From The Easter Sermons of Gregory of Nyssa
Translated by L Dysinger. based and admittedly heavily dependent on the translation by S. G. Hall (, Philadelphia Patristic Foundation, 1981, pp. 51-53) Arial = modified translation
In sanctum et salutare pascha (In Christi resurrectionem oratio iv) Gregory of Nyssa opera, vol. 9.1 Brill, Leiden 1967 pp 309-311 ed. E. Gebhardt












NOW the true Sabbath rest, that which received the blessing of God, when the Lord rested from his works by keeping Sabbath for the world’s salvation through the inaction of death, has now attained its goal and has made its own grace known to eyes and ears and heart through everything we consecrated in the Feast, whereby we have seen, heard, and welcomed the joy into [our] heart[s].

  Ἡ μὲν ἀληθινὴ τοῦ σαββάτου κατάπαυσις ἡ τὴν εὐλογίαν τοῦ θεοῦ δεξαμένη͵ ἐν ᾗ κατέπαυσεν ἀπὸ τῶν ἑαυτοῦ ἔργων ὁ κύριος ὑπὲρ τῆς τοῦ κόσμου σωτηρίας τῇ ἀπραξίᾳ τοῦ θανάτου ἐνσαββατίσας͵ ἤδη πέρας ἔχει καὶ τὴν ἰδίαν ἔδειξε χάριν καὶ ὀφθαλμοῖς καὶ ἀκοαῖς καὶ καρδίᾳ διὰ πάντων τούτων τῆς ἑορτῆς ἐν ἡμῖν τελεσθείσης͵ οἷς εἴδομεν͵ οἷς ἠκούσαμεν͵ οἷς τῇ καρδίᾳ τὴν εὐφροσύνην ὑπεδεξάμεθα.

While our eyes beheld the light as a fiery cloud of torchlight from our candles in the night, the Word also  resounded in our ears all night long in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs (Col. 3,16), like a stream of joy pouring through our ears into the soul, making us replete with good hopes.

τὸ μὲν γὰρ ὁρώμενον τοῖς ὀφθαλμοῖς φῶς ἦν τῇ τοῦ πυρὸς νεφέλῃ διὰ τῶν λαμπάδων ἡμῖν ἐν τῇ νυκτὶ δᾳδουχούμενον͵ ὁ δὲ παννύχιον ταῖς ἀκοαῖς προσηχῶν λόγος ἐν ψαλμοῖς καὶ ὕμνοις καὶ ᾠδαῖς πνευματικαῖς οἷόν τι ῥεῦμα χαρᾶς δι΄ ἀκοῆς εἰς τὴν ψυχὴν εἰσρέων πλήρεις ἡμᾶς τῶν ἀγαθῶν ἐλπίδων ἐποίησεν͵



The heart shone brighter as it portrayed the unspeakable blessedness of the things said and seen, hand-led by perceptible things towards the invisible; so that the benefits of this day of rest, relied upon because of their own inexpressible expectation of what lies in store, became a picture of those other benefits “which eye has not seen nor ear heard nor have they entered into the heart of man” (1 Cor. 2,9).

ἡ δὲ καρδία τῶν λεγομένων τε καὶ βλεπομένων φαιδρυνομένη τὴν ἄφραστον ἐτυποῦτο μακα ριότητα διὰ τῶν φαινομένων χειραγωγουμένη πρὸς τὸ ἀόρατον͵ ὥστε τῶν ἀγαθῶν ἐκείνων͵ Ἃ οὔτε ὀφθαλμὸς εἶδεν οὔτε οὖς ἤκουσεν οὔτε ἐπὶ καρδίαν ἀνθρώπου ἀνέβη͵ εἰκόνα εἶναι τὰ τῆς καταπαύσεως ταύτης ἀγαθὰ δι΄ ἑαυτῶν τὴν ἀνεκφώνητον ἐλπίδα τῶν ἀποκειμένων πιστούμενα.

Since then this night of light, mingling its candle-rays with the dawning beams of the sun, has made one continuous day undivided by intervening darkness, [p.310] let us consider, brothers, the prophecy which says, “This is the day which the Lord has made” (Ps. 117,24).

ἐπειδὴ τοίνυν ἡ φωτεινὴ νὺξ αὕτη τὰς ἐκ τῶν λαμπάδων αὐγὰς ταῖς ὀρθριναῖς ἀκτῖσι τοῦ ἡλίου συμμίξασα μίαν κατὰ τὸ συνεχὲς ἡμέραν ἐποίησε μὴ διαμερισθεῖσαν τῇ παρενθήκῃ τοῦ σκότους͵ 9.310 νοήσωμεν͵ ἀδελφοί͵ τὴν προφήτειαν τὴν λέγουσαν ὅτι Αὕτη ἐστὶν ἡ ἡμέρα͵ ἣν ἐποίησεν ὁ κύριος͵

In it there is no hard or laborious work, but happiness and joy and gladness, as the word puts it, “Let us rejoice and be glad in it” (Ps. 117,24).

