Saint John Orthodox Cathedral

Eagle River, Alaska

Antiochian Archdiocese

One Accords

Excerpts from Christian writers Past and Present

April 4, 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,

March 28, 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,

March 21, 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),

March 14, 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 *** Forgiving means to remember with love. - Metropolitan Kallistos (Ware) *** Forgiving means being willing to create new memories. - Dr. Aristotle Papanikolaou,

March 7, 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,

February 28, 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,

February 21, 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

February 14, 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)

February 7, 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

January 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

January 24, 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

January 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

January 10, 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

January 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

December 27, 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

December 20, 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.

December 13, 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.

December 6, 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.

November 29, 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.

November 22, 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.

November 15, 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

November 8, 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

November 1, 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

October 25, 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’

October 18, 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’

October 11, 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

October 4, 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

September 27, 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

September 20, 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

September 13, 2020

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

September 6, 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.

August 30, 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.

August 23, 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!

August 16, 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.

August 9, 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...

August 2, 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.

July 26, 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.

July 19, 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.

July 12, 2020

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

July 5, 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.

June 28, 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.

June 21, 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.

June 14, 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.

June 7, 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 31, 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 24, 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 17, 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.

May 10, 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.'

May 3, 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.'

April 26, 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.

April 19, 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?

April 12, 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.'