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FEATURED THIS WEEKCATENA AUREA

St. John Chrysostom

John Chrysostom, was an important Early Church Father who served as archbishop of Constantinople. He is known for his preaching and public speaking, his denunciation of abuse of authority by both ecclesiastical and political leaders, the Divine Liturgy of Saint John Chrysostom, and his ascetic sensibilities.

The Empty Tomb

The Catena Aurea (Golden Chain) is Thomas Aquinas’ compilation of Patristic commentary on the Gospels. It seamlessly weaves together extracts from various Church Fathers.
Annotated index of Church Fathers used in commentary

Third Century

  • Origen – Alexandrian biblical critic, exegete, theologian, and spiritual writer; analyzed the Scriptures on three levels: the literal, the moral, and the allegorical
  • Cyprian – pagan rhetorician converted to Christianity; acquired acquired a profound knowledge of the Scriptures and the writings of Tertullian; elected bishop of Carthage; martyred in 258

Fourth Century

  • Eusebius – Bishop of Caesarea; author of Ecclesiastical History, the principal source for the history of Christianity from the Apostolic Age till his own day; also wrote a valuable work on Biblical topography called the Onomasticon
  • Athanasius – Bishop of Alexandria; attended the Council of Nicea; opposed Arianism, in defence of the faith proclaimed at Nicaea—that is, the true deity of God the Son
  • Hilary – Bishop of Poitiers; the earliest known writer of hymns in the Western Church; defended the cause of orthodoxy against Arianism; became the leading Latin theologian of his age
  • Gregory of Nazianzus – one of the “Cappadocian Fathers”; a great influence in restoring the Nicene faith and leading to its final establishment at the Council of Constantinople in 381
  • Gregory of Nyssa – one of the “Cappadocian Fathers”; Bishop of Nyssa; took part in the Council of Constantinople
  • Ambrose – Bishop of Milan; partly responsible for the conversion of Augustine; author of Latin hymns; it was through his influence that hymns became an integral part of the liturgy of the Western Church
  • Jerome – biblical scholar; devoted to a life of asceticism and study; his greatest achievement was his translation of the Bible into Latin (the Vulgate); also wrote many biblical commentaries
  • Nemesius – Christian philosopher; Bishop of Emesa in Syria
  • Augustine – Bishop of Hippo (in northern Africa); a “Doctor of the Church”; most famous work is his Confessions; his influence on the course of subsequent theology has been immense
  • Chrysostom – Bishop of Constantinople; a “Doctor of the Church”; a gifted orator; his sermons on Gen, Ps, Isa, Matt, John, Acts, and the Pauline Epistles (including Hebrews) established him as the greatest of Christian expositors
  • Prosper of Aquitaine – theologian; supporter of Augustinian doctrines; closely associated with Pope Leo I (“the Great”)
  • Damasus – pope; active in suppressing heresy
  • Apollinaris of Laodicea – Bishop of Laodicea; close friend of Athanasias; vigorous advocate of orthodoxy against the Arians
  • Amphilochius of Iconium – Bishop of Iconium; close friend of the Cappadocian Fathers; defended the full Divinity of the Holy Spirit

Fifth Century

  • Asterius of Amasea – Arian theologian; some extant homilies on the Psalms attributed to him
  • Evagrius Ponticus – spiritual writer; noted preacher at Constantinople; spent the last third of his life living a monastic life in the desert
  • Isidore of Pelusium – an ascetic and exegete; his extant correspondence contains much of doctrinal, exegetical, and moral interest
  • Cyril of Alexandria – Patriarch of Alexandria; contested Nestorius; put into systematic form the classical Greek doctrines of the Trinity and of the Person of Christ
  • Maximus of Turin – Bishop of Turin; over 100 of his sermons survive
  • Cassion (prob. Cassian) – one of the great leaders of Eastern Christian monasticism; founded two monasteries near Marseilles; best known books the Institutes and the Conferences
  • Chrysologus – Bishop of Ravenna; a “Doctor of the Church”
  • Basil “the Great” – one of the “Cappadocian Fathers”; Bishop of Caesarea; responsible for the Arian controversy’s being put to rest at the Council of Constantinople
  • Theodotus of Ancyra – Bishop of Ancyra; wrote against the teaching of Nestorius
  • Leo the Great – Pope who significantly consolidated the influence of the Roman see; a “Doctor of the Church”; his legates defended Christological orthodoxy at the Council of Chalcedon
  • Gennadius – Patriarch of Constantinople; the author of many commentaries, notably on Genesis, Daniel, and the Pauline Epistles
  • Victor of Antioch – presbyter of Antioch; commentator and collector of earlier exegetical writings
  • Council of Ephesus – declared the teachings of Nestorious heretical, affirming instead the unity between Christ’s human and divine natures
  • Nilus – Bishop of Ancyra; disciple of St John Chrysostom; founder of a monastery; conducted a large correspondence influencing his contemporaries; his writings deal mainly with ascetic and moral subjects

