Andrew of Crete: The Redeemer of the human race willed to arrange a new birth and re-creation of mankind Tuesday, Sep 8 2015 

AndrewofcreteThe first creation of mankind occurred from the pure and unsullied earth;

but their nature darkened its innate worthiness, they were deprived of grace through the sin of disobedience;

for this we were cast out of the land of life and, in place of the delights of Paradise, we received temporal life as our inheritance by birth, and with it the death and corruption of our race.

All started to prefer earth to heaven, so that there remained no hope for salvation, beyond the utmost help.

Neither the natural nor the written law, nor the fiery reconciliative sayings of the prophets had power to heal the sickness.

No one knew how to rectify human nature and by what means it would be most suitable to raise it up to its former worthiness, so long as God the author of all did not deign to reveal to us another arranged and newly-constituted world, where the pervasive form of the old poison of sin is annihilated, and granting us a wondrous, free and perfectly dispassionate life, through our re-creation in the baptism of divine birth.

But how would this great and most glorious blessing be imparted to us, so in accord with the divine commands, if God were not to be manifest to us in the flesh, not subject to the laws of nature, nor deign to dwell with us in a manner known to Him?

And how could all this be accomplished, if first there did not serve the mystery a pure and inviolate Virgin, Who contained the Uncontainable, in accord with the law, yet beyond the laws of nature?

And could some other virgin have done this besides she alone, who was chosen before all others by the creator of nature? This Virgin is the Theotokos, Mary, the most glorious of God, from whose womb the Most Divine came forth in the flesh, and by whom He Himself arranged a wondrous temple for Himself. She conceived without seed and gave birth without corruption, since her Son was God, though also He was born in the flesh, without mingling and without travail.

[…] The Redeemer of the human race, as I said, willed to arrange a new birth and re-creation of mankind: just as the first creation, taking dust from the virginal and pure earth, where He formed the first Adam, so also now, having arranged His incarnation upon the earth, and so to speak, in place of dust He chooses out of all the creation this pure and immaculate Virgin and, having re-created mankind in His chosen one from among mankind, the creator of Adam is made the New Adam, in order to save the old.

Andrew of Crete (c.650-740[?]): Oration 1 – Homily on the Nativity of the Most Holy Mother of God; translation of complete homily @ St George Greek Orthodox Cathedral.

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Andrew of Crete: Have compassion on us, O Lover of men, and to those who ask with faith grant forgiveness Thursday, Mar 26 2015 

AndrewofcreteYou, my soul, have become like Hagar the Egyptian of old. You have become enslaved by your own choice and have a new Ishmael – stubborn self-will (Genesis 16:15).

You know, my soul, of the Ladder shown to Jacob reaching from earth to Heaven. Why have you not clung to the sure step of piety? (Genesis 28:12).

Imitate that Priest of God and solitary King who was an image of the life of Christ in the world among men (cf. Melchizedek: Hebrews 7:1-4; Genesis 14:18).

Be converted and groan, wretched soul, before the pageant of life comes to an end, before the Lord shuts the door of the bridal hall.

Do not be a pillar of salt, my soul, by turning back; but let the example of the Sodomites frighten you, and take refuge up in Zoar (Genesis 19:26).

Reject not the prayer of those who praise Thee, O Lord; but have compassion on us, O Lover of men, and to those who ask with faith grant forgiveness.

[…] Boastful I am, and hard-hearted, all in vain and for nothing. Condemn me not with the Pharisee, but rather grant me the humility of the Publican, O only merciful and just Judge, and number me with him (Luke 18:9-14).

I have sinned, I know, O merciful Lord, and outraged the vessel of my flesh, but accept me in penitence and recall me to awareness of Thee. May I never be the possession or food of the enemy. O Savior, have compassion on me.

I am become my own idol, and have injured my soul with passions, O merciful Lord, but accept me in penitence and recall me to awareness of Thee. May I never be the possession or food of the enemy. O Savior, have compassion on me.

I have not listened to Thy voice, I have disobeyed Thy Scripture, O Lawgiver, but accept me in penitence and recall me to awareness of Thee. May I never be the possession or food of the enemy. O Savior, have compassion on me.

[…] Imitate, my soul, the woman bent earthward; come and fall down at the feet of Jesus, that He may straighten you to walk upright in the footsteps of the Lord (Luke 13:11).

