The holy Pentecost (explanation of the Feast)

On the tenth day after the Ascension of Jesus Christ during the Jewish feast of Pentecost, at the third hour, but according to our reckoning at nine o’clock in the morning, when people usually go to the temple both for offering up a sacrifice and prayer [1] all the disciples were assembled in Jerusalem, in the upper room (Acts 1:13), which was «on Mount Zion», «and suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind,» (as though from an unusually strong wind).»

Actually there was no wind rustling, but the noise was similar as if it were from the strength of a wind, but without the wind.» This noise «filled the whole house where they were sitting», – not only of the apostles, but, according to the commentary of St. John Chrysostom, even other believers in Christ (Acts 1:16). Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

What Christ Accomplished on the Cross

 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 »

Convent of St. Thekla

During the primacy of His Holiness and Beatitude Ilia II, the Patriarch of All Georgia and Archbishop of Miskheta and Tbilisi, one more spiritual treasure, the convent of St. Thekla was added to the Georgian Orthodox and Apostolic Church. The convent was founded in 1995, when eight spiritual children οf the Archpriest Teimuraz Chachibaia fulfilled their firm desire to live the monastic life. Due to their common goal, they were attached to each other with bonds of close friendship. read more… Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

Message by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew for World Environment Day

MESSAGE

By His All Holiness

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew

For World Environment Day

(June 5, 2010)

Inasmuch as, at the Ecumenical Patriarchate, we have long been concerned about problems related to the preservation of the natural environment, we have ascertained that the fundamental cause of the abuse and destruction of the world’s natural resources is greed and the constant tendency toward unrestrained wealth by citizens in so-called “developed” nations.

The holy Fathers of our Church have taught and lived the words of St. Paul, according to which “if we have food and clothing, we will be content with these” (1 Tim. 6.8), adhering at the same time to the prayer of Solomon: “Grant me neither wealth nor poverty, but simply provide for me what is necessary for sufficiency.” (Prov. 30:8) Everything beyond this, as St. Basil the Great instructs, “borders on forbidden ostentation.” Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

The holy Pentecost (explanation of the Feast)

On the tenth day after the Ascension of Jesus Christ during the Jewish feast of Pentecost, at the third hour, but according to our reckoning at nine o’clock in the morning, when people usually go to the temple both for offering up a sacrifice and prayer [1] all the disciples were assembled in Jerusalem, in the upper room (Acts 1:13), which was «on Mount Zion», «and suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind,» (as though from an unusually strong wind).»

Actually there was no wind rustling, but the noise was similar as if it were from the strength of a wind, but without the wind.» This noise «filled the whole house where they were sitting», – not only of the apostles, but, according to the commentary of St. John Chrysostom, even other believers in Christ (Acts 1:16). Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

«Satan, the Great Deceiver»

God will judge The Prince of evil on the last day - The Day of Judgment

«Satan can only deceive he cannot pluck us out of the hand of God»

Deceive – to mislead by a false appearance or statement

By Fr. Timothy Evangelinidis

When I was much younger and attending university in my home-town of Sydney (in those days a much smaller and less busy place), I was allocated a particular lecturer who prided himself on being an atheist. «Religion is something for weak people, those who cannot think or live for themselves». Arriving at his first lecture this man proudly announced that with a few premises, sub-conclusions and a watertight conclusion, he would prove beyond any doubt that God did not exist. It went something like this: Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

What Is the Mark of the True Christian?

by St. Anastasius the Sinaite

St. Anastasius was a priest and abbot of Mt. Sinai. His zeal for true faith led him to travel through Egypt, Arabia, and Syria to combat the errors of the Acephalites and Eutychians. His writings show not only a thorough command of Holy Scripture and a wide knowledge of the writing of the Church Fathers and other Christian writers, but also classical erudition and a solid grounding in Aristotelian philosophy. Of his prolific output the most important works are Guide Against the Acephalites and Answers to Questions. It is from the latter that the present passage is translated. St. Anastasius died in great old age in 686. [1] Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

Thy Kingdom come…

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 »

What Christ Accomplished on the Cross

 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 »

What The Church Fathers Say about Confession

Enter into the Church and wash away your sins. For there is a hospital for sinners and not a court of law. St. John Chrysostom .

