The Manners of the Christians

 [a.d. 130.] The anonymous author of this Epistle gives himself the title (Mathetes) “a disciple”  (263)  of the Apostles,”

Chapter V.—The manners of the Christians.

imagesFor the Christians are distinguished from other men neither by country, nor language, nor the customs which they observe. For they neither inhabit cities of their own, nor employ a peculiar form of speech, nor lead a life which is marked out by any singularity.

The course of conduct which they follow has not been devised by any speculation or deliberation of inquisitive men; nor do they, like some, proclaim themselves the advocates of any merely human doctrines. But, inhabiting Greek as well as barbarian cities, according as the lot of each of them has determined, and following the customs of the natives in respect to clothing, food, and the rest of their ordinary conduct, they display to us their wonderful and confessedly striking(281) method of life.


  They dwell in their own countries, but simply as sojourners. As citizens, they share in all things with others, and yet endure all things as if foreigners. Every foreign land is to them as their native country, and every land of their birth as a land of strangers.

They marry, as do all [others]; they beget children; but they do not destroy their offspring.(282)  They have a common table, but not a common bed.(283)   They are in the flesh, but they do not live after the flesh.(284)  They pass their days on earth, but they are citizens of heaven.(285)  They obey the prescribed laws, and at the same time surpass the laws by their lives. They love all men, and are persecuted by all.

They are unknown and condemned; they are put to death, and restored to life.(286)  They are poor, yet make many rich;(287) they are in lack of all things, and yet abound in all; they are dishonoured, and yet in their very dishonour are glorified. They are evil spoken of, and yet are justified; they are reviled, and bless;(288)  they are insulted, and repay the insult with honour; they do good, yet are punished as evil-doers. When punished, they rejoice as if quickened into life; they are assailed by the Jews as foreigners, and are persecuted by the Greeks; yet those who hate them are unable to assign any reason for their hatred.

263    Cap. xi. ἀποστόλων γενόμενος μαθητης 

282    Literally, “cast away fœtuses.”

283    Otto omits “bed,” which is an emendation, and gives the second “common” the sense of unclean.

284    Comp. 2 Cor. x. 3.

285    Comp. Phil. iii. 20.

286    Comp. 2 Cor. vi. 9.

287    Comp. 2 Cor. vi. 10.

288    Comp. 2 Cor. iv. 12.

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The Priest Who Did Not Want to Serve the Divine Liturgy


There was once a priest who did not want to serve the liturgy because it was a cold winter day.

The temperature was 10 degrees below zero and the priest knew that the only person who was likely to come to the service was the chanter. The priest had no idea about the Church’s teaching on the presence of the Triumphant Church and how the Divine Liturgy benefits the living and the departed. With difficulty he forced himself to go to church. On the way to church he kept wishing that the chanter would not come so that he would not have to serve and go home. However, the chanter did come.

The priest did the Prothesis (or Proskomedia, the service of preparing the holy gifts) in a hurry and began the Divine Liturgy. Shortly after, some bishops, priests, monks and nuns and some lay people arrived. Most of them sat in the choir section and began to chant so beautifully that the priest forgot about how cold and lonely he was earlier. His whole body was warm and his whole being was all a flame…. When he did the small entrance he noticed that the church was full of people – most of them familiar – he did not pay much attention and just continued with the Divine Liturgy.

When the time came for the Sanctification of the Holy Gifts he saw three bishops, brightly clothed and radiant entering the Holy Altar. They knelt with him and prayed. The priest then stood up very carefully with fear, took the censer and in a loud voice said,

‘Especially our All Holy, Immaculate, Most Blessed and glorious Lady Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary…’.

The soul of the priest was amazed and filled with divine joy. Peace and heavenly stillness, hesychia, dominated his inner self. When the time came for the elevation and dividing of the Host (Lamb) the whole church filled with the sweetest melodies. The whole multitude of people who were present along with the monks, priests and bishops chanted not only once but many times,

‘One is Holy, One is Lord: Jesus Christ, to the glory of God the Father. Amen’.

Next they chanted the Holy Communion hymn,

‘Taste and see that the Lord is good, Alleluia.’

The priest was wondering what to do. Should he partake of the Holy Communion first or step aside for the three bishops who were present. Just as he was thinking this, one of the bishops nodded to him indicating that he should receive Holy Communion and then to Unify and Place the remaining of the portions of the Lamb into the Chalice along with the portions in memory of the Holy Theotokos and the Saints. Having completed this the priest then opened the Beautiful Gate … and saw no one in the Church… he turned and looked back into the holy altar, he looked to the right, looked to the left, the bishops had disappeared, he stood there speechless, amazed. He slowly opened his mouth and chanted the next petition,

‘With the fear of God and faith and love, draw near …,’

and the chanter slowly drew near to take Holy Communion. The priest was still amazed, still wondering! The whole Triumphant Church was present. All those present in the church were persons familiar to him, they were persons that had departed from this life and he would from time to time commemorate their names during each liturgy:
‘that’s why they were present, that’s why they all seemed so familiar’, he thought.

As for the bishops in the altar they were the Three Hierarchs: Saint John Chrysostom, Saint Basil the Great and Saint Gregory the Theologian.

So many years of study at university, so much research and so many sleepless nights he spent studying and these efforts were not able to give him not even one drop of the sweetness and divine knowledge that this one Divine Liturgy gave him. (Hat tip: Jim Kolettis and

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A Worthy Cause

If you have five or ten dollars to spare, please head over here and show some love to a warrior woman who fights the good fight of faith daily. Through many years as a navy wife, she raised the kids alone while I was out to sea or stationed across the country.
Now she is battling cancer and needs a better bed. Please do what you can by sharing this link.


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ROCOR Synod Statement

Statement by the Chancery of the Diocese of Chicago and Mid-America on the Issue of Homosexual Marriage to the Clergy and Flock of the Diocese

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In light of yesterday’s Supreme Court usurpation of power…

His Eminence, Archbishop Melchisedek, Archbishop of PIttsburgh and Western Pennsylvania, has issued an archpastoral letter regarding the Supreme Court’s recent ruling.

Archbishop Melchizedek’s statement

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Nothing new under the sun

There is nothing new under the sun. What is now has been before and what shall be has already been.

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2014 in review. Ample evidence that I didn’t have much to say last year! Maybe this year will be more productive.

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 540 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 9 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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