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The Thirtieth Day of Christmas Advent. Gifts in Silence.

Vasie-Leigh Andriotis As a person in the Facebook era, I am showered by daily “status” updates and photographs of my friends’ children.  There is such a great joy and anticipation when a child comes into the world or just your world.   Family and friends are so happy to see those new little faces that they have been anticipating.  It is hard to contain the excitement. It must have been unimaginable for Mary and Joseph, preparing

Third Day of Christmas Advent: The Nativity Fast

ADVENT-DERIVED FROM the Latin adventus, meaning “coming”—is a word that is not often used by Orthodox Christians living in the Eastern parts of the world. It is used more frequently by Orthodox Christians living in the West, for the simple reason that when they say “Advent”, other Christians immediately understand they are referring to a period of preparation before the Great Feast of Christmas, the Nativity of Our Lord. However, there are three key differences

The Second Day of Christmas Advent. Apostle and Evangelist Matthew.

The Holy Apostle and Evangelist Matthew, was also named Levi (Mark 2:14; Luke 5:27); he was one of the Twelve Apostles (Mark 3:18; Luke 6:45; Acts 1:13), and was brother of the Apostle James Alphaeus (Mark 2:14). He was a publican, or tax-collector for Rome, in a time when the Jews were under the rule of the Roman Empire. He lived in the Galilean city of Capernaum. When Matthew heard the voice of Jesus Christ:

The Hidden Gospel

By Stephen Freeman, January 8, 2016  There is a genre of Scriptural writings that are described as “apocalyptic.” The book of Revelation, in Greek, is called “The Apocalypse.” Ezekiel and Daniel also have very strong passages described as apocalyptic. The term is very straightforward: it means “revealing what is hidden.” These books are described as “making known hidden things,” because their message is disguised under rather outlandish descriptions: beasts with ten horns, heavenly cities, and

The Saturday of Lazarus

The solemnities of Great Week are preceded by a two-day festival commemorating the resurrection of Lazaros and the triumphant entry of Christ into Jerusalem. These two events punctuate Christ’s ministry in a most dramatic way (Jn 11:1 – 12:19). By causing the final eruption of the unrelenting hostility of His enemies, who had been plotting to kill him, these two events precipitate Christ’s death. At the very same time, however, these same events emphasize His

Holy, Righteous Simeon the God-Receiver

Righteous Simeon the God-Receiver was, according to the testimony of the holy Evangelist Luke, a just and devout man waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him (Luke 2:25). God promised him that he would not die until the promised Messiah, Christ the Lord, came into the world. Ancient historians tell us that the Egyptian pharaoh Ptolemy II Philadelphus (285-247 B.C.) wished to include texts of Holy Scripture in the

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

Epiphany

The sixth of January is the feast of the Epiphany. Originally it was the one Christian feast of the “shining forth” of God to the world in the human form of Jesus of Nazareth. It included the celebration of Christ’s birth, the adoration of the Wisemen, and all of the childhood events of Christ such as His circumcision and presentation to the temple as well as His baptism by John in the Jordan. There seems

The Fifth Day of Christmas: Light Shines in the Darkness (Feast Day of the Holy Innocents)

Your Nativity, O Christ our God, made the light of knowledge dawn on the world. For through it those who worshipped the stars were taught by a star to worship You, the Sun of righteousness, and to know You, the Dawn from on high. O Lord, glory to You! (Apolytikion of the Nativity) THE SEASON OF CHRISTMAS is a feast of light and joy, since we celebrate the coming of “the true Light which gives