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#76203 06/16/04 04:03 PM
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(The second day back after some time away from the Forum - it didn't take me long to get someone mad, did it? )

Alex:
Don't even worry about that. There are a few folks around who are so hypersensitive, they take offense at everything. In fact, it seems they live for that purpose. Either that, or it's all a ploy to manipulate us into stroking their egos. You often raise some really valid points that are worthy of consideration. Now if we could just find a cure for those few who think they know it all... :rolleyes:

#76204 06/16/04 04:47 PM
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Dear ByzanTN,

Thanks, but it was my fault after all . . .

Reading too much into things and all that . . .

One would think that after all the time I've spent here, I'd have developed some thicker skin!

But no . . . smile

If anything, I'm getting more sensitive!

God bless,

Alex

#76205 06/18/04 04:30 AM
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An article by a faithful Russian Catholic:

Despite Official Denials, Fatima Shrine
Seems Headed On Interfaith Path

Report/Analysis By Lee Penn
The Christian Challenge (Washington, DC)
May 30, 2004

Ideas of "mingling" and "converging" religions are hardly new, but it is startling to find them at Portugal's famed Roman Catholic shrine at Fatima.

Nonetheless, such ideas appear to be taking hold at Fatima, despite official denials and claims that hardline traditional Catholics are stirring unfounded controversy over Fatima. Even more surprising, perhaps, is that the trends do not appear to be opposed--so far--by Pope John Paul II.

Fatima is the site where the Catholic Church says an Angel of Peace and the Virgin Mary appeared to three children on several occasions in 1916 and 1917, giving them messages for the Church and the faithful, and calling all to conversion, repentance, and prayer. Two of the three Fatima visionaries, who died soon after the apparitions, have been canonized by Pope John Paul II. One visionary, Sister Lucy, is still living; she is a cloistered nun.

The controversy surrounding the Roman Catholic shrine at Fatima began in the fall of 2003, when a Portuguese newspaper reported that the site would be remade into an interfaith shrine. Catholic officials denied the assertion, saying that the shrine will retain its Catholic, Marian focus.

But in early May this year, a Hindu priest worshiped his faith's gods at the altar of Fatima's Chapel of the Appartions, and he clothed the shrine's rector and the diocesan bishop in Hindu priests' vestments.

Reporting on the Hindu service on May 5, the Portuguese broadcast news services SIC and SIC Not�cias said that the Hindu priest chanted prayers from the altar, on behalf of 60 Hindu pilgrims who gathered before him, outside the altar rail. A local television reporter explained, "This is an unprecedented unique moment in the history of the shrine. The Hindu priest, or Sha Tri, [prayed] on the altar the Shaniti Pa, the prayer for peace."

Additionally, the news report showed "scenes of the Hindu priest lighting a candle at the shrine while his followers [danced] outside the Chapel of the Apparitions chanting praises to their gods."

The TV broadcast showed that after the service, each of the Hindus was "personally greeted by the [Roman Catholic] Bishop of Leiria-Fátima," who then "bowed to the Hindu priest repeating his gesture of greeting." The Hindu priest then clothed the diocesan bishop and Msgr. Luciano Guerra, the rector of the Fatima shrine, with a Hindu priestly shawl. The reporter told his viewers, "On the shoulders of the highest representatives of the Church in Fatima, the Hindu priest [placed] a shawl with the inscriptions of the Bagavad Gita, one of the sacred books of Hinduism."

The two Catholic dignitaries explained these events with rhetoric reminiscent of that used by Frank Griswold, the Presiding Bishop of the U.S. Episcopal Church. Fr. Guerra said during the broadcast that: "These meetings give us the opportunity to remind ourselves that we live in community." And the diocesan bishop, D. Serafim Ferreira e Silva, told a local newspaper: "We don't want to be fundamentalist, but sincere and honest." The only Griswoldian buzzwords they forgot were "reconciliation" and "inclusive."

