Taste and See: Fasting and Waiting for the Nativity (Guest Post)

Today’s guest post is from my friend and chef extraordinaire, Melissa Naasko. Cool story: Melissa planned the menu for the recent Ancient Faith Women’s retreat (Nov 15-18), which means I got to spend the first few days of the fast eating her Lenten handiwork. Some of the best fasting “conference food” I’ve ever had! Today Melissa is reflecting…

40 Days of Divine Liturgy: Marking Time during the Nativity Fast (Guest Post)

Welcome to Day 14 of the Nativity Fast (NC)! (Has it really only been two weeks?) In this morning’s edition of the blogathon, Richard Barrett, executive director of AGES Initiatives, shares with us what he’s learned in recent years about the tradition of Saranteleitourgo. If you have no idea what that means, keep reading–you won’t be disappointed.  ~*~ Three…

“Life as it actually is”: Reading Fr. Alexander Elchaninov during the Nativity Fast

What are you reading this Nativity? In the past, I have shared the books I frequently return to this season (here and here). This year, I’m also reading through The Diary of a Russian Priest (SVS Press, 1967), a gathering of reflections by Fr. Alexander Elchaninov. This is a perfect book for devotional reading because it consists of brief, poignant observations,…

Condemned or Redeemable? Thoughts about Internet and Ministry after the #DMOPC18 Symposium

As many of you know, I have recently returned from a trip to Greece, in which I participated in the Second International Symposium on Digital Media and Orthodox Pastoral Care, held from June 18-21 at the Orthodox Academy of Crete (of Great and Holy Council 2016 fame). The symposium was organized by Pemptousia, with support from various other…

Reading St. Athanasius in Advent

Some people get into the “Christmas spirit”–however hokey that phrase is–by decorating, others by buying gifts or making cutout cookies or visiting or knitting. I dabble in all of the above, but what most ushers me into the unique and solemn joy of these short weeks before Christ’s birth is reading–or rather, rereading. Along with all the other…

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 Hollowness: Grief and Emptiness in Advent

What?! The Great Feast of the Nativity of our Savior is less than a week away? As is usual for me this time of year, I can’t seem to shake the feeling that I’m failing at Christmas. As is also usual for me this time of year, I’ve come to a belated and idealistic conclusion: less perfectionizing, more…