Saint Sophia Cathedral
Online Resources for our Religious Edification
Topic of the Week –
Words of Encouragement for Orthodox Christians
Saint Thaddeus the New Hieromartyr expressed during his persecution and imprisonment how it is a great time to be a Christian:
“For us, it is now the Christian era. Not sorrow but joy should fill our souls. Now our souls should open for the exploit and sacrifice. Do not be discouraged. Christ is with us after all.” – New Hieromartyr Thaddeus
“Certain people often become overwhelmingly depressed by the state of the world. They are vexed when they see that the will of God is not done today by others and themselves and they suffer with the physical and psychological pain of others. This sensitivity is a gift from God…[it] cannot be corrected. This sensitivity can only be transformed, altered and transfigured so as to become love, joy, and worship. How? By turning every sorrow into knowledge of Christ, love of Christ, and worship of Christ. And Christ, Who constantly waits with eagerness to help us, will give you His grace and His strength to transform sorrow into joy, into love for our fellows and worship of Him. Thus darkness will flee. Remember Saint Paul. What did he say? ‘Now I rejoice in my sufferings.’ ” -Saint Porphyrios, Wounded by Love: The Life and the Wisdom of Elder Porphyrios“Let not us, who would be Christians, expect anything else from it than to be crucified. For to be Christian is to be crucified, in this time and in any time since Christ came for the first time. His life is the example — and warning — to us all. We must be crucified personally, mystically; for through crucifixion is the only path to resurrection. If we would rise with Christ, we must first be humbled with Him — even to the ultimate humiliation, being devoured and spit forth by the uncomprehending world. And we must be crucified outwardly, in the eyes of the world; for Christ’s Kingdom is not of this world, and the world cannot bear it, even a single representative of it, even for a single moment. The world can only accept Antichrist, now or at any time. No wonder then, that it is hard to be a Christian — it is not hard, it is impossible. No one can knowingly accept a way of life which, the more truly it is lived, leads the more surely to one’s own destruction. And that is why we constantly rebel, try to make life easier, try to be half-Christian, try to make the best of both worlds We must ultimately choose — our felicity lies in one world or the other, not in both. God give us the strength to pursue the path to crucifixion; there is no other way to be Christian.” — Eugene Rose (who later became Fr. Seraphim) from his journal as printed in the biography Father Seraphim Rose: His Life and Works by Hieromonk Damascene
A fish that is alive swims against the flow of water. One that is dead floats down with the water. A true Christian goes against the current of sinful age. A false one is swept away by its swiftness.” + St. Philaret of Moscow, Orthodox Life Vol. 63 No. 3 May-June 2012
Which fish are Orthodox Christians like? I wonder what it means to be a ‘dead’ Christian. I wonder how we can make sure our Christian life is ‘alive’.
salmon swimming upstream, against the flow of water!
Watch Wild Alaskan Salmon swimming upstream – YouTube and see the salmon successfully swim up, against the flow of water at 1:01 minutes. What strength and perseverance they must have! How can we as Christians be like them in our lives? Who do we have helping us?
Middle School:“A time is coming when men will go mad, and when they see someone who is not mad, they will attack him, saying, ‘You are mad; you are not like us.’” + St. Anthony the Great, The Sayings of the Desert Fathers: The Alphabetical Collection
It is sometimes difficult to believe and prioritize things (i.e., family, God) that others do not, or behave in ways others do not (i.e, fasting, prayer, attending Liturgy). What are some issues in today’s world that men have gone ‘mad’ (crazy) about? What is the Orthodox view on these issues? How can we keep to the Orthodox view and not succumb to the craziness?
Do the words below from Fr. Seraphim Rose help you? What concrete things can you as an Orthodox Christian do to be living on your ‘own island’ in a ‘different world’?High School:“Do not be afraid because of your Orthodoxy. Because as an Orthodox Christian in the West, you will often be isolated and always in a small minority. Do not make compromises but do not attack other Christians. Be neither defensive nor aggressive. Simply be yourself. – St. Amphilochios of Patmos
“Orthodox Christians, surrounded by and already swimming in a sea of humanist-worldly philosophy and practice, must do everything possible to create their own islands, in that sea, of other-worldly, God-oriented thought and practice…[The] psychological trials of dwellers in the last times will equal the physical trials of the martyrs. But in order to face these trials we must be living in a different world.” – Fr. Seraphim Rose
May Christ, Panagia and the Saints guide, encourage and protect us!
A Message from Maria Spanos
I am passionate about our Orthodox Christian faith and seek to help others learn as much as they can about it. My purpose here is to share online resources that help strengthen our relationship with Christ and bind us closer to His Church. I believe they are invaluable in learning about our precious Orthodox Tradition, and are a great aid for teaching family members, friends and others about Orthodoxy. ~Maria
Two of my favorite quotes:
“A true Christian behaves in this life so that it may be a preparation for the future one and not only a life here below. In his actions, he does not think what will be said of him here but of what will be said there in heaven; he represents to himself that he is always in the presence of God, of the angels and all the saints, and remembers that someday they will bear witness of his thoughts, words, and deeds.” — Saint John of Kronstadt
“Of all the holy works, the education of children is the most holy.”
— St. Theophan the Recluse