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……

157. Daniel in the Lion’s Den and the Young Men in the Burning Fiery Furnace

On December 17 we Orthodox honor four Old Testament men of faith: the Prophet Daniel and the Young Men Ananias, Azarias and Mishael, also known as Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, and sometimes called the Three Holy Children. This is a great story. I learned it in Protestant summer Bible School, but I wonder how many Orthodox know it. We sing of them on the Sunday before the Nativity of Christ, and every…

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…