The River of Fire

An all-consuming fire and an illuminating light Upon Christ’s Second Coming, everyone who has ever lived will see Him in His uncreated light, forever. For “those who worked good deeds in their lifetime will go towards the resurrection of life, while those who worked evil in their lifetime will go towards the resurrection of judgment (John.5:29)”. All will be separated…

Sin as Illness

The Church as the hospital for the soul Our Orthodox Faith defines sin as an illness that is in need of healing, not as a crime that requires punishment. The Church is a hospital for the soul whose therapists (priests) first sought therapy and then became the therapists. As a healing institution the Church is the place for broken souls.…

A Saint in Our Midst

How hatred and jealousy can transform a man into a saint Much of how I struggle to live my life today, I base on my formative years as a monk. My beloved Elder and Spiritual Father, Archimandrite Dimitry of Santa Rosa, was a true saint in every way, and perhaps the humblest man I have ever encountered. When I first…

Hollow Orthodoxy

Taking Orthodoxy beyond the self-congratulatory We must guard against noticing when another parishioner seems careless in the making of the sign of the cross, while we go about demonstrating for all around us, the proper way. Making sweeping signs of the cross that are done in such a way as to be almost a caricature, following up with profound bows,…

Vashon Island

The island of my salvation Following my pilgrimage to the Holy Mountain of Athos, back in 1988, I realized our monastic brotherhood was faced with mounting bills, rising rent costs, and little income. It seemed clear to me we could not stay on this island. Additionally, my personal desire to return to Mt. Athos in order to continue my monastic…

The Virgin Mary

The God-bearer gave birth to the Word of God, and also became Christ’s first disciple As the Theotokos (God-bearer), how can Mary not be the Mother of God? She didn’t just bear the humanity of Jesus, but she bore the Son of God. Because Christ is both human and divine, His mother is therefore the Mother of God. The Holy…

The Beauty of God

Being the beauty of God in a darkened world When others see how we negotiate our life, how we treat our fellow workers, our neighbors, and our family, they should witness in us devotion and praise of God. Our deeds and our speech must reveal the love of God to all those who come in contact with us. Our whole…

Quick to Forgive

We must forgive others even if they are not repentant A desert father was told by one of his monks that he’d forgiven his brother who had wronged him. However, his brother would not admit to his own actions against him. The abbot told him that in having forgiven his brother it was he himself who would walk away justified…

True Piety

Pious without stoking the flames of pride Some converts become experts in canon law and liturgical rubrics, and number themselves among the super correct. Archbishop Averky of Jordanville (of blessed memory) said of converts, “they are like envelopes and have a tendency to come unglued.” None of this is meant to diminish the importance of external piety, nor making the…

Mary the Mother of God

The place of the Holy Virgin in our lives The Holy Virgin is a stumbling block for many protestants looking into Orthodoxy. The idea that this woman described in the Gospels in such humble terms could be called Mother of God seems unbiblical to them. She was never called Mother of God in the Bible, they say, so why would…

Poustinia

The importance of the desert to the inner life The Russian word, “Poustinia”, means “desert”, and the importance of the poustinia to the inner life can not be dismissed. If we are to hear the voice of God speaking to us, we must listen to His silence. If we are to learn to hear His voice, we must learn to…

Being God’s Messenger

When we put on Christ, we become God’s messenger Walking through life with a smile on our face and a song in our heart is the best way to keep our mind and heart in a good place. Life has many turns and many trials, but when we keep centered on all the good that is in our life, the…