Who Are Funerals For? And Who Are They About?

It’s an old question: Who are funerals for — the living or the departed? If I had to give a quick answer, I would say that funerals are for all concerned, including the departed (in many Christian traditions, we are praying for the departed). But in terms of their impact “on the ground,” they are probably mostly for the (earthly) living. But the bigger…

Is Witness More Important Than Worship?

Today, I came across a meme image on Facebook showing a man walking out of church and featuring the following statement: Your most significant witness is how you treat others after the worship service ends. I’ve seen this sentiment before. The idea here is that, while worship is important, its true purpose is to equip or inspire believers to go out and bring Christ…

What Do You Hold Sacred? Christ and the Woman at the Well

Sunday of the Samaritan Woman, May 10, 2015 Rev. Fr. Andrew Stephen Damick In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, one God. Amen. Christ is risen! In this beautiful story appointed to be read on the Fifth Sunday of Pascha, the conversion of the Samaritan Woman by the Lord Jesus—who is later known to the Church…

Synaxarion for the Saturday of the Akathist

I’m off to Philadelphia for much of the day today to give a couple of talks at one of the churches there, so I thought I would leave you with this today, the synaxarion for the Saturday of the Akathist, the Fifth Saturday of Lent, which is today: On the fifth Saturday of the Great Fast, we celebrate the praise of our Most-holy Lady,…

Sweet Partings: The Final Akathist

We now come to the part of Lent where we begin to say farewell to various services that have accompanied us on the journey. Today is the Fifth Friday of Lent. In the practice of my archdiocese, we celebrate the Small Compline service with the Akathist Hymn on the first five Fridays of Lent. On the first four, the akathist is divided into quarters,…

Lenten Evangelism #7: The High Priest on the Cross

Sunday of the Adoration of the Holy Cross, March 15, 2015 Rev. Fr. Andrew Stephen Damick In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, one God. Amen. The cross which we adore today, the third Sunday of Lent, is most often discussed in the Orthodox tradition in terms of the conquest of death by Jesus Christ. It…

“Everyone was a saint there”: Who are we in worship?

In a conversation I was having with my wife yesterday, she was reflecting on the funeral of a dear friend we attended recently, especially how, surrounding the funeral services, the love people showed each other and the bereaved was so deep and palpable (she didn’t use that kind of language, but that’s my “translation”!). And then she said this: “It’s like everyone was a…

Should religion be physical?: Great Lent and Polycarp the Palpable

Today is the beginning of Great Lent for most Orthodox Christians (a handful of Western Rite Orthodox Christians will begin with their Ash Wednesday the day after tomorrow), and I’ve decided to try my hand at doing 40 days of blogging—posting at least once a day from today through the Friday before Lazarus Saturday. This is my first post for Great Lent. Today I…