Tags

Early Christianity: Practical Prayer

In the same way as the early church, the desert Christians were deeply committed to Jesus’ teachings and lived practice. Withdrawal to the wilderness—whether into close-knit communities or solitude—was only for the sake of deeper encounter and presence. Diana Butler Bass describes the natural flow from prayer to active love: [Jesus’ invitation to] “Come follow me” was intimately bound up with the practice of prayer. For prayer connects us with God and others, “part of

The Most Holy Mother of God

By Fr. Stephen Freeman, August 13, 2008 On August 15, the Orthodox Church (new calendar) commemorates the Dormition (falling asleep) of the Most Holy Mother of God. The feast is considered to be one of the 12 Great Feasts of the year and thus an integral part of the proclamation of gospel of Jesus Christ. Many who are not familiar with Orthodoxy, or its manner of understanding saints, easily see feast days and the veneration

TRANSFIGURATION

The transfiguration of Christ is one of the central events recorded in the gospels. Immediately after the Lord was recognized by His apostles as “the Christ [Messiah], the Son of the Living God,” He told them that “He must go up to Jerusalem and suffer many things… and be killed and on the third day be raised” (Mt 16). The announcement of Christ’s approaching passion and death was met with indignation by the disciples. And

Contemplative Consciousness: Awe and Surrender

To begin to see with new eyes, we must observe—and usually be humiliated by—the habitual way we encounter each and every moment. It is humiliating because we will see that we are well-practiced in just a few predictable responses. Not many of our responses are original, fresh, or naturally respectful of what is right in front of us. The most common human responses to a new moment are mistrust, cynicism, fear, defensiveness, dismissal, and judgmentalism.

Memorial Day, 2020

By Fr. Stavros Akrotirianakis This day shall be for you a memorial day, and you shall keep it as a feast to the Lord; throughout your generations you shall observe it as an ordinance forever.  Exodus 12:14 Today’s verse from Exodus was told to Moses by God at the time of the Passover and exodus of the Israelites from Egypt.  God told Moses that the Passover should be commemorated forever, so that every generation would remember this

Fourth Thursday of Pascha. Holy Mountain: A Universal Presence and a Heavenward Orientation (Part 3)

By Metropolitan Nikolaos of Mesogaias and Lavreotikis The Mountain reveals the extremity of human situations. It is moderate in its discreet character but also displays a divine extremeness – though without foolish extremes – in its absolute and uncompromising lifestyle and philosophy. The daily vigils, the absence of a comforting female presence (even in pictorial form), the customary obedience, the life devoid of personal choices emphasizes the naturalness of the ‘supernatural’ state. The Mountain is

Third Thursday of Pascha. Holy Mountain: A Universal Presence and a Heavenward Orientation (Part 2)

By Metropolitan Nikolaos of Mesogaias and Lavreotikis Here space and time acquire another dimension and perspective. One’s relationship with earthly, ephemeral and perishable things is an entirely perfunctory one. Concepts like ‘money’, ‘property’, ‘wealth’, ‘investment’, ‘entertainment’, ‘competition’ and ‘interest’ completely lose their importance. Here only the most essential worldly concerns are allowed to occupy one’s thoughts. The soul opens itself up to heavenly things. Here the main focus of interest is eternity and God’s kingdom.

Fifth Tuesday of Great Lent. Orthodox Christian Lent, Prayer, Fasting and Baptism

By Fr. Patrick Reardon, March 13, 2005 The word “Lent,” now associated exclusively with the observance of the liturgical year, originally meant “spring” and had no directly religious significance. In English usage, however, its reference was gradually limited to the season of preparation for Pascha, a season that does, in fact, coincide with spring. In languages dependent on Latin, the word for Lent is some variant of “forty,” derived from the Latin *quadragesima*. This is

Our Conciliar Salvation: The Feast of the Annunciation

By Fr. Stephen Freeman, March 25, 2015  I consider it both a strange mystery and a settled matter of the faith that God prefers not to do things alone. Repeatedly, He acts in a manner that involves the actions of others when, it would seem, He could have acted alone. Why would God reveal His Word to the world through the agency of men? Why would He bother to use writing? Why not simply communicate

First Tuesday of Great Lent. It’s “Go Time!”

By Fr. Stavros Akrotirianakis, March 9, 2019 Besides this you know what hour it is, how it is full time now for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed; the night is far gone, the day is at hand. Let us then cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light; let us conduct ourselves becomingly as in the day, not