Brighter Than Any Royal Chamber

At the end of the Great Entrance, when the priest places the Holy Gifts on the altar, there are several verses which he repeats quietly. They are all deeply meaningful to me, but one has been on my heart much of late: “Bearing life and more fruitful than paradise, brighter than any royal chamber: Thy tomb, O Christ, is the fountain of our resurrection.” For me, these words point to the true…

What We Do Not See

One of the most striking features of the Gospels is the frequent response of the Disciples after the resurrection of Christ: doubt. I have always been sympathetic to the doubts and hesitations that afflicted their lives during the ministry of Christ. The disciples are almost endearing in their inability to grasp what Christ is all about. However, the same inability to grasp things after the resurrection seems to carry with it all…

Angels Sing

  A Serbian Christmas Song – lyrics by St. Nikolai Velimirovich Andjeli Pevaju Noć prekrasna i noć tija, nad pećinom zvezda sija, u pećini mati spi, nad Isusom andjel bdi. Andjeli pevaju, pastiri sviraju, andjeli pevaju mudraci javljaju: Što narodi čekaše, što proroci rekoše, evo sad se u svet javi, u svet javi i objavi: Rodi nam se Hristos Spas za spasenje sviju nas. Aliluja, aliluja, Gospodi pomiluj! (deep voice) no matter…

Prayers By the Lake – St. Nikolai of Zicha

C Accept the sacrifice of my words, my Father — accept the babbling of a penitent child, my Father! Correct my words with Your truth, and accept them on the footstool of Your feet.  Cense my sacrifice with the fragrant incense of a saint’s prayer and do not reject it, O Triradiate Master of worlds.  The ranks of angels offer You a more eloquent sacrifice, but their words stream to them from…

Bad Icons

And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being changed into His likeness from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit (2 Corinthians 3:18).  It is a teaching of the Fathers concerning the holy icons that we do not truly “see” them if we have no reverence for that which they depict. Icons are “windows into heaven,” but…

Beauty and God

This is a reprint of an article from earlier this year. I found it worth re-reading. Everything is beautiful in a person when he turns toward God, and everything is ugly when it is turned away from God. Fr. Pavel Florensky I come to the end of a day that has been filled with other activity and little time for writing. But in my reading at bedtime I came across the above…

Many Thanks for Prayers and a Request

I awoke feeling much better today and am deeply grateful for the many prayers. In my experience, rising from a bed of sickness is among the greatest joys we know in our earthly life. I think it is a foreshadowing of the resurrection when we shall all rise from our beds of sickness (and death) and join in the chorus of heaven. I am baptizing a child this afternoon, no better way…

The God Who Is Beautiful

I suggested this as reading in a comment yesterday and decided to re-post it so that it would be more readily available. It belongs with the question of God and beauty that I started in yesterday’s post. Everything is beautiful in a person when he turns toward God, and everything is ugly when it is turned away from God. Fr. Pavel Florensky I come to the end of a day that has…

Prayers By the Lake – I

Saint Nicholai Velimirovich, of whom I have written before, is the author of the wonderful, Prayers By the Lake, which he composed on the shores of Lake Ochrid. They are a treasure of modern Orthodox verse. His first poem in the cycle reflects a sense of the creation as God’s own, rather than an inert arena for secular life. I offer this poem and a link to an online edition of His…