The Twenty-Ninth Day of Christmas Advent. Christmas Time

By Father Stephen Freeman The feast of the Nativity of Our Lord, God and Savior, Jesus Christ, draws near and the anxiety of the world increases. There are those who worry that the feast is surrounded by too much commercialism. Others fear that religion will once again invade their safely guarded secular spaces. These are only the most vocalized anxieties – busyness consumes our lives. I think of the words from the Dr. Seuss character,

The Twenty-Eighth Day of Christmas Advent. Feast Day of Saint Spyridon

By Fr. George Poulos In the holiest shrine on the island of Kerkyra (Corfu), just off the western coast of Greece, rest the Holy Relics of St Spyridon, which after sixteen centuries, are still in such a remarkable state of preservation that every year he is carried in solemn triumph through the streets on the occasion of his feast day. St Spyridon’s place in the holy company of saints would be assured and his prominence

The Twenty-Seventh Day of Christmas Advent. The Fire of Christmas

By Father Stephen Freeman As a child of the South, accustomed to the tones and the tales of my region, I was well aware of the “fires of hell”. Roadside signs proclaimed the eternal destiny of those who were not saved. I have discovered in later years, that many adult Christians remain committed to the most literal possible version of the fires of hell and will argue as though heaven itself depended on the burning

The Twenty-Fourth Day of Christmas Advent. The Morality of Christmas

By Father Stephen Freeman Morality is tricky business in what is an extremely moral society. I pray my readers to be patient with me as I explain what I think is the problem. First, I will note that morality is all that is left when the most fundamental grounds of a culture have been destroyed. We indeed live in just such a time, hence the rise of a vehemence in the moral life. Second, I will suggest

The Twenty-Third Day of Christmas Advent. Ho, Ho, Holiness in the Simplicity and Purity of God (Part II)

By Fr. Stelyios Muksuris Every year it seems the feast of our Lord’s Nativity in the flesh becomes more and more secularized. Atheists would advocate a humanistic approach to the festival of lights, seeking to “demythologize” the festival by stripping it of its Christocentric character. Christmas, they would claim, is about the magnanimity of the human spirit to transcend the fallen world by loving others and graciously giving to them. Any notion of a miraculous

The Twenty-Second Day of Christmas Advent. Celebrating St. Nicholas: When Santa Went to Jail

By Andrew Estocin The Nativity Fast has begun and Christmas is just around the corner. Trees are soon to be decorated. Children around the world will make lists, check them twice and anxiously await the arrival of Santa Claus. However, parents beware! Jolly old St. Nick served time in prison. I’m not kidding! The man who slides down your chimney with a bag full of presents went to jail for assault. Should parents be concerned?

The Twenty-First Day of Christmas Advent. Ho, Ho, Holiness in the Simplicity and Purity of God (Part I)

By Fr. Stelyios Muksuris “THINK of shepherds who are made wise, think of priests who teach, of women who are delighted, when Gabriel teaches Mary joy, when Elisabeth has inside her own womb John kicking. Anna spreads the good news, Symeon opens his arms worshiping the great God inside a little infant, without despising what they see, but glorifying the greatness of His deity. His deity is revealed like light through hymens of glass, through

The Twentieth Day of Christmas Advent. Feast Day of Saint Barbara

During the rule of Maximius, in the year 290 AD, the governor in the Anatolian city of Heliopolis was Dioscuros. He was a wealthy man who was originally from the nearby village of Galassos. He had only one child, a very beautiful girl named Barbara. Her parents were extremely proud of her, not only because of her beauty, but of her virtuosity as well. To protect her, her parents erected a fortress in which they

The Seventeenth Day of Christmas Advent. I’ll Be Small for Christmas

By Father Stephen Freeman Children today are raised with dreams of greatness. Cultural affirmations of our limitless potential, well-intentioned, have not produced a generation of over-achievers, but have indeed brought forth hordes of great dreams. This is nothing new in American culture. We are the world’s longest sustained pep-talk. Ronald Reagan loved to quote the 1945 Johnny Mercer hit: You’ve got to accentuate the positive Eliminate the negative Latch on to the affirmative Don’t mess

The Sixteenth Day of Christmas Advent. Saint Andrew the First-Called Apostle

By Fr. Andrew Kishler Few saints are as prominent in our Eastern Orthodox tradition as St. Andrew the Apostle. Various early traditions recount his missionary travels throughout Eastern Europe: what is now Greece, Romania, Ukraine, and Russia. Our “first among equals,” the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, is known as the successor of St. Andrew. Indeed, St. Andrew is dear to the hearts and minds of many Orthodox Christians worldwide. But before he became the patron