ΓΡΗΓΟΡΙΟΥ ΕΠΙΣΚΟΠΟΥ ΝΥΣΣΗΣ ΕΠΙΤΑΦΙΟΣ ΕΙΣ ΜΕΛΕΤΙΟΝ ΕΠΙΣΚΟΠΟΝ ΑΝΤΙΟΧΕΙΑΣ Ηὔξησεν ἡμῖν τὸν ἀριθμὸν τῶν ἀποστόλων ὁ νέος ἀπόστολος, ὁ συγκαταψηφισθεὶς μετ

Funeral Oration on Meletius1    Meletius, Bishop of Antioch, died at Constantinople, whither he had gone to attend the second Œcumenical Council, a.d. 381. Of the “translation” of the remains to his own metropolis, described in this oration, Sozomen (vii. 10) says, “The remains of Meletius were at the same time conveyed to Antioch; and deposited near the tomb of Babylas the Martyr. It is said that by the command of the Emperor, the relics were received with honour in every city through which they had to be conveyed, and that psalms were sung on the occasion, a practice that was quite contrary to the usual Roman customs. After the pompous interment of Meletius, Flavian was ordained in his stead.…This gave rise to fresh troubles.” The rationale of the rising relic-worship, at all events of the sanctity of tombs, is thus given by Origen: “A feeling such as this (of bodies differing, as tenanted by different souls) has prompted some to go so far as to treat as Divine the remains of uncommon men; they feel that great souls have been there, while they would cast forth the bodies of the morally worthless without the honour of a funeral (ἀτιμάσαι). This perhaps is not the right thing to do: still it proceeds from a right instinct (ἐννοίας ὑγιοῦς). For it is not to be expected of a thinking man that he would take the same pains over the burial of an Anytus, as he would over a Socrates, and that he would place the same barrow or the same sepulchre over each” (c. Cels. iv. 59). Again, “The dwelling-place of the reasoning soul is not to be flung irreverently aside, like that of the irrational soul; and more than this, we Christians believe that the reverence paid to a body that has been tenanted by a reasoning soul passes to him also who has received a soul which by means of such an instrument has fought a good fight,” viii. 30..

The number of the Apostles has been enlarged for us by this our late Apostle being reckoned among their company. These Holy ones have drawn to themselves one of like conversation; those athletes a fellow athlete; those crowned ones another crowned like them; the pure in heart one chaste in soul: those ministers of the Word another herald of that Word. Most blessed, indeed, is our Father for this his joining the Apostolic band and his departure to Christ. Most pitiable we! for the unseasonableness of our orphaned condition does not permit us to congratulate ourselves on our Father’s happy lot. For him, indeed, better it was by his departure hence to be with Christ, but it was a grievous thing for us to be severed from his fatherly guidance. Behold, it is a time of need for counsel; and our counsellor is silent. War, the war of heresy, encompasses us, and our Leader is no more. The general body of the Church labours under disease, and we find not the physician. See in what a strait we are. Oh! that it were possible I could nerve my weakness, and rising to the full proportions of our loss, burst out with a voice of lamentation adequate to the greatness of the distress, as these excellent preachers of yours have done, who have bewailed with loud voice the misfortune that has befallen them in this loss of their father. But what can I do? How can I force my tongue to the service of the theme, thus heavily weighted, and shackled, as it were, by this calamity? How shall I open my mouth thus subdued to speechlessness? How shall I give free utterance to a voice now habitually sinking to the pathetic tone of lamentations? How can I lift up the eyes of my soul, veiled as I am with this darkness of misfortune? Who will pierce for me this deep dark cloud of grief, and light up again, as out of a clear sky, the bright ray of peace? From what quarter will that ray shine forth, now that our star has set? Oh! evil moonless night that gives no hope of any star! With what an opposite meaning, as compared with those of late, are our words uttered in this place now! Then we rejoiced with the song of marriage, now we give way to piteous lamentation for the sorrow that has befallen us! Then we chanted an epithalamium, but now a funeral dirge! You remember the day when we entertained you at the feast of that spiritual marriage, and brought home the virgin bride to the house of her noble bridegroom; when to the best of our ability we proffered the wedding gifts of our praises, both giving and receiving joy in turn2    This all refers to the very recent installation of Gregory of Nazianzum in the episcopal chair of Constantinople: on which occasion also Gregory of Nyssa seems to have preached.. But now our delight has been changed to lamentation, and our festal garb become sackcloth. It were better, maybe, to suppress our woe, and to hide our grief in silent seclusion, so as not to disturb the children of the bride-chamber, divested as we are of the bright marriage garment, and clothed instead with the black robe of the preacher. For since that noble bridegroom has been taken from us, sorrow has all at once clothed us in the garb of black; nor is it possible for us to indulge in the usual cheerfulness of our conversation, since Envy3    Casaubon very strongly condemns the sentiment here expressed, as savouring more of heathenism than Christianity. He gives other instances, in which the loss from the death of friends and good men is attributed by Christian writers to the envy of a Higher Power. That the disturbed state of the Church should be attributed by Gregory Nazianzen to “Envy” is well enough, but he in the same strain as his namesake speaks thus in connection with the death of his darling brother Cæsarius, and of Basil. Our Gregory uses the word also in lamenting Pulcheria and Flacilla. It only proves, however, how strong the habit still was of using heathen expressions. has stripped us of our proper and becoming dress. Rich in blessings we came to you; now we leave you bare and poor. The lamp we held right above our head, shining with the rich fulness of light, we now carry away quenched, its bright flame all dissolved into smoke and dust. We held our great treasure in an earthen vessel. Vanished is the treasure, and the earthen vessel, emptied of its wealth, is restored to them who gave it4    The text is τοῖς δεδωκόσιν ἐπανασώζεται. The people of Antioch must here be referred to, if the text is to stand.. What shall we say who have consigned it? What answer will they make by whom it is demanded back? Oh! miserable shipwreck! How, even with the harbour around us, have we gone to pieces with our hopes! How has the vessel, fraught with a thousand bales of goods, sunk with all its cargo, and left us destitute who were once so rich! Where is that bright sail which was ever filled by the Holy Ghost? Where is that safe helm of our souls which steered us while we sailed unhurt over the swelling waves of heresy? Where that immovable anchor of intelligence which held us in absolute security and repose after our toils? Where that excellent pilot5    Meletius was president of the Council. who steered our bark to its heavenly goal? Is, then, what has happened of small moment, and is my passionate grief unreasoning? Is it not rather that I reach not the full extent of our loss, though I exceed in the loudness of my expression of grief? Lend me, oh lend me, my brethren, the tear of sympathy. When you were glad we shared your gladness. Repay us, therefore, this sad recompense. “Rejoice with them that do rejoice6    Rom. xii. 15..” This we have done. It is for you to return it by “weeping with them that weep.” It happened once that a strange people bewailed the loss of the patriarch Jacob, and made the misfortune of another people their own, when his united family transported their father out of Egypt, and lamented in another land the loss that had befallen them. They all prolonged their mourning over him for thirty days and as many nights7    According to Gen. l. 3, the Egyptian mourning was seventy days, but there is no precise mention of the length of the Israelites’ mourning, except that at Atad, beyond the Jordan, they appear to have rested, on their way up, and mourned for seven days.. Ye, therefore, that are brethren, and of the same kindred, do as they who were of another kindred did. On that occasion the tear of strangers was shed in common with that of countrymen; be it shed in common now, for common is the grief. Behold these your patriarchs. All these are children of our Jacob. All these are children of the free-woman8    Gal. iv. 31.. No one is base born, no one supposititious. Nor indeed would it have become that Saint to introduce into the nobility of the family of Faith a bond-woman’s kindred. Therefore is he our father because he was the father of our father9    i.e.the spiritual father of Basil, the “father” (brother really) of Gregory.. Ye have just heard what and how great things an Ephraim and a Manasses10    i.e.preachers (perhaps of the Egyptian Church) who had preceded Gregory, spiritual sons of Basil, and so of Meletius, in the direct line of blessing. See Gen. xlviii. 