Crumbs from the Table of Christian Spirituality, Eastern & Western |
Collected by a Monk of the Western Church


The man Jesus has risen up to a name above all names … he was crushed in the flesh of sin, bore the form of a servant, was obedient to death; he became ‘Kyrios’ (Lord), ‘pneuma’ (Spirit). He is, then, the same Lord who walked unnoticed and persecuted through the fields of Palestine and at last ended his life like a criminal on the cross; now he rules the world as king and the Church is his bride. All his life, beginning in the Virgin’s womb, is the great mystery of salvation, hidden from eternity in God and now revealed in the ‘ecclesia’ (Church). The deeds of his lowliness in that life on earth, his miserable death on Calvary appear now in a different light: God’s own light; they are his acts, revealed, streaming with his light.

— Dom Odo Casel, OSB


Christ brought the idea of God’s humility to its ultimate limit: God, entering into the world, casts off the image of his glory and puts on the image of his creation. He subordinates himself to the laws of creaturely life. He does not violate the world order. Nor does he strike the world with lightning of deafen it with thunder, as pagans thought (recall the myth of Zeus and Semele). He only burns like a meek light before the world, drawing to himself his sinful and weary creation, not punishing it but calling it to wisdom. God loves his creation and is tormented for its sake, is tormented by its sin. God extends his arms towards his creation, implores it, calls it, awaits his prodigal son …

— Paul Florensky



Liber antiphonarium de toto anni circulo a festivitate sancti Aciscli usque in finem, detail



(via rudysnotes-deactivated20120724)



SS. Annunziata

The Annunciation chapel in the basilica of the Most-holy Annunciation in Florence, Italy.



Mother of God All Hymned
Russian, early 19th century 

“O All-Hymned Mother who bore the Word, holiest of all the saints”  (from the thirteenth Kontakion of the Akathist to the Most Holy Theotokos)




François-Marius Granet. Interior of the Choir in the Capuchin Church in Piarza. ca. 1818.

Oil on canvas.

State Hermitage Museum. St. Petersburg, Russia.

(via rudysnotes-deactivated20120724)



Icon of the Annunciation
Byzantine, circa 13th century
St. Catherine’s, Sinai

Someone recently told me, that, if the light shines in a certain way on this icon, you can see an unborn infant Christ done in gold beneath the robes of the Theotokos and I need to know is this true because I can’t find any sources that say this and granted the person who told me this is a very reputable scholar who can be expected to know what they are talking about but like if anyone else has heard this…?


The great Hierarch [St. Philaret of Moscow] and the wise Archimandrite were sitting at tea and were thinking together about all the requirements for an ecumenical council and links with the Catholics. But the question then arose of who would take precedence at the council. It was foreseen that neither the Orthodox nor the Catholics would want to concede, and that meant the council would not take place. Then Fr. Isidore entered the room carrying a tray and teacups:

'The Theotokos – that’s who will be first. Therefore, the presiding chair at the council will remain unoccupied: it will belong to her… We must pray to the Theotokos. Through her alone shall come this unification, for human efforts alone will not be sufficient.'

— Pavel Florensky, Salt of the Earth


In living out the Gospel and in suffering for it, the Church, under the guidance of the apostolic preaching, has learned to understand the mystery of the Cross more and more, even though ultimately it is a mystery that defies analysis in terms of our rational formulae. The darkness and irrationality of sin and the holiness of God, too dazzling for our eyes, come together in the Cross, transcending our power of understanding. And yet in the message of the New Testament, and in the proof of that message in the lives of the saints, the great mystery has become radiant light.

— Pope Benedict XVI, Jesus of Nazareth (via invisibleforeigner)