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ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ ΑΝΕΣΤΗ! CHRIST IS RISEN! The Sixth Monday of Pascha: Shadows, Icons, and the Age to Come

By Fr. Stephen Freeman, April 6, 2022  What will heaven be like? It is not an unusual question. Sometimes it is asked with all the freshness of a child, other times with the anxiety of the old. It is not a question that admits of easy answers, nor a question for which language is sufficient. The cynic says, “Nobody knows.” That attitude falls short of the fullness of human experience. There are stories. There are

The Walls of Paradise – and the Fire of God

By Fr. Stephen Freeman, December 14, 2020  I love walls. Perhaps the most charming aspect of medieval cities are their use of walls. Some surrounded the city and served as protection. Others surrounded smaller areas and prevented easy access and egress (perhaps understandable in a world with lots of animals present). There were other walls that signaled “higher” boundaries. In a medieval world, the “order” of things was thought important: kings and commoners, high-born and

The Twenty-Fourth Day of Christmas Advent. What a Caveman Said: To Perceive That Which Is Eternal

Fr. Stephen Freeman, October 27, 2020 Fr. Alexander Schmemann described “secularism” as the greatest heresy of our time. He didn’t describe it as a political movement, nor a threat from the world outside Christianity. Rather, he described it as a “heresy,” that is, a false teaching from within the Christian faith. What is secularism? Secularism is the belief that the world exists independent of God, that its meaning and use are defined by human beings.

The Seventeenth Day of Christmas Advent: You Are Not Alone – And Neither Is God

By Fr. Stephen Freeman, November 16, 2021 I consider it both a strange mystery and a settled matter of the faith that God prefers not to do things alone. Repeatedly, He acts in a manner that involves the actions of others when it would seem, He could have acted alone. Why would God reveal His Word to the world through the agency of men? Why would He bother to use writing? Why not simply communicate

The Fourteenth Day of Christmas Advent: Embracing Indestructible Joy

Sermon preached by Fr. Antony Hughes on Sunday, December 13, 2020  The Parable of the Great Banquet is a call to joy. We are all invited to it. In fact, the Banquet can be seen as a metaphor for the Eucharist, the Great Thanksgiving. Of course, not everyone comes when invited. Still God invites. He calls even those he knows will reject him. The verse “many are called but few are chosen” can be confusing.

The Thirteenth Day of Christmas Advent: Thanksgiving Communion

By Fr. Stephen Freeman, November 29, 2020  Whom should I thank? The question is normally a matter of polite acknowledgement. A gift was given and received. Who gave it? Whom should I thank? It is inherently the nature of giving thanks that thanks must be given to someone. I cannot give thanks to nothing or no one. As such, the giving of thanks is an act of communion on one level or another. Fr. Alexander Schmemann, in

Sacrifice and Worship

By Fr. Stephen Freeman, November 21, 2017  In the 1970’s, the BBC did a series, “The Long Search,” in which Ronald Eyre explored various religions. To my mind, it remains the best such series I’ve seen. When it came to Christianity, the series wisely presented three separate treatments: the Orthodox, the Catholics and Protestants. In its program on Orthodoxy, Eyre traveled to Romania, which was then under the boot of Ceausescu and official “atheism.” The

More than a Religious Rule

Sermon preached by Fr. Antony Hughes on Sunday, September 30, 2018 The Golden Rule is not too hard for us. It is not unnatural or even extraordinary. For those who are created in the image of God, baptized into Christ, and filled with the Holy Spirit, unmitigated compassion and kindness is normal. Every time we act in any way opposite to love we are acting against our own nature. That is what we call sin.

The Sacrifice of Worship

By Fr. Stephen Freeman, May 30, 2017  When God asked Abraham to sacrifice his son, Isaac (Genesis 22), there was no questioning on Abraham’s part about what was intended. He understood precisely what was involved in such a thing. There was wood to be gathered, an altar of stones to be constructed, the victim to be bound, and then the slitting of its throat with the gushing forth of blood, all consummated in the burning

God Within Us

By Fr. Stephen Freeman, July 13, 2020  Popular New Age thought postulates that everyone has a “god within.” It’s a pleasant way of saying that we’re all special while making “god” to be rather banal. But there is a clear teaching of classical Christianity regarding Christ-within-us, and it is essential to the Orthodox way of life. We should not understand our relationship with God to be an “external” matter, as if we were one individual and God