Guidelines for funerals

….all things should be done decently and in order…. (1 Corinthians 14:40)

The Orthodox Liturgy of Death (a term used to describe all services – panikhidas, requiems, Divine Liturgies – that are usually celebrated in connection with death) presupposes that the deceased had been baptized, was a communicant of the Eucharist and, in life, strove to be obedient to the Lord’s commandments in pursuit of that «holiness without which no one will see God» (Hebrews 12:14).
Through prayer and remembrance, the function of the Liturgy of Death is to incorporate and affirm the departed in the death and resurrection of Christ, which are the very content of the life of the Church. The primary – and probably only – function of the Liturgy of Death is to make and proclaim that connection – and even identification – between the death of each Christian and Christ’s death. «Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life» (Romans 6:3).

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Orthodox Christianity and the Idea of Homosexual Marriage

By Fr. Chrysostom MacDonnell
Priest of St. Dunstan’s Antiochian Orthodox Church, Poole-Bournemouth

In the film, Monty Python’s The Life of Brian, there is a scene where a group of revolutionaries are discussing tactics. One of them, played by Michael Palin, suddenly announces that he wants to be a woman from now on and have babies. After a certain puzzlement, the group decides that, although he can’t actually have babies, they agree that he has the right to have babies. Perfectly in line with the post-modern culture of rights, even outside the bounds of nature, this satire seems to mirror recent events in the Swedish Lutheran Church.

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To Arrest People for Orthodox Belief in Georgia

O, Lord, save Your people, And bless Your inheritance.

Grant victories to the Rulers over Barbarians.

And by virtue of Your Cross, Preserve Your commonwealth.

In order to say; Glory to You, Lord” _

With this chant 8 orthodox Christian defendants met unfair and slanderous sentence passed by Tbilisi City Court under the government instructions. Such was, first of all, an order of American Ambassador to Georgia, Mr. Bass, who in the very first days made a statement about the incident in Television Company “Caucasia” and expressed hope that the case would be properly investigated. In several days following this statement he visited Ilia Chavchavadze State University. By doing so, he showed his respect to Mr.Gigi Tevzadze and to a handful of individuals, so called “liberals” associated with him, representing an opposition party against the Orthodox Christians during the “Caucasia” incident. Acting in this manner the American Ambassador clearly showed the Georgian Government what kind of Justice was to be administered and who was to be punished.

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How old is the Οrthodox faith?

Christ, the Good Shepherd. Wall-painting at the ancient church in Dura-Europos (Mesopotamia). 235 AD the latest. At the lower left we see Adam and Eve.

If you are a Lutheran, your religion was founded by Martin Luther, an ex-monk of the Catholic Church, in the year 1517. If you belong to the Church of England, your religion was founded by King Henry VIII in the year 1534 because the Pope would not grant him a divorce with the right to re-marry. If you are a Presbyterian, your religion was founded by John Knox in Scotland in the year 1560. If you are a Congregationalist, your religion was originated by Robert Brown in Holland in 1582. If you are Protestant Episcopalian, your religion was an offshoot of the Church of England, founded by Samuel Senbury in the American colonies in the 17th century. If you are a Baptist, you owe the tenets of your religion to John Smyth, who launched it in Amsterdam in 1606. If you are of the Dutch Reformed Church, you recognize Michelis Jones as founder because he originated your religion in New York in 1628. If you are a Methodist, your religion was founded by John and Charles Wesley in England in 1774. If you are a Mormon (Latter Day Saints), Joseph Smith started your religion in Palmyra, New York, in 1829. If you worship with the Salvation Army, your sect began with William Booth in London in 1865. If you are Christian Scientist, you look to 1879 as the year in which your religion was born and to Mary Baker Eddy as its founder. Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

Praying and fasting in our Orthodox Christian life…

We all understand how important prayer is for the spiritual life of an Orthodox Christian. But how are we to pray? Two forms of prayer are evident in the Orthodox Christian life: private prayers said at home and unified Church prayer. Each has certain special characteristics. Our Saviour gave instructions in the Gospel about private prayer: «When you pray, go into your room and shut the door, pray to your Father Who is in secret; and your Father Who sees in secret will reward you openly» (Mt.6:6). Of course, home prayers are basic to us. Prayer is deeply intimate and heartfelt. Everyone who has sincerely searched for heartfelt and moving prayer, knows well how easy and natural it is to pray in solitude, in silence and peace. Moreover, our Lord firmly warns us against hypocritical prayer done for show, to elicit praise from people.

When a Christian prays to God, he must strive to contemplate the words of the prayers which he reads, and to concentrate his thought on the content of the. Everyone knows how difficult it is to struggle against the pressure of outside thoughts and images which tiresomely besiege the person who is praying. This comes to us both from our personal distraction and from the indirect action of the evil-one. The task of a Christian is to apply all his powers to persistently shake off all these side thoughts (which are sometimes impure) that torment him, and to pray piously and with concentration. One should remember that an extra pressure of thoughts and images—often vile and blasphemous—comes to us directly from Satan, and the struggle of resisting these thoughts is a direct struggle against evil. Consequently, one receives great benefit from such a struggle. Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

Discerning the Spirit in Creation: Orthodox Christianity and Environmentalism1


Bruce Foltz
Professor of Philosophy
Eckerd College
St. Petersburg, FL 33711

The major problems facing our world today are increasingly connected to environmental issues: pollution, population, energy, climate change all call into question our relation to nature, a relation that seems to many to have become deeply problematical. And it seems likely that environmental issues will continue to occupy center stage throughout this new century. But can Orthodox Christianity teach us anything important about the natural environment and our relation to it? We live in a modern age, an age of science and technology, where even very traditional problems of birth and life and death are given scientific formulations and technological solutions. Surely problems explicitly involving nature itself should properly be defined and analyzed by the natural sciences, and addressed by the technologies that science has made possible—not pondered over using traditional ways of thinking that, according to many environmentalists, have not just been scientifically discredited, but that bear much of the blame for generating the very problems themselves. More troubling yet, it has long been common in environmental circles to place much of the blame for our present-day environmental woes specifically upon Christianity and its attitudes toward nature.

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holyspiritIn the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost.

Today we are keeping the Feast of the Holy Spirit. What do we know about Him? We heard wonderful words of prayer about Him yesterday on Trinity Sunday, but let us think of Him, of the name He is given in the Gospel, which is translated ‘The Comforter’ in English, in other translations ‘The Advocate’. He is the One Who is the Comforter indeed, the One Who consoles us for our separation from Christ, Who consoles us who are like orphans, who long to be with Christ our God, our Saviour, and who know that as long as we are in the flesh – and these are the words of St. Paul – we are separated from Him. But for Him to be our Comforter, to be our consolation, we must first be aware of the fact that we are separated and this is the first question we must ask ourselves: are we aware of it, or do we live in the delusion that we are in God and God in us, and that nothing more is needed? How much more is needed!

He is also the One Who, as the Comforter, gives us strength, strength to live despite the separation, strength to stand fast and to be the doers of the Will, the fulfillers of the Commandments of God, the One Who can give us vigour of soul, determination, power to act. But this, again, only if we turn to Him and say, Come! Come and abide in us! Cleanse us! Be not only our Comforter but our strength also. Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »