Quick Links

Daily Readings

Daily Scripture Readings, Troparion and Kontakion

Read More

Holy Fathers

Selected quotes and teachings of the Holy Fathers

Read More


Learn about the lives of the saints of the Orthodox Church

Read More


Excerpt from The Explanation:

The Explanation
by Blessed Theophylact
of the Holy Gospel According to St. Matthew

Matthew 15:32-39

32. Then Jesus called his disciples unto him, and said, I have compassion on the multitude, because they continue with me now three days, and have nothing to eat: and I will not send them away fasting, lest they faint in the way.

The multitude did not dare to ask for bread, as they had come for healing. But He Who loves mankind takes thought for them. So that no one could say, " They have other provisions," He says, "Even if they had, they would have been used up, for it has already been three days." He shows that they came from a distance when He says, "lest they faint on the way." He says these things to the disciples, wishing to encourage them to say to Him, "You are able to feed them as you did the five thousand." But the disciples still lack understanding.

33. And his disciples say unto him, Whence should we have so much bread in the wilderness, as to fill so great a multitude?

They should have understood that on the previous occasion even a greater number had been fed in the desert. But they are senseless here, so that later when you see them filled with such great wisdom, you may marvel at the grace of God.

34-38. And Jesus saith unto them, How many loaves have ye? And they said, Seven, and a few little fishes. And he commanded the multitude to sit down on the ground. And he took the seven loaves and the fishes, and gave thanks, and brake them, and gave to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude. And they did all eat, and were filled: and they took up of the broken meat that was left seven baskets full. And they that did eat were four thousand men, beside women and children.

He teaches frugality by having them sit on the ground; and He teaches us to give thanks before eating by Himself giving thanks. Do you ask why it is that when there where five loaves and five thousand being fed, twelve baskets [kophinoi]remained, but here where there are more loaves and fewer people only seven baskets [spyrides] were left over? It could be said that spyrides were a larger type of basket than kophinoi, or that He did not wish the numerical equality of this miracle with the previous on to cause it to be forgotten.

For if on this occasion, too, twelve baskets [kophinoi] had been left over, because of the numerical equality they would have forgotten that He performed the miracle with the loaves a second time. But you, O reader, must also know this, that the four thousand, that is, they who are pefect in the four virtues* , are fed with seven loaves, that is, with more spiritual and perfected words, for the number seven is a symbol of the seven spiritual gifts. They fall down to the earth putting beneath them all earthly things and treading them down, just as the five thousand fell down onto the grass, that is, putting beneath them the flesh and its glory.

"For all flesh is grass and all the glory of man as the flower of grass." Here there are seven baskets of remnants, because it was the spiritual and more perfect things that they were unable to eat. For the amount left over was what the seven baskets could contain, that is, what only the Holy Spirit knew. "For the Spirit searches all things even the depths of God".

39. And he sent away the multitude, and took ship, and came into the region of Magdala.

Jesus went away because the miracle of the loaves drew more people to follow Him than any other that He performed; so much so that they were even about to make Him king, as John says. Therefore Jesus went away to avoid the suspicion of Herod the tyrant.

*The four universal virtues: courage, prudence, righteousness, and self-control.

(pg. 134-136)