Augustine of Hippo: “And I will give peace in this place” Wednesday, Nov 25 2015 

St Augustine of AfricaThe glory of this latter house shall be greater than of the former, saith the Lord of hosts: and in this place will I give peace, saith the Lord of hosts (Haggai 2:9).

This house of God is more glorious than that first one which was constructed of wood and stone, metals and other precious things.

Therefore the prophecy of Haggai was not fulfilled in the rebuilding of that temple.

For it can never be shown to have had so much glory after it was rebuilt as it had in the time of Solomon;

yea, rather, the glory of that house is shown to have been diminished, first by the ceasing of prophecy, and then by the nation itself suffering so great calamities, even to the final destruction made by the Romans, as the things above-mentioned prove.

But this house which pertains to the new testament is just as much more glorious as the living stones – believing, renewed men – of which it is constructed are better.

But it was typified by the rebuilding of that temple for this reason, because the very renovation of that edifice typifies in the prophetic oracle another testament which is called the new.

When, therefore, God said by the prophet just named “And I will give peace in this place” (Hag. 2:9), He is to be understood who is typified by that typical place.

For since by that rebuilt place is typified the Church which was to be built by Christ, nothing else can be accepted as the meaning of the saying, “I will give peace in this place,” except “I will give peace in the place which that place signifies”.

For all typical things seem in some way to personate those whom they typify, as it is said by the apostle “That Rock was Christ” (1 Cor. 10:4; Ex. 17:6).

Therefore the glory of this new testament house is greater than the glory of the old testament house; and it will show itself as greater when it shall be dedicated.

For then “shall come the desired of all nations” (Hag. 2:7), as we read in the Hebrew.  For before His advent He had not yet been desired by all nations.  For they knew not Him whom they ought to desire, in whom they had not believed.

Then, also, according to the Septuagint interpretation (for it also is a prophetic meaning), “shall come those who are elected of the Lord out of all nations.”

For then indeed there shall come only those who are elected, whereof the apostle saith “according as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world” (Eph. 1:4).

Augustine of Hippo (354-430): City of God, 18, 48.

Ignatius of Antioch: Drawn up on high by the instrument of Jesus Christ, which is the Cross, making use of the Holy Spirit as a rope Saturday, Oct 17 2015 

Ignatius_of_AntiochThere is one Physician who is possessed both of flesh and spirit;

both made and not made; God existing in flesh; true life in death; both of Mary and of God;

first passible and then impassible, even Jesus Christ our Lord.

Let not then any one deceive you, as indeed ye are not deceived, inasmuch as ye are wholly devoted to God.

For since there is no strife raging among you which might distress you, ye are certainly living in accordance with God’s will.

[…] They that are carnal cannot do those things which are spiritual, nor they that are spiritual the things which are carnal; even as faith cannot do the works of unbelief, nor unbelief the works of faith.

But even those things which ye do according to the flesh are spiritual; for ye do all things in Jesus Christ….

I have heard of some who have passed on from this to you, having false doctrine, whom ye did not suffer to sow among you. But you stopped your ears, that ye might not receive those things which were sown by them.

For you are stones of the temple of the Father, prepared for the building of God the Father, and drawn up on high by the instrument of Jesus Christ, which is the Cross, making use of the Holy Spirit as a rope, while your faith was the means by which you ascended, and your love the way which led up to God.

Ye, therefore, as well as all your fellow-travellers, are God-bearers, temple-bearers, Christ-bearers, bearers of holiness, adorned in all respects with the commandments of Jesus Christ….

I exult that I have been thought worthy, by means of this Epistle, to converse and rejoice with you, because with respect to your Christian life ye love nothing but God only. And pray ye without ceasing in behalf of other men.

For there is in them hope of repentance that they may attain to God. See, then, that they be instructed by your works, if in no other way.

Be ye meek in response to their wrath, humble in opposition to their boasting: to their blasphemies return your prayers; in contrast to their error, be ye stedfast in the faith; and for their cruelty, manifest your gentleness.

While we take care not to imitate their conduct, let us be found their brethren in all true kindness; and let us seek to be followers of the Lord (was anyone ever more unjustly treated, more destitute, more condemned than He?), that so no plant of the devil may be found in you, but ye may remain in all holiness and sobriety in Jesus Christ, both with respect to the flesh and spirit.

Ignatius of Antioch (c. 35 – c. 107): Letter to the Ephesians, 7-10 @ Crossroads Initiative [slightly adapted].

