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Knowing the Knowledge that Transforms

By Father Stephen Freeman, March 22, 2016 “If only I had known…” These are, not infrequently, the words of an apology. They are also an explanation of why we are sometimes the way we are. Ignorance is, in the mind of the Fathers, a major cause of sin. Of course, if sin is understood in a legal/forensic framework, then ignorance would be nothing more than a form of innocence. Not knowing is excusable in most

The Matter of our Salvation

By Fr. Stephen Freeman, March 18, 2016  Perhaps the most obvious thing for a visitor to an Orthodox Church are the presence and place of icons. They are literally everywhere. Some Churches are covered completely with iconography and no Orthodox Church is ever without them. That Churches are so decorated might not strike someone as unusual. After all, many Catholic Churches, particularly in Europe are highly decorated (think of the Sistine Chapel). But the difference

The Dormition Fast: The Mystery of the Mother of God

By Fr. Stephen Freeman, August 3, 2010 The 15th of August is the Feast of the Dormition of the Mother of God (her death). Orthodox Christians fast for two weeks prior to this great feast and celebrate it with great solemnity. A question was recently placed by a reader about the “perpetual virginity” of Mary. I am offering this small post to address that question and to look at the place of the Most Holy

The Light of Christ and the Transfiguration

By Fr. Stephen Freeman, August 5, 2020  My attention was drawn to the event of the Transfiguration during my college years. It was then that I first read a book on St. Seraphim of Sarov, who himself was transfigured in a famous incident in his conversation with Motivilov. There, on a snowy winter’s day, the saint shown with a brilliant light, and Motivilov felt effused with warmth and joy. It caught my attention in the

The Life of the Cosmos

By Fr. Stephen Freeman, January 15, 2016  What does it mean to be alive? This is a question whose answer would seem so obvious that it is hardly worth asking. And yet. A recent comment drew attention to a different way of thinking about what is “alive.” I will offer some quotes from the comment and then some observations of my own. I give special thanks to Justin. Everything is alive. Everything. We encounter the

From the Beginning – True Authorial Intent

By Fr. Stephen Freeman, January 5, 2016  I read a discussion concerning my earlier article on allegory in which someone identified himself as a writer. He stated that if a reader saw something in his writing that he had not intended, then either he or his reader had failed. His statement is an extreme example of what is called “authorial intent”: what the author intends for the reader to see is indeed what the reader

The Saturday Before the Feast of Pentecost

On the Saturday before Pentecost we commemorate all departed pious Christians, with the idea that the occasion of the coming of the Holy Spirit not only consists of the economy of the salvation of man, but that the departed also participate in this salvation. Therefore, the Holy Church, sending up prayers on Pentecost for the enlivening of all the living through the Holy Spirit, petitions for grace of the Holy Spirit also for the departed,

ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ ΑΝΕΣΤΗ! CHRIST IS RISEN! The Second Thursday of Pascha: Theosis

Christ’s resurrection paves the way for transformation Abbot Tryphon, December 23, 2016 The fact that we Orthodox do not accept the doctrine of original sin as espoused in the West, does in no way suggest that we do not need to be born again (born anew). We believe, as did the Early Church Fathers, that we inherit only the results of Adams sin, not his guilt. This is known as ancestral sin because the sin

ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ ΑΝΕΣΤΗ! CHRIST IS RISEN! Bright Thursday. The Power of the Resurrection.

The Power of the Resurrection Christ’s resurrection becomes our resurrection By Abbot Tryphon, April 11, 2018 Orthodox do not accept the Doctrine of Original Sin as espoused in the West, but teach, as did the Early Church Fathers, that we inherit only the results of Adams sin, not his guilt. This is known as Ancestral Sin because the sin of our first parents, Adam and Eve, resulted in our having inherited death, sickness and an

The Fourth Thursday of Great Lent: Salvation

More than acquittal and justification By Abbot Tryphon, December 12, 2019 Salvation cannot be explained in legalistic terms of acquittal and justification, for salvation is much more than simply being forgiven and getting into heaven. The close tie between faith and works, when it comes to the Orthodox view of salvation, is not about being “saved” by our works, for this is impossible. Works do not save us, but when placed in the context of