Sixth Century

  • Dionysius Areopagita (aka Dionysius the Pseudo-Areopagite) – mystical theologian; combined Neoplatonism with Christianity; the aim of all his works is the union of the whole created order with God
  • Gregory the Great – Pope; a “Doctor of the Church”; very prolific writer of works on practical theology, pastoral life, expositions of Job, sermons on the Gospels, etc.
  • Isidore – Bishop of Seville; a “Doctor of the Church”; concerned with monastic discipline, clerical education, liturgical uniformity, conversion of the Jews; helped secure Western acceptance of Filioque clause
  • Eutychius (Patriarch of Constan­tinople) – consecrated the church of Hagia Sophia in Constantinople; defended the Chalcedonian faith against an unorthodox sect; became controversial later in life
  • Isaac (Bp. of Nineveh) (aka Isaac the Syrian) – monastic writer on ascetic subjects
  • Severus (Bp. of Antioch) – Syrian Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch; the leading theologian of the moderate Monophysites
  • John Climacus – ascetic and writer on the spiritual life; later Abbot of Mt. Sinai; best known for his Ladder of Divine Ascent which treats of the monastic virtues and vices
  • Fulgentius – Bishop of Ruspe in N. Africa; scholarly disposition; follower of St. Augustine; wrote many treatises against Arianism and Pelagianism

Seventh Century

  • Maximus ( of Constantinople, 645.) – Greek theologian; prolific writer on doctrinal, ascetical, exegetical, and liturgical subjects

Eighth Century

  • Bede (131CESK) – “the Venerable Bede”; a “Doctor of the Church”; pedagogue, biblical exegete, hagiographer, and historian, the most influential scholar from Anglo-Saxon England
  • John Damascene – Greek theologian; a “Doctor of the Church”; defender of images in the Iconoclastic Controversy; expounded the doctrine of the perichoresis (circumincession) of the Persons of the Trinity
  • Alcuin – Abbot of St. Martin’s (Tours); a major contributor to the Carolingian Renaissance; supervised the production of several complete editions of the Bible; responsible for full acceptance of the Vulgate in the West

Ninth Century

  • Haymo (of Halberstadt) – German Benedictine monk who became bishop of Halberstadt; prolific writer
  • Photius (of Constantinople) – Patriarch of Constantinople; a scholar of wide interests and encyclopedic knowledge; his most important work, Bibliotheca, is a description of several hundred books (many now lost), with analyses and extracts; also wrote a Lexicon
  • Rabanus Maurus – Abbot of Fulda in Hess Nassau; later Archbishop of Mainz; wrote commentaries on nearly every Book of the Bible
  • Remigius (of Auxerre) – monk, scholar, and teacher
  • Paschasius Radbertus – Carolingian theologian; wrote commentaries on Lamentations and Matthew, as well as the first doctrinal monograph on the Eucharist, he maintained the real Presence of Christ

Eleventh Century

  • Theophylact – Byzantine exegete; his principal work, a series of commentaries on several OT books and on the whole of the NT except Revelation, is marked by lucidity of thought and expression and closely follows the scriptural text
  • Anselm – Archbishop of Canterbury; a “Doctor of the Church”; highly regarded teacher and spiritual director; famous ontological argument for the existence of God as “that than which nothing greater can be thought”
  • Petrus Alphonsus – Jewish Spanish writer and astronomer, a convert to Christianity; one of the most important figures in anti-Judaic polemics
  • Laufranc (prob. Lanfranc) – Archbishop of Canterbury; commented on the Psalms and Pauline Epistles; his biblical commentary passed into the Glossa Ordinaria

John 20:1-9

1. The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre.

2. Then she runneth, and cometh to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and saith unto them, They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulchre, and we know not where they have laid him.

