Saint John Orthodox Cathedral

Eagle River, Alaska

Antiochian Archdiocese

One Accord

Excerpts from Christian writers Past and Present

November 22,2022

On the Gospel for the Feast of the Entrance of the Theotokos into the Temple: 'Blessed is the womb that bore you...' - Christ has made for all of us us a wide way to this same blessedness, and not only women, but men also may tread it. It is not the intense pain of giving birth that makes such a mother blessed; it is this: the way of obedience. - St. John Chrysostom

November 14,2022

Do not say to yourself: ‘I am no priest or monk; I have a wife and children. This is a work for the priests; this is work for the monks.’ The Good Samaritan did not say: ‘Where are the priests now? Where are the Pharisees now? Where are the teachers of the Jews?’ But the Samaritan is like a man who found some great store of booty and got the profit. Therefore, when you see someone in need of treatment for some ailment of the body or soul, do not say to yourself: ‘Why did so-and-so or so-and-so not take care of him?’ You free him from his sickness; do not demand an accounting from others for their negligence.. - St. John Chrysostom

November 03,2022

Guard your mind from evil thoughts concerning your neighbors, knowing that the demons put them there, aiming to blind you to your own sins and prevent you from directing yourself toward God. - St. Elias the Egyptian

October 26,2022

When any man comes into the presence of God he will find, whether he wishes it or not, that all those things which seemed to make him so different from all the men of other times, or even from his earlier self, have fallen off him. He is back where he always was, where every man always is…No possible complexity which we can give to our picture of the universe can hide us from God: there is no copse, no forest, no jungle thick enough to provide cover…In the twinkling of an eye, in a time too small to be measured, and in any place, all that seems to divide us from God can flee away, vanish, leaving us naked before Him, like the first man, like the only man, as if nothing but He and I existed. And since the contact cannot be avoided for long and since it means either bliss or horror, the business of life is to learn to like it. That is the first and greatest commandment. - C.S. lewis, from God in the Dock

October 20,2022

Reverence with all the powers of your soul all the sacraments, and say to yourself in respect to every sacrament before the celebration or the communion of it: 'This is God's mystery. I myself am only the unworthy witness or partaker of it.' - St. John of Kronstadt

October 04,2022

The Long Silence - At the end of time, billions of people were seated on a great plain before God's throne. Most shrank back from the brilliant light before them. But some groups near the front talked heatedly, not cringing with cringing shame - but with belligerence. 'Can God judge us? How can He know about suffering?', snapped a pert young brunette. She ripped open a sleeve to reveal a tattooed number from a Nazi concentration camp. 'We endured terror ... beatings ... torture ... death!' In another group a Negro boy lowered his collar. 'What about this?' he demanded, showing an ugly rope burn. 'Lynched, for no crime but being black!' In another crowd there was a pregnant schoolgirl with sullen eyes: 'Why should I suffer?' she murmured. 'It wasn't my fault.' Far out across the plain were hundreds of such groups. Each had a complaint against God for the evil and suffering He had permitted in His world. How lucky God was to live in Heaven, where all was sweetness and light. Where there was no weeping or fear, no hunger or hatred. What did God know of all that man had been forced to endure in this world? For God leads a pretty sheltered life, they said. So each of these groups sent forth their leader, chosen because he had suffered the most. A Jew, a negro, a person from Hiroshima, a horribly deformed arthritic, a thalidomide child. In the centre of the vast plain, they consulted with each other. At last they were ready to present their case. It was rather clever. Before God could be qualified to be their judge, He must endure what they had endured. Their decision was that God should be sentenced to live on earth as a man. Let him be born a Jew. Let the legitimacy of his birth be doubted. Give him a work so difficult that even his family will think him out of his mind. Let him be betrayed by his closest friends. Let him face false charges, be tried by a prejudiced jury and convicted by a cowardly judge. Let him be tortured. At the last, let him see what it means to be terribly alone. Then let him die so there can be no doubt he died. Let there be a great host of witnesses to verify it. As each leader announced his portion of the sentence, loud murmurs of approval went up from the throng of people assembled. When the last had finished pronouncing sentence, there was a long silence. No one uttered a word. No one moved. For suddenly, all knew that God had already served His sentence. (Poem shared by Jim Stamoolis at LOI Conference, written c. 1985, author unknown.

September 27,2022

A saint does not shine outwardly. All of his riches are within, in his soul. A peasant came from afar to the monastery to see St. Sergius. When he asked the monks for the abbot, they told him he was working in the garden. The peasant went to the garden, and there saw a man in poor, ragged clothes, digging like any other peasant on a farm. The peasant returned to the monastery dissatisfied, thinking that the monks had made fun of him. So, to make things clear, he asked again for the glorious holy father, Sergius. Just then, Sergius returned to the monastery, and welcomed the peasant, serving him at the table. The saint saw into the heart of his guest, and knew the low opinion he had of his appearance. He consoled him by promising that he would see Sergius in a little while. A prince and his boyars then arrived at the monastery, and they all bowed low to St. Sergius, and asked his blessing. The monks then removed the peasant from the room in order to make room for the new guests. In amazement the peasant looked on from a distance, to see that the one he had sought had been nearby all the time. The peasant rebuked himself for his ignorance, and was greatly ashamed. When the prince departed, the peasant quickly approached the saint, fell at his feet and began to beg his forgiveness. The great saint embraced him and said to him: ‘Do not grieve, my son, for you are the only one who knew the truth about me, considering me to be nothing–while others were deluded, taking me for something great.' - Prologue of Ohrid

September 16,2022

What happens when the risen Christ on the first Easter Sunday appears to his disciples? Christ says first to the disciples, 'Peace be unto you.' The first thing that Christ speaks after rising from the dead is peace. Then what does he do? He shows them his hands and his side. Why does he do that? For recognition. Yes, to show that here he is, the one whom they saw three days before crucified; here he is, risen from the dead in the same body in which he suffered and died. But there’s surely more to it than that. What he is doing is showing that, though he is risen from the dead, yet he still bears upon him the marks of his suffering. In the heart of the risen and glorified Christ, there is still a place for our human suffering. When Christ rises from the dead and ascends into heaven, he does not disengage himself from this broken world. On the contrary, he still carries on his body the marks of his suffering and he carries in his heart all our burdens. When he says before his ascension, 'See I am with you, even to the end of the world,' surely he means, 'I am with you in your distress and in your suffering.' Glorified, he is still with us. He has not rejected our suffering, nor disassociated himself from us. - Metropolitan Kallistos Ware

September 05,2022

The isolated individual is not a real person. A real person is one who lives in and for others. And the more personal relationships we form with others, the more we truly realize ourselves as persons. It has even been said that there could be no true person unless there are two, entering into communication with one another. - Metropolitan Kallistos Ware

September 01,2022

We see that it is not the task of Christianity to provide easy answers to every question, but to make us progressively aware of a mystery. God is not so much the object of our knowledge as the cause of our wonder. - Metropolitan Kallistos Ware

August 23,2022

Imagine you are in a small boat coming up to the shore. You use a boat hook to catch the shore and pull. Do you pull the shore towards you or do you pull the boat to the shore? Prayer is not pulling God to our will. It is the aligning of our will to the will of God. This is why we pray, it is a surrender to the will of God and a cooperation with that will. - C.S. Lewis

August 16,2022

The Orthodox faith is acquired, strengthened, and maintained chiefly by means of liturgical worship. Liturgical worship is properly considered to be the best school for teaching faith and morals, for it acts abundantly and salutarily on all the powers and capacities of the soul. But if worship is to accomplish all this, then all the faithful must participate in it directly, consciously, actively. - Bp. Nazarius of Nizhni-Novgorod

August 09,2022

I became a traveler in the world of chronic illness, a pilgrimage route far more trafficked than the roads to Canterbury, Santiago de Compostela or Jerusalem…. The essence of pilgrimage is becoming more aware of the presence of God no matter where you are. This could happen in the most ordinary and familiar location – at the kitchen sink, in a bus, in a supermarket or in a parking lot. It could happen in a hospital dialysis ward. Pilgrimage is a way of living daily life wherever daily life requires you to be. For those on a quest for the Kingdom of God, no passport is required. If you happen to be sick the best place to meet God is here and now in that sickness. What a laugh! I had been writing about pilgrimage without being aware that the situation I so desperately wanted to avoid and whose demands on me I so deeply resented and resisted could do more for me than walking 1000 miles in prayer to the place of Jesus’ resurrection in Jerusalem. - Jim Forest, Reflecting on Beginning Dialysis in 2006, † January 13, 2022

