Patience (Part VIII): Patience Is a Trustworthy Guide for Living with Other People

There were two monks living in one place, and a great old man came to visit them with the intention of testing them. He took a stick and began to bang about the vegetables of one of them. Seeing it, the brother hid himself, and when only one shoot was left, he said to the old man, “Abba, if you will, leave it so that I can cook it that we may eat together.” Then

The Human Project

By Father Stephen Freeman “Becoming human” is a baffling phrase. Surely we are simply born as human beings. Of course this is true, but the nature of the modern world allows us to configure our lives in ways that can be described as “less than human.” When we visit a zoo and see a tiger pacing in its cage, we are not seeing a “true” tiger, but a distortion of the animal. Tigers cannot truly be tigers

The Earth Stood Still. The Dormition of Our Most Holy Lady the Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary

By Father Stephen Freeman Orthodox Christians commemorate the death (Dormition) of the Virgin Mary during the month of August (New Calendar, the 15th, Old Calendar, the 28th). For those for whom such feasts are foreign, it is easy to misunderstand what the Orthodox are about – and to assume that this is simply a feast to Mary because we like that sort of thing. Flippant attitudes fail to perceive the depths of the mystery of our salvation.

Friday after Pentecost. “Common” is the Root of “Community”

And fear came upon every soul; and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common; and they sold their possessions and goods and distributed them to all, as any had need. Acts 2:43-45 In the Old Testament, we were introduced to the concept of the tithe, which is that ten percent of everything a person had was given to the temple, in

Faith as Participation

Many scholars over the years have pointed out that what is usually translated in Paul’s letters as “faith in Christ” would be more accurately translated as “the faith of Christ.” It’s more than a change of prepositions. It means we are all participating in the faith journey that Jesus has already walked. We are forever carried inside of the “Corporate Personality” that Jesus always is for Paul (citations too numerous to count!). That’s a very

The Twenty-Ninth Day of Christmas Advent. The Glory of the Lord

And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shown around them, and they were filled with fear. -Luke 2:9 Have you ever thought about the word glory? Have you ever wondered what “the glory of the Lord” might look like? In Exodus 33: 18-23, God shows His glory to Moses: Moses said, “I pray Thee, show me Thy glory.” And He [God] said, “I will make all my

Prayer for Universal Salvation (Part II)

It is true, as we have said, that the Church condemned Origenism, the certainty that all people, even the fallen angels, will ultimately be reconciled in a ‘universal restitution’, an apocatastasis of both nature and persons. Such a conviction actually conflicts with the stern warnings uttered by Christ in the first three Gospels, and belittles the irreducible mystery of our freedom; in asserting that evil will eventually die of exhaustion, because God alone is infinite,

Contemplation as a Path of Healing (Part I)

Contemplation as a Path of Healing A person can’t be healed within simply through discipline. Dealing with thoughts, along with concrete exercises, helps to calm the passions and make the soul healthy. But it takes contemplation to actually achieve that health. That was the monks’ experience, and that is how Evagrius Ponticus described it. Contemplation is pure prayer, prayer without respite, praying beyond thoughts and feelings, praying as oneness with God. Evagrius never tires of

Let Us Discern Between the Living and the Dead

Today, many historical forms of Christianity are dead or dying. Trying to preserve them through blind conservatism can lead only to the creation of malicious and distrustful ghettos which idolize formalism, or to “fascist” adventures that lead nowhere. On the contrary, we must trust in the “newness of the Spirit,” who will transform this death into resurrection. New approaches are already developing, approaches which rediscover and develop the deepest intuitions of thinkers such as Gregory

Christos Anesti! Christ is Risen! The Fourth Thursday of Pascha: The Descent of Jesus into Hades (Part III)

By Father Thomas Hopko Even on the Russian Orthodox crosses, by the way, there is a little inscription at the foot of Jesus’ feet on the cross, in four Slavonic letters, M, L, R, and B, in Slavonic, which translated means, “The place of the skull (or Golgotha) has become Paradise.” So the bosom of Abraham had to be transformed into Paradise, into a living reality again, with interrelationship with all of creation—the sun, the