19. The Big Trip: 2005, Part 3 – Saint Nektarios, England

Did Saint Nektarios do it again? It was time to head to London, and on the way I naturally stopped by to visit Saint Nektarios again. I’ve told you (Blog posts  7 and 12) that on my first two visits the saint seemed to arrange my transportation. Surely this great holy man must have better things to do than that. Nevertheless… (With modern saints we have actual photographs.) I took a ferryboat back…

18. 2005: The Big Trip, Part 2 – Italy and Greece

A Visit to Saint Nicholas When Clement Clarke Moore (an Episcopalian clergyman who should have known better) wrote his charming and bizarre poem, “A Visit from Saint Nicholas”, he never explained why he turned our holy saint into a Norse myth. When we draw near to Saint Nicholas day, I’ll write an article or three about the real Saint Nicholas and my parish’s relationship with him. But the best way to be sure that…

17. 2005: The Big Trip, Part 1 – Spain, Switzerland

It’s time for another travelog. This was my longest trip since 1985. Then I left as an an unhappy Anglican and came back from Greece nearly ready to be Orthodox. (See Blog Post 2.) This time I left as a happy Orthodox and returned as a happy Orthodox. It was a wonderful trip. All the people we met were enormously friendly and helpful and kind. In four weeks the first rude person I…

16. “Outside the Camp”: What we can learn from Saint Athanasios the Great

The Early Life of Saint Athanasios Athanasios was born in the last decade of the third century in Alexandria Egypt, then the cultural and intellectual center of the empire. Raised as a Christian, as a boy he lived through the Great Persecution. When he was a young adult, Constantine became emperor, and Christianity became the favored religion of the empire. Athanasios was a short man. When he was young he had red hair…

15. The Story of the Fathers of the First Ecumenical Council: Part 2

Let me say again that throughout this four-part series I draw often on the book The Fathers of the Eastern Church by Robert Payne. The Council begins. This First Ecumenical Council, the First Council of Nicaea, was not held in secret. We have five accounts of it. The Council was held in a great marble hall above the beautiful Lake Askanios. In the center was a throne on which a Gospel book was placed.…

14. The Story of the Fathers of the First Ecumenical Council: Part 1

Why have I titled this post “The Fathers” of the First Ecumenical Council? Because the Orthodox Church, in her personal approach to everything, titles her commemorations not after events but after the people in them. I like that. The Fathers of the First Ecumenical Council dealt with many matters: the date of Pascha (why does this keep coming up generation after generation?), the Meletian schism, regulations for the clergy and much more. But…

13. The Story of Saint Constantine the Great

Let’s take another break from our travels and hear the story of events and people of the fourth century, mostly in Greek-speaking lands, which determined the future of Christianity and the world. All these are commemorations on the Orthodox calendar at this time of year, and all relate directly to the First Ecumenical Council. Today, we’ll hear about the Emperor Constantine, commemorated on May 21 along with his mother Helen. Then in…

12. My Travels: 2004 – Did St. Nektarios do it again? plus some comments on Religion on TV, Radio & the Internet

Another series of “coincidences”? My 2004 trip to Greece was mostly vacation, but I did visit Saint Nektarios again. (See Blog Post 7, March 31.) After that first experience with him, I just couldn’t stay away. Once again being at Saint Nektarios was a powerful experience. I wish I could take you all there. The women’s monastery he founded in the early 20th century and where most of his relics lie is a…

11. The Resurrection: The Whole Story, Part 2

Christ is risen! Truly he is risen! Here are some powerful, mysterious Resurrection stories, most of which are not heard by Orthodox people in church. (See Part 1.) Since they are rarely preached on, I’ll add a bit of commentary. Pascha Night Here is Luke’s account: That evening two disciples, Cleopas (husband of Joanna, one of the Myrrhbearers) and Luke himself were walking to the village of Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, discussing the…

10. The Resurrection: The Whole Story, Part 1

Christ is risen!  Truly he is risen! The Resurrection Accounts Which Most Orthodox Never Hear I hate to tell you this, but most Orthodox don’t know much about Jesus’ Resurrection. Well, “Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death”, of course. But for years I had the nagging feeling that something was missing about our Resurrection experience in the Orthodox  Church, and finally I’ve figured out what it is:…