This, my son, is how you should begin your life according to God. You should continually and unceasingly call to mind all the blessings which God in His love has bestowed upon you in the past, and still bestows for the salvation of your soul. You must not let forgetfulness of evil or laziness make you grow unmindful of these many and great blessings, and so pass the rest of your life uselessly and ungratefully. For this kind of continual recollection, pricking the heart like a spur, moves it constantly to confession and humility, to thanksgiving with a contrite soul, and to all forms of sincere effort, repaying God through its virtue and holiness. In this way the heart meditates constantly and conscientiously on the words from the Psalms: «What shall I render unto the Lord for all that He hath rendered unto me?» (Ps. 115:3). .

Venerable Mark the Ascetic

From the Letter to Nicolas the Solitary .

Regarding the rest of mankind, you should pray for them unceasingly, for we can always hope that repentance may enable them to find their way to God. Give them a chance to learn from you, or, at all events, from the way you behave. Meet their animosity with mildness, their high words with humility, and their abuse with your prayers. But stand firm against their errors, and if they grow violent, be gentle instead of wanting to pay them back in their own coin. Let us show by our forbearance that we are brothers, and try to imitate the Lord by seeing which of us can put up with the most ill-usage or privation or contempt so that in this way none of the devil’s noxious weeds may take root among you, but that you rest in Jesus Christ in all sanctity and discipline of body and soul. .

Holy Hieromartyr Ignatius the Godbearer of Antioch .

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Saint John Chrysostom, Patriarch of Constantinople (13 November)

Agios Chrysostomos 35

John was born in Antioch in the year 354. His father, Secundus, was an imperial commander and his mother’s name was Anthusa. Studying Greek philosophy, John became disgusted with Hellenic paganism and adopted the Christian Faith as the one and all-embracing truth. Meletius, Patriarch of Antioch, baptized John, and his parents also subsequently received baptism. Following his parents’ repose, John was tonsured a monk and lived a strict life of asceticism. He then wrote a book, On the Priesthood, after which the Holy Apostles John and Peter appeared to him, and prophesied that he would have a life of great service, great grace and great suffering. When he was to be ordained a priest, an angel of God appeared simultaneously to John and to Patriarch Flavian (Meletius’s successor). While the patriarch was ordaining John, a shining white dove was seen hovering over John’s head. Glorified for his wisdom, asceticism and power of words, John was chosen as Patriarch of Constantinople at the behest of Emperor Arcadius. As patriarch, he governed the Church for six years with unequalled zeal and wisdom. He sent missionaries to the pagan Celts and Scythians and eradicated simony in the Church, deposing many bishops guilty of this vice. He extended the charitable works of the Church and wrote a special order of the…

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The sign of the Cross

sign of cross 

The symbol of Christian faith has ever been and always will be the Cross, for it is the sign of our redemption by our Lord Jesus Christ who came to earth to suffer for us and was crucified upon the Cross. When we wish to show that something is dedicated to Christ, we mark it with a Cross. The Cross is placed on church buildings, on the Holy Gospel, on banners, on the graves of the depart­ed. When we join the three fingers of our right hand together, it is as if we want­ed to say: «I believe in God, One in the Trinity; in God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit; not in one person, but Three Persons; not in three gods, but One God.» When we bend the other two fingers of our right hand down to the palm it is as if we were saying: «I believe that our Saviour Jesus Christ, who is at the same time Real God and Real man – the God-man – came down to earth for our salvation. «As we make the sign of the Cross, we say the following prayer:

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“These Truths We Hold” (Part VI)

theotokos

Continued from (Part V)

Other Orthodox Communities in America.

Albanian.

Albanian Orthodox immigrants had been arriving in America for some time and, after some troubles with the local Greek Priest in Boston, Massachusetts, the Albanians there selected Theophan (Fan) Noli to be their own Priest. Accordingly, on February 9,1908, Fan Noli was ordained to the Priesthood by Archbishop Platon in New York and the first Liturgy in the Albanian language was celebrated by Fr. Theophan in Boston on March 18, 1908. After serving for some years, organizing Albanian parishes, Fr. Theophan returned to Albania, where he was consecrated Bishop, on November 21,1923, subsequently becoming Prime Minister of that country in 1924. After a coup-d’etat, Bishop Theophan was forced to leave Albania, eventually returning to America as Bishop of the Albanian Orthodox Church in America. At his death in 1965, he was succeeded by Bishop Stephen (Lasko), who joined the Albanian Church to the newly-autocephalous Orthodox Church in America in October, 1971. Another tiny Albanian Diocese in America is under the spiritual care of the Patriarch of Constantinople.

