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Forgiveness for All the Sundays to Come

By Fr. Stephen Freeman, March 10, 2016  I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; (John17:20-21) The Elder Sophrony, together with St. Silouan, wrote about the “whole Adam.” By this, they meant all the human beings who have ever existed and those yet to come. They were, for them, something known in the present tense, a “hypostatic” (the term Sophrony preferred) knowledge of the fundamental

The Sixth Friday of Great Lent: Let’s Get Out of This Place

By Fr. Stephen Freeman, April 11, 2020  The Saturday before Palm Sunday is known as Lazarus Saturday among the Orthodox, and they celebrate Christ raising him from the dead just prior to His entrance into Jerusalem (gospel of John). It is a feast that offers something of a preview of Christ’s resurrection, and a foretaste of the General Resurrection at the End of the Age. Some years back I sat in a cave that is purported to

The Sixth Thursday of Great Lent. Orthodox Pharisees. Why Do You Judge Your Brother?

Orthodox Pharisees The Orthodox Faith is nothing without transformation of life By Abbot Tryphon, March 9, 2020 If our spiritual life is concentrated only on external practices and traditions, but does nothing to bring about real change, we have gained nothing. Too many people think as long as they keep the fasting rules, do their prayers, and attend the services, they are good Orthodox Christians. Yet if there is no love, no charity, and forgiveness

The Sixth Monday of Great Lent: The Mystery of Holy Week and Pascha

By Fr. Stephen Freeman, April 2, 2018  This [coming] weekend, Orthodox Churches [begin] the observation of Holy Week. The services are long and plentiful. In my parish, from Lazarus Saturday to Pascha, there will be somewhere on the order of 40 hours of services. It is a large parish effort. Most of the services have the participation of the full choir. Last night, I had the anxious face of a young server in the altar

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

By 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 looking

The Fifth Thursday of Great Lent. Resisting an Unbelieving World

We must resist this world that has collectively slipped into madness By Abbot Tryphon, January 2, 2020 In this secular society there are many Orthodox individuals who’ve found themselves sharing their lives with non-Orthodox friends and family members. Sometimes these people are not even practicing Christians, so the struggle to keep to the traditions and practices of the Orthodox Faith can be difficult. Even the blessing prayers before each meal can be awkward when other

The Fifth Wednesday of Great Lent: Experiencing Great Lent as a Couple

Rev. Fr. Nicholas Verdaris Orthodox Christians around the world are embarking upon the spiritual journey of Great and Holy Lent, a time that encourages all people to renew, refresh and rediscover their life in Christ. But as this blessed season begins to unfold in earnest, it is important to correct the misconception of the practice and experience of Lent as a lonely or solitary journey. This important clarification applies especially to those in the community

The Fifth Tuesday of Great Lent: Our Journey to God

We must be open to the movement of the Holy Spirit in our lives By Abbot Tryphon, December 24, 2019 The spiritual struggle that is required of us cannot depend on having a spiritual father. Most Orthodox Christians do not have one, and the average parish priest is not equipped, either with the time, nor the inclination, to take on the role of spiritual father to members of his flock. Just carrying the load as

The Fifth Monday of Great Lent: How to Strengthen Your Lenten Prayer Life

By Fr. Stephen Freeman, February 9, 2018  The traditional acts of asceticism associated with Great Lent (and the whole of the Christian life) are prayer, fasting, almsgiving, and repentance. In my experience, Orthodox faithful tend to concentrate on fasting and perhaps making a good confession. If we have weaknesses, they are found in our prayers and almsgiving. These two belong together. Christ said: And I say to you, make friends for yourselves by unrighteous mammon, that

The Fourth Friday of Great Lent: The Ladder of Divine Ascent and Moral Improvement

By Fr. Stephen Freeman, April 4, 2019  The Fourth Sunday of Great Lent in the Orthodox Church, is dedicated to St. John Climacus, the author of the ancient work, The Ladder of Divine Ascent. It is a classic work describing “steps” within the life of the struggling ascetic. There is an icon associated with this work, picturing monastics climbing the rungs of a ladder to heaven, battling demons who are trying to pull them off. However,