St Bede on the power of the Name

Icon of the Theotokos Portaitissa at the Iveron Monastery, Mount Athos

Icon of the Theotokos Portaitissa at the Iveron Monastery, Mount Athos

And thou shalt call, he said, his name “Jesus”.

JESUS, in Hebrew, means in Latin “Salvation” or “Saviour”.

He made certain that he would be so called by the prophets. So things such as these are sung about a great longing for the sight of him:

MY soul shall exult in the Lord, it shall delight in his salvation.
[Ps 34(35):9]

MY soul fainteth for thy salvation.
[Ps 118(119):81]

BUT I shall glory in the Lord. I will rejoice in God my Saviour.
[Habakkuk 3:18; Lat. for “my saviour” here = my Jesu]

And most of all this:

SAVE me O God, by thy name.
[Ps 53(54):1]

as if he should say,

thou who art called Saviour, make the glory of thy name to be known by my salvation.

“Jesus”, then, is the name of the son who is born of a virgin, as given by an angel, because he would save the people from their sins. Who, however, saves from sins, at the same time will save from the corruptions of mind and body, which arise from sins.

St Bede, monk of Jarrow (+735). Sermon L, on the Vigil of the Nativity of Our Lord.


LET your mercies, O Lord, come quickly to our aid, for we are utterly poor; help us, O God our Saviour, for the glory of your name. O Lord, deliver us, and have mercy on our sins, for your name’s sake.

From the Royal Hours in Christmas Eve.

HEAR, O heaven, and give ear, O earth; for see, the Son and Word of God the Father comes forth to be born of a maiden who has not known man, by the good pleasure of him who begat him impassibly and by the co-operation of the Holy Spirit. Bethlehem, prepare; Eden, open your gate, for he who is becomes what he was not, and the Fashioner of all creation is fashioned, he who grants the world his great mercy.

At Vespers. Translations of these two services can be found at Anastasis.


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