτό, ἀλλὰ κατέβηκε στὸν ᾅδη ἐλευθερώνοντας ἀπὸ τὰ δεσμὰ τὶς ψυχὲς τῶν ἐκεῖ φυλακισμένων ἁγίων καὶ τὶς κατέταξε σὲ τόπο ἀναπαύσεως καὶ ἀνεσπέρου φωτός. Τὰ σώματά τους ὅμως δὲν τὰ ἀνέστησε, ἀλλὰ τὰ ἄφησε στοὺς τάφους μέχρι τὴν κοινὴ ἀνάσταση.
Τὸ μυστήριο λοιπὸν αὐτὸ ποὺ συντελέστηκε γιὰ ὅλο τὸν κόσμο μὲ τὴν ἔνσαρκη οἰκονομία τοῦ Χριστοῦ, τοῦτο τὸ ἴδιο γινόταν καὶ σὲ κάθε ἅγιο καὶ γίνεται ἀδιαλείπτως μέχρι σήμερα σὲ κάθε πιστό. Γιατὶ λαμβάνοντας τὸ πνεῦμα τοῦ Δεσπότη καὶ Θεοῦ μας συμμετέχουμε στὴν θεότητά του, τρώγοντας δὲ τὴν πανάμωμο σάρκα του γινόμαστε ἀληθινὰ καὶ ἐξ ὁλοκλήρου σύσσωμοι τοῦ Χριστοῦ καὶ συγγενεῖς του, καθὼς καὶ αὐτὸς ὁ θεῖος Παῦλος βεβαιώνει: «Εἴμαστε ὀστοῦν ἀπὸ τὰ ὀστά του καὶ σάρκα ἀπὸ τὴν σάρκα του» (Ἐφεσίους 5:30) καὶ ἀλλοῦ: «ἀπὸ τὸν πλοῦτο τῆς θεότητός του ὅλοι ἐμεῖς λάβαμε ἀλλεπάλληλες δωρεές» (κατὰ Ἰωάννην 1:16 καὶ Κολασσαεῖς 2:9). Ἔτσι γινόμαστε κατὰ χάριν ὅμοιοι μὲ τὸν φιλάνθρωπο Θεὸ καὶ Δεσπότη μας ἀνακαινισμένοι στὴν ψυχή, ἄφθαρτοι καὶ ἀναστημένοι ἀπὸ νεκροὶ ποὺ ἤμαστε. Τότε βλέπουμε αὐτὸν ποὺ καταδέχτηκε νὰ γίνει ὅμοιός μας καὶ βλεπόμαστε ἀπ᾿ αὐτόν, ποὺ μᾶς ἀξίωσε νὰ γίνουμε ὅμοιοί του, ὅπως κάποιος βλέπει ἀπὸ μακριὰ τὸ πρόσωπο τοῦ φίλου του καὶ διαλέγεται μ᾿ αὐτὸν καὶ συνομιλεῖ καὶ ἀκούει τὴν φωνή του.
