Sunday, February 14, 2010
In a move that is unprecedented in recent history, the leadership of the Serbian Orthodox Church in Kosovo, has relieved Bishop Artemije of his duties. The action was taken against the will of the controversial bishop who has been in office for years.
The controversial Kosovo Bishop Artemije Radosavljevic has been relieved from his post against his will.
The leadership of the Church (Holy Synod) had displaced the dogmatic and nationalist Bishop from the Episcopal throne due financial irregularities, said Bishop Irinej on Saturday in Belgrade. The 75-year-old was also guilty of he defying the orders of the church leadership. The retired Bishop Atanasije has been temporarily mandated with the leadership of the Kosovo Diocese.
The deposed Artemije diverted church funds and donations from the faithful to private accounts, and lived in luxury, as the media has previously reported. In addition, he had robbed, to the horror of art experts, their historic character from medieval churches and monasteries with renovations and paint. Several hundred priests, monks and lay people gathered despite a severe winter storm in front of the Patriarchate in Belgrade to support the controversial bishop.
Artemije, who extremely conservative in a theological sense, is one of the most famous bishops of Serbia. He had criticized the leaders of the country openly that they had not retaken by force of arms the occupied and former Serbian province of Kosovo which is now independent. He had taken issue with the U.S. and the EU, and wished to prosecute NATO, and had advocated the deployment of weapons and volunteers from Russia in Kosovo.
The Churches destroyed during the intervention of NATO in Kosovo.
More information here from a website established with the blessing of the Bishop
Thursday, February 11, 2010
Explosive details of Kaineder sacking bring trouble for Bishop
LINZ. The sacking of Ferdinand Kaineder as communications chief of the Diocese of Linz was part of an agreement which Bishop Ludwig Schwarz made with the "Church Faithful Prayer Initiative ", according to conservative church circles. The Diocese denies this.
"The sacking of Mr Kaineder was a minimal requirement that we have stated since the end of 2006," Gernot Steier, an attorney in Neulengbach in Lower Austria and the manager of the trust account of the conservative " Church Faithful Prayer initiative. The prayer initiative called on supporters to pay no more contribution to the Church in the Diocese of Linz, but to pay into an escrow account - this is a protest against the liberal policy of the Diocese of Linz, and especially against Kaineder who was responsible for the (Cathcon notorious) youth CD.
We have negotiated with the Bishop, who had first promised the sacking, then withdrew the promise because Kaineder had assured him of improvement said Steier, who is also General Secretary of the Christian Democratic Party of Austria ". That the prayer initiative and Bishop Schwarz had been contact in this regard is apparent from a letter dated 12 June 2007 shown to Upper Austrian News: "We hope that you will choose, as promised back in December, someone for the office of the Head of Communications who loves the church and also who is faithful to the Church in spite of the hostility of the spirit of the age," Steier said in his letter to Schwarz.
As the sacking of Kaineder did not occur,the Initiative continued their boycott of the church tax. Around 50,000 euros was placed on their escrow account. Until suddenly last year, when an 11 July 2009 dated agreement between the Initiative and the Bishop came into being. This paper, which has been shown to the Upper Austrian News also bears the signature of the bishop. It says, inter alia, that as far as the Prayer Initiative is concerned with the present agreement that the matter of the faith-destroying youth CD is at an end.. The funds in the escrow account will be transferred to the diocese, sources said. Kaineder is not explicitly mentioned.
Particularly piquant here: On 13 July, two days after the agreement, Kaineder’s role as head of the communications office ended. Kaineder does not wish to take a position on current developments. That there had been pressure from conservative circles was known however, he said. On 22 June 2009 the Bishop had told him for the first time that he planned to replace him, according to Kaineder.
The Diocese denies any connection between the negotiations with the Initiative and Kaineder’s sacking: the topic of discussion was the making of regular church tax contributions. "The fact that the group has made connections to various aspects of decision-making within the Diocese was not in the power of the diocesan representatives." Talks with the group were not the basis for the episcopal decisions, Upper Austrian News has been told.
