Seeing is Not Believing

At first glance, the Gospel passage appointed for this Sunday appears to be about two separate events during the earthly ministry of our Lord Jesus Christ: the healing of two blind men, and the casting out of a demon from a dumb man. Yet the Church in Her wisdom has joined these two events together in order to draw out a deeper meaning hidden beneath the surface of today’s Gospel reading. The…

The Meaning of Life

Throughout all the ages of human history, mankind has been ceaselessly occupied with a single question: why? What is the meaning of life, what is the purpose of birth and death, of love and of suffering? Why have we appeared in this world which is so full of both beauty and misery? Men and women of every culture and nation, of every philosophy and religion, have sought for countless centuries to find…

And We Shall See Christ

We have reached today the last Sunday of Paschaltide. On Wednesday we will celebrate the Leavetaking of Pascha, the Feast of Feasts, and on the following day we will celebrate the Holy Ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ. In the Gospel reading which we have just heard, we see a living icon of all that the Lord has accomplished for each human soul. All of us are indeed born blind, disfigured by…

Clinging to My God

Today is the fifth and final Sunday of Great Lent. In a few short days Holy Week will begin. There is one more week remaining in the Great Fast, one more week in which to prepare ourselves to meet the awesome and saving events of the Lord’s Passion and Resurrection. All throughout Lent, the Church has provided us with a roadmap for our spiritual journey. We began the Fast with Forgiveness Sunday;…

The Unity of the Faith

We are gathered here together on the first Sunday of Great Lent to celebrate the Triumph of Orthodoxy. This feast was originally established to commemorate the victory of the venerators of icons over the iconoclasts, but more generally we also commemorate on this day the victory of the true Orthodox faith over all the heresies that have challenged it throughout history. There is an interesting fact which we easily overlook about this…

A Tale of Two Cities

Today during Matins we heard for the third and final time this year the singing of the beautiful and haunting psalm “By the waters of Babylon.” The chanting of this psalm is extremely solemn, contrasting sharply with the joyous Polyeleos which precedes it and the Magnification which sometimes follows it. Both the rarity of this psalm’s chanting and the starkness of the emotional contrast surrounding it serve to draw our attention to…

The Gates of Death

Today’s feast has many meanings, many aspects, and even many names. It is sometimes called the Meeting of the Lord, sometimes the Purification of the Virgin, sometimes the Presentation of Christ in the Temple, and finally, especially in the West, it is known as Candlemas – the Feast of the Light that shown upon St. Symeon and which we remember by blessing candles on this day. This multiplicity of names and meanings…