John-of-Damascus_01I live, says the Lord, and I will glorify those who glorify Me.

And the divine Apostle says: therefore now he is not a servant, but a son. And if a son, an heir also through God. Again, If we suffer with Him, that we also may be glorified….

St John, who rested on His breast, says, that we shall be like to Him.

Just as a man by contact with fire becomes fire, not by nature, but by contact and by burning and by participation, so is it, I apprehend, with the flesh of the Crucified Son of God.

That flesh, by participation through union (kath’ hypostasin) with the divine nature, was unchangeably God, not in virtue of grace from God as was the case with each of the prophets, but by the presence of the Fountain Head Himself.

God, the Scripture says, stood in the synagogue of the gods, so that the saints, too, are gods.

Holy Gregory takes the words God stands in the midst of the gods to mean that He discriminates their several merits.

The saints in their lifetime were filled with the Holy Spirit, and when they are no more, His grace abides with their spirits and with their bodies in their tombs, and also with their likenesses and holy images, not by nature, but by grace and divine power.

[…] We depict Christ as our King and Lord, and do not deprive Him of His army. The saints constitute the Lord’s army.

Let the earthly king dismiss his army before he gives up his King and Lord. Let him put off the purple before he takes honour away from his most valiant men who have conquered their passions.

For if the saints are heirs of God, and co-heirs of Christ, they will be also partakers of the divine glory of sovereignty.

If the friends of God have had a part in the sufferings of Christ, how shall they not receive a share of His glory even on earth?

I call you not servants, our Lord says, you are my friends. Should we then deprive them of the honour given to them by the Church?

[…] I worship the image of Christ as the Incarnate God; that of the Theotokos), the Mother of us all, as the Mother of God’s Son; that of the saints as the friends of God.

They have withstood sin unto blood, and followed Christ in shedding their blood for Him, who shed His blood for them.

I put on record the excellencies and the sufferings of those who have walked in His footsteps, that I may sanctify myself, and be fired with the zeal of imitation.

John Damascene (c.675-749): Against Those Who Deny Holy Images, pp 21-24.

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