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The Circumcision of Christ


The Circumcision of Christ

[January 1]

ALMIGHTY God, who madest thy blessed Son to be circumcised, and obedient to the law for man; Grant us the true circumcision of the Spirit; that, our hearts, and all our members, being mortified from all worldly and carnal lusts, we may in all things obey thy blessed will; through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Source: Sacramentary of Bishop Gregory of Rome [ca 600AD]. Circumcision was required eight days after birth. Some now call this day "The Holy Name". New Year's Day is of pagan origin.  It is based on Romans ii. 29, Collosians iii. 5, and Titus ii. 12

Philippians ii. 9. St. Luke ii. 15

For the Homily this Holy Day2007, I commend  
by Dr. Toon of the Prayer Book Society

Other Homilies

"his name was called JESUS"



First Sunday after Christmas

  Announcements for the First Sunday after Christmas
Bidding from a member of the Order to all
I urgently request the prayers of our members for our troops in harms way in Iraq, Afghanistan and in the other countries of the globe.

The First Sunday after Christmas

ALMIGHTY God, who hast given us thy only-begotten Son to take our nature upon him, and as at this time to be born of a pure virgin; Grant that we being regenerate, and made thy children by adoption and grace, may daily be renewed by thy Holy Spirit; through the same our Lord Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the same Spirit ever, one God, world without end. Amen.

Source: Archbishop Cranmer [1549]. This is the same collect as is appointed for Christmas Day

Homily of Augustine Below on the Nativity
Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife:
for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost

                                                 For the Homily

Sermon On the Nativity

by St. Augustine

(1) Hear, O sons of light, who have been received by adoption into the kingdom of God; hear, my very dear brethren; hear and be glad in the Lord, ye just ones, so that praise may become the upright.[1] Hear what you already know; reflect upon what you have heard; love what you believe; proclaim what you love. Since we are celebrating a great anniversary on this day, you may expect a sermon in keeping with the feast. Christ as God was born of His Father, as Man of His Mother; of the immortality of His Father, of the virginity of His Mother; of His Father without a mother, of His Mother without a father; of His Father without limits of time, of His Mother without seed; of His Father as the source of life, of His Mother as the end of death; of His Father ordering all days, of His Mother consecrating this particular day.[2]

(2) God sent John to earth as His human Precursor so that he was born when the days were becoming shorter while the Lord Himself was born when the days were growing longer, that in this minute detail the subsequent words of this same John might be prefigured: 'He must increase, but I must decrease.'[3] For human life ought to grow weaker in itself and stronger in Christ, that 'they who are alive may live no longer for themselves, but for him who died for all and rose again,' and that each one of us may say in the words of the Apostle: 'It is now no longer I that live, but Christ lives in me.'[4] For 'he must increase, but I must decrease.'

All His angels worthily praise Him, for He is their everlasting food, nourishing them with an incorruptible feast. He is the Word of God, by whose life they live, by whose eternity they live forever, by whose goodness they live happily forever. They praise Him worthily, as God with God, and they render glory to God on high. May we, 'his people and the sheep of his hand,'[5] reconciled to Him by our good will, merit peace in consideration of the limited measure of our weakness. For these words to which the angels themselves gave utterance in jubilation at the birth of our Saviour are their daily tribute: 'Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men of good will.'[6] Therefore, they praise Him duly: let us praise Him in obedience. They are His messengers; we, His sheep. He filled their table in heaven; He filled our manger on earth. He is the fullness of their table because 'in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God; and the Word was God.' He is the fullness of our manger because 'the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us.'[7] so that man might eat the Bread of angels the Creator of the angels became man. The angels praise Him by living; we, by believing; they by enjoying, we by seeking; they by obtaining, we by striving to obtain; they by entering, we by knocking.

