Severian of Gabala on Mark 10:17-18 and John 20:27-29

Introduction

Recently, I was contacted by a regular commenter here, Stephan Huller, about translating a passage from a sermon attributed to John Chrysostom.  The sermon, entitled “On the Ascension,” was edited by Montfaucon, and eventually appeared in the PG 52.773-92.  Though originally attributed to Chrysostom, in the past century it has been definitively assigned to his rival, Severian of Gabala.  Ironically, most of Severian’s surviving works come to us under Chrysostom’s name.  More information can be found in De Aldama’s Repertorium Pseudo-Chrysostomicum.  This homily is n. 415 in that work, and the entry may be translated:

Montfaucon had advised that this homily (which appears variously in different manuscripts) was a pastiche of several homilies, perhaps composed from several authors, and that the second part (sections 8-10) mostly consists of material taken from Chrysostom’s lost second homily on the beginning of Acts.  Marx, however, in OCPer5 (1939) 283-291 showed that this homily actually belongs to Severian of Gabala, though granting the possibility that two homilies may have indeed been conflated into one.  Altendorf admits the attribution to Severian in a letter.

I don’t have the CPG number on hand, but it appears there under Severian’s name.  

Stephan asked me to translated section 6, along with the last bit of section 5 and the first bit of section 7.  His own interests, as I understand them, relate to early understandings of Mark 10:17-18, where Jesus rebukes his interlocutor for calling him “good teacher” by saying “why do you call me good?  No one is good except God, who is one.”  

In our homily here, Severian takes aim at Arians by using John 20:27-29, where Thomas calls Jesus “my Lord and my God”  after seeing him resurrected.  Arians, who taught that Christ was a created being, rather than co-eternal with the Father, naturally turned to Mark 10:18, as it seems that Jesus is refusing divine honors.  Severian compares the passage in Mark with the passage in John, as in John, Jesus accepts the title “Lord and God.”  Severian’s solution is that in Mark, Jesus is really rebuking his interlocutor for calling him “good teacher” rather than “good Lord.”  In Severian’s mind, “teacher” is an unworthy epithet for the son of God, and so he rejects it.  

My translation here is fairly literal.  We’re not dealing with highly polished rhetoric (like Gregory of Nazianzus), so putting the work into highly polished English prose would be disingenuous.  I’ve occasionally added bits for clarity, but I’ve tried to put [square brackets] around what I’ve added.  The bolded numbers in parentheses denote section numbers.  I’ve modified the paragraph structure from the PG (by ending section 5 sooner) because it’s clear (at least to me) that a new topic begins with the citation of Jn. 20:27.  

English Translation

(5) Thus Thomas’s finger has ended the quarrel of the heretics, for this is the finger, over which the the Egyptian magicians could not prevail, saying “this is the finger of the Lord” (Ex 8:15).  It was thus fitting for St. Thomas, after this assurance, to proclaim the words of David, “in the day of my affliction I have pursued God” (Ps. 77:2/76:3 LXX), and after enquiring with his hands to declare also what follows, “in the night, my hands are stretched out before him, and I have not been deceived” (Ps. 77:2/76:3 LXX) [1].


“Do not disbelieve, but rather believe” (Jn. 20:27).  Thomas, then, having recognized from the wound the one who suffered, due to Jesus’ foreknowledge, called him God, saying, “my Lord and my God” (Jn 20:28). (6) Let the heretics hear this!  If the son had actually rejected this, and does not possess identical honor with the Father, why then does he not dismiss this all-surpassing honor?  For he heard from someone else, “good teacher,” and he said, “why do you gall me good? No one is good, except God, who is one”  (Mk. 10:17-18), even though the word “good” is in use among us.  By your understanding, he refused the epithet “good.”  How much more should he have refused to accept “Lord and God”? [In that passage, the man says] “Good Teacher,” and [Jesus] replied, “why do you call me good?” But here we have, “my Lord and my God,” but he did not say, “why do you call me ‘Lord and God?’” In the prior case, since the word used was unworthy of him (for [the man] did not say, “Good Lord,” but “Good teacher”), he dismissed the worthless title and accepted the honorable one.  In this instance, he also offers a rebuke, but on opposite grounds: he rebuked Thomas because [Thomas] spoke too late.  He did not rebuke him for saying “my Lord,” but because he spoke later than he should have.  “After you have seen, you have believed, but blessed are those who do not see, yet believe” (Jn 20:29).  Though only one man [Thomas] has been summoned, all of us have been blessed, for this blessing was spoken over all of us and those after us.  Because we have not received these miraculous things by sight, but rather received them in faith, we become fellow partakers in this great and renowned blessing.  

