How Good Is Your Will? Part Two of the Ontological Model

By Fr. Stephen Freeman, August 16, 2016  Suppose I give you a bicycle for the convenience of travel. Suppose, however, that the bicycle is broken: flat tires, missing spokes, a chain that slips frequently. Nevertheless, you figure out a way to make it go. The ride is bumpy and you often have to stop and fix the chain. You fear that one day the wheels will just come apart as the spokes yield to the

Journey Through Darkness

By Fr John Breck, November 1, 2007 The disclosure that Mother Teresa spent long years of agony, unable to sense the presence of God, led many people to doubt the sincerity of her public writings and the genuineness of her vocation. Was she a saint, or merely someone like ourselves? Or maybe both? Any doubts that Mother Teresa of Calcutta was a true saint, a genuinely holy person, have been amply, if ironically, dispelled by

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

Holy Transfiguration. The Scandal of the Transfiguration

By Fr. Stephen Freeman, August 5, 2019  My Archbishop (Alexander Golitzin) shares the story of a young man whom he taught some years ago. He was Orthodox from Estonia. He grew up in the Soviet era and had come to hate all things Russian, including the Orthodox Church. Nevertheless, he saw an Orthodox procession in the streets of his city one year, a procession that included the Russian bishop (whom he also hated and believed

Pentecost Sunday: Pentecost Is Not the Church’s Birthday

By Fr. Stephen Freeman, May 28, 2018 It is a commonplace in some circles to celebrate Pentecost as the Church’s “Birthday.” It is well-intentioned, perhaps even true in some sense, but tends to render the Church as something it is not. St. Paul calls the Church the “pillar and ground of truth.” The sort of institutional concept that would mark some date in 33 AD as a founding date (like the founding of Rome or

A Deadly Communion

By Fr. Stephen Freeman, January 16, 2017  Habits are hard things to break. I quit smoking almost 30 years ago (cold turkey). It was more than difficult and came only after many failed attempts. But, in many ways, such a habit is among the easier to deal with. Far more difficult, and far more deadly, are the habitual patterns of human interaction that mark our lives. They are the single most important source of anxiety,

The Secular Mind versus the Whole Heart

By Fr. Stephen Freeman, July 19, 2016 Thinking is among the most misleading things in the modern world, or, to be more precise, thinking about thinking is misleading. For a culture that puts such a great emphasis on materiality, our thinking about thought is decidedly spooky. The philosophy underlying our strangely-constructed modernity is called nominalism (of which there are many formal varieties). It’s imaginary construct of the world consists of decidedly separate objects, united only by our

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 Mystery of Pascha – Expanded

By Fr. Stephen Freeman, April 9, 2010  I have, on occasion, edited and reissued a post – though not as quickly as this one. My post from earlier this week seemed to want a few more words – something to draw the reader closer to the mystery itself. I offer this small addition and pray it is of some use. In his Revelation, St. John describes Christ as the “Lamb slain from the foundation of

The Sixth Friday of Great Lent: An Atonement of Shame – Orthodoxy and the Cross

By Fr. Stephen Freeman, March 6, 2017 Some decades ago in my early (Anglican) priesthood, a parishioner brought a crucifix back from South America. The question for me as a priest was whether I would accept the crucifix as a gift and place it in the Church. I like crucifixes, my taste was always towards the Catholic direction. But, you have to bear in mind that Spanish/Latin crucifixes have a tendency to be, well, rather