(3) What human being could know all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge hidden in Christ and concealed under the poverty of His humanity? For, 'being rich, he became poor for our sake that by his poverty we might become rich.'[8] When He assumed our mortality and overcame death, He manifested Himself in poverty, but He promised riches though they might be deferred; He did not lose them as if they were taken from Him. How great is the multitude of His sweetness which He hides from those who fear Him but which He reveals to those that hope in Him![9] For we understand only in part until that which is perfect comes to us. To make us worthy of this perfect gift, He, equal to the Father in the form of God, became like to us in the form of a servant, and refashions us into the likeness of God. The only Son of God, having become the Son of Man, makes many sons of men the sons of God; and on these men, reared as servants, with the visible form of servants, He bestows the freedom of beholding the form of God. For 'we are the children of God, and it has not yet appeared what we shall be. We know that, when he appears, we shall be like to him, for we shall see him just as he is.'[l0] What, then, are those treasures of wisdom and knowledge? What are those divine riches unless they be that which satisfies our longing? And what is that multitude of sweetness unless it be what fills us? 'Show us the Father and it is enough for us.'[11] Furthermore, in one of the psalms, one of our race, either in our name or for our sake, said to Him: 'I shall be satisfied when thy glory shall appear.'[l2] But He and the Father are one, and the person who sees Him sees the Father also;[l3] therefore, 'the Lord of hosts, he is the King of Glory.'[l4] Turning to us, He will show us His face and 'we shall be saved';[15] we shall be satisfied, and He will be sufficient for us.

(4) Therefore, let our heart speak thus to Him; 'I have sought thy countenance; thy face, O Lord, will I still seek. Turn not away thy face from me.'[l6] And let Him reply to the plea of our hearts: 'He who loves me keeps my commandments; and he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.'[17] Indeed, those to whom He addressed these words did see Him with their eyes; they heard the sound of His voice with their ears; they regarded Him as a man in their human heart. But, what eye has not seen, what ear has not heard, and what has not entered into the heart of man He promised to show to those who love Him.[l8] Until this favor is granted to us, until He shows us what will completely satisfy us, until we drink to satiety of that fountain of life, while we wander about, apart from Him but strong in faith, while we hunger and thirst for justice, longing with an unspeakable desire for the beautiful vision of God, let us celebrate with fervent devotion His birthday in the form of a servant. Since we cannot, as yet, understand that He was begotten by the Father before the day- star, let us celebrate His birth of the Virgin in the nocturnal hours. Since we do not comprehend how His name existed before the light of the sun, let us recognize His tabernacle placed in the sun. Since we do not, as yet, gaze upon the Son inseparably united with His Father, let us remember Him as the 'bridegroom coming out of his bride-chamber.' Since we are not yet ready for the banquet of our Father, let us grow familiar with the manger of our Lord Jesus Christ.

[1] Cf. Ps. 32.1.
[2] The Louvain manuscript adds a lengthy passage here which, though pertinent in content, is Augustinian neither in vocabulary nor in style. Cassian, in De Incarnatione 7, assigns the passage, with apparent justification, to St. Ambrose or to one of the Ambrosian School. However, the unusual brevity of this first section and the abruptness of the transition to the second seem to indicate some sort of lacuna.
[3] John 3.30.
[4] Cf. 2 Cor. 5.15; Gal. 2.20.
[5] Cf. Ps. 94.7.
[6] Luke 2.14.
[7] John 1.1,14.
[8] Cf. 2 Cor. 8.9.
[9] Cf. Ps. 30.20.
[10] I John 3.2.
[11] John 14.8.
[12] Ps. 16.15 .
[13] Cf. John 10.30; 14.9.
[14] Ps. 23.10.
[15] Cf. Ps. 79.4.
[16] Cf. Ps. 26.8-10.
[17] Cf. John 14.21.
[18] Cf. 1 Cor. 2.9.




yahoo test  selected centurions

"Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another" [St. Paul's Epistle to the Romans 14:19]



