Fruitless Discussions

The Power and Influence of Good Deeds “For it is the will of God, that with well-doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men (1 Peter 2:15). Bishop Nikolai Velimirovic tells us in The Prologue from Ochrid that we are better off if we do not engage others in lengthy debates and fruitless discussions, but that we…

Humility

On the top deck of our south end ferry. If you are to be truly humble, you must never cease to reproach yourself. You must actively pursue a humble heart, and imitate, even embrace the sufferings of Christ. Without the virtue of humility, there can be no salvation. Without humility your effort is useless. Humility bestows peace in your heart,…

The Sins of Others

If You are to Win the Battle, Focus only on Your Own Sins When we take our eyes off our own failings, shortcomings, and sins, we notice the failings of others. As the sins of others get our attention, our focus turns away from our own struggles with the passions, and we begin to fall further into sin, our eyes…

Silence

Be still, and know that I am God Great and Holy Lent is seen by most as the forty days before Pascha when we give up certain foods (dairy, meat, eggs, fish), and give more attention to alms giving. The season of the Great Fast is also a time when we try to cut back on entertainment, avoiding movies, nights…

Obscuring the Message

Consul General Andrey Yushmanov Acknowledging Warts and Wrinkles If we do not live in repentance and humility, we clergy betray Christ, Whom we claim to serve. We must be willing to put aside all intellectual and romanticized notions of the Church, acknowledge the many warts and wrinkles and institutional flaws that have accumulated over the centuries, and live in imitation…

POPE FRANCIS I

Pope Francis I A Jesuit with a Franciscan’s Simplicity In Catholic tradition, Francis of Assisi had a mystical vision in which Christ told him to rebuild his Church. In taking the name Francis, this pope seems to be pledging himself to rebuild the image and integrity of a church that has suffered from widespread allegations of corruption, and the cover-up…

Bullying

Children Must be Taught Kindness at an Early Age More and more frequently we read about children taking their own lives, having reached a place where they would rather be dead, than live another hour suffering from bullying. Too often parents and teachers have ignored the problem of bullying, dismissing it as nothing more than “kids will be kids”, and…

The Divine Liturgy

Where Communion with God is Restored The Church is that place where heaven and earth are united, and where we can live as we were meant to be, as before the Fall. The Church’s Divine Liturgy is that place where the disunity that came with the Fall is put aside, and communion with God is restored. Our participation in the…

Pure Theology

  Metaphysical Philosophy and Pure Theology  There are only a few Orthodox saints who’ve been given the honor of being called, “theologians”. Saint John the Theologian, and Saint Symeon the New Theologian, to give two examples, were declared Theologians by the Church, because their theology was the result of their having encountered the Living God. Theologians, in the strict sense of…

Ancestral Sin

The Inheritance of Death Rather than the Firstborn’s Sin That the Orthodox Church does not accept the doctrine of original sin as espoused in the West, in no way suggests we do not need to be born anew. Orthodoxy continues the teaching of the Early Church that we inherit only the results of Adam’s sin, not his guilt. This is…

Gratitude

A Grateful Heart is Fertile Ground When you strive to interact with members of your family, with friends, coworkers, and all others, with respect, humility, and dignity, you lay the groundwork for the abundance of Grace needed to quicken your heart for the things of God. The soil is prepared for the planting of seeds that allow you to respond…

The Saints

Our Friends in High Places We Orthodox are known for our veneration of the saints, recognizing as we do the truth that there is no separation between the Church Militant, here on earth, and the Church Triumphant, in heaven. In the Divine Services we are not gathered together alone as mortals, but we are joined in our worship before the…