The City of Cain and the City of Jesus

The City of Cain and the City of Jesus

This is one of the last sermons Fr. Matthew Baker wrote. He intended to deliver it this evening.  Two loves formed two cities: the love of self, reaching even to contempt of God, an earthly city; and the love of God, reaching to contempt of self, a heavenly one. – St....

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The Sixth Day of Creation: The Fashioning of Man

The Sixth Day of Creation: The Fashioning of Man

THE SIXTH DAY OF CREATION: THE FASHIONING OF MAN Wednesday, Lent Week I Presanctified Liturgy: Gen. 1:24-2:3; Prov. 2:1-22 1. On the first Wednesday of Lent, we rehearse the sixth day of creation. We catch a glimpse of our beginning, and discern a sign of that path we must follow,...

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Introducing St. Ephrem the Syrian (II): Images and Themes from His Hymns on Paradise

Introducing St. Ephrem the Syrian (II): Images and Themes from His Hymns on Paradise

The fifteen poems which comprise Ephrem’s Hymns on Paradise revolve around the poetic figure suggested in their title, taking as their starting point the narrative of Adam and Eve found in Genesis chapters 2 through 3. This is “a tale that is short to read,/ but rich to explore” (Hymn...

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Introducing St. Ephrem the Syrian (I)

Introducing St. Ephrem the Syrian (I)

St. Ephrem the Syrian, who is remembered on Jan 28th on the Orthodox calendar, is one of the greatest of Christian poet-theologians, as well the most important author of early Christian literature in the Syriac language. For over a millennium, Ephrem’s works have been known to most of the Orthodox...

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Deification and Sonship According to St Athanasius of Alexandria: Part III 

Deification and Sonship According to St Athanasius of Alexandria: Part III 

This is the third and final part of Fr. Matthew’s series on Deification and Sonship. Read part I and part II Indwelling through the Spirit of sonship Athanasius’ account of deification (theopoiesis) and adoptive sonship (huiothesia) is not limited only to the work of Christ, but also accords a central place to the...

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Deification and Sonship According to St Athanasius of Alexandria: Part II

Deification and Sonship According to St Athanasius of Alexandria: Part II

This is the second part of Fr. Matthew’s series. Click here to read Part I and Part III. If in De Incarnatione the goal and purpose of the incarnation is identified with deification (theopoiesis), in his later works Athanasius more frequently links it specifically with adoptive sonship (huiothesia). Athanasius’ earliest exposition of this doctrine of...

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Deification and Sonship According to St Athanasius of Alexandria: Part I

Deification and Sonship According to St Athanasius of Alexandria: Part I

Deification and Sonship According to St Athanasius of Alexandria: Part I Popular presentations of the Orthodox Christian faith often highlight the doctrine of theosis, or deification, as a distinctive accent of Orthodox theology and spiritual teaching. In the 20th century, owing to the enthusiastic rediscovery of St Gregory Palamas and...

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Wisdom and the Constancy of Light: Sermon on Psalm 103 (Vespers)

Wisdom and the Constancy of Light: Sermon on Psalm 103 (Vespers)

As we give blessing to God for the end of one day and the beginning of another, the words of Psalm 103 in our Vespers service bid us turn our thoughts to the Lord’s work in creating the world. 1. How magnified are thy works, O Lord! In wisdom hast...

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Music and Mediation in St Gregory of Nyssa’s Commentary ‘On the Inscriptions of the Psalms’

Music and Mediation in St Gregory of Nyssa’s Commentary ‘On the Inscriptions of the Psalms’

In his On the Making of Man, St Gregory of Nyssa likened the human body to a kind of musical instrument, played upon by the mind of man. In the same work, he dismissed as pagan the idea of man as microcosm. Yet later, in his dialogue On the Soul...

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“A Great Sign” (Rev. 12:1): A Homily on the Dormition of the Theotokos

“A Great Sign” (Rev. 12:1): A Homily on the Dormition of the Theotokos

Notes for a sermon delivered during Great Vespers, Dormition of the Theotokos, 2014   Today we celebrate a great and joyous solemnity: the falling asleep of the Mother of God in Jerusalem, and her bodily translation into glory. “The Whole Mystery of the Economy” The readings this evening – from Genesis,...

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Piety and Reason Joined: Insights from St Gregory of Nyssa, Contra Eunomium, Book I

Piety and Reason Joined: Insights from St Gregory of Nyssa, Contra Eunomium, Book I

In his first book against the Arian heretic Eunomius of Cyzicus (d. 393), St Gregory of Nyssa (333-393) demonstrates a balanced appreciation for both the limitations and the importance of rational argument in theology. Modestly denying his own philosophical powers, he observes that “there are thousands in the Church who...

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“Faith Seeking Understanding” (Part II): Clement of Alexandria

“Faith Seeking Understanding” (Part II): Clement of Alexandria

Editor’s note: Part I of this series may be found here. Without a doubt, the richest source for theological epistemology in pre-Nicene Christian literature is to be found in Clement of Alexandria (c. 150 – c. 215). In fact, it is Clement who gives us perhaps the most philosophically detailed...

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