Though Thou art a deep well, O Lord, pour on me streams from Thy immaculate wounds, that like the Samaritan woman I may drink and thirst no more; for from Thee gush rivers of life (John 4:13-15).

May my tears be for me a Siloam, O Sovereign Lord, that I may wash the eyes of my soul and mentally see Thee Who art that light which was before creation (John 9:7; Genesis 1:2-19).

Andrew of Crete (c.650-740[?]): The Great Canon, Thursday of the First Week, Odes 3, 4, 5 @ Pravoslavie.

Andrew of Crete: Find the promised land and explore it secretly Monday, Mar 31 2014 

AndrewofcreteYou have heard, O my soul, how the waves and waters of the river formed a protective chamber for the baby Moses, allowing his basket of reeds to escape the cruel edict of the Pharaoh.

The midwives, though instructed by Pharaoh to kill the male infants of the Hebrews, obeyed their God instead.

Now that you, my hopeless soul, have been spared death like Moses, like him also be nourished on the wisdom of the Lord.

By killing the oppressive Egyptian, Moses severed his bond to Pharaoh. But you, O my hopeless soul, have not even begun to attack the wickedness of your mind.

If you have not accomplished even this much, how can you expect to pass through the time of repentance, which alone can drive away our sinful passions?

Go, my soul, and imitate the great Moses in the wilderness, that like him you may behold God present in the burning bush.

Think of the staff that Moses stretched over the waters to divide them. It is an image of the Cross of Christ whereby you, my soul, can also accomplish great things.

Aaron’s faithfulness was shown by his offering an acceptable sacrifice to God. But you, my soul, like the priests Hophni and Phineas have offered only your deceitful and selfish life.

[…] The waves of my transgressions have turned back on me, O Saviour, just as once the Red Sea turned back to engulf the Egyptian forces.

Like Israel of old you have an arrogant will, O my soul, preferring gluttony and self gratification to the manna from heaven.

The Canaanites’ wells can be likened to worldly philosophies, from which you, my soul, have preferred to drink rather than from the rock from which when struck by Moses there poured out a river of wisdom, the knowledge of God.

Like the arrogant Israelites in the wilderness, you prefer the comforts of Egypt and unclean food to manna, the food sent from heaven.

Water pouring from the rock when struck by Your servant Moses, prefigured Your life giving side, O Saviour, from which we saw the Water of Life.

Find the Promised Land and explore it secretly as Joshua, son of Nun, once did. See what kind of land it is and settle there, obeying the Law of God.

Andrew of Crete (c.650-740[?]): The Great Canon, Tuesday of the First Week, Odes 5 & 6 @ Pravoslavie.

Andrew of Crete: The night of sin has been to me thick fog and darkness Thursday, Mar 13 2014 

AndrewofcreteI alone have sinned against Thee, sinned above all men.  O Christ my Saviour, spurn me not.

Thou art the good Shepherd; seek me, Thy lamb, and neglect not me who have gone astray (John 10:11-14).

Thou art my sweet Jesus, Thou art my Creator; in Thee, O Saviour, I shall be justified.

I confess to Thee, O Saviour, I have sinned, I have sinned against Thee, but absolve and forgive me in Thy compassion.

[…]  Despise not Thy works and forsake not Thy creation, O just Judge and Lover of men, though I alone have sinned as a man more than any man.

But, being Lord of all, Thou hast power to pardon sins (Mark 2:10).

The end is drawing near, my soul, is drawing near!  But you neither care nor prepare.  The time is growing short.

Rise!  The Judge is near at the very doors.  Like a dream, like a flower, the time of this life passes.

Why do we bustle about in vain? (Matthew 24:33; Psalm 38:7).

Come to your senses, my soul! Consider the deeds you have done, and bring them before your eyes, and pour out the drops of your tears.

Boldly tell your thoughts and deeds to Christ, and be acquitted.

[…] I have passed my life ever in night, for the night of sin has been to me thick fog and darkness; but make me, O Saviour, a son of the day (Ephesians 5:8).

[…] I confess to Thee, O Christ my King: I have sinned, I have sinned, like Joseph’s brothers of old, who sold the fruit of purity and chastity (Genesis 37).

Righteous Joseph was given up by his brothers, that sweet soul was sold into slavery, as a type of the Lord; and you, my soul, have sold yourself completely to your vices (Genesis 37:27-28).

