February 27, 2013

The Name of God in the Divine Services

And grant it the grace of redemption, the blessing of Jordan. Make it the fountain of incorruption, the gift of sanctification, the remission of sins, the remedy of infirmities;  the final destruction of demons, unassailable by hostile powers, filled with angelic might. Let those who would ensnare Thy creature flee far from it. For we have called upon Thy Name, O Lord, and it is wonderful, and glorious, and terrible unto adversaries.

From the Prayers of the Blessing of the Water for the Holy Baptism

February 23, 2013

Holy Fathers on the Name of God: St. Macarius of Corinth

The Name of God is by nature holy and all-holy, and the source of sanctification. When it is named, it sanctifies all things on which it is pronounced and it does not admit of any increase and diminution of its sanctity.

The Explanation of Our Father

February 19, 2013

Holy Fathers on the Name of God: St. Barsanuphius the Great

The incessant invocation of God's Name, is a medicine which mortifies not just the passions, but even their influence. Just as the physician puts medications or dressings on a wound that it might be healed, without the patient even knowing the manner of their operation, so also the Name of God, when we invoke it, mortifies all passions, though we do not know how that happens.
St. Barsanuphius the Great, Answer 422.

February 16, 2013

Holy Fathers on the Name of God: St. Maximus the Confessor

And he [Symeon] also gave thanks because his eyes saw the Saviour Jesus, whom he had previously beheld in the mind, in the very circumstances and with the Name that had been prepared before the ages.

St. Maximus the Confessor, The Life of the Holy Theotokos

February 13, 2013

Elder Aimilianos of Simonopetra on the Name of God

There is nothing left for the monk except this one thing:  to wash the eyes of his heart with the tears of his face while repeating with the Psalmist:  "Every night I flood my bed with my tears;  I drench my couch with my weeping"  (Ps. 6:6), and to touch the fringes of Jesus' cloak (cf. Matt. 14:36) while crying, like the blind man of the Gospel:  "Lord have mercy on me, that I may receive my sight!"  (Luke 18:39-41), such that the darkness may be scattered by the invocation of the Name of the Lord.  The Name of Jesus, of One of the Holy Trinity, becomes thus the personal and inner echo of the divine voice that the disciples heard on Tabor coming from the cloud in order to bear witness to the Savior's divinity.  Christ makes Himself present here through the sacrament of His Name, and dim night is transfigured into "bright cloud," into a darkness where God dwells.

In the dimness of the night, struggling against the darkness of egoism and the attacks of "the world rulers of this present darkness"  (Eph. 6:12),  repelling every false brilliance, that is, every thought, product of imagination, or apparition coming from the devil who knows how to "disguise himself as an angel of light" (1 Cor. 11:14), the monk clings to nothing other than the Name of Jesus alone, not in order to analyze it, but to taste the Lord's presence.  Then the lack of light within his cell is transformed into that "swift cloud" upon which the Lord of glory sits (Isa. 19:1).

Archimandrite Aimilianos of Simonopetra
The Way of the Spirit: Reflections on Life in God

February 9, 2013

Letter of Prof. Vladimir Lossky on the controversy concerning the Name of God

"You await from me an answer concerning name-glorifying [imiaslavie]. I will attempt to answer your question very briefly and systematically, or more accurately – to outline only that which I would like to say (otherwise one would have to write volumes, so substantive is this theme). The (dogmatic) question about the Divine Name, about verbal-intellectual expressions (“symbols”) of the Divinity are as important as the question of icons. Just as then, the Orthodox formulation of the Truth about icons became a “triumph of Orthodoxy,” so too, now, the Orthodox teaching about names, as well as all the questions connected with it (the teaching of St. Gregory Palamas, forgotten by many – grace, prayer, authentic “anthropology,” teaching about the mind and heart, about the “inner man” and so on) – must lead to a new Triumph of Orthodoxy, to the appearance of new grace-filled strength and holiness. The question about “name-glorifying” stands somewhere in the depth of Church consciousness. It has not yet received an answer (a truer formulation: the Church always has an answer, but one needs to hear and express it). But the “name-glorifying controversies” outlined two currents in Russian theology, consciously or unconsciously being defined in relation to “name-glorifying.” One current – the opponents of name-glorifiers, rejecting the very question of the veneration of the Name: this is mere “iconoclasm,” rationalism, seeing in religion only a volitional aspect and blind to nature (Divine grace); such was Metropolitan Anthony [Khrapovitsky], as the most striking example. The other tendencies – not always openly and openly affiliated with name-glorifying – represent, nonetheless, an extreme, “name-worshiping” [“imiabozhnoe”] in its expression, where the very spoken matter, the “flesh” so to speak of the name becomes Divine by nature, a sort of natural power (just as if the opponents of iconoclasm began to affirm the Divine “uncreatedness” of the board and paint of the icon). This last tendency – in the broad sense – develops as Sophiology, where God and creation are confused. Both one and the other are false. The path to the Orthodox understanding of name-glorifying lies through the careful, still overly pale, formula of Archbishop Theophan (of Poltava): “In the Divine Name the Divinity is honored” (Divine energy). When there will be a clear formula, using spiritual experience and “obviously” spiritual – many questions will fall aside on their own, and many difficulties will become childishly simple."