August 05,2022

Always a Psalm on the lips, always Christ in the heart. - Ancient Benedictine Saying'

July 28,2022

Before her death, and in the presence of her brother, St. Gregory of Nyssa, the Venerable Macrina lifted up her prayers to God: 'You, O Lord, Who gives rest to our bodies in the sleep of death for a time, will again awaken them [the bodies] at the last trump. Forgive me and when my soul divests itself of its bodily attire and presents itself before You, pure and without sin, grant that it may be as incense before You.'- Saint Macrina

July 12,2022

There is only one way into the Kingdom of Heaven, and that is the very way that Jesus Christ went when He lived on earth. – Bishop INNOCENT, Bishop of Kamchatka, the Kurilian and Aleutian Islands

July 06,2022

The crown of all good works consists in this: that a man place all his hope in God; that he finds recourse in Him once and for all with his heart and strength; that he be filled with compassion for all and weep before God, imploring His help and mercy. - St. Isaiah the Solitary

July 06,2022

Let . - C.S. Lewis - The Problem of Pain

June 20,2022

The problem of reconciling human suffering with the existence of a God who loves, is only insoluble so long as we attach a trivial meaning to the word ‘love’, and look on things as if man were the centre of them. Man is not the centre. God does not exist for the sake of man. Man does not exist for his own sake. ‘Thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created’ [Revelation 4:11]. We were made not primarily that we may love God (though we were made for that too) but that God may love us, that we may become objects in which the Divine love may rest ‘well pleased’. To ask that God’s love should be content with us as we are is to ask that God should cease to be God: because He is what He is, His love must, in the nature of things, be impeded and repelled, by certain stains in our present character, and because He already loves us He must labour to make us lovable. - C.S. Lewis - The Problem of Pain

June 20,2022

O Lord, there is no death for Your servants when we depart from the body and return to You, our God, passing over from things that are most sorrowful unto things that are most wholesome and delightful, and into repose and joyfulness. -- Third Kneeling Prayer, Pentecost Vespers

June 14,2022

O Lord, there is no death for Your servants when we depart from the body and return to You, our God, passing over from things that are most sorrowful unto things that are most wholesome and delightful, and into repose and joyfulness. -- Third Kneeling Prayer, Pentecost Vespers

June 06,2022

Our wounds, no matter what they are, do not shut us out of the Kingdom. We must, however, offer those wounds to Him, opening them to the healing light of His gracious divine energies. When they are the results of our sins, we must confess and repent in humility. When they are not, we must learn to make them points of contact for ascending with Christ in holiness. That requires that we learn to see what our wounds reveal about our lives, our relationships, and our world, no matter how difficult that is. We then can make them entrances into heavenly glory when they become opportunities to grow in 'love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.' (Gal. 5:22-23) By offering even our darkest struggles to the Lord, we will ascend with Him to personal participation in His healing of our humanity. -- Fr. Phillip LeMasters - Homily Sunday after Ascension 2017

May 31,2022

Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on: you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently he starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of—throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were going to be made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself. -- C.S. Lewis - Mere Christianity

May 31,2022

Firmly believe that the Lord is at all times everything to you. During prayer He is the power and the fulfillment in the Holy Spirit of each of your words. During pious conversation He is your living water, the ardent flow of your words at all times. He is everything to you. Be free from care in the presence of your Lord. He has enclosed you with Himself upon all sides. He penetrates you wholly and knows all your thoughts, all your needs and inclinations, and if you live in Him with faith and love, then no evil shall befall you. 'The Lord is at hand; be careful for nothing' (Phil. 4:6). -- St. John of Kronstadt

May 24,2022

Firmly believe that the Lord is at all times everything to you. During prayer He is the power and the fulfillment in the Holy Spirit of each of your words. During pious conversation He is your living water, the ardent flow of your words at all times. He is everything to you. Be free from care in the presence of your Lord. He has enclosed you with Himself upon all sides. He penetrates you wholly and knows all your thoughts, all your needs and inclinations, and if you live in Him with faith and love, then no evil shall befall you. 'The Lord is at hand; be careful for nothing' (Phil. 4:6). -- St. John of Kronstadt

May 21,2022

In order to fulfill the commandments of Christ, you must know them. They are expounded in the Gospels. Read the Holy Gospels, penetrate its spirit, make it the rule of your life, act in accord with the teachings of the Gospels. This is the one light in our life. – St. Nikon of Optina

April 26,2022

This is the day of Resurrection; let us be radiant, O people: Pascha, the Lord’s Pascha, for from death to life, and from earth to heaven has Christ our God led us, as we sing the song of victory. - Paschal Matins Canon - Ode 1

April 26,2022

So let us spread before his feet, not garments or soulless olive branches, which delight the eye for a few hours and then wither, but ourselves, clothed in his grace, or rather, clothed completely in him. We who have been baptized into Christ must ourselves be the garments that we spread before him. Now that the crimson stains of our sins have been washed away in the saving waters of baptism and we have become white as pure wool, let us present the conqueror of death, not with mere branches of palms but with the real rewards of his victory. Let our souls take the place of the welcoming branches as we join today in the children's holy song: Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Blessed is the king of Israel. - Saint Andrew, Bishop of Crete - 8th century

April 18,2022

So let us spread before his feet, not garments or soulless olive branches, which delight the eye for a few hours and then wither, but ourselves, clothed in his grace, or rather, clothed completely in him. We who have been baptized into Christ must ourselves be the garments that we spread before him. Now that the crimson stains of our sins have been washed away in the saving waters of baptism and we have become white as pure wool, let us present the conqueror of death, not with mere branches of palms but with the real rewards of his victory. Let our souls take the place of the welcoming branches as we join today in the children's holy song: Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Blessed is the king of Israel. - Saint Andrew, Bishop of Crete - 8th century

April 11,2022

The word of salvation gently touched the eyes of my heart and revealed to me that it was my unclean life which barred the entrance to me. I began to weep and lament and beat my breast, and to sigh from the depths of my heart. - Saint Mary of Egypt, Celebration of Life

April 06,2022

Yes, God reveals Himself to people: He reveals Himself in nature, in history, and finally in life: in the appearance and teaching of one man[Jesus Christ], in one event unique in its meaning and unlike any other. But He reveals Himself in such a way that each person is free to accept this revelation, to experience it as his own salvation, as the highest purpose and ultimate joy of his life; but he is just as free not to see, not to discern, God's revelation, to reject it. In believing in a God who looks for a person's free response to His revelation, to His love, Christianity affirms the person's freedom, or more accurately, there person as a free being. - Fr. Alexander Schmemann, Celebration of Life, v. 1, pg. 49,50

March 29,2022

As, then, the creatures whom He had created reasonable, like the Word, were in fact perishing, and such noble works were on the road to ruin, what then was God, being Good, to do? Was He to let corruption and death have their way with them?... For this purpose, then, the incorporeal and incorruptible and immaterial Word of God entered our world. Saint Athanasius, On the Incarnation

March 21,2022

…Faith surely is the mysterious certitude that what Christ did and said, He did for me, He told me; that neither time nor space can separate Him from me, that nothing separates Him from me except my little faith, my forgetfulness, my innumerable betrayals…. Still, in our world, so far removed from faith, it is difficult to break through to this experience of faith; it is so very hard to speak about it ‘from the heart.’ In my thirty years of priesthood I have come to understand that the most difficult thing in the world is to speak of what is simplest and most essential. It is much easier to state someone else’s opinion, to depend on someone else’s experience, to speak with someone else’s words. And how hard it is to speak from one heart to another. - Fr. Alexander Schmemann - Celebration of Faith, pages 17,18

March 15,2022

The things he says are very different from what any other teacher has said. Others say, ‘This is the truth about the universe. This is the way you ought to go,’ but He says, ‘I am the Truth, and the Way, and the Life.’ He says, ‘No man can reach absolute reality, except through Me. Try to retain your own life and you will be inevitably ruined. Give yourself away and you will be saved. He says, ‘If you are ashamed of Me, if, when you hear this call, you turn the other way, I also will look the other way when I come again as God without disguise. If anything whatever is keeping you from God and from me, whatever it is, throw it away. If it is your eye, pull it out. If it is your hand, cut it off. If you put yourself first you will be last. Come to Me everyone who is carrying a heavy load, I will set that right. Your sins, all of them, are wiped out, I can do that. I am Re-birth, I am Life. Eat ME, drink Me, I am your Food. And finally, do not be afraid, I have overcome the whole Universe.’ That is the issue. - C.S. Lewis - What are We to Make of Jesus Christ?