3. Peter therefore went forth, and that other disciple, and came to the sepulchre.

4. So they ran both together: and the other disciple did outrun Peter, and came first to the sepulchre.

5. And he stooping down, and looking in, saw the linen clothes lying: yet went he not in.

6. Then cometh Simon Peter following him, and went into the sepulchre, and seeing the linen clothes lie,

7. And the napkin, that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself.

8. Then went in also that other disciple, which came first to the sepulchre, and he saw, and believed.

9. For as yet they knew not the Scripture, that he must rise again from the dead.

COMMENTARY

CHRYSOSTOM. (Hom. lxxxv) The Sabbath being now over, during which it was unlawful to be there, Mary Magdalene could rest no longer, but came very early in the morning, to seek consolation at the grave: The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre.

AUGUSTINE. (de Con. Evang. iii. 24) Mary Magdalene, undoubtedly the most fervent in love, of all the women that ministered to our Lord; so that John deservedly mentions her only, and says nothing of the others who were with her, as we know from the other Evangelists.

AUGUSTINE. (Tr. cxx) Una sabbati is the day which Christians call the Lord’s day, after our Lord’s resurrection. Matthew calls it prima sabbati.

BEDE. Una sabbati, i. e. one day after the sabbath.

THEOPHYLACT. Or thus: The Jews called the days of the week sabbath, and the first day, one of the sabbaths, which day is a type of the life to come; for that life will be one day not cut short by any night, since God is the sun there, a sun which never sets. On this day then our Lord rose again, with an incorruptible body, even as we in the life to come shall put on incorruption.

AUGUSTINE. (de Con. Evang. iii. 24.) What Mark says, Very early in the morning, at the rising of the sun (Mark 16:1), does not contradict John’s words, when it was yet dark. At the dawn of day, there are yet remains of darkness, which disappear as the light breaks in. We must not understand Mark’s words, Very early in the morning, at the rising of the sun, ἡλίου ἀνατεέλαντος to mean that the sun was above the horizon, but rather what we ourselves ordinarily mean by the phrase, when we want any thing to be done very early, we say at the rising of the sun, i. e. some time before the sun is risen.

GREGORY. (Hom. in Ev. xxii.) It is well said, When it was yet dark: Mary was seeking the Creator of all things in the tomb, and because, she found Him not, thought He was stolen. Truly it was yet dark when she came to the sepulchre.

And seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre.

AUGUSTINE. (Con. Evang. iii. 24) Now took place what Matthew only relates, the earthquake, and rolling away of the stone, and fright of the guards.

CHRYSOSTOM. (Hom. lxxxv. 4) Our Lord rose while the stone and seal were still on the sepulchre. But as it was necessary that others should be certified of this, the sepulchre is opened after the resurrection, and so the fact confirmed. This it was which roused Mary. For when she saw the stone taken away, she entered not nor looked in, but ran to the disciples with all the speed of love. But as yet she knew nothing for certain about the resurrection, but thought that His body had been carried off.

GLOSS. And therefore she ran to tell the disciples, that they might seek Him with her, or grieve with her: Then she runneth, and cometh to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved.

AUGUSTINE. (Tr. cxx) This is the way in which he usually mentions himself. Jesus loved all, but him in an especial and familiar way. And saith unto them, They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulchre, and we know not where they have laid Him.

GREGORY. (iii. Mor. ix.) She puts the part for the whole; she had come only to seek for the body of our Lord, and now she laments that our Lord, the whole of Him, is taken away.

AUGUSTINE. (Tr. cxx) Some of the Greek copies have, taken away my Lord, which is more expressive of love, and of the feeling of an handmaiden. But only a few have this reading.

CHRYSOSTOM. (Hom. lxxxv) The Evangelist does not deprive the woman of this praise, nor leaves out from shame, that they had the news first from her. As soon as they hear it, they hasten to the sepulchre.