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
Monday, February 08, 2010
Saturday, February 06, 2010
Due to a shortage of priests and social changes, the celibacy rules come under pressure
On Sunday, for the first time in the Diocese of Basel, a divorced man will be ordained to the Roman Catholic priesthood - a process that would have been unlikely in the time when there was no shortage of priests shortage.
It is a special ordination, which Kurt Koch, Bishop of Basel, Switzerland undetakes on Sunday in the small town of Zeihen in the Aargau: Stephan Schmitt is receiving the priesthood, who, when he was commissioned to serve as a a pastoral assistant in a parish some years ago, was still married . Meanwhile, Schmitt has divorced - but only in the civil sense, which has no significance for his church: Roman Catholic couples cannot in practice dissolve their marriage according to ecclesiastical law. And married couples are not permitted as a priest.
Marriage not valid
Divorced and still a priest? In a lengthy canonical process Schmitt's marriage was annulled. According to Roman Catholic understanding, the marriage is not thus rendered a divorce, but declared to be invalid. For details in the case of Schmitt, the Diocese on the grounds of privacy rights makes no information available, but the grounds are varied, and they go far beyond the list of invalidity grounds in accordance with the Civil Code.
Nullity of marriage may be declared, for example, if someone contracting in the marriage was for psychological reasons not in a position to take account of the important obligations of marriage. According to an internal church assessment around 30 percent of divorced could have their marriage declared invalid according to ecclesiastical law. In Switzerland, the process, however,is completed only about 60 times a year.
Diocese takes cautious line
Schmitt is the first divorced person to be ordained a priest in the Diocese of Basel. The Diocese is not saying anything and is working with all its forces not to allow the matter to appear as the beginning of a series of similar ordinations or to be mentioned in connection with the priest shortage. Schmitt says nothing himself at present. A second pastoral assistant in a neighboring town, whose nullity process is still ongoing and who also aspires to consecration is "not a candidate for the priesthood, says a spokesman for the Diocese in very clear terms. The lack of priests plays a "not important" role in the annulment of a marriage,
The reluctance is not surprising, because the Roman Catholic Church, is threatened with a credibility problem, should the impression be reinforced that they, to resolve a personnel problem, set aside fundamental beliefs and turn a blind eye to divorce when married people are still excluded from the priesthood. What influence there has been of the shortage of priests in the case of Schmitt, without knowing the facts is difficult to assess. In times when there were too many priests, the ordination of a civilly divorced was less of a question, says Adrian Loretan, a professor of canon law at the University of Lucerne.
Married people as priests?
The ordination of a divorced person in Switzerland is not an absolute novelty. The case of a priest in central Switzerland is known who was approved for priestly office because he was never married in church. The annulment of marriages by the Roman Catholic Church, however, is not a viable way to alleviate the personnel shortage – not least because the procedure is lengthy and for those involved, as the disclosure of intimate details of the relationship, very drastic, as a priest recounts who has participated in such proceedings.
However, the incompatibility of marriage and the priesthood is overlooked due to a shortage of priests, but also under the pressure of sexual abuse cases. Not only Bishop Koch, but also the President of the Swiss Bishops 'Conference and Bishop of Sion, Norbert Brunner, spoke in an interview for the relativisation of compulsory celibacy: "I believe that in the Bishops' conference there is fairly unanimous opinion that in Switzerland it should be possible for married men to be ordained as priests "(NZZaS 29. 11. 09).
Without movement in Rome, the abolition of mandatory celibacy in the centrally structured church is, however, inconceivable - although even this step is not really new: Until the Second Lateran Council in 1139, there were married and unmarried priests in the Catholic Church.
Rather less misleading history of celibacy in the Church.
Rather less misleading history of celibacy in the Church.
