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Pentecost: The Descent of the Holy Spirit

Protopresbyter Thomas Hopko In the Old Testament, Pentecost was the feast which occurred fifty days after Passover. As the passover feast celebrated the exodus of the Israelites from the slavery of Egypt, so Pentecost celebrated God’s gift of the ten commandments to Moses on Mount Sinai. In the new covenant of the Messiah, the Passover event takes on its new meaning as the celebration of Christ’s death and resurrection, the “exodus” of men from this

Christos Anesti! Christ is Risen! The Sixth Monday of Pascha: Holy Pascha: The Blast of a Trumpet

By Father Lawrence Farley From the prophecies of Isaiah: “It will come about also in that day that a great trumpet will be blown, and those who were perishing in the land of Assyria and who were scattered in the land of Egypt will come and worship the Lord in the holy mountain at Jerusalem” (Isaiah 27:13).  The prophet here surveys the world around him, and sees how the people of God were languishing in

Venerable Macarius the Great of Egypt

Saint Macarius the Great of Egypt was born around 331 in the village of Ptinapor in Egypt. At the wish of his parents he entered into marriage, but was soon widowed. After he buried his wife, Macarius told himself, “Take heed, Macarius, and have care for your soul. It is fitting that you forsake worldly life.” The Lord rewarded the saint with a long life, but from that time the memory of death was constantly

Eleventh Day of Christmas Advent, Great Martyr Catherine of Alexandria

The Holy Great Martyr Catherine was the daughter of Constus, the governor of Alexandrian Egypt during the reign of the emperor Maximian (305-313). Living in the capital, the center of Hellenistic knowledge, and possessed of a rare beauty and intellect, Catherine received an excellent education, studying the works of the greatest philosophers and teachers of antiquity. Young men from the most worthy families of the empire sought the hand of the beautiful Catherine, but she

Fifth Day of Christmas Advent, Meditation: Why Did He Come? (Part I)

Prayer Lord Jesus, You have come so many times to us and found no resting place, forgive us for our overcrowded lives, our vain haste and our preoccupation with self. Come again, O Lord, and though our hearts are a jumble of voices, and our minds overlaid with many fears, find a place however humble, where You can begin to work Your wonder as you create peace and joy within us. If in some hidden

The Desert Fathers and Mothers

The men and women who fled to the desert emphasized lifestyle practice, an alternative to empire and its economy, psychologically astute methods of prayer, and a very simple (some would say naïve) spirituality of transformation into Christ. The desert communities grew out of informal gatherings of monastic monks, functioning much like families. A good number also became hermits to mine the deep mystery of their inner experience. This movement paralleled the monastic pattern in Hinduism

The Fifth Friday after Pascha, Christos Anesti! Christ is Risen! How Do We Pray the Psalms?

By Jim Wellington How do we pray the Psalms? We should surely take our lead from the Holy Fathers of the Early Church and learn from their wisdom. Whilst researching the origins of the Jesus Prayer, I came across some fascinating insights in psalm-commentaries accredited to Fathers of the third, fourth and fifth centuries. These insights and the understanding of the Psalms which they promote, would have been available to the earliest monks and nuns

The Lord’s Prayer (Part VII)

There is a difference between God the king, perceived in the land of Egypt, or in the scorching wilderness, and in the new situation of the Promised Land. First, his will would prevail anyhow, whatever resistance one opposed to it would be broken: obedience means subjection. Secondly, a gradual training shows that this king is not an overlord, a slave driver, but a king of goodwill, and that obedience to him transforms all; that we

The Lord’s Prayer (Part V)

Exodus is a complex image in terms of the Lord’s Prayer; in the beatitudes we find the same progression: ‘Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled’, ‘Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy’. First a simple bodily hunger and thirst, a deprivation of all possessions, which were a gift of corruption, a gift of the earth from the overlord, a stamp of slavery, and then

The Lord’s Prayer (Part IV)

To be able to say the first sentence that we have discussed – ‘Deliver us from the evil one’ – requires such a reassessment of values and such a new attitude that we can hardly begin to say it otherwise than in a cry, which is as yet unsubstantiated by an inner change in us. We feel a longing which is not yet capable of achievement; to ask God to protect us in the trial