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…

The Next Generation

How do we keep our youth in the Church?  We are living in an age that has witnessed changes on a massive scale as never before. The way we communicate has changed with the coming of the internet, with information available that would have required a library and advanced degrees to access in the past. Ideas and information are available…

Cremation versus the Orthodox Practice of Burial

CREMATION   The first time I ever attended a funeral service where cremation of the body of the deceased had taken place was in Portland, Oregon, many years ago. An Episcopal priest friend had died and had requested his body be cremated. Walking into the church and seeing a small box sitting before the altar was a shock for me.…

The Ship

The Ship that is the Church As the waves of passions confront us and threaten to hurtle us against the rocks, it is good to remember that as long as we remain on board the ship of the Church, we are safe. We sail aboard a ship that is piloted by Christ Himself, and we are comforted with the knowledge…

Cultural Relevancy and Missionary Outreach

Young Penitent As my readers know, I am very involved in missionary outreach to young people. I speak on campuses, write a blog, post on facebook, and otherwise make myself available in any way I can to reach out with Orthodoxy to today’s youth. It should therefore be no surprise to anyone that I would agree to do the recorded…

When Despondency Seizes Us

Army Chaplain Father Sean The renowned 19th century Russian saint, Seraphim of Sarov (1759-1833), said of himself, “I don’t know anything”. These words were remarkable coming from a hermit who was the most sought after spiritual adviser of his age, with even the Tsar seeking out his counsel. Yet Saint Seraphim recognized that he was but a funnel from which…

The Seal of Confession

Nick Buick, releasing one of 36 doves on Theophany Opening the Doors to Repentance In the Orthodox Church, the seal of confession is absolute, and there is no situation that will allow for the revelation of anything said in confession. As a member of the International Conference of Police Chaplains, I, as an Orthodox priest, am one of a handful…

Concealment

The cell of Saint John the Wonderworker, St. Tikhon’s House, in San Francisco When we Conceal Our Sins from Our Confessor My article on confession elicited a number of comments that I feel need to be addressed in more detail. A number of people privately shared that they were hesitant to confess certain sins for fear of being embarrassed before…

The Sacredness of Sexuality

When the Gift of Sexuality becomes an Occasion for Sin Sins of a sexual nature are common among many people today. Much of the struggle is directly related to the fact that people do not take advantage of having a spiritual father. If you are your own guide the struggles with sexual passions can be beyond your ability to fight,…

On-Line Missionary

Together with long time friends, Bishop Alexander and Archbishop Benjamin During my recent visit to Holy Virgin Cathedral in San Francisco, for the celebration of Theophany, I was amazed at how many people approached me regarding my daily blog, The Morning Offering. It is certainly gratifying to hear that my labors are bearing fruit, and that there are people who…

Bodily Suffering

Together with two San Francisco firefighters 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…

Secular Divide

Civilization Needs Unity Between Religion and the Secular State The great divide between the secular state and religion has grown substantially during my lifetime. Gone are the days when our nation was based on Christian values and where religion played an important role the public life of this country. The notion that we must separate Church and State has gained…