About God the Son (VI)

152. Is there any relatedness of meanings between the names of Jesus and that of Christ ? But between them and that of Lord?

If we look well we see that by these three ministrations of hierarch, prophet and emperor contained by the name of Christ, Jesus saves the world by His sacrifice, teaches it to assume its salvation and leads it to this salvations. Thus if the name of Jesus shows us how and with what power He has done and does this work. Both names say the same thing from two opposite sides: Jesus Christ is our Saviour. And that is why He is Lord for our souls. If we don’t receive Him as Lord, then He is no Saviour for us.

153. When did the Son of God receive the name of Jesus Christ ?

The Son of God received both names, of Jesus and of Christ, when He made Himself man. So Jesus Christ is the incarnated Son of God.

Before His incarnation He was not called Jesus Christ. He became our Saviour when He incarnated Himself taking our body and sacrificing it for us. Only by His incarnation He became our hierarch who purified us of our sins, prophet who announced us by human speech the will of the Father and guide to salvation (Christ). If Christ means Anointed, this name shows our Saviour as man who receives the anointment, not as God who gives it. Saint Cyril of Alexandria says : `Some say that the name of Christ belongs only to the Word born from God the Father who is perceived and exists in a particular way. But we were not taught to say this, but to say instead that in the moment when the Word incarnated was called Christ. He is named Christ because He was anointed with the oil of joy (Ps. XCIV, 9), meaning with the spirit coming from God the Father.

154. So when we say Jesus Christ we don’t begin from the Son of God before incarnation but from the One after that?

Yes, of course and in the same way the second article of the Creed does not begin the avouchment from the Son of God before incarnation, meaning from a Son thought with the mind, but from Jesus Christ, Who lived on earth for real, in a distinct period of time, was born from Virgin Mary, lived among people, was crucified, resurrected and ascended to heaven. This Jesus Christ revealed Himself to the hearts by everything He said and did, as Son of God.  This Jesus Christ is confessed by the Church in the Creed first that He is the only Lord and then everything follows at article II, first of all that He is the One born Son of God.

155. What means the words: The One born Son of God?

Jesus Christ Who lived on earth is the Unique Son f God. Although He lived on earth as a real man, He is in the same time the Son of God. This is how He revealed Himself: first to the Apostles by the Holy Spirit and they confess through Peter: `You are Christ, the Son of the living God.` (Matthew XVI, 16). And Jesus confirms the truth of this confession: `Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven.`

 (Matthew XVI, 17). Many times the Holy Scripture calls the men sons of God too, but it calls them in this way wither because they are created by Him or because they are born again to a new life by the grace of the Holy Spirit.

`You are the children of the Lord your God` (Deuteronomy XIV, 1) Moses tells the Jews referring more at the meaning of sons by creation.

Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God. (John I, 12-13). Here it is talked about the sons of God by adoption. About them it is said even that they are born from God.

Jesus Christ is not the Son of God in any of the meanings from above. He is not son among sons. He is not son as any creature, nor son by grace or by adoption. He is Son by nature, He is the only Son of God by nature, having no brothers. That is way the Creed says The One Born. Jesus Christ calls Himself One Born.

`For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.` (John III, 16).

About God the Son (V)

149. What means the name of Jesus given to the Saviour ?

The name of Jesus means God the Saviour. Jesus means Saviour in Hebrew and this name suits Him perfectly because He is the Saviour of the world indeed. And it is perfect because it was not given by men but by the angel at the command of the heavenly Father, Who knew beforehand what wok His Son was to accomplish in the world.

`an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus,[a] because he will save his people from their sins.` (Matthew I, 20-21).

In the Old Testament Jesus Navi,  the successor of Moses who led the people of Israel towards the Holy Land saving them from the wandering through the desert. But he was only a foreshadow of Jesus Christ Who saved the peoples from their wandering through sins and leading them towards the Kingdom of Heaven. He is not any savior, He is the Saviour in the full meaning of the word.

150. What means the name of Christ?

Christ means anointed. At the Jews anointed were the priests, the prophets and the emperors who were anointed with holy oil which symbolized the gift of the Holy Spirit. But they were only images of the true Annointed One, they received only partially the power of the Holy Spirit, as an aid for their ministration. But Christ receives the Holy Spirit Himself. Christ is not God bearer, but incarnated God. He is not anointed as a prophet by divine energy but by the presence of the plenitude of anointment. Saint John Chrysostom says: `All the grace was effused over that temple. Since the Father did not give the spirit sparingly but gave it fully to this temple. We have only a little, a drop from that grace. So Christ is the Anointed in the full meaning of the word, not one of the many anointed ones. He is the highest high priest, emperor and prophet and the spring of all the hierarchs, spiritual leaders and prophets. As we see the name of Christ suits Him perfectly because it was not given by men but by the angel who said to the shepherds: `But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.` (Luke II, 10-11).

Jesus says about Himself that He was anointed by the Holy Spirit as i twas prophesied about Him by Isaiah, the prophet:

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. 🙁 Isaiah 61,1)

 The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me  to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners  and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,  to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.
(Luke IV, 18).

