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Icon of the Dormition of the Theotokos

It is clear from the Holy Scriptures and Christian tradition that Mary, the Theotokos, was highly favoured by God (St Luke 1:28) and held in high regard by the Church. Along with the Apostles, she gave leadership and guidance to the Church in Jerusalem, especially among the women believers. Acts 1:14 confirms that St Mary was with the Holy Apostles on the day of Pentecost, and the tradition of the Church holds that she remained in the

Monday of the Holy Spirit: On the Feast of Pentecost

By Fr. Stephen Freeman, May 26, 2007 O Heavenly King, the Comforter, the Spirit of Truth, Who art everywhere and fillest all things; Treasury of Blessings, and Giver of Life – come and abide in us, and cleanse us from every impurity, and save our souls, O Good One. [Yesterday] (Sunday) the Orthodox Church mark[ed] 50 days after the feast of Pascha and commemorate[d] the gift of the Holy Spirit to the Church as recorded

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

By Thy Holy Spirit

By Fr John Breck, June 2, 2005 In his reflections on the Knowledge of God, Saint Silouan of Mount Athos (+ 1938) speaks in a very simple and beautiful way of the presence and power of the Holy Spirit in the lives of the faithful. They are words that seem especially significant in this time of Pentecost, when we celebrate and relive the coming of the Spirit in power, to renew us and all of

Through Your Glorious Ascension

By Fr. John Breck, June 1, 2005 Psalm 67/68 is considered by most biblical scholars to be the most difficult of all psalms to interpret.[1] The current consensus holds that the psalm was an ancient cultic hymn, originally recited in an autumn festival by the covenant-community of Israel. Its theme celebrates the coming of God to His people, from Sinai to Zion, in order to actualize in their midst His past mighty works of salvation. This

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

Learning like a Saint

By Fr. Stephen Freeman, May 18, 2016 The preparation for Baptism in the early Church often lasted as long as three years. Of deep significance is the fact that during that three-year period, many basic doctrines were not explored. The “mystagogical catechesis” (instruction in the sacramental mysteries of the Church) did not begin until after Baptism. What, we may wonder, were they doing for those first three years, and on what basis were individuals making lifetime conversion

The Third Day of Christmas. Feast of the Holy Protomartyr and Archdeacon Stephen.

After the pouring forth of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, the fire-bearing words of the Apostles and the signs and wonders that accompanied them inspired many conversions.  As soon as the believers had become members of the Body of Christ through holy Baptism, they sold all their goods and laid the proceeds at the Apostles’ feed; then, being free of all worldly ties and interests, they led a life in common, and were of one

The Second Day of Christmas Advent. Apostle and Evangelist Matthew.

The Holy Apostle and Evangelist Matthew, was also named Levi (Mark 2:14; Luke 5:27); he was one of the Twelve Apostles (Mark 3:18; Luke 6:45; Acts 1:13), and was brother of the Apostle James Alphaeus (Mark 2:14). He was a publican, or tax-collector for Rome, in a time when the Jews were under the rule of the Roman Empire. He lived in the Galilean city of Capernaum. When Matthew heard the voice of Jesus Christ:

Saint Thomas the Apostle

Saint Thomas the Apostle is one of the twelve disciples of Jesus Christ. He came from a family of fishermen. He is especially honored by the Church on Sunday of St. Thomas, also known as Second Sunday or Antipascha. Thomas refused to believe that the resurrected Jesus had appeared to the ten other apostles because of his absence from the first appearance of the Risen Christ. Eight days later, in the presence of Jesus Christ