Cyril of Alexandria: Mary, Theotokos, We Salute You Wednesday, Jan 1 2014 

cyril_alexandriaI see here a joyful company of Christian men met together in ready response to the call of Mary, the holy and ever-virgin Mother of God.

The great grief that weighed upon me is changed into joy by your presence, venerable Fathers.

Now the beautiful saying of David the psalmist: How good and pleasant it is for brothers to live together in unity (Psalm 133) has come true for us.

Therefore, holy and incomprehensible Trinity, we salute you at whose summons we have come together to this church of Mary, the Theotokos [Mother of God].

Mary, Theotokos, we salute you. Precious vessel, worthy of the whole world’s reverence, you are an ever-shining light, the crown of virginity, the symbol of orthodoxy, an indestructible temple, the place that held Him whom no place can contain, mother and virgin.

Because of you the holy gospels could say: Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.

We salute you, for in your holy womb was confined him who is beyond all limitation.

Because of you the Holy Trinity is glorified and adored; the Cross is called precious and is venerated throughout the world; the heavens exult;

the angels and archangels make merry; demons are put to flight; the devil, that tempter, is thrust down from heaven;

the fallen race of man is taken up on high; all creatures possessed by the madness of idolatry have attained knowledge of the truth;

believers receive holy baptism; the oil of gladness is poured out; the Church is established throughout the world; pagans are brought to repentance.

What more is there to say? Because of you the light of the only-begotten Son of God has shone upon those who sat in darkness and in the shadow of death;

prophets pronounced the word of God; the apostles preached salvation to the Gentiles; the dead are raised to life, and kings rule by the power of the Holy Trinity.

Who can put Mary’s high honor into words? She is both mother and virgin. I am overwhelmed by the wonder of this miracle.

Of course no one could be prevented from living in the house he had built for himself, yet who would invite mockery by asking His own servant to become His mother?

Behold then the joy of the whole universe. Let the union of God and man in the Son of the Virgin Mary fill us with awe and adoration.

Let us fear and worship the undivided Trinity as we sing the praise of the ever-virgin Mary, the holy temple of God, and of God Himself, her Son and spotless Bridegroom.

To Him be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Cyril of Alexandria (c. 376-444): Homily given at the Council of Ephesus, 361 @ Orthodox Martyria.

Theophan the Recluse: Everything is Illumined by this Grace-Filled Awakening Monday, Dec 16 2013 

Theophan the RecluseContinued from here…

Sin first enveloped man in blindness, insensitivity and indolence.

At the moment of grace’s influence, this three-layered, crystallized millstone falls from his fettered soul.

The person now sees well all his ugliness within, and not only sees it, but also feels it.

[…] Notice how necessary this action of grace is on the path of freeing the soul from the reign of sin.

The goal of awakening grace and its power extricates man from the jaws of sin and places him on the point of indifference between good and evil.

The scales of our will, on which the will leans toward one side or the other, should now be evenly weighted.

But this cannot happen if the sinner is not given at least a foretaste of the sweetness of goodness.

If this were not given, then the sweetness of sin, as we pointed out before, would attract him more strongly to itself than to goodness; and the choice would fall to the former, as happens with those who have contrived to change their lives without grace-filled awakening.

For this is a general law: what you do not know you will not desire.

But when grace-filled awakening allows him to taste the sweetness of goodness, it attracts him to itself, as we said, consciously and perceptively.

The scales are even. Now complete freedom to act is in the person’s hands. In this manner, as in a flash of lightning, everything within and around the person is illuminated by this grace-filled awakening.

For one instant it introduces the heart to that state from which sin has been cast out, and places man into that chain of creation from which he voluntarily exiled himself through sin.

That is why this act of grace is always signified by a sudden fright and jolt, like the way the abrupt sound of the word “stop!” jolts a person walking quickly but lost in thought.

If you look at this state from a psychological point of view, it is nothing other than an awakening of spirit.

It is natural for our spirit to acknowledge Divinity, and the higher world or order of things, to raise man above everything sensual, and carry him away to the purely spiritual realm.

But in the sinful state our spirit loses its strength and commingles with psychological emotionality, and through it with sensuality to the point of practically disappearing into it.

Now through grace it is extricated from this and placed as if on a candle stand within our inner temple, and it sheds light upon everything dwelling within and is visible from within.

Theophan the Recluse (1815-1894; Russian Orthodox); Excerpts from The Path to Salvation @ Kandylaki.

Gregory Palamas: The Entry of the More Pure Virgin Mary into the Holy of Holies Thursday, Nov 21 2013 

Gregory_PalamasNovember 21st is the Feast of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (in the east, the Feast of the Entry of the More Pure Lady Theotokos into the Holy of Holies).