151. Christ by the anointment He has from the Holy Spirit is the true high priest, prophet and emperor. Are these ministrations of Christ mentioned in the Holy Scripture and what is their meaning?

The Holy Scripture tells us in many places that Christ received by Anointment from the Holy Spirit the ministration of high priest, prophet and emperor. Saint Paul says that He was the greatest high priest and brought the complete sacrifice, His own body.

By this He cleansed the men of their sins not only prefigured that purification, as the priests of the Old Testament did when they sacrificed animals.

Such a high priest truly meets our need—one who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens. 27 Unlike the other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people. He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself. (Hebrews VII, 26-27).

He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, thus obtaining[a] eternal redemption. (Hebrews IX, 12).

He was the highest prophet bringing the fullest teaching about God, like One Who hadn’t received it from the outside but from His own endless plenitude. That is why nobody can add anything to His teaching. It can only be better understood in the Church. In this meaning He is the last of the prophets who completed the divine revelation.

The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your fellow Israelites. You must listen to him. (Deuteronomy XVIII, 15). His disciples call Him `teacher` and Jesus says about Himself : `I am the Truth` (John  XIV, 6), `I am the Light of the World` (John VIII, 12), or `In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth.` (John XVIII, 37).

And His royal dignity is prophesied by archangel Gabriel to Virgin Mary :

`The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.`(Luke I, 32, 53).

Jesus Himself says that He is a king but His Kingdom is a spiritual one, with spiritual arms and laws, not resembling those from this world. `My Kingdom is not from this world.`(John XVIII, 36), He answered to Pilate from Pontus. Jesus is the meek king we talked about when we explained the word `Lord`. He is the king lamb that sacrificed Himself for the sin of the world. (Apocalypse V) As King Jesus founded His Church, gave its laws and leads it mystically by His servants to whom He gives His grace and at the end of times He will judge the live and the dead.

About God the Son (IV)

143. How were the men elevated to this faith in One God Who has a Son ?

The Jewish people was raised carefully in the faith in One God so that through them to engrain in time this faith to the other peoples. Gradually in order not to put in danger the faith in One God the Jewish people was taught by the prophets that the One God has a Son Who would come to save the world and a Holy Spirit.

In the Genesis God speaks to the other divine persons: 

`Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals,[a] and over all the creatures that move along the ground.So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.` (Genesis I, 26-27) too show that the three persons form a single divine being. God’s apparition at Mamre’s oak in the form of three travelers (Genesis 18, 2) has the same meaning. David knows afterwards explicitly that Gd has a Son when he sees God the Father saying to the Lord (to God the Son):

The Lord says to my lord: Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies  a footstool for your feet.”(Psalm 110, 1-2), or when he hears God the Father saying to God the Son: You are my son;  today I have become your father.Ask me,  and I will make the nations your inheritance,  the ends of the earth your possession. (Psalm II, 5-6).

Due to the influence of the Jews who from their Babylonian slavery were scattered among all peoples and by the hidden guidance of the Word of God many philosophers from other cultures  propagated the idea of  One God and of His action in the world through His Word or Intellect especially upon the minds of the enlightened men. Thus before the coming of the Savior the world was in a strange condition because on one hand they believed in One Almighty and men loving God Who wanted to send someone from Himself for the salvation of the world and on the other they were in the greatest moral decadence and helplessness.

This condition made the people wait salvation from God and when the Savior came it helped them to be able to receive Him and His teaching about God

144. Was this preparation enough for mankind to receive Jesus Christ as God ?

No, it was not enough, all the Jews and most of the philosophers should have received Him.

At those mentioned were added as grounds of faith: 1) His teaching beyond comparison with any other; 2) His purest Life and 3) His miracles from these especially His Resurrection and Ascension.

But all these grounds are surpassed by the power with which He worked and has been working until today upon the souls that are opened to His Word renewing and engraining in them the steady belief that He is God. The faith in Christ comes first from the grace of God not from rationalizing the mentioned grounds. But those reasons prepared the mind of the man for receiving this grace. For us the Christians one of the strongest reasons which prepares our mind to receive the grace of faith and work together with it is the existence of Christianity for 2000 years, the fact that since then until today hundreds of billions of souls believed permanently in the divinity of Jesus.

145. What is the belief of our Church in the divinity of our Savior Jesus Christ?

Raspunsul mai amanuntit la aceasta intrebare il da articolul II al Simbolului Credintei, primul dintre cele sase articole(II-VII), care se ocupa cu persoana si lucrarea mantuitoare a Domnului Iisus Hristos. Caci acest articol cuprinde in forma cea mai scurta, dar si cea mai deplina, invatatura Bisericii despre Dumnezeirea lui Iisus Hristos.

