St Maximus the Confessor (On the Liturgy)

St Maximus the Confessor (On the Liturgy)   St Maximus the Confessor was born in 580 AD to an aristocratic family of Constantinople, and received the finest education. He was an imperial secretary for four years before realising his calling to become a monk at the age of 34. He lived through the tumultuous events of the 7th century, which saw Jerusalem occupied by Persians and Christ’s True Cross taken and carried away; its subsequent recovery by Byzantine Emperor Heraclius; the Persian attack on Constantinople averted miraculously by the Theotokos’ defence of the city (from which the Akathist Hymn arose); [...]

By |2018-08-11T15:54:12+00:00August 11th, 2018|Comments Off on St Maximus the Confessor (On the Liturgy)

The First Apology of Justin Martyr

The First Apology of Justin Martyr   In the middle of the second century, a fearless philosopher, who later came to be known as Justin the Martyr, delivered a zealous apology of the Christian Faith to the emperor Antoninus Pius and the Roman Senate. St Justin the Martyr, a Roman of Samaria, became the earliest Christian Apologist, launching a rich tradition that flowed through early Christianity and aided in the formalisation of accepted Christian teaching. On its surface, the First Apology (there were two) appears to be a petition to the emperor and Senate for the repeal of laws persecuting [...]

By |2018-07-02T20:02:20+00:00July 2nd, 2018|Comments Off on The First Apology of Justin Martyr

Saint Ephraim the Syrian — “Death Slew and was Slain”

Saint Ephraim the Syrian — “Death Slew and was Slain”   In his sermon “On Our Lord”, the masterful poet and orator St Ephraim the Syrian portrays with all his customary eloquence the theological significance of the death and Resurrection of our Lord. The Saint commences by confirming that our Lord did in fact die: “[death] trampled our Lord underfoot”. However, this trampling was in no way a defeat, for Christ “in turn treated death as a high road for His own feet”. In other words, Christ’s death was not an unintended consequence of His coming. There was a mission [...]

By |2018-04-14T09:38:48+00:00April 14th, 2018|Comments Off on Saint Ephraim the Syrian — “Death Slew and was Slain”

St John Climacus – On Love

St John Climacus - On Love In The Ladder of Divine Ascent, St John describes the spiritual life as a thirty step ladder of virtues and passions. Each step is one chapter, and when successfully dealt with, raises the Christian one step closer to Christ who awaits at the top of the ladder. The top step of the Ladder (Gr. Κλίμαξ) is that of Faith, Hope and Love. This trio is metaphorically described as an increasing concentration of light with the greatest of the three being Love. In its essence, Love is ‘a resemblance to God insofar as this is [...]

By |2018-03-04T20:16:08+00:00March 4th, 2018|Comments Off on St John Climacus – On Love

The Evergetinos

The Evergetinos   The great treasure of Christian literature known as the Evergetinos takes its name from the monk Paul Evergetinos, the founder of an 11th century monastery in Constantinople dedicated to the Theotokos “the Benefactress” (ἡ μονὴ τῆς Εὐεργέτιδος). Elder Paul undertook the compilation of a vast collection of the writings of the Church Fathers and the Lives of the Saints, arranging them methodically into two hundred chapters which he called “hypotheses”, which each refer to a single practical aspect of the spiritual life. The great ascetics of the Egyptian desert feature in almost every hypothesis, with excerpts from [...]

By |2017-12-08T10:05:19+00:00December 8th, 2017|Comments Off on The Evergetinos