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Three Millennia of Greek Literature


Gregory the Theologian Bilingual Anthology


from the Third Theological Oration (29), on the Son, * §§ 2, 3, 10
translated by C. G. Browne, J. E. Swallow.
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Page 3

When did these come into being? They are above all "When." But, if I am to speak with something more of boldness,-when the Father did. And when did the Father come into being. There never was a time when He was not. And the same thing is true of the Son and the Holy Ghost. Ask me again, and again I will answer you, When was the Son begotten? When the Father was not begotten. And when did the Holy Ghost proceed? When the Son was, not proceeding but, begotten-beyond the sphere of time, and above the grasp of reason; although we cannot set forth that which is above time, if we avoid as we desire any expression which conveys the idea of time. For such expressions as "when" and "before" and "after" and "from the beginning" are not timeless, however much we may force them; unless indeed we were to take the Aeon, that interval which is coextensive with the eternal things, and is not divided or measured by any motion, or by the revolution of the sun, as time is measured.

Πότε οὖν ταῦτα; ὑπὲρ τὸ πότε ταῦτα. εἰ δὲ δεῖ τι καὶ νεανικῶς εἰπεῖν͵ ὅτε ὁ Πατήρ. πότε δὲ ὁ Πατήρ; οὐκ ἦν ὅτε οὐκ ἦν. τοῦτο οὖν καὶ ὁ Υἱὸς καὶ τὸ Πνεῦμα τὸ ἅγιον. πάλιν ἐρώτα με͵ καὶ πάλιν ἀποκρινοῦμαί σοι. πότε ὁ Υἱὸς γεγέννηται; ὅτε ὁ Πατὴρ οὐ γεγέννηται. πότε δὲ τὸ Πνεῦμα ἐκπεπόρευται; ὅτε ὁ Υἱὸς οὐκ ἐκπεπόρευται͵ ἀλλὰ γεγέννηται ἀχρόνως καὶ ὑπὲρ λόγον· εἰ καὶ μὴ δυνάμεθα τὸ ὑπὲρ χρόνον παραστῆσαι θέλοντες χρονικὴν ἐκφυγεῖν ἔμφασιν· τὸ γὰρ ὅτε καὶ πρὸ τοῦδε καὶ μετὰ ταῦτα καὶ ἀπ΄ ἀρχῆς͵ οὐκ ἄχρονα͵ κἂν ὅτι μάλιστα βιαζώμεθα· πλὴν εἰ τὸ παρεκτεινόμενον τοῖς ἀιδίοις διάστημα τὸν αἰῶνα λαμβάνοιμεν͵ τὸ μὴ κινήσει τινὶ μηδὲ ἡλίου φορᾷ μεριζόμενον καὶ μετρούμενον͵ ὅπερ ὁ χρόνος.

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