146. What is this article?

This article is: `And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the only-begotten, begotten of the Father before all ages. Light of light; true God of true God; begotten, not made; of one essence with the Father, by Whom all things were made.`

147. What does this article teach us?

Two things. First that our Lord Jesus Christ Who saved us is the Son of God, equal in everything with God the Father, eternal like Him and One with Him in terms of essence and glory being distinguished Himself by the fact that He is Son and not Father, by the fact that His Father gives birth to Him and He is born from the being of the Father. Even Jesus said about Himself: ` And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.`

Secondly that Jesus Christ, the Savior of the World is the Creator of everything, His divinity being shown by this.

As the Father is the Creator of everything, and we were taught about this in the first article of the Creed, as is His Son, Creator of everything. The Father does everything but does this through His Son

`Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.` (John I,3)

Even time was created through Jesus Christ as the Apostle says : `and through whomalso he made the ages.` (Hebrews I, 2), and in another place he says: ` For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. ` (Colossians I, 16-17)

If in Hi mis everything settled this means that He supports everything and in in Him everything lives so He is a partaker in their providence preserving their life and taking care of them as He says it Himself: `In his defense Jesus said to them, “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I too am working. (John V, 17).

148. What mean the first words from the second article of the Creed : `And in One Lord Jesus Christ `?

As we were taught by the first article to believe in God the Father so we are taught by the second one to believe in Jesus Christ, His Son. Without the faith in the Son we cannot know the Father. The Father does not exist without the Son. Who doesn’t believe that God has a Son doesn’t believe either that God is a Father and has in Himself paternal Love. That kind of God would be a loveless One, not a True One. `I am the door` (John X, 9) says Jesus: `No one comes to the Father except through me.`(John XIV, 6). Jesus Christ in whom we believe as we believe in the Father is One, because the Father has only One Son and we have only One Saviour. Only by this One we are saved and reach the Father because there is nly one way and only one door leading to the Father and He is that way and door.

He is the Lord reigning over our souls, He is the Lord and Master of our life Whom we serve (Colossians III, 24) and we dedicate gladly all our life to Him so we do not belong to ourselves anymore but to Him  (II Cor. X, 7) and we can say like Apostle Paul : `I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God,who loved me and gave himself for me.` (Galatians II, 20) Because He gave us this life and saved us from death. And if we dedicate our life to Him we are the ones who benefit from this, because He furbishes us day by day making us be in His image (Romans VIII, 2.9)

Christ’s reign over souls is not a a harsh and coercive one but a gentle one. He reigns over us through Love and Truth: `Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.` (Matthew XI, 29-30).

This reign doesn’t mean that we don’t have the duty to work for our brothers. On the contrary we serve Jesus when we do good to the small and exhausted (Matthew XXIV, 40). This complete reign over our souls and over the whole world Jesus Christ won it as a man too because He humbled Himself as no one else and sacrificied His life for us. His name was raised then higher than any other name and all the knees must kneel down before Him receiving Him as the Lord.

Who, being in very nature God,  did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature  of a servant, being made in human likeness.And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—  even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place  and gave him the name that is above every name,that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,  in heaven and on earth and under the earth,and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,  to the glory of God the Father.(Philippians II, 6-11)

About God the Son (III)

138. What is the third reason of the incarnation?

This reason is seen in saint John Damascene’s words from above. The Son of God incarnated to unite our nature with His divine nature, making it His own nature, so that it would not move away of God, so that it would not work against Him, so that this temple would not ruin itself but be always filled and moved by God.

Otherwise it would have been possible that our nature once saved had been lost again. In the same time only in this way He could save human nature once and for always from corruption and death, uniting it with Himself, Who is the Spring of incorruptibility and immortality. By our nature now created in God we can all be recreated in Christ (Ephesians II, 10) Now we can be more at our ease meaning that if we want we can be in communion with the Son of God, because He is a man like us, not only God. And by the faith and love in communion with Him we find ourselves created in Him, together with His human nature.

That is why saint apostle Paul says that as in the Son of God were all created and set from the beginning when they were made now even more when He took our human nature, He places us who want that within Himself more profoundly. So He urges us: `o then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him,  rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.`

Saint Cyrill of Alexandria presents the third reason as follows: `How could the man from the earth who had fallen into death return to incorruptibility? It was needed that the mortal body commune with the living power of God. And the life giving power of God the Father is the Word the One Born.

139. If only the Son of God made me could save the world of sin and death why didn’t He made Himself man sooner ? Why God let so much time to pass from the fall of Adam until the sending of His Son?

It was necessary a preparation of men to receive the Savior when He was to come. Because it was not enough to come the Savior and die for men. They had to receive Him with faith. Otherwise their salvation could not have been accomplished. They needed to be prepared to be able to believe that Jesus Christ is the incarnated Son of God and only through Him they could save their souls.

140. How was made this preparation?

In two ways: first by increasing the evil and in the same time by enhancing the belief of the people  that they could not save their souls by their own powers and secondly by emphasizing the prophecies from God that He was to send them a Savior and this Savior was His Son.

God prepared in a way the pagan peoples and in another one the Jewish people. He prepared the pagans by means of nature and He prepared the Jews by means of something supernatural and more explicit so that by the teaching given to them to benefit the pagans as well.

