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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

Before the Judgment Seat of Christ

By Fr. Stephen Freeman, August 23, 2017  For a Christian ending to our life: painless, unashamed, and peaceful; and a good defense before the dread judgment seat of Christ, let us ask of the Lord. From my childhood, I have memories of the phrase, “Great White Throne of Judgment.” It comes complete with an abundance of frightening images and threats. It is the last possible moment before all hell breaks loose and the preachers at

The Thirty-Fifth Day of Christmas Advent: The Eternal Gift of Union

Sermon preached by Fr. Antony Hughes on Sunday, December 20, 2020 Here we are only a few days until Christmas. While we will be giving and receiving gifts, let’s take a moment to reflect on the greatest gift we have been given – the gift of union with God. I love the reading of the Genealogy. It reminds me of the poignant scene in Matthew’s Gospel where Jesus laments over Jerusalem. “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who

The Twenty-First Day of Christmas Advent: Our Holy Father Savvas the Sanctified

Our Holy Father Sabbas the Sanctified (pronounced “Sava”) was born in 439 A.D. of pious and wealthy parents, John and Sofia, in the village Moutalaske of Cappadocia.  His father was an officer, was forced to leave for Alexandria with his wife Sofia and thus entrusted the upbringing of the five-year-old Sabbas to Ermias, his brother-in-law, on his wife’s side. A few years later, Sabbas, who was dissatisfied by his aunt’s behavior and the subsequent dispute

The Seventh Day of Christmas Advent: The Entrance into the Temple

Published by Pemptousia Partnership on November 21, 2021 Fr. Alexander Schmemann It seems thousands of years removed from us, but it was not so very long ago that life was marked out by religious feasts. Although everyone went to church, not everyone, of course, knew the exact contents of each celebration. For many, perhaps even the majority, the feast was above all an opportunity to get a good sleep, eat well, drink and relax. And nevertheless, I think

The Sixth Day of Christmas Advent: I Will Go into the Altar of God

By Fr. Stephen Freeman, November 20, 2021  Most of my early Church memories center around Sunday School (I think that we did not “stay for preaching” very often). The small Baptist church that we attended was about a mile from our house and was conveniently connected by a railroad track, generally inactive on Sundays. My older brother and I often walked along the track on Sunday mornings when the weather was pleasant. The earliest Bible

Apostle James, the Brother of our Lord, First Bishop of Jerusalem

Published by Pemptousia Partnership on October 23, 2017 James W. Lillie Saint James was the son of Joseph the Betrothed from his (first) marriage. He was blessed by God while he was still in his mother’s womb and was so righteous in his life that all the Jews called him the “Just”. Even from a very early age, James lived a very ascetic life. He did not partake of wine or other strong drinks. In imitation of Saint

Martyr Longinus, the Centurion Who Stood at the Cross of the Lord

He stood transfixed at the foot of the Cross, watching and wondering, full of awe and amazement.  And then all at once, something was born in him – a spark of faith, a brand-new beginning.  And his life was changed forever. The divine Matthew the Evangelist describes the moment of his conversion to Christianity with enormous power: So when the centurion and those with him, who were guarding Jesus, saw the earthquake and the things

Venerable Chariton the Confessor, Abbot of Palestine

Commemorated on September 28 Saint Chariton the Confessor was born at Iconium in the province of Lycaonia, and suffered there during a persecution against Christians in the reign of Emperor Aurelian (270-275). The example of the holy Protomartyr Thekla (September 24), who was also a native of his city, encouraged him to confess Christ, since he had a great devotion to her. Saint Chariton bravely denounced the pagan gods and staunchly confessed faith in the one

The Elevation of the Venerable and Life-Giving Cross: Losing Ourselves in Love

Sermon preached by Fr. Antony Hughes on Sunday, September 16, 2018 at St. Mary Orthodox Church in Cambridge, MA. The Reading is from the Gospel According to Mark 8:34-38; 9:1 Today’s Gospel reading from Mark chapter 8, marks a turning point in the Lord’s ministry. From chapter 8 to chapter 13 we read the account of Christ’s final journey to his crucifixion in Jerusalem. Jesus announces his death and meets with resistance. Peter rebukes him,