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October 15, 2020

Homily Four on the Interpretation of the Doxology: "The God of our Fathers" (Metr. Hierotheos of Nafpaktos)


On the Interpretation of the Doxology:
The God of our Fathers

By Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos and Agiou Vlasiou
In the Doxology, which we chant at the end of the Service of Matins, just as the word means, God is glorified for His greatness, His Light and for what He has done for man and his salvation. And the word "glorified" is interpreted as "blessed". But it is one thing when God blesses man and sends His Grace, and another when man blesses God, that is, glorifies God.

Of course, God does not need man's glorification, because He is without lack, but when man glorifies God, then man himself benefits spiritually. The glorification of God is returned as Grace and blessing to man. That is why the Holy Fathers teach that the prayer of doxology to God is more powerful than the prayer of supplication.

In today's homily we will analyze a verse of the Doxology that has great meaning.

"Blessed are You, Lord, the God of our Fathers, and praised and glorified is Your Name unto the ages. Amen."

Here God is described as "the God of our Fathers." Indeed, we are not alone on earth, we are not of an unknown father and independent from previous generations, but we are descendants of great personalities who lived with wisdom and the love of God. Nor is God an abstract idea and a value, but a specific God, Three Persons, and has an essence and three hypostasies and was revealed to our Fathers. He is the God of the living, that is, of people who knew Him and lived His life.

Our Fathers are the Prophets and the Righteous in the Old Testament, the Apostles, the Fathers, the Martyrs, the Confessors, the Saints and the Righteous in the New Testament, who have known God personally and have testified of Him. We know this, because they left us their texts and their testimonies. Thus, our God is not an untestified and an unknown God, but the God of our Fathers, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, the Apostles, the Fathers of the Ecumenical Synods, the specific saints, such as St. Polycarp, St. Demetrios, St. Paraskevi, etc. He is not the God of philosophers and thinkers, but of our glorious Fathers. This means that we do not meditate on the issues of our faith, we do not improvise, but we follow the steps and assurances of our Fathers, who gave us their testimony of God and His love.

This proves that God's Name has been glorified for centuries. Our Fathers affirmed that the Name of God is great and glorious, and with it all opposing powers are defeated.

And we gain this assurance of the power of God's Name. With the utterance of the Name of the Triune God by the Priest, water is changed into holy water and there the baptism of the catechumens takes place and they become Christians. In the Name of God all the Mysteries are performed and the most supreme Mystery of the divine Eucharist. In the name of God, when we invoke it, we drive out all our enemies. After all, Christ said to His Disciples: "
In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover" (Mk. 16:17-18).

We must understand that we belong to a large family, in which the Fathers of previous generations lived, but other descendants of ours will also live. We cannot be detached from the lives and teachings of our Fathers, as expressed in their personal and synodal texts. These texts are the "testimonies" of God, that is, the proofs of His existence. We do not expect to find substantiated logical proofs of the existence of God in philosophy and science, since the only proof of the existence of God are the words, lives and miracles of our saints. And, of course, if we are found worthy with their prayers to gain some of their experiences, then we will have personal empirical faith in God.

From the teachings of our Fathers we are assured of the existence of God, His love and the great power of His Name. Let us understand and use this great treasure, to gain our own personal experience.

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.