Apostolic Doctrine

Just whose recipe is it anyway? One of the most powerful reasons for embracing Orthodoxy is to be found in the Church’s insistence that she holds to the evangelical and apostolic doctrine of the Ancient Church. In an age when everything is up for change, there is a certain security and stability when one institution (the Church) stands firm in…

Turning the Tide

Let us empower the generations that will follow us The Church is the Body of Christ, and by Her very nature is anything but an institution where one can be separated from others. We only let it separate us if we fail to involve ourselves as the people of God, with one another. The greeting given by Orthodox Christians, passing on the…

Pandemic

Why is God allowing this pandemic? Saint Paisios of the Mount Athos said, “So in every test, let us say, ‘Thank you, my God, because this was needed for my salvation.’” This is because a person has salvation not only by his good deeds, but also by his patient suffering of various griefs, illnesses, misfortunes, and failures (Luke 16:19-31, Mark…

Military Chaplains

Our soldiers need the support of chaplains A number of years ago our monastic community welcomed seven military chaplains from Joint Base Lewis-McChord. These fine young men who answered the call to serve the nation as military chaplains, inspired me with their commitment to Christ, and their willingness to enter into a dangerous and combative world with our military, willing…

The Mother of God

The Veneration of the Holy Virgin in the Ancient Church All the early reformers, including Luther and Calvin, believed Mary to be Ever Virgin. The practice at the time was to refer to all cousins as siblings, and none of the early Christians believed Mary had born any children other than Jesus. The veneration of the Virgin did not begin…

Post-Christian Era?

The decline of Christianity in America Some thirty-two years ago our monastic brotherhood arrived on Vashon Island, establishing ourselves in a rental house near the Village of Dockton. This little village had two churches, built by the original founders of the community. Dockton, in the 1880’s, had the largest dry dock north of San Francisco, and was the site for…

Becoming Humble

How we can acquire true humility We have a fairly clear idea of what humility is, for we’ve all met people who are truly humble. Metropolitan Laurus of blessed memory, the saintly man who’d led the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia as her Chief Hierarch, was such a man. Our brotherhood’s beloved Father Spiridon (the Scotsman whose own humility…

The Power of Good Deeds

Lengthy debates and fruitless discussions do nothing for truth “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…

Bishops and Priests

Bishops serve as Christ among us, and priests as the presence of the bishop among his people The bishop is to be both a servant to his people and father to his flock. He represents Christ in the midst of his diocese, and must be compassionate, sweet, longsuffering, humble, and kind hearted. He must be available to his people. The…

The Spiritual Benefits of the Pandemic

Let us allow this pandemic to be the force that transforms the world Entertainment has come to take on a central role in many people’s lives, becoming so important as to have replaced personal interaction with neighbors and friends. I’m old enough to remember the day when neighborhoods were filled with homes sporting large front porches. On hot summer nights…

Don’t Let Anger Take Root

We must not allow the passion of anger to take root Most people, when angered by someone, think the best way to deal with the anger is by avoiding the person who offended us. The problem with this approach is that it allows the anger to take root in the heart, festering as a sinful passion. Because anger is a…

All of God’s Creatures

When we humans respect all of God’s creatures, we advance the Kingdom of Heaven A few days ago we were forced, as a community, to decide what must be done regarding one of our ducks. The drake, named “Sir Francis Drake” by Monk Peter, whose job it is to tend to the needs of our chickens and ducks, was seen…