October 14, 2021

Homilies on Holiness and the Saints - The Evangelists (Metr. Hierotheos of Nafpaktos)

The Evangelists
By Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos and Agiou Vlasiou

Along with the twelve Disciples, of whom we spoke last Sunday and who constituted the close group of the Disciples of Christ, there were at the same time the seventy Disciples of Christ. Some of them, both the twelve and seventy, are called Evangelists because they wrote the four Gospels. They are the Evangelist Matthew, the Evangelist Mark, the Evangelist Luke and the Evangelist John.

The word Gospel in Greek is Evangelio and consists of two words "ev" and "angelia" and signifies "good news", "good information". The Evangelists, therefore, transmitted in writing the news that the Son and Word of God incarnated, taught, died, was crucified, resurrected, ascended, and will come again to judge people.

The central point of the Gospels is what Christ said, what Christ did and what Christ suffered. The teaching of Christ is closely connected with His miracles, His Passion and His Resurrection. The Gospels are not a complete biography of Christ, but they are the transmission of the information that Christ is the Son of God, who is also the Son of man, and only He can make man a son of God by grace.

The first three Gospels (Matthew the Evangelist, Mark the Evangelist and Luke the Evangelist) are called "Synoptic Gospels" and focus the readers' attention on some historical points in the life of Christ. These three Gospels are considered by some as catechetical aids of the ancient Church intended for those who were mainly about to be baptized, so that they could be freed from satanic energies, but at the same time they were intended for Christians who had already been baptized to have before them a summary book of the life and teaching of Christ.

The fourth Gospel, that is, the Gospel of John the Evangelist, in the ancient Church was called the "Spiritual Gospel", because it was intended mainly for those who were baptized and illumined and had to learn the most exalted teachings of Christ. This is the reason why the Church decided to read this Gospel in the Divine Liturgy from Easter Sunday and throughout the fifty days until Pentecost, since on Holy Saturday the mass baptisms of Christians took place.

The age in which we live is an age of information, an age of the dissemination of many books. We Christians must primarily study the life and teachings of Christ as described in the Holy Gospels. Every reading of the Gospels and the Bible in general opens our minds to learn our mission, our work and our destination, to learn why we live, why we exist and what is our purpose on earth, but also what we should do to get rid of our passions and to have fellowship with Christ.

By reading the Gospels, as interpreted by our Church through the Holy Fathers, we will be able to feel the sweetness of the good news, that is, the sweetness of our salvation.

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.