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Parents and educators should keep children far from theaters so that their children do not get molested homosexuality In Matth. hom. 59,7: PG 58, 584. Adultery is not only the union of bodies, but it is also an immodest look De poen. hom. 6,2: PG 49, 315. Actors are condemned for their conduct, looks and precious garments In Matth. hom. 58,4: PG 58, 645. Moreover, young actors are regarded as suspect, because they are corrupt and perverted In ep. I ad Cor. hom. 12,5: PG 61, 102. The theater is a loss of time, it habituates one to an unreal life, it is a waste of money, robbery from the poor, and it causes the destruction of marriages. Zambia Metro Map Christians also bring to church theatrical customs: rude voices, sensuous movements of the body, clapping of the hands, stomping of the feet and immodest looks. They know the songs of the theater, but not the Psalms; the names of horses, but they are unable to identify which and how many letters the apostle Paul wrote In illus Salutate Prisc. 1,1: PG 51, 188. The judgment of the Fathers with respect to the theater is imperious: the theater ought to be condemned on the basis of the aforementioned reasons. Zambia Metro Map It was untimely, however, for the Fathers to imagine a type of theater that was different from the pagan one that existed at that time; the passage to a Christian theater would demand its time, precisely the one necessary to later be transferred, through the dramatic homily, to the medieval liturgical drama.
IV. Attempts at reform. The Fathers committed themselves to offering new entertainments: the beauties of nature, the wonders of God mirabilia Dei contained in the Scriptures, the contemplation of the spirit in its war against the passions, the ardent expectation of the ultimate realities, the vision in heaven of God: Spectaculum Deus ipse est, God himself is the show Aug., En. in Ps. 146,4: CCL 40, 2124. On the pastoral level, they valued in this regard the liturgical forms, like the singing of the Psalms: in all the churches, Christians sang with loud voices hymns and psalms to God Constant., Zambia Metro Map Or. ad sanct. coet. 12: PG 20, 1271; Basil., Ep. 107,3: PG 32, 763. In the 4th c., at Edessa, responsorial psalmody and antiphonal song began, which was also practiced by John Chrysostom at Constantinople in the anti-Arian processions Socr., HE VI, 8: PG 67, 689. Regarding hymns, St. Ephrem in the 4th c. inserted orthodox words into the heretical songs D. Jeannin, Mlodies, I, Paris 1923, 146; such hymns reached Gaul from Byzantium through Rome and Milan Aug., Conf. IX, 7. Other liturgical forms include the visits to the monasteries: outside the city, amid nature, and listening to the singing of the Psalms; the Christian feasts: to Sunday was added Christmas, Epiphany and Easter.
For the Fathers, however, every day is a feast day; they intended thereby to break the connection between a feast day and a set day, which was a custom proper to the pagans. Another liturgical form that provided a substitution was the cult of the martyrs: for the neophytes, the feasts of the martyrs were the compensation for their renunciation of the pagan entertainments and feasts Greg. Nyss., Vita S. Gregorii Thaum.: PG 46, 954. The feasts of the martyrs were developed for the most part according to the following schema: a pilgrimage to the martyrion i.e., a church that contains the relics of martyrs, marking the site of a martyr’s grave on the day of the vigil often Sunday, the liturgy of the word with one or more panegyrics for the presence of the bishops on the martyr, Eucharistic liturgy, followed by the agape at times with abuses: everything was done amidst flowers, lights, drapes. The Fathers re- ENTRY of JESUS into JERUSALEM iconography 1:806 buked excesses of songs and dances, esp. in front of and at times inside the martyrion, intemperance in drinking and eating were the worthy object of repeated rebukes by the Fathers. Despite these reservations, on the whole, martyr feasts turned out to have been simultaneously popular and religiously appropriate. In the cult of the martyrs the translation of the relics reentered, at times at night, with phantasmagories i.e., an exhibition of optical illusions produced with fire of lights, even on the sea: on the occasion of the reception of the relics of St. Phoca, John Chrysostom exclaimed, For the second time we make of the sea a church with torches, bathed with fire and fillings of flames with water De s. Hierom. Phoca 1: PG 50, 699, and in another circumstance, The torchlight procession gave the impression of a river of fire Dicta postquam reliquiae, hom. 2,1: PG 63, 468-469. It was the spiritual Christian feast that buried the pagan feast. In the context of a martyrial feast, John Chrysostom, in the suburb of Antioch, Daphne, would say, Behold the suburb of the heavenly Jerusalem; behold spiritual Daphne! In s. Iulianum martyrem: PG 50, 672.
Lastly, the commitment of the Fathers was noteworthy with respect to music; for them, the musical instrument of preference was the human tongue. They generally prohibited in the worship service the use of string and wind instruments Chrysostom allowed for the reed-pipe tibia, lyre and bagpipes. In the liturgy, the lyre was perhaps allowed. Earsplitting instruments, however, were prohibited because, in addition to arousing the emotions, they recalled the ambience found in the theater, circus and the pagan cults in the cult for Cybele and Isis, loud music was played to drive out evil spirits and pagan weddings. The Fathers moved in this direction to offer Christians new entertainments. Imperial and canonical legislation intervened in order to prohibit certain entertainments, but not always with success. Constantine abolished the gladiatorial games anno 325; CTh XV, 12,1, and the other emperors did likewise from 357 to 397. Later, they took measures against the theater CTh XV, 5,7. The church prohibited church officials from attending the games during wedding ceremonies Council of Laodicea 380: can. 53; actors were not admitted to baptism, and Christian actors were denied communion Elvira: can. 62; Council of Arles I: can. 4 and 5; 397: can. 35. Sources: works of the Fathers, especially John Chrysostom, PG 47-64; Tertullian, De spectaculis, ed. E. Castorina, Florence 1961; CCL 1, 227-253; M. Bonaria, Mimorum Romanorum Fragmenta, I-II, Genoa 1955.
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