Proclus of Cyzicus: AGAINST NESTORIUS [St. Pachomius Library]
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St. Proclus of Cyzicus: AGAINST NESTORIUS

Translated from the Coptic by Sir E. A. Wallis Budge.


Very great are the riches of the nourishment of the wisdom of the grace of God. Numberless are the benefits of the gathering together of spiritual beings. Honourable is the merchandise of the market of the Church. Joyful is the festival before the altar. Exceedingly splendid is the profit of the traffic with the Saviour. Indescribable are the ungrudged riches of the nails of the Saviour. Great is the pleasure of the gifts which appertain to the beings of heaven. This love knoweth not poverty, for it is Christ Who giveth this charity. And if thou wishest, O beloved, and wilt look into the Holy Scriptures, thou shalt have knowledge of the riches wich are immeasurable [and shall understand that] He giveth great gifts. For He wisheth to make thee to know this with careful exactness, and the forms and ways in which He doeth this are various. For from the beginning our Lord Jesus Christ hath not ceased to do good to the race of men.

Having banished [Gen.3:24] the first [man], that is to say, Adam, to the place of one who hath been condemned to punishment, He took him and seated him with Him upon the throne in the heavens.

He saw Abel when they slew him for a sacrifice,[Gen.4:8] and after his death He made Himself the accuser of his murderer in converse [with him].

He saw Noah being punished by the waters of the Flood,[Gen.8] and He protected him like a star among the race of men.

He found Abraham when he was a sojourner [in a strange land],[Gen.17:5] and He made him the father of all nations.

He saw also Joseph when he was in fetters, and He raised him up [to be] an image (or, example) of chastity to the world.[Gen.39:12]

He saw Moses who had fled from Egypt,[Exod.3] and He made him [to be] the guide of a people that was without number.

Jesus, the son of Nun, was a spy in the country of Palestine, and He curbed the course of the sun and the moon [for him].[Joshua 10:13]

He took David from a flock of sheep, and made him king of his race, and the father of the Awful Mystery.[1 Sam.16:13]

He caused Balaam not to hearken unto the ass,[Num.22] and He made the animal to become a reasoning creature instead of a speechless brute. In order to make it a useful thing He bestowed reasoning power on the Red Sea.

He made the rod of Aaron to shoot forth new blossoms,[Num.17:8] contrary to its nature.

He set up a serpent of brass in the desert, like a physician of marvelous powers.[Num.21:9]

He saw Elijah as he fled,[3 Kings 19; 4 Kings 2:11,12] and He took him up and made him a inhabitant of heaven.

He made the flame of the furnace which was in Babylon become cool for the Three Children.[Dan.3:21 ff.]

He made the lions which were in the pit become like ready disciples of Daniel.[Dan.6:16 ff.]

He made the belly of the whale in the sea to become like the bridal bed of the prophet.[Jonah 2:1]

He made the brothel of Rahab [Joshua 2:1] to be changed into an orderly hospital for the reception of strangers. My tongue, however, will not suffice for the narration of all His works of goodness, for the wealth of his working power overcometh my tongue.

Now the festival of the Church is full of benefits of every kind for our salvation, according to that which is written, "Every good gift and every perfect gift are from heaven, and they come down through the Father of Light." [James 1:17] In this world He giveth those which are on the earth, [and] those which are in the heavens.

In this world He is the maker of sufferings (i.e., vices), and He maketh men to acquire virtues.

In this world the offering is made with material possessions, and the market-place is quiet--I speak of the Church.

In this world the clouds give rain through the waters of the Gospel. In this world there are the trumpets of the Apostles, and the preaching of the Trinity uncreate. In this world spiritual hymns fight against the tyranny of the passions which exist in our intellectual members.

In this world Adam is naked on the earth, and we clothe ourselves in the Light which is from heaven, our Lord Jesus Christ.

In this world we overthrow the ancient tyrant, and we adore the Mystery, which is of the Virgin.

In this world the note of hand of our sins is torn up, and a contract of freedom is delivered unto us. In this world passion is killed, and our soul is made to live again.

O thou festival, the place of which is upon the earth, [and] the benefit of which is in heaven! In this world are preached with a loud voice the useful medicines of the fast of the holy Forty Days, and the great reward of continence, and the angelic character of virginity, and the almsgiving which is accepted, and the gentle disposition, and the quantity of blessing, and the meekness which is without limit, and the longsuffering which is like unto that of God, and the immeasurable patience which cannot be submerged, and the character of not seeking to pry into faith, [and into] the Uncreatedness of the Trinity, and into the incomprehensibility of the dispensation of the flesh. But if thou dost attempt to enquire deeply into the matter, by means of thy power of reasoning powers, thou wilt find that this glorious miracle is wholly beyond all investigation whatsoever.

Now the intellect of man hath not the ability to discover by enquiry by what means God became man, and in what way God, Who is impassible, and is One, and is, moreover, not of the earth, took form to Himself in the flesh. He Who Is hath no beginning. Out of the Father, without change, is He Who hath come into being in the last days, and hath made Himself manifest in the Virgin.

He Who Is is uncreate. He Who hath come into being is not a phantom, for He is God in truth, and man in truth. He is of like substance with the Father, and He is the same as I am, so far as my birth is concerned, according to that [portion of Him] which is create, with the exception of sins. [Baruch 3:37]

The Nature of God is uncreate, and that Nature which He hath taken with me is not false, but is indeed the same (?). We do not divide the Natures into two Persons, but the two natures are one Person, and proceed from the divinity and manhood of the economy of the Son, which maketh [them] to become one of one with Him. As the result of the oneness, which it is impossible to describe, He becometh the Only-begotten Son. The heretics think mad [this view], and the Jews break their minds (or, hearts) [concerning it], and the Greeks (or, Heathen) cut themselves off [from us].

