Christ is risen!

Indeed He is risen! 


And the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch.  (Acts 11:26) 

St Gregory of Nyssa comments:

“What is meant by the term ‘Christian’?  . . .  For just as a person who longs to be called a doctor or an orator or a geometrician is not worthy of a title until he has some education as to what it means, that is, until he discovers from experience what he is being called, and just as the person wishing to be thus addressed in accordance with truth, so that the form of address will not be a misnomer, will want the use of the title to depend on the practice itself;


in the same way, if we seek the true meaning of the word ‘Christian’ and find it, we will not choose not to conform to what the name implies when it is used of us, in order that the story about the monkey in secular literature may not also be applicable to us. [Gregory proceeds to tell the story of a man who trained a monkey to be a graceful dancer and dressed the animal up like a human – eventually the ruse is exposed when someone throws some almonds on the stage and the monkey according to its nature removed its mask to greedily consume the almonds.] 


. . .  For, instead of a fig or an almond or some such thing, vanity and love of honor and love of gain and love of pleasures, and whatever else the evil assembly of the devil places before greedy men instead of sweetmeats, easily bring to light the ape-like souls who, through pretense and imitation, play the role of the Christian and then remove the mask of moderation or meekness or some other virtue in a moment of personal crisis.  It is necessary, therefore, for us to understand what the name ‘Christian’ means, for then, perhaps we will become what the term implies and not be shown up by the one who perceives what is hidden, namely, that we have disguised ourselves by mere assent and by the pretense of the name alone when we are actually something contrary to what we appear to be.  . . .  by participating in Christ we are given the title ‘Christian’ . . . 


For it is not possible for Christ not to be justice and purity and truth and estrangement from all evil, nor is it possible to be a Christian (that is, truly a Christian) without displaying in oneself a participation in these virtues.  If one can give a definition of Christianity, we shall define it as follows: Christianity is an imitation of the divine nature.  . . .  Indeed, if anyone considers the first condition of man, he will find through the Scriptural teachings that the definition does not exceed the measure of our nature. The first man was constituted as an imitation of the likeness of God. So Moses, in philosophizing about man, where he says that God made man, states that: ‘He created him in the image of God’ (Gen 1:27), and the word ‘Christianity,’ therefore, brings man back to his original good fortune.” (ASCETICAL WORKS, pp 82-85)

St Gregory’s comments remind me of the old quip: if you were put on trial for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?