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October 6, 2020

Homily One on the Interpretation of the Doxology: "The Triune God" (Metr. Hierotheos of Nafpaktos)


On the Interpretation of the Doxology:
The Triune God 

By Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos and Agiou Vlasiou

This year in the Sunday morning sermons, which will be read in the Sacred Temples, we will try to interpret in simple words the verses of the Doxology, which we chant each time in the Matins service on Sunday and other festive days, but we also read it in the daily Matins and in other sacred services.

The Doxology is a collection of verses from Holy Scripture, the Old and New Testaments, which are chanted together at the end of the Matins service. And if one considers that the Service of Matins is chanted every day around sunrise, then one realizes that the God who raised the light is praised, and at the same time we ask God to bless us and protect us from any evil that will occur during the day. Thus, the Doxology has an inner unity, which we will see in the sermons every Sunday this Summer.

The Doxology begins with the doxology of the Triune God, Who created and showed us His light. The verses are as follows:

"Glory to You Who has showed us the light. Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace
among those whom He is pleased. We hymn You, we bless You, we worship You, we glorify You, we thank You for Your great glory. Lord King, heavenly God, Father Almighty, Lord Only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ, and Holy Spirit."

In these first verses of the Doxology we see three points.

The first is that God is Triune, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We find this constantly in the teachings of Holy Scripture, but also in all the liturgical texts of the Church. Every prayer to God ends with the invocation of the Triune God: "... of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, now and forever and unto the ages of ages." This is a revelation of God Himself, as revealed at the Jordan River, but also on Mount Tabor. All mysteries are performed in the name of the Triune God. The teaching about the Triune God, Who are three persons that have a common essence and energy, frees us from monotheism and polytheism, but also from the teaching that there is an invisible abstract force that created the world.

The second point is that this Triune God created the world and man. And as we know, the first thing He did was create the light. It is written in the book of Genesis: "And God said, Let there be light, and there was light." Before the creation of light there was nothing, there was non-being, darkness. The Triune God also showed us the true light, which is the knowledge of the true God.

The third point is that this God lives in the Light, the true Light. When some Saints, such as the three Disciples on Mount Tabor, saw the transfigured Christ, heard the voice of the Father, and saw the Holy Spirit as a bright cloud, they saw the glory of God, that is, the Light of God. Because, therefore, God has great glory, that is why we hymn, bless, worship, glorify and thank Him.

The Triune God can be found in glory and Light, and we, His creations, with the sins we commit every day, are in spiritual darkness. Nevertheless, we enjoy this love of His, because every day He shows us the light of the sensible sun that illuminates us, warms us and enlivens us, but sometimes He also shows us some rays of His Light, which we perceive as love, mercy, forgiveness of sins, inner warmth. This is why we feel, despite our worthlessness, the need to thank and hymn Him.

So, every day when we wake up from sleep, from the darkness in which we are immersed in order to rest from the toils of this arduous life, we should pray to God and, among other things, say the Doxology, to hymn Him, because He showed us for one more day the light of the sensible sun, but also the light of His love and longsuffering. Especially we ought to do this every Sunday. To wake up in the morning and go to the Church, to hear, among other things, that this Doxology is chanted triumphantly, in the tone of the day or of the doxastikon.

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.