Orthodoxy and Beauty

The Council of Bishops of the Russian Church Orthodoxy and Beauty are InseparableOrthodox Christianity attracted me from my very first encounter with the magnificence of it’s churches and the grandeur of her divine services. Having grown up amid the natural beauty of Northern Idaho, with mountains and lakes that could take our breath away, I’d previously found inspiration primarily in…

Our Thoughts

A portion of our monastery’s library Our Thoughts Determine Our Lives “Our life depends on the kind of thoughts we nurture. If our thoughts are peaceful, calm, meek, and kind, then that is what our life is like. If our attention is turned to the circumstances in which we live, we are drawn into a whirlpool of thoughts and can…

Demons

Never Converse with DemonsIn 1986 I spent fourteen days in retreat at Saint Tikhon’s Monastery in South Canaan, Pennsylvania. Staying in the monastic quarters, I had two weeks of wonderful fellowship with fellow monastics, worshiping in their temple, eating with them in trapeza, walking the trails through their forest, praying in their large Orthodox cemetery, and visiting the seminary bookstore.…

How to Teach Your Children

to Love God Children Learn Love of God From Their Parents Every Orthodox parent wants their children to grow up attending Sunday Liturgies and staying active in the life of the Church throughout their lives. Yet many parents don’t demonstrate the importance of having a relationship with God in front of their children. If you do not make God important,…

How to Have a Healthy Soul

Don’t react, be at peace. Each day brings on new challenges regarding the  health of your soul. Those moments when a family member or coworker makes a remark that are meant to anger you, are those times you need to guard your heart. When those around you are gossiping about someone, that is an opportunity for you to keep silent.…

Losing Religion

Awaiting the Invocation () Shrugging off Religion and Replacing it with Nothing According to Professor Mark Silk of Trinity College in Hartford, Conn., “The real dirty little secret of religiosity in America is that there are so many people for whom spiritual interest, thinking about ultimate questions, is minimal,” Increasing numbers of people are concerned only with new cars, mortgages,…

Words are Powerful

How Criticism Should be Imparted “Criticism, like rain, should be gentle enough to nourish a man’s growth without destroying his roots.” Frank A. Clark, writer (1911-). When offering someone criticism it is important that we do so with kindness. Studies have shown that to counter one negative comment it takes ten positive comments. When we receive criticism from another, positive…

Christian Pharisees

The Orthodox Faith is Nothing without Transformation of Life If your spiritual life is concentrated only on external practices and traditions, but does nothing to bring about real change, you have gained nothing. Too many people think as long as they keep the fasting rules, do their prayers, and attend the services, they are good Orthodox Christians. Yet if there…

Bound Together in a Community of Sorrow

On Tuesday night I received a call from the 911 dispatcher, asking me to respond to a traffic fatality. As I left the monastery I prayed that whomever had been killed was not a young person, and that it was not someone I knew. When I arrived at the accident scene, I immediately recognized my neighbors, and knew the fatal…

How to End Isolation

My dear friend, Archpriest Nicholas Letten of Portand, Oregon Isolation and the Christian Life In an age when families no longer eat dinner together, children watch TV, play computer games, and text message their friends from their bedrooms. When adults can be seen walking in our cities talking on cell phones. At a time in our history when people can…

How to Acquire a Grateful Heart

Quarter Master Harbor on Vashon Island Give Thanks to God for Everything Whatever the circumstances in which we find ourselves, God is giving us an opportunity to gain the freedom that comes from acquiring humility. Whatever our job, which ever task we are asked to perform, whatever life places before us, all is an opportunity to give thanks to God.…

Blessed is the Kingdom

Blessed is the kingdom of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit The Divine Liturgy begins with the words, Blessed is the kingdom of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, now and forever and to the ages of ages. This kingdom is our true home and our lives as Christians are centered around the great…