The Apostles Fast: Bridging the Paschal with the Ordinary

  Well, it’s finally here. We’re in the thick of the Apostles’ Fast–a fasting period that begins the day after the Sunday of All Saints (the Sunday immediately following Pentecost) and culminates in the feast of Sts Peter and Paul (June 29). The fast goes back at least to the fifth century, and probably a bit earlier (there…

The Rapture: An Orthodox Understanding (Infographic)

Fact #1: I grew up believing in the Rapture. Fact #2: I no longer believe in the Rapture. Really, I don’t. Fact #3: When I walk into a mysteriously empty room or a quiet home, my first (subconscious) instinct is still to check the floor for heaps of clothes and other telltale signs that people have been raptured.…

A Cure for Despondency: Addressing Despondency and Inter-Generational Tension in the Church

This past weekend, I was blessed to have the opportunity to speak at the biennial national assembly of the Ladies Philoptochos Association of Canada, a department of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Toronto (Canada) that assists the Church with philanthropy and service. I was asked to speak about despondency (acedia), one of the primary spiritual passions, and how…

When Yeast Kills: The Group Dynamics of Despondency

A blessed Feast of the Ascension to all reading this in realtime! This weekend, I have the opportunity to speak at the 29th-Biennial National Assembly for the Ladies’ Philoptochos Organization in Canada. (For anyone who read that and thought “Philo-… what?,” the Philoptochos is basically the Greek Orthodox equivalent of a deaconness society or sisterhood; most parishes have…

Tracking Time, Day 1: Lessons in Life, Mortality, Stress, and Faith

Yesterday, I started doing something I’ve been putting off for a while: I started tracking my time. As in, recording how I spend my time for virtually every waking minute. (Scroll to the end of this post for a more practical explanation of how I did this.) You’re probably wondering why I would voluntarily torture myself like this.…

Why the World Has to End: Making Sense of the Apocalypse

  The apocalypse. Nowadays, it’s a term that serves as a shorthand for a movie-worthy, special-effects-laden vision of the end of the world as we know it. But apocalypticism is often a much deeper and more existentially fraught topic than it seems upon first glance. Going Back to the Apocalypse I wrote my MA thesis on currents of…

A Basket-less Resurrection: 4 Ways Pascha is Different for Greeks than other Orthodox

Christ is risen! Xristos Anesti! Christus ist auferstanden! A week or two before Holy Week, I mentioned to a friend that our Greek Orthodox parish (like most Greek parishes) doesn’t do blessed baskets at Pascha (1). I don’t think my priest would know what to do if–in the chaos of pre-Pascha preparations–I suddenly appeared on the solea with a basket full…

Holy Week: the best of times, the strangest of times

Dang it. I’d done it again. I vowed not to, I told myself I’d be smarter this year. But alas… it seems I’m doomed every Holy Monday evening to the same fate. Namely, the fate of slipping quietly into Church and opening my prayer book (smartphone app) to the Bridegroom Matins of Holy Monday. And not realizing until…

Looking Back on Lent: A Lesson at the Gym

The last few days of Lent are winding down, and it’s usually at this time I find myself looking back on the last 40-odd days and wondering where it all went. Often, regret tinges my memory of Great Lent–I never feel like I quite “Lented” enough. This year, though, I find myself with a different–I daresay even uplifting–perspective.…

Beyond Punctuality: Being on Time for the Right Time

In Germany, where I’ve lived several times, there is a well-known proverb that translates: “Five minutes ahead of time is exactly the right time.” One of my supervisors there once threatened to dock pay when I showed up on time for work one morning. For her, if I wasn’t ahead of time, I wasn’t on time. And I was setting myself on…