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“These Truths We Hold” (Part V)

american saints

Continued from (Part IV)

Orthodoxy in America.

In the 18th Century, the great Orthodox Christian missionary work which began with Pentecost in Jerusalem, so many centuries before, finally crossed from the continent of Euro-Asia into North America. The first missionaries traveled with the explorers Vitus Bering and Alexei Chirikov, who formally claimed Alaska and the Aleutian Islands in 1741. For the next fifty years, together with the exploration and economic development of this new outpost of the Russian Empire, the first attempts were made to bring the Orthodox Faith to the natives of that region (the Aleuts, the Athabascan Indians, the Tlingits, and the Eskimos).

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“These Truths We Hold” (Part IV)

Enthroned Mother of God and Child with Archangels.Circa 1600

Enthroned Mother of God and Child with Archangels.Circa 1600

Continued from (Part III)

World Orthodoxy Today.

Constantinople.

The Patriarchate of Constantinople again, at least nominally, became independent after World War I and the rise of modern, secular Turkey, although greatly reduced in size. At present the Patriarch’s jurisdiction includes Turkey, the island of Crete and other islands in the Aegean, the Greeks and certain other national groups in the Dispersion (the Diaspora) — in Europe, America, Australia, etc. — as well as the monastic republic of Mt. Athos and the autonomous Church of Finland. The present position of the Patriarchate in Turkey is precarious, persecution still exists there, and only a few thousand Greek Orthodox still remain in Turkey.

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“These Truths We Hold” (Part III)

Fathers of the Orthodox Church. Fresco from the Holy Monastery of Vatopedi in Mount Athos (Holy Mountain)

Fathers of the Orthodox Church. Fresco from the Holy Monastery of Vatopedi in Mount Athos (Holy Mountain)

Continued from (Part II)

Notable Fathers of the Early Period.

St. Cyprian, Bishop of Carthage († 258).

St. Cyprian, commemorated on August 31, was Bishop of Carthage during the persecu-tions of the Emperor Decius (250). He died as a martyr in 258, and among his many writings concerning Church life, the most important is On the Unity of the Catholic Church, which sets forth the role of the Bishop in the ecclesiastical structure.

St. Ignatius, Bishop of Antioch († 107).

St. Ignatius was the second Bishop of Antioch and is commemorated on December 20 and January 29. Martyred in the Arena at Rome, while on his way to martyrdom, he wrote seven letters to Christian communities, as well as to St. Polycarp, which contain valuable information on the dogmas, organization and liturgy of the early Church.

St. Irenaeus of Lyons († 202).

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Abraham’s Faith

abraham

St Paul, in his Epistle to the Hebrews (11: 17-19), writes:

By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, Of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called: Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure.

St John Chrysosotom, in his commentary on these verses, writes:

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WHAT’S IN THE STARS? A CLOSE LOOK AT ASTROLOGY

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(…For at it they who worshipped the stars, were taught by a star to adore Thee, the Sun of righteousness, and to know Thee the Orient from on high…») (The Christmas Troparion)

Archbishop Dmitri of Dallas and the South

The average person today likes to think of himself as a product of the scientific age. He often flatters himself with the thought that he is superior to his ancestors, not standing in awe of the natural world, having no fear of the unknown, and being free from superstition. He is reluctant to believe anything that cannot be proven logically or scientifically and rejects what he often refers to as “myth” in religion: man’s creation from nothing, his fall, the promise and the coming of the Savior, salvation and life in the world to come. Twentieth-century man has been described as man “come of age”, too sophisticated and knowledgeable to accept these things as literally true, and he takes this description of himself very seriously. He doubts that the Supreme Being, whoever He may be, could have any interest in or plan for man and the rest of creation. For the advocates of twentieth-centuryism, man is entirely on his own and has to work out his own destiny and the meaning of his existence. Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

The Prologue from Ohrid, Bishop Nikolai Velimirovich (JUNE 16)

tikhonamathus_OPT1. SAINT TIKHON, BISHOP OF AMATHUS

Saint Tikhon was a miracle-worker. Following the death of Blessed Mnemonius, Tikhon was unanimously elected a bishop and consecrated by the renowned Epiphanius for the Diocese of Amathus. His purity of life and zeal for Orthodoxy recommended him for this office. There were still pagans on Cyprus at that time. With apostolic zeal St. Tikhon undertook to convert the unbelievers into believers. In that, he had great success. After lengthy labor in the vineyard of the Lord, Tikhon took up habitation in blessed eternity about the year 425 A.D. He was called a miracle-worker because of the many miracles he worked during his life. Tikhon’s father was a baker. When his father left him alone in the store, he would distribute bread free of charge to the poor. Once, his father reproached him for this. Tikhon prayed to God and their granary was so filled with wheat that the door could not be opened without difficulty. Again, at another time, he planted withered branches of a vine and the vine became green and, in due time, brought forth fruit. Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