The Nativity of our Lord

Greetings Centurions
On behalf of the Legion's Headquarters, I send greetings to all on this Holy Eve. I pray each of you will be able to celebrate the birth of our Lord in a most solemn way this season amongst friends and family. Here in Kentucky, we will soon join friends for midnight Communion, for "Christ's Mass" and hear again the wonderful story of the Nativity and the Holy Family.
For any who do not have a place of worship for this evening or in the morning, I commend the following propers suitable for the Eve of the Nativity or Christmas Day. The homily of Cyril of Alexandria is printed below, and there are links to several Christmas homilies of Leo of Rome at the end of Cyril's' homily.
May God richly bless you this Christmastide. We remember the tradition that Christmas runs for 12 days, from the 25th of December until the 5th of January, and the observance of the Vigil of the Epiphany. Our season marks on the old calendar the Winter Solstice... when the days began to lengthen by the measure of the sun on the horizon, signaling the coming of light into the world, and now for us, representing the Light of Christ, who came to be "A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel."
 May your 12 days of celebration be an joyful occasion for feasting and peace amongst friends and family.

The Eve of the Nativity of our Lord
or the Birthday of Christ, commonly called Christmas Day
[December 24]
If in any Church the Holy Communion be twice celebrated on Christmas Day, the following Collect, Epistle, and Gospel may be used at the first Communion. [Appropriate for Christmas Eve]

GOD, who makest us glad with the yearly remembrance of the birth of thine only Son Jesus Christ; Grant that as we joyfully receive him for our Redeemer, so we may with sure confidence behold him when he shall come to be our Judge, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, world without end. Amen.

Hebrews i. 1   &  St. Luke ii. 1

Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem to be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child

Sermon by St. Cyril of Alexandria [ca. 430]

Christ, therefore, was born in Bethlehem at the time when Augustus Caesar gave orders that the first enrollment should be made. But what necessity was there, some one may perhaps say, for the very wise Evangelist to make special mention of this? Yes, I answer: it was both useful and necessary for him to mark the period when our Savior was born; for it was said by the voice of the Patriarch: The head shall not depart from Judah, nor a governor from his thighs until He come, for Whom it is laid up: and He is the expectation of the Gentiles. [Gen. 49:10] That we might learn that the Israelites then had no king of the tribe of David, and that their own native governors had failed, with good reason he mentions the decrees of Caesar, as now having Judea and the rest of the nations beneath his scepter, for it was as their ruler that he commanded the census to be made.

Because he was of the house and lineage of David. [Luke 2:4] The book of the sacred Gospels referring the genealogy to Joseph, who was descended from David's house, has proved through him that the Virgin also was of the same tribe as David, inasmuch as the Divine law commanded that marriages should be confined to those of the same tribe; and the interpreter of the heavenly doctrines, the great apostle Paul, clearly declares the truth, bearing witness that the Lord arose out of Juda. [Heb. 7:14] The natures, however, which combined unto this union were different, but from the two together is one God the Son, without the diversity of the natures being destroyed by the union. For a union of two natures was made, and therefore we confess One Christ, One Son, One Lord. And it is with reference to this notion of a union without confusion that we proclaim the holy Virgin to be the mother of God, because God the Word was made flesh and became man, and by the act of conception united to Himself the temple that He received from her. For we perceive that two natures, by an inseparable union, met together in Him without confusion, and indivisibly. For the flesh is flesh, and not deity, even though it became the flesh of God; and in like manner also the Word is God, and not flesh, though for the dispensation's sake He made the flesh His own. But although the natures which concurred in forming the union are both different and unequal to one another, yet He Who is formed from them both is only One; nor may we separate the One Lord Jesus Christ into man severally and God severally, but we affirm that Christ Jesus is One and the Same, acknowledging the distinction of the natures, and preserving them free from confusion with one another.

