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Saint Gregory the Theologian, Archbishop of Constantinople

Commemorated January 25 Saint Gregory the Theologian, Archbishop of Constantinople, a great Father and teacher of the Church, was born into a Christian family of eminent lineage in the year 329, at Arianzos (not far from the city of Cappadocian Nazianzos). His father, also named Gregory [January 1], was Bishop of Nazianzus. The son is the St. Gregory Nazianzus encountered in Patristic theology. His pious mother, St. Nonna [August 5], prayed to God for a

The Twenty-Third Day of Christmas Advent: The Eternal Mystery

By Fr John Breck, December 2, 2004 I’m sorry this column can’t be accompanied by sound. One of the most precious components of Orthodox Christianity, perhaps especially in the Russian tradition, is its store of melodies to liturgical hymns that are heartbreakingly beautiful. I just came across a fine example, tucked away in the iTunes folder of this laptop. It’s a contemporary variant of a hymn sung normally at Annunciation, composed by Fr Paul Jannakos.

You Don’t Mean a Thing

By Fr. Stephen Freeman, September 19, 2016  There is an assumption within our contemporary world that the life we bring into this world doesn’t mean a thing, at least, not at the start. Meaning is something the individual must create for himself/herself. It is, we think, a version of freedom. We are told that if we come into this world with our meaning already established as a given, then we can never be free. Autonomy, being “self-ruled,”

Falling Asleep of St. John the Theologian

By Fr. Nicholas Belcher Today, the Holy Orthodox Church commemorates the repose of the Holy Apostle and Evangelist, St. John the Theologian. As we learn from the Holy Gospels, St. John, one of the sons of Zebedee, was called by Christ to abandon his fishing nets to become a fisher of men and a son of thunder. Saint John became one of the twelve apostles, and despite his being – according to tradition – the youngest,

Ex nihilo (2)

By Fr John Breck, March 1, 2008 In the prologue to his Gospel, the evangelist John takes up the account of creation given in the first chapter of Genesis, in order to illustrate the story of redemption accomplished by Jesus Christ, the eternal Son and Word of God. “In the beginning,” out of His infinite otherness, with God and as God, the Word comes forth, to create the world and to save it from death

Why a Fast for Dormition?

By Daniel Manzuk from The Word, June 2008 It would be a gross understatement to say that much has been written about the Feast of the Dormition of the Theotokos. Yet very little has been written about the fast that precedes it. Every Orthodox Christian is aware and generally knows the reason behind the fasts for Pascha and Christmas. But while they may know of the Dormition Fast, few follow it, and more than a

Entering Hell on Pentecost – With Prayer

By Fr. Stephen Freeman, June 16, 2019  Pascha (Easter) comes with a great note of joy in the Christian world. Christ is risen from the dead and our hearts rejoice. That joy begins to wane as the days pass. Our lives settle back down to the mundane tasks at hand. After 40 days, the Church marks the Feast of the Ascension, often attended by only a handful of the faithful (Rome has more-or-less moved the

ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ ΑΝΕΣΤΗ! CHRIST IS RISEN! The Apodosis, or Leave-taking, of Pascha

Today is the last day of Pascha for Christians of the Byzantine tradition.  Each major feast on the Church calendar has an Apodosis that comes, normally, at the end of the octave.  The hymns for Matins, the hours, Vespers, Compline, and the Divine Liturgy are repeated as on the first day of the feast.  For Pascha, however, the Leave-Taking is on the vigil of the Ascension, but, with the exception of the changed lectionary, the

ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ ΑΝΕΣΤΗ! CHRIST IS RISEN! The Sixth Tuesday of Pascha: From the Depths of Hell

By Fr John Breck, April 1, 2009 The final Old Testament reading for Holy Saturday vespers—Daniel 3:1-57, the story of the three young men in the fiery furnace in Babylon—is composite, drawing upon both Aramaic and Greek (Septuagint) traditions. The latter modifies and amplifies a detail the Church’s patristic witnesses consider essential. That small detail is a typological image that announces the primary theme of Orthodox Pascha or Easter: the descent of Christ into the

ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ ΑΝΕΣΤΗ! CHRIST IS RISEN! The Sixth Monday of Pascha: Memorial Day Statement of the Council of Bishops of the UOC of the USA

This weekend our nation observes Memorial Day – a date on the civil calendar when the nation does (and should) honor the men and women who have given their lives in defense of our nation – of us – during their tours of service in the various branches of our USA Armed Forces. They have paid the ultimate sacrifice for the freedoms we enjoy as Americans. They have died so that the world might be