Imitate, wretched and worthless soul, righteous Joseph and his pure mind, and do not be wanton with irrational desires, ever transgressing  (Genesis 39:7-23).

If Joseph of old also occupied a pit, O Sovereign Lord, yet it was as a type of Thy Burial and Rising.  But will I ever offer Thee anything like it? (Genesis 37).

Andrew of Crete (c.650-740[?]): Great Canon of Repentance @ Monachos.net.

Andrew of Crete: Sin stripped me of the garment created for me by God Friday, Mar 7 2014 

AndrewofcreteDeliberately have I imitated blood thirsty Cain, O Lord, enlivening my flesh while murdering my soul by striking it with my evil deeds.

I have not resembled Abel in his righteousness, O Jesus, never having offered to You actions worthy of God, pure gifts, an appropriate sacrifice, an unblemished Life.

Like Cain, O my wretched soul, my offering to the Creator of all has been filthy deeds, a polluted sacrifice, and a worthless Life, and like him I now stand condemned.

You formed my flesh and bones as a Potter, O my Creator, my Redeemer and my Judge, by moulding clay into flesh and infusing in it the breath of Life. Accept me now as I return to You.

O my Saviour, I confess the sins which I have committed, the wounds which murderous thoughts, like thieves within me, have inflicted on my soul and body.

Thought I have sinned, O Saviour, I know that in Your love for mankind Your punishment is merciful and Your compassion profound. Seeing my tears You will run to me as the Father calling His lost son.

[…]  Sin stripped me of the garment created for me by God, leaving me in a coat of skin.

Sensing his shame, Adam dressed himself in fig leaves, and like him I now wear a garment of shame which reveals my many passions.

A soiled garment clothes me, one shamefully stained with blood flowing from a Life of passion and love of fleshly things.

I fell beneath the weight of the passions and the corruption of my flesh, and from that moment has the Enemy had power over me.

Instead of seeking poverty of spirit I prefer a Life of greed and self gratification. Therefore, O Saviour, a heavy weight hangs from my neck.

Joseph’s was a splendid coat of many colours, but mine is one of shameful thoughts, which condemns me even as it covers my flesh.

I persist in caring only for my outer garment, while neglecting the temple within me, one made in the image of God.

The woman searched her house for the lost coin until she found it. Now the beauty of my original image is lost, O Saviour, buried in passion. Come and as she did, search to recover it.

Like the prostitute I cry to You, O Saviour, that I have sinned. I alone have sinned against You! But accept my tears as You did hers when she came to anoint Your feet.

Andrew of Crete (c.650-740[?]): from The Great Canon, Tuesday of the First Week, Odes 1 & 2 @ Pravoslavie.

Andrew of Crete: The birth of Mary and the deification of man Sunday, Sep 8 2013 

AndrewofcreteSeptember 8th is the Feast of the Birth of the Virgin Mary

The present day solemnity is a line of demarcation, separating the truth from its prefigurative symbol, and ushering in the new in place of the old.

Paul – that Divine Trumpeter of the Spirit – exclaims thus about this: “For anyone that be in Christ, ye are remade a new creature; the old passeth away and behold all is become new” (2 Cor 5:17);

“for the law hath perfected nothing adducing for a better hope, whereby we draw nigh to God” (Heb 7:19). The truth of grace hath shown forth brightly.

Let there now be one common festal celebration in both heaven and on earth. Let everything now celebrate, that which is in the world and that beyond the world.

Now is made the created temple for the Creator of all; and creation is readied into a new Divine habitation for the Creator.

Now our nature having been banished from the land of blessedness doth receive the principle of theosis [deification], and doth strive to rise up to the highest glory.

Now Adam doth offer from us and for us elements unto God, the most worthy fruit of mankind – Mary, in Whom the new Adam is rendered Bread for the restoration of the human race.

Now is opened the great bosom of virginity, and the Church, in the matrimonial manner, doth place upon it a pure pearl truly immaculate.

Now human worthiness doth accept the gift of the first creation and returns to its former condition.

Man’s majesty had been darkened by formless sin. Now, through the conjoining by His Mother by birth “of Him made beautiful by Goodness,” man receives beauty in a most excellent and God-seemly visage.

And this creating is done truly by the creation, and recreation by theosis, and theosis by a return to the original perfection!