With Mary, his espoused wife, being great with child.[ Luke 2:5] The sacred Evangelist says that Mary was betrothed to Joseph, to show that the conception had taken place upon her betrothal solely, and that the birth of the Emmanuel was miraculous, and not in accordance with the laws of nature. For the holy Virgin did not bear from the immission of man's seed. And what, therefore, was the reason for this? Christ, Who is the first-fruits of all, the second Adam according to the Scriptures, was born of the Spirit, that he might transmit the grace (of the spiritual birth) to us also; for we too were intended no longer to bear the name of sons of men, but of God rather, having obtained the new birth of the Spirit in Christ first, that he might be foremost among all [Col. 1:15], as the most wise Paul declares.

And the occasion of the census most opportunely caused the holy Virgin to go to Bethlehem, that we might see another prophecy fulfilled. For it is written, as we have already mentioned, And thou Bethlehem, house of Ephratah, art very small to be among the thousands of Judah: from thee shall come forth for me to be Ruler in Israel! [Micah 5:2]

But in answer to those who argue that, if He were brought forth in the flesh, the Virgin was corrupted; and if she were not corrupted, that He was brought forth only in appearance, we say, the prophet declares, the Lord, the God of Israel, hath entered in and gone out, and the gate remaineth closed. [Ezekiel 44:2] If, moreover, the Word was made flesh without sexual intercourse, being conceived altogether without seed, then He was born without injury to her virginity.

(And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.) And she brought forth her firstborn Son, (and wrapped him in swaddling clothes.) [Luke 2:7-8]

In what sense then her firstborn? By firstborn she here means, not the first among several brethren, but one who was both her first and only son; for some such sense as this exists among the significations of 'first-born.' For sometimes also the Scripture calls that the first which is the only one; as I am God, the First, and with Me there is no others. [Isaiah 44:6] To show then that the Virgin did not bring forth a mere man, there is added the word firstborn; for as she continued to be a virgin, she had no other son but Him Who is of the Father; concerning Whom God the Father also proclaims by the voice of David, And I will set Him Firstborn high among the kings of the earth. [Psalm 88(89):27] Of Him also the all-wise Paul makes mention, saying But when He brought the First-Begotten into the world, He saith, And let all the angels of God worship Him. [Heb. 1:6] How then did He enter into the world? For He is separate from it, not so much in respect of place as of nature; for it is in nature that He differs from the inhabitants of the world; but He entered into it by being made man, and becoming a portion of it by the incarnation. For though He is the Only-begotten as regards His divinity, yet as having become our brother, He has also the name of the Firstborn; that, being made the first-fruits as it were of the adoption of men, He might make us also the sons of God.

Consider, therefore, that He is called the Firstborn in respect of the economy; for with respect to His divinity He is the Only-begotten. Again, He is the Only-begotten in respect of His being the Word of the Father, having no brethren by nature, nor being co-ordinate with any being; for the Son of God, consubstantial with the Father, is One and Alone; but He becomes the Firstborn by descending to the level of created things. When, therefore, He is called the Only-begotten, He is so with no cause assigned by reason of which He is the Only-begotten, being the Only-begotten God into the bosom of the Father [John 1:18]; but when the divine Scriptures call Him Firstborn, they immediately also add of whom He is the first-born, and assign the cause of His bearing this title; for they say, Firstborn among many brethren [Rom. 8:29]; and Firstborn from the dead [Col. 1:18]; the one, because He was made like unto us in all things except sin; and the other, because He first raised up His own flesh unto incorruption. Moreover, He has ever been the Only-begotten by nature, as being the Sole begotten of the Father, God of God, and Sole of Sole, having shone forth God of God, and Light of Light; but He is the Firstborn for our sakes, that by His being called the Firstborn of things created, whatever resembles Him may be saved through Him; for if He must of necessity be the Firstborn, assuredly those must also continue to exist of whom He is the Firstborn. But if, as Ennamios argues, He is called God's Firstborn, as born the first of many; and He is also the Virgin's Firstborn; then as regards her also, He must be the first as preceding another child; but if He is called Mary's Firstborn, as her only child, and not as preceding others, then is He also God's Firstborn, not as the first of many, but as the Only One born.

