Blog Tag: Communion of Saints
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Scripture has numerous ways of describing the relationship between God and mankind. The relationship is described as unity and oneness. It is described as partaking of Divinity. And sometimes it is described as being dressed or clothed in God’s righteousness. All these metaphors express an unfathomable truth as to how the Father, Son and Holy Spirit come to abide in the life of a Christian.
I’d like to share with you the story of a family of first century Christians whose names and history have been forgotten by many, if not most, Christians in the West. Six sisters, and two sons of the eldest sister, eight people altogether, all of them Samaritan. These people were in Jerusalem on the day of the Pentecost when the Holy Spirit descended from the Father and sealed the earthly Body of Christ, the Church. On that day, 3,000 people were baptised by the Apostles who had just received the Holy Spirit.
St. Symeon was the Abbot of St. Mamas Monastery in Constantinople. His writings date from around 1003 AD. He came from an influential political family that was swept from government when he was six. Trained to be a government official, he was leading a religious but worldly life in his early twenties. One night while saying his prayers, His life was dramatically transformed by a vision of the uncreated light. Wanting to follow the calling of God into a monastery, his spiritual father advised him to stay in his courtly role.
Many Orthodox prayer masters talk about three powers of the soul — mind, will and heart. St. Theophan the Recluse describes how to educate each power of the soul. The Christian life of virtue depends on educating and training each power. Educating the Mind We educate the mind (the intellectual power) through study of the faith - scripture, ancient church writers, and helpful books.
Saint John Chrysostom was the Bishop of Constantinople, one of the largest and wealthiest cities of his day. He had humble beginnings, and is well-known for his beautiful writings and his perspective on the meaning of true wealth. He is the noted as being the writer of the Divine Liturgy that we celebrate most weeks. Let's discover a bit more about John Chrysostom, who he was, and his message to the Church.
Rusticus, the prefect of Rome, glared at Justin and asked, “What teachings do you hold?” The 65-year-old man quickly replied, “I have tried to learn from all teachings, but I came to adopt the true teachings, which are those of the Christians.”1 Upon further examination, Justin confessed to holding meetings in the house of a man named Martinus in Rome. Rusticus demanded that Justin and those with him offer sacrifice, but they boldly refused. The prefect then commanded them beaten with rods and beheaded.
Today we are surrounded by a host of voices that say, “Peace.” “Live and let live.” “There are a thousand different voices, let’s accept everyone’s views.” But Christians must remember that the essentials of the Faith cannot be compromised. The life story of Basil of Caesarea demonstrates the commitment that Christians have made through the ages to maintain the essentials of the Faith. The world is temporary, but God and his Kingdom are everlasting.
Gregory of Nazianzus (329–389), also known as Gregory the Theologian, served as Bishop of Constantinople during the second Ecumenical Council (381). His piety, eloquence, and depth of theological inquiry made him one of the most beloved figures in the Church—and a strong influence on people like John Chrysostom. He is known for his beautiful poetry, where he addresses a range of theological ideas, including the Trinity, Human Nature, and the Christian understanding of marriage and virginity. Let's look at what he has to say on the Christian Marriage.