 

(7) But let us turn from this story, which we have treated succinctly, and move on to another word of the prophet, lest you all grow weary from an abundance of words. Which passage shall we discuss? “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord” (Is. 2:3 / Micah 4:2)…  [2]

 

Notes

[1] The Greek reads, “I have not been deceived” at the end of this verse, which differs from the Hebrew (or at least our English translations of the Hebrew), which reads something like, “my soul refused to be comforted.”

 

[2] Severian discusses in this section the “mountain of the Lord” and the Mount of Olives, before turning back to a discussion on Acts.

If anything is unclear, let me know in the comments.

ἐν αὐτῷ,
ΜΑΘΠ 

St. John Chrysostom On Easter

As the great feast of the Resurrection is here, I thought it would be fitting to translate a bit of a paschal homily this morning.  John Chrysostom is always a good choice for such an endeavor, so I found a paschal homily of his in the TLG, and I translate the beginning of it below.  I must say, I rather like his beginning: it’s quite lovely.  This homily appears in PG 52.765.  There has been some discussion about the authenticity of the homily: some think it’s not from John himself, though the editors of the PG think it’s most likely authentic.  I haven’t done any research to see if it’s been commented on more recently, but it’s lovely Greek nonetheless, even if it doesn’t come from Chrysostom’s pen!

As is my custom, I offer a rather free translation.  I try to capture the spirit of the Greek, and the paschal joy it contains.  That’s not quite possible in translation, of course, but I try nonetheless.

The Greek text is problematic in a few places, but I wasn’t able to find a manuscript online with which to compare.  

Χριστὸς ἀνέστη! 

English Text

Today is the day for all of us to shout David’s words, “who shall speak of the great power of the Lord? Who shall make his praises heard?” (Ps. 106:2/105:2 LXX).  For behold, the feast of salvation, for which we have yearned for so long, has finally come.  The day of the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, the foundation of peace, and the grounds for reconciliation! The conquest of war itself, the dissolution of death, and the devil’s defeat! Today men have mingled with angels, and those in the body henceforth bring praises along with the angelic powers.  Today, death’s tyranny is vanquished! Today, the bonds of death are destroyed, the victory of Hell abolished! Today is the day for us to declare the prophet’s words, “Where, O death, is your sting? Where, O hell, is your victory?” (Hos. 13:14).  Today our Lord Christ has crushed the bronze gates of our prison (Ps. 107:16/106:16 LXX), and abolished the role of death itself.  Why do I say ‘role’? Because he changed death’s role on the great cosmic stage[1].  This change shall no longer be called ‘death,’ but rather ‘rest,’ or ‘sleep.’  Before Christ’s coming, and the working-out of the cross, the name of death brought great fear.  For the first man, instead of receiving great honor, was condemned by hearing, “in the day you eat, you shall surely die” (Gen. 2:17).  But the blessed Job foresaw this change and said, “death is rest for man” (Job 3:23 LXX).  The separation of the soul from the body is not only called ‘death,’ but also ‘Hades,’ as the patriarch Jacob says, “You all will take my old age down into Hades with grief” (Gen. 42:38).  Again, the prophet says, “Hades opens wide his mouth,” (Is. 5:14?) and another prophet says, “he delivers me from the lowest depth of Hades” (Ps. 86:13/87:13 LXX).  And so you’ll find many places where death and Hades are put together and made equivalent.  But since Christ our God has been offered as a sacrifice, with resurrection as the result, our Lord, full of loving-kindness, has completely transformed the roles of death and Hades.  He has introduced a new and foreign institution into our life.  Henceforth, instead of death, this change at the end of life shall be called ‘rest,’ and ‘sleep.’  How do we know this? Hear the word of Christ himself, “My friend Lazarus is in a state of sleep, but I am coming to wake him” (Jo. 11:11).  

