168. For the Saturday of Souls: What does the Orthodox Church teach about the Afterlife? Part One

This is a subject of considerable interest to me, since I am 81 years old and getting older. Fast. The End All traditional Christians agree here. “All the peoples of the earth will …see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory.”  Matthew 24:30 Then will be  the Resurrection of the Dead, “those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have…

167. The Last Three Pre-Lenten Sunday Epistles on How to Keep the Fast

Why not the first Pre-Lenten Epistle? Because it says nothing about fasting, since the first week of Pre-Lent omits the Wednesday and Friday Fast. If you’re reading this Post immediately after it’s published, there’s still time for a Friday cheeseburger! Hurry! If you don’t like cheeseburgers, you should come and try one the way my wife makes them: not greasy, crisp on the outside, well done but juicy on the inside. Mmm… (Where…

166. The Divine Liturgy 6 – The True Pro-Anaphora

The intro to last week’s Post tells how to find earlier Posts in this series. Last week we covered the “Pro-Pro-Anaphora”, which leads us to what anciently began the Pro-Anaphora. Namely: The Little Entrance… …so called because it takes a short path, out the North Doors and directly to the Royal Doors. Later the Anaphora will begin with the Great Entrance, which usually takes a longer path out through the midst of…

165. The Divine Liturgy 5 – The Pro-Pro-Anaphora

But before we get started: Two years ago for the feast of the Presentation of Christ in the Temple (February 2), I wrote an article “The Groundhog Who Stole Candlemas” which I note that many people are reading this year. (We bloggers know many secrets about you…) So I went back and read it again to see why, and if I do say so myself… Well, it’s worth it if only to see the…

164. The Divine Liturgy 4 – The Basics

In Posts 151 and 152 we covered the Proskomidia, the Priest’s Preparation for Divine Liturgy. Last week: How the people should prepare. The Purpose of the Liturgy  “Divine Liturgy” is the Orthodox term for what Roman Catholics call the Mass, or Protestants variously title the Lord’s Supper, Holy Communion or the Holy Eucharist, though many of them may understand it quite differently. “Divine” means “holy, belonging to God”. “Liturgy” (Greek λειτουργία / litourgia) was…

163. The Divine Liturgy 3 – How to Prepare Ourselves

Preparation for Holy Communion We covered The Proskomidia Service (Priest’s Preparation for Divine Liturgy) in Posts 151 and 152. The moral of this was that all of us, not only the clergy, should make special preparations if we’re going to receive the Holy Eucharist – which I hope you do regularly, unless you’re in sin and unrepentant, God help you. You should, of course, approach the altar with a spirit of repentance. If you have any…

161. Christ for the World! and How to Do It

“Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” Matthew 28:19 That seems clear enough. The Situation So how are we doing lately? Not well. Examples: Yes, Christianity is growing fast in Africa, but for the most part it’s a sort we Orthodox can scarcely recognize. And Mormonism, despite…

160. The Great Great Great Great Great Great Great Great Great Great Great Great Great Great Great Great Great Great Great Great Great Great Great Great Great Great Great Great Grandfather of God, the Foster-Father of God, the Brother of God

I know I promised an article about the Magi this week, but between regular Church worship and activities, Christmas gatherings, the New Year, presiding at Saint Basil’s Liturgy on my Name Day the next morning, and a wonderful family visit…I just wasn’t prepared. But I had this Post almost ready to go. So let’s hold the Wise Men off till next year. (Maybe they can wait for a year in Edessa or somewhere?) In…

159. Five Christmases

Christ is born! Glorify him!  1. Secular Christmas Some of our Christmas customs are fairly modern by Orthodox reckoning (we’ve been around for a long time): Christmas cards and gifts *, special family traditions, candy and cookies ( I can still taste the anise Christmas cookies my German grandmother made). “I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas”, and all the rest. These lovely customs and many others help draw people together in love. They are…

158 How the Hieromartyr Ignatius the God-bearer brought 2000 Evangelicals into the Orthodox Church

Campus Crusade Leaders Searching Before we look at Saint Ignatius himself, let’s tell this story. About fifty years ago some Campus Crusade leaders were filling Big Ten university stadiums with great crowds of young people, converting them to Jesus Christ. I heard some of these dynamic men speak after they became Orthodox. It must have been exciting. They hoped they were changing the lives of these students for the better. But then……