Selected Church Fathers sayings on Pentecost & the Holy Spirit

The Feast of Pentecost - Coptic Orthodox Icon

The Feast of Pentecost

“And after forty days He ascended to heaven and say by the Right Hand of the Gracious Father, and sent unto us the Comforter the Spirit of Truth, as cloven tongues fire.”
– The Fraction for the Pentecost Feast; The Divine Liturgy of St. Basil according to the Coptic Orthodox Church

1. HH Pope Shenouda III, “The Feast of the Pentecost”

“The Holy Spirit used to work in the Old Testament as well.
In the story of Samson we read that “the Spirit of the LORD began to move upon him at Mahaneh Dan” (Judges 13:25). And we also read that after Saul was anointed as king that “the Spirit of God came upon him, and he prophesied” (1 S 10:10). This also happened when David was anointed by Prophet Samuel to be king “the Spirit of the LORD came upon David from that day forward” (1 Sam 16:13). And the way the Holy Spirit came upon both Saul and David was through the Anointing Oil that the Lord ordered them to prepare in Exodus Book (Ex 30:22- 31). And Aaron was anointed as a high priest when Moses poured from this holy anointing oil on Aaron’s head and anointed him (Lv 8:12), as we say in the psalm “It is like the precious oil upon the head, Running down on the beard, The beard of Aaron, Running down on the edge of his garments.” (Ps 133:2). And with this anointing oil the tent of meeting along with the altars and the utensils were anointed and became holy (Ex 40, Lv 8). With this anointing oil also kings and prophets were anointed (1 Kings 19). And as a result to the anointing, the Holy Spirit comes upon them and so comes His gifts as well.”

2. St. Basil the Great, “On the Holy Spirit”

“Through the Holy Spirit comes our restoration to paradise, our ascension into the kingdom of heaven, our return to the adoption of sons, our liberty to call God our Father, our being made partakers of the grace of Christ, our being called children of light, our sharing in eternal glory, and, in a word, our being brought into a state of all “fulness of blessing,” both in this world and in the world to come, of all the good gifts that are in store for us, by promise hereof, through faith, beholding the reflection of their grace as though they were already present, we await the full enjoyment.”

3. St. Macarius the Great, “Spiritual Homilies” (Homily 26)

“As the Lord put on the body, leaving behind all principality and power, so Christians put on the Holy Spirit, and are at rest.”

4. St. Cyril of Alexandria

“Jesus tells us that His holy Disciples will be more courageous and more understanding when they would be, as the Scripture says, Endowed with power from on high (Luke 24:49), and that when their minds would be illuminated by the torch of the Spirit they would be able to see into all things, even though no longer able to question Him bodily present among them. The Saviour does not say that they would no longer as before need the light of His guidance, but that when they received His Spirit, when He was dwelling in their hearts, they would not be wanting in any good thing, and their minds would be filled with most perfect knowledge.”

5. St Isaac the Syrian, “Ascetical Homilies” (Homily 77)

“The power to bear Mysteries, which the humble man has received, which makes him perfect in every virtue without toil, this is the very power which the blessed apostles received in the form of fire. For its sake the Saviour commanded them not to leave Jerusalem until they should receive power from on high, that is to say, the Paraclete, which, being interpreted, is the Spirit of consolation. And this is the Spirit of divine visions. Concerning this it is said in divine Scripture: ‘Mysteries are revealed to the humble’ [Ecclus 3:19]. The humble are accounted worthy of receiving in themselves this Spirit of revelations Who teaches mysteries.”

6. St. Simeon the New Theologian, “Writings from Philokalia”

“The aim of all those who live in God is to please our Lord Jesus Christ and become reconciled with God the Father through receiving the Holy Spirit, thus securing their salvation, for in this consists the salvation of every soul. If this aim and this activity is lacking, all other labour is useless and all other striving is in vain. Every path of life which does not lead to this is without profit.”

7. St. John Chrysostom, “Homilies on the Acts of the Apostles”

“Was it upon the twelve that it [the Holy Spirit] came? Not so; but upon the hundred and twenty. For Peter would not have quoted to no purpose the testimony of the prophet, saying, ‘And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith the Lord God, I will pour out of My Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams’ (Joel 2:28). ‘And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit.’ For, that the effect may not be to frighten only, therefore it is both ‘with the Holy Spirit, and with fire. And began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance’ (Mt. 3:11).”

8. St. Gregory of Nazianzen, “Oration on Pentecost”

“But as the old Confusion of tongues was laudable, when men who were of one language in wickedness and impiety, even as some now venture to be, were building the Tower; for by the confusion of their language the unity of their intention was broken up, and their undertaking destroyed; so much more worthy of praise is the present miraculous one. For being poured from One Spirit upon many men, it brings them again into harmony. And there is a diversity of Gifts, which stands in need of yet another Gift to discern which is the best, where all are praiseworthy.”

9. St. Ephraim the Syrian, “Three homilies. On our Lord.” (Paragraph 12)

“Now the Prophets performed all [other] signs; but on no occasion supplied the deficiency of members. But the deficiency of the body was reserved, that it should be supplied through our Lord; that souls might perceive that it is through Him that every deficiency must be supplied. It is meet, then, that the prudent should perceive that He Who supplies the deficiencies of the creatures, is Master of the formative power of the Creator. But when He was upon earth, our Lord gave to the deaf [and dumb], [the power] of hearing and of speaking tongues which they had not learned; that after He had ascended, [men] might understand that He gave to His disciples[the power] of speaking in every tongue.”

A letter of St. Athanasius the Apostolic concerning the Holy Spirit can be found in the following link;

http://ia701207.us.archive.org/20/items/TheLettersOfSaintAthanasiusConcerningTheHolySpirit/Athanasius_Letters_to_Serapion_Shapland.pdf

I would have loved to pick a small significant quote from it but could not just take something out, as it just needs to be read fully to gain any benefit… I found it (the parts I read) to be deep and thorough in explaining the errors in Arius’ heresies and wrong beliefs. I found also that he explains the presence and role of the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament. There are many more interesting and beneficial pieces of theology and explanations that St. Athanasius the Apostolic has included and so I am recommending (for those interested) to read this during the Apostles fast.

Happy Feast of Pentecost! 03.06.12

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2 thoughts on “Selected Church Fathers sayings on Pentecost & the Holy Spirit

  1. Pingback: Saint Chrysostom Homilies The Acts

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