CategoryParaphrase

The Water and The Kiln

This edition of my church father paraphrases comes from Didymus the Blind, born in the early fourth century and the eventual head of the celebrated catechetical school in Alexandria. Although he became blind at age four and never learned to read, he was nevertheless one of the most learned men of his time, having committed vast amounts of scripture, history, philosophy and the like to memory. It...

The Distance Shall Never Be Overcome

This edition of my church fathers paraphrases comes from someone who is not generally considered a church father. Rather, he was closely associated with many of the church fathers and one of the most important figures in Christian history. That man is Emperor Constantine the Great. There has been no lack of ink spilled over his life, his connection and role within the church, the veracity of his...

Essence Beyond Existence

This installment of my paraphrases of the early church fathers comes from St. John of Damascus, also known as St. John Damascene or The Damascene. John was born in Damascus around AD 676 to Mansur, a Christian who was the chief financial officer of the caliph in Damascus. John’s father wished for him to have an excellent education, and secured the release of a Christian captive named Cosmas...

Glory

This edition of my early church father’s paraphrases comes from St. Irenaeus of Lyons. Irenaeus was born sometime in the early 2nd century A.D. and was a disciple of St. Polycarp, who himself was a disciple of St. John. Irenaeus was sent to Rome during the persecutions under Marcus Aurelius to Pope Eleutherius with a letter from the congregation in Lyons concerning the Montanist heresy...

The Sight to Be Blind

This installment of my early church fathers paraphrases comes from St. Hilary of Poitiers. For more information on his life, please visit my previous paraphrase from him. This selection comes from the tenth book of his work “On the Trinity.”...

The Golden Bird

This installment of my church fathers paraphrases comes from St. John Chrysostom. St. John was born in Antioch around A.D 347. In his early life he was engaged in classical studies, but the influence of the bishop Meletius caused him to turn to the ascetic and religious life. He began as a lector in Antioch, later became a deacon and around 386 was ordained to the priesthood. In 397 John was...

The Remedy

This latest installment in my series of paraphrases by the early church fathers comes from St. Ambrose of Milan. Ambrose (Ambrosius) was born around A.D. 340 to an old Roman family which also had ancient ties to Christianity. His father (also named Ambrosius) held the prefecture of Gallia, and Ambrose was set to follow in his footsteps, studying law and rhetoric. After the death of his father...

Seeing is Loving

This installment of my church fathers paraphrase series comes from St. Peter Chrysologus. Not much is known of Peter’s early life or even his death. He was ordained a deacon by Cornelius the bishop of his hometown Imola. In A.D. 433 he was appointed to the bishopric of Ravenna by Pope Sixtus III. Peter had an enormous influence in his times, and took part in some the theological...

Lump

This is another is my continuing series of paraphrases of the Early Church Fathers. Today’s selection comes from St. Gregory of Nyssa, who lived in the 4th century, dying sometimes around A.D. 386. He was brother to another of the church fathers- St. Basil the Great, and is one of the three Cappadocian Fathers. Evidently at an early age Gregory’s parents desired to set him on a path...

He Was Always With Himself

This installment of my church fathers’ paraphrases comes from the ascetic writer John Cassian. He was born around A.D. 360 and died around A.D. 435. Little is known of his early life, but he was instrumental in introducing Eastern monastic practices to the West. He was raised by an affluent family, but at a relatively early age chose the monastic life. He was a disciple of St. John...

Good Beyond Goodness

There is probably no more enigmatic author in church history than Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite. This anonymous author’s works exerted a profound influence on theology and philosophy within the early church, St. Maximus the Confessor and St. Thomas Aquinas notably among those within their purview. From the earliest days of this work its authorship was open to debate; some believed it was...

Unknowable

This edition of my church fathers paraphrases comes from St. Gregory Nazianzus. Gregory was born around A.D. 325, right as the Council of Nicea was in full swing. His father Gregory had been a pagan but had converted due to the influence of his wife Nonna. The elder Gregory became bishop of Nazianzus in 329 and remained at this see until 374. St. Gregory was close friends with St. Basil, and the...

Rhythm

This installment of my church fathers paraphrases comes from Clement of Rome, who is considered the first of the ‘Apostolic Fathers.’ Clement I was the fourth bishop of Rome (after Linus and Cletus) and lived within the lifetime of the apostles. St. Irenaeus reports that he “saw the blessed Apostles and conversed with them, and had yet ringing in his ears the preaching of the...

Mystery

This installment of my church fathers’ paraphrases comes from St. Hilary of Poitiers. Hilary was born to pagan parents sometime around AD 310, but early in his life his study of the scriptures led to his conversion. He was well beloved and respected and in 353 was elected to the bishopric of Poitiers. Hilary’s life spanned the Arian controversy, and he inserted himself significantly...

Jason Watson

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