Sermon on the Epiphany
(ca. 215 ad)


 3rd cent. Statue of Hippolytus,
Lateran Museum, Rome

This excerpt from a sermon on the Epiphany (nn. 2.6-8 10: PG 10, 854. 858-859. 862) attributed to Saint Hippolytus, an Early Church Father, is used in the Roman Office of Readings for the Tuesday between the Feast of the Epiphany and the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord. 

[Doubtifully attributed to] Hippolytus, De theophania, Hippolyt's kleinere exegetische und homiletische Schriften ser Die griechischen christlichen Schriftsteller .2,  ed. H. Achelis, (Teubner, Leipzig, 1897) pp 257-263

[2] That Jesus should come and be baptized by John is surely cause for amazement. To think of the infinite river that gladdens the city of God being bathed in a poor little stream of the eternal, the unfathomable fountainhead that gives life to all men being immersed in the shallow waters of this transient world!  He who fills all creation, leaving no place devoid of his presence, he who is incomprehensible to the angels and hidden from the sight of man, came to be baptized because it was his will ἤκουες γὰρ ἀρτίως͵ πῶς ἐλθὼν ὁ Ἰησοῦς πρὸς τὸν Ἰωάννην ἐν τῷ Ἰορδάνῃ ἐβαπτίσθη ὑπ΄ αὐτοῦ. ὦ παραδόξων πραγμάτων· πῶς ὁ ἀπερίγραπτος ποταμὸς ὁ εὐφραίνων τὴν πόλιν τοῦ θεοῦ ἐν ὀλίγῳ ὕδατι ἐλούετο͵ ἡ ἀκατά ληπτος πηγὴ ἡ ζωὴν βλαστάνουσα πᾶσιν ἀνθρώποις καὶ τέλος μὴ ἔχουσα ὑπὸ πενιχρῶν καὶ προσκαίρων ὑδάτων ἐκαλύπτετο. ὁ πάντη παρὼν καὶ μηδαμοῦ ἀπολιμπανόμενος͵ ὁ ἀκατάληπτος ἀγγέλοις καὶ ἀόρατος ἀνθρώποις ἐπὶ τὸ βάπτισμα ἔρχεται͵ ὡς ηὐδόκησεν.
[6] And behold, the heavens opened and a voice said: “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.” καὶ ἰδοὺ ἠνεῴχθησαν αὐτῷ οἱ οὐρανοὶ καὶ φωνὴ ἐγένετο λέγουσα Οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ υἱός μου ὁ ἀγαπητός͵ ἐν ᾧ ηὐδόκησα.
[7]The beloved Father begets love, and spiritual light generates light inaccessible. 7 ἀγαπητὸς ἀγάπην γεννᾷ καὶ φῶς ἄϋλον φῶς ἀπρόσιτον.
In his divine nature he is my only Son, though he was known as the son of Joseph. This is my beloved Son. Though hungry himself, he feeds thousands; though weary, he refreshes those who labor. He has no place to lay his head yet holds all creation in his hand. By his passion [inflicted on him by others], he frees us from the passions [unleashed by our disobedience]; by receiving a blow on the cheek he gives the world its liberty; by being pierced in the side he heals the wound of Adam.[1] οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ υἱός μου ὁ ἀγαπητός͵ ἐν ᾧ ηὐδόκησα. οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ τοῦ Ἰωσὴφ ὀνομαζόμενος υἱός͵ καὶ ἐμὸς μονογενὴς κατὰ τὴν θεϊκὴν οὐσίαν. οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ υἱός μου ὁ ἀγαπητός͵ ὁ πεινῶν καὶ τρέφων μυριάδας͵ καὶ κοπιῶν καὶ ἀναπαύων τοὺς κοπιῶντας͵ ὁ μὴ ἔχων ποῦ τὴν κεφαλὴν κλῖναι καὶ πάντα ἐν τῇ χειρὶ βαστάζων͵ ὁ πάσχων καὶ τὰ πάθη ἰώμενος͵ ὁ ῥαπιζόμενος καὶ ἐλευθερίαν τῷ κόσμῳ δωρού μενος͵ ὁ τὴν πλευρὰν νυττόμενος καὶ τὴν πλευρὰν τοῦ Ἀδὰμ διορθούμενος.
