209. Saint Panteleimon: The story of a Physician who didn’t charge his Patients

Let’s jump back to July 27, his feast day. Panteleimon, the Great Martyr and Unmercenary Healer How to pronounce Παντελεήμων? Not easy unless you’re Greek. Say “Pahn teh LEH-EE mohn” a few times slowly, and you’ll probably have it. It means “all merciful”. A “Great Martyr” (Μεγαλομάρτυς) is a martyr who has undergone dreadul tortures, has performed many miracles and is now venerated throughout the Church. (I had to look this up. I…

208. A Western Twentieth Century Orthodox Martyr: Maria of Paris

July 20 is the feast day of Mother Maria who died in 1945, seventy five years ago, in a Nazi gas chamber. On February 10, 1943, she was arrested by the Gestapo at her “monastic” house in Paris. While she had been traveling, the Nazis had  arrested Yura (son of Maria and her second husband) who was carrying a letter giving evidence they had been giving refuge to Jews, and in order to…

207. “What we have here is a failure to communicate”: The Fourth Ecumenical Council

The quote above is from a 1967 Paul Newman movie, “Cool Hand Luke”,  about a Florida prison chain gang. You younger people probably remember neither 1967 nor Paul Newman nor chain gangs. (Indeed a cool movie. Look it up.) I think the line is still fairly common, because it applies to so many situations. For example, one very dear to my heart: marriage. “You said that. I heard you.” “I said no such…

206. Father Thomas Hopko and his Fifty Five Maxims of Christian Living

Someone said “Everybody listens to advice. Nobody ever takes it”. But, oh, I hope you take this advice from the Protopresbyter Thomas Hopko. So my advice is: Put his Maxims in an icon on your computer screen, labeled in capital letters so you will see it and open it often. Or print out the Maxims and put them in your daily prayer book, or in your icon corner. Because this is good. But first,…

205. About Opening Up Our Churches Again

I have some suggestions and thoughts, based on my own reading and thinking and praying and personal experience. Take them for whatever you think they’re worth. So you understand where I’m coming from: 1  I have degrees in science (meteorology) and in theology and have been shaped by both disciplines. 2  I have much respect for our hierarchs. They are good responsible men. 3  For almost sixty years, first as an Anglican and now as an Orthodox,…

204. Apostolicity

This post will have three parts: 1 We will venerate the Apostles online. 2 What is Apostolicity? 3 How I found the Apostolic Church after I thought it had vanished from the face of the earth. The Apostles I’m sure you all know that next Monday June 29 is the feast of the Apostles Peter and Paul, because you are eagerly anticipating the end of the “Apostles’ Fast” which concludes on that day. For who wants to fast in the summer?…

203. Happy Birthday, John the Baptist!

The Nativity of the Holy Prophet and Forerunner John the Baptist – June 24 Gospel: Luke 1:1-25, 57-68, 76-80 It must have scared the old priest Zachariah nearly out of his wits. He was certain he had gone alone into The Holy Place to offer the evening sacrifice of incense *, when suddenly he realized he was not alone. Someone was there with him. And a voice: “Do not be afraid, Zachariah, for…

202. Why are there no Saints like Me?

I mean, just look below at the Saints on the Orthodox calendar for today Friday June 12 from Orthodox Wiki. Almost all of them are monks, hermits, bishops, royalty. God bless and reward them all. But why are there no “ordinary” people? We’ll come to that. Don’t go away.. But first today’s Saints, as always, are an interesting bunch, well worth learning about: Saint Onuphrius the Great; Venerable Peter of Mount Athos; Saint Arsenius,…

201. A Totally Inadequate Explication of the Holy Trinity

At the Methodist seminary I attended sixty (!) years ago, Dr. Philip Watson, one of our professors of Systematic Theology (he was the one who taught the Creed) remarked, “We do well not to delve too deeply into the inner Family Life of God”. I am probably about to prove him right. I’ll do the best I can, with my limited understanding and in 2000 words or so. Our finest theologians couldn’t…

200. A Special Message from our American Orthodox Bishops on the Civil Unrest

We just received this letter from our Bishops, calling for prayer for justice and peace tomorrow Wednesday June 3 at Noon EDT.  It is important enough that I’m sending it out quickly. I’d suggest that you offer this short prayer from the Ancient Faith Prayer Book: For Times of Trouble O Lord of hosts, be with us. For in times of distress we have no other help but You.  O Lord of hosts, have mercy on…