The Son cannot be separated from the Father, and yet He was nourished like men. [2 Cor. 5:21; Heb. 4:15] He took upon Himself flesh [John 1:14] without change. He took the whole of man, [and] was not divided. He, the whole of Him, is in heaven; and He, the whole of Him, is on the earth; and He, the whole of Him, is in every place; for the Nature of God cannot be divided. In that wherewith He clothed Himself (i.e., the flesh), He endured sufferings patiently, but He freed me from sufferings by means of that [flesh] which He took upon Himself.

We call Him the Son of God, because He is God the Word in very truth, and because He is the wisdom and the intelligence (or, mind) which are inseparable from the Father according to [His] nature (even as the two animals which are yoked together and are driven by the charioteer), God and man.

For He is the strength of His Father, therefore is He is the Protector of all the things which have come into being. He is the Truth, therefore is He the distinguishing Mark of the Father. He is the Image [of Him], therefore is He the same Substance, and He it is Whom the Father hath begotten without change. He is the Light, therefore is He the Sun of our souls. He is the Life, therefore we live in Him, and we exist and we move [Acts 17:28] [through Him]. He is Justice, therefore He it is Who giveth to each and every one according to his merit. He is Holiness, therefore is He the Slayer of sin. He is Salvation, therefore it is He Who hath purchased the whole world with His Blood. He is the Resurrection, therefore it is He Who hath set free those who are in the tomb, and hath made them new a second time by His Blood.

But thou sayest [, O Jew], "Declare unto me other [things]." I tell thee, O Jew, that I am not ashamed to declare [them] with a loud voice, for my salvation is the economy of the Son. For He Who Is existeth of and by Himself, and He Who Himself hath become create, hath Himself become create for my sake. And He worked miracles as God, and He bore patiently very many sufferings as a man. That He Himself, therefore, became create was due to His commiseration for me. Because He was a man He took [upon Himself flesh] in truth, though surely He was the leaven of the bread. For this reason He became a son of man, for in truth He took flesh from a woman without a husband.

For He is the Way, therefore He is the Guide to His Father. Next He is the Door, therefore He is the Guide into Paradise. He is the Shepherd, therefore He is the Seeker after the sheep which is lost. He is the Sheep, therefore they slew Him on behalf of the whole world. He is the Lamb, therefore He is the cleanser of the world from its impurity. For His administration (or, economy) is beyond compare, and His Nature is unchangeable. He is the high priest, therefore He offered Himself up for us. He is the God who Is.

In that He was without mother, He was superior to our nature; in that he was without ancestors among us He appertained not to us in our nature. His generation hath never been recorded in any form, or in any place whatsoever. The inhabitants of heaven cannot utter it, the dwellers upon the earth cannot declare it, and in no place whatsoever can any interpret it. For He took body, and soul, and mind (or, intelligence), in order that through them He might be able to deliver us from death.

Be ashamed, then, O Jew, because of the sufferings which He endured on thy behalf, and the miracles which He performed for thy sake. But thou, the new Jew, wilt say,"What are the miracles which He performed?" And I, even I, will say unto thee,"What are the miracles which He hath performed on your behalf, O ye who strive against God, in comparison with those which He hath performed for us? Which of these miracles is greater? Which of them make thee to wonder most concerning them? Which is the greater miracle? The heavens raining down bread, or God taking upon Himself flesh? Which is the greater miracle? The sea which became divided that thou mightest pass through it, or the Virgin who ceased not to be a virgin, even after a passage had been made through her? Which is the greater miracle? The rod which made the rock to become a lake of water, or the Cross which cleansed the world?"

Be thou ashamed, therefore, at these miracles, O Jew, and do thou worship Him Who took upon Himself flesh. But perhaps thou, O heretic, wilt also say, "What are the miracles?" O Jew, if thou wishest to know what are the miracles, hearken and I will inform thee concerning them. They are: the begetting of the Child without seed; the childbirth which was not preceded by the marriage-bed and union with man; the Virgin who was holy and undefiled, who was both virgin and mother at the same time, and was still a virgin; the course and the disappearance of the star; the hymns of the angles, the fear of the shepherds, the gifts of the Magi, the obedience of the sea, the flight of the wind and its sinking to rest; the walking on the lake, the stilling of the waves; the leaping to the feet of those who were paralysed; the making of the blind to see, the driving out of the devils; the revivification of those who were dead; the terror-stricken state of created things; the lamentation of heaven, the sun which became dark, the rocks which split asunder, the rending of the veil in the Temple, the destruction of Amente, the coming forth from the tombs of those who were dead, the conversion of the thief, the affixing to the cross of the handwriting, and the bill of debt for which we were liable, the overthrow of thy synagogue, the increase of the Church, and the growth and spreading abroad of piety.

Finally, when thou hast vomited thine error and thy folly, do thou thyself cry out with the Lawgiver Moses, saying, "This is my God, I will ascribe glory unto him," [Exod. 15:2 ] for unto Him belong glory and power, for all ages of ages. Amen.


The St. Pachomius Orthodox Library, June/July, 1997

Have mercy, O Lord, upon Thy servants the knight Ernest who translated and the scribes Richard, Todd, Horia-Emil, and Protopresbyter Alban.