Now a barren one is become beyond expectation a mother, and the Birth-giver hath given birth without knowing man, and she doth sanctify natural birth.

Now is readied the majestied color of the Divine scarlet-purple and the impoverished human nature is clothed in royal worthiness.

Now – according to prophecy – there sprouts forth the Offshoot of David, Who, having eternally become the green-sprouting Staff of Aaron, hath blossomed forth for us with the Staff of Power — Christ.

Now of Judah and David is descended a Virgin Maiden, rendering of herself the royal and priestly worthiness of Him that hath taken on the priesthood of Aaron in the order of Melchisedek (Heb 7:15).

Now is begun the renewal of our nature, and the world responding, assuming a God-seemly form, doth receive the principle of a second Divine creation.

Andrew of Crete (c.650-740[?]): Oration 1 – Homily on the Nativity of the Most Holy Mother of God; translation of complete homily @ Mystagogy.

Andrew of Crete: Christ, giver of life, hath burst the fetters of the tomb Wednesday, Aug 21 2013 

AndrewofcreteExult, ye Gentiles! mourn, ye Hebrews! Christ,
Giver of Life, hath burst
The fetters of the Tomb:
And raised the dead again, and healed the sick.
This is our God, Who giveth health
To every soul believing on His Name.

Marvel of marvels! Thou, O Lord, didst turn
The water into wine,
As once Thou spak’st the word
To Egypt’s river, and forthwith ’twas blood.
All praise to Thee, O Lord, Who now
By laying down Thy glory, man renew’st!

O overflowing stream of truest life,
Our Resurrection, Lord!
Thou for our sakes didst toil,
Thou for our sakes—so Nature willed—didst thirst:
And resting Thee by Sichar’s well,
Of the Samaritan didst seek to drink.

Thou blessest bread, Thou multipliest fish,
Incomprehensible!
Thou freely feed’st the crowd,
And givest Wisdom’s spring to thirsting men.
Thou art our Savious, O our God!
Giver of Life to them that trust in Thee!

Three co-eternal, co-enthroned, I laud:
The unbegotten Sire,
And Co-existant Son,
And Spirit, co-eternal with the Twain:
Tri-hypostatic Essence! One
In might and majesty and Godhead sole.

Mother of God! Thou only didst contain
The Uncontainable;
And brought’st the Infant forth,
Ineffable in Thy Virginity.
Hence without ceasing, O most pure,
Vouchsafe to call down blessing on Thy flock!

Thou turned’st the sea to land, when Thou didst whelm
Pharoah and all his host,
His chariot and his horse:
And ledd’st Thy people to the Holy Mount.
Sing we, said they, to Thee our God,
Mighty in War, this Ode of Victory!

Andrew of Crete (c.650-740[?]): Extracts from Canon for Meso-Pentecost, translated by John Mason Neale (1818-1866) in Hymns of the Eastern Church.

Andrew of Crete: The great mystery Wednesday, Jul 10 2013 

Andrewofcreteτο μεγα μυστηριον.

O the mystery, passing wonder,
When, reclining at the board,
“Eat,” Thou saidst to thy disciples,
“That True Bread with quickening stored:
Drink in faith the healing chalice
From a dying God outpoured.”

Then the glorious upper chamber
A celestial tent was made,
When the bloodless rite was offered,
And the soul’s true service paid,
And the table of the feasters
As an altar stood displayed.

Christ is now our mighty Pascha,
Eaten for our mystic bread:
Take we of his broken body,
Drink we of the blood he shed,
As a lamb led out to slaughter,
And for this world offerèd.

To the Twelve spake Truth eternal,
To the branches spake the Vine:
“Never more from this day forward
Shall I taste again this wine,
Till I drink it in the kingdom
Of my Father, and with mine.”

Thou hast stretched those hands for silver
That had held the immortal food;
With those lips that late had tasted
Of the body and the blood,
Thou hast given the kiss, O Judas;
Thou hast heard the woe bestowed.

Christ to all the world gives banquet
On that most celestial meat:
Him, albeit with lips all earthly,
Yet with holy hearts we greet:
Him, the sacrificial Pascha,
Priest and Victim all complete.

Andrew of Crete (c.650-740[?]): Stichera for Great Thursday, translated by John Mason Neale (1818-1866) in Hymns of the Eastern Church.

