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Presentation of Christ to the Temple

Introduction This feast, celebrated on February 2, is known in the Orthodox Church as The Presentation of Christ in the Temple. Another name for the feast is The Meeting of our Lord. Roman Catholic and Protestant Christians call the feast, The Purification of the Holy Virgin. About 450 AD in Jerusalem, people began the custom of holding lighted candles during the Divine Liturgy of this feast day. Therefore, some churches in the West refer to

The Fifth Day of Christmas: 14,000 infants (Holy Innocents) slain by Herod in Bethlehem

December 29 Reading The infant-slaying Herod mentioned here is the same one that ruled at the time of Christ’s Nativity. In those days, certain Magi, who were wise and noble men, perhaps even kings, set forth from the East, and came to Jerusalem, seeking the King of the Jews, Who had been born; and they said that in the East, where their homeland was, an unusual and strange star had appeared two years before, which,

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 Fourth Day of Christmas Advent: The Truth of Mary

By Fr. Stephen Freeman, September 7, 2016 It is a commonplace among Christians to say that “truth is a person.” Of course, this is rightly drawn from Christ’s statement, “I am the way, the truth and the life” (John 14:6). However, most Christians fail to comprehend what it is that they have just said. That truth is a person is more than a convenient debating point. It says something about the nature of truth and

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

Beneath Her Compassion

By Fr. Stephen Freeman, November 19, 2016  Among the greater mysteries of the New Testament are those surrounding the Mother of God. A large segment of modern Christianity has become tone deaf in this regard, a result of centuries of antagonism towards certain aspects of older tradition. It is a deafness that grieves my heart, primarily in that it represents a great gulf within the broader experience of the faith. A few years after my

Dormition of the Virgin Mary

Published by Fr. Stavros Akrotirianakis, August 15, 2021 Now as they went on their way, he entered a village; and a woman named Martha received him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving; and she went to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell

Why a Fast for Dormition?

By Daniel Manzuk from The Word, June 2008 It would be a gross understatement to say that much has been written about the Feast of the Dormition of the Theotokos. Yet very little has been written about the fast that precedes it. Every Orthodox Christian is aware and generally knows the reason behind the fasts for Pascha and Christmas. But while they may know of the Dormition Fast, few follow it, and more than a

Mary: The Blessing of All Generations

By Fr. Stephen Freeman, December 14, 2021  In my childhood, it was not unusual to hear someone ask, “Who are your people?” It was a semi-polite, Southernism designed to elicit essential information about a person’s social background. The assumption was that you, at best, could only be an example of your “people.” It ignored the common individualism of the wider culture, preferring the more family or clan-centered existence of an older time. It was possible

ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ ΑΝΕΣΤΗ! CHRIST IS RISEN! Let Us Rejoice and Be Glad!

Submitted by Fr. John Breck, May 2, 2009 Attributed by all of the extant manuscripts to St John Chrysostom, this little-known, pseudepigraphical homily from the fifth century focuses on “the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.”[1] It begins by summarizing various fruits of the resurrection in the lives of believers, then exhorts readers or listeners to assume conduct appropriate to the day of Holy Pascha. In the rhetorical style typical of the period, it stresses antitheses,