[1] I have added “on the great cosmic stage” to bring out more clearly John’s theatrical metaphor.  

Greek Text

αʹ. Εὔκαιρον σήμερον ἅπαντας ἡμᾶς ἀναβοῆσαι τὸ παρὰ τοῦ μακαρίου Δαυῒδ εἰρημένον· Τίς λαλήσει τὰς δυναστείας τοῦ Κυρίου, ἀκουστὰς ποιήσει πάσας τὰς αἰνέσεις αὐτοῦ; Ἰδοὺ γὰρ ἡμῖν παραγέγονεν ἡ ποθεινὴ καὶ σωτήριος ἑορτὴ, ἡ ἀναστάσιμος ἡμέρα τοῦ Κυρίου ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ, ἡ τῆς εἰρήνης ὑπόθεσις, ἡ τῆς καταλλαγῆς ἀφορμὴ, ἡ τῶν πολέμων ἀναίρεσις, ἡ τοῦ θανάτου κατάλυσις, ἡ τοῦ διαβόλου ἧττα. Σήμερον ἄνθρωποι τοῖς ἀγγέλοις ἀνεμίγησαν, καὶ οἱ σῶμα περικείμενοι μετὰ τῶν ἀσωμάτων δυνάμεων λοιπὸν τὰς ὑμνῳδίας ἀναφέρουσι. Σήμερον καταλύεται τοῦ διαβόλου ἡ τυραννίς· σήμερον τὰ δεσμὰ τοῦ θανάτου ἐλύθη, τοῦ ᾅδου τὸ νῖκος ἠφάνισται· σήμερον εὔκαιρον πάλιν εἰπεῖν τὴν προφητικὴν ἐκείνην φωνήν· Ποῦ σου, θάνατε, τὸ κέντρον; ποῦ σου, ᾅδη, τὸ νῖκος; Σήμερον τὰς χαλκᾶς πύλας συνέθλασεν ὁ Δεσπότης ἡμῶν Χριστὸς, καὶ αὐτὸ τοῦ θανάτου τὸ πρόσωπον ἠφάνισε. Τί δὲ λέγω τὸ πρόσωπον; Αὐτοῦ τὴν προσηγορίαν μετέβαλεν· οὐκ ἔτι γὰρ θάνατος λέγεται, ἀλλὰ κοίμησις καὶ ὕπνος· πρὸ μὲν γὰρ τῆς Χριστοῦ παρουσίας, καὶ τῆς τοῦ σταυροῦ οἰκονομίας, καὶ αὐτὸ τοῦ θανάτου τὸ ὄνομα φοβερὸν ἐτύγχανε. Καὶ γὰρ ὁ πρῶτος ἄνθρωπος γενόμενος ἀντὶ μεγάλου ἐπιτιμίου τοῦτο κατεδικάζετο ἀκούων· ᾟ δ’ ἂν ἡμέρᾳ φαγῇ, θανάτῳ ἀποθανῇ. Καὶ ὁ μακάριος δὲ Ἰὼβ τούτῳ τῷ ὀνόματι αὐτὸν προσηγόρευσε, λέγων· Θάνατος ἀνδρὶ ἀνάπαυσις. Καὶ ὁ προφήτης Δαυῒδ ἔλεγε· Θάνατος ἁμαρτωλῶν πονηρός. Οὐ μόνον δὲ θάνατος ἐκαλεῖτο ἡ διάλυσις τῆς ψυχῆς ἀπὸ τοῦ σώματος, ἀλλὰ καὶ ᾅδης. Ἄκουε γὰρ τοῦ μὲν πατριάρχου Ἰακὼβ λέγοντος· Κατάξετε τὸ γῆράς μου μετὰ λύπης εἰς ᾅδου· τοῦ δὲ προφήτου πάλιν· Ἔχανεν ὁ ᾅδης τὸ στόμα αὐτοῦ· καὶ πάλιν ἑτέρου προφήτου λέγοντος· Ῥύσεταί με ἐξ ᾅδου κατωτάτου· καὶ πολλαχοῦ εὑρήσεις ἐπὶ τῆς Παλαιᾶς θάνατον καὶ ᾅδην καλουμένην τὴν ἐντεῦθεν μετάστασιν. Ἐπειδὴ δὲ Χριστὸς ὁ Θεὸς ἡμῶν θυσία προσηνέχθη, καὶ τὰ τῆς ἀναστάσεως προεχώρησε, περιῆρε δὲ τὰς προσηγορίας αὐτὰς ὁ φιλάνθρωπος Δεσπότης, καὶ καινὴν καὶ ξένην πολιτείαν εἰς τὸν βίον εἰσήγαγε τὸν ἡμέτερον· ἀντὶ γὰρ θανάτου λοιπὸν κοίμησις καὶ ὕπνος λέγεται ἡ ἐντεῦθεν μετάστασις. Καὶ πόθεν τοῦτο δῆλον; Ἄκουε αὐτοῦ τοῦ Χριστοῦ λέγοντος· Λάζαρος ὁ φίλος ἡμῶν κεκοίμηται, ἀλλὰ πορεύομαι ἐξυπνίσαι αὐτόν.

