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On Pascha: With the Fragments of Melito and Other Material Related to the Quartodecimans

(Popular Patristics Series #55)

4.13  ·  Rating details ·  97 ratings  ·  17 reviews
The Quartodecimans were early Christians who kept a single feast of Pascha on the Passover, maintaining the tradition derived from Judaism. In this work, Alistair Stewart-Sykes, the leading authority on Melito and the Quartodecimans, presents a unique collection of material in a format ideal for classroom use as well as the general reader.At the head of this collection sta ...more
Paperback, 103 pages
Published May 31st 2001 by St. Vladimir's Seminary Press (first published 170)
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Jacob Aitken
Dec 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Melito of Sardis, On Pascha and Fragments. Ed. Alistair Stewart-Sykes. Crestwood, NY: St Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 2001.

If you were to walk into a Pascha service in 190 AD, what you would expect? The church bulletin is listed below.

The structure of the work follows the typical Asianist oratory (16):

“Propositio/thesis: Here the orator sets out in brief what the speech will achieve. Narratio/diegema: Here the orator tells a story. In the case of a courtroom speech it might be the facts of the cas
Chase Lefort
Apr 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-i-own
Melito’s address is excellent and beautiful. You can definitely get by without the introduction or the historical fragments for sure, though.
Apr 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
I really liked the poetical aspects of Melito's liturgy. Comparing Jesus' death and resurrection to the sacrifice of Isaac in Genesis 22. ...more
On Pascha is an annotated liturgical message on Pacha by Melito of Sardis. In addition to the main message, in both Greek and English, the book also contains a short scholarly introduction to Melito and the historical background of the message and some assorted fragments of Melito's letters.

The introduction sets the stage well for reading the book and fills in some helpful background knowledge, especially about the Quartodeciman controversy. The Quartodeciman controversy is about what day to cel
Glenn Crouch
Jul 14, 2016 rated it really liked it
A short, well written examination of Melito's "On Pascha", including a fresh translation of this week, as well as biographical information about Melito and his world. The Author has an "easy to read" approach, which makes this book quite accessible.

Whilst the Author argues quite well for the Liturgical Nature of "On Pascha", I still find the arguments for it being a Sermon a bit more convincing - but am in no way an expert in this area :)

This book also has a good coverage of how the Early Church
William Mcneely
Aug 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
It was actually really good, but my reasons for three stars, was primarily the theological accuracy. There is a plethora of good to say in regards to this work, which is a sermon on Jesus as the typological fulfillment of the Passover. There is a lot of good typology in here and some bad typology as well. That is typical of the church fathers to find them going back and forth between good and bad typology. Also there are some hints of early Modalism when it comes to discussing Trinitarian theolo ...more
Marc Schelske
Nov 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: theology
This fascinating little volume is a window into one particular part of the practice of the very early church. The primary text in the book, On Pascha, is dated from AD 190, which is a liturgy written for a Christian Passover practice that was considered quite old at that time (old enough to be attributed to the disciples of John).

Melito was the leader of the church in Sardis, and part of the Asian church community that included the churches in Palestine and modern-day Turkey. These were primari
Veronica Rizk
Feb 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
Melito of Sardis presents Pascha to the readers in a different light. Biblical typology and allusions, figurative language, and rhetorical devices fill the pages. I recommend this book to those who are appreciative of history (specifically the history of religion and festal dates), classics, and poetry.
Jason Rogers
Apr 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
One of the most theologically profound homilies (or liturgical prayer, if you accept the translator's thesis) from the early church. I read this work every year during Lent in preparation for Orthodox Pascha. The work deals with the power and causes of the atonement from an early Jewish Christian perspective, as Melito of Sardis was of the Quartodeciman wing of early Chrstianity. ...more
Philip Tadros
It's rare that I enjoy reading the church "fathers" so much (The pioneer generation of Christianity). This is worth its weight in gold. Great for preparing my heart and mind for Easter; a masterpiece of rhetoric too. ...more
Dec 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
It's tempting–and convenient–to neglect the wisdom of patristic writing behind a distaste for its arcane language. But here such a hangup is impossible: this sermon reads with poetic zeal and timeless imagination. As such, it feels as close and contemporary, relevant and incisive. ...more
David Smith
Jan 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
A classic. "On Pascha" is worth reading every holy week, if you can. The intro to this book is pretty good, though I don't agree with some of the commentary on Melito's christology. It's poetic material and is sufficiently vague that Melito's words could be taken other than modalist. ...more
Jordan J. Andlovec
A spectacular and moving piece of liturgical theology. If you want to see a great example of biblical typology, this (and Ireanaeus) is where I would start.
Dan Glover
Feb 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Poetic sermonic reflection on the passover in Exodus read through and interpreted in light of Christ's passion. So very good. The introduction reads Melito's christology as modalistic (before modalism was declared a heresy) but what he says may also be interpreted in an orthodox way. This is a very quick, edifying read. Here are some samples (and there is much more like this):

"Such was the calamity which surrounded Egypt, and made her suddenly childless.
Israel was guarded by the slaughter of th
Matt Pitts
Interesting to see Melito's typological reading of the Old Testament and it's fulfillment in Christ. But the text of Melito's On Pascha was only about one third of the book; the rest related to introductory and historical issues, particularly related to those known as Quartodecimans because the observed the Lord's Supper on the 14 Nisan (the Jewish Passover). ...more
Josef Muench
Aug 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a magnificent view into an early Christian understanding of the Pasch and reading of the Old Testament. My family will read this at every Easter feast.
Brian Rhea
Apr 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: patristics, worship
I re-read this work each year. Melito offers a rich proclamation of our Lord's death and resurrection as fullness of Old Testament anticipation. ...more
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