My beloved spiritual children 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.
ON JANUARY 25TH OUR HOLY ORTHODOX CHRISTIAN CHURCH COMMEMORATES THE HOLY FEAST OF SAINT GREGORY THE THEOLOGIAN, ARCHBISHOP OF CONSTANTINOPLE
Saint Gregory the Theologian was born in November of a Greek father (who later became a Christian and a bishop) and a Christian mother, he studied in Athens before his baptism with Saint Basil the Great and Julian the Apostate. He often foretold to Julian that he would be an apostate and persecutor of the Church, and so it came to pass. Saint Gregory was especially influenced by his mother, Nonna. He was baptized when he had completed his studies. Saint Basil consecrated him bishop of Sasima, and the Emperor Theodosius quickly called him to the vacant Archiepiscopal throne of Constantinople. His works were manifold, the best-known being his theological writings, for which he received the title 'the Theologian'. He also wrote against the heretic Macedonius, who taught wrongly of the Holy Spirit (that the Spirit was a creature of God), and against Apollinarius who taught that Christ did not have a human soul but that His Divinity was in place of His soul. He also wrote against the Emperor Julian the Apostate, his sometime schoolfellow. In the year 381 AD, when a quarrel broke out in the Council concerning his election as Archbishop, he withdrew himself, declaring: "Those who deprive us of the (archiepiscopal) throne cannot deprive us of God." He then left Constantinople and went to Nazianzus, remaining there in retirement, prayer and the writing of instructive books until his death. And, although he was in weak health all his life, he lived to the age of seventy. His holy relics were later taken to Rome and his head to the Cathedral of the Dormition in Moscow. He was, and remains, a great and wonderful light of the Orthodox Church, as much for the meekness and purity of his character as for the unsurpassable depth of his mind. He entered into rest in the Lord in the year 389 AD.
They deceive themselves who self-confidently assert that they know men well and that no-one can deceive them. Who but the one God, Who knows the secrets of the heart, can guess what kind of spiritual being any man is? Even the great Saints were mistaken in people. For example, Saint Basil the Great for a long time considered a hypocritical heretic to be a holy man, and defended him against his many attackers until he was in the end, in bitter disappointment, convinced of the other's deceit. Saint Gregory the Theologian baptized a philosopher called Maximus and loved him so greatly that he shared his house and table with him. But this Maximus as wicked and cunning as a snake, and after a while, he managed by intrigues and bribes to be accepted by the citizens of Constantinople as Patriarch in place of Saint Gregory. When, after many intrigues, this trial was removed, Saint Gregory was upbraided for having kept his greatest enemy at his side. 'We are not to blame', replied the Saint, 'if we cannot see through a man's wickedness. God alone knows man's inner secrets. And we are told by the commandments to open our hearts with fatherly love to anyone who approaches us. The good, kindly man cannot easily comprehend the wickedness of the wicked (evil) man.
--on the Person of Christ
"Who do men say that I am" (St. Mark 8:27)
It is, my brethren, almost two thousand years since the day when the Lord Jesus put this question to His disciples. From then until now this question has been asked incessantly of each generation, and each generation of men has had to give some sort of answer to it. This question is the question of life and death, and the answer to it brings life or death. "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God" replied the Apostle Peter. And that answer was accepted and praised by the Lord Jesus.
Who do the men of our day say that Christ is? Some would say, with the Jews, that He is a law-breaker and self-styled Messiah. Others would say, with Pilate, that they simply cannot come to the truth about this man. Yet others would say, with the Apostles, that He is the Christ, the Son of the living God, the Savior and Redeemer of mankind from sin and death. He Who has risen and gives resurrection. He Who lives and gives life. And all of us, baptized in the name of the Holy Trinity, are in agreement with the Holy Apostles and the holy, Apostolic Church, which through the voice of its Councils so confesses Christ is the Lord.
O Lord, the Only-Begotten Son of God, help us, that we may all the days of our life believe with our hearts and confess with our lips that Thou Our art Our God and Savior, the power and wisdom of God. To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen. (Source: The Prologue from Ochrid)
"Glory Be To GOD For All Things!"--Saint John Chrysostom
With sincere agape in His Holy Diakonia (Ministry),
The sinner and unworthy servant of God