A CONFERENCE sponsored by the Fatima shrine last October 10-12 demonstrates that the Hindu service was hardly an inadvertent event. Titled "The Present of Man--The Future of God: The Place of Sanctuaries in Relation to the Sacred," the conference was attended by an array of prominent Catholics. They included Archbishop Michael Fitzgerald, president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue; Cardinal José da Cruz Policarpo, the Roman Catholic patriarch of Lisbon; Fr. Jacques Dupuis, professor of theology at Rome's Gregorian University; and the aforementioned Bishop Silva, and Msgr. Guerra, rector of the shrine.

The event occurred at the Paul VI Pastoral Center adjacent to the shrine, and was opened by Bishop Silva. The rector of the shrine said in December 2003 that the meeting was inspired by "the reading of the message of Fatima…within the spirit of Vatican II."

Adherents of the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX), traditionalist followers of the excommunicated Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, protested at the meeting site. Msgr. Guerra said in a January 2004 interview that the SSPX demonstrators "behaved very badly. Instead of listening first and talking later, they began immediately distributing leaflets."

But some Catholics will think the Lefebvrites had reason to protest. The Belgian Jesuit theologian Fr. Dupuis told the conference October 11 that "we should not refer to the other religions as 'non-Christian', since this is a negative term that describes them by what we think they are not. Rather…we should refer to them as 'the others'."

Dupuis added that "Christians and 'the others' are co-members of the Reign of God in history," and that "the Holy Spirit is present and operative in the sacred books of Hinduism or of Buddhism," as well as in "the sacred rites of Hinduism."

"The universality of God's kingdom permits this," he declared, "and this is nothing more than a diversified form of sharing in the same mystery of salvation." Dupuis predicted that "The religion of the future will be a general converging of religions in a universal Christ that will satisfy all."

An eyewitness to the conference, John Vennari, a traditionalist Catholic, reported that almost everyone present, including the Catholic hierarchs, vigorously applauded Dupuis' speech. This occurred despite a 2001 warning by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Vatican theological watchdog, that a recent book by Dupuis on religious pluralism erred with certain ambiguities and inadequate explanations relating to five doctrinal points.

The next day, Sunday, October 12, Archbishop Fitzgerald praised Fr. Dupuis' speech, saying the cleric had "explained the theological basis of the establishment of relations with people of other religions."

Fitzgerald averred that "The Church is there to recognize the holiness that is in other people, the elements of truth, grace and beauty that are in different religions," and "to try to bring about a greater peace and harmony among people of other religions."

These novel statements on the Church's mission are significant, since they come from the head of the Vatican department in charge of inter-religious dialogue.

Many of the conference speeches were in Portuguese, but the speeches by Dupuis and Fitzgerald were in English. These two speeches were recorded in person by Mr. Vennari.

On the same day that Fitzgerald spoke, "Father Arul Irudayam, rector of the Marian Shrine Basilica in Vailankanni, India … rejoiced that, as a further development of interreligious practice, the Hindus now perform their religious rituals in the church," according to Vennari.

In his November 2003 report on the conference, Vennari accurately predicted that "it is only a matter of time before this blasphemy takes place at Fatima."

DEBUNKERS of the reports about interfaith excesses at Fatima have noted that stories of these activities have appeared in a little-noticed Portuguese English-language weekly, Front Page Online, and in traditionalist Catholic publications that are vehemently opposed to the direction taken by the Catholic Church since Vatican II.

But Vennari pointed out that the October 24, 2003, issue of "the local Fatima weekly newspaper, Not�cias de Fatima, which is friendly with the Fatima Shrine," reported on the interfaith conference "under the headline, 'Sanctuary of Various Creeds'…The front page featured the caption, 'The future of Fatima must pass through the creation of a Shrine where different religions can mingle.'" The statement paralleled one attributed to Shrine Rector Msgr. Guerra by Front Page Online last November.

Page 8 of the same issue of Noticias de Fatima ran the headline, "Sanctuary Opens Itself to Religious Pluralism" followed by the subheading: "The Shrine of Fatima Assumes a Universalist and Welcoming Vocation Towards Different Religions."

