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Home > Fathers of the Church > Letters (Theodoret) > Letter 72

Letter 72

To Hermesigenes the Assessor.

At the time when men were whelmed in the darkness of ignorance, all did not keep the same feasts, but celebrated distinct ceremonies in different cities. In Ælis were the Olympian games, at Delphi the Pythian, at Sparta the Hyacinthian, at Athens the Panathenaic, the Thesmophoria, and the Dionysian. These were the most remarkable, and further some men celebrated the revel feast of some dæmons and some of others. But now that those mists have been scattered by intellectual light, in every land and sea mainlanders and islanders together keep the feast of our God and Saviour, and wherever any one may wish to travel abroad, journey he either towards rising or towards setting sun, everywhere he will find the same celebration observed at the same time. There is no longer necessity, in obedience to the law of Moses which was adapted to the infirmity of the Jews, to come together into one city and keep the feast in memory of our blessings, but every town, every village, the country and the farthest frontiers, are filled with the grace of God, and in every spot divine shrines and precincts are consecrated to the God of all. So through every town we observe our several festivals and communicate with one another in the feast. It is the same God and Lord who is honoured in our hymns and to whom our mystic sacrifices are offered. On this account, as is well known, we neighbours address one another by letter and signify the joy that comes to us in the feast. So now do I to you and offer the festal salutation to your excellency. You will without doubt reply and honour the custom of the feast.

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Source. Translated by Blomfield Jackson. From Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series, Vol. 3. Edited by Philip Schaff and Henry Wace. (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1892.) Revised and edited for New Advent by Kevin Knight. <http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/2707072.htm>.

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