By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII | HTML | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon

We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: St John Damascene on Holy Images (πρὸς τοὺς διαβάλλοντας τᾶς ἁγίας εἰκόνας). Followed by Three Sermons on the Assumption (κοίμησις)
Author: Damascus, John of
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "St John Damascene on Holy Images (πρὸς τοὺς διαβάλλοντας τᾶς ἁγίας εἰκόνας). Followed by Three Sermons on the Assumption (κοίμησις)" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.


Created from scans by the University of Toronto, available through the
Internet Archive.

Transcriber’s Note

Minor emendations have been made to punctuation and spelling.

                           ST JOHN DAMASCENE


                     _Herbertus Cardinalis Vaughan_

                                     _Archiepiscopus Westmonasteriensis_

_Die 12 Augusti 1898_

                           ST JOHN DAMASCENE


                              HOLY IMAGES
               (πρὸς τοὺς διαβάλλοντας τᾶς ἁγίας εἰκόνας)

                              FOLLOWED BY




                             MARY H. ALLIES


                              THOMAS BAKER

                           1 SOHO SQUARE, W.



_A Treatise_ on Images will not be out of place in a public, which is
confusing the making of images with the making of idols. A great
Christian of the eighth century found himself called upon to face an
imperial Iconoclast. He would willingly have remained silent, but he
would not bury his talent of eloquence. He brought it forth and
witnessed to the teaching of the Church in language which present
‘exciting scenes’ in Anglican churches brings home in the most forcible
way. Our English image breakers are in the camp of Leo the Isaurian, who
in the eighth century waged war against holy images, on the plausible
pretext that they withdrew honour from God. The seventh General Council
condemned his assault, and it determined the different kinds of worship,
using the Greek terms of latreia and douleia. The special champion of
holy Images is St John Damascene, whose treatise is now published for
the first time in English. Every article in the creed has its special
defender. St John Damascene proclaims the Communion of Saints and the
honour of God through His chosen and favoured servants. No part of
Catholic belief is a vain word, nor can the true children of the Church
say with their lips what they do not hold in their hearts. I believe in
the Communion of Saints follows upon I believe in God, so that the
enemies of the Saints are the enemies of God. This is the doctrine which
St John Damascene traces back to the eternal ages before time was, in
the divine ἐικων of the Father in the Person of the Son. God, the Son,
is the Image by essence, and then He becomes a visible image or form in
time, clothed in flesh and blood, showing us by His own example that our
worship of God is through corporeal things. Again and again the Saint
repeats that as we must not make an image of the Invisible God, so
neither must we refuse to look upon the Son, His Image, first in
eternity, and then Incarnate.

What are the consequences of rejecting divinely appointed images?
Hopeless and heart-destroying doubt caused by the undue exaltation of
humanity: in other words, creature, instead of divine, worship. We are
so constituted that images we must have: our minds cannot reach God’s
throne without the help of corporeal things. Agnosticism has said it. We
cannot love what we do not know, and is not God unknowable? Halting
formularies say it when they point to matter, which God has glorified,
as inglorious. And halting formularies lead to halting souls, and to the
proclamation of the strange device that religious truth is of no
consequence so long as men lead good lives.

The sermons on the Assumption were preached by the Saint in or about
_a.d._ 727. According to Alban Butler, he had special reasons for
honouring the Mother of God. By her intercession he regained the use of
his strong right hand. It was a practical demonstration of Catholic
teaching, We reach God most surely through those who love Him best, and
thus the Protestant phrase, which expresses a purely Catholic thought
‘straight to God,’ is exemplified in the Communion of Saints. St John’s
language about the Θεοτοκη will astonish those who stigmatise the love
of her as a ‘Roman corruption.’ The crowning triumph of the Assumption
follows justly on the divine maternity. Her body was all pure, because
her all holy (παναγία) soul made it the resting-place of our Lord. The
Mother is so identified with the Son that her life is part of His. The
tomb is not for her, and thus the writer of the eighth century bears
full testimony to Catholic tradition.

All believers are at one in wishing to reach God; the question is one of
detail. Which is the shortest road? St John Damascene speaks with the
Church when he says it is through the glorification of matter in the
Person of the Eternal Word. Either give matter its proper place, or take
away matter which the Lord Himself has exalted, and we are no longer
composite beings, but spirits ill at ease in a material world. Take away
the King’s army, and you uncrown the King Himself. Forget His Mother,
and with her the connecting link between earth and heaven. Then we may
be heathens once more, groping after the unknown God, and our latter
state will be more appalling than the heathendom of old, before the
light had appeared to illumine earth’s dark places.


    IMAGES .........................................................   1
    PART II. THE SAME ..............................................  55
    PART III. THE SAME .............................................  87
    SERMON I. ON THE ASSUMPTION .................................... 147
    SERMON II. THE SAME ............................................ 171
    SERMON III. THE SAME ........................................... 201


_With_ the ever-present conviction of my own unworthiness, I ought to
have kept silence and confessed my shortcomings before God, but all
things are good at the right time. I see the Church which God founded on
the Apostles and Prophets, its corner-stone being Christ His Son, tossed
on an angry sea, beaten by rushing waves, shaken and troubled by the
assaults of evil spirits. I see rents in the seamless robe of Christ,
which impious men have sought to part asunder, and His body cut into
pieces, that is, the word of God and the ancient tradition of the
Church. Therefore I have judged it unreasonable to keep silence and to
hold my tongue, bearing in mind the Scripture warning:—‘If thou
withdrawest thyself, my soul shall not delight in thee,’ and ‘If thou
seest the sword coming and dost not warn thy brother, I shall require
his blood at thy hand.’ Fear, then, compelled me to speak; the truth was
stronger than the majesty of kings. ‘I bore testimony to Thee before
kings,’ I heard the royal¹ David saying, ‘and I was’ not ashamed. No, I
was the more incited to speak. The King’s command is all powerful over
his subjects. For few men have hitherto been found who, whilst
recognising the power of the earthly king to come from above, have
resisted his unlawful demands.

In the first place, grasping as a kind of pillar, or foundation, the
teaching of the Church, which is our salvation, I have opened out its
meaning, giving, as it were, the reins to a well-caparisoned charger.²
For I look upon it as a great calamity that the Church, adorned with her
great privileges and the holiest examples of saints in the past, should
go back to the first rudiments, and fear where there is no fear. It is
disastrous to suppose that the Church does not know God as He is, that
she degenerates into idolatry, for if she declines from perfection in a
single iota, it is as an enduring mark on a comely face, destroying by
its unsightliness the beauty of the whole. A small thing is not small
when it leads to something great, nor indeed is it a thing of no matter
to give up the ancient tradition of the Church held by our forefathers,
whose conduct we should observe, and whose faith we should imitate.

In the first place, then, before speaking to you, I beseech Almighty
God, to whom all things lie open, who knows my small capacity and my
genuine intention, to bless the words of my mouth, and to enable me to
bridle my mind and direct it to Him, to walk in His presence straightly,
not declining to a plausible right hand, nor knowing the left. Then I
ask all God’s people, the chosen ones of His royal priesthood, with the
holy shepherd of Christ’s orthodox flock, who represents in his own
person Christ’s priesthood, to receive my treatise with kindness. They
must not dwell on my unworthiness, nor seek for eloquence, for I am only
too conscious of my shortcomings. They must consider the thoughts
themselves. The kingdom of heaven is not in word but in deed. Conquest
is not my object. I raise a hand which is fighting for the truth—a
willing hand under the divine guidance. Relying, then, upon substantial
truth as my auxiliary, I will enter on my subject matter.

I have taken heed to the words of Truth Himself:—‘The Lord thy God is
one.’ And ‘Thou shalt fear the Lord thy God, and shalt serve Him only,
and thou shalt not have strange gods.’ Again, ‘Thou shalt not make to
thyself a graven thing, nor the likeness of anything that is in heaven
above, or in the earth beneath’; and ‘Let them be all confounded that
adore graven things.’ Again, ‘The gods that have not made heaven and
earth, let them perish.’ In this way God spoke of old to the patriarchs
through the prophets, and lastly, through His only-begotten Son, on
whose account He made the ages. He says, ‘This is eternal life, that
they may know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou didst
send.’ I believe in one God, the source of all things, without
beginning, uncreated, immortal, everlasting, incomprehensible, bodiless,
invisible, uncircumscribed,³ without form. I believe in one
supersubstantial being, one divine Godhead in three entities, the
Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, and I adore Him alone with the
worship of latreia. I adore one God, one Godhead but three Persons, God
the Father, God the Son made flesh, and God the Holy Ghost, one God. I
do not adore creation more than the Creator, but I adore the creature
created as I am, adopting creation freely and spontaneously that He
might elevate our nature and make us partakers of His divine nature.
Together with my Lord and King I worship Him clothed in the flesh, not
as if it were a garment or He constituted a fourth person of the
Trinity—God forbid. That flesh is divine, and endures after its
assumption. Human nature was not lost in the Godhead, but just as the
Word made flesh remained the Word, so flesh became the Word remaining
flesh, becoming, rather, one with the Word through union (καθ’
ὑπόστασιν). Therefore I venture to draw an image of the invisible God,
not as invisible, but as having become visible for our sakes through
flesh and blood. I do not draw an image of the immortal Godhead. I paint
the visible flesh of God, for it is impossible to represent a spirit
(ψυχὴ), how much more God who gives breath to the spirit.

Now adversaries say: God’s commands to Moses the law-giver were, ‘Thou
shalt adore the Lord thy God, and thou shalt worship him alone, and thou
shalt not make to thyself a graven thing that is in heaven above, or in
the earth beneath.’

They err truly, not knowing the Scriptures, for the letter kills whilst
the spirit quickens—not finding in the letter the hidden meaning. I
could say to these people, with justice, He who taught you this would
teach you the following. Listen to the law-giver’s interpretation in
Deuteronomy: ‘And the Lord spoke to you from the midst of the fire. You
heard the voice of His words, but you saw not any form at all.’ And
shortly afterwards: ‘Keep your souls carefully. You saw not any
similitude in the day that the Lord God spoke to you in Horeb from the
midst of the fire, lest perhaps being deceived you might make you a
graven similitude, or image of male and female, the similitude of any
beasts that are upon the earth, or of birds that fly under heaven.’ And
again, ‘Lest, perhaps, lifting up thy eyes to heaven, thou see the sun
and the moon, and all the stars of heaven, and being deceived by error
thou adore and serve them.’

You see the one thing to be aimed at is not to adore a created thing
more than the Creator, nor to give the worship of latreia except to Him
alone. By worship, consequently, He always understands the worship of
latreia. For, again, He says: ‘Thou shalt not have strange gods other
than Me. Thou shalt not make to thyself a graven thing, nor any
similitude. Thou shalt not adore them, and thou shalt not serve them,
for I am the Lord thy God.’ And again, ‘Overthrow their altars, and
break down their statues; burn their groves with fire, and break their
idols in pieces. For thou shalt not adore a strange god.’ And a little
further on: ‘Thou shalt not make to thyself gods of metal.’

You see that He forbids image-making on account of idolatry, and that it
is impossible to make an image of the immeasurable, uncircumscribed,
invisible God. You have not seen the likeness of Him, the Scripture
says, and this was St Paul’s testimony as he stood in the midst of the
Areopagus: ‘Being, therefore, the offspring of God, we must not suppose
the divinity to be like unto gold, or silver, or stone, the graving of
art, and device of man.’

These injunctions were given to the Jews on account of their proneness
to idolatry. Now we, on the contrary, are no longer in leading strings.
Speaking theologically, it is given to us to avoid superstitious error,
to be with God in the knowledge of the truth, to worship God alone, to
enjoy the fulness of His knowledge. We have passed the stage of infancy,
and reached the perfection of manhood. We receive our habit of mind from
God, and know what may be imaged and what may not. The Scripture says,
‘You have not seen the likeness of Him.’ What wisdom in the law-giver.
How depict the invisible? How picture the inconceivable? How give
expression to the limitless, the immeasurable, the invisible? How give a
form to immensity? How paint immortality? How localise mystery? It is
clear that when you contemplate God, who is a pure spirit, becoming man
for your sake, you will be able to clothe Him with the human form. When
the Invisible One becomes visible to flesh, you may then draw a likeness
of His form. When He who is a pure spirit, without form or limit,
immeasurable in the boundlessness of His own nature, existing as God,
takes upon Himself the form of a servant in substance and in stature,
and a body of flesh, then you may draw His likeness, and show it to
anyone willing to contemplate it. Depict His ineffable condescension,
His virginal birth, His baptism in the Jordan, His transfiguration on
Thabor, His all-powerful sufferings, His death and miracles, the proofs
of His Godhead, the deeds which He worked in the flesh through divine
power, His saving Cross, His Sepulchre, and resurrection, and ascent
into heaven. Give to it all the endurance of engraving and colour. Have
no fear or anxiety; worship is not all of the same kind. Abraham
worshipped the sons of Emmor, impious men in ignorance of God, when he
bought the double cave for a tomb. Jacob worshipped his brother Esau and
Pharao, the Egyptian, but on the point of his staff⁴ He worshipped, he
did not adore. Josue and Daniel worshipped an angel of God; they did not
adore him. The worship of latreia is one thing, and the worship which is
given to merit another. Now, as we are talking of images and worship,
let us analyse the exact meaning of each. An image is a likeness of the
original with a certain difference, for it is not an exact reproduction
of the original. Thus, the Son is the living, substantial, unchangeable
Image of the invisible God, bearing in Himself the whole Father, being
in all things equal to Him, differing only in being begotten by the
Father, who is the Begetter; the Son is begotten. The Father does not
proceed from the Son, but the Son from the Father. It is through the
Son, though not after Him, that He is what He is, the Father who
generates. In God, too, there are representations and images of His
future acts,—that is to say, His counsel from all eternity, which is
ever unchangeable. That which is divine is immutable; there is no change
in Him, nor shadow of change. Blessed Denis (the Carthusian) who has
made divine things in God’s presence his study, says that these
representations and images are marked out beforehand. In His counsels,
God has noted and settled all that He would do, the unchanging future
events before they came to pass. In the same way, a man who wished to
build a house, would first make and think out a plan. Again, visible
things are images of invisible and intangible things, on which they
throw a faint light. Holy Scripture clothes in figure God and the
angels, and the same holy man (Blessed Denis) explains why. When
sensible things sufficiently render what is beyond sense, and give a
form to what is intangible, a medium would be reckoned imperfect
according to our standard, if it did not fully represent material
vision, or if it required effort of mind. If, therefore, Holy Scripture,
providing for our need, ever putting before us what is intangible,
clothes it in flesh, does it not make an image of what is thus invested
with our nature, and brought to the level of our desires, yet invisible?
A certain conception through the senses thus takes place in the brain,
which was not there before, and is transmitted to the judicial faculty,
and added to the mental store. Gregory, who is so eloquent about God,
says that the mind which is set upon getting beyond corporeal things, is
incapable of doing it. For the invisible things of God since the
creation of the world are made visible through images. We see images in
creation which remind us faintly of God, as when, for instance, we speak
of the holy and adorable Trinity, imaged by the sun, or light, or
burning rays, or by a running fountain, or a full river, or by the mind,
speech, or the spirit within us, or by a rose tree, or a sprouting
flower, or a sweet fragrance.

Again, an image is expressive of something in the future, mystically
shadowing forth what is to happen. For instance, the ark represents the
image of Our Lady, Mother of God,⁵ so does the staff and the earthen
jar. The serpent brings before us Him who vanquished on the Cross the
bite of the original serpent; the sea, water, and the cloud the grace of

Again, things which have taken place are expressed by images for the
remembrance either of a wonder, or an honour, or dishonour, or good or
evil, to help those who look upon it in after times that we may avoid
evils and imitate goodness. It is of two kinds, the written image in
books, as when God had the law inscribed on tablets, and when He
enjoined that the lives of holy men should be recorded and sensible
memorials be preserved in remembrance; as, for instance, the earthen jar
and the staff in the ark. So now we preserve in writing the images and
the good deeds of the past. Either, therefore, take away images
altogether and be out of harmony with God who made these regulations, or
receive them with the language and in the manner which befits them. In
speaking of the manner let us go into the question of worship.

Worship is the symbol of veneration and of honour. Let us understand
that there are different degrees of worship. First of all the worship of
latreia, which we show to God, who alone by nature is worthy of worship.
Then, for the sake of God who is worshipful by nature, we honour His
saints and servants, as Josue and Daniel worshipped an angel, and David
His holy places, when he says, ‘Let us go to the place where His feet
have stood.’ Again, in His tabernacles, as when all the people of Israel
adored in the tent, and standing round the temple in Jerusalem, fixing
their gaze upon it from all sides, and worshipping from that day to
this, or in the rulers established by Him, as Jacob rendered homage to
Esau, his elder brother, and to Pharao, the divinely established ruler.
Joseph was worshipped by his brothers. I am aware that worship was based
on honour, as in the case of Abraham and the sons of Emmor. Either,
then, do away with worship, or receive it altogether according to its
proper measure.

Answer me this question. Is there only one God? You answer, ‘Yes, there
is only one Law-giver.’ Why, then, does He command contrary things? The
cherubim are not outside of creation; why, then, does He allow cherubim
carved by the hand of man to overshadow the mercy-seat? Is it not
evident that as it is impossible to make an image of God, who is
uncircumscribed and impassible, or of one like to God, creation should
not be worshipped as God. He allows the image of the cherubim who are
circumscribed,⁶ and prostrate in adoration before the divine throne, to
be made, and thus prostrate to overshadow the mercy-seat. It was fitting
that the image of the heavenly choirs should overshadow the divine
mysteries. Would you say that the ark and staff and mercy-seat were not
made? Are they not produced by the hand of man? Are they not due to what
you call contemptible matter? What was the tabernacle itself? Was it not
an image? Was it not a type and a figure? Hence the holy Apostle’s words
concerning the observances of the law, ‘Who serve unto the example and
shadow of heavenly things.’ As it was answered to Moses, when he was to
finish the tabernacle: ‘See’ (He says), ‘that thou make all things
according to the pattern which was shown thee on the Mount.’ But the law
was not an image. It shrouded the image. In the words of the same
Apostle, the law contains the shadow of the goods to come, not the image
of those things. For if the law should forbid images, and yet be itself
a forerunner of images, what should we say? If the tabernacle was a
figure, and the type of a type, why does the law not prohibit
image-making? But this is not in the least the case. There is a time for

Of old, God the incorporeal and uncircumscribed was never depicted. Now,
however, when God is seen clothed in flesh, and conversing with men, I
make an image of the God whom I see. I do not worship matter, I worship
the God of matter, who became matter for my sake, and deigned to inhabit
matter, who worked out my salvation through matter. I will not cease
from honouring that matter which works my salvation. I venerate it,
though not as God. How could God be born out of lifeless things? And if
God’s body is God by union (καθ’ ὑπόστασιν), it is immutable. The nature
of God remains the same as before, the flesh created in time is
quickened by a logical and reasoning soul. I honour all matter besides,
and venerate it. Through it, filled, as it were, with a divine power and
grace, my salvation has come to me. Was not the thrice happy and thrice
blessed wood of the Cross matter? Was not the sacred and holy mountain
of Calvary matter? What of the life-giving rock, the Holy Sepulchre, the
source of our resurrection: was it not matter? Is not the most holy book
of the Gospels matter? Is not the blessed table matter which gives us
the Bread of Life? Are not the gold and silver matter, out of which
crosses and altar-plate and chalices are made? And before all these
things, is not the body and blood of our Lord matter? Either do away
with the veneration and worship due to all these things, or submit to
the tradition of the Church in the worship of images, honouring God and
His friends, and following in this the grace of the Holy Spirit. Do not
despise matter, for it is not despicable. Nothing is that which God has
made. This is the Manichean heresy. That alone is despicable which does
not come from God, but is our own invention, the spontaneous choice of
will to disregard the natural law,—that is to say, sin. If, therefore,
you dishonour and give up images, because they are produced by matter,
consider what the Scripture says: And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying,
‘Behold I have called by name Beseleel, the son of Uri, the son of Hur,
of the tribe of Juda. And I have filled him with the spirit of God, with
wisdom and understanding, and knowledge in all manner of work. To devise
whatsoever may be artificially made of gold, and silver, and brass, of
marble and precious stones, and variety of wood. And I have given him
for his companion, Ooliab, the son of Achisamech, of the tribe of Dan.
And I have put wisdom in the heart of every skilful man, that they may
make all things which I have commanded thee.’ And again: ‘Moses said to
all the assembly of the children of Israel: This is the word the Lord
hath commanded, saying: Set aside with you first fruits to the Lord. Let
every one that is willing and hath a ready heart, offer them to the
Lord, gold, and silver, and brass, violet, and purple, and scarlet twice
dyed, and fine linen, goat’s hair, and ram’s skins died red and violet,
coloured skins, selim-wood, and oil to maintain lights and to make
ointment, and most sweet incense, onyx stones, and precious stones for
the adorning of the ephod and the rational. Whosoever of you is wise,
let him come, and make that which the Lord hath commanded.’ See you here
the glorification of matter which you make inglorious. What is more
insignificant than goat’s hair or colours? Are not scarlet and purple
and hyacinth colours? Now, consider the handiwork of man becoming the
likeness of the cherubim. How, then, can you make the law a pretence for
giving up what it orders? If you invoke it against images, you should
keep the Sabbath, and practise circumcision. It is certain that ‘if you
observe the law, Christ will not profit you. You who are justified in
the law, you are fallen from grace.’ Israel of old did not see God, but
we see the Lord’s glory face to face.

We proclaim Him also by our senses on all sides, and we sanctify the
noblest sense, which is that of sight. The image is a memorial, just
what words are to a listening ear. What a book is to the literate, that
an image is to the illiterate. The image speaks to the sight as words to
the ear; it brings us understanding. Hence God ordered the ark to be
made of imperishable wood, and to be gilded outside and in, and the
tablets to be put in it, and the staff and the golden urn containing the
manna, for a remembrance of the past and a type of the future. Who can
say these were not images and far-sounding heralds? And they did not
hang on the walls of the tabernacle; but in sight of all the people who
looked towards them, they were brought forward for the worship and
adoration of God, who made use of them. It is evident that they were not
worshipped for themselves, but that the people were led through them to
remember past signs, and to worship the God of wonders. They were images
to serve as recollections, not divine, but leading to divine things by
divine power.

And God ordered twelve stones to be taken out of the Jordan, and
specified why. For he says: ‘When your son asks you the meaning of these
stones, tell him how the water left the Jordan by the divine command,
and how the ark was saved and the whole people.’ How, then, shall we not
record on image the saving pains and wonders of Christ our Lord, so that
when my child asks me, ‘What is this?’ I may say, that God the Word
became man, and that for His sake not Israel alone passed through the
Jordan, but all the human race gained their original happiness. Through
Him human nature rose from the lowest depths of the earth higher than
the skies, and in His Person sat down on the throne His Father had
prepared for Him.

But the adversary says: ‘Make an image of Christ or of His mother who
bore Him (τῆς θεοτόκον), and let that be sufficient.’ O what folly this
is! On your own showing, you are absolutely against the saints. For if
you make an image of Christ and not of the saints, it is evident that
you do not disown images, but the honour of the saints. You make statues
indeed of Christ as of one glorified, whilst you reject the saints as
unworthy of honour, and call truth a falsehood. ‘I live,’ says the Lord,
‘and I will glorify those who glorify Me.’ And the divine Apostle:
therefore now he is not a servant, but a son. ‘And if a son, an heir
also through God.’ Again, ‘If we suffer with Him, that we also may be
glorified:’ you are not waging war against images, but against the
saints. St John, who rested on His breast, says, that we shall be like
to Him: just as a man by contact with fire becomes fire, not by nature,
but by contact and by burning and by participation, so is it, I
apprehend, with the flesh of the Crucified Son of God. That flesh, by
participation through union (κἀθ’ ὑπόστασιν) with the divine nature, was
unchangeably God, not in virtue of grace from God as was the case with
each of the prophets, but by the presence of the Fountain Head Himself.
God, the Scripture says, stood in the synagogue of the gods, so that the
saints, too, are gods. Holy Gregory takes the words, ‘God stands in the
midst of the gods,’ to mean that He discriminates their several merits.
The saints in their lifetime were filled with the Holy Spirit, and when
they are no more, His grace abides with their spirits and with their
bodies in their tombs, and also with their likenesses and holy images,
not by nature, but by grace and divine power.

God charged David to build Him a temple through his son, and to prepare
a place of rest. Solomon, in building the temple, made the cherubim, as
the book of Kings says. And he encompassed the cherubim with gold, and
all the walls in a circle, and he had the cherubim carved, and palms
inside and out, in a circle, not from the sides, be it observed. And
there were bulls and lions and pomegranates. Is it not more seemly to
decorate all the walls of the Lord’s house with holy forms and images
rather than with beasts and plants? Where is the law declaring ‘thou
shalt not make any graven image’? But Solomon receiving the gift of
wisdom, imaging heaven, made the cherubim, and the likenesses of bulls
and lions, which the law forbade. Now if we make a statue of Christ, and
likenesses of the saints, does not their being filled with the Holy
Ghost increase the piety of our homage? As then the people and the
temple were purified in blood and in burnt offerings, so now the Blood
of Christ giving testimony under Pontius Pilate, and being Himself the
first fruits of the martyrs, the Church is built up on the blood of the
saints. Then the signs and forms of lifeless animals figured forth the
human tabernacle, the martyrs themselves whom they were preparing for
God’s abode.

