Revelation 1: 1-4
The beatitude of the readers, listeners, and keepers of the divine word — greeting to the seven churches.
The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show to his servants what must soon take place; and he made it known by sending his angel to his servant John. The author of the book of the Revelation is the holy Apostle and Evangelist John, as we see his name recorded, which insures that this book is not fraudulent or forged, but a genuine work of St. John the Evangelist. This is not of small significance but rather of great significance, and we must pay great attention to it since the Church has accepted this as the work of John the Evangelist and honored it by including it in the canonical books of the New Testament, and rightly so.
It is a book of the Holy Bible, the Holy Scripture. We must add that the Church has been extremely cautious in this respect. Works of the Apostolic Fathers or successors to the Apostles such as Barnabas, for example, or those of other Apostolic Fathers were not placed in the canon of the New Testament. These writings are not material of the New Testament. The Church exercised extreme caution and allowed many years to pass before including some of the books in the canon of the New Testament or books of the first order which were written by the hand of eyewitnesses who saw, heard, and touched God the Word Who incarnated, as Origen says. So then, the author of the book of the Revelation is St. John. The Apostles commonly use the word “servant” as they write their epistles. However, here we have the simple recording of the name of John, simply John, without a title such as ‘the disciple of Christ’ or ‘the apostle of Christ’. The absence of these titles shows that John very well knew the receivers and the readers of his book. They were very close to him. It is also obvious that the book of the Revelation is given to the Church from God the Father, through Jesus Christ, through the angel, through John, to the Church.
So, what we have here is a living chain of paradosis, or teaching tradition. Paradosis in Greek means “tradition.” It literally means to pass down, to have one person deliver and another person receive. So God the Father gives to the Son Incarnate, not God the Word, but to Jesus Christ: to God Incarnate. Jesus Christ gives to the angel; the angel gives to John; and John passes it to the Church. So, what we have here is the wonder of the living Tradition, or paradosis. This is precisely why this livingTradition, along with Holy Scripture makes up the basis or the foundation of the Church. As we know, it is Holy Tradition that preserved the authenticity and validity of the Holy Scriptures. Holy Tradition told us which book is genuine or which is fraudulent . This must be understood by those who discard and disregard the Tradition of the Church, whether Protestant or Orthodox, who have been heavily influenced by the non-Orthodox. They disregard the Tradition of the Church. The key, and we will mention this repeatedly; the key to the Orthodox interpretation of the book of the Revelation is to be found in the treasure chest of Holy Tradition. If you do not take a hold of this key that Holy Tradition has given you, then you will never interpret and see the true meaning of Scripture. This is why the Protestants interpret Scripture every which way, with the result being the deterioration of their faith into thousands of pieces. They have no idea what they believe today, what they believed yesterday, and what they will believe tomorrow.
…And he made it known by sending his angel to his servant John, who bore witness to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, even to all that he saw. So John saw visions; he saw images and symbols; he saw these things; he did not imagine them; nor did he nor did he produce them, or fantasize them . He actually saw them. These are real accounts of what he actually saw. Christ tells him, “Write the things that you see. Write what you hear,” and in one specific instance, He tells him, “Do not write these things, these are just for you- seal this information; but all the other things, do write them.” So, we can see very clearly that the holy Apostle, with much simplicity, will record the things that he will see. He will not add or subtract. What is true and characteristic of a genuine script is that it is simple, and not very articulate. It is usually the fraudulent writings that need to be articulate and very well edited because their purpose is to impress; to catch the attention, to impress the reader. However, in the authentic book that records true things, real things from God, there is no need to be articulate or to have any special fanfare, no need to impress. The truth is the truth. So, John writes simply what he saw — nothing more, nothing less. If he leaves something out he is guilty and he will answer to God. If he writes something more, then he is equally guilty —no more and no less.
It must be mentioned that John finishes this book with: I warn every one who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if any one adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, and if any one takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book. In other words, this person will not enter the Kingdom of God. So, if the Evangelist himself writes this about anyone else who would attempt to alter this book, how much more must he be careful. Therefore, in reality St. John wrote exactly what he saw and what he heard. Blessed is he who reads aloud the words of the prophecy, and blessed are those who hear, and who keep what is written therein; for the time is near. This introductory outline, which we spoke about in an earlier session, closes with this beatitude, this blessing, heaped upon those who study, hear, and apply the words of this book and generally the Word of God. This beatitude is the first of the seven specific beatitudes in the book of the Revelation.
