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Cosmas Indicopleustes, Christian Topography (1897) pp. 331-357.  Book 10



Passages from the Fathers.

CERTAIN of those [Christians] who delight in wrangling, on reading this book and finding it no easy matter to face such a weight of testimony as we have adduced in this treatise from the divine scriptures, thus addressed us: "You and the Fathers on whom you rely interpret divine scripture in a peculiar way to make it correspond with your own opinions, for nothing is conveyed by it about figures and types such as you assert. But the Fathers on whom we rely, who could not but have known accurately the true scope of divine scripture, have in their expositions transmitted to us nothing such as you say, since scripture tells us: God hath set in the Church, first Apostles, secondly Prophets, thirdly Teachers.1 To the Apostles indeed and to the Prophets you seem to have attached yourself in your interpretation, but as for the Teachers who are the exponents of the true scope of divine scripture, you hold aloof from them entirely, and travel a strange road, known to none but to yourself and your friends." On this account, therefore, we are constrained to make manifest once more to all their love of contention, and to this end we have placed together in this book the testimonies of |332 the Fathers, even those whom they themselves adduce either in pretence or in sincerity, in order that they may be refuted by their own authorities, and be convinced how admirably our treatise is confirmed by the testimonies of all the Apostles and Prophets and Teachers. And first let step forward the great Athanasius2 who proclaims the same views as ourselves.

From the Festal Epistles of Athanasius.3

[316-319] Observe, pray, how this great Teacher is constantly in agreement with ourselves and our doctrine, in the view he takes of the whole figure of the world, calling the kingdom of heaven a great and supramundane hall, sufficient for the whole creation, and proclaiming that the Lord Christ as our forerunner is therein, and that we shall enter into it along with him at his second coming; And the saying: Enter into the joy of thy Lord:4 he refers to that very hall, that is, to the heaven of heavens which is the kingdom of heaven----and he says that this has been prepared for men by God from the foundation of the world, and that the Tabernacle erected by Moses is a type of the heavens. Can the lovers of contention show how this great Teacher does not agree with us, or how we have been going a strange road different from that of the Church? But away with the vain labour of these men! We will add to Athanasius, Gregory of Nazianzus5 with whose praises |333 they make the world ring, and who yet proclaims the same views as the previous authority and ourselves.

Extract from the discourse on the Passover by Gregory of Nazianzus.

"But let us sacrifice to God a sacrifice of praise upon the altar on high along with the choir above; let us go through the first veil, let us draw near to the second, let us glance into the Holy of Holies." How then is it not manifest that we have not gone a strange road different from that of the Church? Let the men of strife therefore be ashamed of themselves when they see the harmony of the Church, and let them not be intolerant of us, for it is hard for them to kick against the pricks. But let us introduce a third after him, one who was his contemporary, even Theophilus Bishop of the Church at Alexandria,6 who also bears testimony to our opinions, yea rather, to the truth.

From the first Festal Epistle of Theophilus of Alexandria.6

"In order that, being engaged in higher than earthly [320] doings in the sublime mansion of virtue, we may, like the disciples, eat the Passover in the upper chamber, having with us Christ, who was sacrificed for us, while we eat Him all, as our life."

From the same Festal Epistle of the same. 

"In order that, having again drawn back the veil of the word, we may with unveiled face behold the festival of the |334 divine Passover,7 appealing thus to Jesus: Where wilt thou that we prepare to eat the Passover with thee? 8 On receiving his reply that this feast was to be celebrated in an upper chamber, a chamber, that is, of second things,9 the disciples with alacrity of heart betook themselves with all speed to enter the Holy of Holies, into which Christ Himself hath entered for us, and hath done away with any further need of the typical High Priest, having obtained eternal redemption for us, and on our behalf presenting Himself before the face of God. Formerly indeed the High Priest alone once a year entered into the Holy of Holies, the people remaining without by reason of the littleness of their power. But the Saviour having entered in, has given full liberty of access to all who wish."

Observe how this authority is also in harmony with us in calling the upper chamber a house, into which the Lord Christ as forerunner hath entered for us (of whom the High Priest in the Tabernacle of Moses was a type) to present Himself before the face of God, and hath given full liberty to all who wish, to enter into the Holy of Holies, that is, into the kingdom of heaven. Let those who are on the side of the schismatics reply to the following questions. How have we gone a strange road different from that of the Church? How is it that they do not regard the words of their own Fathers? but falsely traduce them as if they were heretics. But passing from this Father, let us turn to the fourth who was his contemporary and fellow mystic, Severianus, namely, the Bishop of Gabala,10 who can be taken as a witness to confirm all that is written in my work. |335 

From the first book of the Hexaemeron (Six days of the Creation) of Severianus, Bishop of Gabala.