Moreover, if the first are confessedly the cause of the second, but God and the Son of God are first, then the Son is the cause of those who have the name of sons, inasmuch as it is through Him that they have obtained the appellation. He, therefore, who is the cause of the second sons may justly be called the Firstborn, not as being the first of them, but as the first cause of their receiving the title of sonship. And just as the Father being called the first- for I, He saith, am the first, and I am after these things [Isaiah 41:4] -assuredly will not compel us to regard Him as similar in nature to those that are after Him; so also, though the Son be called the first of creation, or the Firstborn before all creation, it by no means follows that He is one of the things made; but just as the Father said I am the first, to show that He is the origin of all things, in the same sense the Son also is called the first of creation. For all things were made by Him [John 1:3]. As the Creator and Maker of the world, He is the beginning of all created things.

And she laid him in the manger [because there was no room for them in the inn.] [Luke 2:7]

He found man reduced to the level of the beasts; therefore is He placed like fodder in a manger, that we, having left off our bestial life, might mount up to that degree of intelligence which befits man's nature; and whereas we were brutish in soul, by now approaching the manger, even His own table, we find no longer fodder, but the bread from heaven, which is the body of life.

Translated by R. Payne Smith, 1859

Christmas Sermons of Pope Leo the First [ca 450] I, II, III, IV, VI, VII & VIII

And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them



"Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another" [St. Paul's Epistle to the Romans 14:19]


The Fourth Sunday of Advent

Calendar for this week
O LORD, raise up, we pray thee, thy power, and come among us, and with great might succour us; that whereas, through our sins and wickedness, we are sore let and hindered in running the race that is set before us, thy bountiful grace and mercy may speedily help and deliver us; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with thee and the Holy Ghost, be honour and glory, world without end. Amen.

ALMIGHTY God, give us grace that we may cast away the works of darkness, and put upon us the armour of light, now in the time of this mortal life, in which thy Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious majesty to judge both the quick and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal, through him who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, now and ever. Amen.

Source: Bishop Gelasius of Rome Sacramentary [464 AD]. The 1662 edition added the "running the race that is before us" "Succor" is to run to help, while "sore let" is to thwart, hinder

Isaiah xl. 1, Psalm 80, Philippians iv. 4   &  St. John i. 19.

Homilies featuring Ambrose

he it is who coming after me is preferred before me,
whose shoe's latchet I am not worthy to unloose 



Third Sunday in Advent

Feasts and Commemorations this week

60 Martyrs of Gaza - December 17th

Thomas the Apostle -- December 21st


The Third Sunday in Advent
Advent Three Home
Hilary on Matthew xi

O LORD Jesus Christ, who at thy first coming didst send thy messenger to prepare thy way before thee; Grant that the ministers and stewards of thy mysteries may likewise so prepare and make ready thy way, by turning the hearts of the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, that at thy second coming to judge the world we may be found an acceptable people in thy sight, who livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Spirit ever, one God, world without end. Amen.

ALMIGHTY God, give us grace that we may cast away the works of darkness, and put upon us the armour of light, now in the time of this mortal life, in which thy Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious majesty to judge both the quick and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal, through him who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, now and ever. Amen.

Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee

St. Matthew xi. 2

NOW when John had heard in the prison the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples, and said unto him, Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another? Jesus answered and said unto them, Go and shew John again those things which ye do hear and see: the blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them. And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me. And as they departed, Jesus began to say unto the multitudes concerning John, What went ye out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken with the wind? But what went ye out for to see? A man clothed in soft raiment? behold, they that wear soft clothing are in kings' houses. But what went ye out for to see? A prophet? yea, I say unto you, and more than a prophet. For this is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee.

