The Fifth Friday after Pascha, Christos Anesti! Christ is Risen! How Do We Pray the Psalms?

By Jim Wellington How do we pray the Psalms? We should surely take our lead from the Holy Fathers of the Early Church and learn from their wisdom. Whilst researching the origins of the Jesus Prayer, I came across some fascinating insights in psalm-commentaries accredited to Fathers of the third, fourth and fifth centuries. These insights and the understanding of the Psalms which they promote, would have been available to the earliest monks and nuns

Three Steps to Everlasting Life (Fourth Sunday of Great Lent)

By the Very Reverend Vladimir Berzonsky “For as Jonah was for three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth” (Matthew 12:40). On the fourth Sunday of the Great Lent the Holy Church honors the memory of St. John called Climacus, which means “The Ladder.” He’s called that because of the astounding book he


By Mother Mary and Bishop Kallistos Ware If it is important not to overlook the physical requirements of fasting, it is even more important not to overlook its inward significance. Fasting is not a mere matter of diet. It is moral as well as physical. True fasting is to be converted in heart and will; it is to return to God, to come home like the Prodigal to our Father’s house. In the words of

Saint Porphyrios on Blackmailing God

By Melinda Johnson Bargaining with God in prayer is such a common human behavior that it’s part of our culture. How many times have you seen a character in a movie, hands clasped, drenched in tears, promising, “God, if you will just [fill in the blank], I promise you I’ll never [fill in the blank] again!” Scenes like this appear in novels too, and many of us have caught ourselves doing something like this in

55 Maxims for Weekly Meditation, by Father Thomas Hopko

SUNDAY 1. Be always with Christ and trust God in everything 2. Pray as you can, not as you think you must 3. Have a keepable rule of prayer done by discipline 4. Say the Lord’s Prayer several times each day 5. Repeat a short prayer when your mind is not occupied 6. Make some prostrations when you pray 7. Eat good foods in moderation and fast on fasting days MONDAY 8. Practice silence, inner


Whoever engages in inner warfare needs at every moment four things: humility, the greatest vigilance, the will to resist and prayer. It is a matter of dominating, with God’s help, the “Ethiopians of thought”, thrusting them out by the door of the heart, and crushing at once those who dash your little ones against the rocks (Psalm 137: 9). Humility is a prerequisite, for the proud man is once and for all shut out. Vigilance

Inner Polarities

In a society that gives much value to development, progress and achievement, the spiritual life becomes quite easily subject to concerns expressed in questions such as, “How far advanced am I?” “Have I matured since I started on the spiritual path?” On what level am I and how do I move to the next one?”—”When will I reach the moment of union with God and the experience of illumination or enlightenment?” Although none of these

The Essence of Prayer (II)

Every time we come near God, it is either life or death we are confronted with. It is life if we come to him in the right spirit, and are renewed by him. It is death if we come to him without the spirit of worship and a contrite heart; it is death if we bring pride or arrogance. Therefore, before we set out on the so-called thrilling adventure of prayer, it cannot be too

The Essence of Prayer (I)

THE GOSPEL OF St Matthew confronts us almost from the beginning with the very essence of prayer. The Magi saw the long-expected star; they set out without delay to find the king; they arrived at the manger, they knelt, they worshipped and they presented their gifts: they expressed prayer in its perfection, which is contemplation and adoration. Often, in more or less popular literature about prayer, we are told that prayer is an enthralling adventure.


What then is fasting for us Christians? It is our entrance and participation in that experience of Christ Himself by which He liberates us from the total dependence on food, matter, and the world. By no means is our liberation a full one. Living still in the fallen world, in the world of the Old Adam, being part of it, we still depend on food. But just as our death—through which we still must pass—has