This Strange and New Flood

From “Oration 7: On the Holy Theophany” (ca. 440)

Come then and see new and overwhelming miracles: the Sun of Righteousness bathing in Jordan, the fire immersed in water, and God being sanctified by human ministry. Today all creation resounds with hymns, crying out, “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.” Blessed is he who comes at all times, for this is not the first time that he has come.

So who is this? Speak more clearly, I pray, blessed David. “God is the Lord, and he has given us light.” David the prophet does not speak alone in this; in fact, the apostle Paul supports his testimony with his own statement when he says, “The grace of God has appeared with healing for all the world.” Not just to some people, but to all — that is to both Jews and Greeks equally, God has poured forth our salvation through baptism, offering to all people everywhere a common blessing of baptism.

Come then and see this strange and new flood, greater and more powerful that that which occurred in the days of Noah. There the water of the flood destroyed the human race; but here the water of baptism, by the power of him who is baptized in it, has called back the dead to life. There the dove carried an olive branch in its beak, symbolizing the fragrance of the sweet-smelling savor of the Lord Christ, but here the Holy Spirit, descending in the form of a dove, reveals to us the presence of our merciful God.

St. Proclus (d. 446) was Archbishop of Constantinople, a disciple of St. John Chrysostom who was famed for his preaching gifts and his defense of orthodox teaching. He introduced the Trisagion into the liturgy, and his wise leadership helped to moderate tensions in the Eastern Church. He is venerated on November 20 in the Eastern churches and on October 24 by the Roman Catholic Church.


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