Christmas x 2

For as far back as I can remember real icicles, angel hair ornaments and tacky silver tinsel, I got to celebrate Christmas twice each year: the first on December 25th with most of the Christian world, and the second on January 7th with other Orthodox families. I didn’t really care why I celebrated twice, but I was told we followed a different calendar.

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The Temptation of Sunday

"Diveevo. The Troitsk cathedral". By Sergei Glushkov

I talked further with this simple brother who gave me shelter and he told me about his life and his ideas. «I had quite a good position in the life of our village,» said he. «I had a workshop where I died fustian and linen and I lived comfortably enough, though not without sin. I often cheated in business. I was a false swearer, I was abusive, I used to drink and quarrel. In our village there was an old dyachok who had a very old book on the Last Judgement. He used to go from house to house and read from it, and he was paid something for doing so. He came to me too…

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Condemned to Immortality: A meditation on the Resurrection

resurection2by Archimandrite Dr Justin Popovic

People condemned God to death; with His Resurrection He condemned them to immortality. For striking Him, God returned embraces; for insults, blessings; for death, immortality. Never did men show more hate towards God than when they crucified Him; and God never showed His love towards people more than when He was resurrected. Mankind wanted to make God dead, but God, with His Resurrection, made people alive, the crucified God resurrected on the third day and thereby killed death! There is no more death. Immortality is surrounding man and his entire world.

With the Resurrection of the God-Man, the nature of man is irreversibly led toward the road of immortality and man’s nature becomes destructive to death itself. For until the Resurrection of Christ, death was destructive for man; from the Resurrection of Christ, man’s nature becomes destructive in death. If man lives in the faith of the Resurrected God Man, he lives above death, he is unreachable for her; death is under man’s feet. Death where is thy sting? Hell, where is thy victory? And when a man who believes in Christ dies, he only leaves his body as his clothes, in which he will be dressed again on the Day of Last Judgment.

Before the Resurrection of the God-Man, death was the second nature of man; life was first and death was second. Man became accustomed to death as something natural. But after His Resurrection the Lord changed everything: and it was only natural until Christ’s Resurrection, that the people became mortal, so after Christ’s Resurrection it was natural that the people became immortal.

Through sin, man becomes mortal and temporal; with the Resurrection of the God-Man, he becomes immortal and eternal. In this lies the strength, in this lies the power, in this lies the might of Christ’s Resurrection. Without the Resurrection there is no Christianity. Among the miracles, this is the greatest one; all other miracles begin and end with it. From it sprouted the faith and the love and the hope and the prayer and the love toward God.

 from «Philosophical Cliffs»

St. Irenaeus (2nd century AD) on the Atonement

Icon of Christ the Great High-priest, from the Orthodox Church of St. Gabriel in Nazareth

Icon of Christ "the Great High-priest", from the Orthodox Church of St. Gabriel in Nazareth

«But as our Lord is alone truly Master, so the Son of God is truly good and patient, the Word of God the Father having been made the Son of man. For He fought and conquered; for He was man contending for the fathers, and through obedience doing away with disobedience completely: for He bound the strong man (St. Matthew 12:29), and set free the weak, and endowed His own handiwork with salvation, by destroying sin. For He is a most holy and merciful Lord, and loves the human race.
   Therefore, as I have already said, He caused man (human nature) to cleave to and to become, one with God. For unless man had overcome the enemy of man, the enemy would not have been legitimately vanquished. And again, unless it had been God who had freely given salvation, we could never have possessed it securely. And unless man had been joined to God, he could never have become a partaker of incorruptibility. For it was incumbent upon the Mediator between God and men, by His relationship to both, to bring both to friendship and concord, and present man to God, while He revealed God to man. For, in what way could we be partaken of the Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »