The Synaxis of Saint John the Baptist: The Greatest Born of Woman

The second day of the feast of the Epiphany is called the Synaxis of Saint John, the prophet, forerunner and Baptist of the Lord. It is a day of liturgical celebration in honor of the one who prepared the way for the Messiah and baptized Him in the Jordan river. According to Jesus himself, there is no one greater than John the Baptist. “Truly, I say to you, among those born of women, there has

The Seventh Day of Christmas: The Sun of Righteousness

One of the titles of the Messiah in the prophetic writings of the Bible is the Sun of Righteousness. It is found in the prophet Malachi. For behold, the day comes, burning like an oven, when all the arrogant and all evildoers will be stubble; the day that comes shall burn them up, says the Lord of hosts, so that it will leave them neither root nor branch. But for you who fear My name,

The Second Day of Christmas: The Synaxis of the Ever-Virgin Mary (Part I)

The gospels teach and the liturgy proclaims that Jesus Christ was born on earth from the Virgin Mary. According to the “mind of Christ” which is given to believers by the indwelling of God’s Holy Spirit (see 1 Cor 2), it is evident that it could not be otherwise. The reason is simple. Jesus is the Son of God. God is His Father from all eternity. If there is anything unique, original, totally unprecedented in

Thirty-Ninth Day of Christmas Advent: Peace on Earth, Good Will Toward Men

When the angel of the Lord brought the “glad tidings of great joy” of Christ’s birth to the shepherds in the fields, there appeared also “a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men” (Lk 2:13-14, KJV). The songs of the Orthodox Church services, like those of the Christian West, put this doxology of the angelic choir in the mouths

Thirty-Fourth Day of Christmas Advent: Glad Tidings of Great Joy

The birth of Jesus is announced to the world as a proclamation of great joy. The archangel Gabriel comes first to Zacharias the priest when he is offering incense at the altar and tells him that his wife Elizabeth will give birth to a son who will be the forerunner of the Messiah. “You will have joy and gladness,” he tells him, “and many will rejoice at his birth” (Lk 1: 14). The same messenger

Twenty-Fifth Day of Christmas Advent: The Conception of Mary

On the ninth of December the Orthodox Church celebrates the feast of the conception of the Virgin Mary by her parents Joachim and Anna.1 On this major festival which finds its place in the Church’s preparation for Christmas, the faithful rejoice in the event by which Mary is conceived in fulfillment of her parents’ prayers in order to be formed in the womb, born on the earth, dedicated to the Lord, and nurtured in holiness

Fifteenth Day of Christmas Advent: The Feast of Saint Andrew (November 30)

While the canon of the feast of the Nativity begins to be sung on the festival of the entrance of the Virgin Mary into the temple, the first prefeast hymns of Christmas are sung on the feast of “the all-praised and first-called apostle Andrew.”1 In the gospel according to Saint John, Philip calls his friend Nathanael to “come and see” Jesus, but it is Jesus Himself who invites Andrew to “come and see” where He

Twelfth Day of Christmas Advent: The Feast Day of Saint Stylianos

Saint Stylianos was a man who practiced every day of his lifetime what Jesus preached when he said, “Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not; for of such is the Kingdom of God” (Luke 10:14). His great concern for children was such that he came to be considered the patron saint of children, but he did not limit his benevolence to children alone, as his life story bears out. Stylianos

Seventh Day of Christmas Advent: The Entrance of the Most Holy Theotokos into the Temple

During the first days of the Christmas fast the Church celebrates the feast of the entrance of the child Mary into the Jerusalem temple. Called in the Church The Entrance of the Most Holy Theotokos into the Temple, this festival, which is not among the biblically recorded events, is one of the twelve major feasts of the Orthodox Church year. Its purpose is not so much to commemorate an historical happening as to celebrate a

Recapturing the Experiences of the Church’s Youth

From Abraham onwards, through many centuries, God has prepared the chosen people to receive the Messiah. Despite that, when the Messiah appeared, the greater part of the Jewish people rejected him.  In the Church of the Nations, that is to say, among the pagan peoples, the opposite happened. The soil that seemed to need more cultivation received the seed of the Gospel and brought forth the hundredfold. Already, in the middle of raging persecutions, Christianity