January 6/19, 1937
(Cited in Sacred Mystery of the Church, Vol. 2, p. 205)

February 6, 2013

The Name of God in the Lives of Saints: St. Andrew the Fool for Christ's sake

O Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Life-giving, Indivisible Trinity... for the sake of Thy Name we bend the knee of our soul, body, heart and spirit, asking, begging and beseeching Thee: O God, God, terrible Name of Sabaoth, Good, Holy, Lord, Creator, Maker, Almighty, incline Thy Ear and receive kindly our humble peoples’ supplication and prayer, count us worthy of being purified by Thy Might and by Thy Name, compassionate and merciful Lord, slow to anger and rich in mercy. Come, Father, Son and Holy Spirit! Come, terrible Lightning of the Godhead, Come, terrible Might! Come, O Name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, bless and sanctify us, mingle us (with Divinity) and fill us with the Holy Spirit, forgiving our transgressions, whether we have committed them in word or deed or thought!

Prayer of St. Andrew the Fool for Christ's sake

February 3, 2013

Holy Fathers on the Name of God: St. Maximus the Confessor

That is why the one who had received grace offered thanks to the Lord and glorified his holy Name and called herself humble and handmaiden. She said prophetically, “For henceforth all generations shall call me blessed” (Luke 1:48). Truly the hosts of angels and generations of humanity call her blessed, and those who do not call her blessed and do not glorify her, they are not reckoned among humanity, but they are children of perdition and the portion of the devil. Nevertheless, every generation of true human beings calls her blessed and glorifies her and has her as a helper and intercessor with the Lord. And the words that follow are filled with such grace and wisdom: “For the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his Name. And his Mercy is on those who fear Him from generation to generation” (Luke 1.49-50). His Name and His Mercy are His Only-begotten Son, Whom He sent out of mercy toward those who fear Him to become incarnate from the holy Virgin and to have compassion on the forlorn and to seek the lost. But how is it said that the Son is the Name of the Father? Because the Father is known by the Son, as the Lord himself said, “I have manifested Thy Name unto men” (John 17.6). He has shown strength with His arm (Luke 1:51), that is to say by his Son, for he is called the Arm of God (Isa 53:1; John 12:38), as he is called the Power of God and Wisdom (1 Cor 1:24), and the Image of Power (Heb 1:3), the Immutable Seal (John 6.27), the Right Hand of the Most High (Ps 76).

Life of the Theotokos

February 1, 2013

Holy Fathers on the Name of God: St. Joseph of Petrograd

To the exclamation, And the mercies of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ shall be with you all, after the consecration of the Holy Gifts, the choir and all the people reply, And with thy spirit! Treasure this prayerful good will of the multitude of the believers. It has great power. O Lord, attend to the voice of the multitude of Thy believing servants, for whose sake Thou hast been well pleased to select me from among them to mediate for them before Thee through Thy Holy Mysteries, and according to their prayer, O Lord, grant me boldness before Thee, grant me Thy grace and strength to mediate worthily before Thee! May Thy great and innumerable mercies, O Lord, abide upon us. May there abide upon us the grace of Thine admonition, instruction, assistance, consolation, joy, refreshment in sufferings, comfort in afflictions, healing in illnesses, strength in infirmities! May Thy Name abide upon us, wondrous in all manner of mercies, both manifest and hidden.

In the Father’s Embrace: the Diary of a Monk