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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! Let Us Rejoice and Be Glad!

Submitted by Fr. John Breck, May 2, 2009 Attributed by all of the extant manuscripts to St John Chrysostom, this little-known, pseudepigraphical homily from the fifth century focuses on “the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.”[1] It begins by summarizing various fruits of the resurrection in the lives of believers, then exhorts readers or listeners to assume conduct appropriate to the day of Holy Pascha. In the rhetorical style typical of the period, it stresses antitheses,

The Holy and Great Saturday: Knocking Down the Gates of Hell

By Fr. Stephen Freeman, May 1, 2021  The Swedish Lutheran theologian, Gustav Aulen, published a seminal work on the types of atonement theory in 1930 (Christus Victor). Though time and critical studies have suggested many subtler treatments of the question, no one has really improved on his insight. Especially valuable was his description of the “Classic View” of the atonement. This imagery, very dominant in the writings of the early Fathers and in the liturgical

The Fifth Tuesday of Great Lent. The Monastic Life: The Way of Perfection, Part I

Published by Pemptousia Partnership, June 16, 2015 By Prof. Georgios Mantzaridis With the advent of monasticism, a special way of life appeared in the Church, which however did not proclaim a new morality. The Church does not have one set of moral rules for the laity and another for monks, nor does it divide the faithful into classes according to their obligations towards God. The Christian life is the same for everyone. All Christians have in common

You Are Not Your Sin

By Fr. Stephen Freeman, March 24, 2016 Shame is powerful. Having begun writing on the topic, it is important to say more. The Tradition, particularly in the texts that discuss the spiritual life, contains many references to shame. In recent times, it has become a topic within the field of psychology and in the community surrounding recovery from drugs and alcohol. Strangely, it has been largely neglected in spiritual writing, even among the Orthodox. I

The Way of Shame and the Way of Thanksgiving

By Fr. Stephen Freeman, December 19, 2015  The language of “self-emptying” can have a sort of Buddhist ring. It sounds as we are referencing a move towards becoming a vessel without content – the non-self. Given our multicultural world, such a reference is understandable. It is, however, unfortunate and requires that we visit the true nature of Christian self-emptying. Our self-emptying is deeply tied to shame and the Crucified Christ. As a touchstone, I cite

The Saturday Before the Feast of Pentecost

On the Saturday before Pentecost we commemorate all departed pious Christians, with the idea that the occasion of the coming of the Holy Spirit not only consists of the economy of the salvation of man, but that the departed also participate in this salvation. Therefore, the Holy Church, sending up prayers on Pentecost for the enlivening of all the living through the Holy Spirit, petitions for grace of the Holy Spirit also for the departed,

Three Guiding Lights of Truth Faith

By Very Rev. Stephen Rogers, from The Word, January 2001 As the month of January draws to a close, the Church calls us on the 30th to celebrate the Feast of the Three Holy Hierarchs: St. Basil the Great, St. Gregory the Theologian and St. John Chrysostom. In celebrating these three great teachers of the Church, the Church in its hymnody refers to them as “harps of the Spirit,” “rays of light,” “scented flowers of Paradise,”

Saint Athanasius the Great, Patriarch of Alexandria

Saint Athanasius the Great, Archbishop of Alexandria, was a great Father of the Church and a pillar of Orthodoxy. He was born around the year 297 in the city of Alexandria into a family of pious Christians. He received a fine secular education, but he acquired more knowledge by diligent study of the Holy Scripture. In his childhood, the future hierarch Athanasius became known to Saint Alexander the Patriarch of Alexandria (May 29). A group

Remembering the End

By Fr. Stephen Freeman, August 4, 2016 Orthodox Christianity often seems inherently conservative. The unyielding place that tradition holds within its life seems ready-made for a conservative bulwark against a world all-too-ready to forget everything that is good or beautiful. There are subtle but important distinctions that make this treatment of Orthodoxy misleading and can lead to the distortion of the faith and an almost reverse image of our true salvation. Orthodox Christianity does not