AN ELOQUENT DOCUMENT TO UNDERSTAND THE MINOR AND MAJOR MYSTERIESTo show the soundness of our exposition on the esoteric and Christian significance of the minor and major Mysteries, we quote a text translated from the Greek, whose author is Titus Flavius Clement of Alexandria in Egypt. Clement, called the Alexandrian, was born in Athens in 150 AD into a pagan family. From his competency, he seems to have been initiated into the Major Mysteries of Eleusis, and after he became an Apostle of the Christianity. He visited Magna Grecia, Italy, Syria, Palestine, stopping in 180 at Alexandria, attracted by the fame of Pantaenus, ‘the bee of Sicily’. At the school of Christianity called Didaskaleion, Clement was a listener. After a few years, Pantaenus took him as a teaching colleague. After the death of the former, in about 200, Clement became the head of the school and had Origen as a disciple. During the persecution of Septimius Severus (about 202-203) he retired to Cappadocia to stay with the bishop Alexander, and died a little before 216, as attested in a letter of the same Alexander who became bishop of Jerusalem (Eusebius – Ecclesiastical History – VI, 11, 14). The text that we quote, is in one of the volumes of Clement of Alexandria: Stromata, V, 11. “It is not without appropriateness that for the Greeks, the Mysteries start with purification, as for the Barbarians with the bath. After this, come the small Mysteries which have some foundation of instruction and preparation for what comes after. The great Mysteries refer to the totality of things. It is no longer a question of learning, but of intuitively seeing and contemplating the nature of things. We can acquire the purification through the confession, the contemplation (epopticòn), through the analysis, advancing towards the first contemplation by means of analysis, beginning from the objects which are underlying the being itself, eliminating from the body the physical qualities, removing the dimension of depth, then the dimension of width and, after this, the dimension of length. The step that remains is the monad, which has, so to speak, a position. If we remove this position, the monad is an object of thought (epinoèitai). If then, having removed that which is in the body and that which is called incorporeal, we cast ourselves into the greatness of the Christ, and from There advance in the wide-open immensity, in full holiness, we will arrive at the intuitive perception of the universal Master, having recognized not what is, but what is not. The form, the movement, the throne, the position, the right, the left of the Father in everything, should not be perceived, even though they are described, but what each of these things mean, it will be shown in its proper place. The first cause, then, is not in space but above the place, the time, the name and the thought. This is why Moses says: – Show yourself to me – indicating very clearly that God is not to be taught, not to be named, but must be known solely through the force that is in Him. Because the obscure and invisible research and the grace of knowledge come from Him through the Son. Solomon gives a very clear testimony, expressing himself thus: – The reflection (fronèsis) of men is not in me, but God gives to me the wisdom, and I know the holy things. – Then Moses, expressing the divine fronèsis through allegory, has mentioned the tree of the Life, planted in the Paradise: this Paradise could be the world in which all the things of creation germinate. In this, the Logos has blossomed, has become flesh, has borne fruit, and has given life to who has tasted (the fruit) for their good; because without the tree He could not have come to our knowledge, because our life has been suspended for our good. And Solomon has said: The Tree of immortality is for those who take it. And because of this he says: Behold that I set before your face the life and the death, to love God the Lord, and to walk in all of his ways, and to understand his voice, and to trust in life. If you transgress the decisions and decrees which I have given to you, you will be lost. Because this is the life, the length of your days, to love the Lord your God. And he further said: Abraham coming to the place which God had indicated to him, on the third day, looking up, saw the place from afar. Because the first day is that which is spent in the sight of the beautiful things, the second is the desire of the excellent soul; the third day, the mind (nous ) sees the spiritual things, the eyes of thought having been opened by the master who rose for this third day. The three days might also be the Mystery of the seal, the seal being the mark through which the true God makes himself known. Then, he sees the place from afar, because the location of God is difficult to occupy, the place that Plato has called the place of Ideas, having learned from Moses that it is one same place containing all things and their totality. On the other hand, with a great precision, it is said that he is seen from afar by Abraham, because it is in the Genesis; and it is an angel that serves him constantly as a mystagogue. Hence the Apostle: We see now as through an èsoptron (a glass), face to face, through these sole, sudden and incorporeal rays of thought. It is also possible, discoursing, to draw a divination from God, if one forces oneself, outside of all the sensations, to launch oneself towards the thing itself which is everything, and not to stay away from that which is, before rising on this thing which is the good, to take possession of it with the thought itself, arriving towards the end itself of that which can be taken by thought, according to Plato. Then Moses, not permitting to make altars and téménos in many places, but having established a sole temple of God, announces that the world is monogene (as Basilides says), and that there is but one God (which Basilides has not seen). And, since he did not want to enclose in one place He who cannot be enclosed, Moses has not put any statues, any images to venerate in the temple, indicating that God cannot be seen and described, leading in some way to the concept of the God of the Hebrews by the honor of the Name that is in the temple. But the words that impede the construction of temples and all sacrifices, indicates that the Omnipotent is not in a place, consists in this: What house will you build to me? – says the Lord – The heaven is my throne, and so on. Equally on sacrifices: The blood of bulls and the fat of mutton I do not want.” Naturally, we could make a commentary on this precious document of Clement of Alexandria, of which we apologize for the arid literal translation, but we consider it superfluous, after having touched on various points concerning the minor and major Mysteries.
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