The Twenty-Third Day of Christmas Advent: The Eternal Mystery

By Fr John Breck, December 2, 2004 I’m sorry this column can’t be accompanied by sound. One of the most precious components of Orthodox Christianity, perhaps especially in the Russian tradition, is its store of melodies to liturgical hymns that are heartbreakingly beautiful. I just came across a fine example, tucked away in the iTunes folder of this laptop. It’s a contemporary variant of a hymn sung normally at Annunciation, composed by Fr Paul Jannakos.

The Twenty-Second Day of Christmas Advent: The Real Santa Claus – Saint Nicholas, Bishop of Myra

By Fr. Luke A. Veronis, December 19, 2021 Sinter Klaas, the Dutch name that we Americans transliterated into Santa Claus, obviously refers to Saint Nicholas, one of the most beloved of all saints throughout the world, and whose memory is actually celebrated today on December 6th/19th. Travel across Europe and you can literally find thousands of churches named in honor of St. Nicholas. Greece and Russia look upon St. Nicholas as the patron of their

The Eighteenth Day of Christmas Advent: Blood Brothers of the Incarnation

By Fr. Stephen Freeman, August 8, 2016  My childhood in the 1950’s had the innocence of the time, fed by stories of our elders and the clumsy movies. We played soldiers (everyone’s father had been in the Second World War) and “Cowboys and Indians.” Despite the clear bias of the movies and the slanted propaganda that passed for history, almost everyone wanted to be an Indian. Cowboys never seemed terribly romantic, while the Indians clearly

The Seventeenth Day of Christmas Advent: Saint Filaretos the Charitable (1 December)

Published by Pemptousia Partnership, December 1, 2017 Saint Filaretos was a fine example of virtue, especially that of performing good works. He lived at the time of Emperor Konstantinos Porfyroyennitos (Constantine Porphyrogenitus) and his mother, Eirini of Attica (joint reign 780-797). Filaretos was born in the village of Amnia in Gangra, Paphlagonia of devout parents. He married a woman called Theosevo and the couple had three children. He was a farmer and from his income gave

The Fifteenth Day of Christmas Advent: Metropolitan Athanasios of Lemessos: Christmas’ Deeper Meaning (Part I)

Published by Pemptousia, December 6, 2014 By Metropolitan Athanasios of Lemessos Every time we stand before the Lord either in prayer or in celebration in Church of an event from the life of Christ, or we are in any other way experiencing the presence of the Lord, two basic things happen, which are attested by the Church and the experience of the Saints: Firstly, we are feeling joy because we are experiencing the Lord’s abundant

The Fourteenth Day of Christmas Advent. Eternal God: A Little Child

By Fr John Breck, December 1, 2007 Thanksgiving is over and we are moving toward what one of our wise and dedicated priests refers to as “Getmas.” He is as frustrated and dismayed at what exuberant commercialism and American popular religion have done to Christmas as I am with the relentless efforts to transform our national feast of Thanksgiving into “Turkey Day.” These campaigns are insidious and they’ve been highly effective: God—the true God who

The Eleventh Day of Christmas Advent. Feast of the Holy Great Martyr and Most Wise Katherine of Alexandria

November 25 Katherine was the daughter of Cestus, a wealthy patrician of Alexandria, the capital of Egypt and metropolis of the arts and sciences. She was widely admired not only for her noble birth but also for the exceeding beauty and intelligence that God had given her. Taught by the best masters and most illustrious philosophers, she learnt while still a girl to follow complex lines of argument and obtained a perfect understanding of the

The Tenth Day of Christmas Advent: Thanksgiving

By Fr. Stephen Freeman, November 24, 2009 This year I will make the annual pilgrimage back to South Carolina to be with family for the (American) Thanksgiving holiday. Fewer of my children will be there – a mark of the maturing of their own families and the difficulty of travel at this time of year. The year is different as well for it will be the first Thanksgiving holiday without my mother’s presence (may her

The Ninth Day of Christmas Advent: Incarnate Love

By Fr John Breck, December 1, 2003 In this season of Christ’s Nativity, the title of Vigen Guroian’s fine collection of essays on ethical issues [Incarnate Love, University of Notre Dame Press, first ed. 1988] comes back to me with special poignancy. For the past several years I’ve spent a couple of weeks each spring in Romania, visiting theological faculties, monasteries and parish churches. I just returned from my first fall visit, with most of

The Eighth Day of Christmas Advent: The Elder of love, forgiveness and discernment

Published by Pemptousia Partnership, November 22, 2016 Elder Iakovos Tsalikis (5/11/1920-21/11/1991) By Alexandros Christodoulou Our age and today’s culture has, unfortunately moved away from the vision and pursuit of sanctity. The Orthodox faith is based on the presence of the saints. Without these, our Church is on the path towards secularization. Naturally, as we know from Scripture, God alone is holy, and sanctity derives from our relationship with Him, and therefore sanctity is theocentric rather