ἐν αὐτῷ,
ΜΑΘΠ 

John Chrysostom, Philemon 1:4-6, and κοινωνία

My father-in-law has a neat practice.  Throughout the year, he sends one verse from each chapter of the New Testament to each of his children.  He typically goes through books, and since the year has more chapters than the New Testament, he repeats from the gospels or adds in from the Psalms.  

Recently, the verse he sent along was one from the tiny letter to Philemon.  I don’t always ponder these little snippets like I should, but this one piqued my interest, due mostly to a mistranslation of the NIV84.  

Philemon 6 reads in the NIV84, “I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ.” The Greek reads of 4-6 reads (I add more since it’s one all one sentence), “Εὐχαριστῶ τῷ θεῷ μου πάντοτε μνείαν σου ποιούμενος ἐπὶ τῶν προσευχῶν μου,  5 ἀκούων σου τὴν ἀγάπην καὶ τὴν πίστιν, ἣν ἔχεις πρὸς τὸν κύριον Ἰησοῦν καὶ εἰς πάντας τοὺς ἁγίους,  6 ὅπως ἡ κοινωνία τῆς πίστεώς σου ἐνεργὴς γένηται ἐν ἐπιγνώσει παντὸς ἀγαθοῦ τοῦ ἐν ἡμῖν εἰς Χριστόν.”

The bolded section is what concerns us here.  Namely, κοινωνία (koinonia) does not imply the type of sharing that the NIV84 seems to imply.  As it stands in the NIV84, Paul’s prayer for Philemon concerns evanglism: sharing the faith with those outside the fold.  However, our word implies a sharing among intimates or friends. Hence, it is used in other contexts, like 1 Cor 10:16 to describe our communion with Christ through the bread and wine, or to denote the Philippians financial and spiritual partnership with Paul and his ministry.  

Of course, you should always be wary of people who say, “well the Greek really says…”  Fortunately for you, and for me, I have support for my claims!   The standard New Testament lexicon (BDAG) gives four definitions:

  1. close association involving mutual interests and sharing
  2. attitude of good will that manifests an interest in a close relationship
  3. abstr. for concr. sign of fellowship, proof of brotherly unity, even gift, contribution
  4. participation, sharing τινός in someth. 

The editors of the lexicon list this passage under section 4, and offers the following translation, “that your participation in the faith may be made known through your deeds.” This strikes me as unlikely (particularly the last part: I don’t know how γένηται ἐνεργὴς translates to “might be made known through your deeds”). I think participation is certainly a possible translation, but I’d want to add “with us” that that the corporate dimensions of Paul’s prayer are more clear.

