- Extract from the homily XVII, article 4 concerning divorce, by saint John Chrysostom in his explanation of the gospel of saint Matthew4.
Now it has been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement. But I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causes her to commit adultery; and whosoever marries her that is put away, commits adultery.Matthew 6:31-32He goes not on to what lies before Him, until He have well cleared out the former topics. For, lo, He shows us yet another kind of adultery. And what is this? There was an ancient law made, Deuteronomy 24:1-4 that he who hated his wife, for whatever kind of cause, should not be forbidden to cast her out, and to bring home another instead of her. The law however did not command him simply to do this, but after giving the woman a writing of divorcement, that it might not be in her power to return to him again; that so at least the figure of the marriage might remain.For if He had not enjoined this, but it were lawful first to cast her out, and take another, then afterwards to take back the former, the confusion was sure to be great, all men continually taking each others' wives; and the matter thenceforth would have been direct adultery. With a view to this, He devised, as no small mitigation, the writing of divorcement.But these things were done by reason of another, a far greater wickedness; I mean, had He made it necessary to keep in the house her even that was hated, the husband, hating, would have killed her. For such was the race of the Jews. For they who did not spare children, who slew prophets, and
shed blood as water,much more would they have showed no mercy to women. For this cause He allowed the less, to remove the greater evil. For that this was not a primary law, hear Him saying,
Moses wrote these things according to the hardness of your hearts,that you might not slay them in the house, but rather put them out. But forasmuch as He had taken away all wrath, having forbidden not murder only, but even the mere feeling of anger, He with ease introduces this law likewise. With this view also He is ever bringing to mind the former words, to signify that His sayings are not contrary to them, but in agreement: that He is enforcing, not overthrowing them; perfecting, not doing them away.And observe Him everywhere addressing His discourse to the man. Thus,
He that puts away his wife,says He,
the other has cast her out;nay, for when cast out she continues to be the wife of him that expelled her. Then lest He should render the wife more self-willed, by throwing it all upon him who cast her out, He has shut against her also the doors of him who was afterwards receiving her; in that He says,
He who marries her that is put away commits adultery;and so makes the woman chaste even though unwilling, and blocks up altogether her access to all, and suffers her not to give an occasion for jealousy. For she who has been made aware that she positively must either keep the husband, who was originally allotted to her, or being cast out of that house, not have any other refuge—she even against her will was compelled to make the best of her consort.And if He discourse not at all unto her concerning these things, marvel not; for the woman is rather a weak creature. For this cause letting her go, in his threatening against the men He fully corrects her remissness. Just as if any one who had a prodigal child, leaving him, should rebuke those who make him such, and forbid them to have intercourse, or to approach him. And if that be galling, call to mind, I pray you, His former sayings, on what terms He had blessed His hearers; and you will see that it is very possible and easy. For he that is meek, and a peacemaker, and poor in spirit, and merciful, how shall he cast out his wife? He that is used to reconcile others, how shall he be at variance with her that is his own?And not thus only, but in another way also He has lightened the enactment: forasmuch as even for him He leaves one manner of dismissal, when He says,
Except for the cause of fornication;since the matter had else come round again to the same issue. For if He had commanded to keep her in the house, though defiling herself with many, He would have made the matter end again in adultery.Do you see how these sayings agree with what had gone before? For he who looks not with unchaste eyes upon another woman, will not commit whoredom; and not committing whoredom, he will give no occasion to the husband to cast out his wife.Therefore, you see, after this He presses the point without reserve, and builds up this fear as a bulwark, urging on the husband the great danger, if he do cast her out, in that he makes himself accountable for her adultery. Thus, lest you being told,
pluck out the eye,should suppose this to be said even of a wife: He added in good time this corrective, in one way only giving leave to cast her out, but no otherwise.
- extract fromSaint Kyrellos Elkebeer the 24th patriarch of Alexandriahttp://www.ccel.org/ccel/pearse/morefathers/files/cyril_on_luke_13_sermons_135_145.htm#SERMON CXXXIX."And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations in perplexity: from the sound of the sea, and its surging, as the souls of men depart: from fear and expectation of the things which are coming upon the world: for the hosts of heaven shall be shaken." For inasmuch as creation begins, so to speak, to be changed, and brings unendurable terrors upon the inhabitants of earth, there will be a certain fearful tribulation, and a departing of souls to death. For the unendurable fear of those things that are coming will suffice for the destruction of many."Then, He says, they shall see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory." Christ therefore will come not secretly nor obscurely, but as God and Lord, in glory |654 such as becomes Deity; and will transform all things for the better. For He will renew creation, and refashion the nature of man to that which it was at the beginning. "For when these things, He says, come to pass, lift up your heads, and look upwards: for your redemption is near." For the dead shall rise, and this earthly and infirm body shall put off corruption, and shall clothe itself with incorruption by Christ's gift, Who grants to those that believe in Him to be conformed to the likeness of His glorious body. As therefore His disciple says, "The day of the Lord will come as a thief; in which the heavens indeed shall suddenly pass away, and the elements being on fire shall be dissolved, and the earth and all the works that are therein shall be burnt up." And further, he adds thereunto, "Since therefore all these things are being dissolved, what sort of persons ought we to be, that we may be found holy, and without blame, and unreproved before Him?" And Christ also Himself says, "Be you therefore always watching, supplicating that you may be able to escape from all those things that are about to happen, and to stand before the Son of Man." "For we shall all stand before His judgment seat," to give an account of those things that we have done. But in that He is good and loving to mankind, Christ will show mercy on those that love Him; by Whom and with Whom to God the Father be praise and dominion, with the Holy Spirit, for ever and ever, Amen.3 |655