141. How were prepared the pagans and the Jews by the increase of the evil  and of their belief that they could not save their souls by their own powers?

The pagans and the Jews were prepared first by being left to increase their sins. If God had saved men immediately after their fall maybe they could not have realized all the misfortunes brought by sin. And the men would have believed they could get rid of evil by their own powers and they didn’t need God.

It was necessary to let passing thousands of years so that men would have tasted the poison of evil and get disgusted of it and in the same time see that all their attempts to get rid of the evil were in vain.

In this way the pagan peoples fell in the worst delusions worshiping animals and stones and sacrificing human lives. The Jews even if they were guided by God closely deviated towards evil. And when the evil increased God gave them the Law on Mount Sinai (Exodus chapter XX) to show them clearly how they were supposed to live. But because of the sin lying within themlseves instead of listening to the Law they stubbornly disobeyed it. Thus the Law became cause for the increase of sin. `

For the disobeyance of the commandments was brought the Law, says saint apostle Paul (Galatians III, 19) and he says too: `For sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment,deceived me, and through the commandment put me to death.

 (Romans VII, 11), The Law was good and holy but it became cause of death for man.

Nevertheless, in order that sin might be recognized as sin, it used what is good to bring about my death, so that through the commandment sin might become utterly sinful. (Romans VII, 13). When the sin increased the man realized that he could not save his soul by any law even if it was from God. The law could not help him because by it God showed him what was good but did not give His help to fulfill that only left the man limited to his own powers.

God did not give His help because the man wouldn’t have received it because he still trusted in his own powers. For this reason God left him in his pride of being sure he could save his soul alone and that he could fulfill the commandments of the Law alone. But the more clearly was shown the height of goodness by the Law the more aware became the man that he was far away of that and the more sinful he felt. This thing was seen by the Jewish by means of the Law written on the tables of the law and the pagan by means of the Law written in his heart with the aid of the conscience. `I see the good ones – says a pagan poet – I admit them but I always do what is wrong.` And thus by the Law on one side the sin increased and on the other one the man became more aware of his helplessness in saving his soul of sin and instead of believing in his powers, he became more confident that God Himself, by His power, namely by His grace, could save him. Here is why saint apostle Paul says: `(for the law made nothing perfect), and a better hope is introduced, by which we draw near to God.` (Jews VII, 19)

142. How did God prepare the men for the news they were to receive that He was to come to save them Himself ?

The first promise God gave to men that He was to send them a Saviour was made after the fall. It was their first comfort in the misfortune that affected them. God tells the snake that someone born from the woman will smash its head: `And I will put enmity between you and the woman,  and between your offspring and hers;he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel`

But God gave new and clearer prophecies about the Savior that was to come through the prophets of the Old Testament, because in their time the wickedness had grown among people. That is why the prophets cried and suffered saying: Who shall give salvation from Sion ? (Psalm XIII, 6) or they prayed: `Part your heavens, Lord, and come down;(Psalm 144, 6)

God showing mercy for this prayer said to men: `the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple”(Malachi III, 1), or: `Here I come to gather all the peoples and languages` (Isaiah LVI, 18).

And the Lord gave many signs for being recognized by men when He was to come. He would not come harshly but meekly, riding a foal of a donkey :

Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass. (Zechariah. IX, 9). He would come not for reigning like the kings of the earth but to save by His blood all those who were enslaved by sin : `

As for thee also, by the blood of thy covenant I have sent forth thy prisoners out of the pit wherein is no water.(Zecharia IX, 11).

Prophet Isaiah prophesies in detail His humiliation, suffering and death for the sins of the others:

He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him,nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.Like one from whom people hide their faces
    he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.Surely he took up our pain
    and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted.But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.We all, like sheep, have gone astray,  each of us has turned to our own way;and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth;he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent,  so he did not open his mouth.
By oppression[a] and judgment he was taken away.Yet who of his generation protested? For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was punished  (Isaiah 53, 2- 8).

Even the time and the place of the Saviour’s arrival were prophesied by the prophets. Prophet Daniel prophesied : `From the emergence of the word to rebuild  Jerusalem` meaning from 457 until the sin will end and the transgressions will be erased (IX 24-25) will pass 70 weeks meaning 490 years time that was reached in the year 33 after Christ when the Saviour smashed the power of sin by His death on the Cross. And prophet Michaea prophesied that the Saviour would be born in Betlehem (Michaeia V,2) Then Isaiah the prophet prophesied that the Saviour would be born in a supernatural way from the Virgin

Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel.  (meaning God is with us) (Isaiah VII, 15). And also that He would be born from the people of David `Once I

Once for all, I have sworn by my holiness—    and I will not lie to David—36 that his line will continue forever   and his throne endure before me like the sun; it will be established forever like the moon, the faithful witness in the sky.” (Psalm 89, 35-36). All these prophesies would help the faith of men by the fact that they were fulfilled in Christ. But the men in order to be able to receive Jesus Christ as God had to be taken out of their stray faith in idols and elevated to the faith in a singleAlmighty and loving God but Who has a Son that is not separated of His being.