Thursday, February 04, 2010
Petition in Support of Pope's visit to UK
Tuesday, February 02, 2010
Monday, February 01, 2010
The Secretary General of the German Lutheran Church, Ellen Ueberschär, has spoken out against a shared communion at the Second Ecumenical Church Day (ÖKT). She is not in favour of "Kamikaze actions in anticipation of inter-communion, which in the end lead to nothing," said Ueberschär on Saturday in Hamburg. Nevertheless, Catholics and Protestants put "their fingers in the wound", in the hope that sharing the Eucharistic Meal can be fulfilled at the Third Ecumenical Church Day. Ueberschar said, "these things do not belong" to the core of the faith that we share together ". She regrets that no progress has been made on the issue of shared communion, especially in view of inter-faith families. General Secretary of the Central Committee of German Catholics, Stefan Vesper warned about making a Third Ecumenical Church Day conditional on agreeing about shared communion. He wanted, of course, shared communion, said the theologian. One needs first progress in the Church's teachings. But then "it will come in very surprising manner, and indeed worldwide." The Hamburg Bishop Hans-Jochen Jaschke emphasized that a non-Catholic Christian, who"believed" would receive Holy Communion and would not be rejected. But as in the Eucharist the "All Holy" according to Catholic doctrine is made visible, there could be no agreement about shared communion without theological unity. From Vatican Radio.
They ordered aeroplanes but nothing to fear from tricycles.
Dr Ellen Ueberschär in the pilot's seat
From Vatican Radio
On Monday Pope Benedict XVI received the Bishops of England and Wales at the end of their Ad Limina Pilgrimage to Rome. During his address, the Pope confirmed his first Apostolic Visit to Great Britain and asked the bishops to ensure the faithful of England and Wales that the Pope "holds them in his heart". Below we publish the full text and audio of the Papal discourse:
Dear Brother Bishops,
I welcome all of you on your ad Limina visit to Rome, where you have come to venerate the tombs of the Apostles Peter and Paul. I thank you for the kind words that Archbishop Vincent Nichols has addressed to me on your behalf, and I offer you my warmest good wishes and prayers for yourselves and all the faithful of England and Wales entrusted to your pastoral care. Your visit to Rome strengthens the bonds of communion between the Catholic community in your country and the Apostolic See, a communion that sustained your people’s faith for centuries, and today provides fresh energies for renewal and evangelization. Even amid the pressures of a secular age, there are many signs of living faith and devotion among the Catholics of England and Wales. I am thinking, for example, of the enthusiasm generated by the visit of the relics of Saint Thérèse, the interest aroused by the prospect of Cardinal Newman’s beatification, and the eagerness of young people to take part in pilgrimages and World Youth Days. On the occasion of my forthcoming Apostolic Visit to Great Britain, I shall be able to witness that faith for myself and, as Successor of Peter, to strengthen and confirm it. During the months of preparation that lie ahead, be sure to encourage the Catholics of England and Wales in their devotion, and assure them that the Pope constantly remembers them in his prayers and holds them in his heart.
Your country is well known for its firm commitment to equality of opportunity for all members of society. Yet as you have rightly pointed out, the effect of some of the legislation designed to achieve this goal has been to impose unjust limitations on the freedom of religious communities to act in accordance with their beliefs. In some respects it actually violates the natural law upon which the equality of all human beings is grounded and by which it is guaranteed. I urge you as Pastors to ensure that the Church’s moral teaching be always presented in its entirety and convincingly defended. Fidelity to the Gospel in no way restricts the freedom of others – on the contrary, it serves their freedom by offering them the truth. Continue to insist upon your right to participate in national debate through respectful dialogue with other elements in society. In doing so, you are not only maintaining long-standing British traditions of freedom of expression and honest exchange of opinion, but you are actually giving voice to the convictions of many people who lack the means to express them: when so many of the population claim to be Christian, how could anyone dispute the Gospel’s right to be heard?
If the full saving message of Christ is to be presented effectively and convincingly to the world, the Catholic community in your country needs to speak with a united voice. This requires not only you, the Bishops, but also priests, teachers, catechists, writers – in short all who are engaged in the task of communicating the Gospel – to be attentive to the promptings of the Spirit, who guides the whole Church into the truth, gathers her into unity and inspires her with missionary zeal.
