The Ninth Day of Christmas Advent: Happy Thanksgiving! Thoughts on Thanksgiving

By Michael Haldas, November 23, 2017 “The chief purpose of life, for any one of us is to increase according to our capacity our knowledge of God by all the means we have, and to be moved by it to praise and thanks.”  (J.R.R. Tolkien) “We must continually nurture the grace of gratitude in our hearts…A state of mind that sees God in everything is evidence of growth in grace and a thankful heart.” (Rev.

The Eighth Day of Christmas Advent: Detach and Follow

Sermon preached by Fr. Antony Hughes on Sunday, September 22, 2019 The Gospel is according to Luke 5:1-11 Notice the way that Christ begins to teach Simon, James, and John the fishermen about the narrow path of self-emptying. He meets their needs and tells them what to do to find the fish that had eluded them all night. It brings Simon (later Peter) to a moment of self-realization. “Depart from me for I am a

The Seventh Day of Christmas Advent: The Entrance into the Temple

Published by Pemptousia Partnership on November 21, 2021 Fr. Alexander Schmemann It seems thousands of years removed from us, but it was not so very long ago that life was marked out by religious feasts. Although everyone went to church, not everyone, of course, knew the exact contents of each celebration. For many, perhaps even the majority, the feast was above all an opportunity to get a good sleep, eat well, drink and relax. And nevertheless, I think

The Sixth Day of Christmas Advent: I Will Go into the Altar of God

By Fr. Stephen Freeman, November 20, 2021  Most of my early Church memories center around Sunday School (I think that we did not “stay for preaching” very often). The small Baptist church that we attended was about a mile from our house and was conveniently connected by a railroad track, generally inactive on Sundays. My older brother and I often walked along the track on Sunday mornings when the weather was pleasant. The earliest Bible

The Third Day of Christmas Advent: The Magi and the Wise Men from the East Lead to Bethlehem

Published by Pemptousia Partnership on December 10, 2021 Sister Parakliti, Holy Skete of Saint Mary Magdalene, in Liti Once again we’ve been given the opportunity to devote a little time to the study of Christ’s Nativity in our life, as we approach Christmas, the great feast of the Lord. We’re given the opportunity to look at how we experience the personal advent of Christ, in our homes, in our monasteries, and wherever else we may be, but particularly

The Second Day of Christmas Advent: St. Matthew the Evangelist

16 November 2017 Any reference to the Apostle St. Matthew, author of the first book of the New Testa­ment, is made with such solemnity and reverence that speaking of him as a man seems almost sacrilegious, so close to the divine is he con­sidered. But when Jesus came upon Matthew, he was a man who could scarcely be viewed with little but contempt by the human eye; the divine sight of Christ, however, saw in

The First Day of Christmas Advent: The Christmas Fast

Published by Pemptousia Partnership on November 16, 2021 Georgios Arabatzoglou Another blessed period of fasting begins, a time of spiritual struggle and an effort to turn our mind to God, each of us with the strength and spiritual ‘nobility’ at our disposal, and, as always, in conjunction with the advice of our spiritual guide. This fast begins on 15 November and lasts until 24 December, while on 25 December, when we celebrate the Nativity of Christ, we have

The Thirty-Ninth Day of Christmas Advent: On the Feast of the Nativity

Sermon preached by Fr. Antony Hughes for the Feast of the Nativity of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ on Thursday, December 24, 2015. Listening to the hymns of the Vesperal Liturgy, the Royal Hours, and of Matins today, I was struck by some extremely beautiful things, which spoke of the openness of God towards his creation; of his love and compassion for all his creation, for the entire universe, is wrapped up in the

The Thirty-Ninth Day of Christmas Advent: Celebrating Christ’s Nativity

By Fr John Breck, December 2, 2006 With the hyper-commercialization of Christmas in American culture, it’s important for us to step away from the noise and tinsel, in order to hear once again what Orthodox Christian tradition tells us about the real significance of this feast. This takes us back first of all to the Nativity stories of the Gospels. To interpret those stories, though, we need to turn as well to the ancient liturgical

The Thirty-Eighth Day of Christmas Advent: St Anastasia the Roman

Published by Pemptousia Partnership, October 29, 2017 Saint Symeon the Translator We find two Anastasias in the Lives of the saints, both of whom were of prominent and famous families and who confessed their faith. Both were daughters of mighty Rome. The first was married against her will by her parents, but never came together with her husband, nor even slept with him, pretending she was ill, though in reality because he was a pagan.