To continue, “blessed is he who reads and they that hear” “he that reads,” is singular. “They that hear,” is plural. One reads and many hear. Where was this reading and hearing taking place? Where else but the Church? It was used in public worship, much like the Gospel, and the Epistles of the Apostles. This is how the book of the Revelation was utilized in the early Church. This is why it says “he that reads and they that hear.” Moreover, the purpose of the use of this book in public worship was to strngthen, to console the faithful, but also to inform them about the content of this book. St. Justin, in the middle of the second century, records for us a very beautiful picture about the reading of the Epistle and Gospel in public worship. He writes, in one of the first apologetic homilies, referring to “he that reads and those that hear.” “And on the day called the day of the sun (it was called Sunday by the idolaters and this name was preserved in the Latin languages until this day) all those that lived in the cities or in the country, would congregate and meet in one place, and one read memoirs of the Apostles, (these are the Gospels or the writings of the Prophets.) reader stops.” So here we can see that the Church was following the instruction of St. John, or Christ rather; we see it very clearly. So after the reader would stop, the proistamenos, the bishop, the one in charge, would begin to interpret, to preach and explain the material that was read so the entire congregation would be able to apply these teachings in their daily lives.
We do the same thing here. We keep reading the verses of the book of the Revelation repeatedly. The subject must be read; we read it; we read it in the original Greek; then we translate it into our everyday language, and then we must interpret it. This is the way we stay in tune with the Holy Script, for our ears to get used to it so that it becomes familiar to us, and not foreign. It is necessary to hear sermons that motivate towards the imitation of good things. But our Church, had to deal with a number of false interpretations circulated by the heretics, for example the one thousand year reign of Christ. This heresy (one that still goes on today) brought forth havoc in the Church, even in the days of St. John. St. John was still alive and this book was already being grossly misinterpreted. The first to interpret it falsely was Cerinthus, a child of Gnosticism. He was not even a Christian. He mixed philosophy and various religions together along with some Christianity, and he started talking about the one thousand years of the Kingdom of Christ. St. John the Apostle was quite concerned about these things. At some point, St. John was in Ephesus and he visited a public bathhouse where someone told him that Cerinthus was also inside. His response was, “Let’s leave quickly before the roof of the place collapses and kills all of us!” because of the presence of the heretic.
The Apostles, as long as they were alive, not only corrected these interpretations, but gave warning, spelling out these things to the Christians. St. Paul, for instance, says, After I leave I know that many will misinterpret my words. St. Peter actually comes to defend St. Paul when he writes in his Epistle; there are unstable and ignorant people that distort the words of St. Paul as they do other Scripture to their own destruction. Didn’t Hymenaeus and Philetus distort the teaching of St. Paul about the resurrection of the dead? Weren’t they teaching that the resurrection already took place? My friends, the authors of the Holy Scriptures are not at fault. People’s egotism is responsible here. Why? Because simply, my friend, if you want to interpret, that is fine, but you must have the key . The key, as I’ve stated earlier, is the Tradition of the Church. This is how the Church interprets. Now if you want to interpret the way you want, due to your lucipherian pride, then you are sure to fail. You will become a heretic, and heresy is nothing other than the logical interpretation of dogma. When I attempt to interpret things that cannot be interpreted with logic and intellectuality, when I try to interpret a deep mystery using my mere mind and my intellect, then I become a heretic. So, when I attempt to explain or interpret the teaching of the Church by logical methods and logical means, then I automatically find myself in the realm of heresy.
The holy writers are not to blame, only the pride, egotism, and selfishness of some people within the Church. However, the Church, —in the east especially, due to all these inconsistencies and situations , was forced to discontinue the use of the book of the Revelation in the area of worship. This did not take place in the west, only in the east. There were no heresies in the west in this area. So, the book is authentic and the Church has it included it in the canon of the New Testament. We pray that during a true Orthodox Synod, the Church may reconsider and re-admit this book of the Revelation in the area of worship, so it can be preached at the pulpit, much like the Epistles of St. Paul and the rest of the Apostles. Yes, we can pray for this. This of course does not hinder anyone from studying and preaching from the book of the Revelation, or from using verses from this book to help a speaker of the word of God to teach or support a certain subject. Blessed is he that reads and they that hear and keep those things; these three that St. John mentions here remind us of the words of the Lord. “Blessed are those that hear the word of God and keep it.”
