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The Second Friday of Great Lent: Reading by the Light of Christ

By Fr. Stephen Freeman, June 28, 2016 Let us suppose that you have heard the story of Jesus, in a fairly bare form, nothing like as complete as any of the gospels – just a general outline. And then let us suppose that the only Scriptures you have access to are the Old Testament. You have never seen a New Testament and do not have its phrases in your mind. And then let us suppose

Christmas Eve, the Fortieth Day of Christmas Advent. Making Sense of a Jumbled World.

By Fr. Stephen Freeman, December 27, 2014 Listening to the Nativity collection of readings for the Vespers of Christmas Eve (there were eight of them), my mind drifted to the “jumbled mess” that is the Old Testament. We speak of it as if it were a single thing, when, it is many things (over 40), and some of those things are jumbled concatenations of other jumbled things. I can only imagine what someone coming to

The Thirty-Eighth Day of Christmas Advent. I Have No Gift to Bring! Wait. There is Exactly ONE Gift I CAN Bring!

Fr. Stavros N. Akrotirianakis Then opening their treasures, they offered Him gifts – ­gold, frankincense and myrrh. -Matthew 2: 11 As we run around purchasing, wrapping, and delivering gifts for other people this Christmas, we must ask ourselves seriously and soberly, “What gift am I offering to Him this Christmas?” As we are now in the home stretch heading towards the Feast of the Nativity as we count down now the hours until we are at the manger,

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 Holy of Holies

The link between the Old and New Testament Temples By Abbot Tryphon, December 6, 2019 Orthodox temples have kept to the same form and function since ancient times. Using the Old Testament Temple model, Orthodox churches are divided into several courts or spaces peculiar to their function. The Holy Table, upon which is celebrated the Eucharist, is situated at the east end of the building behind the Iconostasis (icon screen). This is a continuation of

The Dormition Fast: August Theophanies

Sermon preached by Fr. Antony Hughes on Sunday, August 10, 2014 The Reading is from the Gospel of St. Matthew. (14:22-34) The month of August is a month of theophanies. A theophany, from the Greek, literally means a “revelation of God”, not “from God”, but “of God.” The Transfiguration of Jesus is a theophany. God reveals himself present in Jesus Christ in this world. He shares his light and energy with us and with all

The Dormition Fast: The Earth Stood Still

By Fr. Stephen Freeman, August 20, 2014  Orthodox Christians commemorate the death (Dormition) of the Virgin Mary during the month of August (New Calendar, the 15th, Old Calendar, the 28th). For those for whom such feasts are foreign, it is easy to misunderstand what the Orthodox are about – and to assume that this is simply a feast to Mary because we like that sort of thing. Flippant attitudes fail to perceive the depths of the mystery

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

Reading Beneath the Words

By Fr. Stephen Freeman, January 3, 2016  The relationship between Old and New Testaments is much less straightforward than most people realize. A majority of Christians, particularly in our contemporary world, probably assume that their relationship is mostly historical, that the Old Testament is about things that happened before Christ while the New Testament speaks of Christ Himself and things that come later. That is “sort of” true, but not the real story. The New

ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ ΑΝΕΣΤΗ! CHRIST IS RISEN! The Sixth Monday of Pascha: Bookends and the Resurrection

By Fr. Stephen Freeman, April 12, 2018 A series of recent conversations with a parishioner turned up the problem of “bookends,” that is, questions of the beginning and the end. It is only natural in our day and age to attack problems in this manner. “How did it start?” is a way of saying, “What is it?” The end, of course, is not so obvious, other than its connection with our insatiable desire to know how