"For on the first day He made the matter out of which things were created; but on the other days He gave their form and arrangement to the things created. For example, He made the heaven which was before non-existent----not this visible heaven, but the one above it, for the visible was made on the second day. God made the higher heaven----the heaven of heavens to the Lord,11 and it is higher than this visible heaven, and, as in a house of two stories,12 between it and the "earth another heaven is interposed. God having thus created the world as one house, placed this visible heaven as a roof in the middle, and the waters above it. Wherefore, David says: Who covereth his upper chambers with waters.13 God then made the heaven when it was not, the earth when it was not, the abysses when they were not, and wind, air, fire, water; of all the things that came into existence He made their matter on the first day. But some one will say that it is recorded that He made the heaven and the earth, while nothing is recorded of waters and fire and air. In the first place then, brethren, when He said that the heaven and the earth were made, He indicated by the things which contain, the things that are contained. Then after the interposition of a few passages, hear Him next relate when the air was made: And the spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.14 Here He does not speak of the Holy Spirit, for the uncreated is not numbered along with what is created, but it is the motion of the air which He calls spirit. God said, Let there be light,15 and the nature of fire came into being. And again proceeding He says: But our souls He |336 fenced round with the body, while He made the angels bodiless. So then, what we see to be the case with respect to human souls and to angels, the same is the case with respect to fire, for the fire above subsists without matter, but the fire below with matter, for the fire above is akin to the fire below, just as our souls are also akin to the angels. How so? because the former are spirit and the latter too are spirit. And again: All of them were then brought into existence, fire, abyss, winds, the four elements, earth, fire, water, air; for whatever Moses omitted he comprehended in that marvellous summary where he says: For in six days God made the heaven and the earth and all the things that therein are.16 And just as in the case of the body he did not speak of all its members, so in the case of the creation he did not enumerate all its parts, although all things were created simultaneously with the world. But if there was not fire in the world, it could not at the present day be struck from rock and from wood; for the friction of wood against wood generates fire, but if Nature did not hold it, from what source does she, produce it?"17

From the same, from the second book.

"On the second day God said: Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.18 He made this heaven, not the one above, but the visible heaven which he crystallised from the waters like ice. But I shall endeavour to place the matter before your eyes, for many things are better explained by ocular [322] than by oral demonstration. This water, let us suppose, overflowed the earth five cubits. Then God said: Let there be a firmament in the midst of the water,3 and |337 thereupon a solid ice-like substance was produced in the midst of the waters, which made lighter the upper half of the water, and left the other half underneath, as it is written: Let there be a firmament (stere/wma) in the midst of the water, and let it make a division between the waters.19 But wherefore does he call it the firmament? It is, because God made it firm and solid (e0stere/wse) from waters which are of rarer and less compact substance. Wherefore David also says: Praise him in the firmament of his power;20 and, to take another example, we may adduce smoke, which when emitted from burning wood is rarified and attenuated, but when it mounts up high into the air becomes transformed into the density of a cloud. In this wise, when God had made the waters, which are by nature rarified, ascend on high, He there made them solid. And that this example is to the point, and true, Isaiah testifies where he says: The heaven was made firm and solid as smoke.21 The heaven having therefore become solid in the midst of the waters made the upper half of them light, but the other half He left underneath. Why then and for what purpose were the waters placed above? Was it that we might drink them or that we might sail on them? For that there are waters above, David testifies, saying: And the water which is above the heavens.22 Observe then the wisdom of the Creator; the heaven was crystalline, having been consolidated from the waters; but since it was to receive the flame of the sun and of the moon and the countless hosts of the stars, and was entirely filled with fire, then in order that it might not be dissolved, nor burned with the heat, He spread over the upper surfaces of heaven those sea-like expanses of water, with a view to soften, and as it were to anoint the upper |338 surface and thus render it capable of resisting the scorching heat of the flames. An example of this is ready at hand: if, for instance, you to-day put a pot on the fire, with water therein, the pot withstands the fire, but if you do not supply water the pot will crack or melt. Accordingly, against fire He opposed heat as its counteractive, in order that the upper surface of heaven being, as it were, anointed with the waters, might be well enough able to maintain its existence. And observe what is here marvellous; in the body of heaven which is assailed by so much fire, the moisture is so superabundant that it lends a constant supply to the earth. For whence cometh the dew of the cloud? from nowhere? The air holds no water; so it is clear that the heaven drops it from its superabundance. Wherefore also the Patriarch Isaac when blessing Jacob said: "God give thee of the dew of heaven and of the fatness of the earth"23----And later on he24 thus continues: "Observe, I pray you, that the waters above the heaven render another service, for not only do they preserve the heaven, but they also send down the flame of the sun and the moon, since, if the whole heaven were transparent, the rays would mount upwards; for, as it is the nature of [323] fire to ascend, it would leave the earth destitute of light. On this account, therefore, He compressed the heaven above with a boundless expanse of waters, in order that the rays, being confined, might be sent downwards. Behold then the wisdom of the Architect. And thou hast even in thyself the image of the Architect. So attend particularly, I pray you, to what I shall now say: Suppose this head to be the heaven above, and what is above the tongue to be the other heaven, namely, the firmament, whence also [the palate] is called the little heaven,25 or roof of the |339 mouth; now, above, in the invisible parts is the brain not manifest to sight, while in the lower heaven is the the tongue, a thing manifest to sight, just as the upper heaven is classed with things discerned by the intellect, but the world, with the things we ordinarily talk about."26

From the same discourse.

"For on the third day the fruits were produced, and in order again that it might not be supposed that they were produced by the influence of the sun, it was not until their creation was finished, that He made the sun and the moon and the stars. But whence did He make them? For it has been said that on the first day He made all things of nothing, but on the other days, out of things existing. Whence then the Sun? Why, out of the light created on the first day which the Architect modified at His pleasure and transformed into objects of varied aspects, creating, in the first place, the substance of the light, and then producing the luminaries, just as if one should bring forward a mass of gold, and should then coin it into pieces of money, and by so doing make it a thing of beauty. For just as He divided the abyss, which was then one mass of water, into the water on high, into seas, into rivers, into fountains, into lakes, into wells, so also did the Architect divide the light, which was a single uniform mass, and distribute it into the sun, into the moon and into the stars." And subsequently we read: "He made therefore the heaven, not a sphere, as those vain babblers conceive----for He did not make a rolling sphere, but, as the prophet says: Who hath made the heaven as a vaulted chamber and stretched it out as a tent to dwell in;27 for none of us is so impious as to be persuaded by these triflers, and not by the words of the Prophet, which declare that the heaven has a beginning and an end. For this |340 reason therefore the sun is not said by them to ascend but to go out, for the scripture saith: The sun goeth out upon the earth,28 not goeth up; and again he says: From the end of heaven is his going forth, and at the end of heaven is his goal,29 Not a going up then----but if it is circular, it has not an end----for where are we to find an end of what is perfectly round? Does then David only say this, or does the Saviour also say so? Hear then this which is spoken by the Lord: When the Son of Man cometh he shall send forth his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather [324] together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.30 But, we ask again, where does the sun set, and where does he pursue his course by night? as we have said. Well, according to the pagans, under the earth, but according to us who speak of it as a tent, consider, I pray you, whether what we assert be false, or has the seal of the truth to attest it. Now, with my expression the place too [where we are met] coincides;31 for such things are better explained by a reference to what is seen than by words addressed to the ear. Suppose a dome to be placed over the church with its east towards sunrise, its north in this direction, its south here, and its west there. Suppose next the sun rising and then going down----going down not under the earth, but pursuing his course through the northern parts, and hidden from view as by a wall, the waters not permitting his path to be seen----pursuing his course, I say, through the northern parts, and reaching again the quarter in which he rises. But whence is it made clear that this is so? By the blessed Solomon then, when in the book of Ecclesiastes, a book attested [to be inspired], and not rejected [from the canon] he says: The sun ariseth, and the |341 sun goeth down, and hasteth to his place; arising there he gocth to the south, and wheeling in his circuits, wheels towards the north; the wind goeth and turneth about in its circuits.32 Behold then the sun running his course in the south, and wheeling round to the north, and be instructed." And further on he says: "All things, therefore, obey the law of God. The heaven stands, not as upheld by its own power but firmly compacted by the divine word. For should I be at a loss to understand how the heaven was consolidated out of the waters, the blessed David resolves the difficulty when he says: By the word of the Lord were the heavens made solid;33 because made from the waters----for in no passage elsewhere is the [heaven] said to be solid; it is one thing to be made solid, and another to be solid. The expression being made solid is used when that which is rarified and attenuated becomes consolidated."

From the same-----from the sixth discourse.

"So then that tree had not a power in itself to produce a knowledge which would result in death, but it got its name from the dire calamity that befell Adam in connection with it. I shall briefly explain the matter; for divine scripture presents no difficulty. To-day we have the saving food of which the faithful partake. That tree then has a natural salutariness. If, through the glory invoked,34 you have a pledge from things that are present, why do you doubt about those that arc past? There the food was death-giving, here it is life-giving. If this saves by its natural properties, and not by grace----then that also killed by its natural properties, and not by the purpose he put before him; if this food saves by its natural properties and |342 not by grace, that also kills by its natural properties and not by the breaking of the commandment."

[325] From the same-----from the fourth discourse.

"For the angels having been created beings were not co-workers with God, but His ministers who praised Him in song, and expressed their gratitude for being brought into existence, being aware that, as they had no previous existence, they had been created by the Spirit of goodness. So they stood as spectators merely, beholding the things made along with them, and after them; for they beheld the heaven made of nothing, and were struck with astonishment; they beheld the sea parted off, and were lost in wonder; they saw the earth in her beautiful apparel, and were thrilled with delight. But that the angels were not co-workers, but admiring spectators, God says in Job: When I made the stars, all the angels praised me and celebrated me in song;"35 subsequently he says: "He beheld Adam sinning, but He foresaw his posterity acting righteously; He saw him being cast out from Paradise, but He foresaw that a kingdom had been prepared for him. And what is wonderful is this, that even before Paradise the kingdom had been made. Why then do you wonder at his having been cast out of Paradise, when the real wonder is that before Paradise existed, the kingdom of the heavens had been prepared for him?----as saith the Saviour: Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world!36

From the same-----from the third discourse.

"It now remains to be examined why God made the moon at her full. Pray attend closely, for the subject to be considered is deep, as she required to be made on |343 the fourth day in order to present a fourth day's appearance. And again, if she appeared four days old, she could not have occupied the extremity of the west. She was found therefore having an advantage of eleven days----for on the fourth day she appeared full, as she would have appeared on the fifteenth day. By eleven days then the moon is in advance of the sun, not by the act of her creation, but by her shining.37 Wherefore what advantage she then gained, she paid back to the sun, for as the number of days in the lunar month is twenty-nine and a-half she makes in twelve months a year of three hundred and fifty-four days. For if you reckon twenty-nine and a-half days for each month there are in the year three hundred and fifty-four days, in order that the moon may pay back annually to the sun the days which she then gained. Let any one who can count make the calculation."

(Cosmas now speaks).

What will those lovers of strife say to this, when they hear that there is such harmony between this author and myself, both as regards the figure of the first heaven and of the second, and as regards the two places made by the interposition of the firmament ---- that the first heaven, according to divine scripture, is not a sphere, but [326] a vaulted chamber,----that this second heaven, which is visible, was consolidated from the waters, and carries the waters, that it may not be dissolved by the heat of the heavenly bodies, but be preserved therefrom by the chillness of the waters----that the dew falls from the firmament----that the heavenly bodies pursue their course through the northern parts during the night----and that the angels were created along with the heaven, and were |344 spectators of God's six days' handiwork, and were taught, thereby, and filled with astonishment; and what will they say as to his reasoning concerning souls, that they are enclosed within the body and operate in the body. How then shall not every mouth be stopped that speaketh unrighteousness against God, and against ourselves who carefully study divine scripture, and argue therefrom agreeably to the tradition of the Church? For, observe, I pray, it was shown that the Prophets and the Apostles, and the Evangelists, and the Lord himself and all divine scripture----yea, moreover even those who in common report are called Fathers and Teachers, whether in truth or pretence, differ not from my opinions, but all bear testimony to my words, so that by them all the truth may be established, and every mouth be stopped that speaketh unrighteous things. But, taking our leave of this author, let us pass on to his fellow-servant, Epiphanius the Bishop 38----the fifth in order, to show that he also testifies to our words and is in agreement with them.

From the work of Epiphanius, Bishop of Cyprus, On Measures and Weights.

"Two and twenty works, O lover of the good and the beautiful, did God make from the beginning until the seventh day, namely these. On the first day He made the higher heaven, the earth, the waters from which come snow, ice, hail, frost and dew; then the spirits which minister before His face, such as these----the angels standing in His presence, the angels of glory, the angels of the clouds and darkness and snows and hail and frost----the angels of sounds, of thunder and lightning; the angels |345 of cold and heat, of winter and autumn, and the angels of all the spirits of His creatures which arc in heaven and upon earth and in Chaos; then the darkness and the brooding over the abyss, the waters which once covered the earth, out of which darkness comes evening and night, the light of day and of the dawn. These seven mighty works did God make on the first day. On the second day was made the firmament which is in the midst of the waters. On the same day the waters were divided, one half of which ascended above the firmament, while the other half was underneath the firmament, upon the face of all the earth. This was the only work which God made on the second day."

This author also agrees with us testifying as to the figure, declaring the heaven to be above, and the [327] firma-ment, which also carries the waters, to be underneath. And with regard to the angels he says what is in explicit agreement with our own views, namely, that they arc all in this world, and are all engaged in moving all things, and ministering for the sake of man, and that they also were brought into being on the first day along with the upper heaven and the earth. And hearing this, do not, O men, fret and fume, overmastered by the spirit of strife and envy, but rather from a love of truth, recognize the ecclesiastical, yea rather, the veritable harmony. For when ye are unable to face the truth, it is of no avail to take to reviling. Regard then with all due deference the great host of witnesses. But, if we have not yet adduced a sufficiency of them for you, let us leave this authority for the Bishop of the Capital----the admirable John, who was treated contemptuously by the three foregoing writers, and let us show that this illustrious champion [of the Church], who was devoted to deeds of mercy, bears testimony to our argument and is in agreement therewith. |346 

From the work on Alms by John Chrysostom.39

"A human being is a great thing, and a man, if merciful, is to be honoured. Behold, how great a thing is mercy----the merciful man God likens to Himself; for He saith: Be ye merciful, even as your Father which is in heaven is merciful.40 Should death come, there your riches abide."

From the Commentary by the same on the Epistle to the Ephesians.