About God the Son (II)

135. But the Son of Man could not have saved the world from a distance, without making Himself in the likeness of men?

God in His wisdom considered that it was not good t save the men from afar. There are many reasons for this and the main ones are three:

136. What is the first one of these reasons?

The first reason is that justice required if a man had broken the law of obedience of God, another man had to suffer fulfilling this law by obedience and paying with His innocent life the disobedience of the others:  ` For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous. ` (Romans V, 19).

In other words the reconciliation between God and man had to be made by God’s action and by man’s deed as well. Saint Gregory of Nyssa says: `After death had entered the world by the disobedience of a man, it was expelled by the obedience of another. Here is why He made Himself obedient till death: to heal in this way the sin of disobedience and to destroy by His Resurrection the death that entered the world by disobedience.

That is why the Son of God made Himself man to work in the name of men, but His deed, as one that was done by a Man Who was also God, had to have a price to overcome the sins of all mankind. `The One who died for us – says saint Cyril of Jerusalem – was not of a low price. He was not a mute sheep, He was not an ordinary man, He was nto an angel, but God made man. The trespass of sin was not as big as the righteousness of the One killed because of us. We did not sin as much as it valued the righteousness of the One who put His soul for us.

Making Himself a man and keeping his human nature pure and fulfilling with it the law of obedience of God and expiating with the blood shed on the cross the disobedience of men He saved the mankind from damnation and reconciliated us with God. ` For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!` (Romans, 5:10) `All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation. (II Corinthians 5:18)

Our nature that bore within itself the ugliness of disobedience and was within those who were the enemies of God has become now the pure nature of His Beloved Son.

Looking at His Son with love God looked with love at our own nature that was appropriated by Him. Loving His Son Who became obedient till death, God loved in the same time the man. He did not see anymore our nature as the one that disobeyed the law and was condemned to die but as the nature that expiated the disobedience of the law and became worthy to commune life. And God’s love for our nature appropriated by His Son was to touch all those who had this nature and clung to His Son by faith. That is why saint Apostle paul says that in the Son of God `we have the expiation and the forgiveness of our sins by His blood` and `that through Him He condescended to reconcile everything with Himself, making peace by the blood from His Cross. Or more clearly:

And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. (Colossians I, 14, 20, 21-22).

God by loving us now in Jesus Christ makes us partakers of His kindness communed by Jesus Christ as His Son, considering us as His Sons as well : `

Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. (Romans VIII, 17).

137. But what is the second reason of the incarnation ?

The second reason why the Son of God incarnated Himself as man was to show us that His Love for us is so great that He doesn’t stay far away from us but makes Himself man, adopts our nature and comes towards us to speak with us on our language and to teach us directly, not through others, like in the Old Testament. He wanted to conquer our hearts by His Love and give us a visible example of the way a man should be to please God. And He did not make Himself a man only for a while but for eternity, remaining in touch with us and showing us how much he values and loves men. Saint John Damascene says that `the Savior came to partake our nature, to teach us by His parables the path to virtue, to free us of corruption by communion with Life, making Himself the beginning of our life.`

About God the Son (I)

130. What are the articles from the Creed referring at God the Son?

The articles from the Creed about God the Son are articles II – VII?

131. What do these article teach us ?

They speak to us about the greatest and most miraculous deed of God’s love towards us. They tell us that The One who saved us is God’s Son and He accomplished this salvation by His incarnation as man and by His death on the Cross. God showed us great love when He created the world and the mankind this being mentioned in the first article from the Creed. But the greatest prrof of the endless love He has for us he showed it when He sent His Son into the world as a man and gave Him to death on the Cross for us the men and for our salvation.

The Son of God Who came into the world tells us about this too: `For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.` (John III, 16).

And saint Athanasios says : `Having compassion for our stock and being moved by our weakness and being touched by our corrupted nature and not bearing the deterioration caused by death to us in order to impede the destruction of what He had done and for not being in vain the work of the Father He took human body like ours and gave his wn body to death.

132. Was it necessary this incarnation for mankind?

It was necessary. We saw that by Adam’s disobedience the sin and death affected all the men. The sin caused an enmity (Romans V,10) between them and God being all of them sons of anger (Ephesians II, 5, Romans V,9)because they had become wicked and their power to do good was weakened. Instead of doing the good wanted by God and asked by their conscience they did the evil all the time. For this reason their conscience rebuked them without cease. And this was a sign that God was discontent. And God showed His discontent by the punishments He brought upon men. Because He could not let their sin unpunished (Romans V, 18) The sins committed by men caused to them worries, diseases and hardships and generated envy, hate, quarrel and wars among people.

Above all God punished the sin with death (Romans V,12) so that wickedness could not be eternal.

They all died and by death they went to eternal death meaning to the endless torments. But this was a too much painful situation and could not be endured by the love of God. It was needed a salvation from this.