5. related of their father, and how the wonders of the story surpassed description. Give me also leave to speak on them. For this beatification of him from henceforth incurs no risk. Neither fear I Envy; for what worse evil can it do me? Know, then, what the man was; one of the nobility of the East, blameless, just, genuine, devout, innocent of any evil deed. Indeed the great Job will not be jealous if he who imitated him be decked with the like testimonials of praise. But Envy, that has an eye for all things fair, cast a bitter glance upon our blessedness; and one who stalks up and down the world also stalked in our midst, and broadly stamped the foot-mark of affliction on our happy state. It is not herds of oxen or sheep11    i.e.as those of Job. that he has maltreated, unless in a mystical sense one transfers the idea of a flock to the Church. It is not in these that we have received injury from Envy; it is not in asses or camels that he has wrought us loss, neither has he excruciated our bodily feelings by a wound in the flesh; no, but he has robbed us of our very head. And with that head have gone away from us the precious organs of our senses. That eye which beheld the things of heaven is no longer ours, nor that ear which listened to the Divine voice, nor that tongue with its pure devotion to truth12    τὸ ἁγνὸν ἀνάθημα τῆς ἀληθείας.. Where is that sweet serenity of his eyes? Where that bright smile upon his lips? Where that courteous right hand with fingers outstretched to accompany the benediction of the mouth. I feel an impulse, as if I were on the stage, to shout aloud for our calamity. Oh! Church, I pity you. To you, the city of Antioch, I address my words. I pity you for this sudden reversal. How has your beauty been despoiled! How have you been robbed of your ornaments! How suddenly has the flower faded! “Verily the grass withereth and the flower thereof falleth away13    1 Pet. i. 24; Is. xl. 8..” What evil eye, what witchery of drunken malice has intruded on that distant Church? What is there to compensate her loss? The fountain has failed. The stream has dried up. Again has water been turned into blood14    Exod. vii. 17.. Oh! the sad tidings which tell the Church of her calamity! Who shall say to the children that they have no more a father? Who shall tell the Bride she is a widow? Alas for their woes! What did they send out? What do they receive back? They sent forth an ark, they receive back a coffin. The ark, my brethren, was that man of God; an ark containing in itself the Divine and mystic things. There was the golden vessel full of Divine manna, that celestial food15    Ps. lxxviii. 25; Wisd. xvi. 20: but τρυφῆς, not τροφῆς, must have been the reading in the ms. which Sifanus used, “plena cœlestium deliciarum.”. In it were the Tables of the Covenant written on the tablets of the heart, not with ink but by the Spirit of the living God16    Jer. xxxi. 33; Heb. x. 16.. For on that pure heart no gloomy or inky thought was imprinted. In it, too, were the pillars, the steps, the chapters, the lamps, the mercy-seat, the baths, the veils of the entrances. In it was the rod of the priesthood, which budded in the hands of our Saint; and whatever else we have heard the Ark contained17    The above description enumerates the whole furniture of the Tabernacle. According to Heb. ix. 4, all that was actually in the Ark was, the pot of manna, Aaron’s rod that budded, and the Tables of the Covenant. See also Exod. xvi. 33; xxv. 37–40 was all held in the soul of that man. But in their stead what is there now? Let description cease. Cloths of pure white linen scarves of silk, abundance of perfumes and spices; the loving munificence of a modest and beautiful lady18    Flacilla, the wife of the Emperor Theodosius.. For it must be told, so as to be for a memorial of her19    S. Matt. xxvi. 13: S. Mark xiv. 9., what she did for that Priest when, without stint, she poured the alabaster box of ointment on his head. But the treasure preserved within, what is it? Bones, now dead, and which even before dissolution had rehearsed their dying, the sad memorials of our affliction. Oh! what a cry like that of old will be heard in Rama, Rachel weeping20    Jer. xxxi. 15., not for her children but for a husband, and admitting not of consolation. Let alone, ye that would console; let alone; force not on us your consolation21    This is from the LXX. of Is. xxii. 4, μὴ κατισχύσητε παρακαλεῖν με ἐπὶ τὸ σύντριμμα, κ.τ.λ.: “Nolite contendere ut me consolemini super contritione:” S. Jerome. Ducæus has rightly restored this, for κατισχύσηται. Let the widow indulge the deepness of her grief. Let her feel the loss that has been inflicted on her. Yet she is not without previous practice in separation. In those contests in which our athlete was engaged she had before been trained to bear to be left. Certainly you must remember how a previous sermon to ours related to you the contests of the man; how throughout, even in the very number of his contests, he had maintained the glory of the Holy Trinity, which he ever glorified; for there were three trying attacks that he had to repel. You have heard the whole series of his labours, what he was in the first, what in the middle, and what in the last. I deem it superfluous to repeat what has been so well described. Yet it may not be out of place to add just so much as this. When that Church, so sound in the faith, at the first beheld the man, she saw features truly formed22    πρόσωπον ἀληθῶς μεμορφωμένον. This is the reading of the best mss. Morell has ἁλιέως. after the image of God, she saw love welling forth, she saw grace poured around his lips, a consummate perfection of humility beyond which it is impossible to conceive any thing further, a gentleness like that of David, the understanding of Solomon, a goodness like that of Moses, a strictness as of Samuel, a chastity as of Joseph, the skill of a Daniel, a zeal for the faith such as was in the great Elijah, a purity of body like that of the lofty-minded John23    κατὰ τὸν ὑψηλὸν ᾽Ιωάννην ἐν τῇ ἀφθορί& 139· τοῦ σώματος. Sifanus translates “integritate corporis ornatum.” Rupp rejects the idea that the John who “should not die” is here meant: and thinks that the epithet, and ἀφθορία (= the more technical ἀφθαρσία) point to the monasticism of John the Baptist., an unsurpassable love as of Paul. She saw the concurrence of so many excellences in one soul, and, thrilled with a blessed affection, she loved him, her own bridegroom, with a pure and virtuous passion. But ere she could accomplish her desire, ere she could satisfy her longing, while still in the fervour of her passion, she was left desolate, when those trying times called the athlete to his contests. While, then, he was engaged in these toilsome struggles for religion, she remained chaste and kept the marriage vow. A long time intervened, during which one, with adulterous intent24    He alludes here to Paulinus and Demophilus, two Arians mentioned by Socrates and Sozomen., made an attempt upon the immaculate bridal-chamber. But the Bride remained undefiled; and again there was a return, and again an exile. And thus it happened thrice, until the Lord dispelled the gloom of that heresy, and sending forth a ray of peace gave us the hope of some respite from these lengthened troubles25    In 379 the Council of Antioch settled the schism of Antioch, which seemed as if it would disturb the whole East, and even the West. Even the Catholics of Antioch had been divided, between Meletius and Paulinus, since the days of Julian. It was settled that, at the death of either, the other should succeed to his “diocese.” Gregory himself was present, the ninth month after his brother Basil’s death.. But when at length they had seen each other, when there was a renewal of those chaste joys and spiritual desires, when the flame of love had again been lit, all at once his last departure breaks off the enjoyment. He came to adorn you as his bride, he failed not in the eagerness of his zeal, he placed on this fair union the chaplets of blessing, in imitation of his Master. As did the Lord at Cana of Galilee26    S. John ii, so here did this imitator of Christ. The Jewish waterpots, which were filled with the water of heresy, he filled with genuine wine, changing its nature by the power of his faith. How often did he set before you a chalice, but not of wine, when with that sweet voice he poured out in rich abundance the wine of Grace, and presented to you the full and varied feast of reason! He went first with the blessing of his words, and then his illustrious disciples were employed in distributing his teaching to the multitude.

