The Icon We Love Most

An early post on icons – hopefully part of a short series… Years ago when I was studying in an Anglican seminary (mid-70’s), I had the beginnings of my interest in icons. I owned a couple, and read what little was available on the topic in English at that time (believe it or not there was a time when not many books were available in English on the topic of Orthodox Christianity).‚Ķ

The Time for Prayer

A brother asked a hermit, “If I oversleep and miss the time for prayer, I hesitate to keep the rule of prayer. I am embarassed and do not want the brothers to hear me praying.” The hermit gave him this advice: “If you sleep late, get up and shut your door and windows. Then pray your psalms. Both day and night belong to God. You will glorify God whatever time it is.”‚Ķ

The Experience of Prayer

As a foolish man I go so far in this post as to speak of the experience of prayer. I write this not to speak of great experiences but, if possible, to quiet our minds, and to speak a word of peace in a culture that is full of madness and spiritual delusion. There are many wonderful spiritual stories to be found in the lives of the saints and elders. Many people,…

Prayer Before Bed

Some written prayers are simply better than anything you can think of yourself. ¬†There are phrases in this traditional Orthodox “prayer before bed” that speak worlds. “…or seen the beauty of someone and been wounded by it in my heart…” To the Holy Spirit: O Lord, the Heavenly King, the Comforter, the Spirit of Truth: have compassion and mercy on me, Thy sinful servant! Absolve me, who am unworthy. Forgive all the‚Ķ

Beginning to Pray

I have written from time to time on the nature of prayer. I was recently asked by a reader to offer a reflection on “beginning to pray,” which seems to me to be an invitation to write about something that happens for me, by necessity, every day. I cannot write as a man of great experience in prayer. But I have had years of experience in beginning to pray. If the reader‚Ķ

Transfiguration and the Bridal Chamber

There is a propensity in our modern world to break things down Рto analyze. We have gained a certain mastery over many things by analyzing various components of their structure and manipulating what we find. It has become the default position of modern thought. This power of analysis, however, is weakened by its very success. Frequently the truth of something lies not in the summary of its parts but in the…

The Fullness of Faith

I prefer to use the term “fullness” when describing the Orthodox faith because it is far more explanatory than simply saying that we are the “true Church,” etc. “Fullness,” of course does not deny this, but it moves us onto more fruitful ground. In this post I offer a short list of what seem to me important consequences of giving one’s life to the “fullness of the faith.”¬† This is a reprint‚Ķ

Speaking With Authority

And when Jesus finished these sayings, the crowds were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one who had authority, and not as their scribes (Matt. 7:28-29). Authority is an interesting phenomenon Рthough not often what people may think. I remember the first few years of my ministry Рfresh from seminary. There is probably no one in the religious world who knows more than a newly-graduated seminarian. I was…

Rightly Reading – Yet Again

I am reprinting this short article on “rightly reading” in response to comments on my last post. I suspect that this article will be reprinted often when the subject of the study of Scripture arises. The course of your reading should be parallel to the aim of your way of life…. Most books that contain instructions in doctrine are not useful for purification. The reading of many diverse books brings distraction of‚Ķ

The Orthodox Reading of Scripture

The following quote is from the Christian history website maintained by Christianity Today (an¬†evangelical source).¬†¬†It describes the crucial teaching role of St. Irenaeus of Lyons, an early Bishop of the Church and later a martyr, and perhaps the most articulate spokesman of Orthodox theology in the 2nd century. The article discusses Irenaeus’ refutation of the Gnostic heretics, particularly their misuse of Scripture. It sheds light on how the Church rightly divides the‚Ķ