Gregory the Wonderworker: God has descended into the world and exalted mankind unto Heaven Thursday, Dec 31 2015 

Gregory_ThaumaturgusJust as from Adam was taken woman without his diminishing, so likewise from the Virgin was taken the body (Born of Her), wherein also the Virgin did not undergo diminishing, and Her virginity did not suffer harm.

Adam dwelt well and unharmed, when the rib was taken from him: and so without defilement dwelt the Virgin, when from Her was brought forth God the Word.

For this sort of reason particularly the Word assumed of the Virgin Her flesh and Her (corporeal) garb, so that He be not accounted innocent of the sin of Adam.

Since man stung by sin had become a vessel and instrument of evil, Christ took upon Himself this receptacle of sin into His Own flesh.

This was so that, the Creator having been co-united with the body, it should thus be freed from the foulness of the enemy, and man might thus be clothed in an eternal body, which might be neither perished nor destroyed for all eternity.

Moreover, He that is become the God-Man is born, not as ordinarily man is born—He is born as God made Man, manifest of this by His Own Divine power, since if He were born according to the general laws of nature, the Word would seem something imperfect.

Therefore, He was born of the Virgin and shone forth; therefore, having been born, He preserved unharmed the virginal womb, so that the hitherto unheard of manner of the Nativity should be for us a sign of great mystery.

[…] On this great day, now being celebrated, God has appeared as Man, as Pastor of the nation of Israel, Who has enlivened all the universe with His goodness.

O dear warriors, glorious champions for mankind, who did preach Bethlehem as a place of Theophany and the Nativity of the Son of God, who have made known to all the world the Lord of all, lying in a manger, and did point out God contained within a narrow cave!

And so, we now glorify joyfully a feast of the years. Just as hence the laws of feasts be new, so now also the laws of birth be wondrous.

On this great day now celebrated, of shattered chains, of Satan shamed, of all demons to flight, the all-destroying death is replaced by life, paradise is opened to the thief, curses are transformed into blessings, all sins are forgiven and evil is banished, truth is come.

[…] Traits pure and immaculate are implanted, virtue is exalted upon the earth, Angels are come together with people, and people make bold to converse with Angels.

Whence and why has all this happened? From this, that God has descended into the world and exalted mankind unto Heaven.

Gregory the Wonderworker (c.213-c.270): Discourse on the Nativity of Christ @ Orthodox Church in America [slightly adapted].

Gregory the Wonderworker: Water, Spirit and Fire Saturday, Jan 12 2013 

Gregory_ThaumaturgusContinued from here…

Jesus answered…Lend me, therefore, O Baptist, your right hand for the present economy, even as Mary lent her womb for my birth.

Immerse me in the streams of Jordan, even as she who bore me wrapped me in children’s swaddling-clothes. Grant me your baptism even as the Virgin granted me her milk.

[…] With your right hand lay hold of this head, that is related to yourself in kinship. Lay hold of this head, which nature has made to be touched.

Lay hold of this head, which for this very purpose has been formed by myself and my Father.  Lay hold of this head of mine, which, if one does lay hold of it in piety, will save him from ever suffering shipwreck.

Baptize me, who am destined to baptize those who believe on me with water, and with the Spirit, and with fire: with water, capable of washing away the defilement of sins; with the Spirit, capable of making the earthly spiritual; with fire, naturally fitted to consume the thorns of transgressions.

[…] He who alone is Lord, and by nature the Father of the Only-begotten, He who alone knows perfectly Him whom He alone in passionless fashion begat…opened the gates of the heavens. He sent down the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove, lighting upon the head of Jesus, pointing out thereby the new Noah, yea the maker of Noah, and the good pilot of the nature which is in shipwreck.

And He Himself calls with clear voice out of heaven, and says: “This is my beloved Son.”

[…] This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased: my Son, of the same substance with myself, and not of a different; of one substance with me according to what is unseen, and of one substance with you according to what is seen, yet without sin.

[…] This Son of mine and this son of Mary are not two distinct persons; but this is my beloved Son—this one who is both seen with the eye and apprehended with the mind.

This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear Him.

If He shall say, “I and my Father are one,” hear Him. If He shall say, “He that hath seen me hath seen the Father,” hear Him. If He shall say, “He that hath sent me is greater than I,” adapt the voice to the economy.

If He shall say, “Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?” answer Him thus: “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

Gregory the Wonderworker (c.213-c.270): Homily on the Holy Theophany.

Gregory the Wonderworker: “Thus it Becometh Us to Fulfil All Righteousness” Monday, Jan 7 2013 

Gregory_ThaumaturgusThen cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him. But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me? And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him. (Matthew 3:13-15) 

Jesus answered…when you see me cleansing the lepers, then proclaim me as the framer of nature. When you see me make the lame ready runners, then with quickened pace also prepare your tongue to praise me.

When you see me cast out demons, then hail my kingdom with adoration. When you see me raise the dead from their graves by my word, then, in concert with those thus raised, glorify me as the Prince of Life.

When you see me on the Father’s right hand, then acknowledge me to be divine, as the equal of the Father and the Holy Spirit, on the throne, and in eternity, and in honour.

Suffer it to be so now; for thus it becomes us to fulfil all righteousness.

I am the Lawgiver, and the Son of the Lawgiver; and it becomes me first to pass through all that is established, and then to set forth everywhere the intimations of my free gift.

It becomes me to fulfil the law, and then to bestow grace. It becomes me to adduce the shadow, and then the reality.