We depict Christ as our King and Lord, and do not deprive Him of His
army. The saints constitute the Lord’s army. Let the earthly king
dismiss his army before he gives up his King and Lord. Let him put off
the purple before he takes honour away from his most valiant men who
have conquered their passions. For if the saints are heirs of God, and
co-heirs of Christ, they will be also partakers of the divine glory of
sovereignty. If the friends of God have had a part in the sufferings of
Christ, how shall they not receive a share of His glory even on earth?
‘I call you not servants,’ our Lord says, ‘you are my friends.’ Should
we then deprive them of the honour given to them by the Church? What
audacity! What boldness of mind, to fight God and His commands! You, who
refuse to worship images, would not worship the Son of God, the Living
Image of the invisible God, and His unchanging form. I worship the image
of Christ as the Incarnate God; that of Our Lady (τῆς θεοτὅκου), the
Mother of us all, as the Mother of God’s Son; that of the saints as the
friends of God. They have withstood sin unto blood, and followed Christ
in shedding their blood for Him, who shed His blood for them. I put on
record the excellencies and the sufferings of those who have walked in
His footsteps, that I may sanctify myself, and be fired with the zeal of
imitation. St Basil says, ‘Honouring the image leads to the prototype.’
If you raise churches to the saints of God, raise also their trophies.
The temple of old was not built in the name of any man. The death of the
just was a cause of tears, not of feasting. A man who touched a corpse
was considered unclean, even if the corpse was Moses himself. But now
the memories of the saints are kept with rejoicings. The dead body of
Jacob was wept over, whilst there is joy over the death of Stephen.
Therefore, either give up the solemn commemorations of the saints, which
are not according to the old law, or accept images which are also
against it, as you say. But it is impossible not to keep with rejoicing
the memories of the saints. The Holy Apostles and Fathers are at one in
enjoining them. From the time that God the Word became flesh He is as we
are in everything except sin, and of our nature, without confusion. He
has deified our flesh for ever, and we are in very deed sanctified
through His Godhead and the union of His flesh with it. And from the
time that God, the Son of God, impassible by reason of His Godhead,
chose to suffer voluntarily He wiped out our debt, also paying for us a
most full and noble ransom. We are truly free through the sacred blood
of the Son pleading for us with the Father. And we are indeed delivered
from corruption since He descended into hell to the souls detained there
through centuries and gave the captives their freedom, sight to the
blind, and chaining the strong one.⁷ He rose in the plenitude of His
power, keeping the flesh of immortality which He had taken for us. And
since we have been born again of water and the Spirit, we are truly sons
and heirs of God. Hence St Paul calls the faithful holy; hence we do not
grieve but rejoice over the death of the saints. We are then no longer
under grace, being justified through faith, and knowing the one true
God. The just man is not bound by the law. We are not held by the letter
of the law, nor do we serve as children, but grown into the perfect
estate of man we are fed on solid food, not on that which conduces to
idolatry. The law is good as a light shining in a dark place until the
day breaks. Your hearts have already been illuminated, the living water
of God’s knowledge has run over the tempestuous seas of heathendom, and
we may all know God. The old creation has passed away, and all things
are renovated. The holy Apostle Paul said to St Peter, the chief of the
Apostles:⁸ ‘If you, being a Jew, live as a heathen and not a Jew, how
will you persuade heathens to do as Jews do?’ And to the Galatians: ‘I
will bear witness to every circumcised man that it is salutary to fulfil
the whole law.’

Of old they who did not know God, worshipped false gods. But now,
knowing God, or rather being known by Him, how can we return to bare and
naked rudiments? I have looked upon the human form of God, and my soul
has been saved. I gaze upon the image of God, as Jacob did, though in a
different way. Jacob sounded the note of the future, seeing with
immaterial sight, whilst the image of Him who is visible to flesh is
burnt into my soul. The shadow and winding sheet and relics of the
apostles cured sickness, and put demons to flight. How, then, shall not
the shadow and the statues of the saints be glorified? Either do away
with the worship of all matter, or be not an innovator. Do not disturb
the boundaries of centuries, put up by your fathers.

It is not in writing only that they have bequeathed to us the tradition
of the Church, but also in certain unwritten examples. In the
twenty-seventh book of his work, in thirty chapters addressed to
Amphilochios concerning the Holy Spirit, St Basil says, ‘In the
cherished teaching and dogmas of the Church, we hold some things by
written documents; others we have received in mystery from the
apostolical tradition.’ Both are of equal value for the soul’s growth.
No one will dispute this who has considered even a little the discipline
of the Church. For if we neglect unwritten customs, as not having much
weight, we bury in oblivion the most pertinent facts connected with the
Gospel. These are the great Basil’s words. How do we know the Holy place
of Calvary, or the Holy Sepulchre? Does it not rest on a tradition
handed down from father to son? It is written that our Lord was
crucified on Calvary, and buried in a tomb, which Joseph hewed out of
the rock; but it is unwritten tradition which identifies these spots,
and does more things of the same kind. Whence come the three immersions
at baptism, praying with face turned towards the east, and the tradition
of the mysteries?⁹ Hence St Paul says, Therefore, brethren, stand fast,
and hold the traditions which you have learned either by word, or by our
epistle. As, then, so much has been handed down in the Church, and is
observed down to the present day, why disparage images?

If you bring forward certain practices, they do not inculpate our
worship of images, but the worship of heathens who make them idols.
Because heathens do it foolishly, this is no reason for objecting to our
pious practice. If the same magicians and sorcerers use supplication, so
does the Church with catechumens; the former invoke devils, but the
Church calls upon God against devils. Heathens have raised up images to
demons, whom they call gods. Now we have raised them to the one
Incarnate God, to His servants and friends, who are proof against the
diabolical hosts.

If, again, you object that the great Epiphanius thoroughly rejected
images, I would say in the first place the work in question is
fictitious and unauthentic. It bears the name of some one who did not
write it, which used to be commonly done. Secondly, we know that blessed
Athanasius objected to the bodies of saints being put into chests, and
that he preferred their burial in the ground, wishing to set at nought
the strange custom of the Egyptians, who did not bury their dead under
ground, but set them upon beds and couches. Thus, supposing that he
really wrote this work, the great Epiphanius, wishing to correct
something of the same kind, ordered that images should not be used. The
proof that he did not object to images, is to be found in his own
church, which is adorned with images to this day. Thirdly, the exception
is not a law to the Church, neither does one swallow make summer, as it
seems to Gregory the theologian, and to the truth. Neither can one
expression overturn the tradition of the whole Church which is spread
throughout the world.

Accept, therefore, the teaching of Scripture and spiritual writers. If
the Scripture _does_ call the idols of heathens silver and gold, and the
works of man’s hand, it does not forbid the adoration of inanimate
things, or man’s handiwork, but the adoration of demons.

We have seen that prophets worshipped angels, and men, and kings, and
the impious, and even a staff. David says, ‘And you adore His
footstool.’ Isaias, speaking in God’s name, says, ‘The heavens are my
throne, and the earth my footstool.’ Now, it is evident to every one
that the heavens and the earth are created things. Moses, too, and Aaron
with all the people adored the work of hands. St Paul, the golden
grasshopper¹⁰ of the Church, says in his Epistle to the Hebrews, ‘But
Christ being come, a high priest of the good things to come, by a
greater and more perfect tabernacle not made by hand,’ that is ‘not of
this creation.’ And, again, ‘For Jesus is not entered into the Holies
made by hands, the patterns of the true; but into heaven itself.’ Thus
the former holy things, the tabernacle, and everything within it, were
made by hands, and no one denies that they were adored.

Authentic Testimony of Ancient Fathers in favour of Images.

St Denis the Areopagite. From his Letter to Bishop Titus.

Instead of attaching the common conception to images, we should look
upon what they symbolise, and not despise the divine mark and character
which they portray, as sensible images of mysterious and heavenly

_Commentary._—Mark that he cautions us not to despise sacred images.

The Same, ‘On the Names of God.’

We have taken the same line. On the one side, through the veiled
language of Scripture and the help of oral tradition, intellectual
things are understood through sensible ones, and the things above nature
by the things that are. Forms are given to what is intangible and
without shape, and immaterial perfection is clothed and multiplied in a
variety of different symbols.

_Commentary._—If it be a good work to clothe with shape and form,
according to our standard, that which is formless, shapeless, and
without consistency, how shall we not make images to ourselves in the
same way of things perceived through form and shape, so that we may bear
them in mind, and be moved to imitate what they represent.

The Same, on the ‘Ecclesiastical Hierarchy.’

Now, if the substances (ούσίαι) and orders above us, of which we have
already made reverent mention, are without bodies, their hierarchy is
intellectual and above sense.

We supply by the variety of sensible symbols the visible order, which is
according to our own measure. Those sensible symbols lead us naturally
to intellectual conception, to God and His divine attributes. Spiritual
minds form their own spiritual conceptions, but we are led to the divine
vision by sensible images.

_Commentary._—If, then, it be rational that we are led to the divine
vision by sensible images, and if Divine Providence mercifully clothes
in form and image that which is without either for our benefit, what is
there unseemly about imaging, according to our capacity, Him who
graciously disguised Himself for us in shape and form?

A tradition has come down to us that Angaros, King of Edessa, was drawn
vehemently to divine love by hearing of our Lord,¹¹ and that he sent
envoys to ask for His likeness. If this were refused, they were ordered
to have a likeness painted. Then He, who is all-knowing and
all-powerful, is said to have taken a strip of cloth, and pressing it to
His face, to have left His likeness upon the cloth, which it retains to
this day.

St Basil’s Sermon on the Martyr St Barlam, beginning, ‘In the first
place the death of the saints.’

Arise, you renowned painters of brave deeds, who set forth by your art a
faint image of the General. My praise of the laurel-crowned victor is
faint compared to the colours of your brush. I will give up writing on
the excellencies of the martyr whom you have crowned. I rejoice at the
victory won to-day by your strength. I contemplate the hand put out to
the flames, more powerfully dealt with by you. I see the struggle more
clearly depicted on your statue. Let demons be enraged even now,
overcome by the martyr’s excellencies which you reveal. Let the powerful
hand be again outstretched to victory. May Christ our Lord, the supreme
Judge of the warfare, appear in picture. To Him be glory for ever and
ever. Amen.

From the same, from the Thirty Chapters to Amphilochios, on the Holy
Ghost.—Chap. xviii.

The image of the king is also called the king, and there are not two
kings in consequence. Neither is power divided, nor is glory
distributed. Just as the reigning power over us is one, so is our homage
one, not many, and the honour given to the image reaches back to the
original. What the image is in the one case as a representation, that
the Son is by His humanity, and as in art likeness is according to form,
so in the divine and incommensurable nature (άσυνθέτος) union is
effected in the indwelling Godhead.

_Commentary._—If the image of the king is the king, the image of Christ
is Christ, and the image of a saint the saint, and if power is not
divided nor glory distributed, honouring the image becomes honouring the
one who is set forth in image. Devils have feared the saints, and have
fled from their shadow. The shadow is an image, and I make an image that
I may scare demons. If you say that only intellectual worship befits
God, take away all corporeal things, light, and fragrance, prayer itself
through the physical voice, the very divine mysteries which are offered
through matter, bread, and wine, the oil of chrism, the sign of the
Cross, for all this is matter. Take away the Cross, and the sponge of
the Crucifixion, and the spear which pierced the life-giving side.
Either give up honouring these things as impossible, or do not reject
the veneration of images. Matter is endued with a divine power through
prayer made to those who are depicted in image. Purple by itself is
simple, and so is silk, and the cloak which is made of both. But if the
king put it on, the cloak receives honour from the honour due to the
wearer. So is it with matter. By itself it is of no account, but if the
one presented in image be full of grace, men become partakers of his
grace according to their faith. The apostles knew our Lord with their
bodily eyes; others knew the apostles, others the martyrs. I, too,
desire to see them in the spirit and in the flesh, and to possess a
saving remedy as I am a composite being. I see with my eyes, and revere
that which represents what I honour, though I do not worship it as God.
Now you, perhaps, are superior to me, and are lifted up above bodily
things, and being, as it were, not of flesh, you make light of what is
visible, but as I am human and clothed with a body, I desire to see and
to be corporeally with the saints. Condescend to my humble wish that you
may be secure on your heights. God accepts my longing for Him and for
His saints. For He rejoices at the praises of His servant, according to
the great St Basil in his panegyric of the Forty Martyrs. Listen to the
words which he uttered in honour of the martyr St Gordion.

From St Basils Sermon on St Gordion.

The mere memory of just deeds is a source of spiritual joy to the whole
world; people are moved to imitate the holiness of which they hear. The
life of holy men is as a light illuminating the way for those who would
see it. And again, when we recount the story of holy lives we glorify in
the first place the Lord of those servants, and we give praise to the
servants on account of their testimony, which is known to us. We rejoice
the world through good report.

_Commentary._—The remembrance of the saints is thus, you see, a glory to
God, praise of the saints, joy and salvation to the whole world. Why,
then, would you destroy it? This remembrance is kept by preaching and by
images, says the same great St Basil.

The same, on the Martyr St Gordion.

Just as burning follows naturally on fire, and fragrance on sweet
ointment, so must good arise from holy actions. For it is no small thing
to represent past events according to life. Is it a dim memory of the
man’s wrestlings which has come down to us, and does not the painter’s
picture tally with our present conflict? Now, as painters draw images
from images, they frequently depart from the original as much as the
image itself does, and as we did not see what they represent, there is
no little fear that we may injure the truth.

The same, at the end.

The sun fills us with perpetual wonder, though always before us, so the
memory of this man is ever fresh.

_Commentary._—It is evident that it is fresh through sermon and image.

Testimony of the same, from his Sermon on the Forty Martyrs.

Can the lover of the martyrs have too much of their memory? For the
honour shown to the just, our fellow-men, is a testimony to the goodness
of our common Lord.

And again:—

Recognise the blessedness of the martyr heartily, that you may be a
martyr in will; thus, without persecutor, or fire, or blows, found
worthy of the same reward.

_Commentary._—How, then, would you dissuade me from honouring the
saints, and be envious of my salvation? Listen to what he says a little
further on to show that he united the painter’s art to oratory.

St Basil.

See, then, that setting them before us in representation, we are making
them helpful to the living, exhibiting their holiness to us all as if in
a picture.

_Commentary._—Do you understand that both image and sermon teach one
lesson? He says: ‘Let us show them forth in a sermon as if in a
picture.’ And again: Writers and painters point out the struggles of
war; the first by the art of style, the second with their brush, and
each induce many to be brave. That which a spoken account presents to
the hearing, a silent picture portrays for imitation.

_Commentary._—What better proof have we that images are the books of the
illiterate, the ever-speaking heralds of honouring the saints, teaching
those who gaze upon them without words, and sanctifying the spectacle. I
have not many books nor time for study, and I go into a church, the
common refuge of souls, my mind wearied with conflicting thoughts. I see
before me a beautiful picture and the sight refreshes me, and induces me
to glorify God. I marvel at the martyr’s endurance, at his reward, and
fired with burning zeal, I fall down to adore God through His martyr,
and receive a grace of salvation. Have you not heard the same holy
father in his homily on the beginning of the Psalms, say that the Holy
Spirit, knowing the human race were obstinate and hard to lead, mixed
honey with the psalm-singing? What do you say to this? Shall I not
perpetuate the martyr’s testimony both by word and paint brush? Shall I
not embrace with my eyes that which is a wonder to the angels and to the
whole world, formidable to the devil, a terror to demons, as the same
great Father says? Again, towards the end of his homily on the forty
martyrs, he exclaims, ‘O sainted band! O sacred fraternity! O invincible
army! protectors of the human race, solace of the troubled, hope of your
petitioners, most powerful intercessors, light of the world, bloom both
intellectual and material of the Churches! The earth has not hidden you
from sight, heaven has received you. May its gates be opened to you. The
spectacle is worthy of angels and patriarchs, prophets, and just.’

_Commentary._—How shall I not desire to see what the angels desire? St
Basil’s brother, who is one with him in thought, St Gregory of Nyssa,
shares his sentiments.

St Gregory of Nyssa, from the ‘Structure of Man.’

_Supplementary._—Just as in human fashion the image makers of the
powerful grasp the character of the form and set forth the royal dignity
with the insignia of the purple, and their handiwork is called image or
king, so is it with human nature. As it was created to rule over other
creations, it was made as an animated type or image, partaking of the
original in dignity and name.

The same, Fifth Chapter.

The divine beauty is not set forth either in form or comeliness of
design or colouring, but is contemplated in speechless blessedness,
according to its virtue. So do painters transfer human forms to canvas
through certain colours, laying on suitable and harmonious tints to the
picture, so as to transfer the beauty of the original to the likeness.

_Commentary._—You see that the divine beauty is not set forth in form or
shape, and on this account it cannot be conveyed by an image (οὑκ
εἰκονίξεται): it is the human form which is transferred to canvas by the
artist’s brush. If, therefore, the Son of God became man, taking the
form of a servant, and appearing in man’s nature, a perfect man, why
should His image not be made? If, in common parlance, the king’s image
is called the king, and the honour shown to the image redounds to the
original, as holy Basil says, why should the image not be honoured and
worshipped, not as God, but as the image of God Incarnate?

The same, from his Sermon at Constantinople on the Godhead of the Son
and of the Spirit, and on Abraham.

Then the father proceeds to bind his son. I have often seen paintings of
this touching scene, and could not look at it with dry eyes, art setting
it forth so vividly. Isaac is lying before the altar, his legs bound,
his hands tied behind his back. The father approaching the victim,
clasping his hair with the left hand, stoops over the face so piteously
turned towards him, and holds in his right hand the sword, ready to
strike. Already the point of the sword is on the body when the divine
voice is heard, forbidding the consummation.

Leo,¹² Bishop of Neapolis in Cyprus. From his book against the Jews, on
the Adoration of the Cross, and the Statues of the Saints, and on

If you, O Jew, reproach me saying that I adore the wood of the Cross as
God, why do you not reproach Jacob, who worshipped on the point of his
staff (ἐπὶ τό ἄκρον τῆς ρἁβδου)? Now it is evident that he was not
worshipping wood. So with us; we are worshipping Christ through the
Cross, not the wood of the Cross.

_Commentary._—If we adore the Cross, made of whatever wood it may be,
how shall we not adore the image of the Crucified?

From the same.

Abraham worshipped the impious men who sold him the cave, and bent his
knee to the ground, yet did not worship them as gods. Jacob praised
Pharao, an impious idolator, yet not as God, and he fell down at the
feet of Esau, yet did not worship him as God. And again, How does God
order us to worship the earth and mountains? ‘Exalt the Lord your God
and worship Him upon His holy mountain, and adore His footstool,’ that
is, the earth. For heaven is My throne, He says, and the earth My
footstool. How was it that Moses worshipped Jothor, an idolator, and
Daniel, Nabuchodonosor? How can you reproach me because I honour those
who honour God and show Him service? Tell me, is it not fitting to
worship the saints, rather than to throw stones at them as you do? Is it
not right to worship them, rather than to attack them, and to fling your
benefactors into the mire? If you loved God, you would be ready to
honour His servants also. And if the bones of the just are unclean, why
were the bones of Jacob and Joseph brought with all honour from Egypt?
How was it that a dead man arose again on touching the bones of Eliseus?
If God works wonders through bones, it is evident that He can work them
through images, and stones, and many other things, as in the case of
Eliseus, who gave his staff to his servant, saying, ‘With this go and
raise from the dead the son of the Sunamitess.’ With his staff Moses
chastised Pharao, parted the waters, struck the rock, and drew forth the
stream. And Solomon said, ‘Blessed is the wood by which justice cometh.’
Eliseus took iron out of the Jordan with a piece of wood. And again, the
wood is the wood of life, and the wood of Sabec, that is, of remission.
Moses humbled the serpent with wood and saved the people. The blossoming
rod in the tabernacle confirmed the priesthood of Aaron. Perhaps, O Jew,
you will tell me that God prescribed to Moses beforehand all the things
of the testimony in the tabernacle. Now, I say to you that Solomon made
a great variety of things in the temple in carvings and sculpture, which
God had not ordered him to do. Nor did the tabernacle of the testimony
contain them, nor the temple which God showed to Ezechiel, nor was
Solomon to be blamed in this. He had had these sculptured images made
for the glory of God as we do. You, too, had many and varied images and
signs in the Old Testament to serve as a reminder of God, if you had not
lost them through ingratitude. For instance, the rod of Moses, the
tablets of the law, the burning bush, the rock giving forth water, the
ark containing the manna, the altar set on fire from above (πυρενθεον),
the lamina bearing the divine name, the ephod, the tabernacle
overshadowed by God. If you had prepared all these things by day and by
night, saying, ‘Glory be to Thee, O Almighty God, who hast done wonders
in Israel through all these things’; if through all these ordinances of
the law, carried out of old, you had fallen on your knees to adore God,
you would see that worship is given to Him by images.

And further on:—

He who truly loves a friend or the king, and especially his benefactor,
if he sees that benefactor’s son, or his staff, or his chair, or his
crown, or his house, or his servant, he holds them fast in his embrace,
and if he honours his benefactor, the king, how much more God. Again I
repeat it, would that you had made images according to the law of Moses
and the prophets, and that day by day you had worshipped the God of
images. Whenever, then, you see Christians adoring the Cross, know that
they are adoring the Crucified Christ, not the mere wood.¹³ If, indeed,
they honoured wood as wood, they would be bound to worship trees of
whatever kind, as you, O Israel, worshipped them of old, saying to the
tree and to the stone, ‘Thou art my God and didst bring me forth.’ We do
not speak either to the Cross or to the representations of the saints in
this way. They are not our gods, but books which lie open and are
venerated in churches in order to remind us of God and to lead us to
worship Him. He who honours the martyr honours God, to whom the martyr
bore testimony. He who worships the apostle of Christ worships Him who
sent the apostle. He who falls at the feet of Christ’s mother most
certainly shows honour to her Son. There is no God but one, He who is
known and adored in the Trinity.

_Commentary._—Who is the faithful interpreter of blessed
Epiphanius—Leontius, whose teaching adorned the island of Cyprus, or
those who spoke according to their own conceits? Listen to the testimony
of Severianus, Bishop of the Gabali.

Severianus, Bishop of the Gabali, on the Dedication of the Cross.

How was it that the image of the enemy gave life to our progenitors? …

How was it that the image of the serpent worked salvation to the people
in distress? Would it not have been more reasonable to say, ‘If any of
you be bitten, let him look up to heaven, to God, and he shall be saved,
or let him look towards the tabernacle of God’? Passing over this, he
set up the image of the Cross alone. Why did Moses do this, who said to
the people, ‘Thou shalt not make to thyself a graven thing, nor the
likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or in the earth beneath,
nor of those things that are in the waters under the earth’? However,
why do I speak to unworthy people? Tell me, devout servant of God, will
you do what is forbidden, and disregard what you are told to do? He who
said, ‘Thou shalt not make to thyself a graven thing,’ condemned the
golden calf, and you make a brazen serpent, and this not secretly, but
most openly, so that it is known to all. Moses answers, I laid down that
commandment in order to root out impiety, and to withdraw the people
from all apostasy and idolatry; now, I have the serpent cast for a good
purpose—as a figure of the truth. And just as I have put up a
tabernacle, and everything in it, and cherubim, the likeness of the
invisible powers, over the holy of holies, as a sign and figure of the
future, so I have set up a serpent for the salvation of the people, to
serve as a preliminary to the image of the Cross, and the redemption
contained in it. As a confirmation of this, listen to the Lord saying,
‘As Moses exalted the serpent in the desert, so must you exalt the Son
of Man, that every one believing in Him may not be lost, but may have
eternal life.’

_Commentary._—Notice that His commandment not to make any graven thing
was given to draw the people from idolatry, to which they were prone,
and that the brazen serpent was an image of our Lord’s suffering.

Listen to what I am going to say as a proof that images are no new
invention. It is an ancient practice well known to the best and foremost
of the fathers. Elladios, the disciple of blessed Basil and his
successor, says in his Life of Basil that the holy man was standing by
the image of Our Lady, on which was painted also the likeness of
Mercurius, the renowned martyr. He was standing by it asking for the
removal of the impious apostate Julian, and he received this revelation
from the statue. He saw the martyr vanish for a time, and then reappear,
holding a bloody spear.

Taken word for word from the Life of St John Chrysostom.

Blessed John loved the epistles of St Paul exceedingly. … He had an
image of the apostle in a place where he was wont to retire now and then
on account of his physical weakness, for he outdid nature in watchings
and vigils. As he read through St Paul’s epistles, he had the image
before him, and spoke to the apostle as if he had been present, praising
him, and directing all his thoughts to him. …

When Proclus had finished speaking, gazing intently at the image of the
apostle, and recognising the likeness to the man he had seen, saluting
John, he said, pointing to the image: ‘Forgive me, father; the man I saw
talking to you is very like this statue. In fact, I should say he is the

In the life of St Eupraxia we are told that her Superior showed her the
likeness of our Lord.