"In all wisdom and prudence, he says, having made known unto us the mystery of his will,41 as if one should say: he made known to us the things in his heart. For this is the mystery which is full of all wisdom and prudence. For what seekest thou that is greater than this wisdom? Those who were nothing worth----even those He found out, that He might lead them to great riches. What is there that can compare with this inventive skill?42 He that was an enemy, He that was hated: this very man has on a sudden been raised on high, and not only so, but at this particular time, and this was done in wisdom also. And that this was done by the Cross, it would require a long discussion to show. What a matter of wisdom this was, and how it has made us wise!"


"According to his good pleasure, he says, which he purposed in him;41 that is, He longed for this, He was in throes, as one may say, to bring forth this mystery. And of what nature is this? It is that it is His will to set man on high, |347 and this He desires with a view to a dispensation of the fulness of the times to sum up all things in Christ, the [328] things in the heavens, and the things upon the earth."

From the Commentary of the same, on the Epistle to the Hebrews in the chapter where it is said: "Now in the things which we are saying the chief point is this."43

"Where are those who say that the heaven is in motion? Where are those who think it to be spherical? For both these opinions are here swept away."

From the same Commentary of the same on the chapter which says: "Wherefore he is the Mediator of a new covenant."44

"And how come these to be patterns of the things in the heavens? And what does he call the things which are now in the heavens? Is it heaven? is it the angels?45 No, none of these, but our things, for heavenly things are ours, yea, even though they be accomplished on the earth, since the angels also are on the earth, and are nevertheless called heavenly. And the Cherubim too appeared on the earth, and yet they are heavenly. But what am I saying?----that they appeared? Is it upon the earth then they spend their time as if in Paradise? Nay, not so, for they are heavenly and our citizenship is in the heavens, although we spend our life with those that are here." And subsequently He says: "I show by actual facts those that attain to this height. And who be these? I mean Paul and his followers, who, though they were on earth, sojourned in heaven. But what am I saying?----in heaven? Nay, they |348 were higher exalted than heaven, yea even than the other heaven, for they ascended to God Himself."

And this great and wise teacher, again, expresses opinions which are marvellously in accordance with our own and with those of such as hold with us with regard to the figure of the world. For with regard to this figure he gradually advances upward from the regions of the earth to the sovereign throne, and describes finely the gradations of the ascent. He places the air first, then the moon, then the sun; in the next place, the firmament, then again, the heaven of heaven, without saying there are more than two heavens, and he ridicules those who say that it is a sphere, and maintain that it is in motion. And with regard to the angels and the cherubim, he declares that they are all in this world along with ourselves, and that up to this time not one of them has winged his way beyond this world. And with regard to doctrine again he expounds it clearly, making a safe use of the figure in doing so. For why? he says, He that was an enemy, He that was hated, all of a sudden this Person has been raised on high. And again he says, that it is the will of God to set man on high, etc. For when God had made the heaven and the earth, on the second day He made the firmament, and, having placed it midway on high, He divided the one world into two worlds, [329] namely this and the one above. And when He had on the sixth day finished all this world, last of all, as a bond to unite the whole world of things visible and invisible, He made man----the one living being compounded of all the natures. At the end of the days therefore, when it behoved that the second world also should be displayed, God, having taken him who was the bond of the whole world of things visible and invisible, namely, Man; and having renovated him by raising him from the dead, and made him better, he conducted him in presence of all into heaven, namely, into the second place----that is, into the second world. |349 For a restoration and a renovation was effected by the dispensation of God in man as the bond between heavenly and earthly things, that is, of all things visible and invisible.

This Father then, knowing these things and the mystery of the will of God, took pleasure in declaring them, and proclaimed that he who had been expelled from Paradise as hated on account of his disobedience, had suddenly through God's good pleasure become heavenly, for the summing up in him of the universe.46 Oh! how wonderful the concord of the Church! how wonderful the spiritual unanimity of the teachers! How is he not to be condemned who sets himself in opposition to them? O Lord God of the universe, confirm us evermore in Thy mysteries, Amen! Let the lovers of strife cease from wrangling, and let them rather submit their necks to the Church. For from a habit such as this we, along with the Church, turn away with aversion. But having ended our citations from this authority, let us adduce a seventh witness who completes the testimony of the divine Testament both the Old and the New. For if in divine scripture it is said that in the mouth of two witnesses or three every word shall be established, how much more then in the mouth of seven; for the company of seven witnesses shows the testimony of the perfect testament. It is Philon then the Bishop of Carpathus 47 who gives the same testimony as the other six. |350 

From the Commentary on Canticles, by Philon Bishop of Carpathus on the passage: The King brought me into his inner chamber.48

"The banqueting-house of the heavenly King, that is, His body which He built up for Himself as His house, and then also the kingdom of heaven."

From the same on the passage: Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth.49

"For the son of God assumed humanity, which He put on [received] from the Church, and in return gave back His sacred flesh to be partaken of in the sacrament."