Andrew of Crete: Rejoice exceedingly, Daughter of Jerusalem, sing and leap for joy Tuesday, Nov 20 2012 

Let us say to Christ: Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, the king of Israel.

[…] Let us spread the thoughts and desires of our hearts under his feet like garments, so that entering us with the whole of his being, he may draw the whole of our being into himself and place the whole of his in us.

Let us say to Zion in the words of the prophet: Have courage, daughter of Zion, do not be afraid.

Behold, your king comes to you, humble and mounted on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.

He is coming who is everywhere present and pervades all things; he is coming to achieve in you his work of universal salvation.

He is coming who came to call to repentance not the righteous but sinners, coming to recall those who have strayed into sin.

Do not be afraid, then: God is in the midst of you, and you shall not be shaken.

Receive him with open, outstretched hands, for it was on his own hands that he sketched you.

[…] Receive him, for he took upon himself all that belongs to us except sin, to consume what is ours in what is his.

Be glad, city of Zion, our mother, and fear not. Celebrate your feasts.

Glorify him for his mercy, who has come to us in you.

Rejoice exceedingly, daughter of Jerusalem, sing and leap for joy. Be enlightened…, as holy Isaiah trumpeted, for the light has come to you and the glory of the Lord has risen over you.

What kind of light is this? It is that which enlightens every man coming into the world.

It is the everlasting light, the timeless light revealed in time, the light manifested in the flesh although hidden by nature, the light that shone round the shepherds and guided the Magi.

It is the light that was in the world from the beginning, through which the world was made, yet the world did not know it.

It is that light which came to its own, and its own people did not receive it.

And what is this glory of the Lord?

Clearly it is the cross on which Christ was glorified, he, the radiance of the Father’s glory, even as he said when he faced his passion:

Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in him, and will glorify him at once.

The glory of which he speaks here is his lifting up on the cross, for Christ’s glory is his cross and his exaltation upon it, as he plainly says:

When I have been lifted up, I will draw all men to myself.

Andrew of Crete (c.650-740[?]): Oratio 9 for Palm Sunday (PG 97, 1002) from the Office of Readings for Tuesday of Week 33 of Ordinary Time @ Crossroads Initiative.

Andrew of Crete: Darkness yields before the coming of the Light, and grace exchanges legalism for freedom Saturday, Sep 8 2012 

The fulfilment of the law is Christ himself, who does not so much lead us away from the letter as lift us up to its spirit.

For the law’s consummation was this, that the very lawgiver accomplished his work and changed letter into spirit, summing everything up in himself and, though subject to the law, living by grace.

He subordinated the law, yet harmoniously united grace with it, not confusing the distinctive characteristics of the one with the other, but effecting the transition in a way most fitting for God.

He changed whatever was burdensome, servile and oppressive into what is light and liberating, so that we should be enslaved no longer under the elemental spirits of the world, as the Apostle says, nor held fast as bondservants under the letter of the law.

This is the highest, all-embracing benefit that Christ has bestowed on us. This is the revelation of the mystery, this is the emptying out of the divine nature, the union of God and man, and the deification of the manhood that was assumed.

This radiant and manifest coming of God to men most certainly needed a joyful prelude to introduce the great gift of salvation to us.

The present festival, the birth of the Mother of God, is the prelude, while the final act is the fore-ordained union of the Word with flesh.

Today the Virgin is born, tended and formed and prepared for her role as Mother of God, who is the universal King of the ages.

Justly, then, do we celebrate this mystery since it signifies for us a double grace. We are led toward the truth, and we are led away from our condition of slavery to the letter of the law.

How can this be? Darkness yields before the coming of the light, and grace exchanges legalism for freedom.

But midway between the two stands today’s mystery, at the frontier where types and symbols give way to reality, and the old is replaced by the new.

Therefore, let all creation sing and dance and unite to make worthy contribution to the celebration of this day.

Let there be one common festival for saints in heaven and men on earth. Let everything, mundane things and those above, join in festive celebration.

Today this created world is raised to the dignity of a holy place for him who made all things. The creature is newly prepared to be a divine dwelling place for the Creator.

Andrew of Crete (c.650-740[?]): Oration 1 (PG 97, 806-810) from Office of Readings for the Feast of the Birth of the Virgin Mary on September 8 @ Crossroads Initiative.

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