We read in the life of St Mary of Egypt that she prayed before the
statue of Our Lady and besought her intercession, and so obtained leave
to enter the Church.¹⁴

In all the past array of Christian priests and kings, wise and pious,
conspicuous by teaching and example, in so many councils of holy and
inspired fathers, how is it that no one has pointed out these things? We
are not advocating a new faith. The law shall come out of Sion, the Holy
Ghost said prophetically, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. We do
not advocate one thing at one time, and another at another, nor that the
faith should become a laughing-stock to those outside. We will not allow
the king’s commands to overturn the tradition handed down from the
fathers. It is not for pious kings to overturn ecclesiastical
boundaries. These are not patristic ways. Things done by force are
impositions, and do not carry persuasion. A proof of this was given in
the 2nd Council of Ephesus, when a decree, which has never been
recognised as valid, was enforced by the emperor’s hand, and blessed
Flavian was put to death. Councils do not belong to kings, as the Lord
says: ‘Wherever one or two are gathered together in My name, there I am
in the midst of them.’ Christ did not give to kings the power to bind
and to loose, but to the apostles, and to their successors and pastors
and teachers. ‘If an angel were to teach you a different gospel to what
you have received,’ St Paul says—but we will be silent about what
follows, in the hope of their conversion. And if we find the warning
disregarded, which may God avert, we will then add the rest. Let us hope
it will not be needed.

If any one should enter a house and should see on the walls a history in
painting of Moses and Aaron, perchance he might ask about the people who
are walking across the sea as if it were dry land. ‘Who are they?’ he
asks. What would you say? ‘Are they not the sons of Israel?’ ‘Who is
dividing the sea with his rod?’ Would you not say ‘Moses’? So if a man
makes an image of Christ crucified, and you are asked who he is, you
reply, ‘It is Christ our Lord, who became incarnate for us.’ Yes, O
Lord, we adore all that belongs to Thee, and we take to our hearts Thy
Godhead, Thy power and goodness, Thy mercy towards us, Thy condescension
and Thy Incarnation. And as men fear touching red-hot iron, not because
of the iron but because of the heat, so do we worship Thy flesh, not for
the nature of flesh, but through the Godhead united to that flesh
according to substance. We worship Thy sufferings. Who has ever known
death worshipped, or suffering venerated? Yet we truly worship the
physical death of our God and His saving sufferings. We adore Thy image
and all that is Thine; Thy servants, Thy friends, and most of all Thy
Mother, the Mother of God.

We beseech, therefore, the people of God, the faithful flock, to hold
fast to the ecclesiastical traditions. The gradual taking away of what
has been handed down to us would be undermining the foundation stones,
and would in no short time overthrow the whole structure. May we prove
steadfast, unflinching, immovable, founded on the solid Rock which is
Christ, to whom be praise, glory, and worship, with the Father and the
Holy Ghost, now and for ever. Amen.


_I crave_ your indulgence, my readers (δέσποταί μου), and ask you to
receive the true statement of one who is an unprofitable servant, the
least of all, in the Church of God. I have not been moved to speak by
motives of vainglory, God is my witness, but by zeal for the truth. In
this alone is my hope of salvation, and with it I trust and pray to go
out to meet Christ our Lord, asking that it may be an expiation for my
sins. The man who received five talents from his lord, brought other
five which he had gained, and the man with two, other two. The man who
received one, and buried it, gave it back without interest, and being
pronounced a wicked servant, was banished into external darkness. Lest I
should suffer in the same way, I obey God’s commands, and with the
talent of eloquence, which is His gift, I put before the wise among you
a treasure table, so that when the Lord comes He may find me rich in
souls, a faithful servant, whom He may take into that ineffable joy of
His, which is my desire. Give me listening ears and willing hearts.
Receive my treatise, and ponder well the force of the arguments. This is
the second part of my work on images. Certain children of the Church
have urged me to do it because the first part was not sufficiently clear
to all. Be indulgent with me on this account, for my obedience.

The wicked serpent of old, Beloved, I mean the devil—is wont to wage war
in many ways against man, who is made after God’s image, and to work his
destruction through opposition. In the very beginning he inspired man
with the hope and desire of becoming a god, and through that desire he
dragged man down to share the death of the brute creation. He has
enticed man also by shameful and brutal pleasures. What a contrast
between becoming a god and feeling brutal lust. And again, he led man
into infidelity, as the royal (θεοπατωρ) David says: ‘The fool said in
his heart there is no God.’ At one time he has brought man to worship
too many gods, at another not even the true God, sometimes demons, and
again, the heavens and the earth, the sun and moon and stars, and the
rest of creation, wild beasts and reptiles. It is as bad to refuse due
honour where honour is due, as to give it where it is not due. Again, he
has taught some to call the uncreated god evil, and has deceived others
by making them recognise God, who is good by nature, as the author of
evil. Some he has deceived by the misconception of one nature and one
substance of the Godhead; some he has induced to honour three natures
and three substances; some one substance in our Lord Jesus Christ, the
Second Person of the Holy Trinity; some two natures and two substances.

But the truth, taking a middle course, sweeps away these misconceptions
and teaches us to acknowledge one God, one nature in three persons
(ὑποστάσεσι), the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. Evil is not a
being,¹⁵ but an accident, a certain conception, word, or deed against
the law of God, taking its origin in this conception, speech, or doing,
and ending with it. The truth proclaims also that in Christ, the second
person of the Holy Trinity, there are two natures and one person. Now,
the devil, the enemy of the truth and of man’s salvation, in suggesting
that images of corruptible man, and of birds and beasts and reptiles,
should be made and worshipped as gods, has often led astray not only
heathens but the children of Israel. In these days he is eager to
trouble the peace of Christ’s Church through false and lying tongues,
using divine words in favour of what is evil, and striving to disguise
his wicked intent, and drawing the unstable away from true and patristic
custom. Some have risen up and said that it was wrong to represent and
set forth publicly for adoration the saving wounds of Christ, and the
combats of the saints against the devil. Who with a knowledge of divine
things and a spiritual sense does not perceive in this a deception of
the devil? He is unwilling that his shame should be known and that the
glory of God and of His saints should be published.

If we made an image of the invisible God, we should in truth do wrong.
For it is impossible to make a statue of one who is without body,
invisible, boundless, and formless. Again, if we made statues of men,
and held them to be gods, worshipping them as such, we should be most
impious. But we do neither. For in making the image of God, who became
incarnate and visible on earth, a man amongst men through His
unspeakable goodness, taking upon Him shape and form and flesh, we are
not misled. We long to see what He was like. As the divine apostle says,
We see now in a glass, darkly. The image, too, is a dark glass,
according to the denseness of our bodies. The mind, in much travail,
cannot rid itself of bodily things. Shame upon you, wicked devil, for
grudging us the sight of our Lord’s likeness and our sanctification
through it. You would not have us gaze at His saving sufferings nor
wonder at His condescension, neither contemplate His miracles nor praise
His almighty power. You grudge the saints the honour God gives to them.
You would not have us see their glory put on record, nor allow us to
become imitators of their fortitude and faith. We will not obey your
suggestions, wicked and man-hating devil. Listen to me, people of all
nations, men, women, and children, all of you who bear the Christian
name: If any one preach to you something contrary to what the Catholic
Church has received from the holy apostles and fathers and councils, and
has kept down to the present day, do not heed him. Do not receive the
serpent’s counsel, as Eve did, to whom it was death. If an angel or an
emperor teaches you anything contrary to what you have received, shut
your ears. I have refrained so far from saying, as the holy apostle
said, ‘Let him be anathema,’ in the hope of amendment.

But say those who do not enter into the mind of Scripture, God said,
through Moses the law-giver: ‘Thou shalt not make to thyself the
likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or in the earth beneath’;
and through the prophet David: ‘Let them be all confounded that adore
graven things, and that glory in their idols,’ and many similar
passages. Whatever they have quoted from Holy Scripture and the fathers
is to the same intent.

Now, what shall we say to these things? What, if not that which God
spoke to the Jews, ‘Search the Scriptures.’

It is good to examine the Scriptures, but let your mind be enlightened
from the search. It is impossible, Beloved, that God should not speak
truth. There is one God, one Law-giver of the old and new dispensation,
who spoke of old in many ways to the patriarchs through the prophets,
and in these latter times through His only begotten Son. Apply your mind
with discernment. It is not I who am speaking. The Holy Ghost declared
by the holy apostle St Paul that God spoke of old in many different ways
to the patriarchs through the prophets. Note, _in many different ways._
A skilful doctor does not invariably prescribe for all alike, but for
each according to his state, taking into consideration climate and
complaint, season and age, giving one remedy to a child, another to a
grown man, according to his age; one thing to a weak patient, another to
a strong; and to each sufferer the right thing for his state and malady:
one thing in the summer, another in the winter, another in the spring or
autumn, and in each place according to its requirements. So in the same
way the good Physician of souls prescribed for those who were still
children and inclined to the sickness of idolatry, holding idols to be
gods, and worshipping them as such, neglecting the worship of God, and
preferring the creature to His glory. He charged them not to do this.

It is impossible to make an image of God, who is a pure spirit,
invisible, boundless, having neither form nor circumscription. How can
we make an image of what is invisible? ‘No man hath seen God at any
time; the only-begotten Son who is in the bosom of the Father, He hath
declared Him.’ And again, ‘No one shall see My face and live, saith the

That they _did_ worship idols there is no doubt from what the Scripture
says about the going out of the children of Israel, when Moses went up
to Mount Sinai, and persevered in prayer to God. Whilst receiving the
law, the ungrateful people rose against Aaron, the priest of God,
saying: ‘Make us gods who may go before us. For as to Moses, we know not
what has befallen him.’ Then, when they had looked over the trinkets of
their wives, and brought them together, they ate and drank, and were
inebriated with wine and madness, and began to make merry, saying in
their foolishness, ‘These are thy gods, O Israel.’ Do you see that they
made gods of idols who were demons, and that they worshipped the
creature instead of the Creator? As the holy apostle says: ‘They changed
the glory of the incorruptible God into the likeness of the image of a
corruptible man and of birds, and of four-footed beasts, and of creeping
things, and served the creature rather than the Creator.’ On this
account God forbade them to make any graven image, as Moses says in
Deuteronomy: ‘And the Lord spoke to you from the midst of the fire; you
heard the voice of His words, but you saw not any form at all.’ And a
little further on: ‘Keep therefore your souls carefully; you saw not any
similitude in the day that the Lord God spoke to you in Horeb, from the
midst of the fire, lest perhaps being deceived you might make you a
graven similitude or image of male or female, the similitude of any
beasts that are upon the earth, or of birds that fly under heaven.’ And
again: ‘Lest perhaps lifting up thy eyes to heaven, thou see the sun and
the moon, and all the stars of heaven, and being deceived by error, thou
adore and serve them.’ You see the one object in view is that the
creature should not be worshipped instead of the Creator, and that the
worship of latreia should be given to God alone. Thus in every case when
he speaks of worship he means latreia. Again: ‘Thou shalt not have
strange gods in my sight; thou shalt not make to thyself a graven thing
nor any likeness.’ Again: ‘Thou shalt not make to thyself gods of
metal.’ You see that He forbids image-making on account of idolatry, and
that it is impossible to make an image of God, who is a Spirit,
invisible, and uncircumscribed. ‘You have not seen His likeness,’ He
says; and St Paul, standing in the midst of the Areopagus, says: ‘Being
therefore the offspring of God, we must not suppose the divinity to be
like unto gold, or silver, or stone, the graving of art, a device of

Listen again that it is so. Thou shalt not make to thyself any brazen
thing nor any likeness. These things, he says, they made by God’s
commandment a hanging of violet, purple, scarlet, and fine twisted linen
in the entrance of the tabernacle, and the cherubim in woven work. And
they made also the propitiatory, that is, the oracle of the purest gold,
and the two cherubim. What will you say to this, O Moses? You say, thou
shalt not make to thyself any graven thing nor any likeness, and you
yourself fashion cherubim of woven work, and two cherubim of pure gold.
Listen to the answer of God’s servant Moses: ‘You blind and foolish
people, mark the force of what is said, and keep your souls carefully. I
said that you had seen no likeness on the day when the Lord spoke to you
on Mount Horeb, in the midst of the fire, lest you should sin against
the law and make for yourselves a brazen likeness: thou shalt not make
any image or gods of metal. I never said thou shalt not make the image
of cherubim in adoration before the propitiatory. What I said was: Thou
shalt not make to thyself gods of metal, and thou shalt not make any
likeness as of God, nor shalt thou adore the creature instead of the
Creator, nor any creature whatsoever as God, nor have I served the
creature rather than the Creator.’

Note how the object of Scripture becomes clear to those who really
search it. You must know, Beloved, that in every business truth and
falsehood are distinguished, and the object of the doer, whether it be
good or bad. In the gospel we find all things good and evil. God, the
angels, man, the heavens, the earth, water and fire and air, the sun and
moon and stars, light and darkness, Satan and the devils, the serpent
and scorpions, death and hell, virtues and vices. And because everything
told about them is true, and the object in view is the glory of God and
the saints whom He has honoured, our salvation, and the shame of the
devil, we worship and embrace and love these utterances, and receive
them with our whole heart as we do the whole of the old and new
dispensation, and all the spoken testimony of the holy fathers. Now, we
reject the evil, abominable writings of heathens and Manicheans, and all
other heretics, as containing foolishness and lies, promoting the
advantage of Satan and his demons, and giving them pleasure, although
they contain the name of God. So with regard to images we must manifest
the truth, and take into account the intention of those who make them.
If it be in very deed for the glory of God and of His saints to promote
goodness, to avoid evil, and save souls, we should receive and honour
and worship them as images, and remembrances, likenesses, and the books
of the illiterate. We should love and embrace them with hand and heart
as reminders of the incarnate God, or His Mother, or of the saints, the
participators in the sufferings and the glory of Christ, the conquerors
and overthrowers of Satan, and diabolical fraud. If any one should dare
to make an image of Almighty God, who is pure Spirit, invisible,
uncircumscribed, we reject it as a falsehood. If any one make images for
the honour and worship of the Devil and his angels, we abhor them and
deliver them to the flames. Or if any one give divine honours to the
statues of men, or birds, or reptiles, or any other created thing, we
anathematise him. As our forefathers in the faith pulled down the
temples of demons, and erected on the same spot churches dedicated to
saints whom we honour, so they overturned the statues of demons, and set
up instead the images of Christ, of His holy Mother, and the saints.
Even in the old dispensation, Israel neither raised temples to human
beings, nor held sacred the memory of man. At that time Adam’s race was
under a curse, and death was a penalty, therefore a mourning. A corpse
was looked upon as unclean, and the man who touched it as contaminated.
But since the Godhead has taken to Himself our nature, it has become
glorified as a vivifying and efficacious remedy, and has been
transformed unto immortality. Thus the death of the saints is a
rejoicing, and churches are raised to them, and their images are set up.
Be assured that any one wishing to pull down an image erected out of
pure zeal for the glory and enduring memory of Christ, or of His holy
Mother, or any of the saints, to put the devil and his satellites to
shame,—anyone, I say, refusing to honour and worship this image as
sacred—it is not to be worshipped as God—is an enemy of Christ, of His
blessed Mother, and of the saints, and is an advocate of the devil and
his crew, showing grief by his conduct that the saints are honoured and
glorified, and the devil put to shame. The image is a hymn of praise, a
manifestation, a lasting token of those who have fought and conquered,
and of demons humbled and put to flight.

Kings have no call to make laws in the Church. What does the holy
apostle say? ‘And God, indeed, hath set some in the church, first
apostles, secondly prophets, thirdly doctors and shepherds’ for the
training of the Church. He does not say ‘kings.’ And again: ‘Obey your
prelates, and be subject to them. For they watch as being to render an
account of your souls.’ Again: ‘Remember your prelates who have spoken
the word of God to you, whose faith follow, considering the end of your
conversation.’ Kings have not spoken the word to you, but apostles and
prophets, pastors and doctors. When God was speaking to David about
building a house for Him, He said: ‘Thou shalt not build me a house, for
thou art a man of blood.’ ‘Render, therefore, to all men their dues,’ St
Paul exclaimed; ‘tribute to whom tribute is due, custom to whom custom,
fear to whom fear, honour to whom honour.’ The political prosperity is
the king’s business:¹⁶ the ecclesiastical organisation belongs to
pastors and doctors, and to take it out of their hands is to commit an
act of robbery. Saul rent Samuel’s cloak, and what was the consequence?
God took from him his royalty, and gave it to the meek David. Jezabel
pursued Elias, pigs and dogs licked up her blood, and harlots were
bathed in it. Herod removed John, and was consumed by worms. And now
holy Germanus, shining by word and example, has been punished and become
an exile, and many more bishops and fathers, whose names are unknown to
us. Is not this a persecution? When the Pharisees and the learned
surrounded our Lord, ostensibly to listen to His teaching, and when they
asked Him if it was lawful to pay tribute to Cæsar, He answered them:
‘Bring me a coin.’ And when they had brought it, He said: ‘Whose image
is this?’ Upon their reply, ‘Cæsar’s,’ He said, ‘Give to Cæsar that
which is Cæsar’s and to God that which is God’s.’ We are obedient to
you, O King, in things concerning our daily life, in tributes, taxes,
and payments, which are your due; but in ecclesiastical government we
have our pastors, preachers of the word, and exponents of ecclesiastical
law. We do not change the boundaries marked out by our fathers: we keep
the tradition we have received. If we begin to lay down the law to the
Church, even in the smallest thing, the whole edifice will fall to the
ground in no short time.

You look down upon matter and call it contemptible. This is what the
Manicheans did, but holy Scripture pronounces it to be good; for it
says, ‘And God saw all that He had made, and it was very good.’ I say
matter is God’s creation and a good thing. Now, if you say it is bad,
you say either that it is not from God, or you make Him a cause of evil.
Listen to the words of Scripture concerning matter, which you despise:
‘And Moses said to all the assembly of the children of Israel: This is
the word the Lord hath commanded, saying: Set aside with you first
fruits to the Lord; let every one that is willing and hath a ready
heart, offer them to the Lord: gold, and silver, and brass, violet and
purple, and scarlet twice dyed, and fine linen, goat’s hair, and ram’s
skins dyed red, and violet, and coloured skins, selimwood, and oil to
maintain lights, and to make ointment, and most sweet incense, onyx
stones and precious stones for the adorning of the ephod and the
rational: Whosoever of you is wise let him come and make that which the
Lord hath commanded: to wit, the tabernacle,’ etc.

Behold, then, matter is honoured, and you dishonour it. What is more
insignificant than goat’s hair, or colours, and are not violet and
purple and scarlet colours? And the likeness of the cherubim are the
work of man’s hand, and the tabernacle itself from first to last was an
image. ‘Look,’ said God to Moses, ‘and make it according to the pattern
that was shown thee in the Mount,’ and it was adored by the people of
Israel in a circle. And, as to the cherubim, were they not in sight of
the people? And did not the people look at the ark, and the lamps, and
the table, the golden urn and the staff, and adore? It is not matter
which I adore; it is the Lord of matter, becoming matter for my sake,
taking up His abode in matter and working out my salvation through
matter. For the Word was made Flesh, and dwelt amongst us. It is evident
to all that flesh is matter, and that it is created. I reverence and
honour matter, and worship that which has brought about my salvation. I
honour it, not as God, but as a channel of divine strength and grace.
Was not the thrice blessed wood of the Cross matter? and the sacred and
holy mountain of Calvary? Was not the holy sepulchre matter, the
life-giving stone the source of our resurrection? Was not the book of
the Gospels matter, and the holy table which gives us the bread of life?
Are not gold and silver matter, of which crosses, and holy pictures, and
chalices are made? And above all, is not the Lord’s Body and Blood
composed of matter? Either reject the honour and worship of all these
things, or conform to ecclesiastical tradition, sanctifying the worship
of images in the name of God and of God’s friends, and so obeying the
grace of the Divine Spirit. If you give up images on account of the law,
you should also keep the Sabbath and be circumcised, for these are
severely inculcated by it. You should observe all the law, and not
celebrate the Lord’s Passover out of Jerusalem. But you must know that
if you observe the law, Christ will profit you nothing. You are ordered
to marry your brother’s wife, and so carry on his name, and not to sing
the song of the Lord in a strange land. Enough of this! Those who have
been justified by the law have fallen from grace.

Let us set forth Christ, our King and Lord, not depriving Him of His
army. The saints are His army. Let the earthly king strip himself of his
army, and then of his own dignity. Let him put off the purple and the
diadem before he take honour away from his most valiant men who have
conquered their passions.¹⁷ For if the friends of Christ are heirs of
God and co-heirs of Christ, and are to be partakers of the divine glory
and kingdom, is not even earthly glory due to them? I call you not
servants, our Lord says; you are my friends. Shall we, then, withhold
from them the honour which the Church gives them? You are a bold and
venturesome man to fight against God and His ordinances. If you do not
worship images, you do not worship the Son of God, who is the living
image of the invisible God, and the immutable figure of His substance.
The temple which Solomon built was consecrated by the blood of animals,
and decorated by images of lions, oxen, and the palms and pomegranates.
Now, the Church is consecrated by the blood of Christ and of His saints,
and it is adorned with the image of Christ and of His saints. Either
take away the worship of images altogether, or be not an innovator, and
pass not beyond the ancient boundaries which thy fathers have set. I am
not speaking of boundaries prior to the incarnation of Christ our Lord,
but since His coming. God spoke to them, depreciating the traditions of
the old law, saying, ‘I also gave them statutes that were not good,’ on
account of their hardness of heart. Consequently on the change of
priesthood the law of necessity was also changed.

The eye-witnesses and ministers of the word handed down the teaching of
the Church, not only by writing, but also by unwritten tradition. Whence
comes our knowledge of the sacred spot, Mount Calvary, of the holy
sepulchre? Has it not been handed down to us from father to son? It is
written that our Lord was crucified on Calvary, and buried in the tomb
which Joseph hewed out of the rock, but it is unwritten tradition that
teaches us we are adoring the right places, and many other things of the
same kind. Why do we believe in three baptisms, that is, in three
immersions? Why do we adore the Cross? Is it not through tradition?
Therefore the holy apostle says: ‘Brethren, stand fast; and hold the
traditions which you have learned, whether by word, or by our epistle.’
Many things, therefore, being handed down to the Church by unwritten
tradition and kept up to the present day, why do you speak slightingly
of images? The Manicheans followed a gospel according to Thomas, and you
will follow that of Leo. I do not admit an emperor’s tyrannical action
in domineering over the Church. The emperor has not received the power
to bind and loose. I know of the Emperor Valens, a Christian in name,
who persecuted the true faith, Zeno and Anastasius, Heraclius and
Constantine of Sicily, and Bardaniskus, called Philip (Φιλιππικόν). I am
not to be persuaded that the Church is set in order by imperial edicts,
but by patristic traditions, written and unwritten. As the written
Gospel has been preached in the whole world, so has it been an unwritten
tradition in the whole world to represent in image Christ, the incarnate
God, and the saints, to adore the Cross, and to pray towards the east.

The customs which you bring forward do not incriminate our worship of
images, but that of the heathens who make idols of them. The pious
practice of the Church is not to be rejected because of heathen abuse.
Sorcerers and magicians exorcise; the Church exorcises catechumens. The
former invoke demons, the Church calls upon God against demons. Heathens
sacrificed to demons; Israel offered to God both holocausts and victims.
The Church, too, offers an unbloody sacrifice to God. Heathens set up
images to demons, and Israel made idols of them in the words, ‘These are
thy gods, O Israel, who brought thee out of Egypt.’ Now we have set up
images to the true God incarnate, to His servants and friends, who have
put the demon host to flight. If you say to this that blessed Epiphanius
clearly rejected our use of images, you must know that the work in
question is spurious and written by some one else in the name of
Epiphanius, as often happens. A father does not fight his own children.
All have become participators in the one Spirit. The Church is a witness
of this in adorning images, until some men rose up against her and
disturbed the peace of Christ’s fold, putting poisoned food before the
people of God.

If I venerate and worship, as the instruments of salvation, the Cross
and lance, and reed and sponge, by means of which the Jews (θεοκτονοι)
scorned and put to death my Lord, shall I not also worship images that
Christians make with a good intention for the glory and remembrance of
Christ? If I worship the image of the Cross, made of whatever wood it
may be, shall I not worship the image which shows me the Crucified and
my salvation through the Cross? Oh, inhumanity of man! It is evident
that I do not worship matter, for supposing the Cross, if it be made of
wood, should fall to pieces, I should throw them into the fire, and the
same with images.

Receive the united testimony of Scripture and the fathers to show you
that images and their worship are no new invention, but the ancient
tradition of the Church. In the holy Gospel of St Matthew our Lord
called His disciples blessed, and with them all those who followed their
example and walked in their footsteps in these words: ‘Blessed are your
eyes, because they see, and your ears, because they hear. For, amen I
say to you, many prophets and just men have desired to see the things
that you see, and have not seen them, and to hear the things that you
hear, and have not heard them.’ We also desire to see as much as we may.
‘We see now in a glass, darkly,’ and in image, and are blessed. God
Himself first made an image, and showed forth images. For He made the
first man after His own image. And Abraham, Moses, and Isaias, and all
the prophets saw images of God, not the substance of God. The burning
bush was an image of God’s Mother, and as Moses was about to approach
it, God said: ‘Put off the shoes from thy feet, for the place whereon
thou standest is holy ground.’ Now if the spot on which Moses saw an
image of Our Lady was holy, how much more the image itself? And not only
is it holy, but I venture to say it is the holy of holies (ἁγίων ἅγία).
When the Pharisees asked our Lord why Moses had allowed a bill of
divorce, He answered: ‘On account of the hardness of your hearts Moses
allowed you to divorce your wife, but in the beginning it was not so.’
And I say to you that Moses, through the children of Israel’s hardness
of heart, and knowing their proclivity to idolatry, forbade them to make
images. We are not in the same case. We have taken a firm footing on the
rock of faith, being enriched with the light of God’s friendship.

Listen to our Lord’s words: ‘Ye foolish and blind, whosoever shall swear
by the temple, sweareth by it, and by him that dwelleth in it; and he
that sweareth by heaven sweareth by the throne of God, and by Him that
sitteth thereon.’ And he who swears by an image swears by the one whom
it represents. It has been sufficiently proved that the tabernacle, and
the veil, the ark and the table, and everything within the tabernacle,
were images and types, and the works of man’s hand, which were
worshipped by all Israel, and also that the cherubim in carving were
made by God’s order. For God said to Moses, ‘See that thou doest all
things according to the pattern shown to thee on the mount.’ Listen,
too, to the apostle’s testimony that Israel worshipped images and the
handiwork of man in obedience to God: ‘If, then, he were on earth he
would not be a priest; seeing that there would be others to offer gifts
according to the law, who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly
things, as it was answered to Moses, when he was to finish the
tabernacle: See (says he) that thou make all things according to the
pattern which was shown thee on the mount. But now he hath obtained a
better ministry, by how much also he is a mediator of a better
testament, which is established on better promises. For if that former
had been faultless, there should not indeed a place have been sought for
a second. For finding fault with them, he saith: ’Behold the day shall
come, saith the Lord: and I will perfect unto the house of Israel, and
unto the house of Juda, a New Testament: not according to the Testament
which I made to their fathers, on the day when I took them by the hand
to lead them out of the land of Egypt.’ And a little further on: ‘Now in
saying a New, he hath made the former Old. And that which decayeth and
groweth old, is near its end. For there was a tabernacle made the first,
wherein were the candlesticks, and the table, and the setting forth of
loaves, which is called the Holy. And after the second veil, the
tabernacle, which is called the Holy of Holies; having a golden censer,
and the ark of the testament covered about on every part with gold, in
which was a golden pot that had manna, and the rod of Aaron that had
blossomed, and the tables of the testament. And over it were the
cherubims of glory overshadowing the propitiatory.’ And again: ‘For
Jesus is not entered into the Holies made with hands, the patterns of
the true; but into heaven itself.’ And again: ‘For the law having a
shadow of the good things to come, not the very image of the things.’

You see that the law and everything it ordained and all our own worship
consist in the consecration of what is made by hands, leading us through
matter to the invisible God. Now the law and all its ordinances were a
foreshadowing of the image in the future, that is, of our worship. And
our worship is an image of the eternal reward. As to the thing itself,
the heavenly Jerusalem, it is invisible and immaterial, as the same
divine apostle says: ‘We have not here an abiding city, but we seek for
the one above, the heavenly Jerusalem, of which God is Lord and
Architect.’ All ordinances of the law and of our worship have been
directed for that heavenly city. To God be praise for ever. Amen.

Testimony of Ancient and Learned Fathers to Images.¹⁸

St John Chrysostom. From His ‘Commentary on the Parable of the Sower.’

If you despise the royal garment, do you not despise the king himself?
Do you not see that if you despise the image of the king, you despise
the original? Do you not know that if a man shows contempt for an image
of wood or a statue of metal, he is not judged as if he had vented
himself on lifeless matter, but as showing contempt for the king?
Dishonour shown to an image of the king is dishonour shown to the king.

The same, from his Sermon to St Meletius, Bishop of Antioch, and on the
zeal of his hearers, beginning, ‘Casting his eyes everywhere on this
holy flock.’

What took place was most edifying, and we ought always to bear this
consolation in mind, and to have this saint before our eyes, whose name
was invoked against every bad passion and specious argument. This was so
much the case that streets, market-place, fields, every nook and corner
rang with his name. Not only have you longed to invoke him, but to look
upon his bodily form. As with his name so with his image. Many people
have put it on their rings and goblets and cups and on their bedroom
walls, so as not only to hear his history but to look upon his physical
likeness, and to have a double consolation in his loss.¹⁹

St Maximus, Philosopher and Confessor. From his ‘Acts’ and those of
Bishop Theodosius.

And after this all rose with tears of devotion, and kneeling down,
prayed. And every one kissed the holy Gospels, and the sacred Cross, and
the image of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, and of Our Lady, His
Immaculate Mother (παναγίας θεοτόκου), putting their hands to it in
confirmation of what had been said.

Blessed Anastasius, Archbishop of Theopolis, on the Sabbath, to Simeon,
Bishop of Bostris.

As in the king’s absence his image is honoured instead of himself, so in
his presence it would be unseemly to leave the original for the image.
This is not to say that what is passed over in his presence should be
dishonoured. … As the man who shows disrespect to the king’s image is
punished as if he had shown it to the king in very deed, although the
image is composed merely of wood and paint moulded together, so one who
shows disrespect to the likeness of a man means it for the original of
the likeness.


_Every_ one must recognise that a man who attempts to dishonour an image
which has been set up for the glory and remembrance of Christ, of His
holy Mother, or one of his saints, is an enemy of Christ, of His holy
Mother, and the saints. It is also set up to shame the devil and his
crew, out of love and zeal for God. The man who refuses to give this
image due, though not divine, honour, is an upholder of the devil and
his demon host, showing by his act grief that God and the saints are
honoured and glorified, and the devil put to shame. The image is a
canticle and manifestation and monument to the memory of those who have
fought bravely and won the victory to the shame and confusion of the
vanquished. I have often seen lovers gazing at the loved one’s garment,
and embracing it with eyes and mouth as if it was himself. We must give
his due to every man. St Paul says: ‘Honour to whom honour: to the king
as excelling: or to governors as sent by him,’ to each according to the
measure of his dignity.

Where do you find in the Old Testament or in the Gospel the Trinity, or
consubstantiality, or one Godhead, or three persons,²¹ or the one
substance of Christ, or His two natures, expressed in so many words?
Still, as they are contained in what Scripture _does_ say, and defined
by the holy fathers, we receive them and anathematise those who do not.
I prove to you that in the old law God commanded images to be made,
first of all the tabernacle and everything in it. Then in the gospel our
Lord Himself said to those who asked Him, tempting, whether it was
lawful to give tribute to Cæsar, ‘Bring me a coin,’ and they showed Him
a penny. And He asked them whose likeness it was, and they said to Him,
Cæsar’s; and He said, ‘Give to Cæsar that which is Cæsar’s, and to God
that which is God’s.’ As the coin bears the likeness of Cæsar, it is
his, and you should give it to Cæsar. So the image bears the likeness of
Christ, and you should give it Him, for it is His.

Our Lord called His disciples blessed, saying, ‘Many kings and prophets
have desired to see what you see, and have not seen it, and to hear what
you hear and have not heard it. Blessed are your eyes which see and your
ears which hear.’ The apostles saw Christ with their bodily eyes, and
His sufferings and wonders, and they listened to His words. We, too,
desire to see, and to hear, and to be blessed. They saw Him face to
face, as He was present in the body. Now, since he is not present in the
body to us, we hear His words from books and are sanctified in spirit by
the hearing, and are blessed, and we adore, honouring the books which
tell us of His words. So, through the representation of images, we look
upon His bodily form, and upon His miracles and His sufferings, and are
sanctified and satiated, gladdened and blessed. Reverently we worship
His bodily form, and contemplating it, we form some notion of His divine
glory. For, as we are composed of soul and body, and our soul does not
stand alone, but is, as it were, shrouded by a veil, it is impossible
for us to arrive at intellectual conceptions without corporeal things.
Just as we listen with our bodily ears to physical words and understand
spiritual things, so, through corporeal vision, we come to the
spiritual. On this account Christ took a body and a soul, as man has
both one and the other. And baptism likewise is double, of water and the
spirit. So is communion and prayer and psalmody; everything has a double
signification, a corporeal and a spiritual. Thus again, with lights and
incense. The devil has tolerated all these things, raising a storm
against images alone. His great jealousy of them may be learnt by what
St Sophronius, Patriarch of Jerusalem, recounts in his ‘Spiritual
Garden.’ Abbot Theodore Æliotes told of a holy hermit on the Mount of
Olives, who was much troubled by the demon of fornication. One day when
he was sorely tempted, the old man began to complain bitterly. ‘When
will you let me alone?’ he said to the devil: ‘begone from me! you and I
have grown old together.’ The devil appeared to him, saying, ‘Swear to
me that you will keep what I am about to tell you to yourself, and I
will not trouble you any longer.’ And the old man swore it. Then the
devil said to him, ‘Do not worship this image, and I will not harass
you.’ The image in question represented Our Lady, the holy Mother of
God, bearing in her arms our Lord Jesus Christ. You see what those who
forbid the worship of images hate in reality, and whose instruments they
are. The demon of fornication strove to prevent the worship of Our
Lady’s image rather than to tempt the old man to impurity. He knew that
the former evil was greater than fornication.

As we are treating of images and their worship, let us draw out the
meaning more accurately and say in the first place what an image is; (2)
Why the image was made; (3) How many kinds of images there are; (4) What
may be expressed by an image, and what may not; (5) Who first made
images. Again, as to worship: (1) What is worship; (2) How many kinds of
worship there are; (3) What are the things worshipped in Scripture; (4)
That all worship is for God, who is worshipful by nature; (5) That
honour shown to the image is given to the original.

1st Point.—_What is an Image?_

An image is a likeness and representation of some one, containing in
itself the person who is imaged. The image is not wont to be an exact
reproduction of the original. The image is one thing, the person
represented another; a difference is generally perceptible, because the
subject of each is the same. For instance, the image of a man may give
his bodily form, but not his mental powers. It has no life, nor does it
speak or feel or move. A son being the natural image of his father is
somewhat different from him, for he is a son, not a father.

2nd Point.—_For what purpose the Image is made._

Every image is a revelation and representation of something hidden. For
instance, man has not a clear knowledge of what is invisible, the spirit
being veiled to the body, nor of future things, nor of things apart and
distant, because he is circumscribed by place and time. The image was
devised for greater knowledge, and for the manifestation and
popularising of secret things, as a pure benefit and help to salvation,
so that by showing things and making them known, we may arrive at the
hidden ones, desire and emulate what is good, shun and hate what is

3rd Point.—_How many kinds of Images there are._

Images are of various kinds. First there is the natural image. In
everything the natural conception must be the first, then we come to
institution according to imitation. The Son is the first natural and
unchangeable image of the invisible God, the Father, showing the Father
in Himself. ‘For no man has seen God.’ Again, ‘Not that any one has seen
the Father.’ The apostle says that the Son is the image of the Father,
‘Who is the image of the invisible God,’ and to the Hebrews, ‘Who being
the brightness of His glory, and the figure of His substance.’ In the
Gospel of St John we find that He _does_ show the Father in Himself.
When Philip said to Him, ‘Show us the Father and it is enough for us,’
our Lord replied, ‘Have I been so long with you and have you not known
Me, Philip? He who sees Me, sees the Father.’ For the Son is the natural
image of the Father, unchangeable, in everything like to the Father,
except that He is begotten, and that He is not the Father. The Father
begets, being unbegotten. The Son is begotten, and is not the Father,
and the Holy Spirit is the image of the Son. For no one can say the Lord
Jesus, except in the Holy Spirit. Through the Holy Spirit we know
Christ, the Son of God and God, and in the Son we look upon the Father.
For in things that are conceived by nature,²² language is the
interpreter, and spirit is the interpreter of language. The Holy Spirit
is the perfect and unchangeable image of the Son, differing only in His
procession. The Son is begotten, but does not proceed. And the son of
any father is his natural image. Thus, the natural is the first kind of

The second kind of image is that foreknowledge which is in God’s mind
concerning future events, His eternal and unchanging counsel. God is
immutable and His counsel without beginning, and as it has been
determined from all eternity, it is carried out at the time preordained
by Him. Images and figures of what He is to do in the future, the
distinct determination of each, are called predeterminations by holy
Dionysius. In His counsels the things predetermined by Him were
characterised and imaged and immutably fixed before they took place.

The third sort of image is that by imitation (κατὰ μίμησιν) which God
made, that is, man. For how can what is created be of the same nature as
what is uncreated, except by imitation? As mind, the Father, the Word,
the Son, and the Holy Spirit are one God, so mind and word and spirit
are one man, according to God’s will and sovereign rule.

For God says: ‘Let us make man according to our own image and likeness,’
and He adds, ‘and let him have dominion over the fishes of the sea and
the birds of the air, and the whole earth, and rule over it.’

The fourth kind of image are the figures and types set forth by
Scripture of invisible and immaterial things in bodily form, for a
clearer apprehension of God and the angels, through our incapacity of
perceiving immaterial things unless clothed in analogical material form,
as Dionysius the Areopagite says, a man skilled in divine things. Anyone
would say that our incapacity for reaching the contemplation of
intellectual things, and our need of familiar and cognate mediums, make
it necessary that immaterial things should be clothed in form and shape.
If, then, holy Scripture adapts itself to us in seeking to elevate us
above sense, does it not make images of what it clothes in our own
medium, and bring within our reach that which we desire but are unable
to see? The spiritual²³ writer, Gregory, says that the mind striving to
banish corporeal images reduces itself to incapability. But from the
creation of the world the invisible things of God are made clear by the
visible creation. We see images in created things, which remind us
faintly of divine tokens. For instance, sun and light and brightness,
the running waters of a perennial fountain, our own mind and language
and spirit, the sweet fragrance of a flowering rose-tree, are images of
the Holy and Eternal Trinity.

The fifth kind of image is that which is typical of the future, as the
bush and the fleece, the rod and the urn, foreshadowing the Virginal
Mother of God, and the serpent healing through the Cross those bitten by
the serpent of old. Thus, again, the sea, and water and the cloud
foreshadow the grace of baptism.

The sixth kind of image is for a remembrance of past events, of a
miracle or a good deed, for the honour and glory and abiding memory of
the most virtuous, or for the shame and terror of the wicked, for the
benefit of succeeding generations who contemplate it, so that we may
shun evil and do good. This image is of two kinds, either through the
written word in books, for the word represents the thing, as when God
ordered the law to be written on tablets, and the lives of God-fearing
men to be recorded, or through a visible object, as when He commanded
the urn and rod to be placed in the ark for a lasting memory, and the
names of the tribes to be engraved on the stones of the humeral. And
also He commanded the twelve stones to be taken from the Jordan as a
sacred token. Consider the prodigy, the greatest which befel the
faithful people, the taking of the ark, and the parting of the waters.
So now we set up the images of valiant men for an example and a
remembrance to ourselves. Therefore, either reject all images, and be in
opposition to Him who ordered these things, or receive each and all with
becoming greeting and manner.

Fourth Chapter. What an Image is, what it is not; and how each Image is
to be set forth.

Bodies as having form and shape and colour, may properly be represented
in image. Now if nothing physical or material may be attributed to an
angel, a spirit, and a devil, yet they may be depicted and circumscribed
after their own nature. Being intellectual beings, they are believed to
be present and to energise in places known to us intellectually. They
are represented materially as Moses made an image of the cherubim who
were looked upon by those worthy of the honour, the material image
offering them an immaterial and intellectual sight. Only the divine
nature is uncircumscribed and incapable of being represented in form or
shape, and incomprehensible.

If Holy Scripture clothes God in figures which are apparently material,
and can even be seen, they are still immaterial. They were seen by the
prophets and those to whom they were revealed, not with bodily but with
intellectual eyes. They were not seen by all. In a word it may be said
that we can make images of all the forms which we see. We apprehend
these as if they were seen. If at times we understand types from
reasoning, and also from what we see, and arrive at their comprehension
in this way, so with every sense, from what we have smelt, or tasted, or
touched, we arrive at apprehension by bringing our reason to bear upon
our experience.

We know that it is impossible to look upon God, or a spirit, or a demon,
as they are. They are seen in a certain form, divine providence clothing
in type and figure what is without substance or material being, for our
instruction, and more intimate knowledge, lest we should be in too great
ignorance of God, and of the spirit world. For God is a pure Spirit by
His nature. The angel, and a soul, and a demon, compared to God, who
alone is incomparable, are bodies; but compared to material bodies, they
are bodiless. God therefore, not wishing that we should be in ignorance
of spirits, clothed them in type and figure, and in images akin to our
nature, material forms visible to the mind in mental vision. These we
put into form and shape, for how were the cherubim represented and
described in image? But Scripture offers forms and images even of God.

Who first made an Image.

In the beginning God begot His only begotten Son, His word, the living
image of Himself, the natural and unchangeable image of His eternity.
And He made man after His own image and likeness. And Adam saw God, and
heard the sound of His feet as He walked at even, and he hid in
paradise. And Jacob saw and struggled with God. It is evident that God
appeared to him in the form of a man. And Moses saw Him, and Isaias saw
as it were the back of a man, and as a man seated on a throne. And
Daniel saw the likeness of a man, and as the Son of Man coming to the
ancient of days. No one saw the nature of God, but the type and image of
what was to be. For the Son and Word of the invisible God, was to become
man in truth, that He might be united to our nature, and be seen upon
earth. Now all who looked upon the type and image of the future,
worshipped it, as St Paul says in his epistle to the Hebrews: ‘All these
died according to faith, not having received the promises, but beholding
them afar off, and saluting them.’ Shall I not make an image of Him who
took the nature of flesh for me? Shall I not reverence and worship Him,
through the honour and worship of His image? Abraham saw not the nature
of God, for no man ever saw God, but the image of God, and falling down
he adored. Josue saw the image of an angel, not as he is, for an angel
is not visible to bodily eyes, and falling down he adored, and so did
Daniel. Yet an angel is a creature, and servant, and minister of God,
not God. And he worshipped the angel not as God, but as God’s
ministering spirit. And shall not I make images of Christ’s friends? And
shall I not worship them as the images of God’s friends, not as gods?
Neither Josue nor Daniel worshipped the angels they saw as gods. Neither
do I worship the image as God, but through the image of the saints too,
show my worship to God, because I honour His friends, and do them
reverence. God did not unite Himself to the angelic nature, but to the
human. He did not become an angel: He became a man in nature, and in
truth. It is indeed Abraham’s seed which He embraces, not the angel’s.

The Son of God in person did not take the nature of the angels: He took
the nature of man. The angels did not participate in the divine nature,
but in working and in grace. Now, men _do_ participate, and become
partakers of the divine nature when they receive the holy Body of Christ
and drink His Blood. For He is united in person to the Godhead,²⁴ and
two natures in the Body of Christ shared by us are united indissolubly
in person, and we partake of the two natures, of the body bodily, and of
the Godhead in spirit, or, rather, of each in both. We are made one, not
in person, for first we have a person and then we are united by blending
together the body and the blood. How are we not greater than the angels,
if through fidelity to the commandments we keep this perfect union? In
itself our nature is far removed from the angels, on account of death
and the heaviness of the body, but through God’s goodness and its union
with Him it has become higher than the angels. For angels stand by that
nature with fear and trembling, as, in the person of Christ, it sits
upon a throne of glory, and they will stand by in trembling at the
judgment. According to Scripture they are not partakers of the divine
glory. For they are all ministering spirits, being sent to minister
because of those who are to be heirs of salvation, not that they shall
reign together, nor that they shall be together glorified, nor that they
shall sit at the table of the Father. The saints, on the contrary, are
the children of God, the children of the kingdom, heirs of God, and
co-heirs of Christ. Therefore, I honour the saints, and glorify the
servants and friends and co-heirs of Christ: servants by nature, friends
by their choice: friends and co-heirs by divine grace, as our Lord said
in speaking to the Father.

As we are speaking of images, let us speak of worship also, and in the
first place determine what it is.

On Adoration. What is Adoration?

Adoration is a token of subjection,—that is, of submission and
humiliation. There are many kinds of adoration.

On the kinds of Adoration.

The first kind is the worship of latreia, which we give to God, who
alone is adorable by nature, and this worship is shown in several ways,
and first by the worship of servants. All created things worship Him, as
servants their master. All things serve Thee, the psalm says. Some serve
willingly, others unwillingly; some with full knowledge, willingly, as
in the case of the devout, others knowing, but not willing, against
their will, as the devil’s. Others, again, not knowing the true God,
worship in spite of themselves Him whom they do not know.

The second kind is the worship of admiration and desire which we give to
God on account of His essential glory. He alone is worthy of praise, who
receives it from no one, being Himself the cause of all glory and all
good, He is light, incomprehensible sweetness, incomparable,
immeasurable perfection, an ocean of goodness, boundless wisdom, and
power, who alone is worthy of Himself to excite admiration, to be
worshipped, glorified, and desired.

The third kind of worship is that of thanksgiving for the goods we have
received. We must thank God for all created things, and show Him
perpetual worship, as from Him and through Him all creation takes its
being and subsists. He gives lavishly of His gifts to all, and without
being asked. He wishes all to be saved, and to partake of His goodness.
He is long-suffering with us sinners. He allows His sun to shine upon
the just and unjust, and His rain to fall upon the wicked and the good
alike. And being the Son of God, He became one of us for our sakes, and
made us partakers of His divine nature, so that we shall be like unto
Him, as St John says in his Catholic epistle.

The fourth kind is suggested by the need and hope of benefits.
Recognising that without Him we can neither do nor possess anything
good, we worship Him, asking Him to satisfy our needs and desires, that
we may be preserved from evil and arrive at good.

The fifth kind is the worship of contrition and confession. As sinners
we worship God, and prostrate ourselves before Him, needing His
forgiveness, as it becomes servants. This happens in three ways. A man
may be sorry out of love, or lest he should lose God’s benefits, or for
fear of chastisement. The first is prompted by goodness and desire for
God himself, and the condition of a son: the second is interested, the
third is slavish.

What we find worshipped in Scripture, and in how many ways we show
worship to creatures.

First, those places in which God, who alone is holy, has rested, and His
resting-place in the saints, as in the holy Mother of God and in all the
saints. These are they who are made like to God as far as possible, of
their own free will, and by God’s indwelling, and by His abiding grace.
They are truly called gods, not by nature, but by participation; just as
red-hot iron is called fire, not by nature, but by participation in the
fire’s action. He says: ‘Be ye holy because I am holy.’ The first thing
is the free choice of the will. Then, in the case of a good choice, God
helps it on and confirms it. ‘I will take up my abode in them,’ He says.
‘We are the temples of God, and the Spirit of God dwells in us.’ Again,
He gave them power over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal
all manner of diseases, and all manner of infirmities. And again, ‘That
which I do you shall do, and greater things.’ Again: ‘As I live,’ God
says, ‘whosoever shall glorify Me, him will I glorify.’ Again: If we
suffer with Him that we may be also glorified with Him. And ‘God stood’
in the synagogue of the gods; in the midst of it He points out the gods.
As, then, they are truly gods, not by nature, but as partakers of God’s
nature, so they are to be worshipped, not as worshipful on their own
account, but as possessing in themselves Him who _is_ worshipful by
nature. Just in the same way iron when ignited is not by nature hot and
burning to the touch, it is the fire which makes it so. They are
worshipped as exalted by God, as through Him inspiring fear to His
enemies, and becoming benefactors to the faithful. It is love of God
which gives them their free access to Him, not as gods or benefactors by
nature, but as servants and ministers of God. We worship them, then, as
the king is honoured through the honour given to a loved servant. He is
honoured as a minister in attendance upon his master—as a valued friend,
not as king. The prayers of those who approach with faith are heard,
whether through the servant’s intercession with the king, or whether
through the king’s acceptance of the honour and faith shown by the
servant’s petitioner, for it was in his name that the petition was made.
Thus, those who approached through the apostles obtained their cures.
Thus the shadow, and winding-sheets, and girdles of the apostles worked
healings. Those who perversely and profanely wish them to be adored as
gods are themselves damnable, and deserve eternal fire. And those who in
the false pride of their hearts disdain to worship God’s servants are
convicted of impiety towards God. The children who derided and laughed
to scorn Elisseus bear witness to this, inasmuch as they were devoured
by bears.

