on the Transfiguration

Anonymous Russian Icon.


Engl. tr. based principally on: Alexander Roberts, and James Donaldson, , Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, First Series: Volume 9TLG 001 2062.2.14   Ad Theodorum lapsum (lib. 1)  Jean Chrysostome. A Théodore pub Cerf pla (Paris, 1966) pag 80-218 ser Sources chrétiennes  117 ed. J. Dumortier,

11. FOR consider I pray the condition of the other life, so far as it is possible to consider it; for no words will suffice for an adequate description: but from the things which ar told us, as if by means of certain riddles, let us try and get some indistinct vision of it. “Pain and sorrow and sighing,” we read “have fled away.” (Isa. 35:10)

11 Ἐννόησον γάρ μοι τῆς ζωῆς τὴν κατάστασιν ἐκείνης͵ καθ΄ ὅσον ἐννοῆσαι δυνατόν· πρὸς γὰρ τὴν ἀξίαν οὐδεὶς ἡμῖν ἀρκέσει λόγος· ἀλλ΄ ἐξ ὧν ἀκούομεν ὥσπερ διά τινων αἰνιγ μάτων λάβωμέν τινα φαντασίαν αὐτῆς ἀμυδράν· Ἀπέδρα͵ φησίν͵ ὀδύνη καὶ λύπη καὶ στεναγμός.

What then could be more blessed than this life? It is not possible there to fear poverty and disease: it is not possible to see any one injuring, or being injured, provoking, or being provoked, or angry, or envious, or burning with any outrageous lust, or anxious concerning the supply of the necessaries of life, or bemoaning himself over the loss of some dignity and power: for all the tempest of passion in us is quelled and brought to nought, and all will be in a condition of peace, and gladness and joy, all things serene and tranquil, all will be daylight and brightness, and light, not this present light, but one excelling this in splendour as much as this excels the brightness of a lamp. For things are not concealed in that world by night, or by a gathering of clouds: bodies there are not set on fire and burned: for there is neither night nor evening there, nor cold nor heat, nor any other variation of seasons: but the condition is of a different kind, such as they only will know who have been deemed worthy of it; there is no old age there, nor any of the evils of old age, but all things relating to decay are utterly removed, and incorruptible glory reigns in every part.

Τί οὖν ταύτης μακα ριώτερον γένοιτ΄ ἂν τῆς ζωῆς; Οὐκ ἔστιν ἐκεῖ πενίαν δεδοι κέναι καὶ νόσον· οὐκ ἔστιν ἀδικοῦντα οὐδ΄ ἀδικούμενον ἰδεῖν͵ [οὐ παροξύνοντα καὶ παροξυνόμενον] οὐκ ὀργιζόμενον͵ οὐ βασκαίνοντα͵ οὐκ ἐπιθυμίᾳ ἀτόπῳ φλεγόμενον͵ οὐχ ὑπὲρ τῆς τῶν ἀναγκαίων ἀλύοντα χορηγίας͵ οὐχ ὑπὲρ ἀρχῆς καὶ δυνα στείας κοπτόμενον· πᾶσα γὰρ ἡ ζάλη τῶν ἐν ἡμῖν παθῶν σβεσθεῖσα ἀπόλλυται͵ καὶ πάντα εἰρήνη [ἔσται καὶ εὐφροσύνη] καὶ χαρά͵ πάντα εὔδια καὶ γαληνά͵ πάντα [ἡμέρα καὶ] λαμπρότης καὶ φῶς͵ καὶ οὐ τοῦτο τὸ νῦν͵ ἀλλ΄ ἕτερον τούτου τοσοῦτον λαμπρότερον ὅσον τοῦ λυχναίου τοῦτο φαιδρότερον· οὔτε γὰρ ἐκεῖ νύξ͵ οὔτε συνδρομὴ [κρύπτεται] νεφελῶν͵ [οὐ κάει καὶ φλέγει σώματα οὔτε γὰρ νύξ]͵ οὔτε ἑσπέρα· οὐ κρυ μός͵ οὐ θάλπος͵ οὐκ ἄλλη τις τροπῶν μεταβολή͵ ἀλλ΄ ἑτέρα τις κατάστασις τοιαύτη͵ ἣν οἱ καταξιωθέντες εἴσονται μόνον· οὐκ ἔστι γῆρας ἐκεῖ καὶ τὰ τοῦ γήρως κακά͵ ἀλλὰ πάντα ἐκ ποδῶν γίνεται τὰ τῆς φθορᾶς͵ τῆς ἀφθάρτου δόξης κρατού σης πανταχοῦ.

