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Prayers for the Dead

By Fr. Stephen Freeman, May 21, 2016 The Orthodox pray for the departed. The most pressing prayer within the liturgies appointed for this purpose is for God to forgive their sins. We say, “For no one lives and does not sin, for You only are without sin….” This is easily misunderstood, but it goes to the very heart of the mystery of our relationship with God. The same sentiment, interestingly, is offered in the prayers

The Twenty-Nineth Day of Christmas Advent. I’ll Be Small for Christmas.

By Father Stephen Freeman, December 19, 2016 Children today are raised with dreams of greatness. Cultural affirmations of our limitless potential, well-intentioned, have not produced a generation of over-achievers, but have indeed brought forth hordes of great dreams. This is nothing new in American culture. We are the world’s longest sustained pep-talk. Ronald Reagan loved to quote the 1945 Johnny Mercer hit: You’ve got to accentuate the positive Eliminate the negative Latch on to the

The Twelfth Day of Christmas Advent. A Secular Kingdom…Where Christmas Never Comes

By Fr. Stephen Freeman, November 27, 2017  Two people are working at a soup kitchen, feeding the poor. One of them is a Christian, the other an atheist. The Christian is doing what he does out of obedience to Christ, in order to serve Christ “in the least of these my brethren.” The atheist is doing what he does because he thinks that generosity is a good thing and that the world would be a

The Mystery of Death. Preparing for our Death.

Death can be a mystery precisely because the triumph over death is not a mystery By Abbot Tryphon, December 16, 2019  As a priest and monk of the Russian Orthodox Church, I am comfortable with the mystery of death, as all Christians should be. Death can be a mystery precisely because the triumph over death is not a mystery. As the Orthodox theologian Alexander Schmemann wrote, “in essence, Christianity is not concerned with coming to

Imitating Christ. Divine Warmth.

Imitating Christ We must live as the Lord requires of us By Abbot Tryphon, December 17, 2019  As we examine how we live our lives as Christians, we look to those who leave an impression of goodness, kindness, and humility, as examples of the person we would like to become. That saintly person, by their every example, exudes the humbleness of the Lord, and love seems to be palpable when we are in their presence.

Pentecost: The Descent of the Holy Spirit

In the Old Testament Pentecost was the feast which occurred fifty days after Passover. As the Passover feast celebrated the exodus of the Israelites from the slavery of Egypt, so Pentecost celebrated God’s gift of the ten commandments to Moses on Mount Sinai. In the new covenant of the Messiah, the Passover event takes on its new meaning as the celebration of Christ’s death and resurrection, the “exodus” of men from this sinful world to

The Sixth Thursday of Pascha: The Ascension of our Lord

“AND ASCENDED INTO HEAVEN….” Rev. George Florovsky, D.D. “I ascend unto My Father and your Father, and to My God, and Your God” (John 20:17). In these words, the Risen Christ described to Mary Magdalene the mystery of His Resurrection. She had to carry this mysterious message to His disciples, “as they mourned and wept” (Mark 16:10). The disciples listened to these glad tidings with fear and amazement, with doubt and mistrust. It was not

ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ ΑΝΕΣΤΗ! CHRIST IS RISEN! The Sixth Tuesday of Pascha: Thoughts on the Ascension

By Michael Haldas, Quotes of the Day for May 17, 2018 “In raising human nature to heaven by His Ascension, Christ has given us the hope of arriving there ourselves.” (St. Thomas Aquinas) “Because we have so accepted this dichotomous rupture between body and soul as ‘reality’ we often describe our Faith in terms of “saving souls.” We seldom think of our bodies being eternally involved in salvation as well. However, the Second Person of

ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ ΑΝΕΣΤΗ! CHRIST IS RISEN! The Fourth Monday of Pascha: The Kingdom of God Is Not a Choice We Make

By Fr. Stephen Freeman, April 29, 2008  Part of the spiritual landscape of American religion is the sizable role played by choice in a culture shaped in the free market – with freedom as a mythic symbol. It is not unusual to hear American politicians describing solutions to social problems as a matter of “trusting Americans as consumers.” It is as though we could “shop” our way out of life’s difficulties. And thus it is that Calvinism,

The Dangerous Vision of Paradise

By Fr. Stephen Freeman, November 17, 2015  A utopian vision gave birth to America. The “pilgrims” who came to New England in the 17th century, imagined an ideal state, defined by their radical “purification” of society and the Christian Church. Their dreams of a new world were constantly thwarted in England by the reluctance of the greater body of Protestants to embrace their extreme vision. England’s Reformation fell far short of their imaginings. In 1640,