Κατὰ τὸν ἴδιο τρόπο καὶ οἱ ἀπ᾿ αἰῶνος ἅγιοι καὶ οἱ παλαιοὶ καὶ οἱ τωρινοὶ πνευματικὰ βλέποντες δὲν βλέπουν σχῆμα ἢ εἶδος ἢ ὁμοίωμα, ἀλλὰ φῶς ἀσχημάτιστο, ἐπειδὴ καὶ αὐτοὶ εἶναι φῶς ἐκ τοῦ φωτός, δηλαδὴ τοῦ Ἁγίου Πνεύματος. Ὅμως ἂν καὶ φτάνουν σ᾿ αὐτὴ τὴν κατάσταση, τὰ σώματά τους δὲν γίνονται ἀμέσως ἄφθαρτα καὶ πνευματικά, ἀλλὰ ὅπως ἀκριβῶς τὸ σίδερο ποὺ πυρακτώνεται στὴν φωτιὰ παίρνει τὴν λαμπρότητά της, ὅταν ὅμως ἀπομακρυνθεῖ ἀπ᾿ αὐτὴν γίνεται πάλι ψυχρὸ καὶ μαῦρο, ἔτσι ἀκριβῶς καὶ τὰ σώματα τῶν ἁγίων: Μετέχοντας καὶ αὐτὰ στὸ θεῖο πῦρ, δηλαδὴ στὴν χάρη τοῦ Θεοῦ, ἁγιάζονται, φλεγόμενα καθαρίζονται, γίνονται διαυγῆ καὶ πολυτιμότερα ἀπὸ τὰ ἄλλα σώματα. Ἀλλὰ ὅταν ἡ ψυχὴ βγεῖ ἀπὸ τὸ σῶμα, ἀμέσως καὶ αὐτὰ παραδίδονται στὴν φθορὰ καὶ διαλύονται σιγὰ-σιγά. Ἄλλα ὅμως διατηροῦνται γιὰ πολλὰ χρόνια χωρὶς νὰ εἶναι οὔτε ἐντελῶς ἄφθαρτα οὔτε πάλι τελείως φθαρτά, ἀλλὰ διασῴζουν μέσα τοὺς τὰ γνωρίσματα καὶ τῆς ἀφθαρσίας καὶ τῆς φθορᾶς, ὥσπου νὰ φτάσουν στὴν τέλεια ἀφθαρσία καὶ νὰ ἀνακαινιστοῦν τὴν τελευταία καὶ κοινὴ ἀνάσταση τῶν νεκρῶν. Γιὰ ποιὸ λόγο; Διότι δὲν ἔπρεπε νὰ ἀναστηθοῦν καὶ νὰ ἀφθαρτωθοῦν τὰ ἀνθρώπινα σώματα, πρὶν ἀπὸ τὴν ἀνακαίνιση τῶν κτισμάτων, ἀλλὰ ὅπως ἀκριβῶς πρῶτα πλάστηκε ἡ φύση ἄφθαρτη καὶ ἔπειτα ὁ ἄνθρωπος, ἔτσι πάλι πρῶτα ἡ κτίση πρέπει νὰ μεταποιηθεῖ ἀπὸ τὴν φθορὰ στὴν ἀφθαρσία καὶ μετὰ μαζὶ μ᾿ αὐτὴν ν᾿ ἀλλάξουν καὶ νὰ ἀνακαινιστοῦν τὰ φθαρτὰ σώματα τῶν ἀνθρώπων, ὥστε ὁ ἄνθρωπος πνευματικὸς πιὰ καὶ ἀθάνατος νὰ κατοικήσει σὲ τόπο ἄφθαρτο, αἰώνιο καὶ πνευματικό. Καὶ ὅτι αὐτὸ εἶναι ἀλήθεια, ἄκουσε τὸν Ἀπόστολο Πέτρο ποὺ τὸ βεβαιώνει: «Θὰ ἔρθει ἡ ἡμέρα τοῦ Κυρίου σὰν κλέπτης τὴν νύχτα καὶ τότε οἱ οὐρανοὶ θὰ διαλυθοῦν ἀπὸ τὴν φωτιὰ καὶ τὰ στοιχεῖα τῆς φύσεως θὰ καοῦν καὶ θὰ λυώσουν» (Β´ Πέτρου 3:10,12), ὄχι