The Banquet

of the Lord The Importance of Preparing for the Divine Liturgy That the Church requires us to prepare to receive the Holy Mysteries of the Body and Blood of Christ, prior to the celebration of the Divine Liturgy, by saying the Pre-Communion Prayers, is a given. The Church also requires us to fast from midnight on, abstaining from either food…

THE GARDEN

Tending the Garden of the Heart Both my Norwegian grandfather, and my mother, were avid gardeners, so I grew up surrounded by the beauty of plants and flowers. The cottage garden is a distinct style of garden that is certainly my favorite. The use of traditional materials, in an informal design, together with dense plantings, and a mixture of ornamental…

The 21st Century

The Baumann  family from Bowie, MD Will The Church Thrive into the Twenty-first Century? For Orthodoxy to thrive into the next century, we must see a return to the very roots of our faith, where the Church proclaims the Good News of Christ in all its purity, and centers herself in the mystical and sacramental core of her very being.…

The Priest

The priest must become like a funnel If a priest is truly to be an agent for grace, he must become like a funnel through which the Lord’s mercy can flow. That a priest has received the grace of ordination, if he does not attempt to live a life of holiness, if he does not become a living sacrifice for…

The Sin of Nationalism

The Unpardonable Blasphemy of turning the Church into a National Institution With the fall of communism, some nations with a history of Orthodoxy would seek to establish the Orthodox Church as a State Church, something that history tells us can be a big mistake. When the Bolsheviks defeated Imperial Russia, the former government’s close ties with the Church led to…

The Stranger

Archpriest Basil Rhodes, preaching at the monastery When the Stranger is Listening The miracle I wrote about in my blog on Saturday, was a reminder to both Father Basil and me that people around us often listen to what we are saying. When you wear your cassock, and have a long beard, people in this secular society notice. What we…

Modest Attire

My monastic cell The Old Testament is filled with the image of God’s people being a holy people, set apart. The ancient Israelites were not like their neighbors. Their values and their faith impacted everything about them. They dressed differently than many of their neighboring pagan tribes. Their worship was centered on the God that had revealed himself to them…

Angels Unawares

Abbot Tryphon and Archpriest Basil Rhodes While sitting in a sidewalk cafe with my friend, Archpriest Basil Rhodes, having a cup of coffee and a bite to eat, we noticed a homeless man stop behind me. The man was staring at our food, so Father Basil asked him if he was hungry. He answered with an enthusiastic “yes”, and when…

PRAYER

When Prayer Becomes Dry When we find ourselves struggling with prayer, and feel that it has become dry and lifeless, we are sometimes tempted to stop praying. When our prayer has become a struggle, it is good to remember that God knows our needs, and even knows what we want to say when we don’t seem to know. This is…

The All-Pure One

The Holiness and Purity of the Ever Virgin Mary The Orthodox Church teaches, as did the early Church, that the Holy Virgin Mary was sinless, not because she was born without sin, as in the Roman Catholic doctrine of the Immaculate Conception, but because Mary chose not to sin. While we acknowledge Protestants have always under-valued Mary because of their…

Doubt

  The Opposite of Faith is Unbelief, not Doubt Lack of doubt causes people to hold to beliefs which may not be enough to sustain them in this present world, for they, in their fear of doubt, fail to go beyond the external form of the Christian faith. In their fear, they may simply go through the motions of religion,…

Remembrance

Remembrance of the Things of God Today is the perfect day to start doing battle with the passions that create a state of unrest in our hearts. Tomorrow may be too late to begin this battle, for none of us knows the day we will face God, and be called upon to account for our life. In our forgetfulness, the…