St Epiphanius – On the Lord’s Descent into Hades

St Epiphanius - On the Lord’s Descent into Hades Christ’s descent into Hades, although only mentioned briefly in the New Testament, is confirmed as a mystery of cosmic significance by the hymnology and iconography of the early Church. This event is narrated most magnificently by Saint Epiphanius of Salamis in his famous Holy Saturday homily: “Whither does He go? What is the means, what is the intent of His descent into Hades?” St Epiphanius explains that Christ goes to Hades with the intention of seeking out and liberating his lost sheep Adam and Eve. He then continues: “But hurry, let [...]

By |2019-06-13T19:41:28+10:00June 13th, 2019|Comments Off on St Epiphanius – On the Lord’s Descent into Hades

St John Chrysostom – On The 40 Day Fast

St John Chrysostom - On The 40 Day Fast   Why do we fast for forty days? Formerly many believers approached the sacraments without any particular preparation, especially at the time when Christ first gave them to us. But when the fathers realised the harm that could result from such neglect, they took counsel together and decreed that a period of forty days of fasting be set aside, during which the people would meet to pray and listen to the word of God. During this Lenten season each of the faithful would undergo a thorough purification by means of prayer, [...]

By |2019-03-16T14:40:16+10:00March 16th, 2019|Comments Off on St John Chrysostom – On The 40 Day Fast

St John of Damascus – A Brilliant Star

St John of Damascus - A Brilliant Star   The chief hymnographer of our Church is how he is described in his Apolytikion. Yet, St John of Damascus was much more: a theologian, philosopher, poet and musician. These talents are interwoven throughout his substantial works. He wrote and composed music for hymns in each of the eight modes of the Octoechos comprising a large section of the Sunday Orthros and Saturday Vespers services (including the eight resurrectional apolytikia and associated theotokia and the canons). Added to this are the idiomela hymns used in the funeral service, and many other hymns [...]

By |2019-01-29T20:09:32+10:00January 29th, 2019|Comments Off on St John of Damascus – A Brilliant Star

St Ephraim the Syrian (on Repentance)

St Ephraim the Syrian (on Repentance)   When St Ephraim was almost an adolescent, he had a curious dream. Out of his mouth sprouted a vine with many grapes. The height of the vine was great, and the branches reached across the earth. On the branches sat various species of birds flying from branch to branch feeding from the grapes. We understand this to be his God-given ability to preach, and we are the “birds” who are able to “feast” spiritually. On the topic of repentance he begins with the words of Christ “There shall be joy in heaven over [...]

By |2018-11-28T15:19:27+10:00November 28th, 2018|Comments Off on St Ephraim the Syrian (on Repentance)

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+10:00August 11th, 2018|Comments Off on St Maximus the Confessor (On the Liturgy)