I have several times referred to the excellent Antiochepedia blog, which post by post is exploring all that we know of that ancient city, which rivalled Alexandria and in which Christianity was established by the apostles.  To my astonishment it seems that I have never added a link to the sidebar, for there is none.

A recent entry discusses a festival, the Maiuma, and quotes Chrysostom (Homilies on Matthew, 7, ch. 7; slight updating of language):

But you [leave church and] go your way to the fountain of the devil, to see a harlot swim, and to endure shipwreck of the soul.

For that water is a sea of lasciviousness, not drowning bodies, but working shipwreck of souls. And while she swims naked, you, as you behold, are plunged into the depths of lust.

For such is the devil’s net. It doesn’t sink so much those who go down into the water itself, as those that sit above more …; and it chokes them more grievously than Pharaoh, who was of old sunk in the sea with his horses and his chariots. And if souls could but be seen, I could show you many floating on these waters, like the bodies of the Egyptians at that time.

For in the first place, through a whole night the devil takes over their souls with the expectation of it.  Then he shows them the expected object, and he has at once bound them and made them captives. 

Don’t suppose, because you didn’t couple with the harlot, that you are clean from the sin, because in the intention of your heart you did it all. If you were taken by lust, you kindled the flame up higher.  If you felt nothing at what you saw, you deserve a heavier charge still, for being a scandal to others, by encouraging them in these spectacles, and for polluting your own eye-sight, and together with your eye-sight, your soul.

However, not merely to find fault, come let us devise a mode of correction too. What then will the mode be? I would commit you to your own wives, that they may instruct you!

But if you’re ashamed to have a woman for your teacher, then flee from sin, and you’ll quickly be able to mount up to the throne which God has given you. But so long as you sin, the Scripture will send you not just to a woman, but even to things irrational, and those of the viler sort.   Yep, it is not ashamed to send you, who are honored with reason, as a disciple to the ant!

Plainly this is no charge against the Scripture, but against them that so betray their own nobility of race. So we will do the same, and for the present we will commit you to your wife. But if you despise her, we will send you away to the school of the animals, and will point out to you just how many birds, fishes, four-footed beasts, and creeping things are found more honorable, and chaster than you!

Ashamed? and blushing at the comparison? Then rise up to your own nobility and flee the sea of hell and the river of fire; I mean, the pool in the theatre …

An interesting patristic verdict on pornography, and very sound psychology on the effect of it.


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