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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 Third Day of Christmas Advent: Are the Stories of Jesus’ Birth True?

By Fr John Breck, January 1, 2005 The Christmas season inevitably leads people in the media to speculate on whether or not the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ conception and birth are historically accurate. The question they raise in the public mind is whether these cherished stories are really “true.” A good, well-balanced example of this kind of reflection appeared in the December 13, 2004 edition of Newsweek. The article rehearsed a familiar array of parallels

Saint Minas, a Brave Martyr and Confessor

Published by Pemptousia Partnership, November 11, 2017 Saint Minas lived at the time of the Emperor Maximian and was born in Egypt of pagan parents. According to Coptic sources, Minas was born in Egypt in 285 A.D., in the city of Niceous, naear Memphis. His parents were Christians but did not have any children for a long time. His father’s name was Evdoxios and his mother’s Eufimia. On a feast of the Mother of God,

The Despised God

By Fr. Stephen Freeman, January 24, 2017  In On the Orthodox Faith, St. John of Damascus declares: ‘The Son is the image of the Father, and the Spirit the image of the Son’. Such statements are easily read and passed over as among the more obvious Trinitarian statements. I add to this statement another from St. Irenaeus: “That which is invisible of the Son is the Father, and that which is visible of the Father is

Saint Nectarius Kephalas, Metropolitan of Pentapolis

Commemorated on November 9  Saint Nectarius, the great wonderworker of modern times, was born Anastasius Kephalas in Selebria, Thrace on October 1, 1846. Since his family was poor, Anastasius went to Constantinople when he was fourteen in order to find work. Although he had no money, he asked the captain of a boat to take him. The captain told him to take a walk and then come back. Anastasius understood, and sadly walked away. The

Church New Year

Commemorated on September 1 The first day of the Church New Year is also called the beginning of the Indiction. The term Indiction comes from a Latin word meaning, “to impose.” It was originally applied to the imposition of taxes in Egypt. The first worldwide Indiction was in 312 when the Emperor Constantine (May 21) saw a miraculous vision of the Cross in the sky. Before the introduction of the Julian calendar, Rome began the

The Divine Compass

By Fr. Stephen Freeman, July 28, 2016  I was in a small shop yesterday in a coastal town. Among its many knick-knacks were a large variety of compasses. We have become a compass-driven culture today, after a lull in which they were largely passé. Of course, the compass is now a very passive thing, hidden within the workings of the resident GPS system in our phones. There has long been a debate about the presence

Why a Fast for Dormition?

By Daniel Manzuk from The Word, June 2008 It would be a gross understatement to say that much has been written about the Feast of the Dormition of the Theotokos. Yet very little has been written about the fast that precedes it. Every Orthodox Christian is aware and generally knows the reason behind the fasts for Pascha and Christmas. But while they may know of the Dormition Fast, few follow it, and more than a

God and the Fourth of July

By Meir Soloveichik, July 1, 2016 5:18 pm ET On July 4, 1776, after voting to approve the Declaration of Independence, the Continental Congress advanced the following resolution: “That Dr. Franklin, Mr. J. Adams and Mr. Jefferson, be a committee, to bring in a device for a seal for the United States of America.” Of these three founders, two suggested seals that incorporated profoundly biblical images. Franklin, according to his own notes, proposed the following as