Sunday, June 27, 2004

Christian Heritage - June 27 - Believe the Message of the Holy Apostles

"Christ had to be patient with Thomas when he said he would not believe and with the other disciples too when they thought they were seeing a ghost. Because of his desire to convince the whole world, he most willingly showed them the marks of the nails and the wound in his side; because he wished those who sought this evidence as a support for their faith to have no possible reason for doubt, he even took food although he had no need for it.

"But when anyone accepts what he has not seen, believing on the word of his teacher, the faith by which he honors the one his teacher proclaims to him is worthy of great praise. Blessed, therefore, is everyone who believes the message of the holy apostles who, as Luke says, were eyewitnesses of Christ's actions and ministers of the word. If we desire eternal life and long for a dwelling place in heaven, we must listen to them."

Cyril of Alexandria (AD ~444), On John 12, 22: PG 74, 729-736

Cyril, a brilliant theologian and major opponent of the Arian and Nestorian heresies, was the patriarch of Alexandria. He also presided over the council of Ephesus in 431, at which time the title of Mary as Theotokos, "the Mother of God," "the God-bearer," was solemnly recognized. Like so many official dogmatic statements the Church has made, this was merely a formal declaration of what the body of common believers had been believing and testifying to for centuries. It merely had to be expressed in a precise, binding manner in opposition to an heretical insurgency.

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