The Second Day of Christmas Advent. Jesus was Born that He Might Die

By Hierodeacon Herman Majkrzak In many European cultures, and in America too, singing and listening to carols is a well-loved Christmas tradition. And many Orthodox communities in the West have admirably incorporated some of the best of these carols into their Nativity celebrations. Often, though, for Orthodox and non-Orthodox alike, our knowledge of this rich repertoire does not extend much beyond the first couple verses of a dozen or so of the most famous carols.

The First Day of Christmas Advent. Fasting from the Sentiments of the Feast

By Father Stephen Freeman I have a favorite Joni Mitchell song. In her very mournful style she sings about the season before Christmas: It’s comin’ on Christmas, They’re cuttin’ down trees, They’re puttin’ up reindeer and singin’ songs of joy and peace. Oh, I wish I had a river I could skate away on…I would teach my feet to fly! It is a melancholy tune, echoing the bittersweet experience of the culture Christmas. We love

Nativity Devotion, November 14: In the Beginning

By Fr. Stavros Akrotirianakis in The Prayer Team In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.  The earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep; and the Spirit of God was moving over the face of the waters.  And God said “Let there be light”; and there was light. Genesis 1:1-3 Good morning Prayer Team! Unlike our American culture which celebrates from now until Christmas, with celebrations ending promptly on December 26,

Nativity Devotion, November 13: Our Advent Journey Begins

By Fr. Stavros Akrotirianakis in “The Prayer Team” Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1 Good morning Prayer Team! We are about to take a journey.  Whether one is a devout Christian or doesn’t know Christ at all, we are all about to take a journey that will see Christmas decorations go up, lines at the malls get long, and stress levels go up.  Such

Feast of the Ascension of our Lord. He Ascended in Glory

So then the Lord Jesus, after He had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God. Mark 16:19 (From the Third Eothinon Gospel of the Sunday Orthros) “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the end of the earth.” And when He had said this,

Tuesday of the 5th Week of Pascha. The Story of the Nativity in Nine Words

And the word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth. John 1:14 (From the Gospel at the Divine Liturgy on Pascha) Christ is Risen! We’ve all seen displays of the Nativity in our homes and churches during the Christmas season. Christmas plays and pageants highlight the story of the shepherds and angels, told in the Gospel of Luke, and the Magi, as told in the Gospel of Matthew. In some sense,

Friday of the Third Week of Lent. By THIS All Men Will Know That You Are My Disciples

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35 (From the First Gospel on Holy Thursday Evening) Everyone lives busy lives. We even call our lives “crazy busy” at times. Christ knows that our lives are busy. If you envision

Thursday of Cheese-fare. He Had to Become Like Us in Every Way

Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in every respect, so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make expiation for the sins of the people. For because He Himself has suffered and been tempted, He is able to help those who are tempted. Hebrews 2: 17-18 (Epistle on the Feast of the Annunciation-March 25) When mankind fell through the sin of Adam and

The Twelfth Day of Christmas. Live Right!

For the grace of God has appeared for the salvation of all men, training us to renounce irreligion and worldly passions and to live sober, upright and godly lives in this world, awaiting our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ. -Titus 2: 11-13 (Epistle from Liturgy of Epiphany) No one likes to be told to wait. We tend to want things, as one restaurant ad puts

The Circumcision of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Basil the Great, Archbishop of Caesarea in Cappadocia

On the eighth day after His Nativity, our Lord Jesus Christ was circumcised in accordance with the Old Testament Law. All male infants underwent circumcision as a sign of God’s Covenant with the holy Forefather Abraham and his descendants (Gen. 17:10-14, Lev. 12:3). After this ritual the Divine Infant was given the name Jesus, as the Archangel Gabriel declared on the day of the Annunciation to the Most Holy Theotokos (Luke 1:31-33, 2:21). The Fathers