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The Fourth Monday of Great Lent: As Lent Moves On – The Greatest Fast Awaits

By Fr. Stephen Freeman, April 9, 2019  As Great Lent has passed its mid-point, attention begins to move towards Holy Week itself and its very intense focus. It has been an unusual time for me, having traveled on two successive weekends to lead retreats. Travel is always disruptive, and absence from your own community creates a break in the normal continuity of the Fast. I have great sympathies for those whose jobs involve frequent travel.

The Third Monday of Great Lent: At the Heart of Lent

By Fr. Stephen Freeman, March 2, 2018  Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You! (Ps. 119:11) Years ago, I heard a statement from an American monk: “The contemplative need go no further than his own heart to find the source of all violence in the world.” It struck me as true then and has only seemed more so as the years have passed. At the time (not

The First Wednesday of Great Lent. Balancing Great Lent

George Tsongranis Do you fast?  Give me proof of it by your works.  If you see a poor man, take pity on him.  If you see a friend being honored, do not envy him.  Do not let only your mouth fast, but also the eye, and the feet, and the hands and all the members of our bodies.  Let the hands fast, by being free of avarice.  Let the feet fast, by ceasing to run

The Elves Have Left the Building

By Fr. Stephen Freeman, November 3, 2015  Children, at their best, have an amazing ability to wonder. The world is fresh and new for them, with many things being seen and encountered for the very first time. They sometimes come to wrong conclusions, but even their wrong conclusions can be revealing to adults. Adults often fall into habit when it comes to experiencing the world. We drive to and from work by the same routes

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

Thirty-Fourth 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 Third Day of Christmas Advent. Fasting for Christmas

By Fr. Stephen Freeman, November 19, 2020 [This past Sunday], November 15, the Orthodox Church began its “Winter Lent,” the fast that prepares for the feast of the Nativity. Somewhat similar to Advent, it is the older practice, a full 40-day fast, that reminds us that Christmas, joy that it is, is a foretaste of Pascha. The Cave of Bethlehem reminds us of the Cave of Hades (icons of the Descent into Hell picture the

You Don’t Mean a Thing

By Stephen Freeman, September 3, 2015  I have continued to meditate this past week on the quote from Stanley Hauerwas that I shared previously: The project of modernity was to produce people who believe they should have no story except the story they choose when they had no story. Such a story is called a story of freedom – institutionalized economically as capitalism and politically as democracy. That story, and the institutions that embody it,

Fleeting Joy is Banished

By Abbot Tryphon, April 21, 2020 For everlasting Joy comes with Christ’s Resurrection We all have certain things in our lives that we feel passionate about. When I was a young man, long distance running was my passion, and nothing gave me more joy than the run. Every day was organized around running. I’d even plan vacations around my runs, often heading to Vancouver, B.C., so I could run around Stanley Park. I’d stay in

Holy Pentecost Sunday

After the Saviour’s Ascension into the Heavens, the eleven Apostles and the rest of His disciples, the God-loving women who followed after Him from the beginning, His Mother, the most holy Virgin Mary, and His brethren-all together about 120 souls returned from the Mount of Olives to Jerusalem. Entering into the house where they gathered, they went into the upper room, and there they persevered in prayer and supplication, awaiting the coming of the Holy