Melito a bishop of Sardis in Asia Minor, wrote this homily on Pascha (Easter) around the year 180. It is of multifaceted interest: Melito was a Quartodeciman, that is, of those mostly Jewish Christians who celebrated Easter on a fixed day, 14 Nissan, the day of Passover; Melito's Jewish background lends the homily special importance as evidence of early Paschal liturgical practice, and its reading of the events of the Jewish Passover and its fulfillment in Christ give us ear to early Christian biblical interpretation; and -- Melito's homily is of a depth and beauty worthy of the Feast.
An Eighth Day View:
The Quartodecimans were early Christians who kept a single feast of Pascha on the Passover, maintaining the tradition derived from Judaism. In this work, Alistair Stewart-Sykes, the leading authority on Melito and the Quartodecimans, presents a unique collection of material in a format ideal for classroom use as well as the general reader.
At the head of this collection stands a new translation of On Pascha by Melito of Sardis, a liturgical work deriving from Quartodeciman circles in Asia. Alongside this is an extensive introduction and annotation pointing out not only the parallels to Jewish practice, but also offering an analysis of the work in terms of classical rhetoric. In addition, the translator has included a selection of Melito's fragments, testimonia to Melito and other material vital for understanding the Quartodeciman liturgies from Rome, Syria and Asia. All texts are translated, described and discussed.