Sweet Partings: The Final Akathist

We now come to the part of Lent where we begin to say farewell to various services that have accompanied us on the journey. Today is the Fifth Friday of Lent. In the practice of my archdiocese, we celebrate the Small Compline service with the Akathist Hymn on the first five Fridays of Lent. On the first four, the akathist is divided into quarters,…

Lenten Evangelism #7: The High Priest on the Cross

Sunday of the Adoration of the Holy Cross, March 15, 2015 Rev. Fr. Andrew Stephen Damick In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, one God. Amen. The cross which we adore today, the third Sunday of Lent, is most often discussed in the Orthodox tradition in terms of the conquest of death by Jesus Christ. It…

“Everyone was a saint there”: Who are we in worship?

In a conversation I was having with my wife yesterday, she was reflecting on the funeral of a dear friend we attended recently, especially how, surrounding the funeral services, the love people showed each other and the bereaved was so deep and palpable (she didn’t use that kind of language, but that’s my “translation”!). And then she said this: “It’s like everyone was a…

Should religion be physical?: Great Lent and Polycarp the Palpable

Today is the beginning of Great Lent for most Orthodox Christians (a handful of Western Rite Orthodox Christians will begin with their Ash Wednesday the day after tomorrow), and I’ve decided to try my hand at doing 40 days of blogging—posting at least once a day from today through the Friday before Lazarus Saturday. This is my first post for Great Lent. Today I…

14 New Year’s Resolutions for Orthodox Christians

Editorial comment: This has gotten republished more times than I can count now, mostly without asking (which, while I won’t be hounding people, should still be noted as illegal in most countries). I don’t mind too much, but I do mind that in some places (like church newsletters), it’s gotten republished either without my name on it or having altered the text and still…

12 Reasons Why I Became and/or Remain an Orthodox Christian

Lists like this are usually so much clickbait, I know, but I thought it was nevertheless worthwhile to compile a list of most of the reasons why I became and/or remain an Orthodox Christian. Some of these things were not really on my radar when I became Orthodox in 1998, but they are part of the reason why I genuinely do love belonging to…

What Does “Orthodoxy” Mean?

The following is an excerpt from the beginning of one of my lectures that I’ve also posted on my parish website. It is well-known among Orthodox Christians that the word orthodoxy—often used as a shorthand for our faith—has two parallel meanings. It is composed of two Greek words—orthos and doxa. Together, they form orthodoxia, rendered into English as orthodoxy. The word orthos literally means…

A Firm Foothold

I feel that as long as the Shire lies behind, safe and comfortable, I shall find wandering more bearable: I shall know that somewhere there is a firm foothold, even if my feet cannot stand there again. —Frodo Baggins I happened upon this quotation again yesterday evening, while I was reading my daughter The Lord of the Rings. It seems a dauntingly long tome…