August 11, 2010 + From Homily VI


The Homilies of St. John Chrysostom on the Epistle to the Philippians

"Have this mind in you, which was also in Christ Jesus; who, being in the form of God, counted it not a prize to be on an equality with God, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men; and being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, becoming obedient even unto death, yea, the death of the cross."  (Philippians 2:5-8)

Attend, I entreat you, and rouse yourselves. For as a sharp two-edged sword, wheresoever it falls, though it be among ten thousand phalanxes, easily cuts through and destroys, because it is sharp on every side, and nought can bear its edge; so are the words of the Spirit. (Heb. iv. 12; Rev. i. 16.) For by these words he has laid low the followers of Arius of Alexandria, of Paul of Samosata, of Marcellus the Galatian, of Sabellius the Libyan, of Marcion that was of Pontus, of Valentinus, of Manes, of Apollinarius of Laodicea, of Photinus, of Sophronius, and, in one word, all the heresies.

Rouse yourselves then to behold so great a spectacle, so many armies falling by one stroke, lest the pleasure of such a sight should escape you. For if when chariots contend in the horse race there is nothing so pleasing as when one of them dashes against and overthrows whole chariots with their drivers, and after throwing down many with the charioteers that stood thereon, drives by alone towards the goal, and the end of the course, and amid the applause and clamor which rises on all sides to heaven, with coursers winged as it were by that joy and that applause, sweeps over the whole ground; how much greater will the pleasure be here, when by the grace of God we overthrow at once and in a body the combinations and devilish machinations of all these heresies together with their charioteers?

And if it seem good to you, we will first arrange the heresies themselves in order. Would you have them in the order of their impiety, or of their dates? In the order of time, for it is difficult to judge of the order of their impiety. First then let Sabellius the Libyan come forward. What does he assert? that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, are mere names given to one Person. Marcion of Pontus says, that God the Creator of all things is not good, nor the Father of the good Christ, but another righteous one, and that he did not take flesh for us. Marcellus, and Photinus, and Sophronius assert, that the Word is an energy, and that it was this energy that dwelt in Him who was of the seed of David, and not a personal substance.

Arius confesses indeed the Son, but only in word; he says that He is a creature, and much inferior to the Father. And others say that He has not a soul. Seest thou the chariots standing? See then their fall, how he overthrows them all together, and with a single stroke. How? "Have the same mind in you," he says, "which was in Christ Jesus, who being in the form of God, counted it not a prize to be on an equality with God." And Paul of Samosata has fallen, and Marcellus, and Sabellius. For he says, "Being in the form of God." If "in the form" how sayest thou, O wicked one, that He took His origin from Mary, and was not before? and how dost thou say that He was an energy? For it is written, "The form of God took the form of a servant." "The form of a servant," is it the energy of a servant, or the nature of a servant? By all means, I fancy, the nature of a servant. Thus too the form of God, is the nature of God, and therefore not an energy. Behold also Marcellus of Galatia, Sophronius and Photinus have fallen.

Behold Sabellius too. It is written, "He counted it not a prize to be on an equality with God." Now equality is not predicated, where there is but one person, for that which is equal hath somewhat to which it is equal. Seest thou not the substance of two Persons, and not empty names without things? Hearest thou not the eternal pre-existence of the Only-begotten?

Lastly, What shall we say against Arius, who asserts the Son is of a different substance? Tell me now, what means, "He took the form of a servant"? It means, He became man. Wherefore "being in the form of God," He was God. For one "form" and another "form" is named; if the one be true, the other is also. "The form of a servant" means, Man by nature, wherefore "the form of God" means, God by nature.

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Dormition of the Theotokos - August 15

Troparion, Tone 1

In giving birth thou didst preserve thy virginity; in falling asleep thou didst not forsake the world, O Theotokos. Thou wast translated to life, O Mother of Life, and by your prayers you deliver our souls from death.

Kontakion, Tone 2

Neither the tomb nor death could hold the Theotokos, who is sleepless in her intercessions and an unchanging hope in her mediations. For as the Mother of Life she was transferred to life by Him Who dwelt in her ever-virgin womb.