Seeing the Virgin Mary through Biblical Eyes

In order to understand the role that the Virgin Mary plays in Scripture, one first needs to understand the symbolism of Bride and Groom that runs through the pages of the Bible. If one understands the role that Bride and Groom plays, then one will understand why the Virgin Mary is central to the Bible. She is fundamental to the story of redemption, just as fundamental as Eve is to the story…

Cinderella, the Fool for Christ

You have probably seen pictures of the colorful “onion domes” at the heart of Moscow’s Red Square. Now a museum, the Собор Василия Блаженного or Cathedral of Vasily the Blessed (Saint Basil’s Cathedral) is a true Russian icon. But who is this Saint Basil? One might assume it is Saint Basil the Great, a fourth century archbishop of Caesarea and one of the most famous of all the early Church fathers—but that assumption would be…

Sacred Relics and A Present Glimpse of Heaven

Have you ever wished you could take a quick peek into heaven? We were created in the image of God, so it’s only natural for us to long for that which is eternal. By contrast, almost everything in this world is passing away: The mighty oak raises its branches to the sky, only to become firewood. Men build skyscrapers, only to have them decay and fall to the ground. Ancient mountains suffer erosion, as…

On Gifts from Saint Nicholas

Every year, as Christmas approaches, the discussions begin in parenting circles: How do you deal with Santa Claus? Some embrace the myth wholeheartedly, complete with the recent addition of the Elf on the Shelf, Santa’s faithful spy (since, apparently, kids these days are less open to the idea of an omniscient Santa than previous generations). Others reject it completely, fearing that perpetrating even so innocent a deception will damage their children’s trust…

St. Andrew the First-Called Apostle (Nov. 30)

St. Andrew the First-called — given this title because he was the first Apostle to follow our Lord — was a fisherman from Bethsaida. A disciple of St. John the Forerunner and brother to St. Peter, St. Andrew responded to the call of Christ with tremendous vigor. In the Gospel of John, we see Andrew respond to The Forerunner’s declaration “Behold the Lamb of God!” by leaving John to follow Christ, and telling his brother Peter that…

Apocalypse and Tradition: The Source of Authority in Orthodoxy

What is the ultimate source of authority in the Orthodox Church? This is a question that plagues inquirers of the faith and can even be a significant stumbling block to a person’s conversion. For Protestants, the ultimate source of authority is the holy scriptures or the Bible. In this context, the Bible is often pitted against man made traditions or authorities—all of which must be subordinated to the authority of the Bible. This…

Irenaeus of Lyons on the Greek Old Testament

In the twenty-first chapter of the third book Against Heresies, St. Irenaeus of Lyons addresses the translation of Isaiah 7:14 among Ebionites and Jews. In doing so, he underlines the antiquity and importance of the Greek translation of the Old Testament as inherited by the apostolic Church. By the end of the second century (A. D.), two alternative Greek translations of the Hebrew scriptures had been composed. Noting the aforementioned passage in the prophet Isaiah,…

Mary the Queen of Heaven

Before God became man, an important sign of God’s presence was the Ark of the Covenant. In the wilderness, Moses placed it in the Holy of Holies. The Israelites crossed the Jordan River with it, and they marched around Jericho with it. King David danced before it. And after King Solomon built the temple in Jerusalem, the Ark was again placed in the Holy of Holies. The lid of the Ark was…