156. Saint Spyridon, a Much-Traveled Saint

Today December 6 is Saint Nicholas Day. So, why no Post about our beloved saint? Well, we’ve said quite a lot about him already (see Posts 2, 3, 43, 44, 63, 64, 65, 124) and there will be more to come. Here’s an icon of him, just to make him happy. So I hope he won’t object if today we tell the story of one of his contemporaries, Saint Spyridon whose feast…

155. The Church’s Teaching about Charitable Giving, Part Two – The Fathers

First, Two Stories about Clinging to Things Saint Spyridon, a shepherd on Cyprus both before and after (!) he became a Bishop, once came home to find thieves busily stealing his sheep. He spent a long time trying to persuade them to turn to an honest life. Then he let them go, giving each of them a sheep so, as he said, “all your hard work will not have been in vain.” (More about Spyridon in…

154 The Church’s Teaching about Charitable Giving, Part One – from The Holy Scriptures

In this two-part article, here’s what we’ll cover: Today: 1 The Old Testament foundations. 2 The New Testament on “enlightened self interest” – did you ever think of it this way? Christ’s advice on how to use money to gain everlasting life, of the sort you’ll enjoy! And then Saint Paul on how to use money to gain financial security in this world. Next week: The Holy Fathers Old Testament teaching on Charity  Our written…

151.1 The Preparation: An Addendum – The Priest’s Vesting Prayers

For Post 151 on the Preparation for Liturgy, I decided that including  the Priest’s Vesting Prayers would make the article too long. However “Mama V” wrote asking that we include them. So… I copied the following from the website * of Saint Luke the Evangelist Orthodox Church (OCA) in Palos Hills, Illinois – for which I’m very grateful, and for which I hope we needed no permission. *which contains an extraordinary amount…

153. The Poor Rich Farmer

Money! Money! Money! I know some church members take offense when the Priest talks about money. Maybe this is because they think dirty old money is too unworthy a topic to mention in church. Or maybe because… well, let’s no go there. In either case they would certainly have been offended by their Lord Jesus Christ, who talked about money and possessions a lot. On the other hand, if all people hear…

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.…