If a tree is known by its fruit, and a good tree bears good fruit (cf. Mt. 7.17; Luke 6.44), then is not the Mother of Goodness Itself, She who bore the Eternal Beauty, incomparably more excellent than every good, whether in this world or the world above?

Therefore, the coeternal and identical Image of Goodness, Pre-eternal, transcending all being, He Who is the pre-existing and good Word of the Father, moved by His unutterable love for mankind and compassion for us, put on our image.

This He did so that He might reclaim for Himself our nature which had been dragged down to uttermost Hades, so as to renew this corrupted nature and raise it to the heights of Heaven.

For this purpose, He had to assume a flesh that was both new and ours, that He might refashion us from out of ourselves.

Now He finds a Handmaiden perfectly suited to these needs, the supplier of Her own unsullied nature, the Ever-Virgin now hymned by us, and Whose miraculous Entrance into the Temple, into the Holy of Holies, we now celebrate.

God predestined Her before the ages for the salvation and reclaiming of our kind. She was chosen, not just from the crowd, but from the ranks of the chosen of all ages, renowned for piety and understanding, and for their God-pleasing words and deeds.

[…] God deigned to receive our nature from us, hypostatically uniting with it in a marvellous way. But it was impossible to unite that Most High Nature, Whose purity is incomprehensible for human reason, to a sinful nature before it had been purified.

Therefore, for the conception and birth of the Bestower of purity, a perfectly spotless and Most Pure Virgin was required.

Today we celebrate the memory of those things that contributed, if only once, to the Incarnation. He Who is God by nature, the Co-unoriginate and Co-eternal Word and Son of the Transcendent Father, becomes the Son of Man, the Son of the Ever-Virgin.

Jesus Christ, the same yesterday and today, and forever (Heb. 13.8) is immutable in His divinity and blameless in His humanity. He alone, as the Prophet Isaiah prophesied, practiced no iniquity, nor deceit with His lips (Is. 53.9).

He alone was not brought forth in iniquity, nor was He conceived in sin, in contrast to what the Prophet David says concerning himself and every other man (Ps. 50:5 [LXX]).

Even in what He assumes, He is perfectly pure and has no need to be cleansed Himself. But for our sake, He accepted purification, suffering, death and resurrection, that He might transmit them to us.

Gregory Palamas (1296-1359): extracted from Discourse on the Feast of the Entry of the More Pure Lady Theotokos into the Holy of Holies (from the translation at

Jerome: Christ, the Temple and the Church Thursday, Oct 31 2013 

St.-Jerome-of-StridoniumOn Jeremiah 30:18-31:9

The Lord says this: I will restore the tents of Jacob and have compassion on his dwellings, and the city shall be rebuilt on its hill.

There was already a symbol of these things in the time of Zerubbabel and Ezra, when the people returned to Jerusalem and the city began to be rebuilt on its hill and the law of the Temple observed, and so on as related in the book of Ezra.

But the prophecy was more fully and perfectly fulfilled in the time of our Lord and Saviour, and of the Apostles, when that city of which it is written: A city built on a hill cannot be hidden was built on its hill.

Moreover, the Temple was established with its rites and ceremonies, so that whatever was done outwardly among the people of the past might be fulfilled spiritually in the Church.

Then songs of thanksgiving will come from them, for all the Apostles said: Grace and peace to you. It will be the sound of people dancing, not like those who ate and drank and rose up to dance, but as David danced before the ark of the Lord.

And they will increase and not diminish, so that the whole world may believe in God the Saviour. They will be honoured, so that what was written may be fulfilled: Glorious things are told of you, city of God.

And its sons, that is, the Apostles, will be like the men of old, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, who founded the Israelite race. At that time the Lord will punish all the hostile powers that oppressed God’s people.

And their leader will be one of themselves undoubtedly our Lord and Saviour who was born an Israelite; their ruler will come from their own number.

The Father placed him near himself, and he came so close to him that his Son could declare: I am in the Father, and the Father is in me; for no one can place his heart so near the Lord, nor be as closely united to him as the Son is to the Father.

And the words: You shall be my people and I will be your God we see partly fulfilled in Israel and completely in all the nations of the world.

Jerome (347-420): Commentary on Jeremiah, 6.30 (24:904-905); from the Monastic Office of Vigils, Wednesday of Week 31 in Ordinary Time, Year 1

John Damascene: Feast of the Dormition – Christ the New Solomon and Mary the True Ark Thursday, Aug 15 2013 

John-of-Damascus_01What of those who watched by the most holy and all-holy body of God’s Mother?

