Beloved brothers and sisters in Christ Our Only True God and Our Only True Savior,
CHRIST IS IN OUR MIDST! HE WAS, IS, AND EVER SHALL BE. Ο ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ ΕΝ ΤΩ ΜΕΣΩ ΗΜΩΝ! ΚΑΙ ΗΝ ΚΑΙ ΕΣΤΙ ΚΑΙ ΕΣΤΑΙ.
The First Hour (8:00 a.m.)
+In the Name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Glory to Thee, our God, glory to Thee. Come, let us bow down and worship God our King. Come, let us bow down and worship Christ our God and King. Come, let us bow down and worship Christ Himself, our King and our God.
In the morning, hearken to my voice, O my King and my God. Listen to the words of my prayers, O Lord, And attend to my supplication.
In the morning, hearken to my voice, O my King and my God. For to Thee I pray, O Lord. That Thou may hear my voice.
In the morning, hearken to the words of my prayer, O my King and my God.
Glory to the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, Now and forever and the age of ages. Amen.
What shall we call Thee, Who are full of grace? Heaven, for Thou has caused the Sun of Righteousness to dawn. Paradise, for Thou has caused the incorruptible flower to blossom. Virgin, for Thou has indeed remained inviolate. Pure Mother, for Thou has held in Thy Holy arms the Son who is God of all. Intercede for us that He may save our souls. Amen.
OUR FATHER AMONG THE SAINTS GREGORY THE THEOLOGIAN, ARCHBISHOP OF CONSTANTINOPLE.
"Like an unwandering star beaming with splendor, Thou bringest us by mystic teachings, O Father, To the Trinity's sunlike illumination, O mouth breathing with fire, Gregory most mighty. (be Alexius Anthorus)
Apolytikion (Dismissal) Hymn. First Tone
The shepherd's pipe of thy theology conquered the trumpets of the philosophers; for since thou didst search out the depths of the Spirit, beauty of speech was added to thee. But intercede with Christ God, O Father Gregory, that our souls be saved.
Kontakion. Third Tone
With thy theologian's speech thou didst destroy the entangled webs of vain philosophers, while beautifying the whole Church with the robe of Orthodoxy woven in Heaven; and the Church, clothed in it, crieth with us, thy children: O wise Gregory most glorious, rejoice, O Father, great theological mind.
This great Father and Teacher of the Church was born in 329 A.D. in Arianzus, a village of the second district of Cappadocia, not far from Nazianzus. His father, who later became bishop of Nazianzus, was named Gregory (commemorated January 1st), and his mother was named Nonna (+ August 5th); both are among the Saints, and so are his brother Caesarius (+ March 9th) and his sister Gorgonia (+ February 23rd). At first he studied in Caesarea of Palestine, then in Alexandria, and finally in Athens. As he was sailing from Alexandria, a violent sea storm put in peril not only his life but also his salvation, since he had not yet been baptized. With tears and fervor he besought God to spare him, vowing to dedicate his whole self to Him, and the tempest gave way to calm. At Athens Saint Gregory was later joined by Saint Basil the Great, whom he already knew; but now their acquaintanceship grew into a lifelong brotherly love. Another fellow student of theirs in Athens was the young Prince Julian, who later as Emperor was called the Apostate because he denied Christ and did all in his power to restore paganism. Even in Athens, before Julian had thrown off the mask of piety, Saint Gregory saw what an unsettled mind he had, and said, "What an evil the Roman State is nourishing".
After their studies at Athens, Saint Gregory became Saint Basil's fellow ascetic, living the monastic life together with him for a time in the hermitage of Pontus. His father ordained him Presbyter of the Church of Nazianzus, and Saint Basil consecrated him Bishop of Sasima (or Zansima), which was in the Archdiocese of Caesarea. This consecration was a source of great sorrow to Saint Gregory, and a cause of misunderstanding between him and Saint Basil; but his love for Saint Basil remained unchanged, as can be plainly seen from his Funeral Oration on Saint Basil).
About the year 379 A.D., Saint Gregory came to the assistance of the Church of Constantinople, which had already been troubled for 40 years by the heretical Arians; by his supremely wise words and many labors he freed it from the corruption of heresy, and was elected Archbishop of that city by the Second Ecumenical Synod, which assembled there in 381 A.D., and condemned Macedonius, Archbishop of Constantinople, the enemy of the Holy Spirit. When Saint Gregory came to Constantinople, the Arians (heretics) had taken all the churches and he was forced to serve in a house chapel dedicated to Saint Anastasia the Holy Martyr. From there he began to preach his famous Five Sermons on the Holy Trinity, called the triadica. When he left Constantinople two years later, the Arians did not have one church left to them in the city. Saint Meletius of Antioch (+Feb 12th), who was presiding over the Second Ecumenical Synod, died in the course of it, and Saint Gregory the Theologian was chosen in his stead; there he distinguished himself in his expositions of dogmatic theology.
