Digging Deeper

Christianity Beyond the SurfaceMany people embrace Orthodox Christianity with great enthusiasm, after having suffered the poverty of a materialistic world view. The beauty of the divine services brings a certain elegance into their weekly schedule, and the adornment of their homes with icons introduces an exotic element into a previously drab existence. Yet if we do not make our Orthodox…

A Second Look

Natural Disasters and the Human Condition After re-reading my post, and hearing from some trusted readers, I would like to clarify my thoughts concerning yesterday’s posting. I’m deeply sorry my article did not more clearly impart the Orthodox view of cause and effect. God does not cause natural disasters, we do. We have fallen short, and there are consequences. Before…

Reaping What we Sow

God is in Control of the Forces of Nature The massively destructive and deadly hurricane that has plowed into the east coast of the United States should not have been a surprise to any of us. How could we expect there should not be consequences for a nation that has such a high number of our babies being aborted, has…

Thy Will be Done

Together with my brother, Abba Melake Birhanat Are these the End Times? The cultural and spiritual warfare that is taking place between the “Christian” West, and the Islamic Middle East, together with the extreme climate changes taking place around the world, have become a source of concern for many. Coupled with the polarization of the populous within the United States,…

The Planting of a Monastery (chapter 11)

Preaching on the occasion of Saint Demetrios Day, St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church in Seattle The Island of my Salvation Following my return from the Holy Mountain we were faced with mounting bills, rising rent costs, little income, and my personal desire to return to Mt. Athos to continue my monastic struggle. I went so far as to ask a…

Culture Shock

Vashon Island, in the Salish Sea The Return to the United StatesAfter having spent almost a month in Greece, including ten days on Mount Athos, the return to the United States, via New York City, was major culture shock. I found myself grieving for the loss of the simple life of the Holy Mountain, with its lack of phones, electricity,…

New Martyr

New Martyr Fadi Jamil Haddad Damascus (Agenzia Fides) – The body of the Greek Orthodox priest, Father Fadi Jamil Haddad, pastor of the Church of Saint Elias in Qatana, was found today in the Jaramana neighborhood (north of Damascus) not far from the place where he was kidnapped, on October 19, by unidentified armed group (see Fides 24/10/2012). This was…

Lust

Waging War against  the Flesh Since the eyes and the ears are the doors of the soul, an Orthodox Christian must not leave the body without attention. Unlike the religion of Gnosticism, which teaches the separation of soul and body, with the physical world being evil and something to be overcome, historic Christianity teaches the unity the body and soul,…

The Real You

Know Who You Really Are We are all surrounded by fictional characters, persons who are the invention of filmmakers, promoters, and even self-inventors. The original meaning of the word “hypocrite” was “actor”, and it is ignorance of our true nature as children of God that keeps us living as fictional characters, unaware of our own true purpose, the one God…

Squashing

When Charity becomes an Occasion for Self Worship Food is a common problem for many people, for food so often fills a void, becoming a way of comforting oneself when faced with the stresses that are a part of our modern, everyday world. Being in service to others, such as volunteering for many charitable, worthy causes, can be a way…

The Planting of a Monastery (chapter 9)

Saint Nektarios of Pentapolis Leavetaking of the Holy Mountain Altogether, Father Basil and I visited seven different monasteries during our ten day pilgrimage to the Holy Mountain. Each monastery had its own powerful impact on my soul, and I found it very difficult to leave what must truly be the homeland of every Orthodox monk. Rather than attempt to describe…

When We Face Disappointment

Hammi, the Norwegian Forest Cat Sometimes we find ourselves so caught up in what we want, or what we think we need, we become despondent when we face disappointment or loss. We can get so caught up in reaching our goals we fail because we got too caught up in what we want, but it’s not what God had planned…