We, too, were glad, and made our own the glory of your nation27    Gregory is here addressing men of Antioch, though he said before that that city was too distant yet to have heard the news. They must have been the bishops of the neighbourhood of Antioch and other Christians from the diocese of Meletius, then present in the capital.. Up to this point how bright and happy is our narrative. What a blessed thing it were with this to bring our sermon to an end. But after these things what follows? “Call for the mourning women28    Jer. ix. 17.,” as says the prophet Jeremiah. In no other way can the burning heart cool down, swelling as it is with its affliction, unless it relieves itself by sobs and tears. Formerly the hope of his return consoled us for the pang of separation, but now he has been torn from us by that final separation. A huge intervening chasm is fixed between the Church and him. He rests indeed in the bosom of Abraham, but there exists not one who might bring the drop of water to cool the tongue of the agonized. Gone is that beauty, silent is that voice, closed are those lips, fled that grace. Our happy state has become a tale that is told. Elijah of old time caused grief to the people of Israel when he soared from earth to God. But Elisha29    2 Kings ii. consoled them for the loss by being adorned with the mantle of his master. But now our wound is beyond healing; our Elijah has been caught up, and no Elisha left behind in his place. You have heard certain mournful and lamenting words of Jeremiah, with which he bewailed Jerusalem as a deserted city, and how among other expressions of passionate grief he added this, “The ways of Zion do mourn30    Lam. i. 4. “The ways of Zion do mourn.” The best of the three readings here is ἠκούσατε, adopted by Krabinger..” These words were uttered then, but now they have been realized. For when the news of our calamity shall have been spread abroad, then will the ways be full of mourning crowds, and the sheep of his flock will pour themselves forth, and like the Ninevites utter the voice of lamentation31    Jonah iii. 5., or, rather, will lament more bitterly than they. For in their case their mourning released them from the cause of their fear, but with these no hope of release from their distress removes their need of mourning. I know, too, of another utterance of Jeremiah, which is reckoned among the books of the Psalms32    Ps. cxxxvii. The title of this Psalm in LXX., Τῷ Δαυὶδ (διὰ) Ιερεμίου (which the Vulgate follows), implies that it is “a Davidic song springing from Jeremiah’s heart.” But “beginning with perfects, this Psalm is evidently not written during the time of the Exile, but in recollection of it:” Delitzsch. Some see resemblances to Ezekiel in it. The poplar is meant, not the weeping-willow, which is not met with wild in anterior Asia.; it is that which he made over the captivity of Israel. The words run thus: “We hung our harps upon the willows, and condemned ourselves as well as our harps to silence.” I make this song my own. For when I see the confusion of heresy, this confusion is Babylon33    Gen. xi. 9.. And when I see the flood of trials that pours in upon us from this confusion, I say that these are “the waters of Babylon by which we sit down, and weep” because there is no one to guide us over them. Even if you mention the willows, and the harps that hung thereon, that part also of the figure shall be mine. For in truth our life is among willows34    ἐν ἰτέαις. The best mss. support this reading, so that Krabinger has not dared to alter it to ἰτέα, as Morell’s ms. Sifanus has “plane enim in salicibus vita consistit;” but Rupp, “Unser Leben ist in der That ein Weidengebüsche.” In Bellarmine’s mystical interpretation the willows are the citizens of Babylon, who resemble willows “in being unfruitful, bitter in themselves, and dwelling by choice in the midst of Babylon,” to whom the instruments of worldly mirth are left., the willow being a fruitless tree, and the sweet fruit of our life having all withered away. Therefore have we become fruitless willows, and the harps of love we hung upon those trees are idle and unvibrating. “If I forget thee, oh Jerusalem,” he adds, “may my right hand be forgotten.” Suffer me to make a slight alteration in that text. It is not we who have forgotten the right hand, but the right hand that has forgotten us: and the “tongue has cleaved to the roof of” his own “mouth,” and barred the passage of his words, so that we can never again hear that sweet voice. But let me have all tears wiped away, for I feel that I am indulging more than is right in this womanish sorrow for our loss.

Our Bridegroom has not been taken from us. He stands in our midst, though we see him not. The Priest is within the holy place. He is entered into that within the veil, whither our forerunner Christ has entered for us35    Heb. vi. 20.. He has left behind him the curtain of the flesh. No longer does he pray to the type or shadow of the things in heaven, but he looks upon the very embodiment of these realities. No longer through a glass darkly does he intercede with God, but face to face he intercedes with Him: and he intercedes for us36    Doubtless an allusion to Rom. xi. 2; “how he (Elias) maketh intercession to God against Israel;” but here Meletius departed intercedes for the people, and the Intercession of Saints is clearly intimated., and for the “negligences and ignorances” of the people. He has put away the coats of skin37    Gen. iii. 21.; no need is there now for the dwellers in paradise of such garments as these; but he wears the raiment which the purity of his life has woven into a glorious dress. “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death38    Ps. cxvi. 15, 16.” of such a man, or rather it is not death, but the breaking of bonds, as it is said, “Thou hast broken my bonds asunder.” Simeon has been let depart39    Gen. xliii. 23; S. Luke ii. 30.. He has been freed from the bondage of the body. The “snare is broken and the bird hath flown away40    Ps. cxxiv. 7..” He has left Egypt behind, this material life. He has crossed41    Morell reads here, “Moses has left,” “Moses has crossed;” but Krabinger has no doubt that this word is due to a gloss upon the text. The Scholiast Nicetas (on Gregory Naz., Orat. 38) well explains this use of “Egypt”: “Egypt is sometimes taken for this present world, sometimes for the flesh, sometimes for sin, sometimes for ignorance, sometimes for mischief.”, not this Red Sea of ours, but the black gloomy sea of life. He has entered upon the land of promise, and holds high converse with God upon the mount. He has loosed the sandal of his soul, that with the pure step of thought he may set foot upon that holy land where there is the Vision of God. Having therefore, brethren, this consolation, do ye, who are conveying the bones of our Joseph to the place of blessing, listen to the exhortation of Paul: “Sorrow not as others who have no hope42    1 Thess. iv. 13..” Speak to the people there; relate the glorious tale; speak of the incredible wonder, how the people in their myriads, so densely crowded together as to look like a sea of heads, became all one continuous body, and like some watery flood surged around the procession bearing his remains. Tell them how the fair43    καλὸς. “Atticæ urbanitatis proprium,” Krabinger. But David is described as “of a fair countenance.” David distributed himself, in divers ways and manners, among innumerable ranks of people, and danced before that ark44    2 Sam. vi. 14. “That ark,” very probably refers to the remains of Meletius, not to the coffin or bier. The human body is called by this very term (σκῆνος, tabernacle), 2 Cor. v. 1 and 4, nor was the word in this sense unknown to Plato. The body of Meletius has been already called a κιβωτός. in the midst of men of the same and of different language45    ἑτερογλώσσοις: καὶ ἐν χείλεσιν ἑτέροις is added (cf. 1 Cor. xiv. 21; Is. xxviii. 11), in the text of Morell, but none of Krabinger’s mss. recognize these words.. Tell them how the streams of fire, from the succession of the lamps, flowed along in an unbroken track of light, and extended so far that the eye could not reach them. Tell them of the eager zeal of all the people, of his joining “the company of Apostles46    τῶν ἀποστόλων τὴν συσκηνίαν (εἴπατε): “Thirteenth Apostle!” was in these times a usual expression of the highest praise. It was even heard in the applause given to living preachers. But if εἴπατε cannot bear so extended a meaning, some funeral banquet of the “apostles” assembled at the Council is alluded to: or else (remembering the use of σκῆνος just above) “the lying in state in an Apostle’s Church,” in the capital: cf. above, “his joining the Apostolic band and his departure to Christ.”,” and how the napkins that bound his face were plucked away to make amulets for the faithful. Let it be added to your narration how the Emperor47    Theodosius. showed in his countenance his sorrow for this misfortune, and rose from his throne, and how the whole city joined the funeral procession of the Saint. Moreover console each other with the following words; it is a good medicine that Solomon48    It is only the Rabbis that make Lemuel, the author of the last chapter of Proverbs, the same as Solomon: Grotius identifies him with Hezekiah. Some German commentators regard him as the chief of an Arab tribe, on the borders of Palestine, and brother of Agur, author of ch. xxx. But the suggestion of Eichhorn and Ewald is the more probable, that Lemuel is an ideal name signifying “for God,” the true King who leads a life consecrated to Jehovah. has for sorrow; for he bids wine be given to the sorrowful; saying this to us, the labourers in the vineyard: “Give,” therefore, “your wine to those that are in sorrow49    Prov. xxxi. 6. Just above πρὸς ἡμᾶς is the reading of Krabinger’s mss. and of the Paris Editt.: Sifanus and Ducæus have rendered ὑμᾶς.,” not that wine which produces drunkenness, plots against the senses, and destroys the body, but such as gladdens the heart, the wine which the Prophet recommends when he says: “Wine maketh glad the heart of man50    S. Gregory has misapplied both this passage from Ps. civ. 15 and the previous one from Prov. xxxi. 6. An attentive consideration of them shows that they do not lend themselves to the use he has made of them..” Pledge each other in that liquor undiluted51    Ζωροτέρῳ. For the comparative see Lobeck, Ad Phrynich. p. 146: μειζοτέρῳ is the common faulty reading. These words are joined closely to what precedes in the mss. Then, in what follows, “the unstinted goblets of the word,” πνευματικοῦ is rightly omitted before λόγου: “and gladness” (καὶ ἀγαλλίασις) is rightly added, as it is joined with εὐφροσύνη in Ps. xlv. 15; and by Gregory himself, In Diem Nat. Christ. (pp. 340 and 352), and In Bapt. Christi (p. 377). and with the unstinted goblets of the word, that thus our grief may be turned to joy and gladness, by the grace of the Only-begotten Son of God, through Whom be glory to God, even the Father, for ever and ever. Amen.