March 06,2022

On the Rite of Forgiveness - One may ask, however: Why should I perform this rite when I have no 'enemies?' Why should I ask forgiveness from people who have done nothing to me, and whom I hardly know? To ask these questions is to misunderstand the Orthodox teaching concerning forgiveness. It is true that open enmity, personal hatred, real animosity may be absent from our life, though if we experience them, it may be easier for us to repent, for these feelings openly contradict Divine commandments. But the Church reveals to us that there are much subtler ways of offending Divine Love. These are indifference, selfishness, lack of interest in other people, of any real concern for them—in short, that wall which we usually erect around ourselves, thinking that by being 'polite' and 'friendly' we fulfill God’s commandments. The rite of forgiveness is so important precisely because it makes us realize—be it only for one minute—that our entire relationship to other men is wrong, makes us experience that encounter of one child of God with another, of one person created by God with another, makes us feel that mutual 'recognition' which is so terribly lacking in our cold and dehumanized world. – Fr. Alexander Schmemann, Great Lent

February 27,2022

Fasting is an admirable thing, but it is more admirable to forgive insults. Through fasting a man is preparing for charity, but by forgiving insults, a man shows charity. Fasting precedes forgiveness, but fasting alone does not save without forgiveness. – St. Nicholai of Zica

February 13,2022

Faith is not an intellectual calculation, but neither is it simply religious emotion which is here for a moment and then perhaps evaporates and is gone. Faith is the encounter, the real encounter between what is deepest in a person – that thirst which is so distinctly a part of him, and that toward which his thirst is directed – even if he doesn’t know what it is.… Saint Augustine was the one who spoke best about this… ‘You made us for yourself, Lord, and our hearts are restless until the rest of you.’ - Father Alexander schmemann, celebration of faith, volume one, page 22

February 01, 2022

Humble people have no needless or petty quarrels with others, because they have no egocentric desires to always have their own way. They are not self-seeking; for they know that it is God’s will, not their own, that they should strive for. Therefore, humility naturally brings with it unity, both with God and with our fellows. -- His Eminence, Metropolitan JOSEPH

January 24,2022

Do not establish your previously committed sins in your soul by thinking about them so that they not be repeated in you. Be assured that they were forgiven you from the time that you gave yourself to God and to repentance. In that, do not doubt. - Saint Anthony the Great

January 19,2022

For the Orthodox, the people of God are a visibly structured community. The visible church and its equally visible communion are expressed through visible eucharistic fellowship and church leadership. When an Evangelical wishes to join the Orthodox Church, and an Orthodox priest recognizes as valid the previous baptism that was performed in the name of the Trinity; the Church is recognizing that person as already belonging to Christ even before being admitted formally to the Church. Bradley Nassif - The Evangelical Theology of the Orthodox Church, pg 255 and 258, SVS Press

January 04,2022

When you come to knowing God, the initiative lies on His side. If He does not show Himself, nothing you can do will enable you to find Him. And, in fact, He shows much more of Himself to some people than to others—not because He has favourites, but because it is impossible for Him to show Himself to a man whose whole mind and character are in the wrong condition. Just as sunlight, though it has no favourites, cannot be reflected in a dusty mirror as clearly as in a clean one. You can put this another way by saying that while in other sciences the instruments you use are things external to yourself (things like microscopes and telescopes), the instrument through which you see God is your whole self. And if a man’s self is not kept clean and bright, his glimpse of God will be blurred—like the Moon seen through a dirty telescope. That is why horrible nations have horrible religions: they have been looking at God through a dirty lens. C.S. Lewis - Mere Christianity

December 30,2021

Let no man's place, or dignity, or riches, puff him up; and let no man's low condition or poverty abase him. For the chief points are faith towards God, hope towards Christ, the enjoyment of those good things for which we look, and love towards God and our neighbor. - Saint Ignatius of Antioch, 2nd century Bishop and Martyr

Dec 22,2021

Let no man's place, or dignity, or riches, puff him up; and let no man's low condition or poverty abase him. For the chief points are faith towards God, hope towards Christ, the enjoyment of those good things for which we look, and love towards God and our neighbor. - Saint Ignatius of Antioch, 2nd century Bishop and Martyr

Dec 13,2021

Just look around yourself each day and each hour; on whatever you see the seal of the commandment, carry it out immediately, in the belief that God Himself this very hour requires this work of you, and nothing else. Work at becoming even more strongly fixed in such thought. As soon as you have done so, peace will begin pouring into your heart from the belief that each moment you are working for the Lord. This beginning embraces everything. – Saint Theophan the Recluse

Dec 6,2021

The gloom of he world is but a shadow. Behind it, yet within our reach, is joy. – Fr. Giovanni Giocondo, an Italian monk and priest from the 15th century

Nov 29,2021

Blessed immortal King, kind heavenly Christ, who love mankind, 0nly-begotten Son of the living God. Almighty, exalted beyond understanding, beyond telling, who pardon us, awesome God: scold the undulating agitation of my soul, whipped up by the winter tempests. Calm the uncontrollable commotion in my troubled heart…. Subdue the wild urges of my mind. By the grace of your command, O great God, may the storm that constantly pelts me with icy gusts be calmed. Put to rest and banish forever the multi-headed ghosts of secret shame which attack like pirates in their vulgar ways. Consider my constant prayer, whose letters are written with ever-renewed compunction in this book of the sighs of my grieving heart. Lift me out of the abyss of death depths and grant me miraculous life among the redeemed prophets. Receive my repentance, my self-reproaches offered with savory incense. Console me for I am out of hope, and ease my afflictions and sighs. To You ,with the Father and the Holy Spirit glory, honor and dominion forever I meant. – Prayer by Saint Gregory of Narek, 11th century Armenian

Nov 22,2021

Even as we grow in prayer this Advent, we must remember that hearing the word of God and keeping it also has a lot to do with cleansing ourselves from all that is not holy, from all that does not belong in a temple. Thoughts, words, and deeds that we are ashamed to offer to Him for blessing should have no place in us. We should shut our eyes and ears to whatever inflames our passions… turn our attention away from thoughts of self-righteousness, anger, envy, and lust, and from all unholy temptations…. go out of our way to love and bless our enemies and those whom we are inclined to think the worst of…. become holy temples of the Lord by following the Theotokos’ example of purity and obedience as we grow in our participation in God’s holiness. That is why this season is a time for repentance, for confessing our sins in humility, for being assured of God’s forgiveness, and then getting ourselves back on the right course. ” – Fr. Philip Lemasters, Homily'

Nov 9,2021

It is an important but humbling lesson that the Church has learned during this time: namely, that religion must function and serve in connection with – and never in isolation from – science. Faith alone will not overcome the problems of our time; but the challenges of our time will certainly not be overcome without faith. Research and medicine are gifts from God; they supply answers to the question “how?” Faith and theology are also gifts from God; they provide responses to the question “Why?” – Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew speaking on environmental stewardship at the University of Notre Dame, October 28, 2021.'

Oct 30,2021

The king and persecutor took the child in his lap and asked him what he wanted most of all. He was very surprised to hear the little one say that he wanted to be a martyr like his mother. 'But what does being a martyr mean?' he asked him. 'It means dying for Christ so as to come alive again,' the child replied. 'But have you any idea who this Christ is?' 'Come to church and I'll show you,' the child responded with confidence, showing himself to be wiser than the aged of this world. - From the Acts of the martyr Arethas and those with him in Arabia, 6th century- Commemorated on October 24.'