RAISING CHILDREN IN ORTHODOX FAITH

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St. Sophia with her daughters Sts. Elpis (Hope), Pistis (Faith) and Agape (Love). Icon from Holy Transfiguration Monastery in Boston.

In the same way, any child who grows up surrounded in an atmosphere of prayer in the home will, almost certainly, find himself drawn into that pattern of regular and effortless prayer.

By Fr. John-Mark

Source: St. Aidan’s Orthodox Church Manchester

You may think it odd of Fr Gregory (Fr.Gregory Hallam is the priest-in-charge of St. Aiden’s Church and the Web Editor of The Orthodox Web Site – Ed.) to ask someone with no direct knowledge of the subject to speak about the Raising of Children, but he is really being, as usual, very astute. Not only does the outsider often see more of the game, but this particular aspect of the Eastern religion was the main cause, many years ago now, of my initial interest in Orthodoxy. I say this, because it didn’t take me long, as an Anglican parish priest, to see that in the introduction to, and raising of, children in the Christian faith, the Eastern Churches were approaching the subject in a much more intelligent manner than the Western Churches.

On paper, the differences do not appear to be great, but in practice there is all the difference in the world. As you probably know, the Western Church has generally speaking, a three-step approach to Christian initiation. A baby is baptised and then waits a good number of years before being confirmed and in my early days, then had another wait of perhaps days or even weeks, before receiving Holy Communion. The results of this in practice were :–(1) Most parents expected “someone else” to inform their child about the Christian faith—day or Sunday school teachers, the parish priest,–any one, but them. (2) If a baptised child was brought to Church, he/she could not receive Holy Communion and so came to regard themselves as second-class Christians. (3) A lot of children, baptised as infants, were never brought back for Confirmation and Holy Communion. This meant that in any parish there was a significant number of half-baked Christians. Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

Sacrament of Confession

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St. Cosmas Aitolos

Perhaps the most misunderstood sacrament of the Christian Church is confession (or repentance). How did it originate? What role does a priest play? Is there a special procedure for confession? The Holy Scriptures hold answers to these questions.

God’s Word promises «If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness» (1 John 1:9). The faithful are to bring their sins to God in repentance and receive cleansing and forgiveness.

The early Christians would stand and confess their sins to God in the presence of the whole congregation. Jesus encouraged His followers to walk in the light together, to confront problems corporately, to «tell it to the church» (Matt. 18:17). Thus James writes, «Confess your trespasses to one another» (James 5:16). But as time went on and the Church grew in numbers, strangers came to visit and public confession became more difficult. Out of mercy, priests began to witness confessions of sin privately on behalf of the Church.

Jesus, giving His disciples the authority to forgive sin, said, «If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained» (John 20:23; c.f. Matt. 16:19, 18:17-19). From the beginning, Christians understood that the grace of ordination endowed the shepherd of the flock with the discernment and compassion to speak the words of remission, on behalf of Christ, regarding the sins of those who confess and turn from sin. For God has promised the removing of sin from us «as far as the east is from the west» (Ps. 103:12). St. John Chrysostom says, «The priests decree below, God confirms above, and the Master agrees with the opinion of His slaves». Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

How to read the Bible and why

 “John the Apostle”: An icon of St. John, as he is sitting in the Cave of the Apocalypse on the island of Patmos, writing the Gospel of John. This is from codex 676, a 13th century Greek Gospels manuscript.

“John the Apostle”: An icon of St. John, as he is sitting in the Cave of the Apocalypse on the island of Patmos, writing the Gospel of John. This is from codex 676, a 13th century Greek Gospels manuscript.

by Archimandrite Justin Popovich

The Bible is in a sense a biography of God in this world. In it the Indescribable One has in a sense described Himself.

The Holy Scriptures of the New Testament are a biog­raphy of the incarnate God in this world. In them it is related how God, in order to reveal Himself to men, sent God the Logos, who took on flesh and became man–and as a man told men everything that God is, everything that God wants from this world and the people in it. Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »