Transcripts

A Word from the Holy Fathers

A Word from the Holy Fathers

Creation and Sacrifice in St. Symeon the New Theologian

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Fr Dcn Matthew explores the homilies of St Symeon on man and creation, and in particular the way in which the Christian response to ecological concerns resides in the theology of sacrifice and the participation in divine Communion - including brief remarks from a recent talk by Metropolitan Kallistos of Diokleia.

Here in the northern English county of West Yorkshire, the signs of autumn are definitely showing: leaves crunch underfoot alongside this stream near the small village of Esholt at the outskirts of Leeds. And this season, this time of year, always calls to mind the created order in which we live, as it now becomes so visible in its cycles of death and rebirth that mark out the seasons. It is a time of year that causes us to become more conscious, more aware of the…

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A Word from the Holy Fathers

St. Cyprian on Cain, Abel, and True Self-Sacrifice

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What are we to make of the Genesis account of Cain and Abel? In this broadcast, Archimandrite Irenei examines a portion of St Cyprian of Carthage’s treatise on the Lord’s prayer that shows forth Abel as the first martyr, the example of true self-sacrifice. And it is a lesson with a practical aim: the quenching of anger and hatred, and the discovery of a life offered more wholly to God.

I would like to speak today on what is a firm word and yet an important word from our Father among the saints, Cyprian of Carthage, writing from the third century in Africa. In a passage dedicated to the Lord’s prayer, a tract dedicated to the Lord’s prayer, St. Cyprian speaks about the need to forgive, and how this is tied into the need to love, two things that we’ve recently traced out in these broadcasts. However, it’s an interesting passage…

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A Word from the Holy Fathers

Defeating the Slavery of “Bad Habits”

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Among the greatest struggles in the Christian life are the "little things"—the day-to-day "bad habits" by which we continually fall, and which seem to trap us in our sin. Is there a way out? In this week’s episode, Archimandrite Irenei examines the Fathers on sin as habits, how these habits enslave us—and most importantly, how we can overcome our shackles and progress toward the Kingdom.

Today, a few brief words from our Fathers among the saints on the subject of habits, specifically bad habits and the slavery that they impose upon us, and by looking at this slavery of habits, of habituation, to see also what the Fathers have to say about how to overcome them. Every Christian person struggles constantly with the fact that, despite the desire, often very sincere, to live a godly life, to live in a holy way, we find ourselves constantly repeating patterns…

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A Word from the Holy Fathers

Abba Poemen the Great: On Softening the Hardest of Hearts

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In this week’s broadcast, Archimandrite Irenei examines three sayings by Abba Poemen ("The Shepherd") of Egypt on the means by which the hardest heart can be softened by the Lord.

I should like this week to offer up a few sayings, three sayings, from our father among the saints, Poemen the Great, Abba Poemen of the desert. Last week, we looked at a few of the words of St. John the Dwarf of Egypt, and we carry on this theme of the desert fathers today with the words of St. Poemen, one of the greatest elders of the Christian desert, and one for whom we have a great multitude of sayings recorded in the collection of the Sayings of the Desert Fathers,…

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A Word from the Holy Fathers

St. John Chrysostom on the Charity of Fasting

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In this week’s broadcast, Archimandrite Irenei offers a reflection on a selection of sayings of St John Chrysostom on the pastoral nature of fasting as an act of charity. In what sense does our fast minister to our neighbor?

Brothers and sisters, today a few brief words on fasting from our holy father among the saints, John Chrysostom. These are timely topics to be addressing today: fasting and asceticism. As in the new week, or in fact, later this week, those who follow the old calendar of the Orthodox Church will begin the fast leading to the Nativity of Christ. And for those who follow the new calendar, this fast is already underway. So, whichever calendar one follows by the blessing…

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A Word from the Holy Fathers

From the Bone of Adam: St. Irenaeus on the Creation of Eve

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The Genesis account of Eve being created from the rib of Adam has, throughout history, often been interpreted in negative ways. In this week's broadcast, through a brief text by St Irenaeus of Lyons, Fr. Dcn. Matthew examines a patristic vision of this creation grounding the true intimacy and mutual responsibility of the human community, male and female as "helpers" of one another in the work of salvation.

I would like today to offer a brief word from the writings of our father among the saints, Irenaeus of Lyons, a father that I mentioned in the very first of our broadcasts in this series, nearly forty episodes ago. Today I would like to look specifically at St. Irenaeus’ words, not on the fashioning of man, but particularly the fashioning of woman, and the very nature of God creating a world in which man and woman comprise the human race.

The quotation…

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A Word from the Holy Fathers

“God Is There, Where the Understanding Does Not Reach”

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In this episode, Archimandrite Irenei returns to the Life of Moses by St Gregory of Nyssa, and examines a key passage in which the Saint compares the ascent of spiritual life to Moses’s ascent of Mt. Sinai. What does it mean to ascend into "darkness," to converse with God "where the understanding does not reach"? And how does Moses’s example reveal the way in which all the Fathers and Saints draw the whole Christian family into deeper communion with God?

Not so many weeks ago, we focused in these broadcasts on a passage from The Life of Moses by our Father among the Saints, Gregory of Nyssa.

For those who were listening, you may remember we looked at his text from the second part of that tract on emulating the fortuitous birth of Moses, himself, and how St. Gregory was able to describe Moses’ birth as a thing we are to echo through our choices—the giving birth that happens to our new selves…

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A Word from the Holy Fathers

The “Wonderful and Confessedly Striking” Christian Manner of Life

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Examining a passage from the anonymous second-century Epistle to Diognetus, Archimandrite Irenei explores the witness borne by the early Christian community and asks: does it reflect our Christian testimony today?

For our reflection this week I would like to offer up for your consideration a passage from an anonymous letter dating to the early second century or just possibly, the late first. It is a passage that has become well known in its own right on account of its singular beauty and the power of its testimony. The author of the text is unknown though often he is given the name Mathetes this, in fact, simply means “disciple” or “student,”…

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A Word from the Holy Fathers

St. John of Sinai on Sorrow that Produces Joy

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In this week’s broadcast, Archimandrite Irenei examines several sections from St John’s Ladder to Paradise, read throughout Great Lent and particularly remembered in this Fifth Week, dealing especially with the paradoxes of spiritual life and the mystery of a "joy-creating sorrow."

What is this mystery in me? What is the meaning of this blending of body and soul? How am I constituted a friend and a foe to myself? Tell me, tell me, my yoke-fellow, my nature, for I shall not ask anyone else in order to learn about you. How am I to remain unwounded by you? How can I avoid the danger of my nature for I have already made a vow to Christ to wage war against you? How am I to overcome your tyranny for I am resolved to be your master?


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A Word from the Holy Fathers

Rising in Repentance

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This week, Fr Matthew explores two passages - one by St John of Karpathos, and the other by St Ambrose of Milan - on the nature of the continual falling down and rising up of repentance, examining the question: how is the Christian person to respond to continual failings in his attempts to live a holy life?

In this season of the Great Fast, it is good for us to seek out those Fathers whose writings stir the heart to true and genuine repentance, which is the very focus of our work and mission during this preparation for Holy Pascha. In this light, I would like to offer in this broadcast two passages on genuine repentance: one of St. John of Karpathos, writing in perhaps the seventh century, and the other from St. Ambrose of Milan, writing from Christian Africa in the…

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