Nicodemus the Hagiorite: This greatest, most wondrous, and nearly infinitely-sized polyelaios of the entire universe Thursday, Jun 2 2016 

Nikodemos 1Polyelaios – the main chandelier in the Nave of the Church [translator’s note].

I am not able, here, to pass over in silence the beautiful and fitting analogy put forth by some concerning the renewal of the whole of creation.

They compare it to a wise artist who is fabricating a great, wondrous, and costly polyelaios  and who does not finish it in one sitting, but rather works on it for a great deal of time, now working on one small section of the polyelaios, now on another; and sometimes he fashions the middle bars of the polyelaios, and sometimes its oil lamps, sometimes its bulb, and sometimes he works on the parts that will hold the candles.

Once he has finished the entire polyelaios and all of the small and large parts it comprises, then he exhibts this wondrous polyelaios in the center of the market, with all of its numerous parts connected; and, seeing that it was made according to his design, beautifully and most skilfully, he rejoices greatly and is glad.

But all of the people, also, seeing it shining most brightly and fitted together with most wondrous skill, are enraptured and praise the artist who has fashioned it, calling out: “Well done! Well done!”

In the same way, God, the all-wise master craftsman and architect, in his desire to fabricate this greatest, most wondrous, and nearly infinitely-sized polyelaios of the entire universe, did not complete it at once, because the parts making up this great polyelaios are not only inanimate and irrational, but also rational and possessors of free will. For this reason, He has been working on these parts of the world for 7,311 years now, and we do not yet know how many more years He will work on it until the end of time.

Now He fashions and finishes one part of the polyelaios, now another; that is, now He seizes one soul that has been kept pure by the practicing of the commandments, and now He seizes another that has been justified through repentance; and another He saves through His promises, while another by His threats; this person He delivers from sin through trial and chastisement, and that one He frees from the Devil by His Grace, until He has assembled all of the small and great parts of which this most wondrous Polyelaios of the world is to be comprised.

When these things have been completed and the heavens, the luminaries, the stars, the elements, the earth, and the bodies of the righteous have been renewed through the regeneration and resurrection, and through alteration and amendment, then God, the master craftsman, will fabricate His great polyelaios and equip it with all of its most exquisitely beautiful, resplendent, and most wondrous parts.

Nicodemus the Hagiorite (1749-1809): The Greatest and Most Wondrous Polyelaios in the Entire Universe and the Renewal of the Whole of Creation (Commentary by St. Nicodemos on II St. Peter 3:13) @ Old Calendar Orthodox Church of Greece.

Advertisements

Nicodemus the Hagiorite: We must frequently run to the divine Mysteries and partake of the superessential bread Thursday, Mar 24 2016 

Nikodemos 1John of Damaskos says: “This bread, which is called superessential, is the first-fruits of the future bread.

“For ‘superessential’ means either of the future, which is to say, of the future age, or that which we receive for the constitution of our essence (that is, our body).

“Whether it be the former or the latter meaning, it is obviously to be called the body of the Lord.”

[…] Because the Fathers say that the body of the Lord is called superessential bread does not mean that they dismiss the common bread which is given for the sustenance of our body, for this also is a gift of God.

[…] However, this common bread is called superessential in a secondary, not primary, sense, for it strengthens only the body and not the soul.

But the body of our Lord and the word of God are called superessential bread primarily and in every respect, because they strengthen both soul and body. This is apparent from the example of many men.

The Prophet Moses fasted forty days and nights without eating any bodily food. The Prophet Elias likewise fasted for forty days. Under the New Grace a great number of Saints, with only the word of God and Holy Communion, have lived without food for many days.

For this reason, as many of us as have been deemed worthy to receive spiritual rebirth through divine Baptism have the need to frequently eat, with fervent love and a broken heart, this spiritual food, in order to live a spiritual life and to keep ourselves unharmed by the poison of the noetic serpent, the devil.

If Adam had eaten of this food, he would not have died the double death of the soul and of the body.

We must not eat this spiritual bread, however, without preparation, for our God is called a consuming fire that burns. Holy Communion purifies, illumines, and sanctifies those who eat the Master’s body and drink the immaculate blood with a pure conscience and true confession.

[…] We have spoken, then, about the third and final meaning of the superessential bread, which is as necessary and beneficial to us as Holy Baptism is necessary and beneficial.

For this reason, we must frequently run to the divine Mysteries and partake of the superessential bread that we ask for from our God and Father, with fear and love, while it is still “today.”

And “today” has three meanings. First, it means every day. Second, it means the whole life of each person. And third, it means the entire present, seventh age. For in the future age there is no today and tomorrow, but that entire age is one eternal day.

