“Immensity, cloister’d in thy dear womb”: John Donne on the Annunciation

The Annunciation (1898), by Henry Ossawa Tanner

(From Wikimedia Commons)

Students of Renaissance English poetry all get to know John Donne, that 16th/17th century priest and poet who vacillated painfully between whether to remain with the Church of England or to be a Catholic. He also vacillated between a life of devotion and the passions which afflict us all since the Fall. And his poetry […]

“Who Shall I Be at Pascha?”: The Cross at the Crossroads


Today is exactly the halfway point between the beginning of Great Lent and the holy day of Pascha (Easter), the Feast of Feasts. It is usually right around now, three and a half weeks in, that many of us begin to be ready for Lent to be over. But the fast is only halfway through. […]

Ego Patricius peccator rusticissimus

The cathedral in Downpatrick, Northern Ireland. St. Patrick is buried deep within the hill on which it rests, along with Ss. Columba of Iona and Brigid of Kildaire.

My name is Patrick. I am a sinner, a simple country person, and the least of all believers. This photo was taken in the summer of 2001 during a nearly month-long pilgrimage I took to Great Britain and Ireland. It was a dreary day in Downpatrick (and the photo was taken with real film! remember […]

The Gospel of Fastnachts, Pączki and Pancakes

Fastnachts (from Discover Lehigh Valley)

On the calendar of Western Rite Orthodox Christians (who probably number a few thousand people within the canonical Orthodox Church, out of a couple hundred million or so, which is why they are unknown to most Orthodox Christians), today is Ash Wednesday. So yesterday was their Shrove Tuesday, also known as Fat Tuesday (in French, […]

Day After Christmas

Synaxis of the Theotokos, Kirillo-Belozersky Monastery(from Wikimedia Commons)

On this day after Christmas, the Orthodox Church celebrates the Synaxis of the Theotokos, remembering in a special way the Virgin Mary’s role in giving birth to our Savior. A number of our great feasts have a secondary celebration the day after focusing on what may be called the “supporting cast” in the feast. So, […]

What Are We Waiting For?: Andrew, Advent and Emmanuel

"The Calling of the First Apostles" (1481), by Domenico Ghirlandaio (Wikimedia Commons)

Feast of the Apostle Andrew, November 30, 2014 Rev. Fr. Andrew Stephen Damick In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, one God. Amen. On this day, the thirtieth of November, we celebrate the Holy Apostle Andrew the First-called. As you may imagine, he is a saint who […]

Why celebrate Christian holidays that aren’t in the Bible?

From Wikimedia Commons

A quick perusal of the major feast days on Orthodox Church’s liturgical calendar will show that many of those great feasts are not mentioned in the Scriptures. The Nativity of the Theotokos (Sept. 8), the Entrance of the Theotokos (Nov. 21) and the Dormition of the Theotokos (Aug. 15) are all not based on events […]