Make it your concern, then, to draw on the considerable gifts of the lay faithful in England and Wales and see that they are equipped to hand on the faith to new generations comprehensively, accurately, and with a keen awareness that in so doing they are playing their part in the Church’s mission. In a social milieu that encourages the expression of a variety of opinions on every question that arises, it is important to recognize dissent for what it is, and not to mistake it for a mature contribution to a balanced and wide-ranging debate. It is the truth revealed through Scripture and Tradition and articulated by the Church’s Magisterium that sets us free. Cardinal Newman realized this, and he left us an outstanding example of faithfulness to revealed truth by following that “kindly light” wherever it led him, even at considerable personal cost. Great writers and communicators of his stature and integrity are needed in the Church today, and it is my hope that devotion to him will inspire many to follow in his footsteps.
Much attention has rightly been given to Newman’s scholarship and to his extensive writings, but it is important to remember that he saw himself first and foremost as a priest. In this Annus Sacerdotalis, I urge you to hold up to your priests his example of dedication to prayer, pastoral sensitivity towards the needs of his flock, and passion for preaching the Gospel. You yourselves should set a similar example. Be close to your priests, and rekindle their sense of the enormous privilege and joy of standing among the people of God as alter Christus. In Newman’s words, “Christ’s priests have no priesthood but His … what they do, He does; when they baptize, He is baptizing; when they bless, He is blessing” (Parochial and Plain Sermons, VI 242). Indeed, since the priest plays an irreplaceable role in the life of the Church, spare no effort in encouraging priestly vocations and emphasizing to the faithful the true meaning and necessity of the priesthood. Encourage the lay faithful to express their appreciation of the priests who serve them, and to recognize the difficulties they sometimes face on account of their declining numbers and increasing pressures. The support and understanding of the faithful is particularly necessary when parishes have to be merged or Mass times adjusted. Help them to avoid any temptation to view the clergy as mere functionaries but rather to rejoice in the gift of priestly ministry, a gift that can never be taken for granted.
Ecumenical and inter-religious dialogue assume great importance in England and Wales, given the varied demographic profile of the population. As well as encouraging you in your important work in these areas, I would ask you to be generous in implementing the provisions of the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus, so as to assist those groups of Anglicans who wish to enter into full communion with the Catholic Church. I am convinced that, if given a warm and open-hearted welcome, such groups will be a blessing for the entire Church.
With these thoughts, I commend your apostolic ministry to the intercession of Saint David, Saint George and all the saints and martyrs of England and Wales. May Our Lady of Walsingham guide and protect you always. To all of you, and to the priests, religious and lay faithful of your country, I cordially impart my Apostolic Blessing as a pledge of peace and joy in the Lord Jesus Christ.
From the Vatican, 1 February 2010
Ruth Pucher of the Community of Mission, founded only in 1999. She lives in a small community of four.
CHAPTER I.--PRAISE OF THE EPHESIANS.
I have become acquainted with your name, much-beloved in God, which ye have acquired by the habit of righteousness, according to the faith and love in Jesus Christ our Saviour. Being the followers of God, and stirring up yourselves by the blood of God, ye have perfectly accomplished the work which was beseeming to you. For, on hearing that I came bound from Syria for the common name and hope, trusting through your prayers to be permitted to fight with beasts at Rome, that so by martyrdom I may indeed become the disciple of Him "who gave Himself for us, an offering and sacrifice to God,"[ye hastened to see me]. I received, therefore, your whole multitude in the name of God, through Onesimus, a man of inexpressible love, and your bishop in the flesh, whom I pray you by Jesus Christ to love, and that you would all seek to be like him. And blessed be He who has granted unto you, being worthy, to obtain such an excellent bishop.
CHAPTER II.--CONGRATULATIONS AND ENTREATIES.