Not�cias de Fatima then quoted Msgr. Guerra as saying that: "This proposal of coexistence - also in Fatima - of a religious pluralism is still embryonic. It's the first step. We are like the engineers in Portugal who begin by examining the structures of the bridges to see if we can trust them in the future." This assertion by Guerra also was included in the Front Page Online coverage.

According to Noticias de Fatima, Msgr. Guerra further pointed out that the very fact that Fatima is the name of a Muslim and Mohammed's daughter is indicative that the shrine must be open to the co-existence of various faiths and beliefs. "Therefore we must assume that it was the will of the Blessed Virgin Mary that this comes about this way," he was quoted as saying.

Traditional Catholics in opposition were described by Guerra as "old fashioned, narrow minded, fanatic extremists and provocateurs."

Church spokesmen have blamed recent controversy over Fatima on publicity-seeking by Fr. Nicholas Gruner, a traditionalist Catholic priest who was suspended by the Vatican in 1996 for disobedience, and who continues to publicly state that the Catholic hierarchy has ignored or falsified the requests made by the Virgin Mary in her Fatima apparitions. Additionally, according to the rector of the shrine, "the great majority, perhaps the totality, of the reactions received is the result of a long orchestration, centered in the United States, by people bitterly opposed to Vatican Council II, specifically to what pertains to a wider opening of the Church, with emphasis on the ecumenical and inter-faith dialogue." However, reporter John Vennari, who acknowledged that he visited the October 2003 interfaith conference at the behest of Gruner's organization, said that "no one from Fr. Gruner's organization had anything to do with the articles" that appeared in Front Page Online and in Not�cias de Fatima.

And, since word of the interfaith trends at Fatima first emerged last fall, attempted reassurances by officials at the Vatican and the shrine have been undercut by clearly contradictory messages, and no one has denied or retracted the statements attributed above to Dupuis, Guerra, and Fitzgerald during the October interfaith conference.

Archbishop Fitzgerald described the October 2003 conference as "part of an ongoing reflection" on the sanctuary's "inter-religious dimension" in the Church and the modern world," and said that "there were no practical conclusions arising from the meeting."

Last November, he declared that "There is no question of the Fatima sanctuary becoming an inter-faith pilgrimage center…This is a place of prayer centered on Our Lady, and everyone is welcome."

But in late 2003, Archbishop Fitzgerald told Zenit (a Catholic news service) that "we must learn to journey together, for if we drift apart we do ourselves harm, but if we walk together we can help one another to reach the goal that God has set for us."

A large new church, conceived in a stark modern style, is being built at Fatima to accommodate 9,000 pilgrims at a time. The design by a Greek Orthodox architect, Alexandros Tombazis, has received the approval of the diocesan bishop, and construction is to begin soon. In a December 28, 2003 statement, the rector of the Fatima shrine said that the new church will be "exclusively destined to be a place of Catholic worship, located not next to the current basilica, but between the Cruz Alta and a national road and, when opportune ... can receive pilgrims of other convictions who wish to fraternally partake in our way of prayer."

On March 9, 2004, the Pope personally gave the rector of the Fatima shrine a stone fragment from the tomb of St. Peter; this relic will be formally placed as the cornerstone of the new basilica on June 6. Thus, the new basilica is proceeding with the highest blessing from the Vatican.

In an interview with Zenit, published on May 13, 2004, the Bishop of Leiria-Fatima said that the new church at the shrine "will be a Catholic one, much like the Pius X Church in Lourdes … As with any Catholic church, it will be open to all, but the services held there will be Catholic." The Bishop dismissed concerns over interfaith worship at Fatima as "a controversy caused by a few foreigners."

But in his December 28, 2003 communiqué, Msgr. Guerra asserted that the Fatima apparitions included "at least two implicit calls to the exercise of the spirit of dialogue with persons of other convictions." These calls included "the message of the Angel of Peace," regarding the Oriental, Orthodox, and Catholic Churches, and, "in regard to the Islamic religion, in the name itself that God chose for the town where Mary would one day appear: Fatima."

