Commentary on the Divine Liturgy: the Trisagion

In the Divine Liturgy, after the antiphons, comes the Trisagion Hymn, prefaced by a prayer in which the celebrant prays that the God who is hymned by the seraphim, the cherubim, and by every angelic power in heaven, may also deign to accept the hymn we now sing to Him on earth. In many churches this beautiful prayer is said silently, so that the faithful hear only the final clause of the…

Unquenchable Fire

One can often tell how far a heresy has spread and how much it needs the antidote of refutation by the amount of ink it gets in blog columns. I remember one young priest writing in a church magazine a piece summarizing the Church’s traditional teaching on gender and opining that the heresy of theological feminism had become widespread. As if to prove his point, the editor was immediately deluged with indignant…

Commentary on the Divine Liturgy: the Antiphons

In the Divine Liturgy, after the Great Litany, come the three antiphons and their litanies/ prayers. These antiphons exist in several forms. The original Greek practice is to use psalms for the antiphons, interspersing the verses of the psalms with repeated refrains. For the first antiphonal psalm the refrain is, “Through the prayers of the Theotokos, O Saviour, save us!” The refrain for the second antiphonal psalm is the refrain, “O Son…

Commentary on the Divine Liturgy: the Great Litany

In the Divine Liturgy, after the initial doxology in which the celebrant blesses the Kingdom of God and blesses with the sign of the Cross the altar table and its antimension before using it, the assembled Church next prays the Great Litany. This represents the intercessory prayers of the royal priesthood, wherein the Church prays for the whole world in the Name of Jesus, standing in the gap and lifting up the…

What Good is the Holy Fire?

The so-called “Holy Fire” is the name given to the fire that appears on ends of the candles of the Patriarch of Jerusalem and others every Holy Saturday. The Patriarch, accompanied by a church crammed filled with others, awaits for the annual miracle every Holy Saturday. On that day the Patriarch strips himself of his holy robes and enters the Tomb of Christ with a bundle of unlit tapers, says certain prayers,…

Part Two: Of Homosexual Christians and their Struggle

In a recent blog piece I looked at the issue of gay Orthodox Christians who embraced and celebrated their homosexuality and who were sexually active and who received Holy Communion in Orthodox churches. In this piece I would like to look at the issue of homosexual Orthodox Christians who embrace the teaching of their Church that homosexual desires are disordered and who struggle against giving in to those desires through sexual activity. I…