Friday, April 18, 2008

A Patristic Poem on the Passion

Maintaining my tradition of posting material about the Passion on Fridays during Lent, here is probably the most graphic of the patristic materials I have found. It is most assuredly not my cup of tea, but here is "A Poem on the Passion," once ascribed to St. Lactantius. Although it is not his work, it is regarded by all authorities as well pre-Schism. As will be clear, it is not significantly different from the words of St. Ephrem the Syrian or St. John Chrysostom, but for some reason I find it more explicit; perhaps because of its first-Person narrative:
if you yourself wish to discriminate these things more fully, and if it delights you to go through all My groans, and to experience griefs with me, put together the designs and plots, and the impious price of My innocent blood, and the pretended kisses of a disciple, and the insults and strivings of the cruel multitude; and, moreover, the blows, and tongues prepared for accusations. Picture to your mind both the witnesses, and the accursed judgment of the blinded Pilate, and the immense cross pressing My shoulders and wearied back, and My painful steps to a dreadful death. Now survey Me from head to foot, deserted as I am, and lifted up afar from My beloved mother. Behold and see My locks clotted with blood, and My blood-stained neck under My very hair, and My head drained with cruel thorns, and pouring down like rain from all sides a stream of blood over My divine face. Survey My compressed and sightless eyes, and My afflicted cheeks; see My parched tongue poisoned with gall, and My countenance pale with death. Behold My hands pierced with nails, and My arms drawn out, and the great wound in My side; see the blood streaming from it, and My perforated feet, and blood-stained limbs. Bend your knee, and with lamentation adore the venerable wood of the Cross, and with lowly countenance stooping to the earth, which is wet with innocent blood, sprinkle it with rising tears, and at times bear Me and my admonitions in your devoted heart. Follow the footsteps of My life, and while you look upon My torments and cruel death, remembering My innumerable pangs of body and soul, learn to endure hardships, and to watch over your own safety. These memorials, if at any time you find pleasure in thinking over them, if in your mind there is any confidence to bear anything like my sufferings), if the piety due, and gratitude worthy of My labors shall arise, will be incitements to true virtue, and they will be shields against the snares of an enemy, aroused by which you will be safe, and as a conqueror bear off the palm in every contest. If these memorials shall turn away your senses, which are devoted to a perishable world, from the fleeting shadow of earthly beauty, the result will be, that you will not venture, enticed by empty hope, to trust the frail enjoyments of fickle fortune, and to place your hope in the fleeting years of life. But, truly, if you thus regard this perishable world, and through your love of a better country deprive yourself of earthly riches and the enjoyment of present things, the prayers of the pious will bring you up in sacred habits, and in the hope of a happy life, amidst severe punishments, will cherish you with heavenly dew, and feed you with the sweetness of the promised good.
You can read it all here. As with the film The Passion of the Christ, this is not "everyday reading"; it is stirringly emotional and may be too much for those of more delicate sensibilities. Even this excerpt is nearly too much; I merely posted it to show, perhaps to the surprise of some Orthodox, the depths of meditation the Fathers gave to Christ's suffering. The Fathers did indeed encourage meditation on the Passion, as well as the Resurrection, on the cross as well as on the glory, on His Servanthood as well as His Sovereignty. Again, reading it in context with the other patristic works in this series, one quickly finds it in line with their message: we must bear His wounds in mind to shun worldly fame, acclaim, or consolation and bear the inevitable suffering that comes to all servants of the Master.

Read the previous posts in the series:
St. Ephrem the Syrian: Meditate on the Passion of Christ.
Stations of the Cross: Another Similarity.
A Brief Post on St. Tikhon of Zadonsk on the Passion.
St. John Chrysostom: Meditate on the Sufferings of Christ.

Labels: , ,

New Blog Added

I've added a link to this site: Maria Lectrix. It features "public domain audiobooks six days a week," with an emphasis on patristic texts. Prepare to fill an entire hard drive. :)

Labels: , , , ,

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Newly Discovered Sermons from St. Augustine

What a bonanza for scholars and the pious alike. Scholars have found 26 "new" sermons of St. Augustine of Hippo:

Constanze Witt of the Department Of Classics at the University of Texas posted the following to a medieval list:

"Not all sensational finds come out of the ground! Augustine scholars will be delighted at the news of 6 previously unknown sermons’ being discovered through a library “excavation” in Erfurt’s Bibliotheca Amploniana. Isabella Schiller and colleagues from the Austrian Academy of Sciences discovered these works while studying an 800-year-old manuscript in the summer of 2007.

"Concealed in a medieval parchment manuscript amongst 70 other religious texts are ca. 26 sermons attributed to Augustine, 3 of them on brotherly love and alms-giving. These were known previously only by their titles cited in Possidius’ Indiculum. One sermon is on the martyrs Perpetua and Felicitas, and another on the recently martyred Cyprian, the latter of which condemns the copious drinking that took place on saints’ feast days. The final sermon deals with resurrection of the dead and biblical prophecies...

"For 24 amazing images of this absolutely pristine and gorgeous codex, see here."

St. Augustine of Hippo, ora pro nobis.

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

From the Mailbag: A Western Rite Liturgical Calendar?

Q: Do you know where I can get a Western Rite liturgical calendar?

A: Yes. The annual Ordo of the Western Rite Vicariate is available for the year 2008. The cost is $12 per copy, and the Ordo can be ordered from:
St. Luke's Priory Press
1325 E. Queen Ave.
Spokane, WA 99207-3371
Materials can also be ordered by calling St. Nicholas Orthodox Church (AWRV) at 509-484-1604. All of us here are proud of Archipriest Bernard Kinnick's attention to the Priory Press.

Otherwise, one can also find a 2008 wall calendar from this website. It is $12.01 (that one cent makes a big difference!) or $8 to download.

I hope this is what you're looking for!

Labels: ,

Monday, April 14, 2008

Diary of a Loser

As Homer Simpson would say, "It's funny because it's true." It would explain 90 percent of the blown-out bandwidth on the internet. And if we're honest, we've all been this person at one point or another.

BTW, see what pops up when you hold your cursor over the image.

(Cartoon credits:

Labels: ,