To Live the Question (Part II)

To Live the Question (Part II) His own personal experience taught Merton that solitude not only deepens our affection for others but also is the place where real community becomes possible. Although Merton himself lived as a monk first in a monastic community and later in a hermitage, it is clear from this and other writings that what really counts for him is not the physical solitude but the solitude of the heart. Without the


The Orthodox doctrine of theosis, according to John Paul II, is perhaps the greatest gift of the Eastern Church to the West, but one that has largely been ignored or even denied. [1] The Eastern fathers of the Church believed that we could experience real and transformative union with God. This is in fact the supreme goal of human life and the very meaning of salvation–not only later, but now and later. Theosis refers to

Keeping our Faces in a Facebook World (Part II)

By Father Lawrence Farley  The truth is that real communication and authentic communion with another always involves face to face encounter—that is why there is so much hugging at airports when people are physically reunited after being separated for a time.  Did those people who greet each other at the airport not keep in touch by Facebook while they were gone?  Did they not phone each other?  Did they not exchange e-mails?  I’ll bet they

The Seventh Monday after Pascha: Saint Silouan the Athonite and His Relevance Today, Part III

By Harry Boosalis The broad appeal of the writings of Saint Silouan is based on a combination of other factors as well. The fact that he was uneducated and ‘almost illiterate,’ having attended the village school for ‘just two winters,’ attracts many readers because it reinforces the idea that the heights of Orthodox spiritual life are open and accessible to all. It illustrates the truth that one does not need a degree in theology to

The Fifth Thursday after Pascha, Christos Anesti! Christ is Risen! On India and Buddhism—Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew (Part II)

Conversations with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew by Olivier Clement Everything, the patriarch adds, centers on the concept of the “person.” According to Buddhism, the person does not exist. The Christian, however, affirms the existence of the person. But Orthodoxy does not identify the person with the individual, with the “individual substance of a rational nature,” as Boethius awkwardly stated in the Latin world. This would mean that the person is nothing more than a mask, which

Saint Mary of Egypt and Zosimas the Priest (Part III)

The Story of Mary and Zosimas Together ~ Professor Susan Ashbrook Harvey, Ph. D., Brown University And so we come to the Story of Mary and Zosimas together. It is above all a story of giving gifts to one another. From the moment they met, their lives were found to be reversed. Mary, the sinful woman, became teacher and giver of grace; Zosimas, the venerable priest and monk, became disciple and suppliant. When Zosimas first


The Akathist Hymn is a service full of poetry and theology in praise of the Mother of God, the Theotokos. Thus today’s Gospel reading takes us back to Christmas, to the good news that was given to the Theotokos that she would bare God in her womb and become His mother. This is another feast we celebrate every Lent, on the 25th March, the Annunciation. But why do we sing this Akathist Hymn, this song to

55 Maxims for Weekly Meditation, by Father Thomas Hopko

SUNDAY 1. Be always with Christ and trust God in everything 2. Pray as you can, not as you think you must 3. Have a keepable rule of prayer done by discipline 4. Say the Lord’s Prayer several times each day 5. Repeat a short prayer when your mind is not occupied 6. Make some prostrations when you pray 7. Eat good foods in moderation and fast on fasting days MONDAY 8. Practice silence, inner

The Destiny of Eros: The Nuptial Way (Part II)

Marriage is chaste because it integrates the erotic relationship of the two persons into their communion within the Church; as their mutual love is expressed through their complementary natures, each gives the other to the world. For nine centuries there was no distinctive rite of marriage for Christians. The couple would marry, then go together to communion. For a man and a woman whose life is rooted in Christ, their love is something they have

The Essence of Prayer (III)

The Wise Men travelled a long way and nobody knows the difficulties they had to overcome. Each of us also travels as they did. They were loaded with gifts, gold for the king, frankincense for the God, myrrh for the man who was to suffer death. Where can we get gold, frankincense and myrrh, we who are indebted for everything to God? We know that everything we possess has been given us by God and