The Dormition

The Feast of the Dormition of the Mother of God According to the teachings of the Orthodox Church, Mary, having spent her life after Pentecost supporting and serving the nascent Church, was living in the house of the Apostle John, in Jerusalem, when the Archangel Gabriel revealed to her that her repose would occur three days later. The apostles, scattered…

The Prayer Rule

The Prayer Rule is the medicine that helps us progress on our journey to God One medicine for the heart, is the use of a “Prayer Rule.” This “Rule” is of the utmost importance, for the prayer rule helps develop the discipline we all need to progress, spiritually. It is one of the great tools the Orthodox Way has to…

Loneliness

What to do when we feel isolated and lonely While on my pilgrimage to Alaska, I met a number of priests who serve isolated village parishes, many of whom expressed difficulty in overcoming a sense of loneliness. This sense of isolation is not reserved for those who live in tiny villages, in remote areas of our globe. Many people have…

Our Beloved Dead

Showing proper respect for those who have gone on before us Every time I walk in a cemetery, I look at all the outrageously expensive monuments and consider the immense amount of money not only spent on them but on embalming (creating a vast pool of embalming fluid under ground, just waiting to seep into the ground water), expensive bronze,…

Pride is the Enemy

The enemy of faith is pride   The absolute necessary element for salvation is faith. Faith alone will save us, for only faith brings us into communion with God. Faith is a free gift, for nothing we can do can save us. No good works can save us. Being a good person will not save us. Only faith in Christ…

A Compassionate People

We must become a more compassionate people “In this way will the inequalities of earthly states be leveled out at God’s judgment (Saint Theophan the Recluse).” It is right that we consider the teachings of the Orthodox Church concerning our duties to those who have less than we. Saint John Chrysostom taught that, “the poor are not the spectacle of…

The Hospital of the Soul

The life-giving grace of the Church is for everyone For many Orthodox Christians, clergy among them, it can be a great temptation to judge others harshly, especially if we think their sin or lifestyle is so horrid that we can’t think of them as worthy to enter our churches. If we look upon others, especially in this age of “gay…

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…

Bodily Suffering

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 understand that Paradisal bliss is granted…

The Transfiguration

The Feast of the Holy Transfiguration of Christ The Transfiguration of of Christ is the episode in the New Testament narrative in which Our Lord is transfigured and becomes radiant with bright rays of light. At that moment the prophets Moses and Elijah appear next to Him, and He speaks with them. The voice of God the Father calls Him,…

Prayer of the Heart

The Jesus Prayer and the Acquisition of Inner Peace The Jesus Prayer, also known as the  Prayer of the Heart, is the central prayer for monastics. One of the early desert fathers, Saint Macarius the Great, said of the phrase from the Psalms, “The meditation of my heart is in your sight”, “There is no other perfect meditation than the…

Our Patronal Feast

The Feast of Christ the All-Merciful Saviour Today our brotherhood celebrates the Patronal Feast of our monastery. Thirty-three years ago the beloved and ever memorable Archimandrite Dimitri (Egoroff) of Santa Rosa, CA tonsured Father Paul and me as Orthodox monks, having embraced Orthodoxy after many years as monks in the Eastern Catholic Church. Guided and inspired by Father Dimitri’s kind…