The Explanation of St. Paul's Epistle to the Philippians
By Blessed Theophylact, Archbishop of Ochrid and Bulgaria
Translated by Fr. Christopher Stade
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As in Paradise, God walks in Scripture seeking man.
Saint Ambrose of Milan (340-397 AD)
Chrysostom Press publishes two important series of books that have enlightened and edified Orthodox Christians for centuries: The Explanaion of the New Testement by Blessed Theophylact and The Great Collection of the Lives of the Saints by Saint Demetrius of Rostov. It is our fervent hope that you will find these books a valuable provision for your journey along the narrow way which leadeth unto life.
“. . . the finest works of their sort after St. John Chrysostom . . . “
Orthodox Christians have long held the New Testament commentaries of Blessed Theophylact, Archbishop of Bulgaria (born ca. 1050, died after 1126), in the highest esteem. St. Nicodemos of the Holy Mountain so valued these commentaries that he translated them into modern Greek for the Christians of his day. St. Ignatius Brianchaninov in his book The Arena, writes,
While reading the Evangelists, the novice should also read The Herald; that is, the explanation of the Gospel by Blessed Theophylact, Archbishop of Bulgaria. The reading of The Herald is indispensable. It is an aid to the right understanding of the Gospel and consequently to the most exact practice of it. Moreover, the rules of the Church require that Scripture should be understood as the holy Fathers explain it, and not at all arbitrarily. By being guided in our understanding of the Gospel by the explanation of the holy Father, by the explanation received and used by the Church, we keep the tradition of holy Church.
In his Prologue entry for December 31st St. Nikolai Velimirovich writes, “[Blessed Theophylact] wrote commentaries on the Four Gospels and on other books of the New Testament. These are the finest works of their sort after St. John Chrysostom, and are read to this day with great benefit.”
Blessed Theophylact’s exegetical work holds a very important place in the traditions of Western Christendom as well. Thomas Aquinas, who had the commentaries translated into Latin, cites Blessed Theophylact 1,033 times in the Catena Aurea. Erasmus of Roterdam, who cites the commentaries frequently in his Annotationes in Novum Testamentum, “made considerable use of Theophylact manuscripts at Basle, whereby the work of Theophylact became a major ingredient of the Textus Receptus.” Martin Luther asserted that, of the Fathers, “Theophylact is the best expounder and interpreter of St. Paul.” Blessed Theophylact’s commentaries were consulted by the translators of the King James Version as well (in fact, they cite him by name at Mark 7:3). Philip Schaff writes of Blessed Theophylact’s exegetical work that “it is drawn from the older writers, especially from Chrysostom, but Theophylact shows true exegetical insight, explaining the text clearly and making many original remarks of great value.”
It is our fervent hope that you will find these commentaries a valuable provision for your journey along the narrow way which leadeth unto life.
 Bishop Ignatius Brianchaninov, The Arena: An Offering to Contemporary Monasticism, trans. from the Russian by Archimandrite Lazarus (Jordanville: Holy Trinity Monastery, 1983), p. 21.
 Bishop Nikolai Velimirovich, The Prologue from Ochrid: Lives of the Saints and Homilies for Every Day in the Year, trans. from the Serbian by Mother Maria (Birmingham: Lazarica Press, 1986), p.393.
 Marcus Plested, Orthodox Readings of Aquinas (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012), p. 18.
 Andrew J. Brown, “The Gospel Commentary of Theophylact, and a Neglected Manuscript in Oxford.” Novum Testamentum 49 (2007): 185.
 Henry Bell, Luther’s Table Talk; or, Some Choice Fragments from the Familiar Discourse of that Godly, Learned Man, and Famous Champion of God’s Truth, Dr. Martin Luther (London: Longman, 1832) p. 280.
 Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church, Volume IV: Medieval Christianity from Gregory I to Gregory VII A.D 590-1073 (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1890), p. 644.
About Chrysostom Press
In 2007, Chrysostom Press published The Explanation of the Gospel of John by Blessed Theophylact, Archbishop of Ochrid and Bulgaria. This completed the four volume set of Theophylact's classic Gospel commentaries, composed about the year 1100 AD. Work is now underway to translate (from the original Greek) Blessed Theophylact's commentary on the Epistles. St. Nikolai Velimirovic—one of the greatest Orthodox figures of the 20th century—says of Theophylact’s work: "These commentaries on the Four Gospels and other books of the New Testament ... are the finest works of their sort after St. John Chrysostom, and are read to this day with great benefit." (From The Prolog from Ochrid, December 31)
Chrysostom Press is also translating and publishing the monumental series The Great Collection of the Lives of the Saints, compiled by St. Demetrius of Rostov. This twelve-volume set is drawn from the ancient sources in Greek, Latin, Syriac, and other tongues, and rendered into Slavonic by St. Demetrius. The accounts in this series are distinguished by their completeness, superb literary quality, extreme fidelity to the originals, and sober, traditional tone. Unlike other collections of Saints' Lives currently available in English, St. Demetrius' versions are themselves authoritative patristic texts, having been compiled and edited by one of the greatest saints of Christ's Church.
The Great Collection is one of the most comprehensive collections of full-length lives of saints to be published in English, covering the universal saints of the first millennium, as well as Russian saints of the first half of the second millennium. The first eight volumes already available present the lives of one or more saints who are celebrated each day, from September through April.
Chrysostom Press was founded in 1991 by Fr. Christopher Stade, the rector of St. John Chrysostom Orthodox Church, House Springs (St. Louis), Missouri. He is the translator of The Explanation series and the director of Chrysostom Press. Several parishioners from St. John Chrysostom Church ably assist him in producing the books, advertising, and order fulfillment. Other parishioners have helped with unloading shipments of books and in folding and sealing advertising materials.
In upstate New York, Fr. Thomas Marretta has been working mightily—in conjunction with Chrysostom Press since 1993—to translate The Great Collection of the Lives of the Saints from the original Church Slavonic text of St. Demetrius of Rostov. When Fr. Thomas completes the final draft of each volume, he sends it to Chrysostom Press in House Springs for layout and production.
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