Saint Arsenios of Paros †1877
By Tim Ross, Religious Affairs Editor The Telegraph
Margaret Forrester discussed the booklet with family planning staff at the health centre where she worked because she felt that the NHS was failing to give patients information about the risks and other options to terminating a pregnancy.
But after a six-month disciplinary process, during which Ms Forrester had to fight her own case and became ill, she was found guilty of “gross professional misconduct” and fired. Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »
by St. Nikolai Velimirovich
The superhuman courage and readiness of our Christian forebearers to endure all sufferings and voluntary death for Christ, evoked fear on their tormentors.
Emperor Maximian, a fierce and merciless persecutor of Christians, ordered his pro-consul in Antioch to release St. Andrew Stratelates from prison to freedom out of fear that the people, who respected Andrew more than they did the emperor, would rebel. Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »
In the following talk, Fr. Seraphim speaks to us from almost twenty years ago, and yet his words are quite relevant to our times as we approach the end of the second millennium. Although some of the individual examples he gives are now dated, there are now even more extreme examples of the same phenomena of which he speaks. As always, he humbles his understanding before the holy Scriptures and their interpretation by the Orthodox Holy Fathers, and thus his teaching about the times remains timeless, free of the intellectual fashions and prejudices of this world. As time goes on, the Orthodox world-view from which he received his wisdom will become ever more necessary for the spiritual survival of true Christians. Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »
Fr. Alexander Schmemann, Celebration of Faith (Sermons, Vol. 1: «I Believe»), pp. 15-17
Several years ago a French publishing house asked a cross-section of famous people –writers, philosophers, artists– to contribute to a small book, entitled What I Believe. … Their responses were profoundly different from one another, and each essay is fascinating to read. One and the same faith has become new and personal when mediated by personal experience, personal understanding, yet it never ceases to be one faith shared in common.
[P]eople today often speak about religion and Christianity primarily on an impersonal, objective, dogmatic level. Not only religion’s opponents, but even believers are accustomed to discussing how and what Christianity teaches, how and what believers affirm. Yet faith, in its very nature and essence, is something deeply personal, and therefore it is only really alive when seen in the context of personality and personal experience.Only when a particular teaching of the Church –or, as we say, a dogma, an affirmation of some particular truth– becomes my faith and my experience, and therefore the main content of my life, does this faith come alive. If one reflects on faith and thinks about how it passes from one person to another, it becomes obvious that what really convinces, inspires and converts is personal experience. Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »
Those who are not reborn from on High will never understand those who are. There appears to be nothing outstanding about Christians, who may often seem morbid or hypocritical. Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »
Egyptians, Muslims and Christians alike, are closely watching the controversy associated with the Ground Zero Mosque project, though for different reasons. The Egyptian media is giving this issue full coverage with articles mostly accusing Americans of Islamophobia, and supporting Muslims to hold on to their rights to build a mosque anywhere as guaranteed by the US constitution, regardless of what Americans think.
[The Muslims] call us Hetaeriasts, or Associators, because, they say, we introduce an associate with God by declaring Christ to the Son of God and God. We say to them in rejoinder: ‘The Prophets and the Scriptures have delivered this to us, and you, as you persistently maintain, accept the Prophets. So, if we wrongly declare Christ to be the Son of God, it is they who taught this and handed it on to us.’
By Sarah Mac Donald
A court victory for the Ecumenical Patriarchate confirming its ownership of an orphanage has raised the hopes of embattled church communities in Turkey. Christians have been in legal limbo with few rights since the foundation of the modern republic in the 1920s.
If the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew I, realises his ambitions for the refurbishment of a Greek Orthodox orphanage building on Buyukada Island, Istanbul, it could mark a turning point in relations between the Turkish state and religious minorities. The Ecumenical Patriarch told the Turkish Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, that he would like to use part of the vast wooden building as a centre for interfaith dialogue.
For all the attention Turkey has gotten lately, very few Americans are aware that the Roman Catholic bishop serving as apostolic vicar of Anatolia was stabbed to death and decapitated last month by an assailant shouting, “Allahu Akbar! I have killed the great Satan!”
An interview with Antigoni Solomonidou-Drousiotou
The Metropolitan of Lemesos, Athanasios, distances himself from the Church of Cyprus’ official position on the forthcoming visit to the island of Pope Benedict. He plainly declares that he opposes the visit, explaining that Catholicism is a heresy and the visit of the Head of the Catholic Church to Cyprus will scandalize the minds of innocent, faithfully people. At the same time, he stresses that neither adverse reactions nor rude or bad manners must be shown.
Kevin and Marilyn Ryan
The Muslim assassin Mehmet Ali Agca wrote before shooting John Paul II: “I have decided to kill John Paul II, the supreme commander of the Crusades.” [!!!]
