The Fathers of the Church are often recognized for being excellent observers of human behavior, and consequently very effectively describe psychological behavior that we sometimes think has only been recognized or diagnosed in the modern age. For example, St Maximos the Confessor (d. 662AD), offers the description of what he labels a hypocrite. The explosion of anger by someone when confronted with the evilness of their behavior which St. Maximos describes below is today considered symptomatic of predatory behavior. When the predator is exposed, he goes on the attack hoping to intimidate the prey back into some more submissive behavior.
“A hypocrite, hunting after the glory that comes from an apparent righteousness, is untroubled so long as he thinks that he escapes notice. But when he is detected, he utters streams of imprecation, imagining that by abusing others he can hide his own deformity. Because of his craftiness Scripture has compared him to the offspring of vipers and has commanded him to bring forth appropriate fruits of repentance (cf. Matt. 3:7-8), that is, to refashion the hidden state of his heart so that it conforms to his outward behavior.” (The Philokalia, Kindle Loc 14090-106)
4 thoughts on “Disturbing the Predator”
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‘Byzantine vestments also hold a kind of functional mystical significance in that their symbolism is directed toward ‘transforming’ the celebrant as he assumes them for liturgical celebration. In accordance with the office of preparation for the liturgy, the clergyman takes on the garments of the divine. The priest is girded in purity and his outer appearance tells the congregation of the ‘new man’ as he appears in the liturgy. The deacon, moving his stole (orarion) in the manner of the movements of the angel wings, prepares the congregation for the heavenly experience. And indeed the bishop becomes the icon of Christ, as the congregation is lifted into the divine presence. It is not unusual for worshippers to kiss the hem of a cleric’s vestments (usually the sticharion or phelonian of the priest) since the liturgical experience lifts up the material world (and material substance) and sanctifies it. The vestments themselves become mystically the wings of angels, the robe of Christ, and the glorious garments of the Saints.’ I see this passage is in quotation marks; from where does it come, please?
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