Sunday, November 22, 2009

Melito's Reproaches

O lawless Israel, what is this new injustice you have done,
casting strange sufferings on your Lord?
Your master who formed you,
who made you,
who honored you,
who called you Israel.

He it was who led you into Egypt,
and guarded you there and sustained you.
He it was who lit up your way with a pillar,
and sheltered you with a cloud.
He cut the Red Sea open, leading you through,
and destroyed the enemy.

He it is who gave you manna from heaven,
who gave you drink from a rock,
who gave you the law at Horeb,
who gave you the inheritance in the land,
who sent you the prophets,
who raised up kings for you.

He it is who, coming to you,
helaed your suffering and raised your dead.
He it is whom you outraged,
he it is whom you blasphemed,
he it is whom you oppressed,
he it is whom you killed,
he it is whom you extorted,
demanding from him two drachmas as the price of his head.

His gifts to you are beyond price,
yet you held them worthless when you thanked him,
repaying him with ungrateful acts;
evil for good,
affliction for joy,
and death for life.
On this account you had to die.

On Pascha 81, 84-86, 90
by Melito of Sardis
translated by Alistair Stewart-Sykes.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Melito's Exsultet

This is the one who clad death in shame
and, as Moses did to Pharaoh,
made the devil grieve.
This is the one who struck down lawlessness
and made injustice childless,
as Moses did to Egypt.
This is the one who delivered us from slavery to freedom,
from darkness into light,
from death into life,
from tyranny into an eternal Kingdom,
and made us a new priesthood,
and a people everlasting for himself.

This is the Pascha of our salvation:
this is the one who in many people endured many things.
This is the one who was murdered in Abel,
tied up in Isaac,
exiled in Jacob,
sold in Joseph,
exposed in Moses,
slaughtered in the lamb,
hunted down in David,
dishonored in the prophets.

This is the one made flesh in a virgin,
who was hanged on a tree,
who was buried in the earth,
who was raised from the dead,
who was exalted to the heights of heaven.

This is the lamb slain,
this is the speechless lamb,
this is the one born of Mary the fair ewe,
this is the one taken from the flock,
and led to slaughter.
Who was sacrificed in the evening,
and buried at night;
who was not broken on the tree,
who was not undone in the earth,
who rose from the dead and resurrected humankind from the grave below.

On Pascha 68-71
by Melito of Sardis
translated by Alistair Stewart-Sykes.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Melito's Typology

The Lord made advance preparation for his own suffering,
in the patriarchs and in the prophets and in the whole people;
through the law and the prophets he sealed them.
That which more recently and most excellently came to pass he arranged from of old.
For when it would come to pass it would find faith,
having been foreseen of old.

Thus the mystery of the Lord,
prefigured from of old through the vision of a type,
is today fulfilled and has found faith,
even though people think it something new.
For the mystery of the Lord is both new and old;
old with respect to the law,
but new with respect to grace.
But if you scrutinize the type through its outcome you will discern him.

Thus if you wish to see the mystery of the Lord,
look at Abel who is likewise slain,
at Isaac who is likewise tied up,
at Joseph who is likewise traded,
at Moses who is likewise exposed,
at David who is likewise hunted down,
at the prophets who likewise suffer for the sake of Christ.

And look at the sheep, slaughtered in the land of Egypt,
which saved Israel through its blood whilst Egypt was struck down.

On Pascha 57-60
by Melito of Sardis
translated by Alistair Stewart-Sykes.