How many days have we awakened recently to news of another attack on Christians? The attacks have accelerated alarmingly. To name but a few sites where persecution has occurred: Nigeria, India, Pakistan, Egypt, Iran.
The first question we wish to deal with is, what proof have we that there is a God? This is the question which all infidels ask. They want you to prove to them in so many words and by reasoning and the power of logic whether God lives. But the burden of the proof falls to the lot of those who doubt or deny that God lives, and they should be asked, what proof have they that there isn’t a God? One of the great proofs of the presence of God is the beauty and unity of this universe in which we live. No one could be so blind as to deny that there is a God at the control of the universe. Who can look up at the sky on a bright, clear night, and, having watched the myriads of stars and planets whirling through space, was not awed with the majesty, the beauty and magnificence of this world, this home of ours. Who would not be impressed without feeling awed by a sense of reverence and join the Sacred Writer in saying, «The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament showeth His handiwork. This is indeed my Father’s world and He made everything for man to enjoy it lawfully.» Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »
There is a Resurrection, and a Judgment, and a scrutiny of our actions. And let as many as deem that there is such a thing as fate repeat this, and let them all at once be delivered from the rottenness of their malady; for if there is a Resurrection and a Judgment, there is no fate, though they bring ten thousand arguments, and choke themselves to prove it. But I am ashamed to be teaching Christians concerning the Resurrection: for he who needs to learn that there is a Resurrection, and who has not firmly persuaded himself that the affairs of this world go on not by fate, and without design, and as chance will have them, can be no Christian. Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »
St. Gregory’s marvelous dictum is among a handful of things that describe what is required for the Christian life. So much of Christian history has been marked with a bifurcation – a split between those who study the faith and those who live it. It is not a necessary split – only a common one. Of course there is the larger number of Christians who do neither.
But wonder is an essential attitude of heart – without it – we will see nothing as it truly is.
The Scriptures tell us that we are “fearfully and wonderfully made” – which also means that other human beings should be approached with awe and wonder. We will not see them nor love them as we ought if our heart is dwelling in some other mode.
I tend to see wonder in two particular places – in children and in those of older years. My own children have always been a revelation of the world about me – a chance to see the world as though for the first time. To watch the wonder of a child beset with the jaded cynicism of our culture is surely to see one of the most crucial battles of our age. Cynicism is generally always correct, but it lacks the wonder that alone would reveal its error.
The wonder of older years has been something of a new revelation for me – if only because I barely qualify for “older years.” I will turn 57 later this year. But I have been around long enough to see my last child enter college. I have been blessed with 34 years of marriage. With those years comes an increasing sense of wonder at how things have worked together to be what they are. I am less impressed with my choices and the power to choose. Rather I am overwhelmed at the good that has come to me that I did not know to choose (and it came unbidden). Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »
by Hieromonk Damascene
A talk delivered at the Annual Lenten Clergy Confession of the New Gracanica Metropolitanate and the Western American Diocese of the Serbian Orthodox Church, Jackson, California, March 4/17, 2004.
The topic of today’s talk—what Christ accomplished on the Cross—is of course a prime subject of contemplation during the Lenten season, as we prepare to prayerfully commemorate Christ’s passion, death, and the inevitable consequence of His death: His holy Resurrection. As we call to mind and repent of our sins during the Holy Fast, we also call to mind that which has saved us from the eternal consequences of sin. We call to mind Christ’s life-creating death on the Cross, which He underwent for the salvation of each one of us.
The Orthodox dogma of our redemption—which includes the doctrines concerning Christ’s incarnation, death and Resurrection—is the chief dogma of our Faith, together with the dogma of the Holy Trinity. I have been especially contemplating and reading Patristic writings on this subject for a few years now. It is a vast subject. In this lecture I will try to outline its main points in a linear and chronological fashion. I will speak about the state of man before the Fall and after the Fall, and then speak about how Christ saved us from the consequences of the Fall through His incarnation, death and Resurrection. Finally, I will summarize all the present and future accomplishments of Christ’s redemptive work. Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »
The Muslims invaded the village yesterday at 2 AM local time and slaughtered the Christians with machetes. In some cases the Muslims wiped out entire members families. They also burned down the homes of several Christians.
A local government official told ICC that around 380 Christians were buried in one mass burial space. He added that other victims were buried by their families and there are still bodies being collected. The official, who requested to remain anonymous, also said that police have arrested 93 people and recovered guns, knifes and other types of weapons from the suspects.
