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Gregory of Nyssa Bilingual Anthology

THE MYSTERY OF THE CROSS

from the Great Catechism, * Ch. 32, translated by W. Moore & H. A. Wilson, Greek Fonts ||| Gregory of Nyssa Home Page


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HAT other objection is alleged by our adversaries? This; that (to take the preferable view ) it was altogether needless that that transcendent Being should submit to the experience of death, but He might independently of this, through the superabundance of His power, have wrought with ease His purpose; still, if for some ineffable reason or other it was absolutely necessary that so it should be, at least He ought not to have been subjected to the contumely of such an ignominious kind of death. What death, they ask, could be more ignominious than that by crucifixion? What answer can we make to this? Why, that the death is rendered necessary by the birth, and that He Who had determined once for all to share the nature of man must pass through all the peculiar conditions of that nature.

τὸ μυστήριον τοῦ Σταυροῦ

Τί πρὸς τούτοις ἔτι παρὰ τῶν ἀντιλεγόντων προφέρεται; τὸ μάλιστα μὲν μηδὲ ὅλως δεῖν εἰς θανάτου πεῖραν ἐλθεῖν τὴν ὑπερέχουσαν φύσιν͵ ἀλλὰ καὶ δίχα τούτου τῇ περιουσίᾳ τῆς δυνάμεως δύνασθαι ἂν μετὰ ῥᾳστώνης τὸ δοκοῦν κατεργάσασθαι. εἰ δὲ καὶ πάντως ἔδει τοῦτο γενέσθαι κατά τινα λόγον ἀπόρρητον͵ ἀλλ΄ οὖν τὸ μὴ τῷ ἀτίμῳ τρόπῳ τοῦ θανάτου καθυβρισθῆναι. τίς γὰρ ἂν γένοιτο͵ φησί͵ τοῦ διὰ σταυροῦ θάνατος ἀτιμότερος; τί οὖν καὶ πρὸς ταῦτά φαμεν; ὅτι τὸν θάνατον μὲν ἀναγκαῖον ἡ γένεσις ἀπεργάζεται. τὸν γὰρ ἅπαξ μετασχεῖν ἐγνωκότα τῆς ἀνθρωπότητος διὰ πάντων ἔδει γενέσθαι τῶν ἰδιωμάτων τῆς φύσεως.

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