γιὰ νὰ ἐξαφανιστοῦν, ἀλλὰ γιὰ νὰ ἀναχωνευθοῦν καὶ νὰ ἀναστοιχειωθοῦν σὲ καλύτερη καὶ αἰώνια κατάσταση. Ἀπὸ ποῦ γίνεται φανερὸ αὐτό; Ἀπὸ τὰ λόγια ποὺ προσθέτει στὴν συνέχεια ὁ Ἀπόστολος: «Καινούριους οὐρανοὺς καὶ καινούρια γῆ προσδοκοῦμε κατὰ τὴν ἐπαγγελία σου» (Β´ Πέτρου 3:13). Τίνος τὴν ἐπαγγελία; Ἀσφαλῶς τοῦ Χριστοῦ ποὺ εἶπε: «Ὁ οὐρανὸς καὶ ἡ γῆ θὰ παρέλθουν, οἱ λόγοι μου ὅμως δὲν θὰ παρέλθουν» (κατὰ Ματθαῖον 24:35). Παρέλευση τοῦ οὐρανοῦ ἐννοεῖ τὴν ἀλλαγή του, γι᾿ αὐτὸ λέει ὅτι ἂν καὶ ὁ οὐρανὸς θὰ ἀλλάξει, ὅμως οἱ δικοί του λόγοι θὰ μένουν ἀναλλοίωτοι καὶ σταθεροί. Αὐτὸ προανήγγειλε καὶ ὁ προφήτης Δαυίδ: «Σὰν μανδύα θὰ τοὺς τυλίξεις καὶ θὰ ἀλλάξουν, ἐσὺ ὅμως θὰ παραμείνεις ὁ ἴδιος καὶ τὰ ἔτη τῆς ζωῆς σου δὲν θὰ ἐκλείψουν» (Ψαλμοί, 101:27-28). Τί θὰ μποροῦσε νὰ γίνει σαφέστερο ἀπὸ αὐτὰ τὰ λόγια;
Κεφάλαιο ι´. Ὅτι καὶ πάντες οἱ Ἅγιοι τὸν Λόγον τοῦ Θεοῦ ἐν ἐαυτοῖς συλλαμβάνουσι τῇ Θεοτόκῳ παραπλησίως καὶ γεννῶσιν αὐτὸν καὶ γεννᾶται ἐν αὐτοῖς καὶ γεννῶνται ὑπ᾿ αὐτοῦ καὶ πῶς υἱοὶ καὶ ἀδελφοὶ καὶ μητέρες αὐτοῦ χρηματίζουσιν.
Ὁ Υἱὸς τοῦ Θεοῦ καὶ Θεός, ἀφοῦ εἰσῆλθε στὰ σπλάγχνα τῆς Παναγίας Παρθένου καὶ ἔλαβε σάρκα ἀπ᾿ αὐτήν, γεννήθηκε, ὅπως εἴπαμε, τέλειος ἄνθρωπος καὶ τέλειος Θεὸς ἀσυγχύτως. Τί σημαντικότερο ἔγινε ποτὲ γιὰ μᾶς; Ὅλοι μας πιστεύουμε σ᾿ αὐτὸν τὸν Υἱὸ τοῦ Θεοῦ καὶ Υἱὸ τῆς ἀειπαρθένου καὶ Θεοτόκου Μαρίας καὶ γι᾿ αὐτὸ δεχόμαστε τὸν περὶ αὐτοῦ λόγο μὲ ἐμπιστοσύνη. Ἂν τὸν ὁμολογοῦμε λοιπὸν καὶ μετανοοῦμε ἀπὸ τὰ βάθη τῆς ψυχῆς μας γιὰ τὶς προηγούμενες ἁμαρτίες μας, τότε ὁ λόγος τῆς εὐσεβείας, τὸν ὁποῖο δεχόμαστε, γεννιέται μέσα μας σὰν σπόρος, ὅπως ἀκριβῶς ὁ Λόγος τοῦ Πατρὸς εἰσῆλθε στὴν γαστέρα τῆς Παρθένου. Θαύμασε τὸ μέγα τοῦτο καὶ ἐκπληκτικὸ μυστήριο καὶ δέξου τὸ μὲ κάθε πληροφορία καὶ πίστη.
