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The Feast Day of Saints Constantine and Helen

Regarding the two accounts handed down to us describing the discovery of the Holy Cross by St. Helen, St. Dimitri of Rostov writes: The various authorities do not agree concerning the details of the miracle whereby the true Cross of Christ was discovered. Some say that it was a dead maiden being brought to burial who was raised by the power of the Cross; others claim that a widow lay ill in her house and

Love One Another

THIS IS MY COMMANDMENT, THAT YOU LOVE ONE ANOTHER AS I HAVE LOVED YOU. —JOHN 15:12 What is love? Take a look at a rose. Is it possible for the rose to say, “I shall offer my fragrance to good people and withhold it from bad people?” Or can you imagine a lamp that withholds its rays from a wicked person who seeks to walk in its light? It could only do that by ceasing

Poverty, Life, Stillness, Solitude

Coming Together in Poverty There are many forms of poverty: economic poverty, physical poverty, emotional poverty, mental poverty, and spiritual poverty. As long as we relate primarily to one another’s wealth, health, stability, intelligence, and strength, we cannot develop true community. Community is not a talent show in which we dazzle the world with our combined gifts. Community is the place where our poverty is acknowledged and accepted, not as something we have to learn

Members of One Another (Part III)

‘My soul longs for the whole world to be saved…. Divine love desires the salvation of all…. The Lord’s is such that He would have all men to be saved…. Our one thought must be that all should be saved…. The merciful Lord sometimes gives the soul peace in God but sometimes makes the heart ache for the whole universe, that all men might repent and enter paradise. According to St Silouan, this burning desire

The Feast Day of Saint Pachomios

Saint Pachomios was born of pagan parents in the Upper Thebaid of Egypt. He was conscripted into the Roman army at an early age. While quartered with the other soldiers in the prison in Thebes, Pachomios was astonished at the kindness shown them by the local Christians, who relieved their distress by bringing them food and drink. Upon inquiring who they were, he believed in Christ and vowed that once delivered from the army, he

Contemplative Prayer

Only contemplative prayer touches the deep unconscious, where all of our real hurts, motivations, and deepest visions lie. Without it, we have what is even worse—religious egoic consciousness, which is even more defensive and offensive than usual! Now it has God on its side and is surely what Jesus means by the unforgivable “sin against the Holy Spirit.” It cannot be forgiven because this small self would never imagine it needs forgiveness. It is smug

Saints Cyril and Methodius

The Feast Day of Saints Cyril and MethodiusEqual-to-the Apostles, Illuminators of the Slavs Cyril and Methodius must have often wondered, as we do today, how God could bring spiritual meaning out of worldly concerns. Every mission they went on, every struggle they fought was a result of political battles, not spiritual, and yet the political battles are forgotten and their work lives on in the Slavic peoples and their literature. Tradition tells us that the

Members of One Another (Part II)

Despite the striking parallels between the Russian novelist and the Athonite monk, it is highly unlikely that St Silouan had ever read Dostoevsky. More probably, the similarities arise because both are shaped by the same living tradition, and both are drawing on the same sources. St Silouan (almost certainly) and Dostoevsky (possibly) have been influenced by a Mesopotamian hermit of the seventh century, St Isaac the Syrian, who writes in a famous passage of his

Become Like Children (Part II)

TRULY, I SAY TO YOU, UNLESS YOU TURN AND BECOME LIKE CHILDREN, YOU WILL NEVER ENTER THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN. —MATTHEW 18:3 Here is another way that grown-ups corrupt the innocence of childhood: They teach the child to imitate someone. The moment you make the child a carbon copy you stamp out the spark of originality with which it came into the world. The moment you choose to become like someone else however great or

Become Like Children (Part I)

TRULY, I SAY TO YOU, UNLESS YOU TURN AND BECOME LIKE CHILDREN, YOU WILL NEVER ENTER THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN. —MATTHEW 18:3 The first quality that strikes one when one looks into the eyes of a child is its innocence: its lovely inability to lie or wear a mask or pretend to be anything other than what it is. In this the child is exactly like the rest of Nature. A dog is a dog;