Nicodemus the Hagiorite (1749-1809): Explanation of the Lord’s Prayer.

Nicodemus the Hagiorite: “And lead us not into temptation” Thursday, Feb 25 2016 

Nikodemos 1Our Lord directs us to ask our God and Father not to lead us into temptation.

The Prophet Isaiah, as representing God, says, “I form the light, and create darkness; I make peace, and create evil” (Is. 45:7).

And the Prophet Amos says similarly, “Shall there be evil in a city, and the Lord hath not done it?” (Am. 3:6).

Based on these words, many unlearned and insecure people fall into various thoughts concerning God: that God supposedly throws us into temptations.

For this reason, the Apostle James solved the problem for us, saying:

“Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth He any man. But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed” (Jas. 1:13-14).

[…] Temptations come to man in two kinds. One is the pleasurable kind, and therefore occurs with both our own will and the collaboration of the demons.

The other is the sorrowful and painful kind, which appears bitter to us, for it occurs without our will. The devil works on his own to bring about this kind.

Both of these kinds of temptations came upon the Hebrews. For because they willfully chose pleasurable temptation, using wealth, glory, and freedom for evil, they fell into idolatry.

For this reason God allowed the complete opposite to come upon them, namely, poverty, dishonor, exile, and the rest. With these evils He frightened them, in order that they might turn and repent.

The Prophets call the various forms of the chastisement of God wrongs and evil…, though in reality they are not evil, and this is because those things which bring pain and hardship to man are customarily called evil by him, since this is how he perceives them.

These things happen, not according to the original will of God, but according to the ensuing (that is, secondary) will of God, for the correction and good of man.

Our Lord, joining the first kind of temptation (that is, the pleasurable kind) with the second kind (that is, the bitter and oppressive kind) calls both of them by one name, “temptation,” because the free will of man is tempted and tested by them.

[…] The devil first attacks us with pleasurable temptation, for he knows that we fall into it easily. And if he finds our will obedient to his, he draws us away from the grace of God which protects us.

[…] If he does not find our will compliant, that is, if we do not fall to the pleasurable temptation, he still brings the second kind of temptation, hoping that through many sorrows he will be able to force us to carry out his evil intent.

Nicodemus the Hagiorite (1749-1809): Explanation of the Lord’s Prayer.

Nicodemus the Hagiorite: “Give us this day our superessential bread” Thursday, Feb 4 2016 

Nikodemos 1

The superessential bread is the body and blood of the Lord, which differs as much from the word of God as does the sun from a ray.

In divine Communion, the Sun that is the whole God-man enters into, mixes with, and leavens the whole man, being He Who illumines, enlightens, and sanctifies all of the powers and senses of the soul and body of man, and refashions him from corruption to incorruption.

Thus the words “superessential bread” primarily and for an especial reason refer to the divine Communion of the all-immaculate body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, for it preserves and sustains the essence of the soul, and gives it the strength to do the Master’s commandments and everything else, as our Lord says: “For My flesh is meat indeed, and My blood is drink indeed” (Jn. 6:55), which is to say, My flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink.

If someone is in doubt as to how the body of our Lord is called superessential bread, let him listen to what the sacred teachers of our Church say concerning this.

[…] St. Isidore Pelousiotes says: “The prayer which the Lord taught does not contain anything earthly, but everything is heavenly and looks to the profit of the soul, even that which appears to be unimportant and sensible. And it is the opinion of many wise men that the Lord said this prayer for the following reason: in order to teach in a special way about the divine word and bread which nourishes the bodiless soul and which, in some way, is mixed and infused into the essence of the soul. For this reason it is also called superessential bread, inasmuch as the word ‘essence’ is more becoming of the soul than the body.”

[…] The divine Maximos says: “For if we live in the way we have prayed, to nourish our souls and to maintain the good state which we have been granted we will receive the superessential and life-giving bread, that is, the Word, Who said: I am the bread which came down from heaven and gives life to the world (cf. Jn. 6:41, 33). He becomes everything for us in proportion to the virtue and wisdom with which we have been nourished.” 

In other words, living according to the words of the Lord’s Prayer, let us receive the Son and Word of God as the superessential bread, as vital food for our souls, and as a safeguard for the goods which have been granted to us. Moreover, the Lord said that He is the bread which came down from the heavens and gives life to the world. However, this occurs within each person who receives Him according to the virtue and knowledge which he has.

Nicodemus the Hagiorite (1749-1809): Explanation of the Lord’s Prayer.