Secondly, we worship creatures by honouring those places or persons whom
God has associated with the work of our salvation, whether before our
Lord’s coming or since the dispensation of His incarnation. For
instance, I venerate Mount Sinai, Nazareth, the stable at Bethlehem, and
the cave, the sacred mount of Golgotha, the wood of the Cross, the nails
and sponge and reed, the sacred and saving lance, the dress and tunic,
the linen cloths, the swathing clothes, the holy tomb, the source of our
resurrection, the sepulchre, the holy mountain of Sion and the mountain
of Olives, the Pool of Bethsaida and the sacred garden of Gethsemane,
and all similar spots. I cherish them and every holy temple of God, and
everything connected with God’s name, not on their own account, but
because they show forth the divine power, and through them and in them
it pleased God to bring about our salvation. I venerate and worship
angels and men, and all matter participating in divine power and
ministering to our salvation through it. I do not worship the Jews. They
are not participators in divine power, nor have they contributed to my
salvation. They crucified my God, the King of Glory, moved rather by
envy and hatred against God their Benefactor. ‘Lord, I have loved the
beauty of Thy house,’ says David, ‘we will adore in the place where His
feet stood. And adore at His holy mountain.’ The holy Mother of God is
the living holy mountain of God. The apostles are the teaching mountains
of God. ‘The mountains skipped like rams, and the hills like the lambs
of the flock.’

The third kind of worship is directed to objects dedicated to God, as,
for instance, the holy Gospels and other sacred books. They were written
for our instruction who live in these latter days. Sacred vessels,
again, chalices, thuribles, candelabra, and altars (τράπεζαι) belong to
this category. It is evident that respect is due to them all. Consider
how Baltassar made the people use the sacred vessels, and how God took
away his kingdom from him.

The fourth kind of worship is that of images seen by the prophets. They
saw God in sensible vision, and images of future things, as Aaron’s rod,
the figure of Our Lady’s virginity, the urn, and the table. And Jacob
worshipped on the point (έπὶ το ἄκρον) of his rod. He was a type of our
Lord. Images of past events recall their remembrance. The tabernacle was
an image of the whole world. ‘See,’ God said to Moses, ‘the type which
was shown to thee on the mountain, and the golden cherubim, the work of
sculpturers, and the cherubim within the veil of woven work.’ Thus we
adore the sacred figure of the Cross, the likeness of our God’s bodily
features, the likeness of her who bore Him, and all belonging to Him.

The fifth manner is in the worship of each other as having upon us the
mark of God and being made after His image, humbling ourselves mutually,
and so fulfilling the law of charity.

The sixth manner is the worship of those in power who have authority.
‘Give to all men their dues,’ the apostle says; ‘give honour where it is
due.’ This Jacob did in worshipping Esau as his elder brother, and
Pharao the ruler established by God.

In the seventh place, the worship of servants towards their masters and
benefactors, and of petitioners towards those who grant their favours,
as in the case of Abraham when he bought the double cave from the sons
of Emmor.

It is needless to say that fear, desire, and honour are tokens of
worship, as also submission and humiliation. No one should be worshipped
as God except the one true God. Whatever is due to all the rest is for
God’s sake.

You see what great strength and divine zeal are given to those who
venerate the images of the saints with faith and a pure conscience.
Therefore, brethren, let us take our stand on the rock of the faith, and
on the tradition of the Church, neither removing the boundaries laid
down by our holy fathers of old, nor listening to those who would
introduce innovation and destroy the economy of the holy Catholic and
Apostolic Church of God. If any man is to have his foolish way, in a
short time the whole organisation of the Church will be reduced to
nothing. Brethren and beloved children of the Church do not put your
mother to shame, do not rend her to pieces. Receive her teaching through
me. Listen to what God says of her: ‘Thou art all fair, O my love, and
there is not a spot in thee.’ Let us worship and adore our God and
Creator as alone worthy of worship by nature, and let us worship the
holy Mother of God, not as God, but as God’s Mother according to the
flesh. Let us worship the saints also, as the chosen friends of God, and
as possessing access to Him. If men worship kings subject to corruption,
who are often bad and impious, and those ruling or deputed in their
name, as the holy apostle says, ‘Be subject to princes and powers,’ and
again, ‘Give to all their due, to one honour, to another fear,’ and our
Lord, ‘Give to Cæsar that which is Cæsar’s, and to God that which is
God’s,’ how much more should we worship the King of Kings? He alone is
God by nature; and we should worship His servants and friends who reign
over their passions and are constituted rulers of the whole earth. ‘Thou
shalt make them princes over all the earth,’ says David. They receive
power against demons and against disease, and with Christ they reign
over an incorruptible and unchangeable kingdom. Their shadow alone has
put forth disease and demons. Should we not deem a shadow a slighter and
weaker thing than an image? Yet it is a true outline of the original.
Brethren, the Christian is faith.²⁵ He who walks by faith gains many
things. The doubter, on the contrary, is as a wave of the sea torn and
tossed; he profits nothing. All the saints pleased God by faith. Let us
then receive the teaching of the Church in simplicity of heart without
questioning. God made man sane and sound. It was man who was over
curious. Let us not seek to learn a new faith, destructive of ancient
tradition, St Paul says, ‘If a man teach any other Gospel than what he
has been taught, let him be anathema.’ Thus, we worship images, and it
is not a worship of matter, but of those whom matter represents. The
honour given to the image is referred to the original, as holy Basil
rightly says.

And may Christ fill you with the joy of His resurrection, most holy
flock of Christ, Christian people, chosen race, body of the Church, and
make you worthy to walk in the footsteps of the saints, of the shepherds
and teachers of the Church, leading you to enjoy His glory in the
brightness of the saints. May you gain His glory for eternity, with the
Uncreated Father, to whom be praise for ever. Amen.

Speaking on the distinction between images and idols, and defining what
images are, it is time to give proofs in question, according to our

Testimony of Ancient and Learned Fathers concerning Images.

St Denis, Bishop of Athens, from his letter to St John the Apostle and

Sensible images do indeed show forth invisible things.

The same, from his Homily on the Ecclesiastical Hierarchy.

The substances and orders to which we have already alluded with
reverence, are spirits, and they are set forth in spiritual and
immaterial array. We can see it when brought down to our medium,
symbolised in various forms, by which we are led up to the mental
contemplation of God and divine goodness. Spirits think of Him as
spirits according to their nature, but we are led as far as may be by
sensible images to the divine contemplation.

_Commentary._—If, then, we are led by the medium of sensible images to
divine contemplation, what unseemliness is there in making an image of
Him Who was seen in the form, and habit, and nature of man for our

St Basil, from his Homily on the Forty Martyrs.

The fortunes of war are wont to supply matter both for orators and
painters. Orators describe them in glowing language, painters depict
them on their canvas, and both have led many on to deeds of fortitude.
That which words are to the ear, that the silent picture points out for

The same, on the Thirty Chapters on the Holy Ghost to Amphilochios, 18th

The image of the king is also called the king, and there are not two
kings. Neither power is broken, nor is glory divided. As we are ruled by
one government and authority, so our homage is one, not many. Thus the
honour given to the image is referred to the original. That which the
image represents by imitation on earth, that the Son is by nature in

_Commentary._—Just, then, as he who does not honour the Son does not
honour the Father who sent Him, as our Lord says, so he who does not
honour the image does not honour the original. Still some one says, ‘We
cannot refuse to honour the image of Christ, but we will not have the
saints.’ What folly! Listen to what our Lord says to His disciples: ‘He
who receives you receives Me,’ so that the man who does not honour the
saints does not honour Christ either.

St John Chrysostom, from his ‘Commentary on the Epistle to the Hebrews.’

How can what precedes be an image of what follows, as, for instance,
Melchisedech of Christ? Just in the same way as a sketch would be an
outline of the picture. On this account the old law is called a shadow,
and the new—the truth and what is to come—certainties. Thus
Melchisedech, who represents the law, is a foreshadowing of the picture.
The new dispensation is the truth; the picture fully completed shows
forth eternity. We might call the old dispensation a type of a type, and
the new a type of the things themselves.

From the Spiritual History of Theodore, Bishop of Cyrus. From the ‘Life
of St Simon Stylites.’

It is superfluous to speak of Italy. They say that this man became so
well known in the great city of Rome, that small statues were erected to
him in all the porticos of workshops, as a certain protection to them,
and a guarantee of security.

St Basil, from his ‘Commentary on Isaias.’

When the devil saw man made after God’s image and likeness, as he could
not fight against God, he vented his wickedness on the image of God. In
the same way an angry man might stone the King’s image, because he
cannot stone the King, striking the wood which bears his likeness.

_Commentary._—Thus, every man who honours the image must necessarily
honour the original.

The same.

Just as the man who shows contempt for the royal image is held to show
it for the King himself, so is he convicted of sin who shows contempt
for man made after an image.

St Athanasius, from the Hundred Chapters addressed to Antiochus, the
Prefect, according to Question and Answer.—Chap. xxxviii.

_Answer._—We, who are of the faithful, do not worship images as gods, as
the heathens did, God forbid, but we mark our loving desire alone to see
the face of the person represented in image. Hence, when it is
obliterated, we are wont to throw the image as so much wood into the
fire. Jacob, when he was about to die, worshipped on the point of
Joseph’s staff, not honouring the staff but its owner. Just in the same
way do we greet images as we should embrace our children and parents to
signify our affection. Thus the Jew, too, worshipped the tablets of the
law, and the two golden cherubim in carved work, not because he honoured
gold or stone for itself, but the Lord who had ordered them to be made.

St John Chrysostom, on the ‘Third Psalm, on David, and Absalom.’

Kings put victorious trophies before their conquering generals; rulers
erect proud monuments to their charioteers, and brave men, and with the
epitaph as a crown, use matter for their triumph. Others, again, write
the praises of conquerors in books, wishing to show that their own gift
in praising is greater than those praised. And orators and painters,
sculpturers and people, rulers, and cities, and places acclaim the
victorious. No one ever made images of the deserter or the coward.

St Cyril of Alexandria, from his ‘Address to the Emperor Theodosius.’

If images represent the originals, they should call forth the same

The same, from his ‘Treasures.’

Images are ever the likenesses of their originals.

The same, from his Poem, on the ‘Revelation of Christ being signified
through all the Teaching of Moses. On Abraham and Melchisedech.’—Chap.

Images should be made after their originals.

St Gregory of Nazianzen, from His Sermon on the ‘Son,’ ii.

An image is essentially a representation of its original.

St Chrysostom, from his Third ‘Commentary on the Colossians.’

The image of what is invisible, were it also invisible, would cease to
be an image. An image, as far as it is an image, should be kept
inviolably by us, owing to the likeness it represents.

The same, from his ‘Commentary on the Hebrews.’—Chap. xvii.

As in images the image presents the form of a man, though not his
strength, so the original and the likeness have much in common, for the
likeness is the man.

Eusebius Pamphilius, from the Fifth Book of his Gospel Proofs, on ‘God
appeared to Abraham by the Oak of Mambre.’

Hence, even now the inhabitants cherish the place where visions appeared
to Abraham, as divinely consecrated. The turpentine tree is still to be
seen, and those who received Abraham’s hospitality are painted in
picture, one on each side, and the stranger of greatest dignity in the
middle. He would be an image of our Lord and Saviour, whom even rude men
reverence, Whose divine words they believe. It was He who, through
Abraham, sowed the seeds of piety in men. In the likeness and habit of
an ordinary man He presented himself to Abraham,²⁷ and gave him
knowledge of His Father.

John of Antioch, also called Malala, from his Chronography concerning
the ‘Woman with the Issue of Blood, who erected a Monument to Christ.’

From that time John the Baptist became known to men, and Herod, toparcha
of the Trachonitis region, beheaded him in the city of Sebaste, on the
eighth day of the kalends of June, Flaccus and Ruffinus being consuls.
King Herod, Philip’s son, in grief at this event, left Judea. A rich
woman, Berenice by name, who was also living at Paneada, sought him out
wishing as she had been cured by Jesus, to erect a monument to Him. Not
daring to do it without the king’s consent, she presented a petition to
King Herod, asking to be allowed to erect a golden monument in that city
to our Lord. The petition ran thus:—

To the august Herod, toparcha, law-giver of Jews and Greeks, King of
Trachonitis, a suppliant petition from Berenice, an inhabitant of
Paneada. You are crowned with justice and mercy and all other virtues.
Knowing this and in good hope of success, I am writing to you. If you
read my beginning you will soon be instructed as to facts. From
childhood I suffered with an issue of blood, and spent my time and my
substance on doctors, and was not cured. Hearing of the wonderworking
Christ, how He raised the dead to life again, put forth devils, and
cured the sick by one word, I also went to Him as to God. And
approaching the crowd which surrounded Him fearing lest He should turn
me away in anger on account of my complaint, and that I should feel it
more, I said to myself, ‘If I could only touch the border of His
garment, I should be cured.’ I had no sooner touched it than the
hæmorrhage stopped, and I was cured on the spot. And He, as if He had
read my heart’s desire, said aloud, ‘Who has touched Me? Power has gone
out of Me!’ And I pale and trembling, thinking to throw off my sickness
the sooner, prostrated myself at His feet, bathing the ground with my
tears, and confessed my action. He in His goodness compassionating me,
assured me of my cure, saying: ‘Be of good heart, daughter, thy faith
has healed thee. Go in peace!’ Do you now, august ruler, grant my
righteous petition. King Herod receiving this petition, was struck with
wonder and in awe at the cure, replied: ‘The cure wrought for you, O
woman, deserves a splendid monument. Go then and put up any memorial you
like to Him, in praise of the Healer.’ And immediately Berenice the sick
woman of yore, set up in the midst of her own city of Paneada a monument
in bronze, adorned with gold and silver. It is still standing in the
city of Paneada. Not long ago it was taken from the place where it stood
to the middle of the city, and placed in a house of prayer. One, Batho,
a converted Jew, found it mentioned in a book which contained an account
of all those who had reigned over Judea.

From the ‘Ecclesiastical History of Socrates,’ Book I. Chap. xviii., on
the Emperor Constantine.

After this the Emperor Constantine, being most zealous for the Christian
religion, destroyed heathen observances, and prohibited single combats,
whilst he set up his images in the temples.

Stephen Bostrenus, against the Jews.—Chap. iv.

We have made the images of the saints for a remembrance of Abraham,
Isaac, Jacob, Moses, and Elias and Zachary, and of other prophets and
holy martyrs, who gave their life for Him. Every one who looks at their
images may thus be reminded of them and glorify Him who glorifies them.

The same.

As to images let us take courage that every work done in God’s name is
good and holy. Now as to idols and statues, beware, they are all bad,
both the things and their makers. An image of a holy prophet is one
thing, a statue or carved figure of Saturn or Venus, the sun or the
moon, quite another. As man was made after God’s image, he is
worshipped; but the serpent as the image of the devil, is unclean and
execrable. Tell me, O Jew, if you reject man’s handiwork, what is left
on earth to be worshipped which is not the work of his hand? Was not the
ark made by hands, and the altar, the propitiatory and the cherubim, the
golden urn containing the manna, the table and the inner tabernacle, and
all that God ordered to be put in the holy of Holies? Were not the
cherubim the images of angels made by hands? Do you call them idols?
What do you say to Moses who worshipped them and to Israel? Worship is
symbolical of honour, and we sinners worship God, and glorify Him by the
divine worship of latreia which is due to Him, and we tremble before Him
as our Creator. We worship the angels and servants of God for His sake,
as creatures and servants of God. An image is a name and likeness of him
it represents. Thus both by writing and by engraving we are ever mindful
of our Lord’s sufferings, and of the holy prophets in the old law and in
the new.

St Leontius of Naples, in Cyprus, against the Jews—Book v.

Enter then heartily into our apology for the making of sacred images, so
that the mouths of foolish people speaking injustice may be closed. This
tradition comes from the old law, not from us. Listen to God’s command
to Moses that he should make two cherubim wrought in metal to overshadow
the propitiatory. And again, God showed the temple to Ezechiel, with its
carved faces of lions, forms of palms and men from floor to ceiling. The
command is truly awe-inspiring. God, who enjoins Israel not to make any
graven thing, likeness or image of anything in heaven or on earth, also
orders Moses to make carved cherubim. God shows the temple to Ezechiel,
full of images and sculptured likenesses of lions, palms, and men. And
Solomon, in conformity to the law, filled the temple with metal figures
of oxen, palms, and men, and God did not reproach him for it. Now, if
you wish to reproach _me_ concerning images, you condemn God, who
ordered these things to be made that they might remind us of Himself.

The same, from the 3rd Book.

Again, atheists mock at us concerning the Holy Cross and the worship of
divine images, calling us idolators and worshippers of wooden gods. Now,
if I am a worshipper of wood, as you say, I am a worshipper of many,
and, if so, I should swear by many, and say, ‘By the gods,’ just as you
at the sight of one calf said, ‘These are thy gods, O Israel.’ You could
not maintain that Christian lips had used the expression, but the
adulterous and unbelieving synagogue is wont ever to cast infamy upon
the all-wise Church of Christ.

The same.

We do not adore as gods the figures and images of the saints. For if it
was the mere wood of the image that we adored as God, we should likewise
adore all wood, and not, as often happens, when the form grows faint,
throw the image into the fire. And again, as long as the wood remains in
the form of a cross, I adore it on account of Christ who was crucified
upon it. When it falls to pieces, I throw them into the fire. Just as
the man who receives the sealed orders of the king and embraces the
seal, looks upon the dust and paper and wax as honourable in their
reference to the king’s service, so we Christians, in worshipping the
Cross, do not worship the wood for itself, but seeing in it the impress
and seal and figure of Christ Himself, crucified through it and on it,
we fall down and adore.

The same.

On this account I depict Christ and His sufferings in churches, and
houses, and public places, and images, on clothes, and store-houses, and
in every available place, so that ever before me, I may bear them in
lasting memory, and not be unmindful, as you are, of my Lord God. In
worshipping the book of the law, you are not worshipping parchment or
colour, but God’s words contained in it. So do I worship the image of
Christ, neither wood nor colouring for themselves. Adoring an inanimate
figure of Christ through the Cross, I seem to possess and to adore
Christ. Jacob received Joseph’s cloak of many colours from his brothers
who had sold him, and he caressed it with tears as he gazed at it. He
did not weep over the cloak, but considered it a way of showing his love
for Joseph and of embracing him. Thus do we Christians embrace with our
lips the image of Christ, or the apostles, or the martyrs, whilst in
spirit we deem that we are embracing Christ Himself or His martyr. As I
have often said, the end in view must always be considered in all
greeting and worship. If you upbraid me because I worship the wood of
the Cross, why do you not upbraid Jacob for worshipping on the point of
Joseph’s staff? (επί το ακρον τῆς ῥάβδου). It is evident that it was not
the wood he honoured by his worship, but Joseph, as we adore Christ
through the Cross. Abraham worshipped impious men who sold him the cave,
and bent his knee to the ground, yet he did not worship them as gods.
And again, Jacob magnified impious Pharao and idolatrous Esau seven
times, yet not as God. How many salutations and worshippings I have put
before you, both natural and scriptural, which are not to be condemned,
and you no sooner see any one worshipping the image of Christ or His
Immaculate (παναγίας) Mother or a saint than you are angry and blaspheme
and call me an idolator. Have you no shame, seeing me as you do day by
day pulling down the temples of idols in the whole world and raising
churches to martyrs? If I worship idols, why do I honour martyrs, their
destroyers? If I glorify wood, as you say, why do I honour the saints
who have pulled down the wooden statues of demons? If I glorify stones,
how can I glorify the apostles who broke the stone idols? If I honour
the images of false gods, how can I praise and glorify and keep the
feast of the three children at Babylon who would not worship the golden
statue? How greatly foolish people err, and how blind they are! What
shamelessness is yours, O Jew! what impiety! You sin indeed against the
truth. Arise, O God, and justify Thy cause. Judge and justify us from
people, not all people, but from senseless and hostile people who
constantly provoke Thee.

The same.

If, as I have often said, I worshipped wood and stone as God, I, too,
should say to each, ‘Thou hast brought me forth.’ If I worship the
images of the saints, or rather the saints, and worship and reverence
the combats of the holy martyrs, how can you call these idols, senseless
man? For idols are likenesses of false gods and adulterers, murderers
and luxurious men, not of prophets or apostles. Listen whilst I take a
telling and most true example of Christian and heathen images. The
Chaldeans in Babylon had all sorts of musical instruments for the
worship of idols who were devils, and the children of Israel had brought
musical instruments from Jerusalem, which they hung upon the willow
trees, and the instruments of both lutes and stringed instruments and
flutes gave forth their music, these for the glory of God, the others
for the service of devils. So must you look upon images and idols of
heathens and Christians. Heathen idols were for the glory and
remembrance of the devil; Christian images are for the glory of Christ,
and of His apostles and martyrs and saints.

The same.

When, then, you see a Christian worshipping the Cross, know that his
adoration is not given to the wood, but to Christ Crucified. We might as
well worship all wood, as Israel worshipped woods and trees, saying,
‘Thou art my God, and Thou hast brought me forth.’ It is not so with us.
We keep in churches and in our houses a remembrance and a representation
of our Lord’s sufferings and of those who fought for Him, doing
everything for our Lord’s sake.

Once more. Tell me, O Jew, what law authorised Moses to worship Jethor,
his brother-in-law, and an idolator? Or Jacob to worship Pharao, and
Abraham the sons of Emmor? They were just men and prophets. Again,
Daniel worshipped the impious Nabuchodonosor. For if they so acted on
account of life in this world, why do you reproach me for worshipping
the holy memories of the saints, whether in books or pictures, their
combats and sufferings, which are a daily source of good to me, and will
help me to lasting and eternal life?

Saint Athanasius against the Arians.—Book iii.

The Son being of the same substance as the Father, He can justly say
that He has what the Father has. Hence it was fitting and proper that
after the words ‘I and the Father are one,’ he should add, ‘that you may
know that I am in the Father and the Father in Me.’ He had already said
the same thing. ‘He who sees Me sees the Father.’ There is one and the
same mind in these three sayings. To know that the Father and the Son
are one is to know that he is in the Father and the Father in the Son.
The Godhead of the Son is the Godhead of the Father. The man who
receives this understands ‘that he who sees the Son sees the Father.’
For the Godhead of the Father is seen in the Son. This will be easier to
understand from the example of the king’s image which shows forth his
form and likeness. The king is the likeness of his image. The likeness
of the king is indelibly impressed upon the image, so that any one
looking at the image sees the king, and again, any one looking at the
king recognises that the image is his likeness. Being an indelible
likeness, the image might answer a man, who expressed the wish to see
the king after contemplating it, by saying, ‘The king and I are one. I
am in him and he is in me. That which you see in me you see in him, and
the man who looks upon him looks at the same in me.’ He who worships the
image worships the king in it. The image is his form and likeness.

The same, to Antiochus the Ruler.

What do our adversaries say to these things, they who maintain that we
should not worship the effigies of the saints, which are preserved
amongst us for a remembrance of them.

St Ambrose of Milan, to the Emperor Gratian concerning the Incarnation
of God the Word.

God before flesh was made, and God in the flesh. There is a fear lest,
abstracting the double principle of action and wisdom from Christ, we
should glorify a mutilated Christ. Now, is it possible to divide Christ
whilst we adore His Godhead and His flesh? Do we divide Him when we
adore at once the image of God and the Cross? God forbid.

St Cyril of Jerusalem, twelfth Instruction.

If you seek the cause of Christ’s presence, go back to the first chapter
of Scripture. God made the world in six days, but the world was made for
man. The most brilliant sun glowing with light was made for man. And all
living things were created for our service, trees and flowers for our
enjoyment. All created things were beautiful, yet only man was the image
of God. The sun arose by command alone: man was moulded by the Divine
Hand. ‘Let us make man to our image and likeness.’ The wooden image of
an earthly king is honoured, how much more the rational image of God?

St John Chrysostom, on the Machabees.

The royal effigies are shown forth not only on gold and silver, and the
most costly materials, but the royal form itself, even on copper. The
difference of matter does not affect the dignity of the character
impressed, nor does a viler material diminish the honour of what is
great. The royal figure is always a consecration; not lessened by
matter, it exalts matter.

The same, against Julian the Apostate.—1st Book.

What does this new Nabuchodonosor want? He has not shown himself kinder
to us than Nabuchodonosor of old, whose furnace still pierces us
through, although we have escaped from its flames. Do not the shrines of
saints in churches, inviting the worship of the faithful, show forth the
destruction of the body?²⁸

The same, on the Piscina.

Just as when the royal effigy and image is sent or carried into the
city, rulers and people go out to meet it with respect and reverence,
not honouring the wooden receptacle, or the waxen representation, but
the person of the king; so is it with created things.

Severianus of the Gabali, on the Cross.

_Fourth Homily._—‘Moses struck the rock twice.’ Why twice? If he was
obeying God’s commands, what need was there of striking a second time?
If without, not two, or ten, or a hundred strikings would have unlocked
nature: if it was simply God’s work without the mystery of the Cross,
one striking, or nod, or word would have sufficed. But it is meant to be
an image of the Cross. Moses, the Scripture says, struck once and then
again, in the sign of the Cross, not for actual necessity, so that
inanimate nature might reverence the symbol. If in the king’s absence
his image supplies his place, rulers worship, and festivals are held,
and princes go out to meet it, and people prostrate themselves, not
looking at the material, but at the figure of the king shown forth in
representation not seen in nature, how much more shall the image of the
Eternal King break open the heavens and the whole universe, not the rock

Jerome, Priest of Jerusalem, on the Holy Trinity.