Συλλαμβάνουμε λοιπὸν αὐτὸν τὸν Λόγο ὄχι σωματικά, ὅπως τὸν συνέλαβε ἡ Παρθένος καὶ Θεοτόκος, ἀλλὰ πνευματικὰ μὲν πραγματικὰ ὅμως. Καὶ ἔχουμε μέσα στὶς καρδιές μας αὐτὸν ποὺ τὸν ἴδιο ποὺ συνέλαβε καὶ ἡ Ἁγνὴ Παρθένος, ὅπως λέει ὁ θεῖος Παῦλος: «Ὁ Θεὸς ποὺ εἶπε νὰ λάμψει φῶς μέσα στὶς καρδιές μας πρὸς φωτισμὸν τῆς γνώσεως τοῦ Υἱοῦ του» (Β´ Κορινθίους 4:6), σὰν νὰ λέει: Αὐτὸς ὅλος γεννήθηκε ἀληθινὰ μέσα μας. Καὶ ὅτι εἶναι ἔτσι τὸ φανερώνει μὲ ὅσα παραθέτει στὴν συνέχεια: «Ἔχουμε δὲ τὸν θησαυρὸν αὐτὸν μέσα σὲ πήλινα σκεύη» (Β´ Κορινθίους 4:6), ὀνομάζοντας θησαυρὸ τὸ Ἅγιο Πνεῦμα. Καὶ σὲ ἄλλο σημεῖο ὀνομάζει τὸ Πνεῦμα Κύριο: «Γιατὶ τὸ Πνεῦμα» λέει «εἶναι ὁ Κύριος» (Β´ Κορινθίους 4:6), ὥστε ὅπου ἀκοῦς Υἱὸν Θεοῦ νὰ ἐννοεῖς μαζὶ καὶ τὸ Πνεῦμα καὶ ἂν πάλι ἀκούσεις γιὰ τὸ Ἅγιο Πνεῦμα νὰ ἐννοεῖς μαζὶ μὲ αὐτὸ καὶ τὸν Πατέρα, ἐπειδὴ καὶ γι᾿ αὐτὸν λέει: «Πνεῦμα ὁ Θεός» (κατὰ Ἰωάννη 4:24), διδάσκοντάς σε παντοῦ τὸ ἀχώριστο καὶ ὁμοούσιο τῆς Ἁγίας Τριάδος, ὅτι δηλαδὴ ὅπου εἶναι ὁ Υἱὸς ἐκεῖ εἶναι καὶ ὁ Πατήρ, καὶ ὅπου ὁ Πατὴρ ἐκεῖ καὶ τὸ Πνεῦμα, καὶ ὅπου τὸ Ἅγιο Πνεῦμα ἐκεῖ ὅλη ἡ τρισυπόστατη Θεότητα, ὁ ἕνας Θεὸς καὶ Πατὴρ μαζὶ μὲ τὸν Υἱὸ καὶ τὸ Πνεῦμα τοὺς ὁμοουσίους, «αὐτὸς ποὺ εἶναι εὐλογητὸς στοὺς αἰῶνες, ἀμήν» (Ρωμαίους 1:25).
Ἔτσι ὅταν πιστεύσουμε ὁλόψυχα καὶ μετανοήσουμε θερμὰ θὰ συλλάβουμε ὅπως εἰπώθηκε τὸν Λόγο τοῦ Θεοῦ στὶς καρδιές μας, καθὼς τὸν συνέλαβεν ἡ Παρθένος, προσφέροντάς του κι ἐμεῖς τὶς ψυχές μας παρθενικὲς καὶ ἁγνές. Καὶ ὅπως ἐκείνη δὲν τὴν κατέφλεξε τὸ πῦρ τῆς θεότητας, ἐπειδὴ ἦταν ἁγνὴ καὶ ὑπεράμωμη, ἔτσι οὔτε καὶ ἐμᾶς μας κατακαίει, ὅταν τοῦ προσφέρουμε τὶς καρδιές μας ἁγνὲς καὶ καθαρές, ἀλλὰ γίνεται ἐντός μας δροσιὰ ἀπὸ τὸν οὐρανὸ καὶ πηγὴ ὕδατος καὶ ρεῖθρον ἀθάνατης ζωῆς. Ὅτι δεχόμαστε καὶ ἐμεῖς παρόμοια τὸ ἄστεκτον πῦρ τῆς θεότητας, ἄκουσε τὸν Κύριο ποὺ τὸ λέει: «Πῦρ ἦλθα νὰ βάλω στὴν γῆ» (κατὰ Λουκᾶν 12:49). Τί ἄλλο ἐννοεῖ, παρὰ τὸ ὁμοούσιο πρὸς τὴν θεότητά του Πνεῦμα, μὲ τὸ ὁποῖο συνεισέρχεται καὶ συνθεωρεῖται μέσα μας καὶ ὁ ἴδιος ὁ Υἱὸς μαζὶ μὲ τὸν Πατέρα;
