The Transfiguration of the World and the Life of the Church

For many centuries, the life of the Church (I am not here speaking particularly of the Orthodox Church though it applies even there) has been relegated to itself as institution and dispenser of the sacraments. Many of the the things we think of as intergral parts of the institution have only existed for a short while and do not constitute anything of eternal value to the Body of Christ. Parish Councils, to…

The Transfiguration of the Material World – Part 2

The transfiguration of the material world is not just a corollary of the doctrine of the Incarnation, but of the complete doctrine of salvation itself. Christ did not come and die, and rise again, only to make us better people. He came to make dead men live. He came to make a creation that is in the grip of death and decay become partakers of the incorruptible Life of heaven. Orthodoxy is…

Transfiguring the Material World – Christmas Through the Ages

I’ll have to ask for forgiveness at the outset on this post – mostly because of its speculative nature – something I generally prefer not to engage in – at least not for others to read. The Incarnation of Christ is significant in the course of our salvation – but we all too easily look at the story from a mere moral or soteriological point of view and fail to stop and…

Christ is Born! Glorify Him!

Thy Nativity, O Christ our God, Has shown to the world the light of wisdom. For by it those who worshipped the stars, Were taught by a star to adore Thee, The Sun of Righteousness. And to know Thee the Orient from on high, O Lord, Glory to Thee! Troparion for Christmas Day

The Fiery Furnace of Christmas

The three youths, wise in God, who shone with joy in the furnace, proclaimed the birth of Christ on earth; For just as the Lord sent down a precious dew, He preserved from the flame her who gave birth; He keeps her undefiled and enriches her with divine gifts. Therefore Daniel, pleasing to God, rejoiced and was glad, For having foreseen the stone from the unquarried mountain, he now prays in boldness…

Waking Up

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Psalm 111:10). This fear descends on us from on High. It is a spiritual feeling, firstly of God and then of us ourselves. We live in a state of awe by virtue of the presence of the Living God together with awareness of our own impurity. This fear places us before the Face of God to be judged by Him. We have…

Journey into the Winter Pascha

This morning, following the rubrics of the Church, we did the service of the Royal Hours, which include readings from Old Testament and Epistle and Gospel for each of the services of the Hours (1st, 3rd, 6th, and 9th). Also much incense. It is a service that in structure will be repeated again before the Theophany as well as during Holy Week before Pascha. It signals that each of these services have…

The Smallness of God and Anglican Struggles

Whom have we, Lord, like you – The Great One who became small, the Wakeful who slept, The Pure One who was baptized, the Living One who died, The King who abased himself to ensure honor for all. Blessed is your honor! St. Ephrem the Syrian We draw near to the Feast of our Lord’s Nativity, and I cannot fathom the smallness of God. Things in my life loom so large and…

The Priests’ Priest

Today, December 20, is the feast day of St. John of Kronstadt, a modern (early 20th century) Russian priest who is admired by many priests in the Church today. His own asceticism (fasting, etc.) was well beyond what is normally seen in parish priests. He had numerous gifts of the Spirit: prophesying, healing, etc. There were even some unusual liturgical practices associated with his ministry (for that time), such as doing group…

A Word from Romania on our Happiness

Father Piciorus Dorin Octavian, who writes the Blog Teologia Pentru Azi (see the Blogroll), posted the following article (in English, thank you). It is about our happiness. When you have a good heart you begin to see God in yourself. Our happiness is our conscience, is a good intention towards God. For a good conscience you need to reconcile with God and with your heart. The celebration of God’s Nativity is a moment…