133. Couldn’t the men give this to themselves alone?

No, they couldn’t. Because although they suffered cause of the evil that reigned over them they couldn’t get rid of it, their nature was weakened by sin, they were enslaved by sin. This tormenting condition is described by saint Paul as follows:

`For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.

No man could save the others from sin because all of them were enslaved by sin (Romans VII, 23) and n one could get rid from this enslavement. They couldn’t do this not even all together. Here is what saint Athanasius says: `Cause after they were all of them hurt in their souls and troubled by the demonic deceit and the futility of all the idols how was it possible fr the man to make the souls and minds of the men change? Somebody may say that the entire world could do this. But if the world had been able of this  would not have happened so many evils. Cause the world existed and the men persisted in such great wickedness.

134. No angel could have saved them ? Was it necessary to come the Son of God in person?

No angel could save them. First because God had to participate at the reconciliation with Him. Secondly because the men had to be saved from death as well. And death could not be removed by anything else but by the eternal life that is found only in God. Only God could give life to the first men. Only He could give it back. Saint Athanasius says: `It was not possible through the angels because they are not images of God. That is why the Word of God came into the world as a person, as One that is the image of the Father so that He could renew the man created in the image of God.

The one who withdraws from the world must deplete himself of everything. How he should take care of these worldly acquisitions. For those living in a community to own something means a sure perdition

1. of saint Barsanuphius

A monk asked an elder: `My relatives owe me a small amount of money I want to give it to the poor. But those people don’t want to give it back to me. What to do? The elder answered: `If you don’t cut your fleshly thought and you won’t show a bit of shamelessness after God towards your relatives, you will fall into the sin of desiring to be liked by men.

2. From Patericon

A brother who had withdrawn from the world, had given his possessions to the poor and kept only a little for himself went to abba Antonius asking to become a monk. And the elder hearing that he had kept a little for himself told him: `If you want to become a monk go to the next village and buy some meat. Take off your clothes, put the meat around your body and come like this till here.`

That brother did exactly at he was told. And while returning naked and wearing the meat around his body the dogs and the birds of prey lacerated it trying to snatch the meat. After he returned to the elder and showed him his lacerated body, abba Antonius said: `This is the way are torn to pieces in their struggle with the demons those who withdraw from the world but still want to keep some money for themselves.`

*

     Abba Isidore:  The terrible and shameful addiction to money doesn’t know saturation and pushes the soul into the worst of sins. That is why we should chase it away from the start. Because if it controls us becomes uncontrollable.

*

`A man who wanted to withdraw from the world went to a great elder and told him : `I want to become a monk.` The elder told him: `If you want it go and give up on everything then come and sit in your cell.`

This man went and gave everything he had but he kept for himself one hundred golden coins and then came to the elder. The elder told him: `You cannot become a monk.` The man said: `But I can.` Then the elder told him: Go and sit in your cell.` So he went and sat down. But as he was sitting there he had a thought that said: `The door is old and must be changed.`    

The elder told him: `You haven’t given up on the world yet. Go and do it then come and sit here.`   The brother went and gave 90 coins from the money he had. Returning he said: `I gave up on the world.` And as the elder told him to go and sit in the cell he did this and he got another thought: `The roof is old and must be mended.` The elder told him: `Go and give up on the world.` So he went and gave the ten golden coins he still had then went back to the elder and said: `I gave up on the world.` Afterwards he went to sit in his cell and his thoughts told him: `Everything here is old, the place is desert and the lion comes to eat you.` He went to the elder and confessed his thoughts. `The elder told him: `Answer to your thoughts this: I wait to see everything coming against me, the lion to eat me to be freed faster. Say this to your thoughts, go and sit in your cell, pray without cease to God not being afraid and not worrying about anything.` The brother did this and he found his peace.

*

A young man wanted to withdraw from the world. He left the city many times to go to a monastery but his thoughts made him go back bringing him worries for things that seemed necessary. He was very rich. One day as he had left the city he was again overwhelmed by his thoughts that darkened his mind and urged him to go back for certain affairs apparently necessary. Feeling the war set against him and the burden of his thoughts he took off the clothes he was wearing and threw them. Then he ran naked as he was to one of the monasteries. God revealed to an elder to whom the young man was coming: `Get up and welcome my servant.` The man got up and welcomed him. And when he found out what had happened he marveled. He received the young man and gave him the schema immediately.    Since them when other brothers came to the elder to ask him about their thoughts if they asked about other things he answered them. But if they asked about the withdrawal from the world he sent them to that man saying: `Ask the brother.`

*

There was a monk who was sick and he was taken by the abbot of a monastery who took care of him as if he hadn’t had the necessary ones. He told the the monks who were under his guidance: Ler us try to give rest to the helpless one.` But the sick man had a vessel full of gold and he had hidden it in a hollow under the straw bed where he was lying. After some time he died without confessing the truth about the gold. While they buried him abba told the brothers: `Take this bedding out of here. The monks took it and found the hidden gold. They took brought it and brought it to abba. And this one seeing the gold and finding out how it had been found said: Because the man didn’t confess about this during his life not even on his death bed and put all his hopes in that I won’t touch it. Take it as it is and bury it near him. While returning from the burial they saw a fire coming from the skies and hitting the grave and it burnt for many days till it consumed the stones, the dust and everything was in the tomb. And all those who saw this got afraid and marveled.      

