The Day of the Resurrection

Dorotheos of Gaza: Discourses and Sayings. Chapter 16 Commentary on an Easter Hymn of St. Gregory Nazianzen

St. Gregory’s Hymn for Easter

This is the Day of Resurrection.

Let us offer God its first-fruits, which is ourselves.

Let us, as his most precious children, return to the likeness of God,

What is verily his likeness in us.

Let us reverence our worth.

Let us honor our Exemplar.

Let us come to understand the power of the ‘mystery’ wherein Christ died.

What follows is a brief excerpt from Dorotheos’ commentary on St. Gregory’s poem:

“This is the day of resurrection,” a day to replace all their (the Israelites of old) holy feasts, a day of divine assembly, the day of Christ’s Passover. What is this “Passover” if Christ? The Israelites kept the Passover when they came out of Egypt. Easter, the Passover which we are now keeping and which the Saint commends to our celebration, is enacted in the soul, which comes out of the spiritual Egypt, that is, from sin. When the soul passes over from sin to virtue, then it celebrates the Passover of the Lord.

The Passover of the Lord is the passage away from evil. Evagrius

Today, Easter Day, is therefore the “Passover” if Christ, a day of brilliant festival, the day of Resurrection, the day of his nailing sin to the Cross, of his dying and being raised to life – all for our sakes. Let us offer ourselves as sacrificial gifts and holocausts to the Lord, who has no desire for senseless animals.

You did not desire irrational sacrifices and offerings, and are not pleased with burnt offerings of sheep and cattle. Hebrews 10:5-6

What do I care for the multitude of your sacrifices? Isaiah 1:11

Christ our Paschal Lamb is sacrificed for us. 1 Corinthians 5:7

…We ought on our part at some time to offer him a gift that will please him. And what sort of gift ought we offer to Christ in order to please him on the day of His Resurrection, if he does not desire the sacrifice of senseless animals?

The Saint in his teaching tells us the answer, for after saying, “It is the Day of Resurrection,” he adds, “Let us offer up its first-fruits, which is ourselves.” The Apostle too instructs us:

Offer up your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and well-pleasing to God, the worship that your reason dictates. Romans 12:1

How then ought we to make an offering of our bodies as a living sacrifice to God?

By no longer following our physical desires and our own ideas. Ephesians 2:3

But in walking in the spirit and not fulfilling the desires of the flesh. Galatians 5:15

For this is to mortify our earthly members. Colossians 3:5

This is what is meant by a living sacrifice, holy and well-pleasing to God.

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