ἐν ᾗ ἔργον ἐστὶν οὐ βαρύ τι καὶ δυσκατόρθωτον͵ ἀλλὰ χαρὰ καὶ εὐφροσύνη καὶ ἀγαλλίαμα οὕτως εἰπόντος τοῦ λόγου ὅτι Ἀγαλλιασώμεθα καὶ εὐφρανθῶμεν ἐν αὐτῇ.

What kind commands! What sweet legislation! Who postpones obedience to such commands? Who does not reckon the slightest delay in the commands as loss?

ὢ καλῶν προσταγμάτων͵ ὢ γλυκείας νομοθεσίας. τίς ὑπερτίθεται πρὸς τὸ ὑπακοῦσαι τοιούτοις προστάγμασι; τίς δὲ οὐχὶ ζημίαν ἡγεῖται καὶ τὴν ἐν ὀλίγῳ τῶν προσταγμάτων ἀναβολήν;



[Our] work is to rejoice and our command to be transported by joy: by means of these the condemnation for sin is raised and sorrows are transformed into joy (cf Jn 16.20).

εὐφροσύνη τὸ ἔργον καὶ ἀγαλλίαμά ἐστι τὸ ἐπίταγμα͵ δι΄ ὧν ἀναλύεται ἡ ἐπὶ τῇ ἁμαρτίᾳ κατάκρισις καὶ εἰς χαρὰν τὰ λυπηρὰ μεθαρμόζεται.

That is the [meaning of] the wise maxim, “For in the day of rejoicing there is no memory of bad things” (cf. Sir. 11,25).

τοῦτό ἐστι τὸ τῆς σοφίας ἀπόφθεγμα͵ ὅτι ἐν ἡμέρᾳ εὐφροσύνης ἀμνηστία κακῶν.

This day wrought forgetting of the primordial sentence against us,

or rather its obliteration - ,
not [merely] forgetting;

it completely destroyed all remembrance of our condemnation.

λήθην ἐποίησε τῆς πρώτης καθ΄ ἡμῶν ἀποφάσεως ἡ ἡμέρα αὕτη͵

μᾶλλον δὲ ἀφανισμόν͵
οὐχὶ λήθην·

ἐξήλειψε γὰρ καθόλου πᾶν μνημόσυνον τῆς καθ΄ ἡμῶν κατακρίσεως.



Once childbirth was in sorrows (cf. Gen. 3,16 ff),
now birth now is without pains.

Once we were born as flesh from flesh,
now what is born is spirit from spirit
(cf. John 3,6).

Once we were born sons of men,
now as children of God
(cf. 1 John 3,1).

Once we were dismissed from heaven to earth,
now the Heavenly One has made us heavenly
(cf. 1 Cor. 15,48 f).

τότε ἐν λύπαις ὁ τοκετός͵
νῦν χωρὶς ὠδίνων ἡ γέννησις·

τότε ἐκ σαρκὸς ἐγεννήθημεν σάρκες͵
νῦν τὸ γεννηθὲν πνεῦμά ἐστιν ἐκ πνεύματος·

τότε υἱοὶ ἀνθρώπων͵
νῦν τέκνα θεοῦ ἐγεννήθημεν·

τότε εἰς γῆν ἐξ οὐρανῶν ἀπελύθημεν͵
νῦν ὁ ἐπουράνιος καὶ ἡμᾶς οὐρανίους ἐποίησε·

Once death reigned through sin,
now justice has taken over power through life
(cf. Rom. 5,21).

There was one once who opened the way in to death,
and there is one now through whom life is introduced instead
(cf. Rom. 5,15).

τότε διὰ τῆς ἁμαρτίας ὁ θάνατος ἐβασίλευε͵
νῦν ἀντιμεταλαμ βάνει διὰ τῆς ζωῆς ἡ δικαιοσύνη τὸ κράτος·

εἷς ἤνοιξε τότε τοῦ θανάτου τὴν εἴσοδον͵
δι΄ ἑνὸς καὶ νῦν ἡ ζωὴ ἀντεισάγεται·

Once through death we fell away from life,
now it is by life that death is destroyed.

Once for shame we hid behind the fig-tree (cf. Gen. 3,7 f),
now for glory we approach the tree of life.

Once for disobedience we were evicted from the garden,
now for faith we come within the garden.