It was Guerra who earlier assured an interviewer that: "We are very far from having Hindus or any Muslims pray in Fatima, except if they do it in private - not in public liturgies or other such services."

---

Permission to circulate the foregoing electronically is permitted provided that THE CHRISTIAN CHALLENGE is credited and there are no changes in the text. To learn more about the CHALLENGE, please visit: http://www.occfgroup.org/tcc/

#76206 06/18/04 01:14 PM
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Thanks for the article.

Maybe our dear Angela will bring back some news when she returns from her trip. I would think both shrines would be a buzz of news.

#76207 06/18/04 01:30 PM
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Rose,

Maybe our dear Angela will bring back some news when she returns from her trip.

I hope you will share that information. I am interested in what some of you think our reaction should be. I think there is a lot of money flowing toward that shrine from the U.S.

#76208 06/18/04 02:35 PM
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It has already been asked. What if there is an interfaith movement at Fatima. Is that not a good thing? Mary is drawing people of many religions to talk, and get together.

What is more, historically, the Church's interfaith dialogues began with Christ (talking to Samaritans, how dare he! and those Roman soldiers.. sheesh!) and continued by St Paul (on Mars Hill, telling the Greeks, the Unknown God they believe in, he is also believing in and preaching to them -- a study will reveal the Platonic God being described).

The Church Fathers have at once, respect for virtuous pagans and their ways and thoughts, while also dialoguing with them.

We have reports of Popes making deals with pagans, where both sides swore by their gods. This caused a great deal of disturbance, but St Augustine worked to show the good in doing this as well -- saying that they then have the virtue of loyalty and oath-keeping, something to be praised. St Augustine also mentioned in the City of God, that many of the "gods" of the pagans can be seen as our angels, and we shouldn't get too heavy-handed against them.

And we can discuss how scholasticism was founded upon interfaith dialogues between Christians, Jews, and Muslims. They had worked a common groundwork to discuss God, to debate, but also many agreements in the process (There is a difficult work on this topic, if you want to read it -- Knowing the Unknowable God, Ibn-Sina, Maimonides, Aquinas --- by David Burell).

CS Lewis in his Narnia series I think put it best, when it was said, that those who in virtue worshiped Tash, were really worshiping Aslan, and those who in wickedness, thought they were worshiping Aslan, sometimes were in reality worshiping Tash.

Pax
Henry

#76209 06/18/04 04:02 PM
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Quote
Originally posted by Henry Karlson:
It has already been asked. What if there is an interfaith movement at Fatima. Is that not a good thing? Mary is drawing people of many religions to talk, and get together.

What is more, historically, the Church's interfaith dialogues began with Christ (talking to Samaritans, how dare he! and those Roman soldiers.. sheesh!) and continued by St Paul (on Mars Hill, telling the Greeks, the Unknown God they believe in, he is also believing in and preaching to them -- a study will reveal the Platonic God being described).
Dear Henry,

There is nothing wrong with dialogue. But worshiping with pagans* is verbotten! mad There are canons against this sort of thing, calling (IIRC) for the excommunication of clergy who do so. I believe letting pagans worhip at an Altar (in a church?) is considered desecration.

If people wish to establish an inter-faith centre at Fatima to promote dialogue, that's fine. If this ends up as an inter-faith *shrine* then I fear some parts of the RCC have truly lost their way. frown

*IIRC canons refer to worshipping with 'heterodox', meaning even Protestants are out of the picture. Then again, the Catholic Church seems to be not quite as strict as the Orthodox Churches in interpreting the canons.

Oύτις ημιν φιλει ου φροντίδα | Nemo nos diliget non curamus

#76210 06/18/04 04:26 PM
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If people wish to establish an inter-faith centre at Fatima to promote dialogue, that's fine. If this ends up as an inter-faith *shrine* then I fear some parts of the RCC have truly lost their way.

Exactly. That's why I want more information as to what is really going on there.

#76211 06/18/04 04:28 PM
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Dear Friends,

We still don't know exactly what happened at Fatima in this event.

Did the Hindus worship AT the altar? It does not seem so.