Clean Monday is the Monday that begins the season of Great Lent in Eastern Orthodox Churches. This corresponds to the season of Lent found in Western Christendom, but the periods of these two seasons are calculated differently. Both have 40 days between the beginning and end of Lent because of the 40 days Jesus spent fasting in the desert. Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »
The following represents the teaching of the Church from the [early] second century through to the fifth century…. Note that penalties, when they are given, are neither civil nor criminal, but ecclesiastical and pastoral (excommunication for the purpose of inducing repentance). Also note that the these quotes deal with both surgical and chemically induced abortion, both pre- and post-quickening.
All quotes are from «The Church Fathers on Social Issues», Department of youth Ministry of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of North and South America.
From the Letter to Diognetus
(speaking of what distinguishes Christians from pagans):
«They marry, as do all others; they beget children but they do not destroy their offspring» (literally ‘cast away fetuses’). Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »
While the Emperor Valerian’s persecution was raging in the Roman province of Africa where Christianity was already widespread (c. 203), the young catechumens Perpetua, Revocatus, Felicity, Saturninus and Secundus were arrested in the town of Thubordo. Revocatus and Felicity were bondservants, while the twenty-two-year-old Perpetua was of noble birth. She asked to keep her child, which was still at her breast when she was arrested, and she was transferred to Carthage with the others, in spite of the efforts of her pagan father to retain her. The stifling at- mosphere of the dungeon in which the Martyrs were crammed became a veritable palace for the young mother, in which she awaited the visit of Christ the King. God then revealed to her in a vision what she and her companions were to expect. She saw a narrow, bronze ladder set up on the earth and reaching to heaven. Instruments of death of all kinds were attached to its rungs and a dreadful dragon sat at its foot threatening all who would climb it. The first to mount the ladder was their catechist, Saturus, who had given himself up voluntarily in order to join them. On reaching the top, he called: Perpetua, I’m waiting for you, but take care that the dragon doesn’t bite you!’ ‘Through the Name of Jesus Christ’, she replied, it shan’t do me any harm.’ Then, springing forward, she crushed the dragon’s head with her heel and reached the top of the ladder in a single bound, gaining entrance to the Paradise of delight in which she was welcomed by countless thousands of white-clad Martyrs.
Gunmen killed at least seven people in a drive-by shooting outside a church in southern Egypt as worshippers left a midnight Mass for Coptic Christmas Thursday, the church bishop, security and hospital officials said.
The attack took place in the early morning hours in the town of Nag Hamadi in Qena province, about 40 miles from the famous ancient ruins of Luxor.
Bishop Kirollos of the Nag Hamadi Diocese, a hospital administrator and a local security official all said seven people were killed in the attack. The security official said three people were seriously wounded as well. Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »
A Homily of the Late Archbishop Christodoulos of Athens
Translated and edited by Protopresbyter George Dion. Dragas, PhD, DD, DTh
Note: This year’s Celebration of the Feast of Christmas and the Feasts of the Twelve Days of Christmas, invite us to reflect on the important meaning of the Feasts which the Church has instituted for our life. All the church Feasts are connected with the Divine Economy, i.e. with the becoming man of the Son and Word of God, the Mystery of our Lord Jesus Christ, which constitutes the basis and the perspective of our salvation and the salvation of the world. This great and vital matter is the subject of the present Homily of Archbishop Christodoulos of blessed memory who fell asleep in the Lord on 28 January 2008.
By Michael Huffington
Last night on 60 Minutes there was a 14 minute segment about Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople (modern-day Istanbul).
It was an honest look at religious freedom (or lack thereof) inside one of America’s military allies. It is a story that should be seen by the leaders of the free world as well as people of faith. The Ecumenical Patriarch of 300,000,000 Orthodox Christians (of which I am one) is similar to the Pope of the Catholic Church. And yet he is a treated as a second-class citizen in his own country where he was born. The Orthodox «Vatican» is called the Phanar and it is located on less than an acre of land in the city of Istanbul. There have been so many threats of violence that they have had to use barbed wire and cameras to protect the priest inside the property. The last century has seen the Orthodox Christian population diminish from 2,000,000 in 1900 to less than 4,000 in all of Turkey today. Most were forced out. Yet this geographical area of the world was mostly Christian a thousand years ago.
Senior Turkish military officers had made extensive plans to terrorize non-Muslims in Turkey. In the large Ergenekon1 scandal recently a well-planned terrorist operation was revealed. The operation which is called «Kafes Operasyonu Eylem Plani», in English meaning «the execution of the cage – operation» was to eliminate the remaining small group of Christians living in Turkey today.
The plan was revealed when police arrested Levent Bektas, a major in the Turkish army. The evidence seized reveals more than 27 officers and senior military officers involved in the conspiracy against Christians.
In order to identify key persons among the Christians and then kill them, this terrorist network has broken into a Greek church congregation compound and stolen computers. The purpose of this was to access the congregation’s member lists.