Subtitled The Story of the Fathers of the Eastern Church, this spans the earliest days after the resurrection and ascension of Jesus through to the fall of Constantinople in 1453. Here we learn about the spiritual and mental giants of the early church:- Clement of Alexandria, Origen, Athanasius, Basil the Great, Gregory of Nyassa, Gregory Nazianzen, John Chrysoston, Dionysius the Areopagate, John Damascene and Gregory Palamas. These were all touched with ""holy fire"", and their God-intoxication made them more incandescent than the Fathers of the Western Church. Their fiercest disputes were against those who seemed to lessen God's supreme majesty, His absolute dominion over mankind, His absolute mercy, His perfect divinity. They strove to take seriously the admonition,- ""Be ye therefore perfect, as your Heav">
This powerful overview of the theological and spiritual development of the Eastern Christian Church renders the church fathers as flesh and blood servants of Jesus Christ, engaged with the all-consuming fire of grace. Robert Payne explores the lives and writings of ten monumental personages through whose hands passed the spiritual and temporal reins of their world: Clement of Alexandria, Athanasius, Basil the Great, Gregory of Nyssa, Gregory Nazianzen, John Chrysostom, Dionysius the Areopagite, John Damascene, Gregory Palamas, and even Origen-a prolific, influential teacher, though denied a place among the "Fathers" by the Eastern Church. The author distinguishes these notables as "more incandescent" than the Western Fathers, marked by a fierce devotion to explore the image of God in man, to imitate the divine nature, to restore man to his lost Paradise, and to contemplate ceaselessly the absolute mercy, dominion, divinity, and majesty of the Christ. Their apostolic fire became crystallized into dogma and church order, rather than into individual confessions, despite their intense spiritual experiences. Their zeal to proclaim the gospel so prodigiously, in the face of extreme suffering, caused Life to flow from them, so that their words, their thoughts still live and breathe among us in hymns, in prayers, and in the ancient art of holy spaces.