The Language of Silence

The language of the heart is silence—not a bleak, empty silence, but a profound and meaningful silence that ceaselessly sings the glory of God. Archimandrite Meletios Webber +++ The language…is silence. I will violate this wonderful oxymoron by speaking about the silence. It is the inherent problem with all theology. We use words to speak … Read More ›

The Mystery, Upborne, Fulfilled

Orthodoxy has a number of “favorite” words – all of which fall outside the bounds of normal speech. Though we commonly use the word “mystery” (for example), popular speech never uses it in the manner of the Church. I cannot remember using the word “fullness,” or even “fulfilled,” in normal speech. More contemporary words have … Read More ›

The Presence in the Absence

Since I’ve started the topic of mystical knowledge of God, I thought to repost this from 2010. I was reminded of it by a wonderful reflection by Jan Bear on OCN  – an enjoyable read. There is a strange aspect to the presence of God in the world around us. That aspect is His apparent … Read More ›

To Know What You Cannot Know

You cannot know God – but you have to know Him to know that. – Fr. Thomas Hopko +++ This small quote from Fr. Thomas has stayed with me since I first heard it. It says so much by saying so little. I find two groups of people increasingly common in my conversations – those … Read More ›

A Letter from Butyrskaya Prison – Pascha, 1928

Serge Schmemann, son of Fr. Alexander Schmemann, in his wonderful little book, Echoes of a Native Land, records a letter written from one of his family members of an earlier generation, who spent several years in the prisons of the Soviets and died there. The letter, written on the night of Pascha in 1928 is to … Read More ›

Christos Voskrese! Christ is Risen!

Pascha has begun (though about 12 hours away here in the Eastern United States). But if you listen carefully, you can begin to hear the bells sounding from the East. Christ is risen! This delightful youtube video is a favorite of mine. One of our readers and occasional commenter,  Dejan, (without a doubt my favorite … Read More ›

Preaching to the Dead

The Orthodox mark Holy Saturday (the day before Christ’s Resurrection) as the day in which He descends to the dead and preaches to the departed spirits (1 Peter 3:18-19). There is a long history of wonderful sermons on this topic. St. Cyril of Alexandria (early 5th century) says: “For having destroyed hell and opened the impassable … Read More ›

Crying Stones

Christ’s triumphant entry into Jerusalem, complete with cheering crowds and branches of palm, was upsetting to the religious authorities of the time. The salutation of “Hosanna to the Son of David,” was a direct reference to His messiahship – a claim of kingship that carried political overtones. The warning of the authorities (Luke 19:39) is … Read More ›

In Lazarus’ Tomb

Largely ignored by much of Christendom, the Orthodox celebrate “Lazarus Saturday” on the day before Palm Sunday. It is something of a “prequel” to the next weekend’s Pascha. It is, indeed a little Pascha just before the greater one. And this, of course, was arranged by Christ Himself, who raised His friend Lazarus from the … Read More ›

The Intuition of Narnia

A child, in a game of hide-and-seek, enters a large wardrobe. However, the wardrobe is more than furniture – it is a doorway into another world. That entrance is the introduction of the world of Narnia. C.S. Lewis’ children stories, beloved by one generation, are block-buster movies in today’s empire of Disney. In that wonderland … Read More ›

The Border of the Grace of God

This Sunday, on the Orthodox calendar, commemorates St. Mary of Egypt, 6th century harlot-turned-saint. This meditation was written in Jerusalem in 2008 when I was on pilgrimage. The image is of the icon mentioned in the meditation. Today, walking and weaving our way through the streets of Old Jerusalem, shops on each side of the … Read More ›