Ἐπειδὴ ὁ Λόγος τοῦ Θεοῦ μία φορὰ σαρκώθηκε ἀπὸ τὴν Παρθένο καὶ γεννήθηκε ἀπὸ αὐτὴν σωματικά, ἀνέκφραστα καὶ ὑπὲρ λόγον καὶ δὲν εἶναι δυνατὸν νὰ σαρκωθεῖ πάλι ἢ νὰ γεννηθεῖ σωματικὰ ἀπὸ τὸν καθένα ἀπὸ μᾶς, τί προνοεῖ; Μᾶς μεταδίδει γιὰ τροφὴ ἐκείνη τὴν ἄχραντη σάρκα ποὺ προσέλαβε ἀπὸ τὴν πανάχραντη Θεοτόκο, κατὰ τὴν σωματική του γέννηση. Ἂν τὴν μεταλαμβάνουμε ἄξια, ἔχουμε μέσα μας ὅλον τὸν σαρκωθέντα Θεὸ καὶ Κύριό μας Ἰησοῦ Χριστό, αὐτὸν τὸν Υἱὸ τοῦ Θεοῦ καὶ Υἱὸ τῆς Παρθένου τὸν καθήμενο στὰ δεξιὰ τοῦ Θεοῦ, ὁ ὁποῖος λέει: «ἐκεῖνος ποὺ τρώγει τὴν σάρκα μου καὶ πίνει τὸ αἷμα μου μένει μέσα μου καὶ ἐγὼ μέσα του» (κατὰ Ἰωάννη 6:56), χωρὶς ὅμως νὰ προέρχεται ἢ νὰ γεννιέται σωματικὰ ἀπὸ ἐμᾶς, ἀλλὰ οὔτε καὶ νὰ μᾶς ἀποχωρίζεται ποτέ. Διότι ἐμεῖς δὲν τὸν αἰσθανόμαστε σὰν σάρκα, ἂν καὶ βρίσκεται μέσα μας ὅπως ἀκριβῶς ἕνα βρέφος, ἀλλὰ ὑπάρχει ἀσωμάτως σὲ σῶμα, ἀναμιγνυόμενος ἀνέκφραστα μὲ τὴν φύση μας καὶ τὴν οὐσία μας καὶ θεοποιώντας μας, ἐπειδὴ γίναμε σύσσωμοι καὶ μ᾿ αὐτὸν δηλαδὴ σάρκα ἀπὸ τὴν σάρκα του καὶ ὀστοῦν ἀπὸ τὰ ὀστά του. Αὐτὸ εἶναι τὸ μεγαλύτερο καὶ φρικτότερο μυστήριο τῆς ἀνέκφραστης οἰκονομίας καὶ συγκαταβάσεώς του, ποὺ δίσταζα νὰ τὸ γράψω καὶ ἔτρεμα νὰ τὸ ἐπιχειρήσω.
Ὁ Θεὸς ὅμως πάντοτε θέλει νὰ ἀποκαλύπτεται καὶ νὰ φανερώνεται ἡ ἀγάπη τοῦ σ᾿ ἐμᾶς, ὥστε καὶ ἐμεῖς κάποτε κατανοώντας τὴν μεγάλη του ἀγαθότητα καὶ αἰσθανόμενοι ντροπὴ νὰ προθυμοποιηθοῦμε νὰ τὸν ἀγαπήσουμε. Γι᾿ αὐτὸ καὶ ἐγὼ παρακινήθηκα ἀπὸ τὸ Ἅγιο Πνεῦμα ποὺ φωτίζει τὶς καρδιές μας καὶ σᾶς φανέρωσα αὐτὰ τὰ μυστήρια γραπτῶς, ὄχι γιὰ νὰ σᾶς ἀποδείξω ὅτι ὁ ἄνθρωπος εἶναι ὅμοιος μ᾿ αὐτὴν ποὺ γέννησε τὸν Κύριο – μὴ γένοιτο – αὐτὸ εἶναι ἀδύνατο. Διότι ἄλλη εἶναι ἡ ἔνσαρκη καὶ ἄφραστη γέννηση τοῦ Θεοῦ Λόγου ἀπὸ τὴν Παρθένο καὶ ἄλλη ποὺ συντελεῖται σέ μας πνευματικῶς. Ἐκείνη γεννώντας ἔνσαρκο τὸν Υἱὸ καὶ Λόγο τοῦ Θεοῦ ἀπεργάστηκε στὴν γῆ τὸ μυστήριό της ἀναπλάσεως