But greater than all these things in the perpetual enjoyment of intercourse with Christ in the company of angels, and archangels, and the higher powers. Behold now the sky, and pass through it in thought to the region beyond the sky, and consider the transfiguration to take place in the whole creation; for it will not continue to be such as it is now, but will be far more brilliant and beautiful, and just as gold glistens more brightly than lead, so will the future constitution of the universe be better than the present: even as the blessed Paul saith “Because the creation also itself shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption.” (Rom. 8:21) For now indeed, seeing that it partakes of corruption, it is subject to many things such as bodies of this kind naturally experience: but then, having divested itself of all these things, we shall see it display its beauty in an incorruptible form: for inasmuch as it is to receive incorruptible bodies, it will in future be itself also transfigured into the nobler condition.

Τὸ δὲ τούτων ἁπάντων μεῖζον͵ τὸ τῆς πρὸς τὸν Χριστὸν ὁμιλίας ἀπολαύειν διηνεκῶς͵ μετὰ ἀγγέλων͵ μετὰ ἀρχαγγέλων͵ μετὰ τῶν ἀνωτέρω δυνάμεων. Ἴδε τὸν οὐρανὸν νῦν καὶ διάβηθι τῷ λογισμῷ πρὸς τὰ ὑπὲρ τὸν οὐρανόν͵ λογίσαι τῆς κτίσεως ἁπάσης τὸν μετασχημα τισμόν· οὐ γὰρ τοιαύτη μενεῖ ἀλλὰ πολλῷ καλλίων ἔσται καὶ φαιδροτέρα· τί λέγω; καὶ ὅσῳ μολύβδου πρὸς χρυσὸν ἀπο στίλβοντα τὸ μέσον͵ τοσούτῳ τῆς παρασκευῆς ἔσται ταύτης βελτίων ἡ τότε͵ καθὼς καὶ ὁ μακάριος Παῦλός φησιν· ὅτι καὶ αὐτὴ ἡ κτίσις ἐλευθερωθήσεται ἀπὸ τῆς δουλείας τῆς φθορᾶς. Νῦν μὲν γὰρ ἅτε φθορᾶς μετέχουσα͵ πολλὰ πάσχει ὅσα τὰ τοιαῦτα σώματα πάσχειν εἰκός· τότε δὲ πάντα ἀποδυ σαμένη ταῦτα͵ ἄφατον ἐπιδείξεται τὴν εὐπρέπειαν· ἐπειδὴ γὰρ ἄφθαρτα μέλλει δέχεσθαι σώματα͵ καὶ αὐτὴ λοιπὸν ἐπὶ τὸ κρεῖττον μετασχηματισθήσεται.

Nowhere in that world will there be sedition and strife: for great is the concord of the band of saints, all being ever in harmony with one another. It is not possible there to fear the devil, and the plots of demons, or the threatenings of hell, or death, either that death which now is, or the other death which is far worse than this, but every terror of this kind will have been done away. And just as some royal child, who has been brought up in mean guise, and subject to fear and threats, lest he should deteriorate by indulgence and become unworthy of his paternal inheritance, as soon as he has attained the royal dignity, immediately exchanges all his former raiment for the purple robe, and the diadem and the crowd of body-guards, and assumes his state with much confidence, having cast out of his soul thoughts of humility and subjection, and having taken others in their place; even so will it happen then to all the saints

Οὐδαμοῦ τότε στάσις καὶ μάχη· πολλὴ γὰρ ἡ συμφωνία͵ τῶν ἁγίων πάντων ὁμογνωμο νούντων ἀλλήλοις ἀεί. Οὐκ ἔστιν ἐκεῖ διάβολον δεῖσαι καὶ δαι μόνων ἐπιβουλάς͵ οὐ γεέννης ἀπειλήν͵ οὐ θάνατον͵ οὐ τοῦτον τὸν νῦν͵ οὐ τὸν πολλῷ τούτου χαλεπώτερον ἐκεῖνον͵ ἀλλὰ πᾶς ὁ τοιοῦτος λέλυται φόβος. Καὶ καθάπερ παιδίον βασιλικὸν πρότερον ἐν εὐτελεῖ τρεφόμενον οἰκήματι καὶ ὑπὸ φόβον ὂν παιδαγωγῶν͵ ὥστε μὴ τῇ ἀνέσει γενέσθαι χεῖρον καὶ τῆς πατρικῆς ἀνάξιον κληρονομίας͵ ἐπειδὰν εἰς τὸ βασιλικὸν ἐλθεῖν ἀξίωμα δέῃ͵ πάντα ἀθρόως ἐκεῖνα μεταμφιασάμενος͵ ἐξαίφνης͵ μετὰ τῆς ἁλουργίδος καὶ τοῦ διαδήματος καὶ τοῦ πλήθους τῶν δορυφόρων͵ μετὰ πολλῆς προκάθηται τῆς παρρη σίας͵ τὰ ταπεινὰ καὶ κατηφῆ ῥίψας ἀπὸ τῆς ψυχῆς͵ καὶ ἕτερα ἀντ΄ ἐκείνων ἀναλαβών· οὕτω δὴ καὶ τότε συμβήσεται τοῖς ἁγίοις ἅπασιν.