Oct 26,2021

The king and persecutor took the child in his lap and asked him what he wanted most of all. He was very surprised to hear the little one say that he wanted to be a martyr like his mother. 'But what does being a martyr mean?' he asked him. 'It means dying for Christ so as to come alive again,' the child replied. 'But have you any idea who this Christ is?' 'Come to church and I'll show you,' the child responded with confidence, showing himself to be wiser than the aged of this world. - From the Acts of the martyr Arethas and those with him in Arabia, 6th century- Commemorated on October 24.'

Oct 22,2021

The things you received in trust as a stewardship, have you not appropriated them for yourself? Is not the person who strips another of clothing called a thief? And those who do not clothe the naked when they have the power to do so, should they not be called the same? The bread you are holding back is for the hungry, the clothes you keep put away are for the naked, the shoes that are rotting away with disuse are for those who have none, the silver you keep buried in the earth is for the needy. You are thus guilty of injustice toward as many as you might have aided, and did not. - Saint Basil of Caesarea, - 'I Will Tear Down My Barns.'

Oct 20,2021

The things you received in trust as a stewardship, have you not appropriated them for yourself? Is not the person who strips another of clothing called a thief? And those who do not clothe the naked when they have the power to do so, should they not be called the same? The bread you are holding back is for the hungry, the clothes you keep put away are for the naked, the shoes that are rotting away with disuse are for those who have none, the silver you keep buried in the earth is for the needy. You are thus guilty of injustice toward as many as you might have aided, and did not. - Saint Basil of Caesarea, - 'I Will Tear Down My Barns.'

Oct 10,2021

Do It Anyway - People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered. Forgive them anyway. If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. Be kind anyway. If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies. Succeed anyway. If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you. Be honest and sincere anyway. What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight. Create anyway. If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous. Be happy anyway. The good you do today, will often be forgotten. Do good anyway. Give the best you have, and it will never be enough. Give your best anyway. In the final analysis, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway. - This poem hung on the wall in the School of Mother Theresa of Calcutta. She adapted it slightly from the original poem by Kent Keith, a sophomore at Harvard, who wrote it in 1968, as for student leaders.

Oct 5,2021

...Several months ago, I asked my fellow hierarchs in the Assembly of Bishops to declare this the Year of Youth for Orthodox Christians in our land. I now write this encyclical to share some insights I have gleaned from praying and thinking about how we should respond to this great crisis of our time. I hope to begin a dialogue within our Archdiocese—a dialogue not about our youth but with our youth... One truth we must face head-on is that we cannot merely plan ourselves out of this crisis, by hiring a charismatic youth director, by designing the perfect curriculum, or by organizing some program, retreat, or sports tournament. These things are the icing on the cake, but they are not the cake itself. Our Archdiocese and our parish communities are not mere organizations or institutions but living temples where mankind is inducted into the powerful presence of God, in which we encounter the same Holy Spirit that descended as tongues of fire upon the disciples at Pentecost. - Encyclical of Metropolitan Joseph, September 17, 2021 (The full text can be found on the Resources page of our Cathedral website.)

Sep 27,2021

Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you too will abide in the Son and in the Father. And this is the promise that He made to us — eternal life.. - 1 John 2:24,25

Sep 20,2021

Today the Cross is exalted and the world is sanctified. For You Who are enthroned with the Father and the Spirit have spread your arms upon it, and drawn the world to the knowledge of You, O Christ. Make worthy of divine glory those who put their trust in You. The Cross is the guardian of the whole Church. The Cross is the beauty of the Church. The Cross is the strength of kings. The Cross is the support of the faithful. The Cross is the glory of angels, and the wounder of demons. -- Exapostilarion of the Feast of the Cross

Sep 16,2021

This is the wisdom and power of God: to be victorious through weakness, exalted through humility, rich through poverty. -- St. Gregory Palamas - Homily 11

Aug 30,2021

God wants to give us something, but cannot, because our hands are full—there’s nowhere for Him to put it. -- St. Augustine - City of God

Aug 23,2021

I believe that God really has dived down into the bottom of creation, and has come up bringing the whole redeemed nature on his shoulders. The miracles that have already happened are, of course, as Scripture so often says, the first fruits of that cosmic summer which is presently coming on. Christ has risen, and so we shall rise… To be sure, it feels wintry enough still: but often in the very early spring it feels like that. Two thousand years are only a day or two by this scale. A [person] really ought to say, ‘The Resurrection happened two thousand years ago’ in the same spirit in which he says, I saw a crocus yesterday.’ -- C.S. Lewis, Sermon 'The Grand Miracle'

Aug 16,2021

Complacency begins when we no longer see the gift of each new day, when we lose our gratitude for what we have been given. God gives us all things simply because He loves us, yet He lets us work for these things so we will appreciate them more. -- His Eminence, Metropolitan JOSEPH

Aug 11,2021

C.S. Lewis’s thoughts as an Anglican ‘On confession’ - I think our official view of confession can be seen in the form for the Visitation of the Sick where it says ‘Then shall the sick person be moved (i.e., advised, prompted) to make a . . . Confession . . . if he feel his conscience troubled with any weighty matter.’ That is, where Rome makes Confession compulsory for all, we make it permissible for any: not “generally necessary” but profitable. We do not doubt that there can be forgiveness without it. But, as your own experience shows, many people do not feel forgiven, i.e., do not effectively ‘believe in the forgiveness of sins,’ without it. The quite enormous advantage of coming really to believe in forgiveness is well worth the horrors (I agree, they are horrors) of a first confession. Also, there is the gain in self-knowledge: most of [us] have never really faced the facts about ourselves until we uttered them aloud in plain words, calling a spade a spade. I certainly feel I have profited enormously by the practice. At the same time I think we are quite right not to make it generally obligatory, which would force it on some who are not ready for it and might do harm. - C.S. Lewis, Collected Letters, V.III

Aug 3,2021

In essence, my body is my relationship to the world, to others; it is my life as communion and as mutual relationship. Without exception, everything in the body, in the human organism, is created for this relationship, for this communion, for this coming out of oneself. It is not an accident, of course, that love, the highest form of communion, finds its incarnation in the body; the body is that which sees, hears, feels, and thereby leads me out of the isolation of my I. Fr. Alexander Schmemann, 'O Death Where is Thy Sting?'

Jul 26,2021

Brothers and sisters in Christ, this is an opportune moment for the Church. We must resist the temptation to withdraw and lick our wounds. Instead, we must redouble our efforts to proclaim this powerful word of the gospel in a world that desperately needs it. We have already seen many new inquirers in our parishes, as this tumultuous time has led people to search for meaning and hope—a spiritual anchor to keep them safe in the chaotic storms of life. The overturning of the status quo has created an opportunity for people to break loose of materialistic and secular preoccupations, in order to find a better path to walk. We know that the Church has what they seek. So, we ought now to proclaim with even more gusto the way of Christ and the wisdom of the Fathers. Metropolitan Joseph, Address to Virtual Archdiocese Convention, July 24, 2021

Jul 12,2021

Say your prayers, and do your work. Have God always before your eyes. Whatever you do, do according to the Scripture, and whatever place you are, don’t leave that place easily. Cling to what is good and beautiful, as you understand it and with all your might. Then, expect and know for sure that you will be tempted to your very last breath. Saint Anthony the Great, 4th century

Jul 5,2021

Do not demand from me worthy fruits of repentance, for my strength has failed within me. Give me an ever-contrite heart and poverty of spirit, that I may offer these to You as an acceptable sacrifice, O only Savior. - Saint Andrew of Crete, July 4 - Canon of St. Andrew, Thursday, 9th ode

Jun 28,2021

There is one day for the passion of two apostles. But these two also were as one; although they suffered on different days, they were as one. Peter went first, Paul followed. We are celebrating a feast day, consecrated for us by the blood of the apostles. Let us love their faith, their lives, their labors, their sufferings, their confession of faith, their preaching. - Saint Augustine