The Lord said this when a woman out of the crowd shouted out, “Blessed is the womb that held you and the breasts that gave you milk.” And He said, “Indeed*, blessed are those that hear the word of God and keep it or live by it.” These three verbs, “he that reads, those that hear, and keep the words,” these verbs - reads, hear, keep are stated in the present tense, which suggests that this is to go on continually and without ceasing. I must always read, I must always hear, and I must always keep the word of God. It does not say, “those that heard” but “those that hear.” This is nothing like saying “I heard some sermons or I went to a few classes; I had enough, why should I go again?” No, the word of God here is direct, “He that reads always; those that hear always; and those that keep the word of God always.”
[*Translators note: This verse is mistranslated by every English translation to date. The original Greek is menounye, meaning indeed; of course; definitely.]
Let’s consider this threefold combination, of the reading, the hearing, and the keeping of the word of God. About reading, in order to understand the word of God, we must be in God. Otherwise, we cannot understand the word of God. On this St. Diadochos Photikis said, “There’s nothing worse. There is no worse poverty than to be speaking about God while being outside and away from God.” This, my friends, can be seen very clearly in the case of people who do not live a spiritual life, but yet speak about spiritual matters. They make mistakes, and are often quite clueless. They try to answer questions , but according to their own thinking. They are not in God and they do not have a spiritual life. One who does not live a spiritual life cannot talk about matters of God. what It is not possible. And he can never understand the written word of God because the understanding of the word of God is not simply academic or philological. Someone can be a PhD. He can be a Doctor of Divinity, and have no understanding of the word of God. The understanding of the word of God has a different dimension. I am not saying that philology or some knowledge of literature or grammar is not helpful. All these elements do help but these elements are not enough. You cannot say “I have a degree in literature so I will have no problem understanding the Bible.” You will not understand anything. The Spirit of the Scriptures will be elusive to you; you will be left only with the letter. The existence of a liturgical atmosphere is also necessary, a prerequisite in order to study and understand the word of God. What does that mean? It means that the reading or the hearing of the word of God cannot be reduced to a living room subject, or become an academic matter.
There is a tendency;—and these tendencies always existed for some people— to discuss highly theological matters in a living room, with all the known accoutrements of a living room along with the socializing jokes and funnies. The discussions are simply academic. Again, the discussion can be highly theological, however it does not touch the Word, with a capital W, the Word of God. These discussions stay at the swaddling clothes, the ones that the Theotokos, the Virgin Mary dressed Him in after His birth. This is how far these people get. They cannot touch the Word of God: never. So, it is not enough just to talk about the Bible. I do not benefit when I do it outside of the liturgical environment and outside the blessing of the Church. This is why the word of God must be connected with the liturgical space. Simply put, the sermon must take place in the Church. We are not saying that it is forbidden to say it somewhere else, like the street or the mountain, that’s fine, but it must be connected with the liturgical place. After the Divine Liturgy, for instance, or after a Vespers service, the word of God during or after these services has a different effect in the hearts of the people.
What is also needed is internal and external quiet time for someone to understand the word of God. St. Gregory the Theologian says, “The Divine is experienced in a state of quiet.” You need quiet stillness to feel and understand God inside you. This stillness is mostly internal but also external. You need to have peace in your heart. We will not stop reading the word of God when we have turmoil; but we need to gain our peace, in order to delve into the deep things of God. In order to submerge, ourselves, we need to have inner peace and stillness. All our daily cares must come to a halt, must be put on hold. Also when we study the word of God we must feel that it is for us, and not for others. We must see our own shortcomings and not those of others. On this, St. Isaac the Syrian says, “The man of humble heart, when he studies the Holy Scriptures, never says, ‘this is for that person, this is good advice for other people.” No, the word of God is speaking to me. Sometimes as we speak the word of God, some of you may think, “is the speaker talking about me? Maybe he overheard something about my private life.” The speaker does not know anything. I assure you. The word of God is directed by God Himself. Sure, I have prepared myself but what has been prepared and is being expressed is under the direction of God Himself in its depth. So, His word can touch in a special way the different types of hearts. The word is One. However, He touches each person differently.
