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Falling Asleep of St. John the Theologian

By Fr. Nicholas Belcher Today, the Holy Orthodox Church commemorates the repose of the Holy Apostle and Evangelist, St. John the Theologian. As we learn from the Holy Gospels, St. John, one of the sons of Zebedee, was called by Christ to abandon his fishing nets to become a fisher of men and a son of thunder. Saint John became one of the twelve apostles, and despite his being – according to tradition – the youngest,

Nikitas the Great-Martyr

The Great-Martyr Nikitas, whom we venerate today, was a Germanic warrior from the Þerving tribe of the Western Goths, which at that time lived in the Danube Basin in what is now Romania and Serbia. At the time in which the Great-Martyr lived, the Goths were coming under severe pressure from the Huns. A civil war between two rival þiudanōs (chieftains), Friþugairns and Aþanareiks, was brewing – partially in response to the urgency of the Hunnish pressures, and partially in response to the

The Nativity of the Theotokos

MOST HOLY THEOTOKOS, SAVE US! By Fr. John Breck, September 2, 2003 Orthodox Christians begin and end the liturgical year with celebrations dedicated to the Virgin Mary, whom we venerate as the Theotokos or “bearer of God.” On September 8, the end of the first week of the new year, we commemorate her Nativity or birth; on August 15, we close the year with the feast of her Dormition, her “falling asleep” and translation to

Holistic Faith

Published by Lea Povozhaev, March 13, 2017 The term holistic means working with nature rather than against it. And faith is belief that calls one to act. When we cooperate with God, His mercy becomes more apparent to us. God’s mercy enables one to fathom the natural meaning of life: belonging to Jesus Christ. One’s will to accept God fosters more wholeness in a person’s life, and an individual becomes more well—body, mind, and soul.

The Dormition

Sermon preached by Fr. Antony Hughes on Sunday, August 15, 2021. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, One God Amen. Glory to Jesus Christ. The scripture readings today are extremely significant and apropos to the day. Saint Paul’s talking about self-emptying: the Kenosis of Jesus Christ, who came to the world, giving up all His divine prerogative to become one of us and save us in

Beneath Her Compassion

By Fr. Stephen Freeman, November 19, 2016  Among the greater mysteries of the New Testament are those surrounding the Mother of God. A large segment of modern Christianity has become tone deaf in this regard, a result of centuries of antagonism towards certain aspects of older tradition. It is a deafness that grieves my heart, primarily in that it represents a great gulf within the broader experience of the faith. A few years after my

Why a Fast for Dormition?

By Daniel Manzuk from The Word, June 2008 It would be a gross understatement to say that much has been written about the Feast of the Dormition of the Theotokos. Yet very little has been written about the fast that precedes it. Every Orthodox Christian is aware and generally knows the reason behind the fasts for Pascha and Christmas. But while they may know of the Dormition Fast, few follow it, and more than a

Mary: The Blessing of All Generations

By Fr. Stephen Freeman, December 14, 2021  In my childhood, it was not unusual to hear someone ask, “Who are your people?” It was a semi-polite, Southernism designed to elicit essential information about a person’s social background. The assumption was that you, at best, could only be an example of your “people.” It ignored the common individualism of the wider culture, preferring the more family or clan-centered existence of an older time. It was possible

[Nativity of] John the Baptist and Forerunner of the Lord

By Fr. Stephen Freeman, June 22, 2007  [Today is] the feast of the Nativity of the Forerunner of Christ – a feast noted around my household for also being the birthday of my wife (and of her brother). Thus we celebrate and are sometimes slightly distracted from the ecclesiastical meaning of the day. But a family cannot be faulted for the joy it takes in its mother, nor I in my spouse. But I want

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