Hilary of Potiers
ca. 360

1. Now when John had heard in prison the works of Christ: sending two of his disciples, he said to Him. Art thou He that is to come or look we for another? Did John in his prison not know the Lord? Did so great a prophet know not his God? But as Precursor he had foretold that He was to come; as Prophet he had recognised Him standing in their midst; as Confessor he had venerated Him before men. Did error creep into so profound and varied knowledge? The subsequent testimony of the Lord concerning John does not permit us to think so. Nor can we believe that the light of the Holy Spirit was denied him in prison, when the Light of that same Power was to be given to the imprisoned apostles. Why John sent to Christ

2. But a clearer understanding is furnished from the things John did, and from the efficacy of the action the grace that was in him is evident. For as Prophet he prophesied the very circumstances of his imprisonment; because in him the Law became silent. For the Law had foretold Christ, and the forgiveness of sin, and had promised men the kingdom of heaven. John had continued and brought to a close this purpose of the Law. The Law was now silenced, imprisoned by the wickedness of men, and as it were held in bonds, lest Christ become known, because John has been fettered and imprisoned. The Law therefore sends messengers to behold the works of the Gospel, so that unbelief may contemplate the truth of the faith in the light of these wonders; so that whatever in it (the Law) is frustrated by the violence of sinful men, may be set free by an understanding of the freedom wherewith Christ has made us free (Gal. iv. 31).

In this manner John remedied not his own but his disciples' ignorance. For he had himself proclaimed that Christ was to come unto the forgiveness of sin. But that his disciples might learn that he had preached none other than Christ, he sends them to Him that they may behold His works, so that the works of Christ may confirm his own teaching, and, finally: so that they might look for no other Christ than He to whom the works gave testimony.

The Scandal of the Cross is Foretold

3. And when the Lord had revealed Himself in wonders, namely: in the blind seeing, the lame walking, in lepers being cleansed, the deaf hearing, the dumb speaking, in the dead rising again, and in the preaching of the gospel to the poor, He says: blessed is he that shall not be scandalised in Me. Was there anything in what Christ had done which might scandalise John? Far from it. For in the whole course of his mission and teaching he had had nothing to say opposed to Him.

But the force and significance of the preceding sentence must be carefully dwelt on; on that, namely, which is preached to the poor; that is, they who have laid down their lives, who have taken up the cross and followed after, who have become humble in spirit, for these a kingdom is prepared in heaven. Therefore, because this universality of suffering was to be fulfilled in Christ Himself, and because His Cross would become a stumbling-block to many (I Cor. i. 23), He now declares that they are blessed to whom His Cross, His death, and Burial, will offer no trial of faith. So He makes clear that of which already, earlier, John has himself warned them, saying that blessed are they in whom there would be nothing of scandal concerning Himself. For it was through fear of this that John had sent his disciples, so that they might see and hear Christ.

Whom does the reed signify?

4. Lest however this saying should be referred to John, as if something in Christ had scandalised him, the disciples going away, Our Lord said to the crowd concerning John: What went you out to the desert to see; a reed shaken by the wind? Mystically, the desert must be considered as a place empty of the Holy Spirit, in which there is no dwelling place of God. The reed must be taken as meaning a man such as is wholly absorbed in the glory of this world, and in the emptiness of his own life; within he is without fruit of truth, he has a pleasing exterior, but no interior; responsive to the breath of every wind, that is, to the suggestions of unclean spirits, unable ever to stand firm, and vain to the marrow of his bones. Therefore when He said, what went you out into the desert to see? A reed shaken by the wind? this is what He said. Did you go out to see a man who was empty of the knowledge of God, and responsive to the breath of every unclean spirit? For He spoke to them in a spirit of approval rather than reproach; wishing to affirm that they had not seen anything in John that was empty or fickle.

Bodies corrupted by lust are the dwelling places of devils

5. But what went you out to see? A man clothed in soft garments: behold that they are clothed in soft garments are in the house of kings. By garments are mystically signified the body which the soul as it were puts on, and which grows soft through luxury and wantonness. In kings we have a name for the fallen angels. For those are the powers of the world, lording it over men. Therefore, those dressed in luxurious garments are in the house of kings means that those whose bodies are lax and dissolute through wantonness are habitations of the demons, who choose such dwelling places as being suited to their designs and evil works.