As the Scripture nowhere enjoins you to worship the Cross, what makes
you adore it? Tell us, Jews and heathens, and all inquiring people.

_Answer._—On this account, O slow and foolish of heart, God allowed the
people, who revered Him, to worship what was on earth, the handiwork of
man, so that they should not be able to reproach Christians concerning
the Cross and the worship of images. Now just as the Jew adored the ark
of the covenant, and the two carved cherubim of gold, and the two
tablets of Moses, although there is nowhere an order from God to worship
or revere them, so is it with Christians. We do not revere the Cross as
God; we show through it what we truly feel about the Crucified One.

Simeon of Mount Thaumastus on Images.

Possibly a contentious unbeliever will maintain that we worshipping
images in our churches are convicted of praying to lifeless idols. Far
be it from us to do this. Faith²⁹ makes Christians, and God, who cannot
deceive, works miracles. We do not rest contented with mere colouring.
With the material picture before our eyes we see the invisible God
through the visible representation, and glorify Him as if present, not
as a God without reality, but as God who is the essence of being. Nor
are the saints whom we glorify fictitious. They are in being, and are
living with God; and their spirits being holy, they help, by the power
of God, those who deserve and need their assistance.

Athanasius, Archbishop of Antioch, to Simeon, Bishop of the Bostri, on
the Sabbath.

Just as in the king’s absence his image is worshipped, so in his
presence it is extravagant to leave the original to pay homage to the
image. It is disregarded, because the original on whose account it is
honoured is present, but that is no reason for dishonouring it. It is
much the same, I think, with the shadow or letter of the law. The
apostle calls it a figure. In so far as grace anticipated the reign of
truth, the saints were types, contemplating the truth as in a glass.
When the promises were fulfilled, it was no longer desirable to live
according to types, nor to follow them. In the presence of the
realisation the type vanishes into insignificance. Still they did not
dishonour nor deride types; they honoured them, and judged those who
treated them with contumely impious, and deserving of death and severe

The same.—3rd Homily.

A man worships the king’s image for the honour due to the king, the
image itself being mere wax and paint.

St Athanasius of Mount Sinai on the New Sabbath, and on St Thomas the

Those who saw Christ in the flesh looked upon Him as a prophet. We, who
have not seen Him, have confessed Him from our childhood to be the great
and Almighty God Himself, the Creator of eternity, and splendour of the
Father. We listen with faith to His Gospel, as if we saw Christ Himself
speaking. And receiving the pure treasure of His body, we believe that
Christ Himself is acting in us. And if we see only the image of His
divine form, as if looking down upon us from heaven, we prostrate and
adore. Great is now the faith of Christ.

From the Life of the Abbot Daniel, on Eulogius the Quarryman.

Then he went away dejected, and threw himself before an image of Our
Lady, and crying out, he said: ‘Lord, enable me to pay what I promised
this man.’

From the Life of St Mary of Egypt.

As I was weeping, I lifted up my eyes and saw the image of Our Lady, and
I said to her:—

‘O Virgin, Mother of God (θεότοκε δέσποινα), who didst give birth to God
the Word, I know that it is neither fitting nor seemly that one so
defiled and so covered with guilt as I should look up to thy image, O
ever Virgin. It is fitting that I should be hated and shunned by thy
purity. Yet as He who was born of thee became man on purpose to call
sinners to repentance, help me, for I have no other succour. Let me also
find an entrance. Do not refuse me a sight of the wood on which God the
Word, thy Son, suffered according to the flesh, who shed His own
precious blood for me. Grant, O Queen, that I may be admitted to worship
the sacred Cross, and I will promise thee as surety to the God whom thou
didst bring forth that I will keep myself ever undefiled. When I see the
Cross of thy Son, I will at once renounce the world and the things of
the world, and forthwith follow wherever thou shalt lead.’

Saying this, taking faith’s token as a conviction, encouraged by Our
Lady’s clemency, I left that place where I had made my petition, and
returned again to join those who were entering the edifice. No one
thrust me aside, and no one prevented me from going into the church.
Then I was seized with horror and fear and trembling in all my limbs.
Throwing myself on the ground, and worshipping that holy floor, I came
out, and went to her who had promised to be my security. When I came to
the place in which the agreement had been signed, I knelt down before
the ever blessed Virgin, Mother of God, and addressed her in these

‘O loving Queen (ιλάγαθε δέσποινα), thou hast shown me thy goodness;
thou didst not despise the petition of my unworthiness. I have seen
glory which sinners do not see. Praise be to God who receives the
repentance of sinners through thee.’

St Methodius, Bishop of the Patari (παταρών), on the Resurrection.

The images of earthly kings, even if they are not made of finest gold
and silver, command at once honour from all. As men are not honouring
matter, they do not choose the most precious from the less precious;
they honour the image, whether made of putty or of copper. A derider of
either, whether he shows contempt to the image of plaster or of gold,
will be held to show contempt to his lord and king. We make golden
images of His angels, principalities, or powers, for His honour and


_The_ memory of the just takes place with rejoicing, said Solomon, the
wisest of men; for precious in God’s sight is the death of His saints,
according to the royal³⁰ David. If, then, the memory of all the just is
a subject of rejoicing, who will not offer praise to justice in its
source, and holiness in its treasure-house? It is not mere praise; it is
praising with the intention of gaining eternal glory. God’s
dwelling-place does not need our praise, that city of God, concerning
which great things were spoken, as holy.³¹ David addresses it in these
words: ‘Glorious things are said of thee, thou city of God.’ What sort
of city shall we choose for the invisible and uncircumscribed God, who
holds all things in His hand, if not that city which alone is above
nature, giving shelter without circumscription³² to the supersubstantial
Word of God? Glorious things have been spoken of that city by God
himself. For what is more exalted than being made the recipient of God’s
counsel, which is from all eternity?

Neither human tongue nor angelic mind is able worthily to praise her
through whom it is given to us to look clearly upon the Lord’s glory.
What then? Shall we be silent through fear of our insufficiency?
Certainly not. Shall we be trespassers beyond our own boundaries, and
freely handle ineffable mysteries, putting off all restraint? By no
means. Mingling, rather, fear with desire, and weaving them into one
crown, with reverent hand and longing soul, let us show forth the poor
first-fruits of our intelligence, in gratitude to our Queen and Mother,
the benefactress of all creation, as a repayment of our debt. A story is
told of some rustics who were ploughing up the soil when a king chanced
to pass, in the splendour of his royal robes and crown, and surrounded
by countless gift bearers, standing in a circle. As there was no gift to
offer at that moment, one of them was collecting water in his hands, as
there happened to be a copious stream near by. Of this he prepared a
gift for the king, who addressed him in these words: ‘What is this, my
boy?’ And he answered boldly: ‘I made the best of what I had, thinking
it was better to show my willingness, than to offer nothing. You do not
need our gifts, nor do you wish for anything from us save our good will.
The need is on our side, and the reward is in the doing. I know that
glory often comes to the grateful.’

The king in wonder praised the boy’s cleverness, graciously acknowledged
his willingness, and made him many rich gifts in return. Now, if that
proud monarch so generously rewarded good intentions, will not Our Lady
(ἡ ὄντως ἀγαθὴ δέσποινα), the Mother of God, accept _our_ good will, not
judging us by what we accomplish? Our Lady is the Mother of God, who
alone is good and infinite in His condescension, who preferred the two
mites to many splendid gifts. She will indeed receive us, who are paying
off our debt, and make us a return out of all proportion to what we
offer. Since prayer is absolutely necessary for our needs, let us direct
our attention to it.

What shall we say, O Queen? What words shall we use? What praise shall
we pour upon thy sacred and glorified head, thou giver of good gifts and
of riches, the pride of the human race, the glory of all creation,
through whom it is truly blessed. He whom nature did not contain in the
beginning, was born of thee. The Invisible One is contemplated face to
face. O Word of God, do Thou open my slow lips, and give their
utterances Thy richest blessing; inflame us with the grace of Thy
Spirit, through whom fishermen became orators, and ignorant men spoke
supernatural wisdom, so that our feeble voices may contribute to thy
loved Mother’s praises, even though greatness should be extolled by
misery. She, the chosen one of an ancient race, by a predetermined
counsel and the good pleasure of God the Father, who had begotten Thee
in eternity immaterially, brought Thee forth in the latter times, Thou
who art propitiation and salvation, justice and redemption, life of
life, light of light, and true God of true God.

The birth of her, whose Child was marvellous, was above nature and
understanding, and it was salvation to the world; her death was
glorious, and truly a sacred feast. The Father predestined her, the
prophets foretold her through the Holy Ghost. His sanctifying power
overshadowed her, cleansed³³ and made her holy, and, as it were,
predestined her. Then Thou, Word of the Father, not dwelling in place,³⁴
didst invite the lowliness of our nature to be united to the
immeasurable greatness of Thy inscrutable Godhead. Thou, who didst take
flesh of the Blessed Virgin, vivified by a reasoning soul, having first
abided in her undefiled and immaculate womb, creating Thyself, and
causing her to exist in Thee, didst become perfect man, not ceasing to
be perfect God, equal to Thy Father, but taking upon Thyself our
weakness through ineffable goodness. Through it Thou art one Christ, one
Lord, one Son of God, and man at the same time, perfect God and perfect
man, wholly God and wholly man, one substance (ὑπόστασις) from two
perfect natures, the Godhead and the manhood. And in two perfect
natures, the divine and the human, God is not pure God, nor the man only
man, but the Son of God and the Incarnate God are one and the same God
and man without confusion or division, uniting in Himself substantially
the attributes of both natures. Thus, He is at once uncreated and
created, mortal and immortal, visible and invisible, in place and not in
place. He has a divine will and a human will, a divine action and a
human also, two powers of choosing (ἀυτεξούσια) divine and human. He
shows forth divine wonders and human affections,—natural, I mean, and
pure. Thou hast taken upon Thyself, Lord, of Thy great mercy, the state
of Adam as he was before the fall, body, soul, and mind, and all that
they involve physically, so as to give me a perfect salvation. It is
true indeed that what was not assumed was not healed.³⁵ Having thus
become the mediator between God and man, Thou didst destroy enmity, and
lead back to Thy Father those who had deserted Him, wanderers to their
home, and those in darkness to the light. Thou didst bring pardon to the
contrite, and didst change mortality into immortality. Thou didst
deliver the world from the aberration of many gods, and didst make men
the children of God, partakers of Thy divine glory. Thou didst raise the
human race, which was condemned to hell, above all power and majesty,
and in Thy person it is seated on the King’s eternal throne. Who was the
instrument of these infinite benefits exceeding all mind and
comprehension, if not the Mother ever Virgin who bore Thee?

Realise, Beloved in the Lord, the grace of to-day, and its wondrous
solemnity. Its mysteries are not terrible, nor do they inspire awe.
Blessed are they who have eyes to see. Blessed are they who see with
spiritual eyes. This night shines as the day. What countless angels
acclaim the death of the life-giving Mother! How the eloquence of
apostles blesses the departure of this body which was the receptacle of
God. How the Word of God, who deigned in His mercy to become her Son,
ministering with His divine hands to this immaculate and divine being,³⁶
as His mother, receives her holy soul. O wondrous Law-giver, fulfilling
the law which He had Himself laid down, not being bound by it, for it
was He who enjoined children to show reverence to their parents. ‘Honour
thy father and thy mother,’ He says. The truth of this is apparent to
every one, calling to mind even dimly the words of holy Scripture. If
according to it the souls of the just are in the hands of God, how much
more is her soul in the hands of her Son and her God. This is
indisputable. Let us consider who she is and whence she came, how she,
the greatest and dearest of all God’s gifts, was given to this world.
Let us examine what her life was, and the mysteries in which she took
part. Heathens in the use of funeral orations most carefully brought
forward anything which could be turned to praise of the deceased, and at
the same time encourage the living to virtue, drawing generally upon
fable and fiction, not having fact to go upon. How then, shall we not
deserve scorn if we bury in silence that which is most true and sacred,
and in very deed the source of praise and salvation to all? Shall we not
receive the same punishment as the man who hid his master’s talent? Let
us adapt our subject to the needs of those who listen, as food is suited
to the body.

Joachim and Anne were the parents of Mary. Joachim kept as strict a
watch over his thoughts as a shepherd over his flock, having them
entirely under his control. For the Lord God led him as a sheep, and he
wanted for none of the best things. When I say best, let no one think I
mean what is commonly acceptable to the multitude, that upon which
greedy minds are fixed, the pleasures of life that can neither endure
nor make their possessors better, nor confer real strength. They follow
the downward course of human life and cease all in a moment, even if
they abounded before. Far be it from us to cherish these things, nor is
this the portion of those who fear God. But the good things which are a
matter of desire to those who possess true knowledge, delighting God,
and fruitful to their possessors, namely, virtues, bearing fruit in due
season, that is, in eternity, will reward with eternal life those who
have laboured worthily and have persevered in their acquisition as far
as possible. The labour goes before, eternal happiness follows. Joachim
ever shepherded his thoughts. In the place of pastures, dwelling by
contemplation on the words of sacred Scripture, made glad on the restful
waters of divine grace, withdrawn from foolishness, he walked in the
path of justice. And Anne, whose name means grace, was no less a
companion in her life than a wife, blessed with all good gifts, though
afflicted for a mystical reason with sterility. Grace in very truth
remained sterile, not being able to produce fruit in the souls of men.
Therefore, men declined from good and degenerated; there was not one of
understanding nor one who sought after God. Then His divine goodness,
taking pity on the work of His hands, and wishing to save it, put an end
to that mystical barrenness, that of holy (θεόρονος) Anne, I mean, and
she gave birth to a child, whose equal had never been created and never
can be. The end of barrenness proved clearly that the world’s sterility
would cease and that the withered trunk would be crowned with vigorous
and mystical life.

Hence the Mother of our Lord is announced. An angel foretells her birth.
It was fitting that in this, too, she, who was to be the human Mother of
the one true and living God, should be marked out above every one else.
Then she was offered in God’s holy temple, and remained there, showing
to all a great example of zeal and holiness, withdrawn from frivolous
society. When, however, she reached full age and the law required that
she should leave the temple, she was entrusted by the priests to Joseph,
her bridegroom, as the guardian of her virginity, a steadfast observer
of the law from his youth. Mary, the holy and undefiled (πᾶνάμωμος),
went to Joseph, contenting herself with her household matters, and
knowing nothing beyond her four walls.

In the fulness of time, as the divine apostle says, the angel Gabriel
was sent to this true child of God, and saluted her in the words, ‘Hail,
full of grace, the Lord is with thee.’ Beautiful is the angel’s
salutation to her who is greater than an angel. He is the bearer of joy
to the whole world. She was troubled at his words, not being used to
speak with men, for she had resolved to keep her virginity unsullied.
She pondered in herself what this greeting might be. Then the angel said
to her: ‘Fear not, Mary. Thou hast found grace before God.’ In very
deed, she who was worthy of grace had found it. She found grace who had
done the deeds of grace, and had reaped its fulness. She found grace who
brought forth the source of grace, and was a rich harvest of grace. She
found an abyss of grace who kept undefiled her double virginity, her
virginal soul no less spotless than her body; hence her perfect
virginity. ‘Thou shalt bring forth a Son,’ he said, ‘and shalt call His
name Jesus’ (Jesus is interpreted Saviour). ‘He shall save His people
from their sins.’ What did she, who is true wisdom, reply? She does not
imitate our first mother Eve, but rather improves upon her
incautiousness, and calling in nature to support her, thus answers the
angel: ‘How is this to be, since I know not man? What you say is
impossible, for it goes beyond the natural laws laid down by the
Creator. I will not be called a second Eve and disobey the will of my
God. If you are not speaking godless things, explain the mystery by
saying how it is to be accomplished.’ Then the messenger of truth
answered her: ‘The Holy Spirit shall come to thee, and the power of the
Most High shall overshadow thee. Therefore He who is born to thee shall
be called the Son of God.’ That which is foretold is not subservient to
the laws of nature. For God, the Creator of nature, can alter its laws.
And she, listening in holy reverence to that sacred name, which she had
ever desired, signified her obedience in words full of humility and joy:
‘Behold the handmaid of the Lord. Be it done unto me according to thy

‘O the depth of the riches, of the wisdom, and of the knowledge of God,’
I will exclaim in the apostle’s words. ‘How incomprehensible are His
judgments, and how unsearchable His ways.’ O inexhaustible goodness of
God! O boundless goodness! He who called what was not into being, and
filled heaven and earth, whose throne is heaven, and whose footstool is
the earth, a spacious dwelling-place, made the womb of His own servant,
and in it the mystery of mysteries is accomplished (το πάντων καινῶν
καινότερον άποτελεῖ μυστήριον). Being God He becomes man, and is
marvellously brought forth without detriment to the virginity of His
Mother. And He is lifted up as a baby in earthly arms, who is the
brightness of eternal glory, the form of the Father’s substance, by the
word of whose mouth all created things exist. O truly divine wonder! O
mystery transcending all nature and understanding! O marvellous
virginity! What, O holy Mother and Virgin, is this great mystery
accomplished in thee? Blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the
fruit of thy womb. Thou art blessed from generation to generation, thou
who alone art worthy of being blessed. Behold all generations shall call
thee blessed as thou hast said. The daughters of Jerusalem, I mean, of
the Church, saw thee. Queens have blessed thee, that is, the spirits of
the just, and they shall praise thee for ever. Thou art the royal throne
which angels surround, seeing upon it their very King and Lord. Thou art
a spiritual Eden, holier and diviner than Eden of old. That Eden was the
abode of the mortal Adam, whilst the Lord came from heaven to dwell in
thee. The ark foreshadowed thee who hast kept the seed of the new world.
Thou didst bring forth Christ, the salvation of the world, who destroyed
sin and its angry waves. The burning bush was a figure of thee, and the
tablets of the law, and the ark of the testament. The golden urn and
candelabra, the table and the flowering rod of Aaron were significant
types of thee. From thee arose the splendour of the Godhead, the eternal
Word of the Father, the most sweet and heavenly Manna, the sacred Name
above every name, the Light which was from the beginning. The heavenly
Bread of Life, the Fruit without seed, took flesh of thee. Did not that
flame foreshadow thee with its burning fire an image of the divine fire
within thee? And Abraham’s tent most clearly pointed to thee. By the
Word of God dwelling in thee human nature produced the bread made of
ashes, its first fruits, from thy most pure womb, the first fruits
kneaded into bread and cooked by divine fire, becoming His divine
person, and His true substance of a living body quickened by a reasoning
and intelligent soul.³⁷ I had nearly forgotten Jacob’s ladder. Is it not
evident to every one that it prefigured thee, and is not the type easily
recognised? Just as Jacob saw the ladder bringing together heaven and
earth, and on it angels coming down and going up, and the truly strong
and invulnerable God wrestling mystically with himself, so art thou
placed between us, and art become the ladder of God’s intercourse with
us, of Him who took upon Himself our weakness, uniting us to Himself,
and enabling man to see God. Thou hast brought together what was parted.
Hence angels descended to Him, ministering to Him as their God and Lord,
and men, adopting the life of angels, are carried up to heaven.

How shall I understand the prediction of prophets? Shall I not refer
them to thee, as we can prove them to be true? What is the fleece of
David which receives the Son of the Almighty God, co-eternal and
co-equal with His Father, as rain falls upon the soil? Does it not
signify thee in thy bright shining? Who is the virgin foretold by Isaias
who should conceive and bear a Son, God ever present with us, that is,
who being born a man should remain God? What is Daniel’s mountain from
which arose Christ, the Corner-Stone, not made by the hand of man? Is it
not thee, conceiving without man and still remaining a virgin? Let the
inspired Ezechiel come forth and show us the closed gate, sealed by the
Lord, and not yielding, according to his prophecy—let him point to its
fulfilment in thee. The Lord of all came to thee, and taking flesh did
not open the door of thy virginity. The seal remains intact. The
prophets, then, foretell thee. Angels and apostles minister to thee, O
Mother of God, ever Virgin, and John the virgin apostle. Angels and the
spirits of the just, patriarchs and prophets surround thee to-day in thy
departure to thy Son. Apostles watched over the countless host of the
just who were gathered together from every corner of the earth by the
divine commands, as a cloud around the divine and living Jerusalem,
singing hymns of praise to thee, the author of our Lord’s life-giving

O how does the source of life pass through death to life? O how can she
obey the law of nature, who, in conceiving, surpasses the boundaries of
nature? How is her spotless body made subject to death? In order to be
clothed with immortality she must first put off mortality, since the
Lord of nature did not reject the penalty of death. She dies according
to the flesh, destroys death by death, and through corruption gains
incorruption (θορᾷ τὴν ἀθαρσιαν χαρίζεται), and makes her death the
source of resurrection. O how does Almighty God receive with His own
hands the holy disembodied soul of our Lord’s Mother! He honours her
truly, whom being His servant by nature, He made His Mother, in His
inscrutable abyss of mercy, when He became incarnate in very truth. We
may well believe that the angelic choirs waited to receive thy departing
soul. O what a blessed departure this going to God of thine. If God
vouchsafes it to all His servants—and we know that He does—what an
immense difference there is between His servants and His Mother. What,
then, shall we call this mystery of thine? Death? Thy blessed soul is
naturally parted from thy blissful and undefiled body, and the body is
delivered to the grave, yet it does not endure in death, nor is it the
prey of corruption. The body of her, whose virginity remained unspotted
in child-birth, was preserved in its incorruption, and was taken to a
better, diviner place, where death is not, but eternal life. Just as the
glorious sun may be hidden momentarily by the opaque moon, it shows
still though covered, and its rays illumine the darkness since light
belongs to its essence. It has in itself a perpetual source of light, or
rather it is the source of light as God created it. So art thou the
perennial source of true light, the treasury of life itself, the
richness of grace, the cause and medium of all our goods. And if for a
time thou art hidden by the death of the body, without speaking, thou
art our light, life-giving ambrosia, true happiness, a sea of grace, a
fountain of healing and of perpetual blessing. Thou art as a fruitful
tree in the forest, and thy fruit is sweet in the mouth of the faithful.
Therefore I will not call thy sacred transformation death, but rest or
going home, and it is more truly a going home. Putting off corporeal
things, thou dwellest in a happier state.

Angels with archangels bear thee up. Impure spirits trembled at thy
departure. The air raises a hymn of praise at thy passage, and the
atmosphere is purified. Heaven receives thy soul with joy. The heavenly
powers greet thee with sacred canticles and with joyous praise, saying:
‘Who is this most pure creature ascending, shining as the dawn,
beautiful as the moon, conspicuous as the sun? How sweet and lovely thou
art, the lily of the field, the rose among thorns; therefore the young
maidens loved thee. We are drawn after the odour of thy ointments. The
King introduced thee into His chamber. There Powers protect thee,
Principalities praise thee, Thrones proclaim thee, Cherubim are hushed
in joy, and Seraphim magnify the true Mother by nature and by grace of
their very Lord. Thou wert not taken into heaven as Elias was, nor didst
thou penetrate to the third heaven with Paul, but thou didst reach the
royal throne itself of thy Son, seeing it with thy own eyes, standing by
it in joy and unspeakable familiarity. O gladness of angels and of all
heavenly powers, sweetness of patriarchs and of the just, perpetual
exultation of prophets, rejoicing the world and sanctifying all things,
refreshment of the weary, comfort of the sorrowful, remission of sins,
health of the sick, harbour of the storm-tossed, lasting strength of
mourners, and perpetual succour of all who invoke thee.’

O wonder surpassing nature and creating wonder! Death, which of old was
feared and hated, is a matter of praise and blessing. Of old it was the
harbinger of grief, dejection, tears, and sadness, and now it is shown
forth as the cause of joy and rejoicing. In the case of all God’s
servants, whose death is extolled, His good pleasure is surmised from
their holy end, and therefore their death is blessed. It shows them to
be perfect, blessed and immoveable in goodness, as the proverb says:
‘Praise no man before his death.’ This, however, we do not apply to
thee. Thy blessedness was not death, nor was dying thy perfection, nor,
again, did thy departure hence help thee to security. Thou art the
beginning, middle, and end of all goods transcending mind, for thy Son
in His conception and divine dwelling in thee is made our sure and true
security. Thus thy words were true: from the moment of His conception,
not from thy death, thou didst say all generations should call thee
blessed. It was thou who didst break the force of death, paying its
penalty, and making it gracious. Hence, when thy holy and sinless body
was taken to the tomb, the choirs of angels bore it, and were all
around, leaving nothing undone for the honour of our Lord’s Mother,
whilst apostles and all the assembly of the Church burst into prophetic
song, saying: ‘We shall be filled with the good things of Thy house,
holy is Thy temple, wonderful in justice.’ And again: ‘The Most High has
sanctified His tabernacle. The mountain of God is a fertile mountain,
the mountain in which it pleased God to dwell.’ The apostolic band
lifting the true ark of the Lord God on their shoulders, as the priests
of old the typical ark, and placing thy body in the tomb, made it, as if
another Jordan, the way to the true land of the gospel, the heavenly
Jerusalem, the mother of all the faithful, God being its Lord and
architect. Thy soul did not descend to Limbo, neither did thy flesh see
corruption. Thy pure and spotless body was not left in the earth, but
the abode of the Queen, of God’s true Mother, was fixed in the heavenly
kingdom alone.

