Kyparissiotes: Decade 1.9
January 19, 2011
From John Kyparissiotes, Decades, PG 152, 757 A – 758 C.
Chapter Nine. That even our Lord Jesus Christ himself, in respect of his own divinely-primordial humanity, does not depart from the order befitting man, an order which he himself defined.
The great Dionysius, in chapter four of his Celestial Hierarchy, says:
But I observe that angels first were initiated into the divine mystery of the love of Jesus towards man, then, through them, the grace of knowledge passed to us. Thus, for example, the most divine Gabriel instructed the hierarch Zachariah that the son who, by divine grace and beyond hope, was to be born to him should be a prophet of Jesus’ manly and divine work, that work that was to be revealed to the world in a saving way, a way befitting the Good; and he revealed to Mary how, in her, should be born the divinely primordial mystery of the unutterable God-formation. Yet another angel instructed Joseph how, in truth, the things promised by God to his ancestor David should be fulfilled. Another declared glad tidings to the shepherds, as to men purified by their separation from the multitude and by their quiet life; and, with him, a multitude of the heavenly host announced to those on earth that often-sung doxology. Let us then ascend to the highest manifestations of light contained in the sacred texts; for I perceive that even Jesus himself, the superessential cause of the super-heavenly essences, when he, without change, had come to our condition, did not overstep the good order that befits mankind, which he himself had arranged and chosen, but he readily subjected himself to the dispositions which God the Father, through angels, had effected; and, through the angels’ mediation, the Son’s departure to Egypt, arranged by the Father, was announced to Joseph, and again the return from Egypt to Judaea. And through angels we see him subjecting himself to the Father’s decrees. For, as I am addressing someone who knows the things that are spoken about in our hieratic traditions, I forbear to speak concerning the angel who strengthened the Lord Jesus, him who was, indeed, the angel’s teacher and the light of the whole world.
[1.9.1] Dionysius, Caelestis hierarchia 4.4; PG 3, 181 B-D (note: part of the final sentence differs from the text in Migne).
And another has testified in a certain place, saying:
What is man, that thou art mindful of him? Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; thou crownedst him with glory and honor; thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him. But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor.
[1.9.2] Heb 2:6-9.
From these things, therefore, it is established that, if our Lord Jesus Christ through the suffering of death was made a little lower than the angels, and we see him, who, through the angels, was subject to the paternal laws, not refusing to preserve the order befitting man, an order which he himself established and accepted, but, rather, showing himself obedient to those dispositions which God the Father, through the angels, put into effect: it is also manifest that the angels had previously been informed about all of Christ’s mysteries; later, through these angels, the grace of knowledge was extended to us. How then can anyone, even if he is a most capable and potent theologian, proudly refuse that those things formed by angels should, during his human lifetime, be signified to him, too, insofar as he is a man? and that, by them, he should become educated about divine things, and be divinely influenced, as is fitting. It follows, therefore, that it is not possible for anyone to be taught this part of symbolic and mystical theology unless, by things formed by angels and effected by angels, he is brought to visions of this kind.