Jun 21,2021

Behold, I stand before You with fear, and I cast the despair of my soul into the depth of Your mercy. Guide my life along Your ways, for You govern all creation by a word with the ineffable power of Your wisdom; show me the way in which I should walk, O tranquil Haven of those who are turbulently perplexed. Grant the Spirit of Your wisdom to my deliberations, giving the Spirit of understanding to my ignorance. With the Spirit of Your fear, overshadow my deeds and renew a steadfast spirit deeply within me. And with Your Sovereign Spirit, stabilize the indecisiveness of my thoughts, in order that being guided every day by Your gracious Spirit toward those things that are profitable for me, I may be deemed worthy to fulfill Your commandments. Let me be constantly aware of Your coming in glory when You will judge our deeds. Protect me from the corrupting pleasures of this world; strengthen me with the desire to strive for the treasures of the world to come. - Second 'Kneeling Prayer' at Vespers on Pentecost

Jun 14,2021

The body of the Word, then, being a real human body, in spite of its having been uniquely formed from a virgin, was of itself mortal and, like other bodies, liable to death. But the indwelling of the Word loosed it from this natural liability, so that corruption could not touch it. Thus is happened that two opposite marvels took place at once: the death of all was consummated in the Lord's body; yet, because the Word was in it, death and corruption were in the same act utterly abolished. - Saint Athanasius of Alexandria, On the Incarnation

Jun 7,2021

‘By judging others we blind ourselves to our own evil and to the grace which others are just as entitled to as we are.’ – The Cost of Discipleship ‘The Church is the Church only when it exists for others…not dominating, but helping and serving. It must tell men of every calling what it means to live for Christ, to exist for others.’ Letters and Papers from Prison - Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Jun 2,2021

Christians, instead of arming themselves with swords, extend their hands in prayer. - St. Athanasius of Alexandria.

May 20,2021

Just look around yourself each day and each hour; on whatever you see the seal of the commandment, carry it out immediately, in the belief that God Himself this very hour requires this work of you, and nothing else. Work at becoming even more strongly fixed in such thought. As soon as you have done so, peace will begin pouring into your heart from the belief that each moment you are working for the Lord. This beginning embraces everything. Even when you sew up the holes in your brother's socks, and you do it for the sake of the Lord's commandment to listen and help, this will be numbered among the God-pleasing works. - St. Theophan the Recluse.

May 10,2021

So, all of you, enter the joy of our Lord. One and all, enjoy your reward. Rich and poor, dance together. Ascetics and easy-goers, honor the day. You who have fasted and you who have not, be glad today and delight in the Lord. The table is full. Let all enjoy it. The food is ample. Let none go away hungry. Let all enjoy the banquet of faith, all enjoy the wealth of God’s goodness. - St. John Chrysostom - Paschal Homily, translation by Archimandrite Lazarus Moore

May 3,2021

In this world of ours, not somewhere else, not in any 'other' world, there appeared one morning someone who is beyond death and yet in our time. This meaning of Christ’s Resurrection, this great joy, is the central theme of Christianity; and it has been preserved in its fullness in the liturgy of the Orthodox Church. There is much truth expressed by those who say that the central theme of Orthodoxy, the centre of all its experience, the frame of reference for everything else in her, is the Resurrection of Christ. - Fr. Alexander Schmemann - Explanation of Holy Week

Apr 25,2021

The whole meaning and power of Liturgy is that it transforms remembrance into reality. On Palm Sunday this reality is our own involvement in, our responsibility to, the Kingdom of God. Christ does not enter into Jerusalem any more. He did it once and for all. And He does not need any 'symbols,' for He did not die on the Cross that we may eternally 'symbolize' His life. He wants from us a real acceptance of the Kingdom which He brought to us ... and, if we are not ready to stand by the solemn oath, which we renew every year on Palm Sunday, if we do not mean to make the Kingdom of God the measure of our whole life, meaningless is our commemoration and vain the branches we take home from the Church. - Fr. Alexander Schmemann - Explanation of Holy Week

Apr 20,2021

Jesus told those who were with Him when He walked in the flesh by the River Jordan: My friend Lazarus is already dead, given over for burial. But I rejoice for your sake, O friends, for by his death you shall learn that I know all, for I am God, even though I have appeared as man. Let us go and bring Him to life, so that death may really feel its utter destruction, and the victory I shall win, granting the world Great Mercy. - Stichera at Lord, I Cry, Wednesday of the 6th Week

Apr 12,2021

Become aware of God, in whose presence you are while you pray . . . Then take a formula of prayer and recite it with perfect attention both to the words you are saying and to the Person to whom you are saying them. - Saint John of the Ladder

Apr 6,2021

We are like those following a long and cruel path, who become tired, see a beautiful tree and many leaves, sit in its shadow and rest for a while and then, as if rejuvenated, continue their journey; likewise today, in the time of fasting and difficult journey and effort, the Life–Giving Cross was planted in our midst by the holy fathers to give us rest and refreshment, to make us light and courageous for the remaining task… Or, to give another example: when a king is coming, at first his banner and symbols appear, then he himself comes glad and rejoicing about his victory and filling with joy those under him; likewise, our Lord Jesus Christ, who is about to show us His victory over death, and appear to us in the glory of the Resurrection Day, is sending to us in advance His scepter, the royal symbol the Lif–Giving Cross, and it fills us with joy and makes us ready to meet, inasmuch as it is possible for us, the King himself, and to render glory to His victory? . - Fr. Alexander Schmemann, Great Lent,

Mar 29,2021

Since we desire long life, should we not take eternal life into account? If we long for a kingdom which, however enduring, has an end, and [if we long] for glory and joy which, great as they are, will fade, and wealth that will perish with this present life, and [if] we labor for the sake of such things; ought we not to seek the kingdom, glory, joy and riches which, as well as being all-surpassing, are unfading and endless, and ought we not to endure a little constraint in order to inherit it? . - Saint Gregory Palamas, Archbishop of Thessalonika, 14th century,

Mar 23,2021

People feel unhappy and they don't know why. They feel that something is wrong, but they can't put their finger on what it is. They feel uneasy in the world, confused and frustrated, alienated and estranged, and they can't explain it. They have everything, and yet they want more. And when they get it, they are still left empty and dissatisfied. They want happiness and peace, and nothing seems to bring it. They want fulfillment, and it never seems to come. Everything is fine, and yet everything is wrong.... Why is this so? Because, the Church tells us, we are not really at home. We are in exile. We are alienated and estranged from our true country. We are not with God our Father in the land of the living. We are spiritually sick. And some of us are already dead. Our hearts are made for God, St Augustine has said, and we will be forever restless until we rest in Him.... The lenten season is the time for our conscious return to our true home. It is the time set aside for us to come to ourselves and to get up and go to the divine reality to which we truly belong. - Fr Thomas Hopko, The Lenten Spring (SVS Press, 1983),

Mar 16,2021

Forgiving does not mean excusing. Many people seem to think it does. They think that if you ask them to forgive someone who has cheated or bullied them you are trying to make out that there was really no cheating or bullying. But if that were so, there would be nothing to forgive... Forgiving does mean that you must make every effort to kill every taste of resentment in your own heart – every wish to humiliate or hurt him or to pay him out. – C.S. Lewis data.json git_log.txt history.json process_history.sh Forgiving means to remember with love. - Metropolitan Kallistos (Ware) data.json git_log.txt history.json process_history.sh Forgiving means being willing to create new memories. - Dr. Aristotle Papanikolaou,

Mar 10,2021

Today, on our preparation journey towards Lent, we have come to the ultimate stage: we are confronted with judgment. If we pay attention to it, next week our spiritual destiny will be in our own hands, because next week is the Sunday of Forgiveness. The link between these two days is too obvious. If we only could become aware that each and everyone of us stand before the judgment of God and the judgment of men, if we could remember and realize profoundly, wholeheartedly, and earnestly that we are, all of us, indebted to each other, that we are all responsible to each other for some of the pain and the heaviness of life, then when we are asked to forgive we would find it easy not only to forgive, but in response to this request, to ask for forgiveness ourselves. – Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh,

Mar 3,2021

The prodigal son, we are told, went to a far country and there spent all that he had. A far country! It is this unique definition of our human condition that we must assume and make ours as we begin our approach to God. A man who has never had that experience, be it only very briefly, who has never felt that he is exiled from God and from real life, will never understand what Christianity is about. And the one who is perfectly 'at home' in this world and its life, who has never been wounded by the nostalgic desire for another Reality, will not understand what is repentance. – Fr. Alexander Schmemann, Great Lent,

