October 6, 2017

The Confession of Thomas and the Blasphemy of Arius (St. John Chrysostom)

By St. John Chrysostom

(Excerpt from his Homily on the Holy Apostle Thomas)

How do I respond in reality, where will I find the word of passage? Shall I preach Thomas as being alive? But the tomb proclaims his death. Shall I relate that he is dead? I am by circumstances compelled. He is dead, and immortal, and died as a man, and hastens about the world as an angel, and accepted his passion, and cuts apart the passions, and is buried below, and above rejoices. Therefore it was not possible for him to be hidden, neither for him to disappear somewhere, for he enlightened the whole world. The grave received him, but everywhere he shines like the sun, the earth conquered the relics of the righteous one, and revealed them as wider than all creation, for his grace is sowed throughout the whole world. Every corner place has Thomas, he has filled the whole world, and remains whole in his place. His glory has gone out into all the earth, and to the ends of the earth his trophies.

How should I name him? Sun? For he is not held by darkness. Star? For this new day he does not hide. At all times he shines upon creation, dissolving all darkness of the world. There is no more darkness after him, darkness does not dull him, the river does not hold him back, the sea is not able to hold him, the ocean makes the man known, barbarians honor Thomas. All the nations today feast, and this cry, as a gift, they offer to the Master: “My Lord and my God, my relative and my creator, my redeemer and my king.”

In this way Thomas taught us as children, granted an inheritance, as a treasure, for nature accepts the word, the whole generation is fortified by this cry, the word has reached the angels, and angels hold this confession as a shield, and all creation brandishes it as a diadem.

Only Arius does not accept the word, only he denies the inheritance, only he does not confess Christ the Lord as Thomas. He does not know Him as God like Thomas. He calls the Master a servant, the Creator of all a creation, the Beloved a bastard, the Fashioner something fashioned. And yet they honor the day and celebrate with the whole world, and number themselves with the friends of Thomas. But evil does not steal virtue, neither does the deluded one share the way of truth. The flock has seen the beast, the slinger has seen the wolf, the pilot has seen the wave, the bay has seen the winter, the soldier has seen the war, Thomas has seen Arius, he sees him and drives him out. He does not accept the honor of blasphemy, he does not enter through the cave of murders, he does not graze with them. He distances himself from the way of the lawless, and abhors this warring word, and hates the mouth that speaks lies against God, and turns aside the tongue that does not call Christ Lord and God.

And he cries to him from the whole world: “Arius, why do you fight me? Why do you sorrow me, O oil of my head? Why do you celebrate my day, O lawless one? I don’t accept your hymn of blasphemy, I don’t agree with your false faith, I do not know your lawless dogma. Therefore, don’t honor me, you who dishonor the Fashioner. I do not accept you honor, O dishonor of your mother. You who insult the Master, how can I, the servant, heal? You who do not keep my faith, how do you celebrate my memory? You who do not agree with me, how do you embrace my tomb? I taught Christ as Lord and God."