Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Fr. Cliff Ermatinger (soft "g")

My home parish has been blessed with a new pastor, Fr. Cliff Ermatinger. As it turns out, he has written several books, some of which he gave us last night when we had him over for dinner. His specialty is the Church Fathers, but he has also written on philosophy and St. Therese of Lisieux. He has just completed a book of translations of one of my favorite Church Fathers, Diadochus of Photice. It will soon be published by Cistercian Publications.


Fifth-century Christianity was a theological battlefield. With the Messalian heretics and their experientialist spirituality on the one side and the intellectualist school on the other, representatives of both extremes found themselves condemned by the Church. In this milieu of subjectivist notions of grace and negative anthropology, there appeared a true mystic, Diadochus, Bishop of Photike in Epiros. His is a theology whose two poles are God's grace and man's ability to cooperate with it by way of discernment of spirits. Diadochus's ability to salvage what was orthodox from the Messalians and the intellectualists proves that, rather than a reactionary, he was a true theologian capable of synthesis, open to the truth even if found in his adversary, and yet firm in his faith, unwilling to compromise. He is among the earliest witnesses of the Jesus Prayer.

Diadochus is the most important spiritual writer of his century, whose influence can be found in the writings of Maximus the Confessor, Simeon the New Theologian, Gregory of Palamas, and the author of The Way of the Pilgrim.

This is the first translation of his complete works in English.

Fr. Cliff's other books are:

Common Nonsense: 25 Fallacies About Life (and their solutions). Circle Press, 2005.

St. Augustine Answers 101 Questions on Prayer. Sophia Institute Press, 2009.

St. Thérèse of Lisieux, Spouse and Victim: The Itinerary of Grace at Work in Her Soul from Baptism to Spiritual Marriage and Self-Offering. I.C.S. Publications, 2010.

St. Anthony's parishioners are very glad to have him as our new pastor. He gives great homilies (in which he quotes frequently from the Fathers and other great saints and theologians). He also plays rugby and bagpipes. My daughter was very pleased to have a Caledoniphile for a pastor.


Love2Learn Mom said...

That's fantastic!!!

Samantha Ordos said...

If he plays rugby, then he has to be excellent :)

Robert Gotcher said...

Maybe we should get a homeschooling rugby team together....