Feb 23,2021

It is our whole faith that by His own death Christ changed the very nature of death, made it a passage — a 'passover,' a 'Pascha' — into the Kingdom of God, transforming the tragedy of tragedies into the ultimate victory...Is it not our daily experience, however, that this faith is very seldom ours, that all the time we lose and betray the ‘new life’ which we received as a gift, and that in fact we live as if Christ did not rise from the dead, as if that unique event had no meaning whatsoever for us?... We simply forget all this — so busy are we, so immersed in our daily preoccupations — and because we forget, we fail. And through this forgetfulness, failure, and sin, our life becomes ‘old’ again — petty, dark, and ultimately meaningless — a meaningless journey toward a meaningless end.... We may from time to time acknowledge and confess our various ‘sins,’ yet we cease to refer our life to that new life which Christ revealed and gave to us. Indeed, we live as if He never came. This is the only real sin, the sin of all sins, the bottomless sadness and tragedy of our nominal Christianity. If we realize this, then we may understand what Easter is and why it needs and presupposes Lent. For we may then understand that the liturgical traditions of the Church, all its cycles and services, exist, first of all, in order to help us recover the vision and the taste of that new life which we so easily lose and betray, so that we may repent and return to it. – Fr. Alexander Schmemann, Great Lent, Introduction

Feb 16,2021

The Psalms rely for their effect on the way they set out the main themes. They say something from one angle and then repeat it from a slightly different one... The important point here is that some of the most important things we want to say remain just a little beyond our best words. The first sentence is a post to the deep reality; the second, a signpost from a slightly different place. The reader is invited to follow both and to see the larger, unspoken truth looming up behind... The effect is itself one of the deepest things the Psalms are doing, making it clear that the best human words point beyond themselves to realities that transcend even high poetic description.’ – N.T. Wright, The Case for the Psalms, page 4 - (Gift book from Mother Galina)

Feb 8,2021

The earliest Christians were a community committed to a radical life of love, in which all other allegiances – nation, race, class – were replaced by a singular fidelity to Christ’s law to charity. It was a community established in the knowledge that in Christ there is neither Jew nor Greek, neither slave nor free, nor any division in dignity between man and woman, because all are one And so, also, it was a community that shared all things in common, that provided for those in need, that permitted those with means to return to the common good the bounty they had reaped from creation, and that required no laws and no powers of enforcement except those of love.’ – ‘For the Life of the World’ - Toward a Social Ethos of the the Orthodox Church, 2020, page 6

Jan 31,2021

God is nearer to me than any man at any time. He is nearer to me than my raiment, nearer, than the air or light, nearer than my wife, father, mother, daughter, son, or friend. I live in Him, soul and body.... ‘For in Him, we live and move, and have our being.’ (Acts 17:28.) ‘For it is God Who works in you both to will and to do of His good Pleasure.’ - St John of Kronstadt, My life in Christ

Jan 25,2021

It may be the case that some of the less educated Orthodox equate the tradition with everything that happens in church as they currently experience it (for better or worse, good practice or bad) and so may be unable to discern the difference between the incidental customs of their national churches and the universal tradition of the apostolic faith, which is a matter transcending any difference of custom and forming the essence of what Orthodoxy is universally…. Orthodoxy understands the Holy Tradition to be the life-saving Gospel of Christ brought to the world through the church by the power of the Holy Spirit of God. - Fr. John Anthony McGuckin, Romanian Orthodox Church, 'The Orthodox Church,' page 90

Jan 17,2021

Life may have proved too much for us, have imposed on us a task too great, a sorrow too deep, a defeat too crushing, a temptation too dangerous. Or life may not have proved enough, so that we find ourselves ‘filled with a weariness of all this is old and habitual,’ we find ‘ambition’s sails drooping,’ and come to a bitter doubt of the worth of all our efforts. In either case, public worship proves our spiritual self-preservation: it renews the spirit as sleep renews the body; it cleanses, sanctifies, and leads along the road to salvation. Whether it be the ‘too bigness’ of life or its ‘too-littleness’ that distresses us, church worship brings us the experience of God which lifts us out of our burdened lives or out of our bored ones.- The Word Magazine, January-February 2021, V. 65, No. 1, page 15

Jan 11,2021

Count us worthy to be filled with Your sanctification through partaking of this water and being sprinkled with it. May all who draw from it and partake of it have it for the healing of their soul and body, for the overcoming of their passions, for the sanctification of their dwellings, and for every purpose that is expedient.- Prayer at the Great Blessing of the Water

Jan 3,2021

Faces from the shore ask in wonder, ‘Why? Why is this Man here?’ Angels announced His birth, but He did not come to hear the angels sing. Wise men bowed before Him as a king, but He did not come to be enthroned. Instead, He came to grip the withered hand, to touch the sores of lepers, to run His healing fingers across the eyes of the blind. He came to travel the sweltering roads of Judea, to have His feet washed by the tears of a harlot. He came to sail the storms of Galilee, to calm the fears of His disciples. He came to walk among the tombs of the Gadarenes, to free a madman from His pain. He came to be rejected, despised. He came to be arrested, beaten, nailed onto a Cross, lifted up to die. He came to be buried beneath the earth. He came to take upon Himself the sorrow, the sin and the suffering of the world. And it begins today as He is baptized by John in the Jordan. - Epiphany Poem Excerpt, Fr. Marc Dunaway

Dec 21,2020

Take heed, then, often to come together to give thanks to God, and show forth His praise. For when you assemble frequently in the same place, the powers of Satan are destroyed, and the destruction at which he aims is prevented by the unity of your faith. Nothing is more precious than peace, by which all war, both in heaven and earth, is brought to an end. If…you come together man by man in common through grace, individually, in one faith, and in Jesus Christ, who was of the seed of David according to the flesh, being both the Son of man and the Son of God, so that you obey the bishop and the presbytery with an undivided mind, breaking one and the same bread, which is the medicine of immortality, and the antidote to prevent us from dying, but [which causes] that we should live forever in Jesus Christ. - Saint Ignatius, Martyr and Bishop of Antioch, Letter to the Ephesians

Dec 14,2020

The only real fall of man is his non-Eucharistic life in a non-Eucharistic world. --- One has to accept each day and everything in it as a gift from God, transform each day into joy. - Fr. Alexander Schmemann - September 13, 1921 - December 13, 1983.

Dec 7,2020

The more we become holy like St. Nicholas, the more we love everyone around us without any condition. God enabled him to find many ways to touch people’s lives. – His Eminence, Metropolitan Joseph.

Dec 1,2020

O God, give our leaders reason and understanding, that they may judge Your people uprightly; and preserve Your Church in tranquility, and without affliction. Make them victorious over enemies; terrible to evil-doers, gracious to those who are good and worthy to be trusted. Kindle their heart unto consideration of the needy, unto hospitality to strangers, unto the defense of those who are assailed; that, guiding those who are subject to their governance in the way of truth and of righteousness, and putting aside all pretense and corruption, they may deserve the loyalty of all the people whom You have committed to their authority. – Kneeling Prayer at the end of the Te Deum service.

Nov 23,2020

Digory thought of his Mother, and he thought of the great hopes he had had, and how they were all dying away, and a lump came into his throat and tears in his eyes, and he blurted out: ‘But please, please—won’t you—can’t you give me something that will cure Mother?’ Up till then he had been looking at the Lion’s great feet and the huge claws on them; now, in his despair, he looked up at its face. What he saw surprised him as much as anything in his whole life. For the tawny face was bent down near his own and (wonder of wonders) great shining tears stood in the Lion’s eyes. They were such big, bright tears compared with Digory’s own that for a moment he felt as if the Lion must really be sorrier about his Mother than he was himself. ‘My son, my son,’ said Aslan. ‘I know. Grief is great. Only you and I in this land know that yet. Let us be good to one another.’ - C.S. Lewis - from The Magician's Nephew.

Nov 16,2020

During a time of intense distress from the enemy, when the soul is in fear, one must pronounce aloud psalms and prayers, or combine with prayer handiwork so that the mind will pay attention to what it is performing and pay no attention to the confusion and not be afraid, for with him is the Lord, and the angel of the Lord never departs from us. - St. Paisius Velichkovsky.

