St. Photios on Ancestral Sin and Death

St. Photios the Great ca. 810-893

[E]ver since men have been created, we share life and death and the penalty is ancestral, as there is no one who will live and who will not face death… But let us take hold of ourselves; let us know our nature; let us know the Shaper; let us comprehend the depth of the Master’s clemency. He gave death as a punishment, but through His own death He transformed it as a gate to immortality. It was a resolution of anger and displeasure, but it announces the consummate goodness of the Judge. The thought surpasses methods of reason. For though He dissolves such nature as was destroyed through original sin, the dissolution becomes a prelude to re-creation. He separates the soul from the body, and the separation is the beginning of a union that is both rather brilliant and holy. “A physical body is sown, but it is raised as a spiritual body; it is sown in dishonor, but raised in glory.” The Creator takes back the work of art of His own hands, and He draws it to Himself; He removes it from human eyes, but He places it under the protection of the flashes and the brilliances of angels… for …the angels are now rejoicing in the reception of this soul that is virginal and superior to sufferings to fill up the number of demons that have fallen away… (Letter 3 To Nun Eusebia, On the Death of Her Sister)

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