And to prove that these words are no empty vaunt let us journey in thought to the mountain where Christ was transfigured: let us behold him shining as He shone there; and yet even then He did not display to us all the splendour of the world to come. For that the vision was accommodated to human eyes, and not an exact manifestation of the reality is plain from the very words of the Evangelist. For what saith he? “He did shine as the Sun.” (Matt. 17:2) But the glory of incorruptible bodies does not emit the same kind of light as this body which is corruptible, nor is it of a kind to be tolerable to mortal eyes, but needs incorruptible and immortal eyes to contemplate it. But at that time on the mountain He disclosed to them as much as it was possible for them to see without injuring the sight of the beholders; and even so they could not endure it but fell upon their faces. Tell me, if any one led thee into some bright place, where all were sitting arrayed in vestures of gold, and in the midst of the multitude pointed out one other to thee who alone had garments wrought with precious stones, and a crown upon his head, and then promised to place thee in the ranks of this people, wouldst thou not do everything to obtain this promise? Open then even now in imagination thine eyes, and look on that assembly, composed not of men such as we are, but of those who are of more value than gold and previous stones, and the beams of the sun, and all visible radiance, and not consisting of men only but of beings of much more dignity than men,—angels, archangels, thrones, dominions, principalities, powers. For as concerning the king it is not even possible to say what he is like: so completely do his beauty, his grace, his splendour, his glory, his grandeur and magnificence elude speech and thought. Shall we then, I ask, deprive ourselves of such great blessings, in order to avoid suffering for a brief period? For if we had to endure countless deaths every day, or even hell itself, for the sake of seeing Christ coming in His glory, and’ being enrolled in the company of the saints, ought we not to undergo all those things? Hear what the blessed Peter says; “it is good for us to be here.” (Matt. 17:4) But if he, when he beheld some dim image of the things to come, immediately cast away all other things out of his soul on account of the pleasure produced in it by that vision; what would any one saywhen the actual reality of the things is presented, when the palace is thrown open and it is permitted to gaze upon the King Himself, no longer darkly, or by means of a mirror, (1 Cor. 13:22) but face to face; no longer by means of faith, but by sight?

