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Monday before the Feast of Holy Pentecost

Introduction The Feast of Holy Pentecost is celebrated each year on the fiftieth day after the Great and Holy Feast of Pascha (Easter) and ten days after the Feast of the Ascension of Christ. The Feast is always celebrated on a Sunday. The Feast commemorates the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles on the day of Pentecost, a feast of the Jewish tradition. It also celebrates the establishment of the Church through the

Sixth Wednesday after Pascha: ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ ΑΝΕΣΤΗ! CHRIST IS RISEN!

Ascension: The Event Between Events, by Father Vladimir Berzonsky “Thou hast ascended in glory bringing joy to Thy disciples with the promise of the HolySpirit. O Lord, glory to Thee!” (Exclamation of Holy Ascension Feast) I find it odd that the great and joyful feast of Ascension is often not well attended by our faithful. Understandably they are yet not over the euphoria of Pascha. Even forty days is not ample time to greet one’s

Sixth Tuesday after Pascha: ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ ΑΝΕΣΤΗ! CHRIST IS RISEN!

From the Heart: Resting in the Ascension (Part II), by Douglas Cramer It’s Easy to Go Wrong The reading from the Gospel of St. John for the Sunday of the Blind Man (John 9:1-38), the Sunday before Ascension, lay out just how easy it is to get caught in the thickets of bad motivations, of how lost people become by trying to do the right things for the wrong reasons. And of how the solution

THE TWO MEANINGS OF COMMUNION DURING LENT (Part II)

But why then, one may ask, is Communion still distributed during fasting days at the Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts? Does it not contradict the principle enunciated above [see April 15, Part I]? To answer this question, we must now consider the second aspect of the Orthodox understanding of Communion, its meaning as the source and the sustaining power of our spiritual effort. If, as we have just seen, Holy Communion is the fulfillment of

LENT: THE JOURNEY TO PASCHA (Part III)

If we realize [our nominal Christianity], then we may understand why Easter needs and presupposes Lent. For we may then understand that the liturgical traditions of the Church, all its cycles and services, exist, first of all, in order to help us recover the vision and the taste of that new life which we so easily lose and betray, so that we may repent and return to it. How can we love and desire something

STAND UP FOR MARVELOUS: How Orthros Enhances Our Life

Time is our friend, and time is our enemy. This earthly life comprises a string of millions of minutes between birth and death. The uniqueness of the Church is that she pulls our souls out of this string spiritually and psychologically so that we may join in the immortal life of God, who is outside of time. The Divine Liturgy is a repetitive, interactive, spiritual rite through which the life of Christ is transmitted to

Sacred Cosmology in the Christian Tradition (Part III)

The Original Christian World-view: A study of the lives and writings of the great spiritual masters of the First Millennium of the Christian Church — East and West — will show that a sacred cosmology was integral to the Church’s world-view. Salvation, or deification, as the ancient Church and the Orthodox Church of today calls the process of reconciliation with God, was cosmic as well as personal in scope. It included not only human beings

Father Maximos on the Bible, Translations, Tradition and the Church

“Meanings were lost in translation,” I muttered. “That’s what I was just thinking,” Teresa added. “Much distortion sneaked into the Bible though flawed translations.” “It is always a problem with translation,” Fr. Maximos agreed. “That is why many Christians who rely exclusively on the words of the Bible for guidance generated such great diversity of beliefs, interpretations, and, alas, distortions.” “And that is why a rigid and literal adherence to words can lead to all

Father Maximos and the Key Themes of Eastern Orthodox Spirituality

Fr. Maximos went on to say that he was going to speak about the Ecclesia, or the Church, which includes the practices, homilies, and teachings of the holy elders of Christianity throughout the ages, not just the formal organization. He proceeded to state some well-known presuppositions of the Christian faith: that the Bible holds that God created human beings in His own image, that a human being is an icon of God and a reflection