Friday, October 17, 2008

Excerpt I from Christology by St. Nektarios of Pentapolis


The Fathers of the Monastery of St. Nektarios in New York have begun the awesome task of translating some of the works of St. Nektarios. St. Nektarios is known throughout the world as a Great Saint and Wonderworker, yet his prowess as a Theologian is often overlooked. This excerpt is from their second translated book, and comes highly recommended:

CHRISTOLOGY by St. Nektarios, Bishop of Pentapolis. Translated [and published] by the Fathers of the Holy Monastery of Saint Nektarios, NY. 2006.

The book can be purchased from the Monastery itself, or online from St. Anthony's Monastery, AZ:

Icon of Christ "Angel of Great Counsel", Icon courtesy of used with permission

Excerpt from Chapter 4. God Revealed the Coming of the Redeemer.

"Clement of Alexandria spoke in accordance not only concerning the prophets, but also the Greek philosophers themselves, such as Socrates, Plato, and others. Similarly, Origen acknowledges various degrees of divine inspiration even amongst the Gentiles. But why should we supposedly deny divine inspiration for the Gentiles? Does God show favoritism? Is He the Father of the Judaic nation only? Or would not the future Redeemer of mankind also be a Redeemer for all mankind? Or is God only for the Jews and not for the Gentiles? Why then should He abandon the nations to disbelief and despair? Why should he not likewise prepare them also to receive the future Savior and Redeemer, especially since He knew through His omniscience that the nations would glorify Him, worship Him, and believe in Him? Therefore, the nations received the gift of divine inspiration, and men among the Gentiles, who were godly inspired, foretold the arrival of a Redeemer and Savior of the world.

Tacitus, a Roman historian, attests that all the nations looked to Judea as an axis of their common hope, from where the awaited king was ready to appear: 'Everyone in general was convinced about the belief of ancient prophecies that the East was about to overpower; and, that not long afterwards, they would see those who were about to rule the world coming from Judea.'

According to Souidan and Nikifore Kallistos' Ecclesiastical History, when Augustus traveled to Delphi to inquire of the oracle regarding the identity of his successor, he received the following response"

'A Jewish child, who is king of the blessed gods
commands me
To leave from this temple and to return to Hades again.
Therefore, depart silently from our altars.'

Our Lord Jesus Christ was born during the reign of this Augustus; and our Church chants along with the Gospel according to Luke: 'When Augustus reigned alone upon the earth, the many kingdoms of men came to end: and when Thou wast made man of the pure Virgin, the many gods of idolatry were destroyed.' Such oracles referring to the expectation of the nations are numerous." [there are many other such examples given in the book, but I only include a few as examples] (St. Nektarios pgs. 36-67)

Note: I did not include any of the footnotes included by the Fathers of St. Nektarios Monastery, (see the book for full references, contexts, etc.) except for the following one which was also quite inspiring:

"In response to a philosopher's claim that the Crucified One is not mentioned by any of the ancient teachers, St. Catherine the Great Martyr answered: "Yet to affirm the truth that the ancients did speak of Him, let us hear what the erudite writer Sibyl says about His divine Incarnation and salvific Crucifixion: 'One appeared and walked upon this banished earth Who became flesh without sin and dissolved the incurable passions without toil by His divinity. Envied by an unbelieving people, He was also condemned to death and suspended.' Hear the unfeigned words of Apollo who, against his own will, confessed the passionless God, constrained by His almighty power: 'The One Who suffered is a heavenly Trinal Radiance. He that suffered is God, though the divinity was passionless. At the same time, He had a mortal body, yet was immortal. He is God and man. He bore mortality, the Cross, mockings, and burial...' and so forth. Thus, Apollo admitted that Christ is the true God and co-eternal with unoriginate Father, Who is the origin, source, and foundation of all good things" (The Lives of the Holy Women Martyrs, Buena Vista: Holy Apostles Convent, 1991, pg. 506)" (St. Nektarios pg. 37)

Icon of St. Nektarios of Pentapolis, Icon courtesy of used with permission
Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us! Amen!

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