[330] From the same on the passage: The King fettered in his movements to and fro. Why wert thou made beautiful, and why wert thou established?50

"For when He passed from heaven to earth, and when He descended to hell, yea to the very lowest depth of hell, He thence will draw up the dead." And farther on he says: "It was not His divine nature that was in reality made beautiful, and that was established, for this does not admit of increase or diminution, but it was the flesh which He assumed, and the humanity which He wore. He was beautified by being conformed to the beauty of divinity----and was established in the kingdom of heaven at the right hand of God."

From the same on "The six days" where he discourses on the man that was born blind.

"For although thou wert looking at the man himself, yet thou oughtest from those very works to see God in man."

Consider pray, how this Father also maintains the same view with ourselves concerning the figure of the world and |351 as to the figure remark how he calls the kingdom of heaven God's tamieion----the tamieion 51 being the innermost and securest apartment of the house, and this he speaks of as the kingdom of heaven. And concerning the doctrine, remark, how he represents man, whose nature God assumed, and whom God recalled from death, and deemed worthy of the place of honour at His right hand, as being seated and established in the tamieion itself, that is, in the kingdom of heaven. How then do those lovers of strife cry out against us, as if we have gone a strange road----a road that is known to nobody? Let them desist from that voluntary madness, and no longer assail us with slanders: for it is God who justifieth, where is he that condemneth?52 For it is God who first confirms our opinions, then the Prophets and Apostles and the Evangelists and the renowned company of the Fathers----Fathers from among whom ye yourselves profess to accept some, while moreover there are even old pagan writers who in some points are in agreement with our opinions. But that we may not unduly prolong the discussion, we have deemed it sufficient to advance solely the testimonies already offered for the sake of the lovers of strife, and for their sake only who have the assurance to challenge our principles, or rather, I should say, the truth itself; and this we have done, in order that they may have an absolute refutation of their ill-timed madness, and from a desire to make manifest to all that the motive, by which they are actuated, is a sheer love of strife. And in order that what we have written may be supported not solely by the testimonies of these ancient authorities I will adduce the testimony, and that even in abounding measure, of a recent schismatical Father of theirs, one who is still living, and resident in Constantinople, and who whether from |352 ignorance, or from being constrained by the truth itself, agrees with what we have written.

[331] From Theodosius, Bishop of Alexandria----On the fortieth day of the Ascension of the Lord.

"To-day human nature is conveyed into heaven----to-day heaven is thrown open and man enters therein."

What will our opponents say to this? How has he not borne testimony to our opinions both with regard to the figure of the world and to the doctrine? Oh how wonderful the force of the truth, which attracts to it even its enemies against their will!

From the same----in another exposition. 

"It is no great thing if God overcame the devil."

Oh how wonderful! Here also the truth reveals their ill-timed love of strife. For if he says it is no great thing for God when contending with the devil to overcome him, why then----to say the opposite is downright madness; for to God, not only the devil but the whole of creation is subordinate, and will be counted as nought. How then is it not manifest that he means, that it was man who contended with the devil and overcame him? Now this is even a great point, for he had before spoken of man, as having entered as a conqueror into heaven. And that he holds to this meaning is shown when again he exclaims: For it behoved, it behoved, I say that this nature, which had been foiled in wrestling, should be adorned with a crown----as if he said: This nature which was overcome by the devil in Paradise, as he,says, namely man, whom he declares frequently and at great length to have been bettered by the resurrection----him, I say, he pronounced with all frankness to have been carried up into heaven. |353 

From an exposition by the same given in the great Church when the Gospel was read: "Father, if it be possible, let it pass from me"53 etc.

"The sufferings of this flesh----and the tokens of suffering, anguish, and sweat, grief and perturbation of soul----all these are indicative of human nature."

Oh what a marvel is here! They say such things and yet they quarrel with us, making divisions in the Churches in defiance of all authority.54 For where is it written that He was in agony and sweated, if not in Luke where it is said: And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat became as it were great drops of blood falling down upon the ground----and there appeared unto him an angel from heaven strengthening him.55 How dare they say these words, and on the other hand condemn those who dare to [332] expound them? Is not the love of strife on the part of such men manifest? But dismissing this authority, let us pass over to one who was his predecessor in office, Timotheus the younger,56 who recently died, and show that he also unwillingly assents to what we have written. He writes, then, in explanation of the passage which, at the sacred period of Easter in the Church of St. Victor, was read from the Prophet Isaiah, who says: He was led as a sheep to the slaughter, and as a lamb before her shearer is dumb so he opened not his mouth;57 and when in his exposition he referred to the passage: Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me,58 he spoke to this effect: |354 

Timotheus on the passage: "Father, if it be possible," etc.

"For it is natural for the soul to love to dwell always in the body, and to be vexed at taking leave of life." And again in the Church of Sarapammon he exclaimed: "And greater things than those will be given unto Me by the Father----resurrection from the dead, renovation of nature, and vivification, instead of corruption."

