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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

ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ ΑΝΕΣΤΗ! CHRIST IS RISEN! The Fifth Friday of Pascha: Face to Face

By Fr. Stephen Freeman, May 2, 2015  Nothing about the human body is as intimate as the face. We generally think of other aspects of our bodies when we say “intimate,” but it is our face that reveals the most about us. It is the face we seek to watch in order to see what others are thinking, or even who they are. The importance of the face is emphasized repeatedly in the Scriptures. In

ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ ΑΝΕΣΤΗ! CHRIST IS RISEN! The Fifth Monday of Pascha: Stumbling Toward Salvation

By Fr. Stephen Freeman, May 14, 2021  On occasion I have written on topics that seem to scandalize readers, or certainly cause difficulty for many. Some of those topics have been articles on the wrath of God; the radical forgiveness of everyone for everything; the commonality of our life and our salvation; and various posts on giving thanks always for all things (there are others as well). I am not intentionally contrarian – I do

ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ ΑΝΕΣΤΗ! CHRIST IS RISEN! The Fourth Friday of Pascha: Getting Your Mind Right

By Fr. Stephen Freeman, April 19, 2016  In the classic movie, Cool Hand Luke (1967), the lead character struggles in a Deep South prison chain-gang setting. Very cool towards authority, he is finally, at the Warden’s direction, beaten by the guards. There is a memorable bit of dialog: Luke (lying in a grave he’s been forced to dig): Oh God! Oh God! I pray to God you don’t hit me anymore. I’ll do anything you say, but

ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ ΑΝΕΣΤΗ! CHRIST IS RISEN! The Third Friday of Pascha: Can You Forgive Someone Else’s Enemies?

By Fr. Stephen Freeman, February 25, 2020  I have written from time to time about the concept expressed in Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov, “Forgive everyone for everything.” It is a quote taken from the fictional Elder Zosima, but it is certainly a sentiment well within the bounds of Orthodox Christian thought. I have been challenged from time to time by people arguing that we cannot forgive those who have not sinned against us – that this right

ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ ΑΝΕΣΤΗ! CHRIST IS RISEN! The Third Monday of Pascha: When Death Dies

By Fr. Stephen Freeman, February 22, 2022  Christianity is not reconciliation with death. It is the revelation of death, and it reveals death because it is the revelation of Life. Christ is this Life. And only if Christ is Life is death what Christianity proclaims it to be, namely the enemy to be destroyed, and not a “mystery” to be explained. Religion and secularism, by explaining death, give it a “status,” a rationale, make it

ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ ΑΝΕΣΤΗ! CHRIST IS RISEN! The Second Monday of Pascha: Bookends and the Resurrection

By Fr. Stephen Freeman, April 12, 2018 A series of recent conversations with a parishioner turned up the problem of “bookends,” that is, questions of the beginning and the end. It is only natural in our day and age to attack problems in this manner. “How did it start?” is a way of saying, “What is it?” The end, of course, is not so obvious, other than its connection with our insatiable desire to know how

The Sixth Friday of Great Lent: Hopko on the Cross of Christ

By Fr. Stephen Freeman, July 30, 2019  An excerpt from a commencement address at St. Vladimir’s Seminary in 2007, given by Fr. Thomas Hopko. It is deeply worthy of conversation. I first posted this back in June, 2007, when it was “new.” That which is true is always new and timeless.  …I can tell you that being loved by God, and loving Him in return, is the greatest joy given to creatures, and that without

The Sixth Monday of Great Lent: The Perpetual Catechumen

By Fr. Stephen Freeman, September 6, 2021  It should not surprise us to learn that we are often creatures of the culture in which we live. We understand this, particularly when we travel and encounter people whose culture differs profoundly from our own. What seems obvious to us, might seem obscure to them. What we eat, how we shop, what counts as polite, what is rude, all of these are shaped by culture. In truth,

The Fifth Friday of Great Lent: St. Mary of Egypt and Moral Progress

By Fr. Stephen Freeman, January 11, 2015  The suggestion has been made several times recently that my criticism of moral progress is not supported by the example of the saints. Surely, it is said, the transformations we read about in the lives of the saints are clear examples of moral progress. A noted such example, perhaps the greatest story of repentance and asceticism known in the Church, is that of St. Mary of Egypt. It is worth