152. The Divine Liturgy – 2

Before we plunge into this Post: May God grant you a blessed feast of the Holy Angels today, and of that wonderful Saint Nektarios tomorrow. And praise Him for sending them to help and assist us.  [P.S. on Friday evening. I forgot to add: Go to Post 91 to read the life of Holy Nektarios.] The Preparation, Part Two We’re still looking at what I called “The Hidden Liturgy”, the part of the Divine…

151. The Divine Liturgy – 1

The Service of Preparation, Part One No clever “catch line” to introduce this Post. The Divine Liturgy is too serious a matter for that. But “serious” doesn’t mean dull. I hope you’ll find this interesting, informative, even enlightening. Why this series? Because we Orthodox have attended the Liturgy so many times that we can easily take it for granted, not think about it, let our minds wander while we’re in church. I…

150. I got Demons! You got Demons! All God’s Children Got Demons!

Last week I promised a Post on Saint Paul. After three paragraphs I looked at what I had written, and… BORing. Not Paul! He’s fascinating. But my writing was not. So instead let’s do something seasonal. Boo By the title above, of course I don’t mean we’re all possessed by demons as with the Gadarene demoniac in last Sunday’s Gospel reading Luke 8:26-39, or in the old movie The Exorcist…  Be patient. We’ll come…

148. Saint Luke, Apostle, Evangelist and Provider of Songs

I’m compulsive about getting this Post out on Fridays. Not this week. My computer went flooey (that’s a technical term) and I had to get a new one and set it up, so here we are, barely, on Saturday. I hope you’ve been able to handle the strain of all this. Me? Not so much. On October 18, Christians in both East and West commemorate the holy Apostle  and Evangelist Luke. But “Provider of Songs”, as…

147. More Questions you’ve always intended to ask about Orthodox worship but never got around to – Part Two

Today: Why do we sing so much? Why only males in the Altar? Why no pipe organs? Why do we sing so much? It’s hard to find anything in Orthodox worship which isn’t sung. This is because traditional Jewish services were (and are) sung. The Apostles were Jewish, and that’s how they grew up worshipping, so naturally that’s how early Christians worshiped. Orthodox Byzantine chant must have developed out of Hebrew chant.…

146. Questions you’ve always intended to ask about Orthodox worship but never got around to it – Part One

I originally intended this to be a short introduction to a new series on the Divine Liturgy, but somehow it got out of control, so we’ll make this an article by it’s own, and we’ll talk about the Divine Liturgy later. 1  Is Orthodox worship really “unchanging”? Today, yes. But long ago, no. Obviously how Our Lord celebrated his Last Supper with his disciples on Holy Thursday night was very different from…

145. Thirty Years Later, Part Two – What Being Orthodox for Thirty Years has done to me

Orthodox! To begin where we left off last time: I was chrismated into the Holy Orthodox Church  on September 16, 1989 by his Grace Bishop Antoun (may his blessed memory be eternal +) and ordained deacon and priest that same weekend! (Really? they all cried.) Their reasoning was that I already had over 20 years’ positive pastoral experience and had been determined to be sound in the Faith. I had a small…

144. Thirty Years Later – Reflections after being Orthodox since 1989, Part One

First, let me apologize for all the spelling errors in last week’s Post (now corrected). I am recovering from Shingles (ugh!! If you can get the Shingles vaccine, please do!), and it was hard to concentrate. This concludes the medical segment of our program.  Part One: The Thirty-year Search   . I was chrismated on September 16, 1989. In 1999 I wrote an article giving my reflections “Ten Years Later”. Again in 2009, “Twenty…

143. Greece 2012, Part Two – All by myself, Wicked Church Hopping, then Home

All Alone Khouria Dianna flew home and I was on my own on Crete. The place where I stayed was over a mountain, down the cliff to the Libyan Sea on an incredibly scary one lane gravel road. Pictures don’t begin to do it justice. That’s a 500 foot drop-off to the left. The nearest grocery, petrol station and health care were thirty minutes away. I always liked isolated places, but was this wise…

142. Greece 2012, Part One: Too much Talk, some mild Philosophizing, and some Travel

Summer is about to flee here in the north, but September is the perfect time to visit Greece – not too hot, fewer tourists, lower prices, warm water. So in September 2012 I was off to my second favorite place in the world. (Wisconsin is first.) That was then. This is now. I can’t travel that far any more, and I get so homesick for Greece. At least I can read my travel…