It becomes me to finish the old covenant, and then to dictate the new, and to write it on the hearts of men, and to subscribe it with my blood, and to seal it with my Spirit.

It becomes me to ascend the cross, and to be pierced with its nails, and to suffer after the manner of that nature which is capable of suffering, and to heal sufferings by my suffering, and by the tree to cure the wound that was inflicted upon men by the medium of a tree.

It becomes me to descend even into the very depths of the grave, on behalf of the dead who are detained there.

It becomes me, by my three days’ dissolution in the flesh, to destroy the power of the ancient enemy, death.

It becomes me to kindle the torch of my body for those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death.

It becomes me to ascend in the flesh to that place where I am in my divinity. It becomes me to introduce to the Father the Adam reigning in me.

It becomes me to accomplish these things, for on account of these things I have taken my position with the works of my hands. It becomes me to be baptized with this baptism for the present, and afterwards to bestow the baptism of the consubstantial Trinity upon all men.

Gregory the Wonderworker (c.213-c.270): Homily on the Holy Theophany.

Gregory the Wonder-Worker: The Word Took Flesh from the Virgin Mary to Give Life to Adam Tuesday, Jan 1 2013 

Gregory_ThaumaturgusWhen I remember the disobedience of Eve, I weep. But when I view the fruit of Mary, I am again renewed.

Deathless by descent, invisible through beauty, before the ages light of light; of God the Father wast Thou begotten.

Being Word and Son of God, Thou didst take on flesh from Mary Virgin, in order that Thou mightest renew afresh Adam fashioned by Thy holy hand.

Holy, deathless, eternal, inaccessible, without change, without turn, True Son of God art Thou before the ages; yet wast pleased to be conceived and formed in the womb of the Holy Virgin, in order that Thou mightest make alive once more man first fashioned by Thy holy hand, but dead through sin.

By the good pleasure Thou didst issue forth, by the good pleasure and will of the invisible Father. Wherefore we all invoke Thee, calling Thee King.

Be Thou our succour; Thou that wast born of the Virgin and wrapt in swaddling clothes and laid in the manger, and wast suckled by Mary; to the end that Thou mightest make alive once more the first-created Adam that was dead through sin.

Feasted with knowledge from the Divine knowledge, let us emit like a fountain the sweetly sounding hymns of praise; let us glorify the sweet powers of the Divine Word.

With sweetly sounding doctrine let us send forth praise worthy of the Divine grace; forasmuch as earth, and sea, and all created things, visible and invisible, bless and glorify God’s love for man; for that His majesty was among us.

For being God He appeared in the flesh, and taking on Himself extreme humility, was born of the Holy Virgin, to the end that He might renew afresh him that was dead through disobedience.

Turn ye, O congregations, and come. Let us all praise Him that is born of the Virgin. For that being the glory and image before the ages of the Godhead, He yet became a fellow-sufferer with us of poverty.

Being the exceeding magnifical power and image of God, He took on the form of a slave. He that putteth on the light as a garment, consorted with men as one that is vile.

He that is hymned by cherubim and by myriad angels, as a citizen on earth doth He live. He that being before all maketh all creation alive, was born of the Holy Virgin, in order that He might make alive once more the first created.

Christ our God took on Himself to begin life as man (lit. the beginning of humanity), being yet a sharer of the life without beginning of God the Father; in order to lift up unto the beginningless beginning of the Godhead man that was fallen.

Gregory the Wonderworker (c.213-c.270): Homily Concerning the Holy Mother of God, Ever-Virgin, trans. F.C. Conybeare.

Gregory the Wonder-Worker: “Hail, Thou that Art Highly Favoured, the Lord Is With Thee!” Monday, Mar 26 2012 

Yet thou alone, O purest virgin, art now made the recipient of things of which all these were kept in ignorance, and thou dost learn the origin of them.

For where the Holy Spirit is, there are all things readily ordered. Where divine grace is present, all things are found possible with God.

The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee. Therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.”

And if He is the Son of God, then is He also God, of one form with the Father, and co-eternal; in Him the Father possesses all manifestation.

He is His image in the person, and through His reflection the (Father’s) glory shines forth.

And as from the ever-flowing fountain the streams proceed, so also from this ever-flowing and ever-living fountain does the light of the world proceed, the perennial and the true, namely Christ our God.

For it is of this that the prophets have preached: “The streams of the river make glad the city of God.”

And not one city only, but all cities; for even as it makes glad one city, so does it also the whole world.

Appropriately, therefore, did the angel say to Mary the holy virgin first of all, “Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee;” inasmuch as with her was laid up the full treasure of grace.

For of all generations she alone has risen as a virgin pure in body and in spirit; and she alone bears Him who bears all things on His word.

[…] He Himself is with thee who is the Lord of sanctification, the Father of purity, the Author of incorruption, and the Bestower of liberty, the Curator of salvation, and the Steward and Provider of the true peace, who out of the virgin earth made man, and out of man’s side formed Eve in addition.

Even this Lord is with thee, and on the other hand also is of thee.

[…] Let us take up the angelic strain, and to the utmost of our ability return the due meed of praise, saying, “Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee!”

For it is thine truly to rejoice, seeing that the grace of God, as he knows, has chosen to dwell with thee—the Lord of glory dwelling with the handmaiden;

“He that is fairer than the children of men” with the fair virgin;

He who sanctifies all things with the undefiled. God is with thee, and with thee also is the perfect man in whom dwells the whole fulness of the Godhead.

From a Homily on the Annunciation by an unknown author, formerly attributed to Gregory the Wonderworker (c.213-c.270).