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Excerpt from EVERGHETINOS – first edition 2007  Holy Monastery Vatoped vol. I, Theme 17 – Metropolis Press, Athens, Greece, 2007.

In the middle of the night a bear shows up in the forest in front of an Orthodox metropolitan

The metropolitan Cyrill (Smirnov) of Kazan was taken from Sviaj, for deportation on a dark night and thrown from the car at high speed.

It was a hard winter with snow. The metropolitan fell in the big snow that was like a pillow and he didn’t suffer any harm. He got out of it with difficulty, looked around and saw only forest, snow without any sign that the area could have been dwelled.

The metropolitan walked for a long time through the deep snow and became exhausted so he sat on a snag. The coldness reached his bones. He felt that he was beginning to freeze. So he started saying the prayers for the dead. All of a sudden he saw something huge and dark coming close to him and looking carefully he realized that it was a bear.

`He will eat me` he thought but he had no power to run away and he didn’t have where to run. But the bear came close and sat at his feet. From all his body radiated heat and kindness. He twisted his body and stretched his paw towards the metropolitan then lied down and began to snore happily.

The metropolitan hesitated for a long time looking at the bear that was sleeping but because he could not bear the paralyzing coldness anymore he sat beside him, leaning on hs warm belly. Then he turned on one side then on the other towards the face of the bear to warm himself and the bear was breathing powerfully in his sleep and gave him his warmth.

When the dawn came the metropolitan heard the crowing of the cocks afar off. The houses are near, he thought happily and cautiously without waking the bear he stood up. Then the bear stood up as well and after he shook himself and headed to the forest. And the metropolitan now refreshed followed the crow of the cocks and reached in a short time a small village.

Source: lonews.ro

About the divine providence

129. After the Creation of the world God takes care of it?

God takes care of the world. This work through which God takes care of the world is called providence. By providence God keeps the world in its entirety and each thing and being and protects them and guides them towards good aims. Providence supports any good deed. It brought the prophecy in the Old Testament and the plan for salvation.

It is shown in all the works of the world from the smallest to the biggest ones God knowing them all and taking care of them, as the Savior says: `Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?`  (Mathew VI, 26). Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care.` (Matthew X, 29).

God, says saint John Chrysostom, not only brought to light the Creation but after doing that He takes care of it.

If you say angels, archangels, heavenly powers, all the visible and invisible ones

all these are blessed with His providence. Without this work they all go and vanish. And saint Clement from Alexandria says: `the sight, the order and the perfect beauty of the visible things show us the divine providence.`

By providence God not only keeps but also guides the world towards a change in better. Saint Ephrem the Syrian says this about providence: `I saw houses and thought of the householder. I saw the world and I understood the providence. I saw ship without helmsman, sinking. I saw the deeds of men unfulfilled without God who guides them. I saw cities and republics having different  constitution and I understood that everything exists by the order set by God. The flock is from the shepherd and the growth of all on earth is from God.

By providence God stops the evil and turns it into good as Dosoftei tells us in his Confession: `He knows beforehand the evil ones and He allows them, but He doesn’t take care of these because He didn’t create them. Once taking place they are led towards something useful by the endless kindness which without creating them, pushes them towards good as much as it stays in their power. God preserves and leads the world working together with the powers of the beings not without them.

Those who come to live as monks must be accepted only after serious trials, because those who are tested usually become very skilled. What must be required from them part.1

From his youth saint Pahomius’s heart burnt of love for God and he wished to become a monk. Finding out about a hermit called Palamon, who lived in seclusion, he went to that one wanting to stay with him. When he reached his cell, not far from the desert he knocked at the door. That one opening the door a little said: What do you want and who are you looking for? because after his long ascetic struggles the elder was very tough. And Pahomius said: God sent me to you to make me a monk.

The elder told him: You can’t be a monk, because the work f the monk is hard. That is why many came here but they were bent by hardships and they didn’t endure. Pahomius said: `Not all people have the same determination. Accept me and you will see.`I told you that you can’t.` the elder said. `Go somewhere else and struggle for a while then come back and I’ll receive you. Here I’m living a severe ascetic life and by the grace of God I don’t eat anything else except bread and salt. I refrain from oil and wine completely. I keep vigils for half of the night – and sometimes even the whole night – spending my time in prayers and studying the words of God.

  1. From the life of saint Pahomius

Pahomius hearing these and accepting piously the toughness of those words decided in the depth of his soul to endure all strives with the help of the divine grace and said to the elder:

`I believe that God will give me power and patience so that I become worthy to settle here with the help of your prayers.` Then saint Palamon seeing with the sharp eye of his mind Pahomius’s faith and his zeal for salvation opened the door for him and clad him in the monachal schema.

