2009 - Vol. 29
from the Early Church Fathers on Christ's Death
Few Drops of Blood Renew
indeed are the wondrous happenings of that time: God hanging from a cross,
the sun made dark and again flaming out; for it was fitting that creation
should mourn with its creator. The temple veil rent, blood and water flowing
from his side: the one as from a man, the other as from what was above
man; the earth shaken, the rocks shattered because of the rock; the dead
risen to bear witness to the final and universal resurrection of the dead.
happenings at the sepulcher and after the sepulcher, who can fittingly
recount them? Yet no one of them can be compared to the miracle of my salvation.
A few drops of blood renew the whole world, and do for all men what the
rennet does for the milk: joining us and binding us together.
Homo" by Michael O'Brien
of Nazianzen, also know as Gregory of Nazianzus and Gregory the Theologian,
was a 4th century bishop (330-389) who came from a family of distinguished
church leaders and teachers. While studying in Athens, he became a close
friend of Basil the Great, who was also studying there at the time. They
returned to their native Cappadocia (now Eastern Turkey) to serve the Lord.
Basil became a monk and Gregory, who preferred a life of solitude, was
forcibly persuaded by his father to be ordained a presbyter so he could
assist in the care of the local Christians in Cappadocia. Gregory described
his father’s decision as an “act of tyranny” because Gregory wanted to
live a solitary life as an ascetic monk. With Basil’s wise counsel, Gregory,
nonetheless, embraced the life of priestly service.
During the Arian controversy
when many teachers contested the full divinity of Christ, both Gregory
and Basil took up the pen to write in defense of the true doctrine of Christ’s
divinity. Gregory was made a bishop. In 381 he presided over the First
Ecumenical Council of Constantinople which completed the creed that is
commonly called today the Nicene Creed. Gregory taught with such clarity
and depth that he became known simply as “the theologian.” During his time
as bishop of Constantinople Gregory encountered fierce opposition from
the Arians, but Gregory’s sermons on the Trinity and the Incarnation won
him increasing respect and renown, and even Jerome came in from his desert
to hear him. After a period of troubling work, Gregory resigned and
retired to the solitude of the desert, spending his last years contentedly
in study, writing, and ascetical practices.
to next page > The
Lamb That Was Slain, by Melito of Sardis
Happened on the Cross? by John of Damascus
Few Drops of Blood Renew the Whole World, by Gregory Nazianzen
Lamb That Was Slain Has Delivered Us from Death and Given Us Life,
by Melito of Sardis
Death of Death, by Augustine of Hippo