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You are compelled to go to Church, O Christians, fourthly be­cause the Church is a common surgery, which cures all sinners who have been wounded spiritually by the Devil. Therefore, just as all who have bodily wounds are compelled to go to a doctor in order to be healed, lest they die, similarly all of those Christians who are afflicted with spiritual wounds of the passions and sin are in great need of going to the common surgery of the Church, so that they might show their wounds to a spiritual Father and receive from him the medications and plasters suitable for their healing. For if they make light of such wounds and do not go to this surgery, their wounds putrefy and cause them spiritual and eternal death. Hence, St. Chrysostomos says about the Church: “This house is a spiritual surgery, so that here we might heal whatever wounds we may have received outside.” And elsewhere: “The Church is a surgery for souls…and we must depart from it like those who visit a surgery, af­ter receiving the remedies appropriate for the sufferings that bur­den us.”

For this reason, in the Parable of the Man Who Fell Among Thieves the Lord called the Church a hospice, that is, a hospital. Here is a summary of this parable. The man is Adam, and every sin­ner; Jerusalem, from which he went down, is Paradise and virtue. Jericho is the world and sin; the thieves are the demons; the wounds are the passions. The Samaritan is Christ; the oil and wine are lovingkindness and justice; the beast of burden is the humanity of our Lord; the hospice (inn) is the Church; the host (innkeeper) is Paul, the other Apostles, and the Hierarchs and Priests who are the suc­cessors of the Apostles. The two pence (denarii) are the Old and the New Testaments.

St. Nikodemos the Hagiorite

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