[8] I ask you now to pay close attention, for I want to return to that fountain of life and contemplate its healing waters at their source. 8 ἀλλὰ συντείνατέ μοι τὸν νοῦν͵ παρακαλῶ͵ μετὰ ἀκρι βείας· βούλομαι γὰρ ἐπὶ τὴν πηγὴν τῆς ζωῆς ἀναδραμεῖν καὶ θεάσα σθαι τὴν πηγὴν τῶν ἰαμάτων πηγάζουσαν.
The Father of immortality sent his immortal Son and Word into the world; he came to us men to cleanse us with water and the Spirit. To give us a new birth that would make our bodies and souls immortal, he breathed into us the spirit of life and armed us with incorruptibility. Now if we become immortal, we shall also be divine; and if we become divine after rebirth in baptism through water and the Holy Spirit, we shall also be coheirs with Christ after the resurrection of the dead. ὁ τῆς ἀθανασίας πατὴρ τὸν ἀθάνατον υἱὸν καὶ λόγον ἀπέστειλεν εἰς τὸν κόσμον͵ ὃς ἀφικό μενος εἰς τὸν ἄνθρωπον λούσασθαι ὕδατι καὶ πνεύματι͵ καὶ ἀναγεν νήσας πρὸς ἀφθαρσίαν ψυχῆς τε καὶ σώματος͵ ἐνεφύσησεν ἡμῖν πνεῦμα ζωῆς͵ περιαμφιάσας ἡμᾶς ἀφθάρτῳ πανοπλίᾳ. εἰ οὖν ἀθάνατος γέγονεν ὁ ἄνθρωπος͵ ἔσται καὶ θεός. εἰ δὲ θεὸς δι΄ ὕδατος καὶ πνεύματος ἁγίου μετὰ τὴν τῆς κολυμβήθρας ἀναγέννησιν γίνεται͵ εὑρίσκεται καὶ συγκληρονόμος Χριστοῦ μετὰ τὴν ἐκ νεκρῶν ἀνάστασιν.
Therefore, in a herald’s voice I cry: Let peoples of every nation come and receive the immortality that flows from baptism. διὸ κηρύσσω λέγων Δεῦτε πᾶσαι αἱ πατριαὶ τῶν ἐθνῶν ἐπὶ τὴν τοῦ βαπτίσματος ἀθανασίαν·
This is the water that is linked to the Spirit, the water that irrigates Paradise, makes the earth fertile, gives growth to plants, and brings forth living creatures. In short, this is the water by which a man receives new birth and life, the water in which even Christ was baptized, the water into which the Holy Spirit descended in the form of a dove. τοῦτο δέ ἐστιν τὸ ὕδωρ τὸ τῷ πνεύματι κοινωνοῦν͵ δι΄ οὗ παράδεισος ποτίζεται͵ δι΄ οὗ ἡ γῆ πιαίνεται͵ δι΄ οὗ φυτὸν αὔξει͵ δι΄ οὗ ζῷα τεκνογονεῖ καὶ͵ ἵνα πάντα συνελὼν εἴπω͵ δι΄ οὗ ἀναγεννώμενος ζῳογονεῖται ἄνθρωπος͵ ἐν ᾧ καὶ ὁ Χριστὸς ἐβαπτίσατο͵ ἐν ᾧ καὶ τὸ πνεῦμα κατήρχετο ἐν εἴδει περιστερᾶς.
[10] Whoever goes down into these waters of rebirth with faith renounces the devil and pledges himself to Christ. He repudiates the enemy and confesses that Christ is God, throws off his servitude, and is raided to filial status. He comes up from baptism resplendent as the sun, radiant in his purity, but above all, he comes as a son of God and a coheir with Christ. To him and to his most holy and life-giving Spirit be glory and power now and for ever. Amen. ὁ γὰρ καταβαίνων μετὰ πίστεως εἰς τὸ τῆς ἀναγεννήσεως λουτρὸν ἀποτάσσεται τῷ πονηρῷ͵ συντάσσεται δὲ τῷ Χριστῷ· ἀπαρνεῖται τὸν ἐχθρόν͵ ὁμολογεῖ δὲ τὸ θεὸν εἶναι τὸν Χριστόν· ἀποδύεται τὴν δουλείαν͵ ἐνδύεται δὲ τὴν υἱοθεσίαν· ἀνέρχεται ἀπὸ τοῦ βαπτίσματος λαμπρὸς ὡς ὁ ἥλιος͵ ἀπα στράπτων τὰς τῆς δικαιοσύνης ἀκτῖνας. τὸ δὲ μέγιστον͵ ἄνεισιν υἱὸς θεοῦ καὶ συγκληρονόμος Χριστοῦ. αὐτῷ ἡ δόξα καὶ τὸ κράτος σὺν τῷ παναγίῳ καὶ ἀγαθῷ καὶ ζωοποιῷ αὐτοῦ πνεύματι νῦν καὶ ἀεὶ καὶ εἰς τοὺς σύμπαντας αἰῶνας τῶν αἰώνων. ἀμήν.



[1] See Homily for Holy Saturday where identical “healing” images in reference to the Lord’s Passion are used





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