St. Cyril of Jerusalem says, “The water that falls on the plant is all the same; the same water for all flowers. But for one flower the water makes a red flower, for the other it becomes a white color, for the third a yellow flower, and so on, all caused by the same water.” In the same way, the word of God touches the heart of each sincere listener, and I underline this, the sincere listener - according to his needs. We do not single out the troubles of a listener and try to base our talk on them as some na¨ve listeners may think. Again, we need to have humility, which we lack. For example, we think, “I wish so-and-so were here to listen to this. It would be so helpful for them.” This shows pride, and it is a matter of pride when we think that others need to hear something. Instead, I must say, “This is only for me and I need to improve myself.” Finally, we need to begin our study, our reading, with prayer. St. Cyril says, “Do not try to come in touch with the mysteries of God and the word of God without prayer.” So, do not open Holy Scripture; do not start reading without prayer, asking God for His help. While praying say, “Lord, allow me to sense; let me feel the power of Your words, the power that exists in Your words.” You must consider prayer as the key for you to understand the deeper meaning of the Scriptures.
However, it is important to come to an understanding about the hearing of the word of God. Years ago many people were not able to read . Only a few people knew how to read. Today the opposite is true. Almost everyone can read. So in the past, the basic source of knowledge leading to the truths of God was the sense of hearing, the ear. People could not read. However, even today the hearing of the word is very basic for all people because the word is offered through a living tongue. And much like the word of God, it is alive; so when the word of God is heard through a living tongue, this makes it especially graceful.
The word of God in this case can be presented along with the personal experiences of the speaker. And this can be a source of courage to listeners as far as the application of the word of God goes. It is not the same if you hear it on the radio, or if you read it in a book. It is something very different. This is why we go to hear the word of God and we do not rely on reading only. Reading does not replace the spoken word. And the hearing of the spoken word does not replace reading. These two parallel things are equally important.
I must also tell you that the hearing of the word of God presupposes the presence of other people. The word of God is connected with the presence and vision of other people. In other words, it is connected with the Church. And this is very important, to have the word of God be heard in the Church, —very beneficial. — and of great value. On the other hand, if I sit by myself listening to a cassette, it is like eating canned food according to the holy one of Florina, Metropolitan Avgoustinos Kantiotes. The canned word of God does not have the same freshness as the live participation. It is useful. I will listen to the cassette, I will read my books. But I will also make it point to go and hear the live, the living word of God,to get together with the other faithful, my other brothers and sisters in Christ. This is so I can become a presence and show forth the Church, not only in its liturgical worship but also in the hearing of the word of God.
Finally, as far as the application of the word of God is concerned, the statement of the holy Evangelist, And keep those things which are written therein, expresses to us that the word of God must be applied. We must live it. But we need to live it in its entirety. Let us not pick and choose. Let’s not say that we will do this, but not that. For the time is near. Does this mean anything to us? I will tell you something from my personal life that pertains to this. This goes back in the early forties during the horrible German occupation, or siege rather. We were in school, three children at each desk and we were taking our final exams. The classroom was packed. It was full so it was certainly not a bad deal for the lazy students. My classmates did not study, and we were being examined on Ancient Greek, Modern Greek, and mathematics. My classmates decided not to study Ancient Greek, but I did, and I sat towards the back of the class. So, I started helping the three students in back of me, the three in front of me, and the two on either side. So, I was helping a dozen students. Instead of writing, I was trying to help all these kids fill in their tests, checking to see if they wrote things correctly, being that there was no supervision or teacher in the class.
Suddenly the teacher comes in and announces, “Boys, you must hand in your papers in five minutes.” I do not know how many of you have gone through something similar to this in your school years, but I cannot describe to you how I felt. I started perspiring, and getting red as a tomato from embarrassment. I felt paralyzed, and I screamed without thinking, “Not yet Mr. Teacher!” My paper was still blank. The other students were handing in their papers, and even though I was the only one that studied, I had written nothing. In the end, I was crawling into the office like a little puppy to beg the teacher to pass me. This is the feeling that a man gets when he realizes that his time is up. It is a terrible feeling. St. Isaac the Syrian says that if you did not live the right life, when you see that your time of death is at hand you will panic. Also, when someone truly allows this feeling to enter his inner being— the time is at hand— then whenever he reads this phrase in Scripture he cannot help but feel what I described from my school years. But this phrase, for the time is at hand, is of the same meaning as the earlier words of this chapter, those things which must take place quickly. As we remember, we analyzed this earlier, but what is characteristic is that this statement is repeated only a few verses later, which accentuates that the end is galloping. The end is around the corner. The end is the time of the prophecy, or the fulfillment of the words of the prophecy. So, blessed is he who reads and they that hear the words of the prophecy because the time will not be long.