From a discourse of the same at the festival of the Holy Nativity
----on the birth of Christ, on the 30th of Choiac in the 10th Indiction.59

"The Virgin brought forth a son who was perfect and sinless"----and a little subsequently he says: "Let us be circumcised with Christ, that we may also be purified along with Him."

And again in the Church of St. Theodorus on the 8th of Tybi in the 10th Indiction.

"For through that which was apparent he showed the power of that which was concealed." |355 

From an exposition by the same in the Church of Quirinus on the Lord's Day on the 22nd 60 of Pachôn in the 5th Indiction, when the passage in the Gospel of John had been read. "Now Jesus being wearied with his journey was sitting."61

"Since therefore He is at once both God and man He is proved to be both by His works, and this cannot escape the notice of the spectators. For, that He is by nature God, is shown both by His works and His signs, cleansing the lepers, giving sight to the blind, strength to the paralytic, and life to the dead----and what is greatest of all (for the Prophets also equally succeeded in doing these things) He expressly and unreservedly said: I and my Father are one.62 But, by the things mentioned, the might of His divinity is fully proved----and that He is also truly man, this He does not wish to go unobserved; thus in anticipation refuting those who erroneously think He assumed a body in appearance only, for He showed [333] clearly that He submitted to sufferings----and to what kind of sufferings? to those, forsooth, which are assigned to flesh by reason of its infirmity and not by reason of sin----I mean, for instance, hunger and thirst and the need of sleep, and fatigue. For as these things happen to us by nature and not by our choice, they do not affect with sin those who have to endure them. By these sufferings then which were not incurred by sin the Lord declared that His flesh obeyed, showing clearly that He had become man in nature and in truth, and not in seeming."

From a discourse of the same in the sanctuary at the Pachôn Festival. 

"It belongs to God to work miracles, to command the |356 elements, and to make predictions of future events, but to man when civilized and leading a social life, it belongs to honour parents, to maintain kindly intercourse with brothers, and to converse with disciples and acquaintances. Accordingly our Lord Jesus Christ being both God of God, and having become man for our sake, exhibits both the power of His divinity, and observes also the laws of our humanity, proving what He was and is by His miracles, and showing by His actions what He deigned to become."

From a discourse by the same on the fortieth day from the Ascension of the Lord, on the 25th Pachôn in the 9th Indiction----the text, taken from the Gospel of John, being: "It is expedient for you that I go away." 63

"But let us consider the words now spoken by Him to His illustrious disciples----namely: It is expedient for you that I go away. For your salvation have I come down to the earth, for your benefit it is well that I go up into heaven. For your sakes did I, hitherto bodiless, come down----it is expedient for Me to be there with the body; your race did I resolve to draw up to heaven; it behoves Me in the flesh to take My seat on the right hand of the Father. It behoves Me to open up a way that before was strange, as a new way, and to show that heaven is accessible to man. I take my way first through the air, in order that you also afterwards may be caught up into the air in clouds to meet Me." And I fancied I heard him, as he was reading, expressly proclaim64 how that this man shrinks from departure from life, and "how that He through suffering and the resurrection received incorruption and renovation of His nature and vivification----how that through prevailing infirmity He was formerly subject to sufferings and fatigue----how that |357 moreover He was drawn to heaven and deemed worthy of the seat on the right hand, and was the first to traverse the strange way, and the first to make heaven accessible [334] to men."

O harmony of those not in harmony with us! Oh! the involuntary agreement of the schismatics with us! Oh! the unwilling laudation, the assent, that is, of our revilers to our opinions! How have we not all round shown ourselves to be the children of the Church? They say, forsooth, we have not trodden the beaten way. How are they not to be utterly condemned who disbelieve all these things or argue against them? How is our work not in all things attested to be the true offspring of the tradition of the Church? God is our witness, then the Apostles, Prophets, the glorious company of the holy Fathers.


[Footnotes moved to the end and renumbered]

1. 1 I Cor. xii, 28.

2. 1 For a notice of Athanasius and his Festal Epistles, see note 3, p. 290.

3. 2 Montfaucon here notes that he had published the passages adduced by Cosmas in vol. xxvi, column 1431, of the Patrologia. So they do not appear either in the Greek or Latin texts.

4. 3 Matt, xxv, 21.

5. 4 St. Gregory, the son of Gregory Bishop of Nazianzus, was born in the year A.D. 329, and was eminent for the zeal with which he defended the Nicene creed against the attacks of the Arians. When offered by his friend St. Basil the See of Sasima, he declined it, but he was afterwards installed as the Patriarch of Constantinople,----an office which he resigned after only a brief tenure. He died in 389 or 390.

6. 1 Theophilus became Bishop of Alexandria in 385 A.D. He was one of the most violent and unscrupulous ecclesiastics of his time. He opposed Chrysostom, persecuted the Origenists, and took violent measures to drive all the Pagans out of his diocese. His turbulent career came to an end in 412.