As to my fellow-servant Burrhus, your deacon in regard to God and blessed in all things, I beg that he may continue longer, both for your honour and that of your bishop. And Crocus also, worthy both of God and you, whom I have received as the manifestation of your love, hath in all things refreshed me, as the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ shall also refresh him; together with Onesimus, and Burrhus, and Euplus, and Fronto, by means of whom, I have, as to love, beheld all of you. May I always have joy of you, if indeed I be worthy of it. It is therefore befitting that you should in every way glorify Jesus Christ, who hath glorified you, that by a unanimous obedience "ye may be perfectly joined together in the same mind, and in the same judgment, and may all speak the same thing concerning the same thing," and that, being subject to the bishop and the presbytery, ye may in all respects be sanctified.
CHAPTER III.--EXHORTATIONS TO UNITY.
I do not issue orders to you, as if I were some great person. For though I am bound for the name [of Christ], I am not yet perfect in Jesus Christ. For now I begin to be a disciple, and I speak to you as fellow-disciples with me. For it was needful for me to have been stirred up by you in faith, exhortation, patience, and long-suffering. But inasmuch as love suffers me not to be silent in regard to you, I have therefore taken upon me first to exhort you that ye would all run together in accordance with the will of God. For even Jesus Christ, our inseparable life, is the[manifested] will of the Father; as also bishops, settled everywhere to the utmost bounds[of the earth], are so by the will of Jesus Christ.
CHAPTER IV.--THE SAME CONTINUED.
Wherefore it is fitting that ye should run together in accordance with the will of your bishop, which thing also ye do. For your justly renowned presbytery, worthy of God, is fitted as exactly to the bishop as the strings are to the harp. Therefore in your concord and harmonious love, Jesus Christ is sung. And do ye, man by man, become a choir, that being harmonious in love, and taking up the song of God in unison, ye may with one voice sing to the Father through Jesus Christ, so that He may both hear you, and perceive by your works that ye are indeed the members of His Son. It is profitable, therefore, that you should live in an unblameable unity, that thus ye may always enjoy communion with God.
CHAPTER V.--THE PRAISE OF UNITY.
For if I in this brief space of time, have enjoyed such fellowship with your bishop--I mean not of a mere human, but of a spiritual nature--how much more do I reckon you happy who are so joined to him as the Church is to Jesus Christ, and as Jesus Christ is to the Father, that so all things may agree in unity! Let no man deceive himself: if any one be not within the altar, he is deprived of the bread of God. For if the prayer of one or two possesses such power, how much more that of the bishop and the whole Church ! He, therefore, that does not assemble with the Church, has even by this manifested his pride, and condemned himself. For it is written, "God resisteth the proud." Let us be careful, then, not to set ourselves in opposition to the bishop, in order that we may be subject to God.
CHAPTER VI.--HAVE RESPECT TO THE BISHOP AS TO CHRIST HIMSELF.
Now the more any one sees the bishop keeping silence, the more ought he to revere him.
For we ought to receive every one whom the Master of the house sends to be over His household, as we would do Him that sent him. It is manifest, therefore, that we should look upon the bishop even as we would upon the Lord Himself. And indeed Onesimus himself greatly commends your good order in God, that ye all live according to the truth, and that no sect has any dwelling-place among you. Nor, indeed, do ye hearken to any one rather than to Jesus Christ speaking in truth.
CHAPTER VII.--BEWARE OF FALSE TEACHERS.
For some are in the habit of carrying about the name[of Jesus Christ] in wicked guile, while yet they practise things unworthy of God, whom ye must flee as ye would wild beasts. For they are ravening dogs, who bite secretly, against whom ye must be on your guard, inasmuch as they are men who can scarcely be cured. There is one Physician who is possessed both of flesh and spirit; both made and not made; God existing in flesh; true life in death; both of Mary and of God; first passible and then impassible, even Jesus Christ our Lord.
CHAPTER VIII.--RENEWED PRAISE OF THE EPHESIANS.
Let not then any one deceive you, as indeed ye are not deceived, inasmuch as ye are wholly devoted to God. For since there is no strife raging among you which might distress you, ye are certainly living in accordance with God's will. I am far inferior to you, and require to be sanctified by your Church of Ephesus, so renowned throughout the world. They that are carnal cannot do those things which are spiritual, nor they that are spiritual the things which are carnal; even as faith cannot do the works of unbelief, nor unbelief the works of faith. But even those things which ye do according to the flesh are spiritual; for ye do all things in Jesus Christ.