There is also an ecclesiastical development that has impressed me a great deal. I do not know if this feeling of mine is totally accurate but I will share it with you. Up to the fifteenth century, the faithful that shed their blood for the faith were simply called saints or martyrs. After the fifteenth century, the martyrs are now called new. So, we have the ‘neo-martyrs.” Historically, we have some significant events that divide sections of history. And more specifically, in this case after the fall of Constantinople in 1453, close to 1500, we have this new phenomenon, this new term, calling the martyrs after the fall neomartyrs. And those that finished their lives peacefully also bear the term, new; so we have St. Nektarios, the newly manifested St., St. Nicodemos the New, or St. Constantine the New. This characteristic of a new martyr, or the newly manifested, gives the feeling of the placement of a boundary. In other words, let us say that we have the arrival of a new historical time, maybe five hundred years from now. How is the Church supposed to classify the martyrs and saints five hundred years from now? The ‘new-new martyrs’ or the ‘super-new martyrs?’ It doesn’t make sense. Do you know what this means? When the Church talks about new, it means that we have the old and now the new. And after the new, there will be no newer ones. Again, do we know what’s happening here? I am afraid that in the catholic conscience of the Church there is a smoldering feeling, the feeling that the end is near. This is why the Church uses the term new for her saints. We have nothing else to add to this term new. The Church always had her eyes on the end, but for a time she called her elite saints martyrs. In our days, and since the fifteenth century, she uses the term new, referring to them as neomartyrs.
After this introductory outline, what follows next is the preface of the entire book, which takes place between verses four and eight. These verses are, John to the seven churches that are in Asia: Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before his throne, and from Jesus Christ the faithful witness, the first-born of the dead, and the ruler of kings on earth. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood and made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen. Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, every one who pierced him; and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of him. Even so. Amen. This is the preface of the book of the Revelation. Up to this point, we had the introductory outline. In this preface, which is extremely important, and most theological, what is made obvious is the epistolary or letter character of the book. This book is written in the format of a letter. Moreover, if you will, the Gospel according to Luke is a letter. St. Luke writes, To the most excellent Theophilos, I sent you this information. The word “letter” is not mentioned but rather, I sent you this script so that you can learn the truth of our faith. So, it is presented in the form of an epistle or a letter. The same holds true for the book of the Revelation. It has the dimension of an epistle, and not only because of the letter written to the seven churches of Asia Minor, but this holds true for the entire book. The ancient form of the epistle is maintained, in other words, the author is announced.
John is the author; the receivers are the seven churches of Asia Minor; and we have the greeting, Grace and peace to you from God the Father and so on; and then we have the doxology, To Him belongs the power and the glory unto the ages of ages, amen. So, the book of the Revelation is a letter. And we pray that some day God allows it to be read as an apostolic reading in the Church. So, John to the seven churches in the province of Asia. John, the sender of the letter writes to the seven churches, the receivers of this letter. Here again the name of the author, John, is placed at the beginning of the sentence, and this will be done again in verse nine. The name bears no titles, no last name, which shows that the intended readers of this letter know John quite well. Which are the seven churches mentioned in the book of the Revelation? Which are the seven churches that our Lord asks that a special letter be sent to each one of them? These are historical Churches, real churches, not noetic or symbolic . So, we have Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamon, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea. These are all cities of Asia Minor, old ancient cities, lively cities with strong Christian populations. They became episcopates, which shows a strong Church presence. And to these seven churches now Christ speaks through the book of the Revelation with a special message for each one of these churches.
