Gleanings from Orthodox Christian Authors and the Holy Fathers

atonement

7 Entries

...we were enemies of God through sin, and God had appointed the sinner to die. There must needs therefore have happened one of two things; either that God, in His truth, should destroy all men, or that in His loving-kindness He should cancel the sentence. But behold the wisdom of God; He preserved both the truth of His sentence, and the exercise of His loving-kindness. Christ took our sins 'in His body on the tree, that we by His death might die to sin, and live unto righteousness' (I Pet. 2:24). St. Cyril of Jerusalem (Catechetical Lectures:Lecture 13 no. 33)



Adam received the sentence, 'Cursed is the ground in your labors; thorns and thistles shall it bring forth to you' (Gen. 3:17,18). For this cause Jesus assumes the thorns, that He may cancel the sentence; for this cause also was He buried in the earth, that the earth which had been cursed might receive the blessing instead of a curse. St. Cyril of Jerusalem (Catechetical Lectures: Lecture 13 no.18)

For by the sacrifice of His own body, He both put an end to the law which was against us, and made a new beginning of life for us, by the hope of resurrection which He has given us. For since from man it was that death prevailed over men, for this cause conversely, by the Word of God being made man has come about the destruction of death and the resurrection of life; as the man which bore Christ saith: For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive: and so forth. Fort no longer now do we die as subject to condemnation; but as men who rise from the dead we await the general resurrection of all, `which in its own times He shall show,' even God, Who has also wrought it, and bestowed it upon us. St. Athanasius of Alexandria, On the Incarnation

For what principle did the Blood of His Only-Begotten Son delight the Father, Who would not receive even Isaac, when he was being offered by his father, but changed the sacrifice, putting a ram in the place of the human victim? Is it not evident that the Father accepts Him, but neither asked for Him nor demanded Him; but on account of the Incarnation, and because humanity must be sanctified by the Humanity of God, that He might deliver us Himself, and overcome the tyrant, and draw us to Himself by the mediation of His Son, Who also arranged this to the honor of the Father, Whom it is manifest that He obeys in all things? So much we have said of Christ; the greatest part of what we might say shall be reverenced with silence. St. Gregory the Theologian, Second Oration on Pascha

He [Christ] stretched out His hands on the Cross, that He might embrace the ends of the world; for this Golgotha is the very center of the earth. It is not my word, but it is a prophet who has said, 'You have wrought salvation in the midst of the earth' (Ps. 74:12). He stretched forth human hands, who by His spiritual hands had established the heaven; and they were fastened with nails, that His manhood, which bore the sins of men, having been nailed to the tree, and having died, sin might die with it, and we might rise again in righteousness. 'For since by one man came death, by One Man came also life' (Rom. 5:12,17); by One Man, the Saviour, dying of His own accord: for remember what He said, 'I have power to lay down My life, and I have power to take it again' (John 10:18). St. Cyril of Jerusalem (Catechetical Lectures: Lecture 13 no.28)

Many indeed are the wondrous happenings of that time: God hanging from a Cross, the sun made dark, and again flaming out; for it was fitting that creation should mourn with its Creator. The Temple veil rent, blood and water flowing from His side: the one as from a man, the other as from What was above man; the earth was shaken, the rocks shattered because of the Rock; the dead risen to bear witness of the final and universal resurrection of the dead. The happenings at the Sepulchre, and after the Sepulchre, who can fittingly recount them? Yet not one of them can be compared to the miracle of my salvation. A few drops of Blood renew the whole world, and do for all men what the rennet does for milk: joining us and binding us together. St. Gregory the Theologian

On this Great Day, Christ is called from among the dead which he had emulated. On this day he repelled death’s sting, laid low the gloomy confines of hell, and granted freedom to the souls. On this day, risen from the tomb, He appeared to people for whom he had been born, had died, and been awakened from the dead, so that we, having been reborn and escaped death, might be resurrected with Him, the Resurrected One. On this bright glorious and great day, the angelic hosts, filled with joy, sing a song of victory. Holy Hierarch Gregory the Theologian





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