The Passover as a Symbol of a Symbol (Saint Gregory Nazianzus)


The following is a brilliant description of the Eucharist by Saint Gregory Nazianzus. Here, our saint explains how Christians continue to eat the Passover “in a more perfect way” (as also I described here):

“We are soon going to share in the Passover, and although we still do so only in a symbolic way, the symbolism already has more clarity than it possessed in former times because, under the law, the Passover was, if I may dare to say so, only a symbol of a symbol. Before long, however, when the Word drinks the new wine with us in the kingdom of his Father, we shall be keeping the Passover in a yet more perfect way, and with deeper understanding. He will then reveal to us and make clear what he has so far only partially disclosed. For this wine, so familiar to us now, is eternally new.”

– Saint Gregory of Nazianzus, Oratio 45: 23-24

Lest any Protestant think that Saint Gregory taught that the Eucharist was merely “symbolic” – and not the true flesh of Christ, he should first read about the Greek word symbolon as used by the Church Fathers:

Redefining Theological “Symbolism” (St. Maximus the Confessor)

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