CHAPTER IX.--YE HAVE GIVEN NO HEED TO FALSE TEACHERS.
Nevertheless, I have heard of some who have passed on from this to you, having false doctrine, whom ye did not suffer to sow among you, but stopped your ears, that ye might not receive those things which were sown by them, as being stones of the temple of the Father, prepared for the building of God the Father, and drawn up on high by the instrument of Jesus Christ, which is the cross, making use of the Holy Spirit as a rope, while your faith was the means by which you ascended, and your love the way which led up to God. Ye, therefore, as well as all your fellow-travellers, are God-bearers, temple-bearers, Christ-bearers, bearers of holiness, adorned in all respects with the commandments of Jesus Christ, in whom also I exult that I have been thought worthy, by means of this Epistle, to converse and rejoice with you, because with respect to your Christian life ye love nothing but God only.
CHAPTER X.--EXHORTATIONS TO PRAYER, HUMILITY, ETC.
And pray ye without ceasing in behalf of other men. For there is in them hope of repentance that they may attain to God. See, then, that they be instructed by your works, if in no other way. Be ye meek in response to their wrath, humble in opposition to their boasting: to their blasphemies return your prayers; in contrast to their error, be ye stedfast in the faith; and for their cruelty, manifest your gentleness. While we take care not to imitate their conduct, let us be found their brethren in all true kindness; and let us seek to be followers of the Lord(who ever more unjustly treated, more destitute, more condemned?), that so no plant of the devil may be found in you, but ye may remain in all holiness and sobriety in Jesus Christ, both with respect to the flesh and spirit.
CHAPTER XI.--AN EXHORTATION TO FEAR GOD, ETC.
The last times are come upon us. Let us therefore be of a reverent spirit, and fear the long-suffering of God, that it tend not to our condemnation. For let us either stand in awe of the wrath to come, or show regard for the grace which is at present displayed--one of two things. Only[in one way or another] let us be found in Christ Jesus unto the true life. Apart from Him, let nothing attract you, for whom I bear about these bonds, these spiritual jewels, by which may I arise through your prayers, of which I entreat I may always be a partaker, that I may be found in the lot of the Christians of Ephesus, who have always been of the same mind with the apostles through the power of Jesus Christ.
CHAPTER XII.--PRAISE OF THE EPHESIANS.
I know both who I am, and to whom I write. I am a condemned man, ye have been the objects of mercy; I am subject to danger, ye are established in safety. Ye are the persons through whom those pass that are cut off for the sake of God. Ye are initiated into the mysteries of the Gospel with Paul, the holy, the martyred, the deservedly most happy, at whose feet may I be found, when I shall attain to God; who in all his Epistles makes mention of you in Christ Jesus.
CHAPTER XIII.--EXHORTATION TO MEET TOGETHER FREQUENTLY FOR THE WORSHIP OF GOD.
Take heed, then, often to come together to give thanks to God, and show forth His praise. For when ye assemble frequently in the same place, the powers of Satan are destroyed, and the destruction at which he aims is prevented by the unity of your faith. Nothing is more precious than peace, by which all war, both in heaven and earth, is brought to an end.
CHAPTER XIV.--EXHORTATIONS TO FAITH AND LOVE.
None of these things is hid from you, if ye perfectly possess that faith and love towards Christ Jesus which are the beginning and the end of life. For the beginning is faith, and the end is love. Now these two. being inseparably connected together, are of God, while all other things which are requisite for a holy life follow after them. No man [truly] making a profession of faith sinneth; nor does he that possesses love hate any one. The tree is made manifest by its fruit; so those that profess themselves to be Christians shall be recognised by their conduct. For there is not now a demand for mere profession, but that a man be found continuing in the power of faith to the end.
CHAPTER XV.--EXHORTATION TO CONFESS CHRIST BY SILENCE AS WELL AS SPEECH.