Nov 3,2020

What Jesus cared about should inspire us when we’re deciding for whom to vote. Christians don’t all agree on how all these ways of caring should be put into practice. This is why there are debates among people of good will in our churches. Some people will say this way is better than that way. This candidate is better than that one. No candidate is ever perfect. But when we’re voting we should be thinking about what kind of world God wants. What kind of world would he want us to help build? And which candidate comes closest to building that kind of world? - Fr. John Jillions - GOD AND THE ELECTION- HOW TO TALK WITH YOUR CHILDREN. For full text see publicorthodoxy.org.

Oct 26,2020

The enemy stirs up strife and thoughts of resentment and envy within us. For he too knows that the intelligence should control the incensive power; and so, by bombarding the intelligence with evil thoughts - with thoughts of envy, bitterness, conflict, guile, self-esteem - he persuades the intelligence to abandon its control, to hand the reins over to the incensive power, and to let the latter go unchecked. And the incensive power, having so to speak unseated its rider, disgorges through the mouth in the form of words all those things stored up in the heart as a result of the devil's wiles and the intellect's negligence. And the heart is then seen to be full, not of the divine Spirit and of godly thoughts, but of evil. It is as the Lord said: For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. (Matt. 12:34). For if the devil can induce the person he has taken possession of to utter what is harbored within, then that person will not merely call his brother ‘idiot’ or 'fool' but may well pass from insulting words to murder. It is in these ways that the devil fights against God and the commandment God gave about not being angry with one's brother without good cause. But the insulting words and their consequences could have been avoided had their initial provocations been expelled from the heart through prayer and attentiveness. Thus the devil achieves his purpose when he makes us break God's commandment by means of the thoughts that he insinuates into the heart. - St. Philotheos of Sinai - Forty Texts on Watchfulness 17

Oct 20,2020

Reverence with all the powers of your soul all the sacraments, and say to yourself in respect to every sacrament before the celebration or the communion of it: 'This is God's mystery. I myself am only the unworthy witness or partaker of it. - St. John of Kronstadt - October 19

Oct 12,2020

In our present circumstances, trying to hold a sensible middle ground between opposing forces of faithless reason on the one hand and spiritualized folly on the other is the greatest challenge of our time. As Orthodox Christians we are called to follow the ‘road, I will turn aside neither to the right nor to the left’ (Deut. 2:27). Saint Jerome teaches that the high way or royal way is the way of the One who declares, not only that ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life,’ but also ‘Your ways are not like my way’ (Commentary on Isaiah). This means keeping our eyes on Christ and His sacrificial love for the entire world and being humble about our own particular opinions is the time-tested way to walk along the path worthy of the Christian calling. Certainly, our present physical separation from one another and spiritual isolation from the divine services have complicated our ability to navigate these troubled waters. It is not fitting for us, as Orthodox Christians, to add to the burdens of our brothers and sisters either by condemning them or by appeasing them with insincere flattery. Rather, we ought to honestly fulfill the law of God by bearing one another’s burdens, as the Holy Apostle Paul reminds us (cf. Gal. 6:2). This means that we are called to an authentic life of patient obedience, sincere humility, genuine compassion, and sacrificial love even towards those with whom we differ. - Assembly of Orthodox Bishops, Message of Hope, October 7, 2020’

Oct 5,2020

Teach us, Good Lord, to serve You as You deserve; to give and not to count the cost; to fight and not to heed the warning; to toil and not to seek any rest; to labor and not seek any reward except to know that we do Your will. - Metropolitan Philip at Clergy Meeting in Chicago July, 2011, quoting a ‘western church father’

Sep 28,2020

The greatest freedom is to be obedient and faithful to God. As we yield ourselves to God’s love and mercy, we are liberated from the suffering of sins. No longer are we dominated by unreasonable fears, compulsions and addictions. We live in peace and unity with all people. Despair and rage pass away. Yet, these things only come when we bear the responsibilities for our own behavior, admitting our faults and receiving God’s forgiveness. - His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph

Sep 21,2020

Pain is terrible, but surely you need not have fear as well? Can you not see death as the friend and deliverer? It means stripping off that body which is tormenting you: like taking off a hair- shirt or getting out of a dungeon. What is there to be afraid of? You have long attempted (and none of us does more) a Christian life. Your sins are confessed and absolved. Has this world been so kind to you that you should leave it with regret? There are better things ahead than any we leave behind. Remember, though we struggle against things because we are afraid of them, it is often the other way round—we get afraid because we struggle. Are you struggling, resisting? Don’t you think Our Lord says to you ‘Peace, child, peace. Relax. Let go. Underneath are the everlasting arms. Let go, I will catch you. Do you trust me so little?’ Of course, this may not be the end. Then make it a good rehearsal. Yours (and like you a tired traveler near the journey’s end). C.S. Lewis - LETTER TO MARY WILLIS SHELBURNE: On how to rehearse for death and how to diminish fear - 17 June 1963

Sep 14,2020

By his death, Christ conquers death – in no other way. By his most human action, an action which expresses all the weakness and impotence of our created nature, Christ shows himself to be God. The profundity of this puts one at a loss for words. The transforming power of God is demonstrated through the death of Christ: not simply his death, by being put to death, but by his voluntary death, going to the Cross in obedience to his Father. This is the ‘mystery of the Lord’. Fr. John Behr - The Mystery of Christ, pg. 32

Sep 8,2020

The Feast of the Nativity of the Theotokos is not only the commemoration of her birth, but the revelation of the true meaning of each man's entrance into the world. From the moment we are born, we already begin to fulfill our human destiny. And this means to fulfill, in our own situation and conditions, that which Mary did.... She was presented to the Temple, and that happens to us to: we also are presented to the Temple, in Baptism and Chrismation... We all have a vocation which is not simply to 'succeed' in life, but precisely to fulfill the Will of God, His unique 'plan' for each one of us. To this announcement Mary responded 'yes.' It is her yes that makes our own 'yes' to God possible, for it made possible the coming of Christ to us. In her, the joy of obedience to God's will ('Thy will be done') is not only revealed, but truly given to us. Fr. Alexander Schmemann - Liturgy and Life, pg. 84

Aug 31,2020

God is not a concept to be grasped but a person to be met.

Aug 24,2020

Send your treasures to the heavenly storage room. Deposit your wealth in God’s Bank, distributing it to the poor, the orphans and the widows, so that you can receive a million times more in the Second Coming of Christ.

Aug 17,2020

The time of separation does not grieve him who frees himself from everything earthly… The righteous, the holy, and the ascetics rejoice at the hour of death and separation, having great labors of their asceticism, vigils and prayers, fasts and tears, sackcloth and the subjection of their bodies to hardship before their eyes. Their souls leap up, for they are prepared to go out of their bodies for their rest.

Aug 10,2020

For our good, for our happiness, at least let us make a vow that from this day, from this hour, from this minute we shall strive to love God above all else and to fulfill His holy will!

Aug 4,2020

One word dominates this feast in all its prayers, hymns and readings. This word is light. ‘Let your everlasting light shine also upon us sinners.’ The world is a dark, cold and terrifying place. And this darkness is not dispelled by the physical light of the sun. On the contrary, perhaps, the sun’s light makes human life seem even more terrible and hopeless as life surges relentlessly and inexorably, bound by sufferings and loneliness, toward death and annihilation. All is condemned, all suffers, all is subject to the incomprehensible and merciless law of sin and death. But then comes the appearance on earth, the entrance into the world, of a man, humble and homeless, who has no authority at all over anyone, who has no earthly power whatsoever. And He tells people that this kingdom of darkness, evil and death is not our true life; that this is not the world God created; that evil and suffering and finally death itself can and must be conquered; and that He is sent by God, his own Father, to save people from this terrible bondage to sin and death.

Jul 27,2020

As children of the Resurrection, our life in this world is a season of waiting. The tempests of time cannot blow their winds into a heart whose haven is hope in heavenly realities. Faith abides in a mode of life not defined by the dramas and disturbances played out on the stage of this world. Our citizenship is in heaven...