τότε διὰ τοῦ θανάτου τῆς ζωῆς ἐξεπέσομεν͵
νῦν ὑπὸ τῆς ζωῆς ἀναιρεῖται ὁ θάνατος·

τότε ὑπ΄ αἰσχύνης τῇ συκῇ ὑπεκρύβη μεν͵
νῦν διὰ δόξης τὸ ξύλον τῆς ζωῆς προσεγγίζομεν·

τότε διὰ τῆς παρακοῆς τοῦ παραδείσου ἐξῳκίσθημεν͵
νῦν διὰ πίστεως τοῦ παραδείσου εἴσω γινόμεθα.

Again the fruit of life lies open to our grasp for our enjoyment (cf. Gen. 3,22 f).

πάλιν ὁ καρπὸς τῆς ζωῆς εἰς τρυφὴν πρόκειται κατ΄ ἐξουσίαν ἡμῖν·

Fourfold Rivers from Paradise  

Once more the fountain of paradise, dividing [p.311] into the fourfold rivers of the gospel, waters all the face of the church (cf. Gen. 2, 6. 10), and makes [happily] drunk the furrows of our souls, which the sower of the word (cf. Mark 4,15) ploughed with the teaching, abundantly bringing forth the harvest of virtue. (cf. Ps.64,9) (cf. Evagrius KG 1.83)

πάλιν ἡ τοῦ παραδείσου πηγὴ ἡ τετραχῆ διὰ τῶν εὐαγγελικῶν ποταμῶν 9.311 μεριζομένη ἅπαν ποτίζει τὸ πρόσωπον τῆς ἐκκλησίας͵ ὡς καὶ μεθύειν ἡμῶν τὰς αὔλακας τῶν ψυχῶν͵ ἃς ὁ σπείρων τὸν λόγον τῷ ἀρότρῳ τῆς διδασκαλίας ἀνέτεμε͵ καὶ πληθύειν τῆς ἀρετῆς τὰ γεννήματα.

What then remains for such as us to do? What but to imitate prophetic hills and mountains in their leaping? “The mountains”, it says, “leaped like rams, and the hills like young lambs” (Ps. 113,4).

Τί οὖν ἔτι τοῖς τοιούτοις προσήκει ποιεῖν; τί ἄλλο ἢ μιμεῖσθαι τὰ ὄρη τὰ προφητικὰ καὶ τοὺς βουνοὺς τοῖς σκιρτήμασι. Τὰ ὄρη͵ γάρ φησιν͵ ἐσκίρτησαν ὡσεὶ κριοὶ καὶ οἱ βουνοὶ ὡς ἀρνία προβάτων.

So come, let us rejoice in the Lord who destroyed the might of the foe and set up the trophy of the cross for us on the enemy’s corpse. Let us cheer, for cheering is the triumphal shout raised by the victors against the vanquished.

οὐκοῦν δεῦτε͵ ἀγαλλιασώμεθα τῷ κυρίῳ τῷ καθελόντι τοῦ πολεμίου τὴν δύναμιν καὶ τὸ μέγα τρόπαιον τοῦ σταυροῦ ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν ἀναστήσαντι ἐν τῷ πτώματι τοῦ ἀντικειμένου. ἀλαλάζωμεν͵ ἀλαλαγμὸς δέ ἐστιν ἐπινίκιος εὐφημία παρὰ τῶν κεκρατηκότων ἐγειρομένη κατὰ τῶν ἡττημένων.

Since then the enemy line has collapsed and the very one who had command of the evil army of demons has himself gone, has vanished and has been brought already to nothing, let us say, “The Lord is a great God” (Ps. 94,3) and “A great king over all the earth” (Ps. 46,3) is he who “has blessed the crown of the year with his goodness” (Ps. 64,12) and gathered us into this spiritual choir in Christ Jesus our Lord, to whom be glory for ever. Amen.

ἐπεὶ οὖν πέπτωκεν ἡ τοῦ πολεμίου παράταξις καὶ αὐτὸς ἐκεῖνος ὁ τὸ κράτος ἔχων τῆς πονηρᾶς τῶν δαιμόνων στρατιᾶς οἴχεται καὶ ἠφάνισται καὶ εἰς τὸ μὴ ὂν ἤδη μετα κεχώρηκεν͵ εἴπωμεν ὅτι Θεὸς μέγας κύριος καὶ Βασιλεὺς μέγας ἐπὶ πᾶσαν τὴν γῆν ὁ Εὐλογήσας τὸν στέφανον τοῦ ἐνιαυτοῦ τῆς χρηστότητος αὐτοῦ καὶ συναγαγὼν ἡμᾶς εἰς τὴν πνευματικὴν ταύτην χοροστασίαν͵ ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ τῷ κυρίῳ ἡμῶν͵ ᾧ ἡ δόξα εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας͵ ἀμήν.



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