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Why the Orthodox Honor Mary (Part I)

By Father Stephen Freeman Today (August 1) marks the beginning of the Fast of the Dormition, the annual preparation for the feast of the Falling Asleep of the Virgin Mary. I offer this article as reflection. The most difficult part of my Orthodox experience to discuss with the non-Orthodox is the place and role of the Mother of God in the Church and in my life. It is, on the one hand, deeply theological and

Mere Morality

By Father Stephen Freeman What makes an action moral? I use the word to describe something done in an effort to conform to a rule, a law, or a principle. It is a matter of the will and a matter of effort. All societies require some form of moral behavior. If there were no such behavior, life would be unpredictable, unstable, and quite dangerous. Governments encourage some form of morality (it is the sole purpose

Embodiment

While Paul’s writing includes philosophical and poetic passages, it’s not esoteric. Paul’s teaching is incarnational. He sees that the Gospel message must have concrete embodiment. Concrete embodiment is Jesus’ idea of church, too. Jesus’ first vision of church is “two or three gathered in my name” (Matthew 18:20). This is why he insists that the message be communicated not by the lone evangelist but sent the Twelve out “two by two” (Mark 6:7). The individual

Wednesday of the 4th Week of Pascha-Feast of Mid-Pentecost. Let God Arise, and the Story of a Dear Friend Named Eva

Let God arise, let His enemies be scattered; let those who hate Him flee before Him! As smoke is driven away, so drive them away; as wax melts before fire, let the wicked perish before God! But let the righteous be joyful! Psalm 68: 1-3 This is the day which the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24 (Verses sung with the Paschal Hymn “Christ is Risen” during Bright

A Layman in the Desert (Preface, Part III)

When we see life in the world as amounting to a series of responsibilities that get in the way of real Christian life, then a spiritual break-down becomes virtually inevitable. If we think we are being saved only in those times that we can get away from work, family, society and the like, then we will find our faith is slowly extinguished by the demands of those things upon us, or marked by continuous despair,

A Layman in the Desert (Preface, Part I)

A few years ago I was challenged by a critique of Orthodox Christianity leveled by a close friend who was in the process of leaving the Church. “When you face facts,” he said, “you realize that if you really want to live the Orthodox life in its fullness, you have to become a monk.” As much as I wished to offer a counter- point, I found myself unable. In fact, I even grudgingly agreed with

Prayer for Universal Salvation (Part I)

It is out of respect for our freedom that God allows evil to exist; it has already been conquered, but secretly, because the Holy Spirit wishes to regenerate us from within, by a free and faithful response, without compulsion. What matters in the history of the Church is her holiness, her awareness, in a world that is utterly free, that Christ has conquered death once and for all, and that his victory is always present

Mary the Contemplative (Part II)

MARY – THE PERFECT CHRISTIAN I would like to avoid such an approach and begin by basing our deeper devotion to Mary on the fact that God has given her to us as a realized type of the perfect Christian. Mary, in her continued process of growing into a greater fullness of grace, even in her glorified relationship to Jesus Christ, to the members of His Body, the Church, and to the whole created universe,

Divinization

If we could glimpse the panoramic view of the biblical revelation and the Big Picture that we’re a part of, we’d see how God is forever evolving human consciousness, making us ever more ready for God. The Jewish prophets and many Catholic and Sufi mystics used words like espousal, marriage, or bride and groom to describe this phenomenon. That’s what the prophet Isaiah (61:10, 62:5), many of the Psalms, the school of Paul (Ephesians 5:25-32),

The Ascension and the Glorification of Man (Part II)

By Father Lawrence Farley The Church has always proclaimed that Man’s ultimate glory and destiny find fulfillment in Jesus. He is the Son of Man to whom God subjects all things, putting them under His feet. He is the One whom God crowned with glory and honour (see Heb. 2:6-9), the true and representative Man ruling over all creation. And the moment of this crowning, this final and supreme exaltation, was the Ascension. That is