Since then they spent their time striving and praying together. They spinned wool and  wove sacks. They worked with zeal, as the Apostle says, but not for their comfort or for gathering money but for feeding the poor. And Palamon seeing Pahomius’s s obedience in everything rejoiced and glorified God.

  • From the same’s life

Saint Pahomius ceaseless prayer was to be accomplished the will of God with him. And after some time while he kept a vigil and was praying an angel from God showed up and said:`The will of God is to serve him and reconcile mankind with Him. And repeating this for three times he left him. Then Pahomius thanked God and  being convinced by the vision he had he started to receive those who came to God out of repentance. And he gave them the monachal schema after many trials stopping them from the worldly things and leading them slowly to ascetic struggle.

From the life of Pious Theodora

Blessed Theodora thinking to leave the world and everything belonged to it and to cheat with wise thoughts the one who had deluded her, she dressed as a man – to hide from the man who was to look for her insistently – and went to a monastery for monks located at 18 km from Alexandria.

Reaching the gate she asked to be received inside and accepted as a mok among the others. But the monks who thought she was a man not a woman told her they wouldn’t have received her if she hadn`t stayed under the open sky and proving in this way to the brothers her strength. And she gladly accepted what they asked – even if she knew that there were many wild beasts coming out at night, the place being desert and wild – but she followed the order and spent her night waiting in front of the gate. That is why God who erstwhile tamed the cruelty of the lions for Daniel, protected her unharmed by beasts knowing beforehand what heights f virtue she could reach. And the monks understood after this trial that it pleased God to let her stay in their monastery.

After she was gladly received there the abbot taking her aside asked her in detail about her identity and about the reason of her coming to the monastery.

`Have you chosen to leave the world being burdened by debts and loans or were you caught committing a murder or you could not feed your children?`

`None of these is my reason, father, said Theodora. I only wanted to find my peace away of the noise of the world and to cry for my sins.

`What is your name?` asked the elder.

`Theodore is my name`.

`Do not imagine that here you will live without painstaking, brother Theodore. But if you really want to take the yoke of obedience know that you will serve your brothers in all their needs, not only in those from the monastery – where you must take care of the seedlings and greens, bring the water and wet the garden in time – but also in the chores from outside. If it is necessary to go in the city you will do it. And these will not be reasons for neglecting ascetic struggle so you will have to keep on praying and fasting without cease, to sing psalms and make your daily prayers in the morning and in the evening. And you won’t neglect any of the Hours. And you will make prostrations, exhausting your body because of the scheming of the enemies who come through it.

The blessed listened to all these carefully and considering all of them a spiritual delight promised to accomplish them with great zeal. And in this way she came to belong to that worthy community of monks. And because her promises to God were true she took farewell from all the fleshly thoughts and prepared herself for strives, without any trace of idleness or anything else which could impede her ministration. She spent in this way eight years taking care of the seedlings and greens necessary for the monastery. Every day she worked hard to the grinding of the wheat, to the kneading of the dough and to the baking of the bread. Then she cooked the greens those monk ate to kill their bodies. And she never missed a holy service in the church but there she proved at her most her love for God.

But despite the fact that she lived in that way and she had chosen a painstaking life the thought of her previous mistake troubled her. After all those chores when the night fell although she should have slept to have a moderate rest she hit her chest and cried saying: God forgive my sin that took the good face of my virtue.`

She also did all the shopping buying the oil, the wheat and everything was necessary for the monastery and carried them with the camels. Briefly saying there was no chore where Theodora wouldn’t have proven more zeal than all the others.

[i] day – shape, form, appereance, usually clothes. The word is used for the monachal robe and for the monachal life in general (the one who takes the shema is the one who becomes a monk, who receives the monachal order; from here comes the expression `he has so many years in schema).

[ii] And we work hard with our hands (I Co. 4,12)

[iii] it refers at the devil. Theodora was a married Christian woman from Alexandria. A rich man fell in love with her and succeeded to make her sin. After the adultery Theodora decided to repent for her sin in the way it was described above

[iv] The Hours (rQoec;) – short holy services during the day (The 1st, 3rd, 6th  9th Hour), called in this way after the Byzantine hour. Initially the monachal rules were adopted by the worldly ordinary fact that led to their unification with other services from the seven praises

 (1st Hour after Matins,  3rd and 6th Hour before the Liturgy and the 9th Hour before Vespers).

[v] Litt. „took off clothes”. Allusion at the athelete who took off his clothes before the fight in the same way the ascetic takes off everything can be an obstacle on the path of godliness.

[vi] the ascesis of the holy fathers is called mortification of the soul matter that must be understood wisely. Fasting vigils, abstinence, prostrations and all the other strives have as purpose the liberation of physical passions this being the only reason for the struggle

Excerpt from  EVERGHETINOS – bilingual edition 2010  Holy Monastery Vatoped vol. II, Theme 26