St. Andrew’s cannon

36EarlyCannon

How shall I begin to mourn the deeds of my wretched life? What can I offer as first fruits of repentance? In Your compassion, O Christ, forgive my sins. How's that for a feel-good start to things? If your church offers the service that includes St. Andrew's Canon, that's one of the first things you'll hear. (If you've never heard the Canon, … [Read more...]

Lenten reading: The Lenten Spring

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It's a pleasant day here in Las Vegas, where I live. It's a strange city in which to be an Orthodox Christian, for all the reasons you would expect, but after visiting the Midwest last week, I can't help but be grateful for some of the blessings I take for granted. I'm a skeptic most of the time about the charms of living in a desert, but somehow … [Read more...]

Lenten reading: First Fruits of Prayer

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On the countdown to Cheesefare Sunday, I've got an indulgent afternoon in mind -- some homemade scones, clotted cream, my best plum jam and fragrant Assam tea with the right amount of milk and sugar. Shame on me. But then, I've got all of Lent to repent of this scandalous Mardi Gras attitude. And if I don't use up these goodies, I'll be looking at … [Read more...]

Three facets to the Prodigal Son

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Do you ever wonder who you would be in a Biblical account or parable? Today, we hear the parable of the Prodigal Son as we count down the Sundays to Lent, and every year I wonder whether I'm more like the wandering son or his steadfast but envious brother. I suppose the answer for this one -- and ultimately for all the parables -- is that at … [Read more...]

St. Xenia the matchmaker

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Today is the saint's day of St. Xenia of Petersburg, who has started to become one of my favorite saints. I love the idea of the 18th century "homeless" lady who used to go around this major city dressed in the military jacket of her late husband, insisting on being called by his name. Is it any wonder that people thought she was just crazy? But … [Read more...]

St. Seraphim’s conversation

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This is the feast day of St. Seraphim of Sarov, and my mind goes to the amazing narrative written down by Nikolay A. Motovilov, a disciple of St. Seraphim's. He had this encounter with the saint in the winter of 1831. It is one of the great gifts of these more recent saints that discussions like this can be preserved. I include it below for anyone … [Read more...]