The Holy of Holies

The link between the Old and New Testament Temples Orthodox temples have kept to the same form and function since ancient times. Using the Old Testament Temple model, Orthodox churches are divided into several courts or spaces peculiar to their function. The Holy Table, upon which is celebrated the Eucharist, is situated at the east end of the building behind…

Daily Spiritual Growth

A spiritually balanced day in the life of an Orthodox Christian Balancing the spiritual life with the workplace can be quite challenging. Our work day should begin with prayer, and should be planned with the help and guidance of one’s spiritual father, priest or confessor. If you have children, you should get up an hour early, so you have plenty…

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…

Do not Judge Anyone

Blessed Dimitry of Santa Rosa never spoke a word in judgement against anyone Recently, I recounted something about my own late spiritual father, Archimandrite Dimitry of Santa Rosa, that I’d forgotten. Father Dimitry, who had escaped from Communist Russia, having suffered beatings and imprisonment, never spoke against them, nor ever uttered a word in judgement regarding his former tormentors. After…

Noetic Faculty

The energy of the mind inside the heart In the patristic tradition the heart is the center of our self-awareness. This self-awareness is the energy of the mind inside the heart, something the holy fathers referred to as our “noetic faculty”. There is an important distinction that must be noted concerning the difference between the Western and Eastern understands of…

Hope

Looking for hope in all the right places Earlier this evening I was listening to one of the last songs recorded by Johnny Cash, probably the best country western singer of all time. The line in his song, “put me in my box on the 309”, is coming from a man who is facing his own imminent death. With the…

The Kiss

Kissing the hand of the priest is all about Christ The kissing of the hand of the priest is not about the man, but rather about Christ. It is much like the kissing of an icon, which is not about the veneration of paint and wood, but about the archetype represented in the icon. When we kiss the hand of…

Acquiring Virtues

Like a bee one should extract from each of the virtues what is most profitable “Like a bee one should extract from each of the virtues what is most profitable. In this way, by taking a small amount from all of them, one builds up from the practice of the virtues a great honeycomb overflowing with the soul-delighting honey of…

Drought

Encountering drought in one’s soul Washington State is experiencing drought, and for the first time in ages, Western Washington is being impacted. When most people think of Seattle, they think of rain, lots of rain. Anyone who would choose to live in the Puget Sound region, better like rain, we tell our visitors. We love lush green forests, and rushing…

Faith in a Disbelieving World

Living as Orthodox Christians in a Non-Christian World In this pluralistic society there are many Orthodox individuals who’ve found themselves sharing their lives with non-Orthodox family members. Sometimes these families are not even practicing Christians, so the struggle to keep to the traditions and practices of the Orthodox Faith can be difficult. The lenten periods can be especially hard when…

True Knowledge

Simplicity and humility lead to true knowledge The Apostle Paul tells us that it is better to be ignorant in speech rather than in spiritual knowledge (2 Cor. 11:6). Being skilled in speaking is a matter of human learning, as are the other forms of worldly education, but they do not contribute to the salvation of the soul. Even if…

The Critic

The critic, fearing he will fail, does nothing It is easy to be critical of another person, finding fault with what we perceive they are doing, have done, or have not done. Yet the man who points out how another man has stumbled, finding fault in something he himself has not done, and in what he himself thinks he could…