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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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Seeing, then, that the life of man is determined between two boundaries, had He, after having passed the one, not touched the other that follows, His proposed design would have remained only half fulfilled, from His not having touched that second condition of our nature. Perhaps, however, one who exactly understands the mystery would be justified rather in saying that, instead of the death occurring in consequence of the birth, the birth on the contrary was accepted by Him for the sake of the death; for He Who lives for ever did not sink down into the conditions of a bodily birth from any need to live, but to call us back from death to life.

εἰ τοίνυν δύο πέρασι τῆς ἀνθρωπίνης ζωῆς διειλημμένης ἐν τῷ ἑνὶ γενόμενος τοῦ ἐφεξῆς μὴ προσήψατο͵ ἡμιτελὴς ἂν ἡ πρόθεσις ἔμεινε τοῦ ἑτέρου τῶν τῆς φύσεως ἡμῶν ἰδιωμάτων οὐχ ἁψαμένου. τάχα δ΄ ἄν τις δι΄ ἀκριβείας καταμαθὼν τὸ μυστήριον εὐλογώτερον εἴποι μὴ διὰ τὴν γένεσιν συμβεβηκέναι τὸν θάνατον͵ ἀλλὰ τὸ ἔμπαλιν τοῦ θανάτου χάριν παραληφθῆναι τὴν γένεσιν· οὐ γὰρ τοῦ ζῆσαι δεόμενος ὁ ἀεὶ ὢν τὴν σωματικὴν ὑποδύεται γένεσιν͵ ἀλλ΄ ἡμᾶς ἐπὶ τὴν ζωὴν ἐκ τοῦ θανάτου ἀνακαλούμενος.

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