It is better for a man to be silent and be [a Christian], than to talk and not to be one. It is good to teach, if he who speaks also acts. There is then one Teacher, who spake and it was done; while even those things which He did in silence are worthy of the Father. He who possesses the word of Jesus, is truly able to hear even His very silence, that he may be perfect, and may both act as he speaks, and be recognised by his silence. There is nothing which is hid from God, but our very secrets are near to Him. Let us therefore do all things as those who have Him dwelling in us, that we may be His temples, and He may be in us as our God, which indeed He is, and will manifest Himself before our faces. Wherefore we justly love Him.
CHAPTER XVI.--THE FATE OF FALSE TEACHERS.
Do not err, my brethren. Those that corrupt families shall not inherit the kingdom of God. If, then, those who do this as respects the flesh have suffered death, how much more shall this be the case with any one who corrupts by wicked doctrine the faith of God, for which Jesus Christ was crucified! Such an one becoming defiled [in this way], shall go away into everlasting fire, and so shall every one that hearkens unto him.
CHAPTER XVII.--BEWARE OF FALSE DOCTRINES.
For this end did the Lord suffer the ointment to be poured upon His head, that He might breathe immortality into His Church. Be not ye anointed with the bad odour of the doctrine of the prince of this world; let him not lead you away captive from the life which is set before you. And why are we not all prudent, since we have received the knowledge of God, which is Jesus Christ? Why do we foolishly perish, not recognising the gift which the Lord has of a truth sent to us?
CHAPTER XVIII.--THE GLORY OF THE CROSS.
Let my spirit be counted as nothing for the sake of the cross, which is a stumbling-block to those that do not believe, but to us salvation and life eternal. "Where is the wise man? where the disputer?" Where is the boasting of those who are styled prudent? For our God, Jesus Christ, was, according to the appointment of God, conceived in the womb by Mary, of the seed of David, but by the Holy Ghost. He was born and baptized, that by His passion He might purify the water.
CHAPTER XIX.--THREE CELEBRATED MYSTERIES.
Now the virginity of Mary was hidden from the prince of this world, as was also her offspring, and the death of the Lord; three mysteries of renown, which were wrought in silence by God. How, then, was He manifested to the world? A star shone forth in heaven above all the other stars, the light of Which was inexpressible, while its novelty struck men with astonishment. And all the rest of the stars, with the sun and moon, formed a chorus to this star, and its light was exceedingly great above them all. And there was agitation felt as to whence this new spectacle came, so unlike to everything else [in the heavens]. Hence every kind of magic was destroyed, and every bond of wickedness disappeared; ignorance was removed, and the old kingdom abolished, God Himself being manifested in human form for the renewal of eternal life. And now that took a beginning which had been prepared by God. Henceforth all things were in a state of tumult, because He meditated the abolition of death.
CHAPTER XX.--PROMISE OF ANOTHER LETTER.
If Jesus Christ shall graciously permit me through your prayers, and if it be His will, I shall, in a second little work which I will write to you, make further manifest to you [the nature of] the dispensation of which I have begun [to treat], with respect to the new man, Jesus Christ, in His faith and in His love, in His suffering and in His resurrection. Especially [will I do this if the Lord make known to me that ye come together man by man in common through grace, individually, in one faith, and in Jesus Christ, who was of the seed of David according to the flesh, being both the Son of man and the Son of God, so that ye obey the bishop and the presbytery with an undivided mind, breaking one and the same bread, which is the medicine of immortality, and the antidote to prevent us from dying, but [which causes] that we should live for ever in Jesus Christ.
My soul be for yours and theirs whom, for the honour of God, ye have sent to Smyrna; whence also I write to you, giving thanks unto the Lord, and loving Polycarp even as I do you. Remember me, as Jesus Christ also remembered you. Pray ye for the Church which is in Syria, whence I am led bound to Rome, being the last of the faithful who are there, even as I have been thought worthy to be chosen to show forth the honour of God. Farewell in God the Father, and in Jesus Christ, our common hope.