The Conception of the Most Holy Theotokos

From the OCA Website: St Anna, the mother of the Virgin Mary, was the youngest daughter of the priest Nathan from Bethlehem, descended from the tribe of Levi. She married St Joachim (September 9), who was a native of Galilee.For a long time St Anna was childless, but after twenty years, through the fervent prayer of both spouses, an angel of the Lord announced to them that they would be the parents…

Silent Sentinels and the Saints Among Us

Like many, I recall my highschool years somewhat vividly. Our school was of moderate size with a personal history for most students that increased its impact. It opened in 1965 with grades 7 through 12, among the earliest accomodations in our county to the “baby boom” phenomenon. Existing schools simply could not handle the growing mass of young people. By the time I reached 9th grade, plans were made and shortly implemented…

St. Nicholas is for Sale

Browsing the net can bring its surprises. The most dangerous thing in the world is to blindly type in whatever.com (meaning, “what you’re looking for” .com). Looking for things on St. Nicholas (whose feast is the 6th of December), I simply typed in saintnicholas.com and found a site which said: “Saintnicholas.com is for sale.” I know it was only referring to the internet domain – but it was an inadvertent comment on…

Who Am I?

I ask a sensual man, “Who are you?” and he replies, “I am I,” and he thinks of his body. I ask a thinking man, “Who are you?” and he replies, “I see two sides in myself and I make my way between them, associating first with one and then the other,” and he is thinking of his instinctive and conscious soul. I ask a spiritual man, “Who are you?” and he…

Saturday – the Most Holy Mother of God and the Faithful Departed

On Saturdays, the Orthodox Church remembers the Most Holy Mother of God and the faithful departed. During Holy Week, the Church celebrates Christ’s descent to the dead and His trampling down death by death on Holy Saturday, just as a week before on Lazarus Saturday, it remembers Christ’s raising Lazarus from the tomb. Throughout the year, but especially during Great Lent, there are a number of Saturdays that are “Soul Saturdays,” or…

Thursdays – the Holy Apostles and Great Hierarchs

Thursdays in the Orthodox Church are devoted to the Holy Apostles and the Great Hierarchs, especially St. Nicholas of Myra, the Wonderworker. As someone noted earlier, Thursday is the “twelfth” day of the week (if Sunday is eight) thus the association of the 12 Apostles – though which came first – the designation or the reckoning is known only to the angels – but that was Monday… St. Paul states: the Church…

Reading the Fathers

I mentioned in a comment to a recent post that more people talk about the Fathers of the Church than actually read them. I also noted that good translations are hard to find. I wanted to offer some thoughts on reading the Fathers as well as some suggestions on how to begin that important task. First, you should understand that you will never read all the Fathers, or understand all that they…

What St. Seraphim Meant

“Acquire the Spirit of Peace and a thousand souls around you will be saved.” This is perhaps the most famous quote of the great Russian saint, Seraphim of Sarov. Many of his icons have this saying on them. I’ve never met anyone who didn’t like it. On the other hand, I think there are many who do not understand it. And understanding what he meant can take you to the very heart…