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The Second Day of Christmas. The Synaxis of the Theotokos

On the second day of the feast, the Synaxis of the Most Holy Theotokos is celebrated. Combining the hymns of the Nativity with those celebrating the Mother of God, the Church points to Mary as the one through whom the Incarnation was made possible. His humanity—concretely and historically—is the humanity He received from Mary. His body is, first of all, her body. His life is her life. This feast, the assembly in honor of the

The Thirty-Ninth Day of Christmas Advent: On the Feast of the Nativity

Sermon preached by Fr. Antony Hughes for the Feast of the Nativity of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ on Thursday, December 24, 2015. Listening to the hymns of the Vesperal Liturgy, the Royal Hours, and of Matins today, I was struck by some extremely beautiful things, which spoke of the openness of God towards his creation; of his love and compassion for all his creation, for the entire universe, is wrapped up in the

The Thirty-Ninth Day of Christmas Advent: Celebrating Christ’s Nativity

By Fr John Breck, December 2, 2006 With the hyper-commercialization of Christmas in American culture, it’s important for us to step away from the noise and tinsel, in order to hear once again what Orthodox Christian tradition tells us about the real significance of this feast. This takes us back first of all to the Nativity stories of the Gospels. To interpret those stories, though, we need to turn as well to the ancient liturgical

The Thirty-Seventh Day of Christmas Advent: Incarnation to Parousia

By Fr John Breck, December 2, 2009 Celebration of Christmas, the Nativity of our Lord, invites us to look in a fresh way at the intimate relation that exists between the Incarnation of Christ and his “Second Coming” in glory. Too often Nativity is taken as a feast in and of itself, a family festival so deformed by the season’s commercial pressures that two of its major emphases, cosmic and eschatological, become lost in a

The Thirtieth Day of Christmas Advent: Light into Darkness

By Fr John Breck, December 2, 2005 The best way to prepare for a feast, I find, is to spend some time looking at and praying before the festal icons. Nativity offers a broad array of sacred images that spell out graphically the biblical Word of the incarnation, the coming of the eternal God in the person of a little child. One of the most striking aspects of those images is the way they blend

The Eighteenth Day of Christmas Advent: Blood Brothers of the Incarnation

By Fr. Stephen Freeman, August 8, 2016  My childhood in the 1950’s had the innocence of the time, fed by stories of our elders and the clumsy movies. We played soldiers (everyone’s father had been in the Second World War) and “Cowboys and Indians.” Despite the clear bias of the movies and the slanted propaganda that passed for history, almost everyone wanted to be an Indian. Cowboys never seemed terribly romantic, while the Indians clearly

The Fourteenth Day of Christmas Advent. Eternal God: A Little Child

By Fr John Breck, December 1, 2007 Thanksgiving is over and we are moving toward what one of our wise and dedicated priests refers to as “Getmas.” He is as frustrated and dismayed at what exuberant commercialism and American popular religion have done to Christmas as I am with the relentless efforts to transform our national feast of Thanksgiving into “Turkey Day.” These campaigns are insidious and they’ve been highly effective: God—the true God who

Driving by Faith

By Fr. Stephen Freeman, September 8, 2016  Several years ago my wife and I had the pleasure of visiting England. The beginning of the trip was terrifying – we had decided to rent a car. Our modest little Fiat fit well among the many toy cars that fill British highways. But there was a problem. Everything on English roads is backwards. You sit on the wrong side of the car; you drive on the wrong

The Dormition

Sermon preached by Fr. Antony Hughes on Sunday, August 15, 2021. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, One God Amen. Glory to Jesus Christ. The scripture readings today are extremely significant and apropos to the day. Saint Paul’s talking about self-emptying: the Kenosis of Jesus Christ, who came to the world, giving up all His divine prerogative to become one of us and save us in

Holy Transfiguration. The Scandal of the Transfiguration

By Fr. Stephen Freeman, August 5, 2019  My Archbishop (Alexander Golitzin) shares the story of a young man whom he taught some years ago. He was Orthodox from Estonia. He grew up in the Soviet era and had come to hate all things Russian, including the Orthodox Church. Nevertheless, he saw an Orthodox procession in the streets of his city one year, a procession that included the Russian bishop (whom he also hated and believed