Someone may ask, “Why is Christ addressing only these seven churches?” Christ tells John, and to the angel of the Church of Ephesus write or the angel of Smyrna. Why these churches and not to the church of Jerusalem? Or Corinth? Or Rome? Or Alexandria? These last ones were bigger and most important churches. Only Ephesus could compare with the grandeur and the title of Rome, or Jerusalem or Antioch, the great church of Antioch. Only Ephesus could come close to these last great churches, because the other six cities in these seven churches were minor. They were very small cities of Asia Minor. So why are the epistles directed to and addressing these particular seven churches, and not the other bigger and more seasoned churches? It is simply because the number seven is allegorical or schematic. And it expresses variety along with fullness. In other words, it represents a complete picture of the entire Church from back then up until the end of the age, and the fullness of the Church is represented by these seven representative types of these churches. In other words, these seven churches are seven different folds, seven different realities of the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church.
So, we have here two intertwined circumstances. One is that each epistle is sent to each specific historical church. We need to stress this point of a specific historical church, which refers to a specific circumstance for each Church. For example, when He says, you are neither cold nor hot, you are lukewarm, you have forsaken your first love. Remember the height from which you have fallen, this is a specific flaw or weakness of the church A or B. Therefore these epistles, at the first level, have a historical character. They are exactly that. They aim to cure the flaws of those individual churches, two thousand years ago. However, at on the second plane, these elements aim to serve as a warning for the entire Church all through the ages. So we have here two intertwined dimensions: the historical one which is limited to the topographies of the seven city churches, and then we have the other dimension which refers to the entire history of the Church or the Church through the ages. So, when we read what Christ says for the church of the Ephesians, or to that of the Philadelphians, this means that all these points are elements that are brought up and exist in the catholic Church of Christ.
These cities where the seven churches were located were Greek cities. The entire Asia Minor was Greek and these are historical churches, and historical epistles, with an historical base. I will repeat this again and again, when the time comes, but I will mention it now. When Christ says, I will remove your lamp stand. every church is represented by a lamp stand or a candle stand, one candle; so I will remove your lamp stand means I will move you around. He took all these seven churches and moved them. And, none of these historical churches exist today in Asia Minor! Not one. Not Ephesus, not Smyrna, not a single one. The lamp stands were removed permanently in 1922, during the infamous Asia Minor destruction and expulsion of the Greek populace. St. Andrew of Caesarea says, “with the number seven, what is meant is the fullness of the Church. As the seven days of the week are a symbol of the creation of the world, or our life, the number seven or the seven churches shows the fullness of the Church.” Therefore, I will ask you to please pay close attention to this point because whatever we analyze in these seven great epistles of these churches is not limited to those seven historical churches, but will always refer to the entire Church which will exist always to the end of time.
Grace and peace to you is the Christian greeting of strong vivid liturgical character. This greeting of St. John is a shortened version of the greeting of St. Paul in his Second Epistle to the Corinthians 13:14 The grace of the Lord Jesus and the love of God and the communion of the Holy Spirit. Here again we see the Three Persons of the Holy Trinity. Our God is Triune, so, The grace of the Lord Jesus and the love of God and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with all of you, amen. John does not borrow this type of greeting from St. Paul or vice versa. It seems that it always existed in the Church and it had a liturgical dimension. So, the Apostles John, Paul, Peter, and Jude used this greeting which was common in the Church. This form exists until today in our Divine Liturgy, and in at the beginning of the prayers of the holy anaphora, when a priest comes out to bless the worshippers. Since the grace of God is a favorable consequence springing from the sacrificial death of Christ and ‘peace from God the Father,” from the One Who is, was, and is coming—all this turns this greeting into a liturgical confession of faith, or a symbol of faith.
In the case of the Ethiopian eunuch, Philip the deacon said to him, ‘If you confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God nothing will keep you from being baptized’, and the eunuch said, I believe that Jesus is the Christ the Son of God. This is nothing more but a confession of faith. Later, due to a number of heresies in the Church, the Creed of Faith becomes more detailed. The familiar Creed of Nicea, is used to this day, I believe in one God the Father Almighty, and so on. From this greeting (of John) we see that we have a most archaic element of confession of faith; a confession of faith in a liturgical space. We affirm our faith; we confess our faith in the liturgical space, in church, in order to celebrate the Divine Liturgy. Before Holy Communion, we must confess our true faith. So, this greeting of St. John the Evangelist is of vivid, liturgical character.