Bishop Methodius (d. 312)

In my year-long trek through the Ante Nicene Fathers I have found some great treatises, homilies, and other writings.  One father that I recently finished reading is Methodius, bishop of Olympus and Patara and then Tyre until he was martyred in 312.  Though he learned much from Origen, Methodius was largely critical of him, as is evident in at least two of his extant treatises, On the Resurrection and On Things Created.  Here are a few excerpts from his Oration Concerning Simeon and Anna, found in vol. 6 of the ANF.

“…the aged Simeon [in Luke 2], putting off the weakness of the flesh, and putting on the strength of hope, in the face of the law hastened to receive the Minister of the law, the Teacher with authority, the God of Abraham, the Protector of Isaac, the Holy One of Israel, the Instructor of Moses….  Him who, in the midst of poverty was rich; Him who in infancy was before the ages; Him  who in comprehension was incomprehensible; Him who, though in littleness, yet surpassed all magnitude.”

Later, Methodius continues meditating on Simeon holding the child Jesus.

“With longing I expect Thee who, with Thy word, embraces all things.  I wait for Thee, the Lord of life and death.  For Thee I look, the Giver of the law, and the Successor of the law.  I hunger for Thee, who quickenest the dead; I thirst for Thee, who refreshest the weary; I desire Thee, the Creator and Redeemer of the world.  Thou art our God, and Thee we adore; Thou art our holy temple, and in Thee we pray; Thou art our Lawgiver, and Thee we obey.  Thou art God of all things the First.  Before Thee was no other god begotten of God the Father; neither after Thee shall there be any other son consubstantial and of one glory with the Father.  And to know Thee is perfect righteousness, and to know Thy power is the root of immortality. …For Thine is the glory, and the power, and the greatness, and the majesty, with the Father and the Holy Spirit, for ever Amen.”

I’m always edified when these fathers exalt the majesty of Jesus like this.  It is evident that many of these early church leaders prized Christ above all things. 

shane lems

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