ΓΡΗΓΟΡΙΟΥ ΕΠΙΣΚΟΠΟΥ ΝΥΣΣΗΣ ΕΠΙΤΑΦΙΟΣ ΕΙΣ ΜΕΛΕΤΙΟΝ ΕΠΙΣΚΟΠΟΝ ΑΝΤΙΟΧΕΙΑΣ Ηὔξησεν ἡμῖν τὸν ἀριθμὸν τῶν ἀποστόλων ὁ νέος ἀπόστολος, ὁ συγκαταψηφισθεὶς μετὰ τῶν ἀποστόλων: εἵλκυσαν γὰρ οἱ ἅγιοι πρὸς ἑαυτοὺς τὸν ὁμότροπον, τὸν ἀθλητὴν οἱ ἀθληταί, τὸν στεφανίτην οἱ στεφανῖται, τὸν ἁγνὸν τῇ ψυχῇ οἱ καθαροὶ τῇ καρδίᾳ, τὸν κήρυκα τοῦ λόγου οἱ ὑπηρέται τοῦ λόγου. ἀλλὰ μακαριστὸς μὲν ὁ πατὴρ ἡμῶν τῆς τε ἀποστολικῆς συσκηνίας καὶ τῆς πρὸς τὸν Χριστὸν ἀναλύσεως, ἐλεεινοὶ δὲ ἡμεῖς: οὐ γὰρ ἐᾷ μακαρίζειν ἡμᾶς τοῦ πατρὸς τὴν εὐκληρίαν ἡ ἀωρία τῆς ὀρφανίας. ἐκείνῳ κρεῖττον ἦν τὸ σὺν Χριστῷ εἶναι διὰ τῆς ἀναλύσεως, ἀλλ' ἡμῖν χαλεπὸν τὸ διαζευχθῆναι τῆς πατρικῆς προστασίας. ἰδοὺ γάρ, βουλῆς καιρός, καὶ ὁ συμβουλεύων σιγᾷ: πόλεμος ἡμᾶς περιεστοίχισται, πόλεμος αἱρετικός, καὶ ὁ στρατηγῶν οὐκ ἔστιν: κάμνει ταῖς ἀρρωστίαις τὸ κοινὸν σῶμα τῆς ἐκκλησίας, καὶ τὸν ἰατρὸν οὐχ εὑρίσκομεν. ὁρᾶτε ἐν ποταποῖς τὰ ἡμέτερα. ἐβουλόμην, εἴ πως οἷόν τε ἦν, τονώσας ἐμαυτοῦ τὴν ἀσθένειαν συναναβῆναι τῷ ὄγκῳ τῆς συμφορᾶς καί τινα ῥῆξαι φωνὴν κατ' ἀξίαν τοῦ πάθους, καθάπερ οἱ γενναῖοι πεποιήκασιν οὗτοι μεγαλοφώνως τὴν ἐπὶ τῷ πατρὶ συμφορὰν ὀδυρόμενοι. ἀλλὰ τί πάθω; πῶς βιάσωμαι γλῶσσαν εἰς ὑπηρεσίαν τοῦ λόγου καθάπερ τινὶ πέδῃ βαρείᾳ τῇ συμφορᾷ πεδηθεῖσαν; πῶς ἀνοίξω στόμα τῇ ἀφασίᾳ κεκρατημένον; πῶς προῶμαι φωνὴν εἰς πάθη καὶ θρήνους ἐκ συνηθείας κατολισθαίνουσαν; πῶς ἀναβλέψω τοῖς τῆς ψυχῆς ὀφθαλμοῖς τῷ τῆς συμφορᾶς γνόφῳ κεκαλυμμένοις; τίς μοι διασχὼν τὴν βαθεῖαν ταύτην καὶ σκοτεινὴν τῆς λύπης νεφέλην πάλιν ἐξ αἰθρίας λαμπρὰν ἀναδείξει τὴν τῆς εἰρήνης ἀκτῖνα; πόθεν δὲ καὶ ἀναλάμψει ἡ ἀκτὶς τοῦ φωστῆρος ἡμῶν καταδύντος; ὢ κακῆς σκοτομήνης ἀνατολὴν φωστῆρος οὐκ ἐλπιζούσης.