When dealing with a Greek question like this, I always try to get a native speaker’s opinion.  Fortunately, the late fourth century bishop John Chrysostom has left us a series of homilies on all of Paul’s epistles, including little Philemon.  He notes (from PG 62.709),

Εὔχομαι, φησὶν, ἵνα ἡ κοινωνία τῆς πίστεώς σου ἐνεργὴς γένηται. Ὁρᾷς πρότερον αὐτὸν διδόντα ἢ λαβεῖν, καὶ πρὶν ἢ τὴν χάριν αἰτῆσαι [62.709], τὴν αὑτοῦ παρέχοντα πολλῷ μείζονα; Ὅπως, φησὶν, ἡ κοινωνία τῆς πίστεώς σου ἐνεργὴς γένηται ἐν ἐπιγνώσει παντὸς ἀγαθοῦ τοῦ ἐν ὑμῖν εἰς Χριστὸν Ἰησοῦν. Τουτέστιν, ἵνα πᾶσαν ἀρετὴν ἐπέλθῃς, Ἵνα μηδὲν ἐλλειφθῇΟὕτω γὰρ ἡ πίστις γίνεται ἐνεργὴς, ὅταν ἔργα ἔχῃ. Χωρὶς γὰρ ἔργων ἡ πίστις νεκρά ἐστι. Καὶ οὐκ εἶπεν, Ἡ πίστις σου, ἀλλ‘, Ἡ κοινωνία τῆς πίστεώς σου, συνάπτων αὐτὸν ἑαυτῷ, καὶ ἓν σῶμα δεικνὺς, καὶ τούτῳ μάλιστα αὐτὸν δυσωπῶν. Εἰ κοινωνὸς εἶ, φησὶ, κατὰ τὴν πίστιν, καὶ κατὰ τὰ ἄλλα ὀφείλεις κοινωνεῖν

 “I pray,” he says, “that your partnership in the faith may be active.” Do you see how he himself gives before receiving, and that before he asks him the favor, he provides a much better one of his own? “So that,” he says, “the partnership of your faith my be active in the knowledge of everything good thing we have in Christ.”  That’s to say, “so that you may attain all virtue,” or “so that you may lack nothing.” Now faith is “active” when it has works, for without works faith is dead.  He did not say, “your faith,” but the “partnership of your faith,” joining him (Philemon) to himself, and with one body revealed, he entreats him all the more.  “If you share the faith,” he says, “then you are required to share other things too.”

John appears to understand κοινωνία not as participation, nor as evangelism, but as a partnership: notice the line “joining him to himself.”  The use of κοινωνία serves to link Philemon to Paul, and hopefully make him more receptive to Paul’s plea to free Onesimus (the favor John mentions here).

John’s gloss of ἐνεργὴς (active, or effective) is also helpful, as this adjective isn’t terribly common in the New Testament.  His explanation (that faith is ἐνεργὴς when it “has works”) fits particularly nicely in the context of the letter, as Paul is essentially urging Philemon to do a good work: free Onesimus! 

All that to say, I think the NIV11’s change to this verse is most welcome!  The new NIV reads: “I pray that your partnership with us in the faith may be effective in deepening your understanding of every good thing we share for the sake of Christ.”  I’m still not sure about the second half of the verse, (how does ἐν ἐπιγνώσει…, which means “in the knowledge…”, fit in with the rest of the sentence?), but I think they nailed the first part.  Kudos!

ἐν αὐτῷ,

ΜΑΘΠ

Update: I amended my translation with two suggestions from Stephen (see the comments).  Thanks to him for catching several mistakes, and for the helpful suggestions! 

Using de Aldama’s Repertorium Pseudochrysotomicum

A number of weeks ago, I posted about some material on the Psalms attributed to John Chrysostom, which I had found in some codices at Oxford. Alin Suciu posted some helpful comments on the post, which included references to a volume which he has recently posted online: de Aldama’s invaluable Repertorium pseudochrysostomicum. See his post here for a description and download.