In loving reverence and with tears of joy they gathered round the blessed and divine tabernacle, embracing every member, and were filled with holiness and thanksgiving.

Then illnesses were cured, and demons were put to flight and banished to the regions of darkness.

The air and atmosphere and heavens were sanctified by her passage through them, the earth by the burial of her body.

[…] Sinners who approached with faith blotted out the handwriting against them.

Then the holy body is wrapped in a snow-white winding-sheet, and the queen is again laid, upon her bed.

Then follow lights and incense and hymns, and angels singing as befits the solemnity; apostles and patriarchs acclaiming her in inspired song.

When the Ark of God, departing from Mount Sion for the heavenly country, was borne on the shoulders of the Apostles, it was placed on the way in the tomb.

First it was taken through the city, as a bride dazzling with spiritual radiance, and then carried to the sacred place of Gethsemane, angels overshadowing it with their wings, going before, accompanying, and following it, together with the whole assembly of the Church.

King Solomon compelled all the elders of Israel in Sion to bear the ark of the covenant of the Lord from the city of David, that is Sion, to rest in the temple of the Lord, which he had built, and the priests took the ark and the tabernacle of the testimony, and the priests and levites raised it.

And the king and all the people sacrificed numberless oxen and sheep before the ark. And the priests carried in the ark of the testimony of God into its place, into the Holy of Holies, beneath the wings of the cherubim.

So is it now with the dwelling-place of the true ark, no longer of the testimony, but the very substance of God the Word.

The new Solomon, the Prince of peace, the Creator of all things in the heavens and on the earth, assembled together to-day the supporters of the new covenant, that is the Apostles, with all the people of the saints in Jerusalem, brought in her soul through angels to the true Holy of Holies, under the wings of the four living creatures, and set her on His throne within the Veil, where Christ Himself had preceded her.

Her body the while is borne by the Apostles’ hands, the King of Kings covering her with the splendour of His invisible Godhead, the whole assembly of the saints preceding her, with sacred song and sacrifice of praise until through the tomb it was placed in the delights of Eden, the heavenly tabernacles.

John Damascene (c.675-749): Homily 2 on the Dormition of the Theotokos @ Medieval Sourcebook.

Aphrahat the Persian: “I Lay in Zion a Chosen Stone in the Precious Corner, the Heart of the Wall of the Foundation” Friday, Aug 2 2013 

ephrem-isaac-aphrahatFollowing on from here…

But I must proceed to my former statement that Christ is called the Stone in the Prophets.

For in ancient times David said concerning Him:—The stone which the builders rejected has become the head of the building (Ps.117:22).

And how did the builders reject this Stone which is Christ (Lk. 19:14)?  How else than that they so rejected Him before Pilate and said—This man shall not be King over us (Jn. 19:15).

And again in that parable that our Lord spake that a certain nobleman went to receive kingly power and to return and rule over them; and they sent after Him envoys saying:—This man shall not be King over us. (Lk. 19:13-14).

By these things they rejected the Stone which is Christ.

And how did it become the head of the building?  How else than that it was set up over the building of the Gentiles and upon it is reared up all their building.

And who are the builders?  Who but the priests and Pharisees who did not build a sure building, but were overthrowing everything that he was building, as is written in Ezekiel the Prophet:—He was building a wall of partition, but they were shaking it, that it might fall (Ez. 13:10).

And again it is written:—I sought amongst them a man who was closing the fence and standing in the breach over the face of the land, that I might not destroy it and I did not find (Ez. 22:30).

And furthermore Isaiah also prophesied beforehand with regard to this stone.  For he said:—Thus saith the Lord, Behold I lay in Zion a chosen stone in the precious corner, the heart of the wall of the foundation (Is. 28:16).  And he said again there:—Every one that believeth on it shall not fear (Is. 28:16).

[…] And He shows thus with regard to that stone that it was laid as head of the wall and as foundation.  But if that stone was laid as the foundation, how did it also become the head of the wall?

How but that when our Lord came, He laid His faith in the earth like a foundation, and it rose above all the heavens like the head of the wall and all the building was finished with the stones, from the bottom to the top.

And with regard to the faith about which I said that He laid His faith in the earth, this David proclaimed beforehand about Christ.  For He said:—Faith shall spring up from the earth (Ps. 84:12). And that again, it is above, he said:—Righteousness looked down from the heavens.

Aphrahat the Persian (c.270-c.345): Demonstrations, 1 – On Faith (6-7). (The icon accompanying this extract depicts Ephrem the Syrian, Isaac the Syrian, and Aphrahat).