7. 1 Gr. th_n diabath&rion tou~ Qei/ou Pa&sxa----"transitoriam divini paschatis celebritatem"----Montfaucon. Philo also uses diabath&rion to designate the Passover.

8. 2 Matt, xxvi, 17.

9. 3 Gr. deute/rwn pragma&twn.

10. 4 Regarding Severianus, see note 2, p. 291.

11. 1 Psalm cxiii, 5.

12. 2 Gr. e0n oi1kw| diwro&fw|.

13. 3 Psalm civ, 3.

14. 4 Gen. i, 2.

15. 5 Ibid., 3.

16. 1 Exod. xx, 1 1.

17. 2 Gr. po&qen genna~|. Montfaucon renders this by quomodo generabit.

18. 3 Gen. i, 6.

19. 1 Gen. i, 6.

20. 2 Psalm cl, 1.

21. 3 Isai. li, 6.

22. 4 Psalm cxlviii, 4.

23. 1 Gen. xxvii, 23.

24. 2 Severianus.

25. 3 Gr. ou)rani/skoj. Aristotle uses ou)rano&j itself in this meaning: tou~to d' ei0j me\n to_n e0gke/falon ou)k e1xei po&ron, ei0j de\ to_n tou~ stomatoj ou)rano&n.----Hist. Anim., i, 11.

26. 1 Gr. e0n toi=j laloume/noij.

27. 2 Isai. xl, 22.

28. 1 Psalm xix, 5.

29. 2 Ibid. 6.

30. 3 Matt, xxiv, 30, 1.

31. 4 Gr. Suntre/xei de/ mou th~| fra&sei kai\ o( to&poj. The expression to which he refers is skhnh&, a tent, and the place must be the church in which the address was delivered.

32. 1 Eccl. i, 5.

33. 2 Psalm xxxiii, 6.

34. 3 Gr. dui\ th_n e0pikaloume/nhn docan. Montfaucon renders: gloriam te advocantem.

35. 1 Job xxxviii, 7.

36. 2 Matt, xxv, 34.

37. 1 That is, by her being fully illuminated in advance by eleven days.

38. 1 The Bishop of Constantia (the ancient Salamis) in Cyprus, and the Metropolitan of that island. He was the first of three of the same name who held the same office.

39. 1 John, surnamed Chrysostomos (the golden-mouthed), from the force of his eloquence, was born in Antioch 347 A.D.; succeeded Nectarius as Archbishop of Constantinople in 397; died in exile at Comana in Pontus in 407.

40. 2 Luke vi, 36.

41. 3 Ephes. i, 9.

42. 4 Gr. eu0mhxani/aj.

43. 1 Heb. viii, 1.

44. 2 Ibid., 6.

45. 3 Gr. 'Ara to_n ou)rano_n. a)lla_ tou_j a)gge/louj; a)lla_ is evidently a press error for a}pa.

46. 1 Gr. e0pi\ a)nakefalaiw&sei tou~ panto&j. See Ephesians, i, 10. Montfaucon renders ad universi restaurationem.

47. 2 Philon was ordained Bishop of Carpathus, an island between Crete and Rhodes, by Epiphanius of Cyprus, about the beginning of the fifth century. His surname was probably Carpasius rather than Carpathius, as there is a town called Carpasia in the north of Cyprus. He is principally known from his Commentary on the Canticles, which he treats allegorically.

48. 1 Song of Sol., ii, 4.

49. 2 Song of Sol., i, 2.

50. 3 Not in our Bible.

51. 1 Cosmas has not quoted the passage where this word occurs. 

52. 2 Rom. viii, 34.

53. 1 Matt. xxvi, 39.

54. 2 Gr. turannou~ntej. See note 2, p. 92.

55. 3 Luke xxiii, 44.

56. 4 So called to distinguish him from Timotheus, nicknamed Aelurus or the Cat.

57. 5 Isai. liii, 7.

58. 6 Matt. xxvi, 39

59. 1 Gr. i0nd. i/. The time from which reckoning by Indictions began was the 1st, but, according to others, the 15th of September, 312 A.D. The Indiction is a cycle of fifteen years, which was used in reckoning time chiefly by ecclesiastical historians onward from the time of Athanasius, and it is still used by the Popes, who reckon it as commencing 1st January, 313. See Gibbon's Decline and Fall, chap, xiv, n. 62; also chap, xviii, n. 170. The word originally meant a summons to pay a tax, and only gradually came to be a mode of reckoning time. The expression, the Tenth Indiction, does not mean the tenth period of fifteen years from 313 A.D., but the tenth year of any current Indiction. We express ourselves similarly when we say, for instance, the tenth January instead of the tenth of January.

60. 1 Gr. Pasxw~n kb'. Montfaucon translates Pachon decima quarta. The circumflex on w shows Paschôn to be a misprint for Pachon. 

61. 2 John iv, 6.

62. 3 John x, 30.

63. 1 John xvi, 17.

64. 2 These words seem to be added by Cosmas himself.

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