That they placed the special scarves on the necks of the clergy and bishop at Fatima - the Dalai Lama has done so numerous occasions with various popes.

In addition, Indian Catholics in India wear such scarves to church to hear Mass. It is called a "Katah" in one Asian language at least and they are akin to the embroidered towels Slav Orthodox and EC's place on icons etc. Indeed Asians place Katahs on their images as well.

To put things in perspective, let's remember that these same traditionalist Catholics who are complaining about this matter would also not have nice things to say about Orthodox and much less so about Catholic converts to Orthodoxy which they would doubtless write in parentheses "orthodoxy" etc.

If they found out about EC's who accept only the first Seven Councils as ecumenical etc., they would probably go even more berserk!

So be careful who you share these things with! smile

Alex

#76212 06/18/04 05:48 PM
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Well, history once again is never so simple as many people try to make it. Nor is the Orthodox position the simple "we don't worship with anyone, Protestants or pagans."

Quote
Originally posted by KO63AP:


There is nothing wrong with dialogue. But worshiping with pagans* is verbotten!
So, Abraham in Scripture did what was forbidden? He worshiped with that pagan priest-king of Salem. How dare he!

What about the signed agreements, swearing by the respective gods of participants in the treaties, as made between Rome (the Pope) and pagans? This was, of course, during the time of the full unified Church, and not post 1054 (again, that is why I mentioned St Augustine in this debate).

Have we really not learned from Jesus, who hung out with those that were outcasts by Jewish laws, to their surprise? He more than worshiped with them, he praised one for having more pure, true faith than all of Israel!

Quote
There are canons against this sort of thing, calling (IIRC) for the excommunication of clergy who do so.
Canons are made for man, not man for the canons. I remember the story of a great Orthodox saint. He was an ascetic, who fasted all the time. Yet, one day, he had to go into a city. It was during Lent. What food did he eat? Meat. He was condemned by many, who had no interest in fasting, but an interest in finding someone to condemn.

Quote
If people wish to establish an inter-faith centre at Fatima to promote dialogue, that's fine. If this ends up as an inter-faith *shrine* then I fear some parts of the RCC have truly lost their way. frown
St Paul had no problem going to the inter-faith shrine at Mars Hill. Did he lose his way?

Quote
*IIRC canons refer to worshipping with 'heterodox', meaning even Protestants are out of the picture. Then again, the Catholic Church seems to be not quite as strict as the Orthodox Churches in interpreting the canons.
Strange how the Orthodox leaders I read, praise praying together with non-Orthodox (Catholics and Protestants). It is more a fundamentalist bent which "interprets the canons" in a rigorist way, that causes the same problems Jesus faced in his day. There is a value for them, as a norm. But again, they are made for man, man not for them. You will see Orthodox fight Orthodox about the canons, and one great example of this is the debacle on Old vs New Calendar. Is it not losing the point?

Sure, one must remember "I am X, they are Y" and so not to confuse religions. But that is not the same thing which is happening when one shares time together, and even worships together. Is your faith that confused? Mine isn't. . .

And I think it is quite important to remember the monumental Encyclical Letter of 1920, "Unto the Churches of Christ Everywhere." The Orthodox helped LEAD us to the ecumenical movement within Christianity, and the theologians and Saints have had a far broader view of the work of God in the world. St Justin called Socrates a Christian. I like that.

I would like to end with a nice little quote by Fr. Sergius Bulgakov in his essay, "By Jacon's Well": No single historical Church can so confine its attention to itself alone as to ignore the Christian world beyond its own limits .

Can we also not say, as the Fathers have shown us, this is also true with the work of God, whose Holy Spirit will blow as he wills?

Pax
Henry

#76213 06/19/04 05:09 AM
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Originally posted by Orthodox Catholic:
Dear Friends,

We still don't know exactly what happened at Fatima in this event.

Did the Hindus worship AT the altar? It does not seem so.