Jul 22,2020

The word religion is extremely rare in the New Testament or the writings of mystics. The reason is simple. Those attitudes and practices to which we give the collective name of religion are themselves concerned with religion hardly at all. To be religious is to have one’s attention fixed on God and on one’s neighbor in relation to God. Therefore, almost by definition, a religious man, or a man when he is being religious, is not thinking about religion; he hasn’t the time. Religion is what we (or he himself at a later moment) call his activity from outside.

Jul 14,2020

I am sure we can all honestly admit how easy it is for us to be blown hither and thither. St. Seraphim of Sarov once said that ‘only one thing is lacking – a firm resolve.’ This is another way of saying that we need to be rooted. We must stay true to our commitments, responsibilities and to our word. Being a grounded human being gives substance to our existence, and prevents us from simply blowing across the face of the earth in a short lifetime of meaningless activities. In our groundedness we plant the seed of healing.

Jul 11,2020

Historically, there is nothing sui generis [ie uniquely original] in Christianity, with the exception of the event of the Incarnation itself. In liturgy, theology, and ascetical practices, there is ample evidence that Christianity developed by appropriating already existing practices and thought forms. In other words, Christians recognized good things in the world around them and assimilated those practices and thought forms within the framework of their faith in the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. Such an idea is promoted by St. Paul: ‘whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things’ (Phil 4:8). St. Paul even recognized that Greek pagans were on the right track in worshiping ‘the Unknown God’ (Acts 17:23), not to mention the affirmation by the fathers and mothers of the Church regarding the many philosophical truths about God developed already within Greek philosophy…. An Incarnational logic is not one that sees the world through either-or spectacles. Such a logic affirms with confidence the Incarnation of God in Christ, and because of this event, can recognize what is good and godly in other thought forms, philosophies, and religious practices.

Jun 29,2020

The gloom of the world is but a shadow. Behind it, yet within our reach, is joy.

Jun 21,2020

There is life beyond the grave. Yes, the grave has its tears. Even the Lord of Life wept at the grave of his friend Lazarus. He knew we would feel the pain of loss but because of him it does not need to be a permanent loss. Because of him it is only a temporary loss, a loss like saying goodbye at the train station or the airport, a loss tempered with the joy that one day we will be standing at the 'arrivals gate,' receiving the one to whom we had bid a temporary farewell. Only in that paradigm can our struggle with death and evil be explained.

Jun 21,2020

There is life beyond the grave. Yes, the grave has its tears. Even the Lord of Life wept at the grave of his friend Lazarus. He knew we would feel the pain of loss but because of him it does not need to be a permanent loss. Because of him it is only a temporary loss, a loss like saying goodbye at the train station or the airport, a loss tempered with the joy that one day we will be standing at the 'arrivals gate,' receiving the one to whom we had bid a temporary farewell. Only in that paradigm can our struggle with death and evil be explained.

Jun 15,2020

What I aim at is to live within a situation and to be totally engrossed in it and yet free from involvement. The basic thing is that I never ask myself what the result of any action will be - that is God's concern. The only question I keep asking myself in life is: what should I do at this particular moment? What should I say? All you can do is to be at every single moment as true as you can with all the power in your being - and then leave it to God to use you, even despite yourself.

Jun 8,2020

O Lord, trusting in Your generosities, we cry out: Do not remember the sins of our youth and of our ignorance, and cleanse us of our secret sins; and do not reject us when we become elderly, when our strength weakens. Do not forsake us, and do not return us to the earth before You have made us worthy to return to You, and until You have prepared us, making us acceptable through grace. Appraise our iniquities by Your generosities. Against the multitude of our transgressions, place the abyss of Your abundant mercy. O Lord, look down from the heights of Your holiness upon Your people here present who are waiting for abundant mercies from You.

Jun 3,2020

Beloved Faithful in Christ: Greetings and blessings to you and your families as we prepare for our celebration of Holy Pentecost!As we stand between these two great feasts of the Ascension of our Lord and Holy Pentecost, our festal joy is intermingled with profound sadness and grief. We witnessed the brutal murder of a defenseless man, George Floyd, by men entrusted by our society to uphold peace and justice. As Orthodox Christians, we are appalled by this act of unjust violence, and we fervently entreat the Lord to grant repose to George’s soul and comfort and peace to his grieving family and loved ones. We are also witnessing protests that speak to the wider issues of racial prejudice and injustice in our society. We do not condone chaos and violence as a means of protest, as they only serve to fan the flames of anger and hatred and harm the very communities the peaceful protestors are working to improve. As Antiochian Orthodox, we can offer our broken-hearted empathy, as many of our faithful have come from countries where they have experienced injustice, and we must forcefully proclaim the equal dignity of every human person as created in the image and likeness of God.

May 25,2020

When a blind man gradually recovers his sight and notices the appearance of a man and bit by bit ascertains what he is, it is not the features that undergo transformation or take a new shape. Rather, as the vision of that man's eyes becomes clearer, he sees his features. It is as though they wholly imprint themselves on his vision and penetrate through it, impressing and engraving themselves, as on a tablet, on the mind and memory of the soul. Even so You Yourself, O Lord, became visible to me when You, by the clear light of the Holy Spirit, had entirely cleansed my mind.

May 18,2020

In order to fulfill the commandments of Christ, you must know them. They are expounded in the Gospels. Read the Holy Gospels, penetrate its spirit, make it the rule of your life, act in accord with the teachings of the Gospels. This is the one light in our life.

May 12,2020

This wilderness is suddenly full of joy now; it does veritably blossom like a rose in the confident knowledge that nothing can befall us to our ultimate hurt other than to become separated from God. All other ills than this are transitory….

May 7,2020

Church is the reality of the love of God for this world. It is not man's response, and it is not self-centered, but precisely a missionary community whose purpose is not salvation from, but salvation of, the world.

Apr 27,2020

Commentary on John 20:29 - 'Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.' •••• 'Blessed are those who, when, grace is withdrawn, find no consolation in themselves but only continuing tribulation and thick darkness, and yet they do not despair. Rather, strengthened by faith, they endure courageously, convinced that they do indeed see Him who is invisible.'

Apr 27,2020

Commentary on John 20:29 - 'Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.' //// 'Blessed are those who, when, grace is withdrawn, find no consolation in themselves but only continuing tribulation and thick darkness, and yet they do not despair. Rather, strengthened by faith, they endure courageously, convinced that they do indeed see Him who is invisible.'

Apr 21,2020

It is the Orthodox experience, which goes back to the apostles themselves, that in the center of our liturgical life, in the very center of that time which we measure as year, we find the Feast of Christ’s Resurrection. What is the Resurrection? Resurrection is the appearance in this world, completely dominated by time and therefore by death, of life that shall have not end. The One who rose again from the dead does not die anymore. In this world of ours, not somewhere else, not in any ‘other’ world, there appeared one morning someone who is beyond death and yet in our time. This meaning of Christ’s Resurrection, this great joy, is the central theme of Christianity; and it has been preserved in its fullness in the liturgy of the Orthodox Church.

Apr 9,2020

To shrink back from all that can be called Nature into negative spirituality is as if we ran away from horses instead of learning to ride. There is in our present pilgrim condition plenty of room (more room than most of us like) for abstinence and renunciation and mortifying our natural desires. But behind all asceticism the thought should be, ‘Who will trust us with the true wealth if we cannot be trusted even with the wealth that perishes?’ Who will trust me with a spiritual body if I cannot control even an earthly body? These small and perishable bodies we now have were given to us as ponies are given to schoolboys. We must learn to manage: not that we may some day be free of horses altogether but that some day we may ride bare-back, confident and rejoicing, those greater mounts, those winged, shining and world- shaking horses which perhaps even now expect us with impatience, pawing and snorting in the King’s stables. Not that the gallop would be of any value unless it were a gallop with the King; but how else— since He has retained His own charger—should we accompany Him?

Mar 31,2020

Someone once asked Saint John of the Ladder: 'How can we who are married and living amid public cares aspire to the monastic life?' He replied: 'Do whatever good you can. Do not speak evil of anyone. Don't rob anyone. Tell no lie. Despise no one and don't hold on to hatred. Don't separate yourself from the Church assemblies. Show compassion to the needy. Do not cause a scandal to anyone. Stay away from another's bed; and be true to your spouse. If you can do this, you will not be far from the Kingdom of God.'