Ὡς ἀπεναντίον ἡμῖν ἐν τῷ παρόντι τόπῳ νῦν τε καὶ πρώην οἱ λόγοι γίνονται. τότε γαμικῶς ἐχορεύομεν, νῦν ἐλεεινῶς ἐπὶ τῷ πένθει στενάζομεν. τότε ἐπιθαλάμιον, νῦν ἐπιτάφιον ᾄδομεν. μέμνησθε γὰρ ὅτε τὸν πνευματικὸν γάμον ὑμᾶς εἱστιάσαμεν τῷ καλῷ νυμφίῳ συνοικίζοντες τὴν παρθένον, ὑμᾶς, καὶ τὰ τῶν λόγων ἕδνα κατὰ δύναμιν ἡμῶν εἰσηνεγκάμεθα εὐφραίνοντες ἐν τῷ μέρει καὶ εὐφραινόμενοι. ἀλλὰ νῦν εἰς θρῆνον ἡμῖν ἡ χαρὰ μεθηρμόσθη καὶ ἡ τῆς εὐφροσύνης περιβολὴ σάκκος ἐγένετο. ἢ τάχα σιωπᾶν ἔδει τὸ πάθος καὶ ἔνδον ἀποκλείειν τῇ σιωπῇ τὴν ἀλγηδόνα, ὡς ἂν μὴ διοχλοίημεν τοὺς υἱοὺς τοῦ νυμφῶνος οὐκ ἔχοντες τὸ φαιδρὸν τοῦ γάμου ἔνδυμα ἀλλὰ μελανειμονοῦντες τῷ λόγῳ; ἐπειδὴ γὰρ ἀπήρθη ἀφ' ἡμῶν ὁ καλὸς νυμφίος, ἀθρόως τῷ πένθει κατεμελάνθημεν, καὶ οὐκ ἔστι συνήθως καταφαιδρῦναι τὸν λόγον τὴν κοσμοῦσαν ἡμᾶς στολὴν τοῦ φθόνου ἀποσυλήσαντος. πλήρεις ἀγαθῶν πρὸς ὑμᾶς ἀπηντήσαμεν: γυμνοὶ καὶ πένητες ἀφ' ὑμῶν ὑποστρέφομεν. ὀρθὴν εἴχομεν ὑπὲρ κεφαλῆς τὴν λαμπάδα πλουσίῳ τῷ φωτὶ καταλάμπουσαν: ταύτην ἐσβεσμένην ἀνακομίζομεν εἰς καπνὸν καὶ κόνιν διαλυθέντος τοῦ φέγγους. εἴχομεν τὸν θησαυρὸν τὸν μέγαν ἐν ὀστρακίνῳ τῷ σκεύει: ἀλλ' ὁ μὲν θησαυρὸς ἀφανής, τὸ δὲ ὀστράκινον σκεῦος κενὸν τοῦ πλούτου τοῖς δεδωκόσιν ἐπανασῴζεται. τί ἐροῦσιν οἱ ἀποστείλαντες; τί ἀποκρινοῦνται οἱ ἀπαιτούμενοι; ὢ πονηροῦ ναυαγίου. πῶς ἐν μέσῳ τῷ λιμένι τῆς ἐλπίδος ἡμῶν ἐναυαγήσαμεν; πῶς ἡ μυριοφόρος ὁλκὰς αὐτῷ πληρώματι καταδῦσα γυμνοὺς ἡμᾶς τούς ποτε πλουτοῦντας κατέλιπεν; ποῦ τὸ λαμπρὸν ἱστίον ἐκεῖνο τὸ τῷ ἁγίῳ πνεύματι διὰ παντὸς εὐθυνόμενον; ποῦ τὸ ἀσφαλὲς τῶν ψυχῶν ἡμῶν πηδάλιον, δι' οὗ τὰς τρικυμίας τὰς αἱρετικὰς ἀπαθῶς παρεπλέομεν; ποῦ ἡ ἀμετάθετος τῆς γνώμης ἄγκυρα, ᾗ μετὰ πάσης ἀσφαλείας πεποιθότες ἀνεπαυόμεθα; ποῦ ὁ καλὸς κυβερνήτης ὁ πρὸς τὸν ἄνω σκοπὸν διευθύνων τὸ σκάφος; ἆρα μικρὰ τὰ συμβάντα καὶ μάτην παθαίνομαι; ἢ μᾶλλον οὐκ ἐφικνοῦμαι τοῦ πάθους, κἂν ὑπερφωνήσω τῷ λόγῳ; χρήσατε ἡμῖν, ἀδελφοί, χρήσατε τὸ ἐκ συμπαθείας δάκρυον. καὶ γὰρ ὅτε ὑμεῖς ηὐφραίνεσθε, ἡμεῖς τῆς εὐφροσύνης ὑμῖν ἐκοινωνήσαμεν. οὐκοῦν ἀπόδοτε ἡμῖν τὸ πονηρὸν τοῦτο ἀντάλλαγμα. Χαίρειν μετὰ χαιρόντων, τοῦτο ἡμεῖς ἐποιήσαμεν: Κλαίειν μετὰ κλαιόντων, τοῦτο ὑμεῖς ἀνταπόδοτε. ἐδάκρυσέ ποτε ξένος λαὸς ἐπὶ τοῦ πατριάρχου Ἰακὼβ καὶ τὴν ἀλλοτρίαν συμφορὰν ᾠκειώσατο, ὅτε τὸν πατέρα ἐξ Αἰγύπτου οἱ ἀπ' ἐκείνου μετακομίσαντες πανδημεὶ τὴν ἐπ' αὐτῷ συμφορὰν ἐπὶ τῆς ἀλλοτρίας κατωλοφύραντο ἡμέραις τριάκοντα καὶ τοσαύταις νυξὶ τὸν ἐπ' αὐτῷ θρῆνον συμπαρατείνοντες. μιμήσασθε τοὺς ἀλλοφύλους οἱ ἀδελφοὶ καὶ ὁμόφυλοι. κοινὸν ἦν τότε τῶν ξένων καὶ τῶν ἐγχωρίων τὸ δάκρυον: κοινὸν ἔστω καὶ νῦν, ἐπεὶ καὶ τὸ πάθος κοινόν. ὁρᾶτε τοὺς πατριάρχας τούτους: πάντες οὗτοι τέκνα τοῦ ἡμετέρου εἰσὶν Ἰακώβ. ἐξ ἐλευθέρας οἱ πάντες. οὐδεὶς νόθος οὐδὲ ὑπόβλητος. οὐδὲ γὰρ ἦν θέμις ἐκείνῳ δουλικὴν δυσγένειαν ἐπεισάγειν τῇ εὐγενείᾳ τῆς πίστεως. οὐκοῦν καὶ ὑμέτερος ἐκεῖνος πατήρ, διότι τοῦ πατρὸς ἦν τοῦ ὑμετέρου πατήρ.
Ἠκούσατε ἀρτίως τοῦ Ἐφραὶμ καὶ τοῦ Μανασσῆ, οἷα καὶ ὅσα περὶ τοῦ πατρὸς διηγήσαντο, ὡς ὑπερβαίνει λόγον τὰ θαύματα. δότε κἀμοί τι περὶ τούτων εἰπεῖν: καὶ γὰρ ἀκίνδυνον τὸ μακαρίζειν λοιπόν: οὐκέτι φοβοῦμαι τὸν φθόνον: τί γάρ με χεῖρον ἐργάσεται; οὐκοῦν γνῶτε τίς ὁ ἀνήρ. Εὐγενὴς τῶν ἀφ' ἡλίου ἀνατολῶν, Ἄμεμπτος, δίκαιος, ἀληθινός, θεοσεβής, ἀπεχόμενος ἀπὸ παντὸς πονηροῦ πράγματος (οὐ γὰρ δὴ ζηλοτυπήσει ὁ μέγας Ἰώβ, εἰ ταῖς περὶ αὐτοῦ μαρτυρίαις καὶ ὁ μιμητὴς ἐκείνου ἐγκαλλωπίζοιτο). ἀλλ' ὁ τὰ καλὰ πάντα βλέπων φθόνος εἶδε καὶ τὸ ἡμέτερον ἀγαθὸν πικρῷ ὀφθαλμῷ, καὶ ὁ ἐμπεριπατῶν τῇ οἰκουμένῃ καὶ δι' ἡμῶν περιεπάτησε πλατὺ τὸ ἴχνος τῆς θλίψεως ταῖς εὐπραγίαις ἡμῶν ἐναπερείσας. οὐ βοῶν καὶ προβάτων ἀγέλας διελυμήνατο, πλὴν εἰ μὴ ἄρα τις κατὰ τὸ μυστικὸν εἰς τὴν ἐκκλησίαν μεταλάβοι τὸ ποίμνιον: πλὴν οὐκ ἐν τούτοις ἡμῖν παρὰ τοῦ φθόνου ἡ βλάβη, οὐδὲ ἐν ὄνοις καὶ καμήλοις