τοῦ ἀνθρωπίνου γένους μας καὶ τὴν σωτηρία ὅλου τοῦ κόσμου, ποὺ εἶναι ὁ Κύριός μας Ἰησοῦς Χριστὸς καὶ Θεός, αὐτὸς ποὺ ἕνωσε στὸν ἑαυτό του τὰ διεστῶτα καὶ ἐξάλειψε τὴν ἁμαρτία τοῦ κόσμου. Ἐνῷ αὐτὴ (ποὺ συντελεῖται σὲ μᾶς) γεννώντας ἐν Ἁγίῳ Πνεύματι τὸν Λόγο τῆς γνώσεως τοῦ Θεοῦ, ἀπεργάζεται ἀκατάπαυστα στὶς καρδιές μας τὸ μυστήριο τῆς ἀνακαινίσεως τῶν ἀνθρώπινων ψυχῶν καὶ τὴν κοινωνία καὶ ἕνωση μὲ τὸν Θεὸ Λόγο, αὐτὴν ὑπαινίσσεται καὶ τὸ θεῖο λόγιο: «Δι᾿ αὐτοῦ συλλάβαμε καὶ ἐγεννήσαμε μὲ πόνο τὸ πνεῦμα τῆς σωτηρίας, τὸ ὁποῖο κυοφορήσαμε πάνω στὴν γῆ» (Ἡσαΐας 26:18).
Λοιπὸν δὲν σᾶς φανέρωσα αὐτὰ τὰ μυστήρια γιὰ νὰ ἀποδείξω ὅτι ὁ ἄνθρωπος μπορεῖ νὰ γεννήσει τὸν Χριστὸ κατὰ τὸν ἴδιο τρόπο ποὺ τὸν γέννησε ἡ Παναγία, ἀλλὰ γιὰ νὰ φανερωθεῖ ἡ ὑπεράπειρη καὶ γνήσια ἀγάπη του σ᾿ ἐμᾶς καὶ ὅτι ἂν τὸ θέλουμε ὅλοι μποροῦμε νὰ γίνουμε μητέρα καὶ ἀδελφοί του κατὰ τὸν προαναφερόμενο τρόπο, καθὼς καὶ ὁ ἴδιος τὸ διακηρύττει: «Μητέρα μου καὶ ἀδελφοί μου εἶναι αὐτοὶ ποὺ ἀκοῦνε τὸν λόγο τοῦ Θεοῦ καὶ τὸν ἐκτελοῦν» (κατὰ Λουκᾶν 8:21). Ἔτσι θὰ γίνουμε ἴσοι μὲ τοὺς μαθητὲς καὶ ἀποστόλους του, ὄχι κατὰ τὴν ἀξία, οὔτε κατὰ τὶς περιοδίες καὶ τοὺς κόπους ποὺ ὑπέφεραν, ἀλλὰ κατὰ τὴν χάρη τοῦ Θεοῦ καὶ τὴν δωρεὰ τὴν ὁποία ἐξέχεε σ᾿ ὅλους ποὺ τὸν πίστευαν καὶ τὸν ἀκολουθοῦσαν, χωρὶς νὰ στραφοῦν ποτὲ πίσω.
Εἶδες πὼς ὅλους ἐκείνους ποὺ ἀκοῦνε καὶ πράττουν τὸν λόγο τοῦ τοὺς ἀνύψωσε στὴν ἀξία τῆς Μητέρας του καὶ τοὺς ἀποκαλεῖ ἀδελφοὺς καὶ συγγενεῖς του; Ὅμως μόνο ἐκείνη ὑπῆρξε ἡ κυρίως Μητέρα του, ἐπειδὴ ὅπως ἀνέφερα τὸν γέννησε ἀνερμηνεύτως καὶ χωρὶς ἄνδρα, ἐνῷ ὅλοι οἱ ἅγιοι τὸν συλλαμβάνουν καὶ τὸν κατέχουν κατὰ χάριν καὶ δωρεάν. Καὶ ἀπὸ μὲν τὴν ἄμωμη Μητέρα του δανείστηκε τὴν παναμώμητη σάρκα του καὶ σὲ ἀντάλλαγμα τῆς δώρισε τὴν θεότητα – ὢ τί παράξενη καὶ ἀσυνήθιστη συναλλαγὴ – ἐνῷ ἀπὸ τοὺς ἁγίους δὲν παίρνει σάρκα, ἀλλὰ ἀντίθετα αὐτὸς τοὺς μεταδίδει τὴν θεωμένη σάρκα του. Ἂς ἐξετάσουμε λοιπὸν τὸ βάθος αὐτοῦ τοῦ μυστηρίου.
