November 30, 2023

Encomium to Saint Andrew the Apostle (St. Proclus of Constantinople)

Homily 19

Encomium to Saint Andrew the Apostle

By St. Proclus, Archbishop of Constantinople

The net of the apostolic fishing is strong.
The casting-net of commemorating Andrew is wonderful.
Unbroken is the net of the immortal dead.
For with time the snares, which not human skill, but grace has weaved, do not grow old.
(5) For even if the fishermen were to depart from life, yet the instruments
of eloquent fishermen do not grow old with time, as well as the net with/in
which they catch the world.
Those who draw (the nets) are not seen, but the nets have been filled.
They have not obtained a fishing rod, which time destroys.
(10) They did not let a fishing net down, which age cuts through.
They have not forged an anchor, which rust destroys.
They have not attached bait to a snare for fishes.
They have not sat on a rock, which the waves are shaking.
They have not gone aboard a boat, which a storm destroys.
(15) They have not caught fish, the folly of nature.
But just as human skill is wonderful, in the same way also (their)
instruments are wonderful and unique.
For instead of a fishing rod, they handle the proclamation of the gospel.
And instead of a fishing line, they release (the line of) commemoration.
(20) Instead of an anchor, they put forth power.
Instead of bait, they attach miracles (to the snare).
Instead of a rock, they catch from heaven.
Instead of a boat, they laid hold of the altar.
Instead of fish, they catch kings.
(25) Instead of a net, they have thrown out the gospel.
Instead of human skill, they have used grace.
Instead of a sea, they travel through life.
And instead of nets, they fish with the cross.
Who has ever seen dead people fishing, and live people being fished?
(30) O for the power of the One crucified!
O for the divine dignity!
O for the apostolic beneficence!
There is indeed nothing in life of such a nature as the apostolic grace.

Life indeed saw many wonderful things, and things beyond expectation.
(35) It saw blood calling forth after it has been shed,
and murder calling out without a tongue,
and nature being torn on account of envy,
and the earth defiled on account of a brutal act,
and the murder of a brother sending one born from the same mother forth to his death,
and the door of death being opened on account of jealousy.
It saw an ark (becoming) in shipwreck the womb of nature.
(40) It saw an old man being armed against his own offspring on account of
his faith.
It saw one sacrificing another who was not slaughtered,
and offering one who was not killed.
It saw a tent more spacious than heaven, and God contained under (the roof of) a tent.
It saw a theft, the source of blessings, and a wrestling (match)
between Maker and slave.
It saw envy progressing among brothers, and slavery producing kingship.
(45) It saw dreams having prepared a throne, and having brought famine to the plotters.
It saw fire bedewing a bramble-bush, and a staff as source of miracles.
It saw waves being deprived, and depth illuminated.
It saw ways made ready, and a pillar of a cloud …
guiding the famous throng of people (Ex. 13.21-22).
(50) It saw a staff having blossomed without soil (Num.17.8), and heaven
having turned manna into bread (Ex. 16.14).
It saw a lawgiver having commanded elements (of nature), and a letter (of
law) bursting forth with a curse.
It saw a man having controlled the sun with a word (Jos. 10.12-13), and a
sterile woman having given birth to a prophet through prayer.
It saw a handful of flower, richer than (fields) with a deep crop, and a flask
of oil, more bounteous than fountains (I Kings 17.14-16).
It saw a prophet being taken up in an immaterial chariot, and bones of the
dead (becoming) remedies of life.
(60) These and other many wonderful things life saw, but those have
passed by were like a shadow and grass, and like a lamp extinguished.
For when the sun rose, the shadow passed by, because there is nothing of
such a nature as the apostles.