τὴν ζημίαν εἰργάσατο, οὐδὲ τραύματι σαρκὸς τὰς αἰσθήσεις ἐδρίμυξεν, ἀλλ' αὐτῆς ἡμᾶς τῆς κεφαλῆς ἀπεσύλησεν. τῇ δὲ κεφαλῇ συναπῆλθε τὰ τίμια ἡμῶν αἰσθητήρια. οὐκέτι ἔστιν ὁ ὀφθαλμὸς ὁ τὰ οὐράνια βλέπων, οὐδὲ ἡ ἀκοή [ἡ] τῆς θείας φωνῆς ἐπαΐουσα, οὐδὲ ἡ γλῶσσα ἐκείνη, τὸ ἁγνὸν ἀνάθημα τῆς ἀληθείας. ποῦ ἡ γλυκεῖα τῶν ὀμμάτων γαλήνη; ποῦ τὸ φαιδρὸν ἐπὶ τοῦ χείλους μειδίαμα; ποῦ ἡ εὐπροσήγορος δεξιὰ τῇ τοῦ στόματος εὐλογίᾳ τοὺς δακτύλους συνεπισείουσα; προάγομαι δὲ ὡς ἐπὶ σκηνῆς ἀναβοῆσαι τὴν συμφοράν. ἐλεῶ σε, ὦ ἐκκλησία: πρὸς σὲ λέγω τὴν Ἀντιόχου πόλιν: ἐλεῶ σε τῆς ἀθρόας ταύτης μεταβολῆς. πῶς ἀπεκοσμήθη τὸ κάλλος; πῶς ἀπεσυλήθη ὁ κόσμος; πῶς ἐξαίφνης ἀπερρύη τὸ ἄνθος; ὄντως Ἐξηράνθη ὁ χόρτος, καὶ τὸ ἄνθος ἐξέπεσεν. τίς ὀφθαλμὸς πονηρός, τίς βασκανία κακὴ κατὰ τῆς ἐκκλησίας ἐκείνης ἐκώμασεν; οἷα ἀνθ' οἵων ἠλλάξατο. ἐξέλιπεν ἡ πηγή. ἐξηράνθη ὁ ποταμός. πάλιν εἰς αἷμα μετεποιήθη τὸ ὕδωρ. ὢ δυστυχοῦς ἀγγελίας ἐκείνης τῆς διαγγελούσης τῇ ἐκκλησίᾳ τὸ πάθος. τίς ἐρεῖ τοῖς τέκνοις ὅτι ἀπωρφανίσθησαν; τίς ἀπαγγελεῖ τῇ νύμφῃ ὅτι ἐχήρευσεν; ὢ τῶν κακῶν. τί ἐξέπεμψαν; καὶ τί ὑποδέχονται; κιβωτὸν προέπεμψαν καὶ σορὸν ὑποδέχονται. κιβωτὸς γὰρ ἦν, ἀδελφοί, ὁ τοῦ θεοῦ ἄνθρωπος: κιβωτός, περιέχων ἐν ἑαυτῷ τὰ θεῖα μυστήρια. ἐκεῖ ἡ στάμνος ἡ χρυσῆ, πλήρης τοῦ θείου μάννα, πλήρης τῆς οὐρανίου τροφῆς. ἐν ἐκείνῃ αἱ πλάκες τῆς διαθήκης ἐν ταῖς πλαξὶ τῆς καρδίας ἐγγεγραμμέναι πνεύματι θεοῦ ζῶντος, οὐ μέλανι: οὐδὲν γὰρ τῇ καθαρότητι τῆς καρδίας ζοφῶδες καὶ μέλαν ἐνεκέκαυτο νόημα: ἐν ἐκείνῃ ἡ ῥάβδος τῆς ἱερωσύνης ἡ ἐν ταῖς χερσὶ ταῖς ἐκείνου βλαστήσασα. καὶ εἴ τι ἄλλο τὴν κιβωτὸν ἔχειν ἀκούομεν, πάντα τῇ ψυχῇ τοῦ ἀνδρὸς περιείληπτο.
Ἀλλ' ἀντ' ἐκείνων τί; σιωπάτω ὁ λόγος. σινδόνες καθαραὶ καὶ τὰ ἐκ σηρῶν ὑφάσματα, μύρων καὶ ἀρωμάτων δαψίλεια, γυναικὸς φιλοτιμία κοσμίας τε καὶ εὐσχήμονος: εἰρήσεται γάρ, ὡς ἂν καὶ ταῦτα γένοιτο εἰς μαρτυρίαν αὐτῇ, ὃ περὶ τὸν ἱερέα ἐποίησεν δαψιλῶς τὴν ἀλάβαστρον τοῦ μύρου τῆς τοῦ ἱερέως κεφαλῆς καταχέασα. ἀλλὰ τὸ ἐν τούτοις διασῳζόμενον, τί; ὀστέα νεκρὰ καὶ πρὸ τοῦ θανάτου προμεμελετηκότα τὴν νέκρωσιν, τὰ λυπηρὰ τῶν συμφορῶν ἡμῶν μνημόσυνα. ὢ οἵα φωνὴ πάλιν ἐν Ῥαμὰ ἀκουσθήσεται: Ῥαχὴλ κλαίουσα οὐχὶ τὰ τέκνα ἑαυτῆς ἀλλὰ τὸν ἄνδρα καὶ οὐ προσιεμένη παράκλησιν. ἄφετε, οἱ παρακαλοῦντες, ἄφετε. μὴ κατισχύσητε παρακαλέσαι. βαρὺ πενθείτω ἡ χήρα. αἰσθέσθω τῆς ζημίας, ἣν ἐζημίωται: καίτοι οὐκ ἀμελέτητός ἐστι τοῦ χωρισμοῦ ἐν τοῖς ἀγῶσι τοῦ ἀθλητοῦ προεθισθεῖσα φέρειν τὴν μόνωσιν. μέμνησθε πάντως ὅπως ὑμῖν ὁ πρὸ ἡμῶν λόγος τοὺς ἀγῶνας τοῦ ἀνδρὸς διηγήσατο, ὅτι διὰ πάντων τιμῶν τὴν ἁγίαν τριάδα καὶ ἐν τῷ ἀριθμῷ τῶν ἀγώνων τὴν τιμὴν διεσώσατο τρισὶ πειρασμῶν προσβολαῖς ἐναθλήσας. ἠκούσατε τὴν ἀκολουθίαν τῶν πόνων, οἷος ἐν πρώτοις, οἷος ἐν μέσοις, ἐν τελευταίοις οἷος ἦν. περιττὴν κρίνω τὴν ἐπανάληψιν τῶν εἰρημένων καλῶς, ἀλλὰ τοσοῦτον εἰπεῖν μόνον ἴσως οὐκ ἄκαιρον: ὅτε τὸ πρῶτον εἶδεν ἡ σώφρων ἐκκλησία ἐκείνη τὸν ἄνδρα, εἶδε πρόσωπον ἀληθῶς ἐν εἰκόνι θεοῦ μεμορφωμένον, εἶδεν ἀγάπην πηγάζουσαν, εἶδε χάριν περικεχυμένην τοῖς χείλεσιν, ταπεινοφροσύνης τὸν ἀκρότατον ὅρον, μεθ' ὃν οὐκ ἔστιν ἐπινοῆσαι τὸ πλέον: κατὰ τὸν Δαβὶδ τὴν πραότητα, κατὰ τὸν Σολομῶντα τὴν σύνεσιν, κατὰ τὸν Μωϋσέα τὴν ἀγαθότητα, κατὰ τὸν Σαμουὴλ τὴν ἀκρίβειαν, κατὰ τὸν Ἰωσὴφ τὴν σωφροσύνην, κατὰ τὸν Δανιὴλ τὴν σοφίαν, κατὰ τὸν μέγαν Ἠλίαν ἐν τῷ ζήλῳ τῆς πίστεως, κατὰ τὸν ὑψηλὸν Ἰωάννην ἐν τῇ ἀφθορίᾳ τοῦ σώματος,: εἶδε τοσούτων ἀγαθῶν συνδρομὴν περὶ μίαν ψυχήν: ἐτρώθη τῷ μακαρίῳ ἔρωτι ἐν τῇ ἁγνῇ καὶ ἀγαθῇ φιλοφροσύνῃ τὸν νυμφίον ἑαυτῆς ἀγαπήσασα. ἀλλὰ πρὶν τὴν ἐπιθυμίαν ἐμπλῆσαι, πρὶν ἀναπαῦσαι τὸν πόθον, ἔτι τῷ φίλτρῳ ζέουσα, κατελείφθη μόνη τῶν πειρασμῶν τὸν ἀθλητὴν ἐπὶ τοὺς ἀγῶνας καλούντων. καὶ ὁ μὲν ἐνήθλει τοῖς ὑπὲρ τῆς ἀληθείας ἱδρῶσιν, ἡ δὲ ὑπέμενεν ἐν σωφροσύνῃ τὸν γάμον φυλάσσουσα. χρόνος ἦν ἐν τῷ μέσῳ πολὺς καί τις μοιχικῶς κατεπεχείρει τῆς ἀχράντου παστάδος. ἀλλ' ἡ νύμφη οὐκ ἐμιαίνετο. καὶ πάλιν ἐπάνοδος καὶ πάλιν φυγὴ καὶ ἐκ τρίτου ὡσαύτως, ἕως διασχὼν τὸν αἱρετικὸν ζόφον ὁ κύριος καὶ τὴν ἀκτῖνα τῆς εἰρήνης ἐπιβαλὼν ἔδωκεν ἀνάπαυσίν τινα τῶν μακρῶν πόνων ἐλπίζειν. ἀλλ' ἐπειδὴ πάλιν εἶδον ἀλλήλους καὶ ἀνενεώθησαν εὐφροσύναι καὶ θυμηδίαι πνευματικαὶ καὶ πάλιν ἀνεφλέχθη ὁ πόθος, εὐθὺς διακόπτει τὴν ἀπόλαυσιν ἡ ἐσχάτη αὕτη ἀποδημία. ἦλθε νυμφοστολήσων ὑμᾶς καὶ οὐ διήμαρτε τοῦ σπουδάσματος. ἐπέθηκε τῇ καλῇ συζυγίᾳ τοὺς τῆς εὐλογίας στεφάνους. ἐμιμήσατο τὸν δεσπότην τὸν ἴδιον. ὡς ἐν Κανᾶ τῆς Γαλιλαίας ὁ κύριος, οὕτως καὶ ἐνταῦθα ὁ μιμητὴς τοῦ κυρίου. τὰς γὰρ Ἰουδαϊκὰς ὑδρίας τοῦ αἱρετικοῦ ὕδατος πεπληρωμένας πλήρεις τοῦ ἀκηράτου οἴνου ἐποίησεν ἐν τῇ δυνάμει τῆς πίστεως μεταποιήσας τὴν φύσιν. ἔστησεν ἐν ὑμῖν πολλάκις κρατῆρα νηφάλιον τῇ γλυκείᾳ ἑαυτοῦ φωνῇ δαψιλῶς οἰνοχοήσας τὴν χάριν. πολλάκις ὑμῖν προεθήκατο τὴν λογικὴν πανδαισίαν. ὁ μὲν εὐλογῶν καθηγεῖτο, οἱ δὲ καλοὶ οὗτοι μαθηταὶ διηκόνουν τοῖς ὄχλοις λεπτοποιοῦντες τὸν λόγον. καὶ ἡμεῖς ηὐφραινόμεθα τὴν τοῦ γένους ὑμῶν δόξαν οἰκείαν ποιούμενοι.
Ὡς καλὰ μέχρι τούτου τὰ διηγήματα. ὡς μακάριον ἦν τούτοις ἐναπολῆξαι τὸν λόγον. ἀλλὰ μετὰ ταῦτα τί; Καλέσατε τὰς θρηνούσας, ὁ Ἰερεμίας φησίν. οὐ γὰρ ἔστιν ἄλλως φλεγομένην καρδίαν καταπεφθῆναι ὑπὸ τοῦ πάθους οἰδαίνουσαν, μὴ στεναγμοῖς καὶ δακρύοις κουφιζομένην. τότε παρεμυθεῖτο τὸν χωρισμὸν ἡ τῆς ἐπανόδου ἐλπίς, νυνὶ δὲ τὸν ἔσχατον ἡμῶν χωρισμὸν ἀπεσχίσθη. χάσμα μέγα μεταξὺ αὐτοῦ τε καὶ τῆς ἐκκλησίας κατὰ τὸ μέσον ἐστήρικται. ὁ μὲν ἐν τοῖς κόλποις τοῦ Ἀβραὰμ ἀναπαύεται, ὁ δὲ διακομίζων τὴν σταγόνα τοῦ ὕδατος, ἵνα καταψύξῃ τῶν ὀδυνωμένων τὴν γλῶσσαν, οὐκ ἔστιν. οἴχεται τὸ κάλλος ἐκεῖνο, σιγᾷ ἡ φωνή, μέμυκε τὰ χείλη, ἀπέπτη ἡ χάρις, διήγημα γέγονεν ἡ εὐκληρία. ἐλύπει ποτὲ καὶ τὸν Ἰσραηλίτην λαὸν Ἠλίας ἀπὸ γῆς πρὸς τὸν θεὸν ἀνιπτάμενος. ἀλλὰ παρεμυθεῖτο τὸν χωρισμὸν Ἐλισσαῖος τῇ μηλωτῇ τοῦ διδασκάλου κοσμούμενος. νυνὶ δὲ τὸ τραῦμα ὑπὲρ θεραπείαν ἐστίν, ὅτι καὶ Ἠλίας ἀνελήφθη καὶ Ἐλισσαῖος οὐχ ὑπελείφθη. ἠκούσατε τοῦ Ἰερεμίου φωνάς τινας σκυθρωπὰς καὶ γοώδεις, αἷς ἐρημωθεῖσαν τὴν πόλιν Ἱεροσολυμιτῶν κατεθρήνησεν, ὃς ἄλλα τέ τινα περιπαθῶς διεξῆλθε καὶ τοῦτό φησιν: Ὁδοὶ Σιὼν πενθοῦσιν. ταῦτα τότε μὲν εἴρηται, νῦν δὲ πεπλήρωται. ὅταν γὰρ περιαγγείλῃ τὸ πάθος ἡ φήμη, τότε πλήρεις ἔσονται αἱ ὁδοὶ τῶν πενθούντων καὶ προχυθήσονται οἱ ὑπ' αὐτοῦ ποιμαινόμενοι τὴν τῶν Νινευϊτῶν φωνὴν ἐπὶ τοῦ πάθους μιμούμενοι, μᾶλλον δὲ κἀκείνων ἀλγεινότερον ὀδυνώμενοι. τοῖς μὲν γὰρ ὁ θρῆνος τὸν φόβον ἔλυσεν, τούτοις δὲ λύσις οὐδεμία τῶν κακῶν ἀπὸ τῶν θρήνων ἐλπίζεται. οἶδά τινα τοῦ Ἰερεμίου καὶ ἄλλην φωνὴν ταῖς βίβλοις οὖσαν τῶν ψαλμῶν ἐναρίθμιον, ἣν ἐπὶ τῇ αἰχμαλωσίᾳ τοῦ Ἰσραὴλ ἐποιήσατο, ὅτε ἐπὶ τῶν Βαβυλωνίων ποταμῶν καθήμενοι τὴν μνήμην τῶν ἰδίων ἀγαθῶν ἀπεκλάοντο. φησὶ δὲ ὁ λόγος ὅτι Ἐν ἰτέαις ἐκρεμάσαμεν ἑαυτῶν τὰ ὄργανα, σιωπὴν ἑαυτῶν τε καὶ τῶν ὀργάνων καταδικάσαντες. ἐμὴν ποιοῦμαι τὴν ᾠδὴν ταύτην. ἐὰν γὰρ ἴδω τὴν αἱρετικὴν σύγχυσιν (Βαβυλὼν δέ ἐστιν ἡ σύγχυσις) καὶ ἐὰν ἴδω τοὺς πειρασμοὺς τοὺς διὰ τῆς συγχύσεως ῥέοντας, ταῦτα ἐκεῖνά φημι τὰ Βαβυλώνια ῥεύματα, οἷς προσκαθήμενοι κλαίομεν, ὅτι τὸν διάγοντα ἡμᾶς διὰ τούτων οὐκ ἔχομεν. κἂν τὰς ἰτέας εἴπῃς καὶ τὰ ἐπὶ τούτων ὄργανα, ἐμὸν καὶ τοῦτο τὸ αἴνιγμα. ὄντως γὰρ ἐν ἰτέαις ὁ βίος. δένδρον γὰρ ἄκαρπον ἡ ἰτέα ἐστίν. ἡμῶν δὲ ἀπερρύη τῆς ζωῆς ὁ γλυκὺς καρπός. οὐκοῦν ἰτέαι γεγόναμεν ἄκαρποι ἀργὰ καὶ ἀκίνητα τὰ τῆς ἀγάπης ὄργανα ἐπὶ τῶν ξύλων κρεμάσαντες. Ἐὰν ἐπιλάθωμαί σου, φησίν, Ἰερουσαλήμ, ἐπιλησθείη ἡ δεξιά μου. δότε μοι μικρὸν ὑπαλλάξαι τὸ γεγραμμένον, ὅτι οὐχ ἡμεῖς τῆς δεξιᾶς, ἀλλ' ἡ δεξιὰ ἡμῶν ἐπιλέλησται, καὶ ἡ γλῶσσα τῷ ἰδίῳ λάρυγγι κολληθεῖσα τὰς τῆς φωνῆς διεξόδους ἀπέφραξεν, ἵνα μηκέτι ἡμεῖς τῆς γλυκείας ἐκείνης φωνῆς πάλιν ἀκούσωμεν.