O how did heaven receive her who is greater than heaven? How did she,
who had received God, descend into the grave? This truly happened, and
she was held by the tomb. It was not after bodily wise that she
surpassed heaven. For how can a body measuring three cubits, and
continually losing flesh, be compared with the dimensions of heaven? It
was rather by grace that she surpassed all height and depth, for that
which is divine is incomparable. O sacred and wonderful, holy and
worshipful body, ministered to now by angels, standing by in lowly
reverence. Demons tremble: men approach with faith, honouring and
worshipping her, greeting her with eyes and lips, and drawing down upon
themselves abundant blessings. Just as a rich scent sprinkled upon
clothes or places, leaves its fragrance even after it has been
withdrawn, so now that holy, undefiled, and divine body, filled with
heavenly fragrance, the rich source of grace, is laid in the tomb that
it may be translated to a higher and better place. Nor did she leave the
grave empty; her body imparted to it a divine fragrance, a source of
healing, and of all good for those who approach it with faith.

We, too, approach thee to-day, O Queen; and again, I say, O Queen, O
Virgin Mother of God, staying our souls with our trust in thee, as with
a strong anchor. Lifting up mind, soul and body, and all ourselves to
thee, rejoicing in psalms and hymns and spiritual canticles, we reach
through thee One who is beyond our reach on account of His Majesty. If,
as the divine Word made flesh taught us, honour shown to servants is
honour shown to our common Lord, how can honour shown to thee, His
Mother, be slighted? How is it not most desirable? Art thou not honoured
as the very breath of life? Thus shall we best show our service to our
Lord Himself. What do I say to our Lord? It is sufficient that those who
think of Thee should recall the memory of Thy most precious gift as the
cause of our lasting joy. How it fills us with gladness! How the mind
that dwells on this holy treasury of Thy grace enriches itself.

This is our thank-offering to thee, the first fruits of our discourses,
the best homage of my poor mind, whilst I am moved by desire of thee,
and full of my own misery. But do thou graciously receive my desire,
knowing that it exceeds my power. Watch over us, O Queen, the
dwelling-place of our Lord. Lead and govern all our ways as thou wilt.
Save us from our sins. Lead us into the calm harbour of the divine will.
Make us worthy of future happiness through the sweet and face-to-face
vision of the Word made flesh through thee. With Him, glory, praise,
power, and majesty be to the Father and to the holy and life-giving
Spirit, now and for ever. Amen.


_There_ is no one in existence who is able to praise worthily the holy
death of God’s Mother, even if he should have a thousand tongues and a
thousand mouths. Not if all the most eloquent tongues could be united
would their praises be sufficient. She is greater than all praise.
Since, however, God is pleased with the efforts of a loving zeal, and
the Mother of God with what concerns the service of her Son, suffer me
now to revert again to her praises. This is in obedience to your orders,
most excellent pastors, so dear to God, and we call upon the Word made
flesh of her to come to our assistance. He gives speech to every mouth
which is opened for Him. He is her sole pleasure and adornment. We know
that in celebrating her praises we pay off our debt, and that in so
doing we are again debtors, so that the debt is ever beginning afresh.
It is fitting that we should exalt her who is above all created things,
governing them as Mother of the God who is their Creator, Lord, and
Master. Bear with me you who hang upon the divine words, and receive my
good will. Strengthen my desire, and be patient with the weakness of my
words. It is as if a man were to bring a violet of royal purple out of
season, or a fragrant rose with buds of different hues, or some rich
fruit of autumn to a mighty potentate who is divinely appointed to rule
over men. Every day he sits at a table laden with every conceivable dish
in the perfumed courts of his palace. He does not look at the smallness
of the offering, or at its novelty so much as he admires the good
intention, and with reason. This he would reward with an abundance of
gifts and favours. So we, in our winter of poverty,³⁸ bring garlands to
our Queen, and prepare a flower of oratory for the feast of praise. We
break our mind’s stony desire with iron, pressing, as it were, the
unripe grapes. And may you receive with more and more favour the words
which fall upon your eager and listening ears.

What shall we offer the Mother of the Word if not our words? Like
rejoices in like and in what it loves. Thus, then, making a start and
loosening the reins of my discourse, I may send it forth as a charger
ready equipped for the race. But do Thou, O Word of God, be my helper
and auxiliary, and speak wisdom to my unwisdom. By Thy word make my path
clear, and direct my course according to Thy good pleasure, which is the
end of all wisdom and discernment.

To-day the holy Virgin of Virgins is presented in the heavenly temple.
Virginity in her was so strong as to be a consuming fire. It is
forfeited in every case by child-birth. But she is ever a virgin, before
the event, in the birth itself, and afterwards. To-day the sacred and
living ark of the living God, who conceived her Creator Himself, takes
up her abode in the temple of God, not made by hands. David, her
forefather,³⁹ rejoices. Angels and Archangels are in jubilation, Powers
exult, Principalities and Dominations, Virtues and Thrones are in
gladness: Cherubim and Seraphim magnify God. Not the least of their
praise is it to refer praise to the Mother of glory. To-day the holy
dove, the pure and guileless soul, sanctified by the Holy Spirit,
putting off the ark of her body, the life-giving receptacle of Our Lord,
found rest to the soles of her feet, taking her flight to the spiritual
world, and dwelling securely in the sinless country above. To-day the
Eden of the new Adam receives the true paradise, in which sin is
remitted and the tree of life grows, and our nakedness is covered. For
we are no longer naked and uncovered, and unable to bear the splendour
of the divine likeness. Strengthened with the abundant grace of the
Spirit, we shall no longer betray our nakedness in the words: ‘I have
put off my garment, how shall I put it on?’ The serpent, by whose
deceitful promise we were likened to brute beasts, did not enter into
this paradise. He, the only begotten Son of God, God himself, of the
same substance as the Father, took His human nature of the pure Virgin.
Being constituted a man, He made mortality immortal, and was clothed as
a man. Putting aside corruption, He was indued with the incorruptibility
of the Godhead.

To-day the spotless Virgin, untouched by earthly affections, and all
heavenly in her thoughts, was not dissolved in earth, but truly entering
heaven, dwells in the heavenly tabernacles. Who would be wrong to call
her heaven, unless indeed he truly said that she is greater than heaven
in surpassing dignity? The Lord and Creator of heaven, the Architect of
all things beneath the earth and above, of creation, visible and
invisible, Who is not circumvented by place (if that which surrounds
things is rightly termed place), created Himself, without human
co-operation, an Infant in her. He made her a rich treasure-house of His
all-pervading and alone uncircumscribed Godhead, subsisting entirely in
her without passion, remaining entire in His universality and Himself
uncircumscribed. To-day the life-giving treasury and abyss of charity (I
know not how to trust my lips to speak of it) is hidden in immortal
death. She meets it without fear, who conceived death’s destroyer, if
indeed we may call her holy and vivifying departure by the name of
death. For how could she, who brought life to all, be under the dominion
of death? But she obeys the law of her own Son, and inherits this
chastisement as a daughter of the first Adam, since her Son, who is the
life, did not refuse it. As the Mother of the living God, she goes
through death to Him. For if God said: ‘Unless the first man put out his
hand to take and taste of the tree of life, he shall live for ever,’ how
shall she, who received the Life Himself, without beginning or end, or
finite vicissitudes, not live for ever.

Of old the Lord God banished from the garden of Eden our first parents
after their disobedience, when they had dulled the eye of their heart
through their sin, and weakened their mind’s discernment, and had fallen
into death-like apathy. But, now, shall not paradise receive her, who
broke the bondage of all passion, sowed the seed of obedience to God and
the Father, and was the beginning of life to the whole human race? Will
not heaven open its gates to her with rejoicing? Yes, indeed. Eve
listened to the serpent, adopted his suggestion, was caught by the lure
of false and deceptive pleasure, and was condemned to pain and sorrow,
and to bear children in suffering. With Adam she received the sentence
of death, and was placed in the recesses of Limbo. How can death claim
as its prey this truly blessed one, who listened to God’s word in
humility, and was filled with the Spirit, conceiving the Father’s gift
through the archangel, bearing without concupiscence or the co-operation
of man the Person of the Divine Word, who fills all things, bringing Him
forth without the pains of childbirth, being wholly united to God? How
could Limbo open its gates to her? How could corruption touch the
life-giving body? These are things quite foreign to the soul and body of
God’s Mother. Death trembled before her. In approaching her Son, death
had learnt experience from His sufferings, and had grown wiser. The
gloomy descent to hell was not for her, but a joyous, easy, and sweet
passage to heaven. If, as Christ, the Life and the Truth says: ‘Wherever
I am, there is also my minister,’ how much more shall not His mother be
with Him? She brought Him forth without pain, and her death, also, was
painless. The death of sinners is terrible, for in it, sin, the cause of
death, is sacrificed. What shall we say of her if not that she is the
beginning of perpetual life. Precious indeed is the death of His saints
to the Lord God of powers. More than precious is the passing away of
God’s Mother. Now let the heavens and the angels rejoice: let the earth
and men be full of gladness. Let the air resound with song and canticle,
and dark night put off its gloom, and emulate the brightness of day
through the scintillating stars. The living city of the Lord God is
assumed from God’s temple, the visible Sion, and kings bring forth His
most precious gift, their mother, to the heavenly Jerusalem,—that is to
say, the apostles constituted princes by Christ, over all the earth,
accompany the ever virginal Mother of God.

It seems to me not superfluous to bring forward and insist on the past
types of this holy one, the Mother of God. These types succinctly
announced the Divine Child whom we have received. I look upon His Mother
as the saint of saints, the holiest of all, the fragrant urn for the
manna, or rather, to speak more truly, the fountain taking its rise in
the divine and far-famed city of David, in Sion the glorious; in it the
law is fulfilled and the spiritual law is portrayed. In Sion, Christ the
Law-giver consummated the typical pasch, and God, the Author of the old
and the new dispensation, gave us the true pasch. In it the Lamb of God,
who takes away the sins of the world, initiated His disciples unto His
mystical feast, and gave them Himself slain as a victim, and the grape
pressed in the true vine. In Sion, Christ is seen by His apostles, risen
from the dead, and Thomas is told, and through Thomas the world, that He
is Lord and God, having in Himself two natures after His resurrection,
and consequently two operations, independent wills, enduring for all
ages. Sion is the crown of churches, the resting-place of disciples. In
it the echo of the Holy Spirit, the gift of tongues, His fiery descent
are transmitted to the apostles. In it St John, taking the Mother of
God, ministered to her wants. Sion is the mother of churches in the
whole world, who offered a resting-place to the Mother of God after her
Son’s resurrection from the dead. In it, lastly, the Blessed Virgin was
stretched on a small bed.

When I had reached this point of my discourse, I was obliged to give
vent to my own feelings, and burning with loving desire, to shed
reverent yet joyful tears, embracing, as it were, the bed so happy and
blest and wondrous, which received the life-giving tabernacle and
rejoiced in the contact of holiness. I seemed to take into my arms that
holy and sacred body itself, worthy of God, and pressing my eyes, lips,
and forehead, head, and cheeks to hers, I felt as if she was really
there, though I was unable to see with my eyes what I desired. How,
then, was she assumed to the heavenly courts? In this way. What were the
honours then conferred upon her by God who commands us to honour our
parents? The cloud which enclosed Jerusalem as with a net, by the divine
commands, brought together eagles from the ends of the earth, those who
are spread over the world, fishing for men in the various and numerous
tongues of the spirit. By the net of the word they are saving men from
the abyss of doubt and bringing them to the spiritual and heavenly table
of the sacred and mystical banquet, the perfect marriage feast of the
Divine Bridegroom, which the Father celebrates with His Son, who is
equal to Himself and of the same nature. ‘Where the spirit is,’ says
Christ the Truth, ‘there shall the eagles be gathered together.’ If we
have already spoken concerning the second great and splendid coming of
Him who spoke these words, it will not be out of place here by way of

Eye-witnesses, then, and ministers of the word were there, duly
ministering to His Mother, and drawing from her a rich inheritance, as
it were, and a full measure of praise. For is it a matter of doubt to
any one that she is the source of blessing and the fountain of all good?
Their followers and successors also were there, joining in their
ministry and in their praise. A common labour produces common fruits. A
chosen band from Jerusalem were there. It was fitting that the foremost
men and prophets of the old law, they who had foretold God the Word’s
saving birth of her in time, should be there as a guard of honour. Nor
did the angelic choirs fail. They who obeyed the king heartily (κατα
γνωμην), and consequently were honoured by standing near Him, had the
right to serve as a body-guard to His Mother, according to the flesh,
the truly blessed and blissful one, surpassing all generations and all
creation. All those were with her who are the brightness and the shining
of the spirit, with spiritual eyes fixed upon her in reverence, and
fear, and pure desire.

We hear divine and inspired words, and spiritual canticles appropriate
to the parting hour. On this account it was meet to praise His boundless
goodness, His immeasurable greatness, His omnipotence, the generosity
surpassing all measure in His dealings with us, the overflowing riches
of His mercy, the abyss of His tenderness; how, putting aside His
greatness, He descended to our littleness with the co-operation of the
Father and the Holy Spirit. Again, the supersubstantial One is
supersubstantially created in the virginal womb. Being God He became
man, and remains according to this union perfect God and perfect man,
not giving up the substance of His Godhead nor ceasing to be of the same
flesh and blood as we are. He, who fills all things and governs the
universe with one word, took up His abode in a narrow place, and the
material body of this blessed one received the burning fire of the
Godhead, and as genuine gold it remained intact. This has taken place
because God willed it, since His good pleasure makes things possible
which could not happen without it. Then followed a strife of praise, not
as if each was seeking to outdo the other—for this is vainglorious and
far from pleasing to God—but as if they would leave nothing undone for
the glory of God and the honour of God’s Mother.

Then Adam and Eve, our first parents, opened their lips to exclaim,
‘Thou blessed daughter of ours, who hast removed the penalty of our
disobedience! Thou, inheriting from us a mortal body, hast won us
immortality. Thou, taking thy being from us, hast given us back the
being in grace. Thou hast conquered pain and loosened the bondage of
death. Thou hast restored us to our former state. We had shut the door
of paradise; thou didst find entrance to the tree of life. Through us
sorrow came out of good; through thee good from sorrow. How canst thou
who art all fair taste of death? Thou art the gate of life and the
ladder to heaven. Death is become the passage to immortality. O thou
truly blessed one! who that is not the Word could have borne what thou
hast borne?’⁴⁰

All the company of the saints exclaimed, ‘Thou hast fulfilled our
predictions. Thou hast purchased our present joy for us. Through thee we
have broken the chains of death. Come to us, divine and life-giving
receptacle. Come, our desire, thou who hast gained us our desire.’

And the saints standing by added their no less burning words: ‘Remain
with us, our comfort, our sole joy in this world. O Mother leave us not
orphans who have suffered on thy Son’s account. May we have thee as a
refuge and refreshment in our labours and weariness. Thou canst remain
if thou so willest, even as thou canst depart hence. If thou departest,
O dwelling-place of God, let us go too, if we are thine through thy Son.
Thou art our sole consolation on earth. We live as long as thou livest,
and it is bliss to die with thee. Why do we speak of death? Death is
life to thee, and better than life—incomparably exceeding this life. How
is our life—life, if we are deprived of thee?’

The apostles and all the assembly of the Church may well have addressed
some such words to the blessed Virgin. When they saw the Mother of God
near her end and longing for it, they were moved by divine grace to sing
farewell hymns, and wrapt out of the flesh, they sighed to accompany the
dying Mother of God, and anticipated death through intensity of will.
When they had all satisfied their duty of loving reverence and had woven
her a rich crown of hymns, they spoke a parting blessing over her, as a
God-given treasure, and the last words. These, I should think, were
significant of this life’s fleetingness, and of its leading to the
hidden mysteries of future goods.

This, it appears to me, is what they did at once and unanimously. The
King was there to receive with divine embrace⁴¹ the holy, undefiled, and
stainless soul of His Mother on her going home. And she, as we may well
conjecture, said, ‘Into Thy hands, O my Son, I commend my spirit.
Receive my soul, dear to Thee, which Thou didst keep spotless. I give my
body to Thee, not to the earth. Guard that which Thou wert pleased to
inhabit and to preserve in virginity. Take me to Thyself, that wherever
Thou art, the fruit of my womb, there I too may be. I am impelled to
Thee who didst descend to me. Do Thou be the consolation of my most
cherished children, whom Thou didst vouchsafe to call Thy brethren, when
my death leaves them in loneliness. Bless them afresh through my hands.’
Then stretching out her hands, as we may believe, she blessed all those
present, and then she heard the words: ‘Come, my beloved Mother, to thy
rest. Arise and come, most dear amongst women, the winter is past and
gone, the harvest time is at hand.⁴² Thou art fair, my beloved, and
there is no stain in thee. Thy fragrance is sweeter than all ointments.’
With these words in her ear, that holy one gave up her spirit into the
hands of her Son.

What happens? Nature, I conjecture, is stirred to its depths, strange
sounds and voices are heard, and the swelling hymns of angels who
precede, accompany, and follow her. Some constitute the guard of honour
to that undefiled and immaculate (παναγίᾳ) soul on its way to heaven
until the queen reaches the divine throne. Others surrounding the sacred
and divine body proclaim God’s Mother in angelic harmony. What of those
who watched by the most holy and immaculate (παναγίῳ) body? 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. Nor was water deprived of a blessing. She was
washed in pure water. It did not cleanse her, but was rather itself
sanctified. Then, hearing was given to the deaf, the lame recovered
their feet, and the blind their sight. 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.

Perchance, Jews also were there, if any, not too reprobate were to be
found. It will not be beside the mark to mention here a thing that is
asserted by many. It is said that when those, who were carrying the
blessed body of God’s Mother, had reached the descent of the opposite
mountains, a certain Jew, the slave of sin, and pledged by his folly,
imitated the servant of Caiphas, who struck the divine Face of Christ
our Lord and Master, and made himself the devil’s instrument. Full of
wicked passion and malice, he rushed at that most divine tabernacle,
which angels approached with fear, and impiously dragged the bier with
both his hands to the ground. This was prompted by the envy of the arch
enemy, but his labours were in vain, and he reaped a severe and fitting
reminder of his deed. It is said that he lost the use of his hands,
which had perpetrated his malicious deed, until faith moved him to
repentance. The bearers were standing near. The wretched man placed his
hands on the wondrous and life-giving tabernacle, and they again became
sound. Circumstances had made him wise, as often happens. But let us
return to our subject.

Then they reached the most sacred Gethsemane, and once more there were
embracings and prayers and panegyrics, hymns and tears, poured forth by
sorrowful and loving hearts. They mingled a flood of weeping and
sweating.⁴³ And thus the immaculate (πανάγιον) body was laid in the
tomb. Then it was assumed after three days to the heavenly mansions. The
bosom of the earth was no fitting receptacle for the Lord’s
dwelling-place, the living source of cleansing water, the corn of
heavenly bread, the sacred vine of divine wine, the evergreen and
fruitful olive-branch of God’s mercy. And just as the all holy body of
God’s Son, which was taken from her, rose from the dead on the third
day, it followed that she should be snatched from the tomb, that the
mother should be united to her Son; and as He had come down to her, so
she should be raised up to Him, into the more perfect dwelling-place,
heaven itself. It was meet that she, who had sheltered God the Word in
her own womb, should inhabit the tabernacles of her Son. And as our Lord
said it behoved Him to be concerned with His Father’s business, so it
behoved His mother that she should dwell in the courts of her Son, in
the house of the Lord, and in the courts of the house of our God. If all
those who rejoice dwell in Him, where must the cause itself of joy
abide? It was fitting that the body of her, who preserved her virginity
unsullied in her motherhood, should be kept from corruption even after
death. She who nursed her Creator as an infant at her breast, had a
right to be in the divine tabernacles. The place of the bride whom the
Father had espoused, was in the heavenly courts. It was fitting that she
who saw her Son die on the cross, and received in her heart the sword of
pain which she had not felt in childbirth, should gaze upon Him seated
next to the Father. The Mother of God had a right to the possession of
her Son, and as handmaid and Mother of God to the worship of all
creation. The inheritance of the parents ever passes to the children.
Now, as a wise man said, the sources of sacred waters are above. The Son
made all creation serve His Mother.

Let us then also keep solemn feast to-day to honour the joyful departure
of God’s Mother, not with flutes nor corybants, nor the orgies of
Cybele, the mother of false gods, as they say, whom foolish people talk
of as a fruitful mother of children, and truth as no mother at all.
These are demons and false imaginings. They usurp what they are not by
nature to impose upon human folly. For how can what is bodiless lead the
wedded life?⁴⁴ How can that be god which, not being before, is present
only after birth? That devils were bodiless is apparent to all, even to
those who are intellectually blind. Homer somewhere testifies to the
condition of the gods he honours:

    They eat not barley, and drink not ruddy wine,
    So they are bloodless and are called immortal.

They eat not bread, he says, neither do they drink fiery wine. On this
account they are anæmic, that is, without blood, and are called
immortals. He truly and appropriately says, ‘are called.’ They are
called immortals. They are not that which they are called. They died the
death of wickedness. Now we worship God, not God beginning His being,
but who always was and is above all cause and argument or created mind
or nature. We honour and reverence the Mother of God, not ascribing to
her the eternal generation of His Godhead. For the generation of God the
Word was not in time, and was co-eternal with the Father. We acknowledge
a second generation in His spontaneous taking flesh, and we see and know
the cause of this. He who is without beginning and without body takes
flesh for us as one of ourselves. And taking flesh of this sacred
Virgin, He is born without man, remaining Himself perfect God, and
becoming perfect man, perfect God in His flesh, and perfect Man in His
Godhead. Thus, recognising God’s Mother in this Virgin, we celebrate her
falling asleep, not proclaiming her as God—far be from us these heathen
fables—since we are announcing her death, but recognising her as the
Mother of the Incarnate God.

O people of Christ, let us acclaim her to-day in sacred song,
acknowledge our own good fortune and proclaim it. Let us honour her in
nocturnal vigil; let us delight in her purity of soul and body, for she
next to God surpasses all in purity. It is natural for similar things to
glory in each other. Let us show our love for her by compassion and
kindness towards the poor. For if mercy is the best worship of God, who
will refuse to show His Mother devotion in the same way? She opened to
us the unspeakable abyss of God’s love for us. Through her the old
enmity against the Creator is destroyed. Through her our reconciliation
with Him is strengthened, peace and grace are given to us, men are the
companions of angels, and we, who were in dishonour, are made the
children of God. From her we have plucked the fruit of life. From her we
have received the seed of immortality. She is the channel of all our
goods. In her God was man and man was God. What more marvellous or more
blessed? I approach the subject in fear and trembling. With Mary, the
prophetess, O youthful souls, let us sound our musical instruments,
mortifying our members on earth, for this is spiritual music. Let our
souls rejoice in the Ark of God, and the walls of Jericho will yield, I
mean the fortresses of the enemy. Let us dance in spirit with David;
to-day the Ark of God is at rest. With Gabriel, the great archangel, let
us exclaim, ‘Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Hail,
inexhaustible ocean of grace. Hail, sole refuge in grief. Hail, cure of
hearts. Hail, through whom death is expelled and life is installed.’

And you I will speak to as if living, most sacred of tombs, after the
life-giving tomb of our Lord, which is the source of the resurrection.
Where is the pure gold which apostolic hands confided to you? Where is
the inexhaustible treasure? Where the precious receptacle of God? Where
is the living table? Where the new book in which the incomprehensible
Word of God is written without hands? Where is the abyss of grace and
the ocean of healing? Where is the life-giving fountain? Where is the
sweet and loved body of God’s Mother?

Why⁴⁵ do you seek in the tomb one who has been assumed to the heavenly
courts? Why do you make me responsible for not keeping her? I was
powerless to go against the divine commands. That sacred and holy body,
leaving the winding-sheet behind, filled me full of sweet fragrance,
sanctified me by its contact, and fulfilled the divine scheme, and was
then assumed, angels and archangels and all the heavenly powers
escorting it. Now angels surround me, and divine grace abounds in me. I
am the physician of the sick. I am a perpetual source of health, and the
terror of demons. I am a city of refuge for fugitives. Approach with
faith and you will receive a sea of graces. Come, you of weak faith. All
you that thirst, come to the waters in obedience to Isaias’ commands,
and you who have no money, come and buy for nothing. I call upon all
with the Gospel invitation. Let him who longs for bodily or spiritual
cure, forgiveness of sins, deliverance from misfortune, the possession
of heaven, approach me with faith, and draw hence a strong and rich
stream of grace. Just as the action of one and the same water acts
differently on the earth, air, and sun, according to the nature of each,
producing wine in the vine and oil in the olive-tree, so does one and
the same grace profit each person according to his needs. I do not
possess grace on my own account. A tomb given up to corruption, an
object of sorrow and dejection, I receive a precious ointment, and am
impregnated with it, and this sweet fragrance alters my condition whilst
it lasts. Truly, divine graces flow where they will. I have sheltered
the source of joy, and I have become rich in its perennial fountain.⁴⁶

What shall we answer the tomb? You have indeed rich and abiding grace,
but divine power is not restricted by place, neither is the Mother of
God’s working. If it were confined to the tomb alone, few would be the
richer. Now it is freely distributed in all parts of the world. Let us
then make our memory serve as a storehouse of God’s Mother. How shall
this be? She is a virgin and a lover of virginity. She is pure and a
lover of purity. If we purify our mind with the body, we shall possess
her grace. She shuns all impurity and impure passions. She has a horror
of intemperance, and a special hatred for fornication. She turns from
its allurements as from the progeny of serpents … She looks upon all sin
as death-inflicting, rejoicing in all good. Contraries are cured by
contraries. She delights in fasting and continence and spiritual
canticles, in purity, virginity, and wisdom. With these she is ever at
peace, and takes them to her heart. She embraces peace and a meek
spirit, and love, mercy, and humility as her children. In a word, she
grieves over every sin, and is glad at all goodness as if it were her
own. If we turn away from our former sins in all earnestness and love
goodness with all our hearts, and make it our constant companion, she
will frequently visit her servants, bringing all blessings with her,
Christ her Son, the King and Lord who reigns in our hearts. To Him be
glory, praise, honour, power, and magnificence, with the eternal Father
and the Holy Spirit, now and for ever.