They served God through the word (Luke 1.2);
(65) they touched the One without form who became flesh (I John 1.1);
they followed him when he walked around, yet being present everywhere;
they reclined together with the One who is not circumscribed;
they heard a voice of One who created everything with his word;
they caught the world through their tongue;
(70) in their course they travelled around to all ends (of the world);
they rooted out the error like tares;
they mowed down altars like thistles;
they destroyed idols like beasts;
they put the demons to flight like wolves;
(75) they gathered the Church like a flock (of sheep);
they gathered those of the right faith like corn;
they treated the heresies as worthless like chaff;88
they made Judaism arid like grass;
They destroyed Hellenism with fire like wooden material;
(80) they ploughed nature with the cross;
they sowed the word like corn;
Like morning stars they illuminated everything.
Therefore the Lord called unto them:
‘You are the light for the world (Matt. 5.14).
(85) You have the sunrise as virgin birth;
the dawn as the womb of baptism;
radiance, the grace of the One crucified;
rays as astounding tongues;
day as the coming age;
(90) noon as the hour of the cross;
sunset as the habitation of the tomb;
evening as temporary death;
illumination as the resurrection of the dead.
You are the light for the world (Matt. 5.14).
(95) Behold the stars, and be amazed at their radiance!’

Therefore today Andrew, having found the Lord, who is shared in common
just like a treasure of light, has called to Peter, his own brother, saying:
‘We have found the Messiah’(John 1.41).
O excess of brotherly love!
(100) O inversed order!
Though Andrew came second after Peter into life, yet he was first that
caught Peter for the gospel.
‘We have found the Messiah’ (John 1.41), he said.
The word sprang from excessive joy.
(105) Radiant are the tidings of his founding (the Messiah).
‘We have found’, he says, ‘the treasure.
Peter, flee from the poverty of circumcision!
Doff the rags of the law!
Throw away the yoke of the letter!
(110) Deny all these things as being of little value, and the present things
that belong to the world of dreams!
(Judge) Bethsaida as a place of little worth,
the casting-net as instrument of poverty,
the boat as sea of shipwreck,
(115) human skills as source of a storm,
the fish as merchandise of gluttony,
the earth as ocean of tumult,
your race as vine-switches of corruption,
the world as market of the belly,
(120) the temple as cave of bandits (Matt. 21.13);
Jerusalem as abode of many prophets (Matt. 23.37),
the nation as rage against God,
Caiaphas as father of an evil Sanhedrin.
We have found the Messiah (John 1.41),
(125) whom the prophets proclaimed beforehand,
whom the law designated beforehand.
We have found the treasure of the law.
Peter, flee from the famine of the letter.
We have found the Messiah (John 1.41),
(130) whom the symbols foreshadowed,
whom Micaiah saw on the throne of glory (I Kings 22.19),
whom Isaiah saw upon the seraphim (Is. 6.6),
whom Ezekiel saw upon the cherubim (Ez. 10.1),
whom Daniel saw upon the clouds (Dan. 7.13),
(135) whom Nebuchadnezzar saw in the furnace (Dan. 3.26ff.),
whom Abraham received in his tent (Gen. 18.1ff.),
whom Jacob did not let go unless being blessed (Gen. 32.22ff.),
whom Moses saw (in the crevice of) the rock from behind (Ex. 33.22).
Him we have found, born without beginning, and revealed in these last days.
(140) The treasure, the abundance of which is not emptied,
and the richness, which cannot be robbed,
and whose existence is without beginning,
and the finding is recent.
We have found the Messiah, which, being translated, means: Christ.
(145) There have been many ‘anointed ones’, but all were slaves to death.
Abraham was an ‘anointed one’, but his body was dissolved in a tomb;
Isaac was one, but the memory of him lies in bones;
Jacob was one, but he has become subordinate to death;
Moses was one, but we do not even know where he is buried (Deut. 34.6);
(150) David was an anointed one, but all were spoils (of death).
All were ‘anointed ones’, but they were prisoners of death.
But one was the Christ, in nature God, in his mercy man.
He sealed with his birth the womb of the virgin, and rendered the fishermen
to be fountains of remedies.
(155) To him belong the power, and the kingdom and the glory, and the worship,
together with his Father, the immaculate and consubstantial one, of the
same power as he,
and the Holy Spirit,
now and ever, and till all ages, Amen.

Source: "Proclus of Constantinople: encomia on the Apostles Paul and Andrew (Homilies 18 and 19)". 

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