Ἀλλ' ἀποψήσασθέ μοι τὰ δάκρυα. αἰσθάνομαι γὰρ πέρα τοῦ δέοντος ἐπὶ τῷ πάθει γυναικιζόμενος. οὐκ ἀπήρθη ἀφ' ἡμῶν ὁ νυμφίος, μέσος ἡμῶν ἕστηκεν, κἂν ἡμεῖς μὴ βλέπωμεν. ἐν τοῖς ἀδύτοις ὁ ἱερεύς: εἰς τὰ ἐνδότερα τοῦ καταπετάσματος, ὅπου πρόδρομος ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν εἰσῆλθε Χριστός. κατέλιπε τὸ τῆς σαρκὸς παραπέτασμα. οὐκέτι ὑποδείγματι καὶ σκιᾷ τῶν ἐπουρανίων λατρεύει, ἀλλ' εἰς αὐτὴν βλέπει τὴν τῶν πραγμάτων εἰκόνα. οὐκέτι δι' ἐσόπτρου καὶ δι' αἰνίγματος, ἀλλ' αὐτοπροσώπως ἐντυγχάνει τῷ θεῷ, ἐντυγχάνει δὲ ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν καὶ τῶν τοῦ λαοῦ ἀγνοημάτων. ἀπέθετο τοὺς δερματίνους χιτῶνας: οὐδὲ γάρ ἐστι χρεία τοῖς ἐν παραδείσῳ διάγουσι τῶν τοιούτων χιτώνων: ἀλλ' ἔχει ἐνδύματα, ἃ τῇ καθαρότητι τοῦ βίου ἑαυτῷ ἐξυφήνας ἐπεκομίσατο. τίμιος ἐναντίον κυρίου τοῦ ὁσίου ὁ θάνατος, μᾶλλον δὲ οὐχὶ θάνατος, ἀλλὰ ῥῆξίς ἐστι δεσμῶν. Διέρρηξας γάρ, φησίν, τοὺς δεσμούς μου. ἀπελύθη ὁ Συμεών, ἠλευθερώθη τῶν δεσμῶν τῶν τοῦ σώματος. ἡ παγὶς συνετρίβη, τὸ δὲ στρουθίον ἀπέπτη. κατέλιπε τὴν Αἴγυπτον, τὸν ἰλυώδη βίον. ἐπέρασεν οὐχὶ τὴν ἐρυθρὰν ἐκείνην, ἀλλὰ τὴν μέλαιναν ταύτην καὶ ζοφώδη τοῦ βίου θάλασσαν. εἰσῆλθεν εἰς τὴν γῆν τῆς ἐπαγγελίας, ἐπὶ τοῦ ὄρους προσφιλοσοφεῖ τῷ θεῷ. ἐλύσατο τὸ ὑπόδημα τῆς ψυχῆς, ἵνα καθαρᾷ τῇ βάσει τῆς διανοίας τῆς ἁγίας γῆς ἐπιβατεύσῃ, ἐν ᾗ καθορᾶται θεός. ταύτην ἔχοντες, ἀδελφοί, τὴν παράκλησιν ὑμεῖς οἱ τὰ ὀστᾶ τοῦ Ἰωσὴφ ἐπὶ τὴν χώραν τῆς εὐλογίας μετακομίζοντες ἀκούσατε τοῦ Παύλου παρεγγυῶντος: Μὴ λυπεῖσθε ὡς καὶ οἱ λοιποὶ οἱ μὴ ἔχοντες ἐλπίδα. εἴπατε τῷ ἐκεῖ λαῷ, διηγήσασθε τὰ καλὰ διηγήματα. εἴπατε τὸ ἀπιστούμενον θαῦμα, πῶς εἰς θαλάσσης ὄψιν καταπυκνωθέντες ὁ μυριάνθρωπος δῆμος ἓν ἦν κατὰ τὸ συνεχὲς σῶμα οἱ πάντες οἷόν τι ὕδωρ περὶ τὴν τοῦ σκηνώματος πομπὴν πελαγίζοντες: πῶς ὁ καλὸς Δαβὶδ πολυμερῶς καὶ πολυτρόπως εἰς μυρίας τάξεις ἑαυτὸν καταμερίσας ἐν ἑτερογλώσσοις καὶ ὁμογλώσσοις περὶ τὸ σκῆνος ἐχόρευεν: πῶς ἑκατέρωθεν οἱ τοῦ πυρὸς ποταμοὶ τῇ συνεχείᾳ τῶν λαμπάδων οἷόν τις ὑδάτων ὁλκὸς ἀδιασπάστως ῥέοντες, ἕως οὗ δυνατὸν ἦν ὀφθαλμῷ λαβεῖν, παρετείνοντο. εἴπατε τοῦ λαοῦ παντὸς τὴν προθυμίαν, τῶν ἀποστόλων τὴν συσκηνίαν: πῶς τὰ σουδάρια τῶν χρωτῶν αὐτοῦ εἰς φυλακτήρια τῶν πιστῶν διετίλλετο. προσκείσθω τῷ διηγήματι βασιλεὺς σκυθρωπάζων ἐπὶ τῷ πάθει καὶ θρόνων ἐξανιστάμενος, καὶ πόλις ὅλη τῇ πομπῇ τοῦ ἁγίου συμμεταβαίνουσα, καὶ παρακαλεῖτε ἀλλήλους ἐν τοῖς λόγοις τούτοις. καλῶς ὁ Σολομὼν ἰατρεύει τὴν λύπην. κελεύει γὰρ οἶνον τοῖς ἐν λύπῃ διδόναι, πρὸς ὑμᾶς τοῦτο λέγων, τοὺς τοῦ ἀμπελῶνος ἐργάτας. δότε οὖν τὸν ὑμέτερον οἶνον τοῖς λυπουμένοις, οὐ τὸν τῆς μέθης ἐργάτην ἀλλὰ τὸν τὴν καρδίαν εὐφραίνοντα. ζωροτέρῳ τῷ κράματι καὶ ἀφθονωτέραις δεξιοῦσθε τοῦ λόγου ταῖς κύλιξιν, ὥστε ἡμῖν πάλιν εἰς εὐφροσύνην περιστραφῆναι τὸ πένθος ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ τῷ κυρίῳ ἡμῶν, ᾧ ἡ δόξα εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας. ἀμήν.