Ἡ χάρη τοῦ Πνεύματος στὸν Χριστό, δηλαδὴ τὸ πῦρ τῆς θεότητος, προέρχεται ἀπὸ τὴν θεία τοῦ φύση καὶ οὐσία. Ὅμως τὸ σῶμα του δὲν ἔχει τὴν ἴδια προέλευση, ἀλλὰ προέρχεται ἀπὸ τὴν πάναγνη καὶ ἅγια σάρκα τῆς Θεοτόκου, τὴν ὁποία προσέλαβε κατὰ τὸ ἱερὸ λόγιο: «ὁ Λόγος ἔγινε σάρκα» (κατὰ Ἰωάννην 1:14). Ἔκτοτε ὁ Υἱὸς τοῦ Θεοῦ καὶ τῆς ἀχράντου Παρθένου μεταδίδει στοὺς ἁγίους, ἀπὸ μὲν τὴν φύση καὶ τὴν οὐσία τοῦ συναΐδιου Πατρός του τὴν χάρη τοῦ Πνεύματος, δηλαδὴ τὴν θεότητα, καθὼς καὶ μέσῳ τοῦ προφήτη λέγει: «Θὰ συμβεῖ τοῦτο κατὰ τὶς ἔσχατες ἡμέρες, θὰ ἐκχύσω ἀπὸ τὸ Πνεῦμα μου σὲ κάθε ἄνθρωπο» (Ἰωὴλ 3:1), ἐννοώντας κάθε πιστό, ἀπὸ δὲ τὴν φύση καὶ οὐσία ἐκείνης ποὺ κυρίως καὶ ἀληθῶς τὸν γέννησε τὴν σάρκα, τὴν ὁποία ἔλαβε ἀπὸ αὐτή.
Καὶ ὅπως ἀπὸ τὴν πληρότητά του λάβαμε ὅλοι ἐμεῖς, ἔτσι ἀκριβῶς μεταλαμβάνουμε ἀπὸ τὴν ἄμωμη σάρκα τῆς Παναγίας Μητέρας του, τὴν ὁποία καὶ ἐκεῖνος προσέλαβε καὶ ὅπως ἔγινε υἱὸς καὶ Θεός της ὁ Χριστὸς καὶ Θεός μας γενόμενος καὶ ἀδελφός μας, ἔτσι ἀκριβῶς καὶ ἐμεῖς – ὢ τί ἀνέκφραστη φιλανθρωπία – γινόμαστε υἱοὶ τῆς Θεοτόκου Μητέρας του καὶ ἀδελφοὶ τοῦ Χριστοῦ, ἐπειδὴ χάρη στὸν ὑπεράμωμο καὶ ὑπεράγνωστο γάμο ποὺ τελέστηκε μ᾿ αὐτὴν καὶ σ᾿ αὐτὴν γεννήθηκε ὁ Υἱὸς τοῦ Θεοῦ καὶ ἀπ᾿ αὐτὸν πάλι ὅλοι οἱ ἅγιοι. Πράγματι, ὅπως ἀπὸ τὴν συνουσία καὶ τὴν σπορὰ τοῦ Ἀδὰμ πρώτη ἡ Εὔα γέννησε καὶ ἀπὸ ἐκείνη καὶ μέσῳ ἐκείνης γεννήθηκαν ὅλοι οἱ ἄνθρωποι, ἔτσι καὶ ἡ Θεοτόκος, ἀφοῦ δέχτηκε ἀντὶ σπορᾶς τὸν Λόγο τοῦ Θεοῦ συνέλαβε καὶ γέννησε μόνο τὸν πρὸ αἰώνων μονογενῆ του Πατρὸς καὶ μετέπειτα σαρκωθέντα δικό της μονογενῆ. Καὶ μολονότι ἡ ἴδια ἔπαψε νὰ συλλαμβάνει καὶ νὰ γεννᾷ, ὁ Υἱὸς τῆς γέννησε καὶ γεννᾷ καθημερινὰ ὅσους πιστεύουν σ᾿αὐτὸν καὶ τηροῦν τὶς ἅγιες ἐντολές του. Ἀσφαλῶς ἔπρεπε ἡ πνευματική μας ἀναγέννηση καὶ ἀνάπλαση νὰ γίνει διὰ τοῦ ἀντρός, δηλαδὴ τοῦ δευτέρου Ἀδὰμ καὶ Θεοῦ, ἐπειδὴ ἡ γέννησή μας στὴν φθορὰ ἔγινε διὰ τῆς γυναικὸς Εὔας.
