June 6, 2023

Oration on Holy Pentecost (St. Proclus of Constantinople)

Oration 16

On Holy Pentecost

 (PG 65:804D)
By St. Proclus of Constantinople

Today, beloved, the Holy Spirit’s grace visited, beginning from today’s day; and growing until today’s day, it is magnified. The Holy Spirit’s grace shone, and suddenly the speechless ones’ mouths [became] eloquent; and the untaught ones’ tongues were trained; and the fishermen’s hearts were moved to courage. Therefore, the grace visiting from heaven today snatches away the timidity of even my impoverished reason. For as, before the advent of the Spirit, Peter, fearing, denied the Master before the maiden; and [so], after the descent of the Spirit, before the peoples and kings, with courage, he confesses, saying: “We cannot not speak of what we have heard and seen” (Acts 4:20). Whence the Jews even considered the eloquence of the Holy Spirit drunkenness, saying, “Since they are drunk on new wine.” But Peter disputed with them [regarding] what [were] the proofs confirming the Trinity even at [that] hour. For since, at the third hour, the cross was planted, also, at the third [hour], the Holy Spirit, in the form of fire, descended upon the apostles, intimating that God [is] Spirit. “For our God is a consuming fire" (Heb 12:29). And "the advent of the Spirit was as dew upon wool” (Ps 72:6), since it was the symbol of the dispensation. And about the Spirit, so that it would be shown that God is Spirit, “there was a voice out of heaven like a blowing, violent wind” (Acts 2:20). And that God [is] Spirit, learn. For Isaiah says:

I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and upraised; and the Seraphim stood around it. And He said to me, “Who will go to this people, and whom will I send to it?” For the heart of this people is fattened, and in their ears they heard heavily, and their eyes they closed, lest they see with their eyes, and with their ears hear, and with the heart understand, and return, and I will heal them (Is 6:1-2,8-10).

Therefore, do you want to know, Spirit-fighter, that the Spirit sat upon the high and upraised throne? Hear Paul, the apostle, and be convinced. He was sent to Nero in Rome; he found multitudes of Jews there; he taught them the word of salvation.

These believed, those disbelieved. Being disagreeable with each other, they departed, [with] Paul saying one word: Rightly the Holy Spirit spoke about you through Isaiah the prophet: In hearing you hear, and do not understand (Acts 28:24-26).

Do you see that Lord and God [is] the Holy Spirit? For where do you not find the Spirit in the Trinity being everywhere glorified in the Law? Hear the prophet saying:

By the word of the Lord the heavens were established, and by the spirit of His mouth all their power (Ps 33:6).

But in grace, when the Savior came to the saving Baptism, the Father from above witnessed to the Son, and the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove was there. This Spirit, today, in the form of fire, descended upon each of the apostles. Do you see that the apostles [are] even thrones? For “God," it says, "sits upon His holy throne” (Ps 47:8). This Spirit killed Ananias the liar. This Spirit apportions the charisms of goods, “Distributing to each as He wills” (1 Cor 13:11). By this Spirit was Paul the apostle filled. He darkened Elymas the mage. This Spirit did Gabriel announce to Mary, saying: “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you” (Lk 1:35). May He even now come upon us and bless [us]. For this One is mixed with the water, and melts sins as fire, and enlightens the newly-enlightened as light, and has mercy on us as God; for to Him belongs glory and power, unto the ages of ages. Amen.



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