Καὶ ὅτι οὐ κόμπος τὰ ῥήματα͵ πορευθῶμεν ἐπὶ τὸ ὄρος τῷ λόγῳ͵ ἔνθα μετεμορφώθη Χριστός· ἴδωμεν αὐτὸν λάμποντα ὥσπερ ἔλαμψεν· καίτοι γε οὐδὲ οὕτως πᾶσαν ἡμῖν ὑπέδειξεν τὴν τοῦ μέλλοντος αἰῶνος λαμπρότητα. Ὅτι γὰρ συγκατάβα σις τὸ φαινόμενον ἦν ἀλλ΄ οὐκ ἐπίδειξις τοῦ πράγματος ἀκριβής͵ ἀπ΄ αὐτῶν δῆλον τῶν ῥημάτων τοῦ εὐαγγελιστοῦ. Τί γάρ φησιν; ῎ελαμψεν ὡς ὁ ἥλιος. Ἡ δὲ τῶν ἀφθάρτων σωμάτων δόξα οὐ τοσοῦτον ἀφίησιν τὸ φῶς͵ ὅσον τοῦτο τὸ σῶμα τὸ φθαρτόν͵ οὐδὲ τοιοῦτον οἷον καὶ θνητοῖς ὄμμασι γενέσθαι χωρητόν͵ ἀλλὰ ἀφθάρτων καὶ ἀθανάτων δεόμενον ὀφθαλμῶν πρὸς τὴν θέαν αὐτοῦ. Τότε δὲ ἐπὶ τοῦ ὄρους τοσοῦ τον αὐτοῖς ἀπεκάλυψεν͵ ὅσον ἰδεῖν δυνατὸν ἦν [καὶ μὴ θλί ψαι] τὰς τῶν ὁρώντων ὄψεις· καὶ οὐδὲ οὕτως ἤνεγκαν ἀλλ΄ ἔπεσον ἐπὶ πρόσωπον. Εἰπέ μοι δέ· εἴ τίς σε εἰς θέατρον εἰσήγαγεν ἔνθα πάντες ἐκάθηντο χρυσᾶς ἀναβεβλημένοι στο λάς͵ καὶ ἐν μέσῳ τῷ πλήθει ἕτερόν τινα ἐπέδειξεν ἀπὸ λίθων τιμίων͵ καὶ τὰ ἱμάτια καὶ τὸν στέφανον ἔχοντα τὸν ἐπὶ τῆς κεψαλῆς͵ εἶτά σε ἐπηγγέλλετο εἰς ἐκεῖνον κατατάξειν τὸν δῆμον͵ ἆρ΄ οὐκ ἂν ἅπαντα ἔπραξας ὥστε τῆς ἐπαγγελίας ταύ της τυχεῖν; Ἀναπέτασον οὖν καὶ νῦν τῷ νῷ τοὺς οὐρανοὺς καὶ βλέψον εἰς ἐκεῖνο τὸ θέατρον͵ οὐκ ἀπὸ τοιούτων συγκείμε νον ἀνδρῶν͵ ἀλλ΄ ἀπ΄ ἐκείνων οἳ καὶ τοῦ χρυσοῦ καὶ τῶν λίθων τῶν τιμίων καὶ τῶν ἀκτίνων τῶν ἡλιακῶν καὶ πάσης ὁρωμένης φαιδρότητός εἰσιν τιμιώτεροι͵ καὶ οὐκ ἐξ ἀνθρώπων δὲ μόνον ἀλλὰ καὶ ἀπὸ τῶν πολὺ τούτων τιμιωτέρων ἀγγέλων͵ ἀρχαγγέ λων͵ θρόνων͵ κυριοτήτων͵ ἀρχῶν͵ ἐξουσιῶν. Περὶ γὰρ τοῦ βασιλέως οὐδὲ εἰπεῖν ἑνί͵ οἷός ἐστιν͵ δυνατόν· οὕτως ἅπαντα λόγον καὶ νοῦν ἐκεῖνο διαφεύγει τὸ κάλλος͵ ἡ ὡραιότης͵ τὸ κράτος͵ ἡ δόξα͵ ἡ μεγαλωσύνη͵ ἡ μεγαλοπρέπεια. Τοσούτων οὖν ἀγαθῶν καὶ τηλικούτων ἀποστερήσωμεν ἑαυτούς͵ εἰπέ μοι͵ ἵνα μὴ μικρὸν πονέσωμεν χρόνον; Εἰ γὰρ μυρίους καθ΄ ἑκάστην ἡμέραν θανάτους ὑπομένειν ἐχρῆν͵ εἰ γὰρ τὴν γέεν ναν αὐτὴν ὑπὲρ τοῦ τὸν Χριστὸν ἐρχόμενον ἰδεῖν ἐν τῇ δόξῃ αὐτοῦ καὶ εἰς τὸν τῶν ἁγίων ἐγκαταλεγῆναι χορόν͵ οὐκ ἐχρῆν ἅπαντα ὑπομένειν ἐκεῖνα; Ἄκουσον τί φησιν ὁ μακάριος Πέτρος· Καλόν ἐστιν ἡμᾶς ὧδε εἶναι. Εἰ δὲ ἐκεῖνος ἀμυδράν τινα τῶν μελλόντων εἰκόνα ἰδὼν ἅπαντα ἐξαίφνης ἔρριψεν ἀπὸ τῆς ψυχῆς διὰ τὴν ἀπὸ τῆς ὄψεως ἐκείνης ἡδο νὴν ἐντεθεῖσαν αὐτοῦ τῇ ψυχῇ͵ τί ἄν τις εἴποι͵ ὅταν αὐτὴ τῶν πραγμάτων ἡ ἀλήθεια παραγένηται͵ ὅταν τῶν βασιλείων ἀνοιγέντων κατοπτεύειν ἐξῇ τὸν βασιλέα αὐτόν͵ μηκέτι ἐν αἰνίγματι μηδὲ δι΄ εἰσόπτρου͵ ἀλλὰ πρόσωπον πρὸς πρόσωπον͵ μηκέτι διὰ πίστεως ἀλλὰ διὰ εἴδους;





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