A Nativity Sermon of St. Issac the Syrian

by St. Isaac the Syrian

Isaac_of_Syria116Our venerable father among the saints Isaac of Syria, also known as Isaac of Nineveh, is a 7th century saint known for his strict asceticism and ascetic writings. St. Isaac is fully accepted as a saint in the Orthodox Church, though during his lifetime, he was canonically a member of the Church of the East, a church that has been associated with the Nestorian heresy, although that charge is widely doubted today.

His writings nevertheless came to be extremely popular in Orthodox monastic circles and are well-known for their Orthodoxy. Most contemporary Nestorians rejected St. Isaac’s three theses, which, although they are not known in their exact form, were Orthodox and incompatible with the Nestorian heresy.

This Christmas night bestowed peace on the whole world;
So let no one threaten;

This is the night of the Most Gentle One –
Let no one be cruel;

This is the night of the Humble One –
Let no one be proud.

Now is the day of joy –
Let us not revenge;

Now is the day of Good Will –
Let us not be mean.

In this Day of Peace –
Let us not be conquered by anger.

Today the Bountiful impoverished Himself for our sake;
So, rich one, invite the poor to your table.

Today we receive a Gift for which we did not ask;
So let us give alms to those who implore and beg us.

This present Day cast open the heavenly doors to our prayers;
Let us open our door to those who ask our forgiveness.

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Today the DIVINE BEING took upon Himself the seal of our humanity,
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