Gleanings from Orthodox Christian Authors and the Holy Fathers

psalter

3 Entries

For I believe that the whole of human existence, both the dispositions of the soul and the movements of the thoughts, have been measured out and encompassed in those very words of the Psalter. And nothing beyond these is found among men. For whether there was necessity of repentance or confession, or tribulation and trial befell us, or someone was persecuted, or, being plotted against, he was protected, ... or he wants to sing praises and give thanks to the Lord - for any such eventuality he has instruction in the divine Psalms. St. Athanasius the Great, The Letter to Marcellinus



Now, my son, it is necessary for each of the readers of that book [the Psalter] to read it in its entirety, for truly the things in it are divinely inspired, but then to take benefit from these, as from the fruits of a garden on which he may cast his gaze when the need arises. For I believe that the whole of human existence, both the dispositions of the soul and the movements of the thoughts, have been measured out and encompassed in those very words of the Psalter. And nothing beyond these is found among men. For whether there was necessity of repentance or confession, or tribulation and trial befell us, or someone was persecuted, or, being plotted against, he was protected, of if, moreover, someone has become deeply sorrowful and disturbed and he suffers something of the sort that is described in the things just mentioned, and he either attends to himself as one who is advancing, being set free from his foe, or he wants to sing praises and give thanks to the Lord -- for any such eventuality he has instruction in the divine Psalms. St. Athanasius the Great, Letter to Marcellinus

A Psalm is the tranquility of souls, the arbitrator of peace, restraining the disorder and turbulence of thoughts, for it softens the passion of the soul and moderates its unruliness. A Psalm forms friendships, unites the divided, mediates between enemies. For who can still consider him an enemy with whom he has set forth one voice to God? So that the singing of Psalms brings love, the greatest of good things, contriving harmony like some bond of union and uniting the people in the symphony of a single choir." St. Basil the Great, in Strunk, W. Oliver (William Oliver), 1901- comp.: Source readings in music history from classical antiquity through the romantic era. New York, Norton [1950]





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