Alex
"Reporting on the Hindu service on May 5, the Portuguese broadcast news services SIC and SIC Not�cias said that the Hindu priest chanted prayers from the altar, on behalf of 60 Hindu pilgrims who gathered before him, outside the altar rail. A local television reporter explained, "This is an unprecedented unique moment in the history of the shrine. The Hindu priest, or Sha Tri, [prayed] on the altar the Shaniti Pa, the prayer for peace." "

I am good friends with the author of the above article. What he didn't put in the article is that he has a good friend who lives in Fatima who witnessed the whole thing. The only word he could use to describe it is "apostacy". The prayer service was indeed led by the Hindu priest from the altar, with the Bishop and Rector standing by watching approvingly.

Our forefathers DIED rather than to offer incense or prayers to pagan gods. WHO ARE WE to now allow these very things in our churches, and in fact to participate?? Oh, I forgot--we're enlightened. We're open. We're ecumenical. FOR SHAME!!!

Anyone who thinks this was o.k. should go back, read the lives of at least 50 of the early Church martyrs, as well as the Book of Daniel, and then decide whether this was acceptable.

*Rant mode off*

#76214 06/19/04 02:21 PM
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This is nothing less than the very worship of demons in one of the most sacred sites (for Latin Catholics, at least) in the world. The Saints and the Scriptures tell us that the gods of the pagans are actually demons. On some level, I cannot believe a non-Catholic priest, much less a Hindu priest, was allowed inside the altar area. Sadly, on another level I cannot say this comes as much of a surprise. Until God deigns to rescue us from the innumerable heresies and heretical practices that have entered our Holy Church, I can only look at this kind of thing as expected. In the meantime, we can take solace in the fact that Christianity seems to prosper best when under persecution, and that (slipping into Latin mode now...) we can offer up our sacrifices and trials in this world for the reparation of sin and for the Holy Souls in Purgatory, etc.

Logos Teen

#76215 06/19/04 03:19 PM
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Sadly, on another level I cannot say this comes as much of a surprise. Until God deigns to rescue us from the innumerable heresies and heretical practices that have entered our Holy Church, I can only look at this kind of thing as expected.

So wasn't one of the Fatima prophecies something to the effect that the faith would always persevere/survive in Portugal? I am not a Fatima fanatic and tend to believe that most private revelations have hurt the Church as much as they have helped it. Others disagree, and seem to get some benefit from them. If what I am reading on this forum is true, then the recent events at Fatima are cause for concern. But I have often heard that when God really wants to punish someone, He first takes their mind. I have to wonder at times, if that is what has happened to some of the heirarchy who seem, in practice at least, to believe everything and nothing.

#76216 06/19/04 04:57 PM
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How I wish the Bishop of Fatima would show interest in re-starting the Our Lady of Kazan Apostolate begun by the late Archimandrite John Mowatt.

The purpose of the apostolate was twofold: 1) to inform Roman-rite Catholics of the liturgical and spiritual traditions of the Byzantine Church, and 2) to develop better relations with the Orthodox Church.

As far as I know, the apostolate became inactive when Fr. Mowatt left Fatima to return to the U.S. after serving for almost ten years as the Byzantine-rite chaplain of Fatima.

Below is the Russian Catholic Chapel of the Dormition at Fatima designed by Fr. Mowatt:
[Linked Image]

Such a beautiful chapel deserves to have Divine Litugies regularly celebrated there once again.

#76217 06/19/04 05:58 PM
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St. Augustine pointed out that the pagan conception of gods and the Christian concept of angels are one and the same. He discusses this to some length in his City of God, where he discusses the use of the name "gods" by Platonists. "If the Platonists prefer to call these angels gods rather than demons, and to reckon them with those whom Plato, their founder and master, maintains were created by the supreme God, they are welcome to do so, for I will not spend strength in fighting about words. For if they say that these beings are immortal, and yet created by the supreme God, blessed but by cleaving to their Creator and not by their own power, they say what we say, whatever name they call these beings by", St. Augustine, City of God, trans. Rev. Marcus Dods, Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Series 1, Vol. 2, ed. Philip Schaff. (Peabody, Massachusetts: Hendrickson, 1994) Book IX, Ch. 23.

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