“Come and See”

Today we keep the feast of the Holy Apostle Philip, one of the very first of the Twelve Apostles whom Christ the Savior preeminently called to follow Him. Evidently St. Philip felt the evangelic nature of his apostleship quite keenly, for immediately upon hearing the most sweet voice of Christ calling out to him, he straightway went and “found Nathanael and said to him, ‘We have found Him of whom Moses in…

We Exalt the Cross by Ascending It

My brothers and sisters, we celebrate today the Exaltation of the Precious and Life-Giving Cross of Christ, the feastday of our monastery and the second of the Twelve Great Feasts of the Church year. It is remarkable that at the outset of the Church new year, not a single day passes between the afterfeast of the Nativity of the Theotokos and the forefeast of the Exaltation of the Cross. This is by…

The Zeal of the Forerunner

Today we celebrate the Beheading of the Forerunner, one of only three great feasts of the Church year not dedicated either to the Lord or the Mother of God. And despite the sorrowful nature of this day’s events, nevertheless it remains a celebration — albeit one which we keep with great spiritual sobriety, observing a strict fast even when it falls (as it does this year) on a Sunday. Why do we…

Where Are God’s Miracles Today?

Many Christians today might wonder why there no longer seem to be such miracles as were performed by Christ during the years of His earthly ministry — or even such as were performed by the holy apostles, or the prophets of old. Many Christians today might wonder why God appears to have withdrawn from the world, no longer working such “signs and wonders” (cf. John 4:48) as fill the pages of Holy…

The Missionary Life of Prayer

One week ago we celebrated the Feast of All Saints on the first Sunday after Pentecost, noetically beholding the sanctification of mankind that has been continuously underway for two thousand years through the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Now, on the second Sunday after Pentecost, we celebrate the feast of all the saints of the Local Church of which we are a part. Although all of us are Americans — and our…

The Light of Pascha

Christ is risen! We have reached today the final Sunday of Paschaltide, the Sunday of the Blind Man. While there are other accounts of miracles — both in the Old and the New Testaments — in which people are healed of their blindness, today’s miracle is far more remarkable than those others, for as the blind man himself in the today’s Gospel declares: “Since the world began was it not heard that…

Keeping the Sabbath

Today is perhaps not the most auspicious day to publish any words. Having just served the Vesperal Divine Liturgy for Holy Saturday, wherein is sung the somber yet supremely beautiful hymn “Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence,” I find myself in danger of falling under my own condemnation. So I will at least try to keep my words brief. In the center of the church the Lord, the life of all, lies…

The Way Home

My brothers and sisters, we have reached today the threshold of Great Lent; tomorrow the “gates of repentance” will once again be opened to us, in answer to our solemn prayers during the Sunday Matins services of the past month. This Sunday has three names. The first is “Cheesefare Sunday,” since it is the last day on which we will eat dairy until the night of the Lord’s Pascha. It is also…

Heroes of the Last Days

We celebrate today the New Martyrs and Confessors of the Russian Church. In the icon in the center of the church we truly behold a host of heroes no less glorious than any who have ever walked upon the earth, though they are men and women of a time neither very far nor very different from our own. Despite the fact that they were born into a world of nearly universal spiritual…

To Love God Above All

Today we celebrate the memory of the Venerable Herman of Alaska, the patron saint of North America. There is so much that is praiseworthy in the life of this man of God that one hardly knows where to begin. He was an ascetic who dwelt as an anchorite in the forests from the time of his early childhood. He was a zealous missionary who, like the righteous Abraham, left his home and…