Καὶ πρόσεχε τὴν ἀκρίβεια τοῦ λόγου: ἀνδρὸς θνητοῦ καὶ φθαρτοῦ ἡ σπορὰ φθαρτοὺς υἱοὺς καὶ θνητοὺς διὰ γυναικὸς γέννησε καὶ γεννᾷ, ἀθανάτου καὶ ἀφθάρτου Θεοῦ ὁ ἀθάνατος καὶ ἄφθαρτος Λόγος ἀθάνατα καὶ ἄφθαρτα τέκνα γέννησε καὶ διαρκῶς γεννᾷ, ἀφοῦ πρῶτα αὐτὸς γενννήθηκε ἀπὸ τὴν Παρθένο ἐν ἁγίῳ Πνεύματι βεβαίως.
Γι᾿ αὐτὸ λοιπὸν εἶναι δέσποινα καὶ βασίλισσα καὶ κυρία καὶ Μητέρα ὅλων τῶν ἁγίων ἡ Μητέρα τοῦ Θεοῦ, ἐνῷ ὅλοι οἱ ἅγιοι εἶναι καὶ δοῦλοι τῆς ἀφοῦ εἶναι Μητέρα τοῦ Θεοῦ καὶ παιδιά της ἀφοῦ μεταλαμβάνουν ἀπὸ τὴν πανάχραντη σάρκα τοῦ Υἱοῦ της. Πιστὸς ὁ λόγος: ἡ σάρκα τοῦ Υἱοῦ τῆς εἶναι σάρκα τῆς Θεοτόκου. Μεταλαμβάνοντας καὶ ἐμεῖς ἀπ᾿ αὐτὴν τὴν θεωμένη σάρκα τοῦ Κυρίου, ὁμολογοῦμε καὶ πιστεύουμε ὅτι μεταλαμβάνουμε ζωὴν αἰώνια, ἐκτὸς ἂν ἀναξίως καὶ εἰς κατάκριμα μεταλαμβάνουμε.
Πράγματι ὅλοι οἱ ἅγιοι εἶναι συγγενεῖς πρὸς τὴν Παναγία Μητέρα τοῦ Θεοῦ κατὰ τρεῖς τρόπους: Πρῶτον ἐπειδὴ προέρχονται ἀπὸ τὸν ἴδιο πηλὸ μ᾿ αὐτὴν καὶ τὴν ἴδια πνοή, δηλαδὴ τὴν ψυχή. Δεύτερον ἐπειδὴ ἔχουν κοινωνία καὶ μετουσία μὲ αὐτὴν διὰ τῆς προσλήψεως τῆς σαρκός της ἀπὸ τὸν Χριστό. Καὶ τρίτον ἐπειδή, λόγῳ τῆς ἐν Πνεύματι ἁγιωσύνης ποὺ ἐνυπάρχει σὲ αὐτούς, καθένας συλλαμβάνει ἐντός του καὶ κατέχει τὸν Θεὸ τῶν ὅλων, ὅπως ἀκριβῶς καὶ ἐκείνη τὸν εἶχε ἐντός της. Διότι ἂν καὶ τὸν γέννησε σωματικῶς, ὅμως πάντοτε τὸν εἶχε ὅλον καὶ πνευματικῶς μέσα της καὶ ἐξακολουθεῖ νὰ τὸν ἔχει καὶ τώρα καὶ πάντοτε ἀχώριστον ἀπὸ αὐτήν.
Σ᾿ αὐτὸν πρέπει ἡ δόξα καὶ τὸ κράτος στοὺς αἰώνες. Ἀμήν.
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