Time slipped away, and I didn’t follow up the links to Aldama. But now that he’s posted it, I decided to take a look and see what he had to say about one of the homilies I found: a homily on Ps. 41. The homily starts off:

Ὑμεῖς μὲν ἡμᾶς ἐθαυμάσατε
πρώην· ὅτε τὸν περὶ τοῦ μελχισεδὲκ ἐκινήσαμεν λόγον.
ἐπὶ τῶ μήκει τῶν εἰρημένων.
ἐγὼ δὲ ὑμᾶς ἐθαύμαζον,

Thus, I flipped down toward the bottom, and found the discussion under entry 520. He says this:

Etsi ad commentarium Chrysostomi in Psalterium non pertineat (cf. Baur, in Chrysostomica 235), habetur tamen ut genuina, non obstante attributione quam Antiocho Ptolemaidensi fecit Thomas Bruno : cf. PG 64, 1417-1418.

I’d turn that into English as:

Even if it does not pertain to the commentary of Chrysostom on the Psalter (cf. Baur, in Chrysostomica 235), it is thought to be genuine, not withstanding the attribution to Antiochus Ptolemaidensi which Thomas Bruno made (cf. PG 64, 1417-1418).

As you can see, it’s quite a useful tool! It tells us this homily is generally held to be genuine, that it doesn’t belong to Chrysostom’s larger work on the psalms, and gives some bibliography. Alin, thanks again for making this tool more widely available!

ἐν αὐτῷ,
ΜΑΘΠ

Unpublished Material from John Chrysostom on the Psalms

First, I must say that I am enjoying my week in Oxford immensely.  I’ve learned a good deal from the Palaeography summer school: we’ve been able to read a goodly number of texts, in all sorts of different hands.  There have been quite interesting lectures in the evenings, and great library exhibits during the day.

While I’m here, I’ve decided to make use of the special collections access that came with my card.  Use the excellent Pinakes website, I came across Ms. Barocci 55, a codex containing a large number of homilies from John Chrysostom.  Of particular interest to me were 6 homilies on the Psalms which are not included in the Patrologia Graeca volume.  According to the catalog, the materials on the psalms dates from the 10th century, which means it’s quite early.

The psalms covered in the ms are: 41, 50 (2 homilies), 71, 92, and 100 (all LXX numbers).  I transcribed some material today from the homily on ps 100 (about a folio, front and back’s worth).  Though I’m no expert in such matters, it is consistent with what I’ve read from John’s material on the Psalms (especially his contrast between worldly songs and spiritual ones).

If proven authentic, these are important homilies!  Robert Hill recently published an English translation of Chrysostom’s material on the Psalter, and these homilies were not included (given they are not in the PG).  Likewise, Hill has an article on Antiochene interpretation of Psalm 41, which does not mention the homily contained here.

Hopefully I’ll be able to do some more work with this while I’m here, and perhaps in the future too.  The recent discovery of the Origen codex will only increase interest in our early exegetical material on the Psalms. In the meanwhile (as they say in the UK), let this serve as a humble reminder:  The PG, while vast, does not contain the entirety of the Patristic tradition!

Oh, and if someone is aware of a publication of these homilies, do let me know in the comments!

τῷ χείρι τοῦ ταπεινοῦ Ἀλεξάδρου ἁμαρτωλοῦ

More Chrysostom on Prayer.

I’ve not posted in quite some time, and I can’t really say that this post represents a return to frequent posts.  However, I came across some Chrysostom that was too good not to share.  As is customary, I give my translation and then the Greek.  Enjoy!

Do you see, then, how powerful are both prayer and petition?  They make men into temples of Christ!  Just as gold, precious stones, and marble make the houses of kings, so prayer creates temples of Christ. “That Christ,” he says, “may dwell in your hearts.”  What greater praise of prayer could ever be, than that it creates temples for God?  The one whom the heavens do not contain, this is the one who enters the living soul through prayers.  “‘The heaven is my throne,'” he says, “‘and the earth my footstool.  What type of house will you build for me?’ says the Lord. ‘Or what place of rest for me?'”  But nevertheless Paul builds him a house through his holy prayers.  He says, “I bend my knees before the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, so that the Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.”  Indeed from that, one should know the power of holy prayers, since Paul, the one who ran as though with wings through the entire world, who made his residence in prison, who bore whips and chains, always living in blood and danger, who drove out demons and raised the dead, and who healed sicknesses, he trusted none of these things for the salvation of men, but defended the earth through his prayers, and after the signs and the raising of the dead, he ran again to prayers, just as an athlete returning to the training room right after receiving the crown.

