Closed Communion

Closed communion protects those who do not hold to the Church’s teachings regarding the Holy Mysteries When a stranger approaches the Holy Gifts during the celebration of the Divine Liturgy it is the norm in the Orthodox Church for the priest to ask the person to “kiss the chalice”. Not knowing if the person is Orthodox, or whether they are…

Alone

When God seems absent We all have those moments in our lives when we feel as though God is absent, even perhaps nonexistent. Those times leave us feeling alone and abandoned, as though we are lost in an empty stadium. We feel as though we are on a boat that has been set adrift without an engine, floating further from…

Encouragement

The Church must encourage her children It deeply saddens me when I see some in the Church taking the stand that the Church must be the enforcer of God’s law. In this view the Church becomes like some arm of the military, dishing out punishment, or excluding some of her children as ill fit for anything but condemnation. I remember…

The Poor and the Homeless

And the response of authentic Christian charity The Church, if she be authentic in her Christian witness, must grapple with the challenges of society starting from its most marginalized sector. If the Church does not teach with a loud voice the importance of Christian charity, she will be failing in her duty to preach the fullness of Christ’s Gospel. The…

Absolute Truth

Eternal truth that has endured from ancient times In an age when many people think truth is relative, the knowledge that there is such a thing as absolute truth, is comforting. The freedom that comes with the knowledge that we are able to embrace teachings that are a continuation of an unbroken line dating back to Apostolic times, is liberating.…

Incense

Let my prayer arise as incense before Thee From Old Testament times believers have burned incense as an offering when worshiping God. The ancient temple in Jerusalem even had priests whose sole duty was to keep the censer burning twenty-four hours a day. Ancient pagan kings were often escorted with large fans of peacock feathers and burning incense when entering…

The True Self

The restoration of the true self The Lord Jesus Christ was humble, meek and good, and with the help of the Lord we too can be humble. Fasting and prayer are the means by which God can change our hearts, but we must approach both with humility and purpose. Saying our prayers quickly just to get through them is no…

Theophany

Also known as the Feast of Lights The Feast of the Holy Theophany of our Lord God and Savior Jesus Christ is celebrated each year on January 7 (19 New Style). The Feast commemorates the Baptism of Christ and the divine revelation of the Holy Trinity. At the Baptism of Christ, all three Persons of the Holy Trinity—Father, Son, and…

The Orthodox Temple

The Link between the Old and New Testament Temples Orthodox temples have kept to the same form and function since ancient times. Using the Old Testament Temple model, Orthodox churches are divided into several courts or spaces peculiar to their function. The Holy Table, upon which is celebrated the Eucharist, is situated at the east end of the building behind…

Deceitfulness

We must strive to always be truthful In our daily encounters with our spouses, family, friends, and coworkers, we must always strive to be truthful. Deceitfulness must never be allowed to be a part of our life, for deceitfulness in relationships with others will always translate into being untruthful with God. Our relationships with others and our relationship with God…

A Mass of Sinners

Committed to living as the presence of Christ According to Saint Ephraim the Syrian (306 – 373), “The Church is not the assembly of saints, it is the mass of sinners who repent, who, sinners though they are, have turned towards God and are oriented towards Him.” As a people whose focus is on God, we are sinners who are…