Noetic Faculty

The energy of the mind inside the heart In the patristic tradition the heart is the center of our self-awareness. This self-awareness is the energy of the mind inside the heart, something the holy fathers referred to as our “noetic faculty”. There is an important distinction that must be noted concerning the difference between the Western and Eastern understands of…

Bodily Suffering

The role of bodily suffering in the salvation of human kind Elder Ambrose of Optina Monastery said, “We should not forget that in our age of ‘sophistication’ even little children are spiritually harmed by what they see and hear. As a result, purification is required, and this is only accomplished through bodily suffering….You must understand that Paradisal bliss is granted…

The Transfiguration

The Feast of the Holy Transfiguration of Christ The Transfiguration of of Christ is the episode in the New Testament narrative in which Our Lord is transfigured and becomes radiant with bright rays of light. At that moment the prophets Moses and Elijah appear next to Him, and He speaks with them. The voice of God the Father calls Him,…

Prayer of the Heart

The Jesus Prayer and the Acquisition of Inner Peace The Jesus Prayer, also known as the  Prayer of the Heart, is the central prayer for monastics. One of the early desert fathers, Saint Macarius the Great, said of the phrase from the Psalms, “The meditation of my heart is in your sight”, “There is no other perfect meditation than the…

Our Patronal Feast

The Feast of Christ the All-Merciful Saviour Today our brotherhood celebrates the Patronal Feast of our monastery. Thirty-three years ago the beloved and ever memorable Archimandrite Dimitri (Egoroff) of Santa Rosa, CA tonsured Father Paul and me as Orthodox monks, having embraced Orthodoxy after many years as monks in the Eastern Catholic Church. Guided and inspired by Father Dimitri’s kind…

Acquiring Holiness

Holiness comes only to those who struggle Not an hour should pass without taking time to examine our heart, for the hour of judgement can come at any time, and we must be ready to give account to God for our life. When we practice examination of the heart, we do so with the knowledge that there is no spiritual…

Hospice or Hospital?

Spiritual pain control or spiritual healing? Since the Church is a hospital for the soul wherein we come for healing, it is important that we take full advantage of all the resources the Church offers us for such healing. Frequent confession, where we bare our sins before God with the priest as the witness is an important beginning to the…

The Holy Cross

The Procession of the Life-Creating Cross The Procession of the Venerable Wood of the Life-Creating Cross of the Lord is a feast of the Church that has it’s roots in Constantinople, because of the illnesses that occur in August. It was customary, in former times, to carry the Venerable Wood of the Cross through the streets and squares of Constantinople…

Creating Harmony

Creating harmony out of chaos The inevitability of death is particularly difficult to face for most Americans, as we’ve become a people that eschew traditional funerals, preferring to “celebrate the life of our loved one, while disposing of the body, and banning any sign of death from the memorial service should we even decide to have a service. Yet the…

My Alaskan Pilgrimage Continues

Saint Paul Island in the Bering Sea I’ve just returned Anchorage after journeying to Kodiak, Spruce Island, and Saint Paul Island. As my regular readers know, while on Saint Paul Island, I was without cell phone service and WiFi, so it will be a slow return to offering my daily postings, given my state of exhaustion. I’m going to share…

A Society in Decline

Let us be the Light of Christ in the midst of a world in darkness One of the most beloved movies ever made was Frank Capra’s, “It’s a Wonderful Life”. Staring Jimmy Stewart as George Bailey, the movie tells the story of an ever optimistic man, who, while facing life’s hardships, set aside his own dreams in order to help…

The Saint Herman of Alaska Pilgrimage continued

The Saint Herman of Alaska Pilgrimage continued Please forgive me for not writing a blog article, but the pilgrimage is taking it’s toll on my aging body. I am, however, posting the saints of the day, along with the scripture readings. Hope you enjoy these latest photos. Tomorrow we head to Spruce Island, and will celebrate a Hierarchical Liturgy in…