The glory of John

6. But what went you out to see? A prophet? Yea, and more than a prophet. The Lord makes plain to all the greatness of John, declaring him to be more than a prophet, because only to him was it given both to foretell the Coming of Christ and to behold Him. How then shall it be believed that he knew not Christ, who was sent with the power of an angel to make ready for His Coming, and than whom no greater prophet born of woman had arisen; excepting that he is less than Him Who was questioned by the disciples of John, Who was not believed, to 'Whom not even His works gave testimony. He is greater in the Kingdom of Heaven. Amen.

Translated by M.F. Toale, D.D. (PL 9, 978.)

"Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another" [St. Paul's Epistle to the Romans 14:19]


"Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another" [St. Paul's Epistle to the Romans 14:19]



The Second Sunday in Advent

I commend the homily of Cyril of Alexandria below. It amplifies our Advent Collect of the two comings of Christ, and complements our Gospel appointed for this coming Sunday

The Second Sunday in Advent

BLESSED Lord, who hast caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning; Grant that we may in such wise hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them, that by patience and comfort of thy holy Word, we may embrace, and ever hold fast, the blessed hope of everlasting life, which thou hast given us in our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.

ALMIGHTY God, give us grace that we may cast away the works of darkness, and put upon us the armour of light, now in the time of this mortal life, in which thy Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious majesty to judge both the quick and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal, through him who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, now and ever. Amen.
Collect for the First Sunday in Advent, to be read daily

Source (1st Collect): Archbishop Thomas Cranmer [1549 AD]. The emphasis on Scripture is enunciated here. To understand Cranmer and his desire to encourage Bible reading, read the Preface to the Cranmer Bible and the Preface to the 1549 Prayer Book. Note the pleading form is different than other collects; it names only Jesus. [Barbee and Zahl] Cranmer proposed continuous reading of the Scriptures - "lectio continua". Archbishop John Chrysostom, among other early doctors, was an advocate and practicioner of lectio continua.

And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory

Cyril of Alexandria

We do not preach only one coming of Christ, but a second as well, much more glorious than the first. The first coming was marked by patience; the second will bring the crown of a divine kingdom.

In general, whatever relates to our Lord Jesus Christ has two aspects. There is a birth from God before the ages, and a birth from a virgin at the fullness of time. There is a hidden coming, like that of rain on fleece, and a coming before all eyes, still in the future.
At the first coming he was wrapped in swaddling clothes in a manger. At his second coming he will be clothed in light as in a garment. In the first coming he endured the cross, despising the shame; in the second coming he will be in glory, escorted by an army of angels.

We look then beyond the first coming and await the second. At the first coming we said: Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. At the second we shall say it again; we shall go out with the angels to meet the Lord and cry out in adoration: Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.

The Saviour will not come to be judged again, but to judge those by whom he was judged. At his own judgement he was silent; then he will address those who committed the outrages against him when they crucified him and will remind them: You did these things, and I was silent.

His first coming was to fulfil his plan of love, to teach men by gentle persuasion. This time, whether men like it or not, they will be subjects of his kingdom by necessity.

The prophet Malachi speaks of the two comings. And the Lord whom you seek will come suddenly to his temple: that is one coming.
Again he says of another coming: Look, the Lord almighty will come, and who will endure the day of his entry, or who will stand in his sight? Because he comes like a refiner's fire, a fuller's herb, and he will sit refining and cleansing.

These two comings are also referred to by Paul in writing to Titus: The grace of God the Saviour has appeared to all men, instructing us to put aside impiety and worldly desires and live temperately, uprightly, and religiously in this present age, waiting for the joyful hope, the appearance of the glory of our great God and Saviour, Jesus Christ. Notice how he speaks of a first coming for which he gives thanks, and a second, the one we still await.

That is why the faith we profess has been handed on to you in these words: He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father, and he will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end.
Our Lord Jesus Christ will therefore come from heaven. He will come at the end of the world, in glory, at the last day. For there will be an end to this world, and the created world will be made new.