Augustine of Hippo: Solomon’s Temple was a Type and Figure of the Future Church and of the Lord’s Body Sunday, Jul 28 2013 

St Augustine of AfricaSolomon had built a Temple for the Lord that was a type and figure of the future Church and of the Lord’s body.

That is why the Lord says in the Gospel: Destroy this Temple, and in three days I will raise it up. Since Solomon had built that Temple, Jesus Christ, the true Solomon, the true man of peace, also built a Temple for himself.

The name ‘Solomon’ means ‘man of peace’; but the true man of peace is he of whom the Apostle says: He is our peace, who made the two one.  

He is the true man of peace who united in himself as their cornerstone the two walls coming from different directions – the believers coming from the Jews and the believers coming from the Gentiles.

Out of these two peoples he made a single Church with himself as its cornerstone; that is why he is the true man of peace.

Since, then, he is the true Solomon and since the earlier Solo­mon, David’s son by Bathsheba and King of Israel, simply prefig­ured this true man of peace when he built a Temple, do not think that Solomon was the real builder of God’s house, for Scripture shows you a different Solomon at the beginning of the psalm: unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labour in vain.

It is the Lord, then, who builds the house; the Lord Jesus Christ builds his own house. Many labour to build it, but if he does not build it, its builders labour in vain.

Who are the labourers engaged on the building? All those in the Church who preach the word of God, and all the ministers of God’s Sacraments.

We all run, we all toil, we are all building in our own day; and before us others have run and toiled and built. But unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labour in vain.

We speak to the outer ear: he builds within. We notice whether you are listening, but only he who sees your thoughts knows what you are thinking. He builds, he teaches, he frightens; he opens your minds and draws your thoughts toward faith.

The house of God is also a city. For the house of God is God’s people; and because they are God’s house, they are his Temple. What does the Apostle say? The Temple of God is holy, and you are that Temple.

[…] All ­the holy believers who are to be taken from mankind to be the ­equals and companions of God’s angels, who are not pilgrims now but await us when we return from our pilgrimage – all these together form a single house of God and a single city.

Augustine of Hippo (354-430): Commentary on Psalm 126, 2-3 (CSEL 40:1857-8); from the Monastic Office of Vigils, Wednesday of the 16th Week in Ordinary Time, Year 1.

Aphrahat the Persian: Christ is the Temple, and Christians are a Temple for a Dwelling-Place of Christ Wednesday, Jul 17 2013 

ephrem-isaac-aphrahatThe true Stone, our Lord Jesus Christ, is the foundation of all our faith.

[…] And now hear concerning faith that is based upon the Stone, and concerning the structure that is reared up upon the Stone.

For first a man believes, and when he believes, he loves.  When he loves, he hopes.  When he hopes, he is justified.  When he is justified, he is perfected.  When he is perfected, he is consummated.

And when his whole structure is raised up, consummated, and perfected, then he becomes a house and a temple for a dwelling-place of Christ, as Jeremiah the Prophet said:

The temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord are ye, if ye amend your ways and your works.

And again He said through the Prophet: I will dwell in them and walk in them.  And also the Blessed Apostle thus said: Ye are the temple of God and the Spirit of Christ dwelleth in you.

And also our Lord again thus said to His disciples: Ye are in Me and I am in you.

And when the house has become a dwelling-place, then the man begins to be anxious as to that which is required for Him Who dwells in the building.

[…] In a house that is void of all good things, the King will not lodge, nor will he dwell in the midst of it; but all that is choicest in the house is required for the King and that nothing in it be deficient.

[…]  So also let the man, who becomes a house, yea a dwelling-place, for Christ, take heed to what is needed for the service of Christ, Who lodges in him, and with what things he may please Him.

[…]  If Christ is set for the foundation, how does Christ also dwell in the building when it is completed?  For both these things did the blessed Apostle say.

For he said: I as a wise architect have laid the foundation.  And there he defined the foundation and made it clear, for he said as follows: No man can lay other foundation than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

And that Christ furthermore dwells in that building is the word that was written above—that of Jeremiah who called men temples and said of God that He dwelt in them.  And the Apostle said: The Spirit of Christ dwelleth in you.  And our Lord said: I and My Father are one.

And therefore that word is accomplished, that Christ dwells in men, namely, in those who believe on Him, and He is the foundation on which is reared up the whole building.

Aphrahat the Persian (c.270-c.345): Demonstrations, 1 – On Faith (1-5). (The icon accompanying this extract depicts Ephrem the Syrian, Isaac the Syrian, and Aphrahat.)

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