GREGORY. (xxii. in Evang.) But Peter and John before the others, for they loved most; Peter therefore went forth, and that other disciple, and came to the sepulchre.

THEOPHYLACT. But how came they to the sepulchre, while the soldiers were guarding it? an easy question to answer. After our Lord’s resurrection and the earthquake, and the appearance of the angel at the sepulchre, the guards withdrew, and told the Pharisees what had happened.

AUGUSTINE. (Tr. cxx) After saying, came to the sepulchre, he goes back and tells us how they came: So they ran both together: and the other disciple did outrun Peter, and came first to the sepulchre; meaning himself, but he always speaks of himself, as if he were speaking of another person.

CHRYSOSTOM. (Hom. lxxxv) On coming he sees the linen clothes set aside: And he slooping down, and looking in, saw the linen clothes lying. But he makes no further search: yet went he not in. Peter on the other hand, being of a more fervid temper, pursued the search, and examined every thing: Then cometh Simon Peter following him, and went into the sepulchre, and seeth the linen clothes lie, and the napkin, that was about His head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself. Which circumstances were proof of His resurrection. For had they carried Him away, they would not have stripped Him; nor, if any had stolen Him, would they have taken the trouble to wrap up the napkin, and put it in a place by itself, apart from the linen clothes; but would have taken away the body as it was. John mentioned the myrrh first of all, for this reason, i. e. to shew you that He could not have been stolen away. For myrrh would make the linen adhere to the body, and so caused trouble to the thieves, and they would never have been so senseless as to have taken this unnecessary pains about the matter. After Peter however, John entered: Then went in also that other disciple, which came first to the sepulchre, and he saw, and believed.

AUGUSTINE. (Tract. cxxii) i. e. That Jesus had risen again, some think: but what follows contradicts this notion. He saw the sepulchre empty, and believed what the woman had said: For as yet they knew not the Scripture, that He must rise again from the dead. If he did not yet know that He must rise again from the dead, he could not believe that He had risen. They had heard as much indeed from our Lord, and very openly, but they were so accustomed to hear parables from Him, that they took this for a parable, and thought He meant something else.

GREGORY. (Hom. xxii. in Evang.) But this account of the Evangelist1 must not be thought to be without some mystical meaning. By John, the younger of the two, the synagogue; by Peter, the elder, the Gentile Church is represented: for though the synagogue was before the Gentile Church as regards the worship of God, as regards time the Gentile world was before the synagogue. They ran together, because the Gentile world ran side by side with the synagogue from first to last, in respect of purity and community of life, though a purity and community of understanding2 they had not. The synagogue came first to the sepulchre, but entered not: it knew the commandments of the law, and had heard the prophecies of our Lord’s incarnation and death, but would not believe in Him who died. Then cometh Simon Peter, and enteredinto the sepulchre: the Gentile Church both knew Jesus Christ as dead man, and believed in Him as living God. The napkin about our Lord’s head is not found with the linen clothes, i. e. God, the Head of Christ, and the incomprehensible mysteries of the Godhead are removed from our poor knowledge; His power transcends the nature of the creature. And it is found not only apart, but also wrapped together; because of the linen wrapped together, neither beginning nor end is seen; and the height of the Divine nature had neither beginning nor end. And it is into one place: for where there is division, God is not; and they merit His grace, who do not occasion scandal by dividing themselves into sects. But as a napkin is what is used in labouring to wipe the sweat of the brow, by the napkin here we may understand the labour of God: which napkin is found apart, because the suffering of our Redeemer is far removed from ours; inasmuch as He suffered innocently, that which we suffer justly; He submitted Himself to death voluntarily, we by necessity. But after Peter entered, John entered too; for at the end of the world even Judæa shall be gathered in to the true faith.

THEOPHYLACT. Or thus: Peter is practical and prompt, John contemplative and intelligent, and learned in divine things. Now the contemplative man is generally beforehand in knowledge and intelligence, but the practical by his fervour and activity gets the advance of the other’s perception, and sees first into the divine mystery.

SOURCE: eCatholic 2000Commentary in public domain.

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