 

And the Greek:

Ὁρᾷς, ὅσον ἰσχύει προσευχὴ καὶ δέησις; Ναοὺς Χριστοῦ τοὺς ἀνθρώπους ἐργάζεται· καὶ ὥσπερ χρυσὸς, καὶ λίθοι πολυτίμητοι, καὶ μάρμαρα ποιοῦσι τοὺς οἴκους τῶν βασιλέων· οὕτω προσευχὴ ναοὺς τοῦ Χριστοῦ. Κατοικῆσαι, φησὶ, τὸν Χριστὸν ἐν ταῖς καρδίαις ὑμῶν. Τί μεῖζον ἂν γένοιτο προσευχῆς ἐγκώμιον, ἢ ὅτι ναοὺς ἀπεργάζεται Θεοῦ; Ὃν οὐ χωροῦσιν οὐρανοὶ, οὗτος εἰς ψυχὴν εἰσέρχεται ζῶσαν ἐν προσευχαῖς. Ὁ οὐρανός μοι θρόνος, φησὶν, ἡ δὲ γῆ ὑποπόδιον τῶν ποδῶν μου. Ποῖον οἶκον οἰκοδομήσετέ μοι; λέγει Κύριος· ἢ τίς τόπος τῆς καταπαύσεώς μου; Ἀλλ’ ὅμως οἶκον ὁ Παῦλος οἰκοδομεῖ διὰ τῶν ἁγίων εὐχῶν. Κάμπτω, φησὶ, τὰ γόνατά μου πρὸς τὸν Πατέρα τοῦ Κυρίου ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ, ἵνα κατοικήσῃ ὁ Χριστὸς διὰ τῆς πίστεως ἐν ταῖς καρδίαις ὑμῶν. Καὶ μὴν κἀκεῖθεν ἴδοι τις ἂν τὴν δύναμιν τῶν ἁγίων εὐχῶν, ὅτι Παῦλος ὁ διὰ πάσης τῆς οἰκουμένης ὥσπερ ὑπόπτερος τρέχων, καὶ δεσμωτήριον οἰκῶν, καὶ μάστιγας ὑπομένων, καὶ φορῶν ἅλυσιν, καὶ ζῶν ἐν αἵματι καὶ κινδύνοις, καὶ δαίμονας ἐλαύνων, καὶ νεκροὺς ἐγείρων, καὶ παύων ἀῤῥωστήματα, οὐδενὶ τούτων ἐθάῤῥησεν εἰς σωτηρίαν τῶν ἀνθρώπων, ἀλλὰ ταῖς προσευχαῖς ἐτείχισε τὴν γῆν, καὶ μετὰ τὰ σημεῖα καὶ τὴν τῶν νεκρῶν ἀνάστασιν, ἐπὶ τὰς προσευχὰς ἔτρεχεν, ὥσπερ τις ἀθλητὴς ἐπὶ παλαίστραν ἀπὸ στεφάνου.

John Chrysostom, De Precatione (PG 60.783)

 

John Chrysostom on Prayer (Part 3)

Here’s a third excerpt from one of John Chrysostom’s homilies De Precatione (On Prayer). Parts 1 and 2 can be found here and here. See part 1 for the link to the Greek text. I start translating at Ὅστις γὰρ οὐ προσεύχεται τῷ Θεῷ.


“For the one who does not pray to God, who does not desire to enjoy such divine communion, is dead and soul-less, and has no share of wisdom. For this is a great sign of foolishness, to not understand the weight of this honor, to not passionately desire prayer, to bring death to the soul by not worshiping God. Just as our body, when not having a soul, is dead and decaying, so it is with the soul: when it does not move itself to prayer, it is dead, wretched, and decaying … But when I see someone who has an insatiable desire for serving God, and who immediately considers the lack of prayer a great loss, I consider this one to certainly have all of the virtues of discipline, as if they were the temple of God.”

John Chrysostom. De Precatione.

Edit: Typo corrected.