The Domestic Church

The incubator for a life of righteousness Prior to electricity and central heating, most families gathered in parlors, spending evenings with reading, sewing, and family conversations. The notion that everyone would retreat to bedrooms, kitchens, or dens, separating themselves from other family members, was unthinkable. The communal nature of the family was natural. I can remember, as a child (this…

Lust

Waging war against the flesh Since the eyes and the ears are the doors of the soul, an Orthodox Christian must not leave the body without attention. Unlike the religion of Gnosticism, which teaches the separation of soul and body, with the physical world being evil and something to be overcome, historic Christianity teaches the unity the body and soul,…

This Life

A time of preparation for the next life Everything in this life is transitory and can disappear in a moment of time. Even our own life can end abruptly and without warning. Yet as Christians we keep moving forward, embracing whatever God has placed before us. Worrying about the future keeps us from focusing on the horizon and trusting that…

The Holy Oblation

The place where heaven and earth are united As a priest, I bear the awesome burden of offering the Holy Oblation before the Throne of God, on behalf of all the people who’s names are submitted to the monastery, and who are Orthodox. I offer for my spiritual children, and even for the whole world. I commemorate my own beloved…

Poustinia

The importance of the desert to the inner life The Russian word, “Poustinia”, means “desert”, and the importance of the poustinia to the inner life can not be dismissed. If we are to hear the voice of God speaking to us, we must listen to His silence. If we are to learn to hear His voice, we must learn to…

The Banquet of the Lord

The importance of preparing for the Divine Liturgy That the Church requires us to prepare to receive the Holy Mysteries of the Body and Blood of Christ, prior to the celebration of the Divine Liturgy, by saying the Pre-Communion Prayers, is a given. The Church also requires us to fast from midnight on, abstaining from either food or drink, until…

Children in Church

“Suffer little children to come unto me, for of such is the Kingdom of God.” (Luke 18:16) If Orthodox parents think baptizing their children, bringing them to the Divine Services, and making sure they receive the Holy Mysteries, is enough, they are wrong. The truth is that we deprive our children of the fullness of our Orthodox Faith if we…

The Mystery of the Church

And the corporate nature of salvation There is a certain emptiness in trying to live the Christian life outside the life of the Church. This is because it is impossible to truly live as a Christian without the Church. The reading of the scriptures, and our commitment to prayer, are important foundations in the life of a Christian, but they…

Orthodoxy and Beauty

The inseparability of Orthodoxy and beauty Orthodox Christianity attracted me from my very first encounter with the magnificence of its churches and the grandeur of her divine services. Having grown up amid the natural beauty of Northern Idaho, with mountains and lakes that could take our breath away, I’d previously found inspiration primarily in the world of nature. Orthodoxy and…

Truth

Embracing Absolute Truth In an age when many people think truth is relative, the knowledge that there is such a thing as absolute truth, is comforting. The freedom that comes with the knowledge that we are able to embrace teachings that are a continuation of an unbroken line dating back to Apostolic times, is liberating. As Orthodox Christians, we are…

Impoverished Christianity

Impoverished institutional Christianity and the rise of Islam in the West It has been reported in the press that one out of four people now living in Norway are immigrants from Islamic countries. The response to this dramatic change in demographics is seen in the rise of extremist nationalistic political parties, not unlike the Nazis of World War II. The…

The Acquisition of Wisdom

The acquisition of wisdom is not based on age It has been said that wisdom comes with age, and to some degree this is quite true. I’ve often had conversations with old college friends about how nice it would have been to have had the knowledge and wisdom we have now, back when we were young. Knowing what we know…