Figures of the Nativity—The Angels

By Fr. Stavros Akrotirianakis, December 7, 2018 If we can supposedly find ourselves in all the figures of the Nativity, how can we possibly be angels? The answer is simple. What is the role of an angel? Well, there are two roles actually—Angels praise God, and angels are God’s messengers, and we are capable of doing both. How do we praise God? Well, the same way the angels did. With our voices. We praise God

A Word on What Matters

By Fr. Stephen Freeman, June 3, 2015 I began writing this blog in October of 2006. Printed below is the second article that I wrote. I have reprinted it from time to time, as much for my sake as anything. When I wrote it, almost no one was reading the blog. It was simply a reminder not to take myself too seriously. With around a million views a year these days, it’s tempting to think

Holiness Means “Set Apart”

By Fr. Stavros Akrotirianakis, June 2, 2018 The word we use in the Greek language for “saint” is agios for male saints and Agia for female saints.  Agios means “holy” and “holy” means “set apart.”  The “saints” or the “holy ones” are those who strived in their lives to put God first in all things.  They “set apart” the relationship with the Lord and put it ahead of everything else. The decision to strive for holiness isn’t easy, and it

Praying the Psalms

By Fr. Stavros Akrotirianakis, June 1, 2018 There is a reason why I end many of these reflections quoting the Psalms.  This is because the Psalms read as prayers, many of which are appropriate to use as our personal prayers.  One piece of advice I have given many times is for people to read through the book of Psalms (read one a day – it will take you five months) and then in a notebook,

“Showing Up” to Pray

By Fr. Stavros Akrotirianakis, May 31, 2108 My Spiritual Father (the priest who I go to confession to, who also serves as a mentor and confidant) has taught me many things over the years.  One phrase he has used that I always try to remember, in prayer, worship and other things is: “Eighty percent of life is just showing up.”  In other words, eighty percent of the effort we make in doing something is just showing up. 

Prayer of the Heart in an Age of Technology and Distraction, Part 3

By Fr. Maximos (Constas) Man is a creature of great depth, created by God, but after the Fall we are easily distracted from the depths, being enamored with mere surface appearances. What in our world today serves to distract us from the depths, and what can we do about it? It’s hard not to hark back to the saint of the day—Isidore of Pelusium, for a very famous quote that merits repeating. Despite that he

“Pros-Efhi” – Towards a Blessing

By Fr. Stavros Akrotirianakis Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places. Ephesians 1:3 The word for “prayer” in Greek is “Prosefhi,” which literally means “to” or “toward” (pros) a “blessing” (efhi).  So, one way to look at prayer is that it involves receiving the blessing of God over a person, an activity, a day, etc. One way to

The Greatest Prayer there is.

By Fr. Stavros Akrotirianakis The GREATEST prayer that there is, is the Divine Liturgy.  There is no higher expression of prayer.  For at the climax of this prayer is the Eucharist, is receiving Christ Himself.  No other expression of prayer affords us this.  However, the Divine Liturgy is very dry without a personal life of prayer.  The Divine Liturgy should be the crown of a week of private prayer. I like watching documentaries and reading

Prayer of the Heart in an Age of Technology and Distraction, Part 1

By Fr. Maximos (Constas) I was intrigued by the organic connections that the feast of the Presentation which we’re still celebrating and obviously of the Mother of God with the Crucifixion and Resurrection, largely through the prophecy of Symeon, who at this remarkable moment in the Temple says that this Child is a sign that will be spoken against and is set for the rising and falling of many in Israel, and turning to the Theotokos he

Prayer: The Need for Intentional Silence

By Fr. Stavros Akrotirianakis, May 23, 2018 We all know the externals of prayer.  Many people also pray in front of icons.  Today’s reflection is about the need for intentional silence. Before we can encounter God, there is a necessity for silence and stillness.  You might be wondering “it is not silent when we worship,” so does there need to be silence in order to encounter God?  There has to be a sense of stillness,