"And I beheld, and heard the voice of one eagle flying through the midst of heaven,
saying with a loud voice: Woe, woe, woe to the inhabitants of the earth....
[Apocalypse (Revelation) 8:13]

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Sermons from the Saints: Saint Andrew of Crete

The Cross of Christ by Saint Andrew of Crete, Bishop (660-740)

 The cross is Christ’s glory and triumph

We are celebrating the feast of the cross which drove away darkness and brought in the light. As we keep this feast, we are lifted up with the crucified Christ, leaving behind us earth and sin so that we may gain the things above. So great and outstanding a possession is the cross that he who wins it has won a treasure. Rightly could I call this treasure the fairest of all fair things and the costliest, in fact as well as in name, for on it and through it and for its sake the riches of salvation that had been lost were restored to us.

Had there been no cross, Christ could not have been crucified. Had there been no cross, life itself could not have been nailed to the tree. And if life had not been nailed to it, there would be no streams of immortality pouring from Christ’s side, blood and water for the world’s cleansing. The legal bond of our sin would not be canceled, we should not have obtained our freedom, we should not have enjoyed the fruit of the tree of life and the gates of paradise would not stand open. Had there been no cross, death would not have been trodden underfoot, nor hell despoiled.

Therefore, the cross is something wonderfully great andhonorable. It is great because through the cross the many noble acts of Christ found their consummation – very many indeed, for both his miracles and his sufferings were fully rewarded with victory. The cross is honorable because it is both the sign of God’s suffering and the trophy of his victory. It stands for his suffering because on it he freely suffered unto death. But is also his trophy because it was the means by which the devil was wounded and death conquered; the barred gates of hell were smashed, and the cross became the one common salvation of the whole world.

The cross is called Christ’s glory; it is saluted as his triumph. We recognize it as the cup he longed to drink and the climax of the sufferings he endured for our sake. As to the cross being Christ’s glory, listen to his words: Now is the Son of Man glorified, and in him God is glorified, and God will glorify him at once. And again: Father, glorify me with the glory I had with you before the would came to be. And once more: Father, glorify you name. The a voice came from heaven: I have glorified it and will glorify it again. Here he speaks f the glory that would accrue to him through the cross. And if you would understand that the cross is Christ’s triumph, hear what he himself also said: When I am lifted up, then I will draw all men to myself. Now you can see that the cross is Christ’s glory and triumph.

Saint Andrew of Crete (660-740) was born in Damascus, Syria in 660. At the age of 15, deciding to become a monk, he entered the Monastery of St. Sabas (pictured right) in Jerusalem. There he rose to distinction as as a prominent theologian and dynamic preacher with classic oratory skills. He wrote forty-one sermons and discourses along with many sacred hymns and inaugurated a form of sacred music known as the canon which is used in the Byzantine liturgy to this day. In 685, he was sent to Constantinople by Patriarch Theodore of Jerusalem to accept the decrees of the Council of Constantinople. He stayed on there as head of an orphanage and of a home to care for aging men. He was named Archbishop of Gortyna, Crete, and in 712 attended a synod called by Phillipicus Bardanes, a Monothelite, who had seized the imperial crown and denounced the decisions of the Council of Constantinople. When Anastasius II defeated Bardanes, Pope Constantine accepted the explanation of Andrew’s patriarch that he had attended under duress. Surnamed “of Jerusalem,” Andrew died in 740 at the age of 80.

Mediational- Salvation Thru the Sacred Heart of Christ 

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