Concealing Our Sins

Concealing our sins from our confessor I have been a monk for over thirty-five years, and I must say that I can not think of a sin I have not heard before. Not one person has shared anything that was shocking to me, for the human condition is shared by all. What I have experienced, however, is the joy at…

Loneliness

Isolation does not have to be a part of our world The Church, by Her very nature, is anything but an institution where one can be isolated from others. We only let it be so if we fail to involve ourselves as the people of God, with one another. The greeting given by Orthodox Christians, passing on the holy kiss…

The Poor

The saints serve as our guides in serving the poor In many parts of the American countryside one can find the remnants of poorhouses (sometimes called workhouses), institutions run by local county or state governments as a means of dealing with the issue of the unemployed poor and homeless. These poorhouses were often located in rural farming communities, and could…

The After Life

Thoughts on the oneness of creation There is no formal doctrine in the Orthodox Church concerning the afterlife for animals, including our pets. Those Fathers of the Church who have expressed themselves on this matter were simply expressing theological opinions that have not become universally accepted, and remain known as “theologoumena” (personal opinion). The Church has wisely refrained from pronouncing…

Orthodox Pharisees

The Orthodox Faith is nothing without the acquisition of holiness If our Orthodox spiritual life is concentrated only on external practices and traditions, but does nothing to bring about real change, we have gained nothing. We must not allow ourselves to think that as long as we keep the fasting rules, say our prayers, and attend the services, we are…

Loving Our Detractors

When we are the occasion for another person’s disdain Because we are all brothers and sisters, we are responsible for the way we impact others. Often we are entirely innocent, yet by our very existence we become a source of great irritation and anxiety for other people. The only way we can change that is by loving them, and praying…

The Old Self

In Christ we become new creatures As we struggle to make spiritual progress we do battle with the old self. We work against old habits that have kept us stuck and prevented the change we so desire in our quest for communion with God. Our sins and passions have become familiar to us, almost like old friends, and laziness sets…

Mary the Mother of God

The place of the Holy Virgin in our lives The Holy Virgin is a stumbling block for many protestants looking into Orthodoxy. The idea that this woman described in the Gospels in such humble terms could be called Mother of God seems unbiblical to them. She was never called Mother of God in the Bible, they say, so why would…

The Feast of the Dormition

The bodily resurrection of the Holy Virgin 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 throughout the world,…

Keeping Watch

Watchfulness is the path to achieving purity of heart Not an hour should pass without taking time to examine our heart, for the hour of judgement can come at any time, and we must be ready to give account to God for our life. In the Gospel of Matthew (5:8), we read “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they…

The Church Catholic

The relevancy of the Universal Church for our youth When a priest makes a concerted effort to relate to his young parishioners by demonstrating a real interest in their lives, discovering what is important to them, and taking the time to instruct them in the Orthodox faith, there is a good likelihood they will remain Orthodox Christians for the rest…

Heaven and Hell

The River of Fire: “an all-consuming fire and an illuminating light” Upon Christ’s Second Coming, everyone who has ever lived will see Him in His uncreated light, forever. For “those who worked good deeds in their lifetime will go towards the resurrection of life, while those who worked evil in their lifetime will go towards the resurrection of judgment (John.5:29)”.…