St. Kassiani: Hiding from His footsteps

You might almost miss the short Hymn of Kassiani near the end of the Bridegroom service on Tuesday night, but OrthodoxWiki calls it one of the musical highlights of Holy Week That is in part because of the beauty of the poetry about the woman who anointed Christ’s feet. But I think people have a lot of fondness for it because of the story behind the hymn. How often do we have tales of romance,…

Bring more evils upon them?

Do you ever do a double-take when you hear certain passages and hymns in church? From Monday to Thursday of Holy Week, we hear the special Alleluias which are slow and solemn. The verses chanted in between start out sounding like what you would expect — “In the night season, my soul rises early unto Thee…” — but turn towards condemnation, ending with “Bring evils upon them, O Lord, render evils unto…

The liturgical today

We heard it yesterday on Palm Sunday. We’ll hear it again as Holy Week unfolds: Today. It shows up in songs, in readings. “Today, Christ entered Jerusalem …” “Today, Christ’s holy Passion draws near …” “Today, Christ stands before Pilate …”  I noticed it on Lazarus Saturday and Palm Sunday this year, because I had just read something in Fr. Alexander Schmemann’s book “Great Lent: Journey to Pascha” about this. He called it “the…

Dealing with our sinful condition

Now begins the sad period, I suppose, when I will begin to start nearly every post with “I was listening to a podcast from Fr. Thomas Hopko, of blessed memory …” But so it goes. I listened to his podcast called “Met. Anthony Bloom’s Homily on the Cross” about a month ago, and then I listened to it again and again. I think I’ve listened to it five or six times. It’s unusual for…

His stream-of-consciousness musings

I remember the first time I heard a talk by Fr. Thomas Hopko. I was driving in my car at the time, and he made me late for work. I was in my 20s, and I hadn’t been Orthodox for very long. My entire church had been chrismated in together as one of the Evangelical Orthodox Church missions, and I was just beginning to realize how much I didn’t know. My priest Fr.…

St. Patrick & company

“So be amazed, all you people great and small who fear God! … If I am most looked down upon, yet he inspired me before others, so that I would faithfully serve the nations … to whom the love of Christ brought me.” St. Patrick, Enlightener of Ireland