Tags

The Forty Days of Christmas: The Presentation, “Ypapanti,” of our Lord

By Stephen Freeman My title is slightly misleading. There are not “forty days of Christmas” in the Orthodox Church – but there is a major feast that marks the fortieth after Christmas: the Presentation of Christ in the Temple, sometimes called the Feast of the Meeting (February 2). It occurs forty days after Christmas in accordance to the requirements of the Jewish Law. Tradition holds that Joseph and Mary brought the child to Jerusalem before

The Mystery of the Forerunner

By Fr. Stephen Freeman, August 28, 2015  There is a unanimous witness in the Christian gospels concerning the place of St. John the Baptist. In the Orthodox world he is generally referred to as the Forerunner. All of the gospels agree that he plays a key role in the coming of the Messiah. It is a role that is largely ignored by most of the Christian world. The gospels make reference to two Scriptures when they

The Twenty-Sixth Day of Christmas Advent. The Russian Nativity Icon.

The Russian Nativity Icon The Russian nativity icon vividly portrays the Christmas perspective of the Orthodox Church. Through symbolism and teaching about Gods incarnation (becoming human) the icon presents Christmas as a “feast of re-creation.” The word icon is a Greek word meaning “image” or “likeness.” The nativity icon is done in an art style dating back to the sixth century Byzantine Empire. Orthodox iconography is a purely idealistic art form. Through the Byzantine style

The Nineteenth Day of Christmas Advent. Faith and Mystery.

MATTHEW’S GOSPEL TELLS US about the centurion at Capernaum who asks Jesus to heal his servant in distress. “I will come and heal him,” says Jesus. To which the centurion responds, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof; but only say the word, and my servant will be healed.” Jesus says the word and the servant is healed. Of the Roman centurion he then says, “Not even in Israel have

The Ninth Day of Christmas Advent. Ordinary People, Extraordinary Faith

And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. But as he considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying ‘Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit; she will bear a son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for

The Fourth Day of Christmas Advent. The Poor Among Us.

By Abbot Tryphon, December 8, 2019  Loving the poor and homeless among us This past week, following a doctor’s appointment in Seattle, I drove past a homeless camp. My mind was immediately drawn to the memory of the day a homeless man attacked me, and with an unexpected “sucker punch”, knocked me to the ground while I was pumping gas. At that moment I realized I was still feeling a little bit afraid of homeless

Early Christianity: Practice Prayer of the Heart

Practice: Prayer of the Heart Abba Poemen said, “Teach your mouth to say what is in your heart.” [1] Many of the desert fathers and mothers, as well as the collected texts of the Philokalia in the Eastern Orthodox tradition, have described prayer as bringing your thinking down into your heart. It always seemed like soft piety to me until someone taught me how to do it, and I learned the immense benefits of the prayer

Holy and Righteous Ancestors of God, Joachim and Anna

Saint Joachim, the son of Barpathir, was of the tribe of Judah, and was a descendant of King David, to whom God had revealed that the Savior of the world would be born from his seed. Saint Anna was the daughter of Matthan the priest, who was of the tribe of Levi. Saint Anna’s family came from Bethlehem. The couple lived at Nazareth in Galilee. They were childless into their old age and all their

Nativity of the Theotokos

In addition to the celebration of the Annunciation, there are three major feasts in the Church honoring Mary, the Theotokos. The first of these is the feast of her nativity which is kept on the eighth of September. The record of the birth of Mary is not found in the Bible. The traditional account of the event is taken from the apocryphal writings which are not part of the New Testament scriptures. The traditional teaching

Why Mary Has Always Been Honored

By Father Stephen Freeman, August 13, 2018 This Saturday (August 15) is the Feast of the Dormition, the Falling Asleep of the Virgin Mary. I offer this article as a reflection. The most difficult part of my Orthodox experience to discuss with the non-Orthodox is the place and role of the Mother of God in the Church and in my life. It is, on the one hand, deeply theological and even essential to a right understanding