Having governed the Church until 382 A.D., he delivered his farewell speech--the Syntacterion, in which he demonstrated the Divinity of The Son--before 150 bishops and the Emperor Theodosius the Great; in his speech he requested, and received from all, permission to retire from the See of Constantinople. He returned to Nazianzus, where he lived to the end of his life, and reposed in the Lord in 391 A.D., having lived some 62 years.
His extant writings, both prose and poems in every type of meter, demonstrate his lofty eloquence and his wondrous breadth of learning. In the beauty of his writings, he is considered to have surpassed the Greek writers of antiquity. Although he is sometimes called Saint Gregory of Nazianzus, this title belongs properly to his father; he himself is known by the Church only as Saint Gregory the Theologian. He is called "Trinitarian Theologian," since in virtually every homily he refers to the Holy Trinity and the one essence and nature of the Godhead.
THE WORKS OF SAINT GREGORY THE THEOLOGIAN
His 45 orations were used as models in the schools of rhetoric. His 5 Theological Orations, which were preached in the Church of the Resurrection in Constantinople, wherein he explains the Nicaea Doctrine of the Holy Trinity, won him the title of "Theologian". The first oration is a preliminary discourse against the Eunomians. With the second oration he speaks of the existence, nature, being, and attributes of God, insofar as man's finite intellect may comprehend the Holy Trinity. Both the third and fourth theological orations speak of the Divinity of the Son. The fifth oration is on the Holy Spirit.
His most notable discourses and moral essays include a defense of his flight and treatises on his consecration to Sasima, on the plague of hail, on peace, on love of the poor, on the indissolubility of marriage, and on moderation in theological discussion, as well as a farewell discourse given at Constantinople.
He also authored sermons for feasts, two for Pascha, one for the Nativity of our Lord, one for Theophany, and one for Pentecost.
His panegyrics on Saints include those to Saint Cyprian and Athanasius, and on the Maccabean brothers and their mother Solomonia.
During his later years, Saint Gregory also included a collection of Saint Basil's letters with his own, and gave his friend the first place. When asked the reason for this, Saint Gregory explains: "I have always preferred the Great Basil to myself, though he was of the contrary opinion; and so I do now, not less for truth's sake that for friendship's. This is the reason why I have given his letters the first place and my own the second. For I hope we two will always be coupled together; and also I would supply others with an example of modesty and submission".
ON THE HOLY SPIRIT HE WRITES:
"He was the true light that enlightens every human person coming into the world" yes, the Father. "He was the true light that enlightens every human person coming into the world" yes, the Son. "He was the true light that enlightens every human person that coming into the world" yes, the Comforter...He was and He was and He was. But a single reality was [ήν, και ήν, και ήν αλλ' 'εν 'ην]."
ON THE INCARNATION
"The very Son of God, older than the ages, the Invisible, the Incomprehensible, the Incorporeal, the Beginning of beginning, the Light of light, the Fountain of Life and Immortality, the Image of the Archtype, the immovable Seal, the perfect Likeness, the Definition and Logos (Word) of the Father: He it is Who comes to his own Image and takes our nature, for the good of our nature, and unites Himself to an intelligent soul, for the good of my soul, to purify like by like. He takes to Himself all that is human, except for sin. He was conceived by the Virgin Mary, who had first been prepared in soul and body, by the Spirit. His coming to birth had to be treated with honor, virginity had to receive new honor. He comes forth as God, in the human nature He has taken. One Being made of two contrary elements, flesh and spirit. Spirit gave Divinity, the flesh received it. He Who makes the rich is made poor. He takes on the poverty of my flesh, that I may gain the riches of His Divinity. He Who is full is made empty. He is emptied, for a brief space of his glory, that I may share in His fullness. What is this wealth of goodness? What is this mystery that surrounds me? I received the likeness of God, but I failed to keep it. He takes on my flesh, to bring salvation to my image, immortality to my flesh..."
"GOD HAS CONCEALED HIS ESSENCE FROM MANKIND..."
Explaining that God has concealed His Essence from mankind, Saint Gregory demonstrates that it is impossible for those in the flesh to view mental objects without a mixture of the corporeal. Talking about God in a positive sense is possible only when we become free from the external impressions of things and from their effects, when our guide, the mind, does not adhere to impure transitory images. Answering the Eunomians (heretics), who would presume to grasp God's Essence through logical (reason) speculation, the Saint declared that man perceives God when the mind and reason become godlike and divine, i.e., when the image ascends to its Archetype. Furthermore, the example of the Old Testament Patriarchs and Prophets and also the Apostles has demonstrated that the Essence of God is incomprehensible for mortal man. Saint Gregory cited the futile sophistry of Eunomios: "God begat the Son either through His will, or contrary to will. If He begat contrary to will, then He underwent constraint. If by His will, then the Son is the Son of His intent." (The heresy of the Eunomians was that they rejected the Divinity of the Holy Spirit).
With sincere agape in His Holy Diakonia,
The sinner and unworthy servant of God