_Lovers_ are wont to speak of what they love, and to let their fancy run
on it by day and night. Let no one therefore blame me, if I add a third
tribute to the Mother of God, on her triumphant departure. I am not
profiting her, but myself and you who are here present, putting before
you a spiritual seasoning and refreshment in keeping with this holy
night. We are suffering, as you see, from scarcity of eatables.
Therefore I am extemporising a repast, which, if not very costly nor
worthy of the occasion, will certainly be sufficient to still hunger.
She does not need our praise. It is we who need her glory. How indeed
can glory be glorified, or the source of light be enlightened? We are
weaving a crown for ourselves in the doing. ‘I live,’ the Lord says,
‘and I will glorify those who glorify Me.’ Wine is truly pleasant to
drink, and bread to eat. The one rejoices, the other strengthens the
heart of man. But what is sweeter than the Mother of my God? She has
taken my mind captive, and held my tongue in bondage. I think of her by
day and night. She, the Mother of the Word, supplies my words. The fruit
of sterility makes sterile minds fruitful. We keep to-day the feast of
her blessed and divine transit from this world. Let us then climb up the
mystical mountain, where beyond the reach of worldly things, passing
through the obscurity of storm, we stand in the divine light and may
give praise to Almighty power. How does He, who dwells in the splendour
of His glory, descend into the Virgin’s womb without leaving the bosom
of the Father? How is He conceived in the flesh, and does He
spontaneously suffer, and suffer unto death, in that material body,
gaining immortality through corruptibility? (θορᾷ κτησάμενος τὸ
ἄθαρτον). And, again, ascending to the Father, He drew His Mother,
according to the flesh, to His own Father, assuming into the heavenly
country her who was heaven on earth.

To-day the living ladder, through whom the Most High descended and was
seen on earth, and conversed with men, was assumed into heaven by death.
To-day the heavenly table, she, who contained the bread of life, the
fire of the Godhead, without knowing man, was assumed from earth to
heaven, and the gates of heaven opened wide to receive the gate of God
from the East. To-day the living city of God is transferred from the
earthly to the heavenly Jerusalem, and she, who, conceived her
first-born and only Son, the first-born of all creation, the only
begotten of the Father, rests in the Church of the first-born: the true
and living Ark of the Lord is taken to the peace of her Son. The gates
of heaven are opened to receive the receptacle of God, who, bringing
forth the tree of life, destroyed Eve’s disobedience and Adam’s penalty
of death. And Christ, the cause of all life, receives the chosen mirror,
the mountain from which the stone without hands filled the whole earth.
She, who brought about the Word’s divine Incarnation, rests in her
glorious tomb as in a bridal-chamber, whence she goes to the heavenly
bridals, to share in the kingdom of her Son and God, leaving her tomb as
a place of rest for those on earth. Is her tomb indeed a resting-place?
Yes, more famous than any other, not shining with gold, or silver, or
precious stones, nor covered with silken, golden, or purple adornments,
but with the divine radiance of the Holy Spirit. The angelic state is
not for lovers of this world, but the wondrous life of the blessed is
for the servants of the Spirit, and passing to God is better and sweeter
than any other life. This tomb is fairer than Eden. And that I may not
speak of the enemy’s deceit, in the one; of his, so to say, clever
counsel, his envy and covetousness, of Eve’s weakness and pliability,
the bait, sure and tempting, which cheated her and her husband, their
disobedience, exile, and death, not to speak of these things so as not
to turn our feast into sorrow, _this_ grave gave up the mortal body it
contained to the heavenly country. Eve became the mother of the human
family, and is not man made after the divine image, convicted by her
condemnation; ‘earth thou art, and unto earth thou shalt return.’ This
tomb is more precious than the tabernacle of old, receiving the real and
life-giving receptacle of the Lord, the heavenly table, not the loaves
of proposition, but of heaven, not material fire, but her who contained
the pure fire of the Godhead. This tomb is holier than the ark of Moses,
blessed not with types and shadows, but the truth itself. It showed
forth the pure and golden urn, containing the heavenly manna, the living
tablet, receiving the Incarnate Word of God from the impress of the Holy
Spirit, the golden censer of the supersubstantial word. It showed forth
her who conceived the divine fire embalming all creation.

Let demons take to flight, and the thrice miserable Nestorians perish as
the Egyptians of old, and their ruler Pharao, the younger, a cruel
devastator. They were swallowed up in the abyss of blasphemy. Let us who
are saved with dry feet, crossing the bitter waters of impiety, raise
our voices to the Mother of God at her departure. Let Mary, personifying
the Church, lead the joyful strain. Let the maidens of the spiritual
Jerusalem go out in singing choirs. Let kings and judges, with rulers,
youths, and virgins, young and old, proclaim the Mother of God, and all
peoples and nations in their different ways and tongues, sing a new
canticle. Let the air resound with praise and instrument, and the sun
gladden this day of salvation. Rejoice, O heavens, and may the clouds
rain justice. Be glad, O divine apostles, the chosen ones of God’s
flock, who seem to reach the highest visions, as lofty mountain tops.
And you God’s sheep, and His holy people, the flock of the Church, who
look to the high mountains of perfection, be sad, for the fountain of
life, God’s Mother, is dead. It was necessary that what was made of
earth should return to earth, and thus be assumed to heaven. It was
fitting that the earthly tenement should be cast off, as gold is
purified, so that the flesh in death might become pure and immortal, and
rise in shining immortality from the tomb.

To-day she begins her second life through Him who was the cause of her
first being. She gave a beginning, I mean, the life of the body, to Him
who had no beginning in time, although the Father was the cause of His
divine existence. Rejoice holy and divine Mount Sion, in which reposes
the living divine mountain, the new Bethel, with its grace, human nature
united with the Godhead. From thee her Son ascended to heaven as from
the olives. Let the world-embracing cloud be prepared and the winds
gather the apostles to Mount Sion from the ends of the earth. Who are
these who soar up as clouds and eagles to the cause of all resurrection,
ministering to the Mother of God? Who is she who rises resplendent, all
pure, and bright as the sun? Let the spiritual lyres sing to her, the
apostolic tongues. Let grave theologians raise their voices in praise,
Hierotheus, the vessel of election, in whom the Holy Spirit abides,
knowing and teaching divine things by the divine indwelling. Let him be
wrapt out of the body and join willingly in the joyful hymn. Let all
nations clap their hands and praise the Mother of God. Let angels
minister to her body. Follow your Queen, O daughters of Jerusalem, and,
together with her virgins in the spirit, approach your Bridegroom in
order to sit at His right hand. Make haste, Lord, to give Thy Mother the
welcome which is her due. Stretch out Thy divine hands. Receive Thy
Mother’s soul into the Father’s hands unto which Thou didst commend Thy
spirit on the Cross. Speak sweet words to her: ‘Come, my beloved, whose
purity is more dazzling than the sun, thou gavest me of thy own, receive
now what is mine. Come, my Mother, to thy Son, reign with Him who was
poor with thee.’ Depart, O Queen, depart, not as Moses did who went up
to die. Die rather that thou mayest ascend. Give up thy soul into the
hands of thy Son. Return earth to the earth, it will be no obstacle.
Lift up your eyes, O people of God. See in Sion the Ark of the Lord God
of powers, and the apostles standing by it, burying the life-giving body
which received our Lord. Invisible angels are all around in lowly
reverence doing homage to the Mother of their Lord. The Lord Himself is
there, who is present everywhere, and filling all things, the universal
Being, not in place. He is the Author and Creator of all things. Behold
the Virgin, the daughter of Adam and Mother of God; through Adam she
gives her body to the earth, her soul to her Son above in the heavenly
courts. Let the holy city be sanctified, and rejoice in eternal praise.
Let angels precede the divine tabernacle on its passage, and prepare the
tomb. Let the radiance of the spirit adorn it. Let sweet ointment be
made ready and poured over the pure and undefiled body. Let a clear
stream of grace flow from grace in its source. Let the earth be
sanctified by contact with that body. Let the air rejoice at the
Assumption. Let gentle breezes waft grace. Let all nature keep the feast
of the Mother of God’s Assumption. May youthful bands applaud and
eloquent tongues acclaim her, and wise hearts ponder on the wonder,
priests hoary with age gather strength at the sight. Let all creation
emulate heaven, even so the true measure of rejoicing would not be

Come, let us depart with her. Come, let us descend to that tomb with all
our heart’s desire. Let us draw round that most sacred bed and sing the
sweet words, ‘Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Hail,
predestined Mother of God. Hail, thou chosen one in the design of God
from all eternity, most sacred hope of earth, resting-place of divine
fire, holiest delight of the Spirit, fountain of living water, paradise
of the tree of life, divine vine-branch, bringing forth soul-sustaining
nectar and ambrosia. Full river of spiritual graces, fertile land of the
divine pastures, rose of purity, with the sweet fragrance of grace, lily
of the royal robe, pure Mother of the Lamb of God who takes away the
sins of the world, token of our redemption, handmaid and Mother,
surpassing angelic powers.’ Come, let us stand round that pure tomb and
draw grace to our hearts. Let us raise the ever-virginal body with
spiritual arms, and go with her into the grave to die with her. Let us
renounce our passions, and live with her in purity, listening to the
divine canticles of angels in the heavenly courts. Let us go in adoring,
and learn the wondrous mystery by which she is assumed to heaven, to be
with her Son, higher than all the angelic choirs. No one stands between
Son and Mother. This, O Mother of God, is my third sermon on thy
departure, in lowly reverence to the Holy Trinity to whom thou didst
minister, the goodness of the Father, the power of the Spirit, receiving
the Uncreated Word, the Almighty Wisdom and Power of God. Accept, then,
my good-will, which is greater than my capacity, and give us salvation.
Heal our passions, cure our diseases, help us out of our difficulties,
make our lives peaceful, send us the illumination of the Spirit. Inflame
us with the desire of thy Son. Render us pleasing to Him, so that we may
enjoy happiness with Him, seeing thee resplendent with thy Son’s glory,
rejoicing for ever, keeping feast in the Church with those who worthily
celebrate Him who worked our salvation through thee, Christ the Son of
God, and our God. To Him be glory and majesty, with the uncreated Father
and the all-holy and life-giving Spirit, now and for ever, through the
endless ages of eternity. Amen.


Abraham and sons of Emmor, 9; image of God, 123. Adam and Eve addressing
Our Lady, 183.

Ambrose of Milan, St, on Incarnation, 136.

Amphilochius, addressed by St Basil, 34.

Angarus, King of Edessa, 33.

Angelic nature not taken by God, 102.

Anne, St, her name, 156.

Ark of God, the true, 168, 188; at rest, 195.

Assumption of Our Lady, 202, 207, 209, 210.

Athanasius, Archbishop of Antioch, 141.

Athanasius, St, his testimony, 120.

Augustine, St, _de Civitate Dei,_ 57.

Babylon, three children in, 132.

Baltasar, impiety of, 110.

Basil, St, on Tradition, 28; on St Gordion, 37; on Forty Martyrs, 117.

Berenice of Paneada, 124.

Body of Christ in Holy Eucharist, 102.

Brazen Serpent, image of the Cross, 50.

Burial of Our Lady, 190, 191, 208.

Burning bush, image of Our Lady, 79.

Cherubim, image of, 14.

Chrysostom, St John, his testimony, 83, 118, 121; on the Machabees, 137;
to Julian the Apostate, 138.

Church assailed by enemies, 1.

Constantine, zeal for images, 126.

Cross, veneration of, 78, 130, 134.

Cyril of Alexandria, St, 121.

Cyril of Jerusalem, 137; to Julian the Apostate, 138.

Daniel and David, worship of, 13.

Denis the Areopagite, 10; on images, 31, 96.

Denis, St, of Athens, 116.

Deuteronomy, testimony of, 6, 63.

Divine things clothed in form, 99.

Egyptians, their burial, 29.

Elias taken to heaven, 166.

Eliseus, a wonder-worker, 45.

Epiphanius, St, on images, 29, 77.

Eupraxia, St, 51.

Ezechiel, his vision, 46, 128, 162.

Forty martyrs, 38, 40, 117.

Francis de Sales, St, on the Cross, 47.

Gabriel, St, sent to Mary, 157.

Godhead, not to be represented, 5, 8, 9, 14, 15, 62, 67, 98. Gregory of
Nazianzen, St, 122.

Gregory of Nyssa, St, 41.

Holy places, 109; things, 110.

Homer, on the gods, 193.

Idolatry of Israelites, 80.

Idol worship of heathens, 77.

Images, dishonour shown to, 68, 85; worship of, 74, 75, 89; definition
of, 92; kinds, 93, 94, 95, 97, 106, 133; of saints, a fruitful worship,

Invisible things through visible, 11.

Isaias, his vision of God, 100; virgin foretold by, 162.

Jacob, his worship, 9, 13, 131; typical, 27; receiving Joseph’s cloak,
132; ladder of, 161.

Jews, their proneness to idolatry, 8.

Jezabel, punishment of, 70.

Joachim, St, 154.

Jordan, stones of, 20, 97.

Joseph, worshipped by brothers, 14.

Josue, worshipped an angel, 101.

King’s image, value of, 136; kings not legislators in the Church, 52,
69, 76.

Latreia, worship of, 7; given to God alone, 64, 104, 107.

Law, image of the future, 82, 140; observances of, 18; images of, 46,
49, 81, 88; superseded by grace, 73.

Leo of Neapolis, on the Cross, 43.

Matter not despicable, 17, 71, 72; consecrated, 127.

Mary of Egypt, St, praying to Our Lady, 51, 143, 145.

Maximus, St, his testimony, 84.

Methodius, St, on images, 145.

Moses, testimony of, 53, 60, 65; worships Jethor, 134.

Mother of God, 12; images of, 97; worship of, 54, 91; death of, 164,
186; her Assumption, 166, 167, 173, 176; the city of God, 148; her
praises, 150; her birth, 150; her presentation, 156; her grace, 158; her
virginity, 159, 173; a spiritual Eden, 160; her intercession, what, 169;
the new Eden, 174; heaven, 175; her death, painless, 177; eye-witnesses
of, 181; saint of saints, 178; her right to worship of all, 192;
heavenly bridals of, 203; fountain of life, 206.

Our Lord’s human birth, 194.

Persecutors of saints punished, 70.

Peter, St, chief of apostles, 26.

Pharao worshipped by Jacob, 9.

Saints, why honoured, 21, 23, 24; their shadow, 113; our worship of,

Scripture, true interpretation of, 66.

Severianus, on the Cross, 139.

Simon Stylites, St, venerated in Rome, 119.

Sion, what, 179

Solomon and the temple, 22, 45, 129.

Spiritual conceptions through corporeal things, 90.

Tomb of Our Lady, 196, 197, 205, 210; fairer than Eden, 204.

Tradition, ancient, 114; unwritten, 75.

Types, honourable, 142.

Worship, false, 56, 57, 58; kinds of, 104, 105, 106, 108, 111.

    ¹ θεοπάτωρ, not easily rendered in English.

    ² Κaὶ τοῦτον ὥσπερ ἵππον εὐχἀλινον, τῆς ἀετηρίας παρώρμησα.

    ³ άπερίγαπτος, _i.e.,_ not in place.

    ⁴ ἀλλα μην καί ἐπὶ τὸ ἄκρον τῆς ῥάβδου.

    ⁵ Τὴν ἁγιαν παρθένον καί θεοτόκον.

    ⁶ A reference to the question treated by St Thomas after St John
      Damascene: _utrum angelus sit in loco._

    ⁷ δήσας τὸν ίσχυρὸν.

    ⁸ την κορυαίαν ακροτητα τῶν ἀπόστολων.

    ⁹ τα θεια μυστήρια—the Mass.

   ¹⁰ τεττιξ.

   ¹¹ τῃ τοὺ κυρίου πρὸς θείον ἐκπυρσευθέντα ἔρωτα ἀκοῇ.

   ¹² A short passage from St John Chrysostom, which follows, is omitted
      on account of Editor’s note: _locus hic mihi non occurrit apud
      Chrysostomum in Epistolam ad Hebræos._

   ¹³ Compare—

          Ce n’est ni la pierre ni le bois
          Que le catholique adore;
          Mais c’est le Roi qui mort en croix
          De Son Sang la croix honore.

      — Vie de St Frangois de Sales, par M. Hamond.

   ¹⁴ A testimony quoted from Sophronius is here suppressed.

   ¹⁵ See St Augustine, de Civitate Dei: Nemo igitur quærat efficientem
      causam malæ voluntatis; non enim est efficiens, sed deficiens,
      quia nec illa effectio sed defectio (xii. c. vii).

   ¹⁶ βασιλέων ἐστὶν ἡ πολιτικὴ εὐπραζία; ἡ δὲ ἐκκλησιαστικὴ κατάστασις,
      ποιμένων καὶ διδασκαλων. ληστρικὴ ἔοδος ἐστιν αὕτη.

   ¹⁷ γυμνώσατω ἑαυτὸν τοῦ οἰκείου στρατεύματος ὁ επίγειος βασιλεὺς, καὶ
      τότε τὸν ἐαυτου βασιλέα καὶ κύριον. Ἀποθέσθω τὴν ἀλoυργίδα καὶ το
      δίαδημα καὶ τότε τῶν κατὰ τοῦ τυράννου ἀριστευσάντων, καὶ
      βασιλέυσαντων τῶν παθῶν σέβας περιαιρείτω.

   ¹⁸ The first quotations are only repetitions, and are consequently

   ¹⁹ Two slight omissions, viz., St Chrysostom and St Ambrose.

   ²⁰ A repetition up to ι (χ), where the translation begins.

   ²¹ τρεις ὑποστασεις.

   ²² ύσει γαρ νοούμενα.

   ²³ θεορῥήμων.

   ²⁴ θεότητι γὰρ καθ’ ὑπόστασιν ἥνωται, καὶ δύο ύσεις ἐν τῳ
      μεταλαμβανομένῳ ὑ’ ἡμῶν σώματι τοῦ χριστοῦ, ἡνωμεναι καθ’
      ὑπόστασιν εἰσιν ἀδιασπάστως, καὶ τῶν δύο ύσεων μετέχομεν, τοῦ
      σώματος, σωματικῶς, τῆς θεότητος, πνευματικῶς· μᾶλλον δἠ ἀμοῖν
      κατ’ ἄμω· οὐ καθ’ ὑπόστασιν ταυτιζόμενοι· ὑιστάμεθα γὰρ προτον,
      καὶ τότε ἑνούμεθα· ἀλλὰ κατα συνανἀκρασιν τοῦ σώματος καὶ ἅιματος.

   ²⁵ Ἀδελοὶ, ὁ χριστιανὸς, πίστις ἐστίν.

   ²⁶ A few Testimonies have been suppressed as unsuitable or
      irrelevant, viz.:—

         1. St Basil on St Barlaam (in order) 2.
         2. St Gregory of Nyssa. On Isaac and Abraham (5) _Repetition._
         3. Severianus on the Cross (7) _Repetition._
         4. From Life of St Chrysostom (8) _Repetition._
         5. Eusebius on the Woman with an Issue of Blood (22).
         6. Eusebius on Constantine (23).
         7. St Gregory Nazianzen, from his Discourse to Julian the
            Apostle (2 lines) (24).
         8. St Chrysostom, Commentary on Job (25).
         9. St Chrysostom on Constantine, four quotations (26).
        10. Theodoret of Syrus on Ezechiel (27).
        11. From the Acts of St Placid (28).
        12. Ecclesiastical History of Theodoret (35).
        13. St Athanasius of Mount Sinai (36).
        14. Arcadius, Abp. of Cyprus, on Simeon the Wonderworker (37).
        15. St Chrysostom, Homily (38).
        16. Theodoret, Ecclesiastical History: six short quotations
        17. St Chrysostom on St Flavian and Homily (40).
        18. St Basil on Forty Martyrs, _Repetition_ (41).
        19. St Gregory Nazianzen, ex Carminibus (42).
        20. St Chrysostom, Commentary on St Paul (43).
        21. From the Sixth General Council (44).
        22. St Clement, Stromata (45).
        23. St Theodore, Bishop of Pentapolis (46).
        24. St Basil to St Flavian (51).
        25. St Gregory Nazianzen on Baptism (52).
        26. St Isidore the Deacon, Chronography (57).
        27. From the Fifth General Council (62).
        28. Theodore, Ecclesiastical History (63).
        29. Abbot Maximus. _Repetition_ (64).
        30. St Sophronius, Acts of SS. Cyrus and John (65).
        31. From the Life of St Eupraxia (69).
        32. On the Fifth General Council (70).

   ²⁷ θεωιλει προπάτορι.

   ²⁸ οὐχὶ καὶ τα άναθήματα τῶν ἁγίων ἐπ’ ἐκκλησίαις κείμενα εἰς
      προσκύνησιν των πιστῶν, δηλοῦσι τὴν λώβην του σώματος.

   ²⁹ τα γὰρ τῶν χριστιανῶν πιστίς ἐστὶ, καὶ ὁ ἀψευδὴς ἡμων θεὸς ἐνεργεῖ
      τας δυνάμεις.

   ³⁰ θεοπάτωρ.

   ³¹ θεῖος.

   ³² ἀπεριγράπτως.

   ³³ ἐκάθηρε τε καὶ ἡγίασε.

   ³⁴ ἀπεριγάπτως κατώκησας.

   ³⁵ ὄντως γᾶρ τὸ ἀπρόσληπτον ἀθεράπευτον.

   ³⁶ … τῃ παναγίᾳ ταύτῃ καί θειοτάτῃ.

   ³⁷ Τῳ γὰρ θεῳ λόγῳ ἐν τῇ γαστρί σου σκηνώσαντι ἀνθρωπεία ύσις τὸν
      ἐγκρυίαν ἄρτον, την ἑαυτῆς ἀπαρχην ἐκ τῶν σῶν ἁγνῶν αἱμάτων
      προσήγαγεν, ὀπτωμένην πῶς καὶ ἀρτοποιουμενην ὑπο τοῦ θείου πυρὸς,

   ³⁸ οὕτω καὶ ἡμεῖς ἐν χειμῶνι τῶν ἐπῶν τὰ ἄνθη τῃ βασιλίδι
      προσάγοντες, καὶ γεγηρακότα λόγον πρὸς τοὺς ἀγῶνας τῶν ἐγκωμίων
      ὁπλίζοντες, καὶ τὸν πόθον τῳ νῳ λίθον οἱα σιδήρῳ προστρίψαντες, ἢ
      ὡς βόρθρην ἄωρον ἐκθλίψαντες, τὴν μυθοτόκον διάνοιαν, ἄμυδρόν τινα
      σπινθῆρα καὶ τρυγα λόγου τοῖς ιλολόγοις ὑμῖν καὶ ιλακροάμοσι
      νέμοντες, μᾶλλον καὶ μαλλον ἀποδειχθείημεν.

   ³⁹ θεοπάτωρ.

   ⁴⁰ ὄντως μακαρία σὺ, παμμακάριστε. Τίς γάρ, εἰ μήγε ὁ λόγος ῃ
      προσενηνεκται τοῦτο πάσχων, ὂ πράττειν ύπείληπται.

   ⁴¹ χερσί θείαις καὶ άκηράτοις. Obscure when applied to our Lord.

   ⁴² ὁ καιρὸς τῆς τομῆς ἔθασε.

   ⁴³ καὶ ἠν ἰδεῖν ίδρῶτας καὶ δάκρυα τοῖσ χέυμασιν ἁμιλλώμενα.

   ⁴⁴ yevvᾳ yὰρ πῶς ἐκ συνδυασμοῦ τὸ ἀσώματον; καὶ τίνα τρόπον

   ⁴⁵ The supposed answer of the tomb.

   ⁴⁶ An unauthentic paragraph omitted.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "St John Damascene on Holy Images (πρὸς τοὺς διαβάλλοντας τᾶς ἁγίας εἰκόνας). Followed by Three Sermons on the Assumption (κοίμησις)" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.