‘Farewell, mighty Christ-loving city. I will testify to the truth, though your zeal be not according to knowledge. Our separation renders us more kindly. Approach the truth: be converted at this late hour. Honour God more than you have been wont to do. It is no disgrace to change, while it is fatal to cling to evil.
‘Farewell, East and West, for whom and against whom I have had to fight; He is witness, Who will give you peace, if but a few would imitate my retirement. For those who resign their thrones will not also lose God, but will have the seat on high, which is far more exalted and secure.
‘Last of all, and most of all, I will cry—farewell ye Angels, guardians of this church, and of my presence and pilgrimage, since our affairs are in the hands of God.
‘Farewell, O Trinity, my meditation, and my glory. May You be preserved by those who are here, and preserve them, my people: for they are mine, even if I have my place assigned elsewhere; and may I learn that You are ever extolled and glorified in word and conduct.
‘My children, keep, I pray you, that which is committed to your trust. Remember my stonings. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.’
Today the Church commemorates our father among the saints, Gregory the Theologian, who was Archbishop of Constantinople at the opening of the 2nd Œcumenical Council, held in Constantinople in A.D. 381.
For a fuller account of St Gregory’s life and work, see my blog entry for this day last year. For this year, I will merely quote the peroration of his farewell address on resigning from the see of Constantinople, in which he bids farewell to the city and people that he had served selflessly:
Oration 42, para. 27. (Philip Schaff and Henry Wace, eds., Nicene and post-Nicene Fathers, Series 2, VII, trans. Charles Gordon Browne and James Edward Swallow, 1894. From the New Advent website, ed. Kevin Knight.)
Occasional comments by a convert to Orthodoxy.