On The Creed and the Holy Trinity

From our father among
the Saints, Barlaam (Nov. 19)

The Great Collection of The Lives of the Saints
He gave us the Cross as an emblem of victory over the devil, who quakes at the sight of it, being unable to endure its power

Finally, Barlaam counseled Joasaph to prepare himself for Baptism, and continued to visit the youth and to pray for him for many days. When he left the Prince, he would go to a secret place, where he prayed to the Lord in silence, but in the morning, he would return and teach Joasaph about God, telling him of the preaching of the prophets and the apostles and explaining to him the doctrines of the Holy Fathers. On the day on which Barlaam intended to baptize the Prince, he Instructed him thus: “Lo, it is your desire to receive the seal of Christ, to be signed with the light of God’s countenance, (Psalm 4) and to become a child of God, a temple of the Holy and life-creating Spirit. Believe therefore in the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – the Holy Trinity, Which is the Source of life, glorified in three persons and one Godhead, differing in hypostasis and the qualities of the hypostases but united in substance. Know that there is one God, the unbegotten Father; our Lord Jesus Christ, the Only-begotten, Light of Light, true God of true God, begotten before all ages, the good Son begotten of the good Father, everlasting Light, the life-creating Fount sprung from true Life, the mighty Son come forth from the power of the Father Himself, hypostatic Word, the Brightness of God’s glory, (Hebrews 1), Which was in the beginning with God and was God without beginning and everlasting, (John 1) Creator of all things visible and invisible; and one Holy Spirit, Who proceeds from the Father, perfect God, the Source of life and sanctification, almighty and eternal, Who shares the same will with the other persons of the Trinity but remains a distinct hypostasis. Worship then the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, three persons distinct in properties but one in Godhead; for the Godhead is common to all three, and all three share one nature, one essence, a single glory, a single kingdom, a common might, and a common dominion. The Son and the Spirit alike have their being from the Father, because the Father is unbegotten, the Son begotten, and the Holy Spirit proceeds.

Let this be your belief, but do not seek to understand the nature of the generation or the nature of the procession, since these things are incomprehensible.
In uprightness of heart and without question accept the truth that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are one in all things, except only that one is unbegotten, another begotten, and the third proceeds, and in that the only-begotten Son, the Word of God and God, came down to earth for our salvation by the good pleasure of the Father and was conceived without seed by the operation of the Holy Spirit in the womb of the holy Virgin, Mary the Theotokos. He was born of her without corruption and was made perfect man, and as He is both perfect God and perfect man, He possesses two natures, divine and human. Both natures are endowed with reason, will, and activity in perfect accordance with their inherent qualities; the divine and human natures alike possess will, word, and power, united in a single entity.”

“Receive these things without question, and make no inquiry as to how it was that the Son of God emptied Himself and was made man of the blood of the Virgin, without seed or defilement, or how two natures can be united in a single person. Faith teaches us to hold fast to the things we have learned from the divine Scriptures, but we cannot say how these things can be, for of this we know nothing.”

Believe also that the Son of God, Who because of His compassion for us was made man, took upon Himself all the sufferings of human nature, save sin alone; for He hungered and thirsted, grew weary and slept, endured agony in His human nature, and was led to death for our iniquities. He was crucified and buried and tasted of death, but remained impassible and unchanging in His godhead.

We ascribe no suffering to the divine nature, which is immortal, but confess that it was in the human nature which He assumed that He suffered and was buried.

By His divine power He arose incorruptible from the dead and ascended into heaven, and He shall come again in glory to judge the living and the dead and to reward each man for his deeds, in accordance with His righteous justice. Then the dead shall be resurrected, and they that are in the graves shall arise. They that have kept the commandments of Christ and have departed this world in the true faith shall inherit life eternal (Matt. 16; Rev. 22; John 5) but they that have defiled themselves by their sins and rejected the true faith shall receive everlasting torment. Do not imagine that either evil itself or its kingdom have any true being or suppose that it is without beginning or self-originate or created by God, which is impossible. Evil is the result of our deeds and the workings of the devil, and has come upon us through our heedlessness, for we are endowed with free will, and exercising this, we ourselves choose good or evil.”

“Confess also one Baptism of water and the Spirit, unto the remission of sins, and the Communion of the most pure Mysteries of Christ, believing that they are truly the Body and Blood of Christ our God, Which He has granted the faithful for the remission of sins. For on the night on which He was betrayed, He ordained a new covenant with His holy disciples and apostles and with all who should believe in Him, saying, ‘Take, eat: This is My Body, Which is broken for you, for the remission of sins.’ (I Cor. 11) In the same manner, He took the cup and gave it to them, saying, ‘Drink ye all of it, for this is My Blood of the New Testament, Which is shed for many, for the remission of sins. (Matt. 26) This do in remembrance of Me.’ (I Cor. 11) He then, the mighty Word of God, Who creates all things by His power, transforms by His divine and sacred word and the descent of the Holy Spirit the oblation of bread and wine into His own Body and Blood, for the sanctification and enlightenment of those who partake of these Gifts with faith.”

“Revere also with faith and kiss the venerable icon of God the Word, Who for our sake assumed flesh, and as you behold the image, reflect upon the Creator.

'For the honor shown the image', said one of the saints, 'passes over to the archetype.'
(Saint Basil, On the Holy Spirit, Ch. 18) Now the archetype is that from which the image is derived, so when you gaze upon the image, pass beyond it with the eyes of your mind to the vision of that which the image depicts, and devoutly worship the form of Him Who for our sake was made flesh. Do not make of it a god, but kiss it with love and fervor as the image of God incarnate, Who abased Himself and for us men assumed the form of a servant. Likewise reverence also the icons of His most pure Mother and of all the saints, and kiss and worship with faith the image of the precious and life-creating Cross, on which Christ God, the Saviour of the world, hung in the flesh for the salvation of our race. He gave us the Cross as an emblem of victory over the devil, who quakes at the sight of it, being unable to endure its power.”

“Such are the doctrines, such the faith into which you are to be baptized. Adhere to them without wavering, keeping them untainted by every heresy until your last breath. Despise every teaching contrary to this blameless faith, and regard it as alien to God, because the Apostle said, ‘Though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.’ (Gal. 1) For there is no other Gospel, no other faith, than that which was preached by the apostles, confirmed by the God-bearing Fathers at various councils, and delivered unto the Orthodox Church.”

Barlaam then taught Joasaph the Symbol of Faith set forth by the Council of Nicea, and taking the Prince to the pool of water in his garden, baptized him in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; and the grace of the Holy Spirit came upon Joasaph. Then they returned to the Prince’s chamber, where Barlaam served the Divine Liturgy and communed Joasaph of the most pure and life-giving Mysteries. They both rejoiced in spirit, sending up glory to God.

The Great Collection of The Lives of the Saints

This offering of the famous Russian collection of Lives of the Saints by Saint Demetrius of Rostov (1651-1709) marks the first time any of these national collections have been published in their entirety in the English language.