One of the interesting linguistic phenomena is semantic change, or in layman terms, the change in one of the historical meanings of a word. Archbishop Dmitri of blessed memory, for example, was always making waves during pan Orthodox Lenten Vespers when he was blessing the fasting meal using the prayer “Our Lord Jesus Christ bless Thee the meat of Thy servants”. He always enjoyed clarifying that the original meaning of the word meat in Middle English was actually food, of all varieties, not just of animal origin. It made for sure an interesting conversation over baked potatoes.
There are other changes, however, that occasionally can draw attention to cultural shifts in the society. Take for instance the word holiday… Continue reading
Tags: corruption · Eastern · Eglish · faith · meaning · orthodox · semantics · Western
Christ is risen!
A new church opening is a major event in the life of a parish that gathers together the entire body of its members in the extraordinary joy of a mission well accomplished. The reason why parishes build such new traditional Church buildings, beside the obvious capacity requirements, is to bring the community closer to the ideal Orthodox way of worshiping, through spaces, shapes and finishes that are appropriate for its intended liturgical purpose. This means that a new church will not only host more people but will also allow them to worship in a more meaningful manner.
As a community gets closer to enter a new… Continue reading
Tags: Architecture · art · byzantine · church · emotions · Euless · experiences · false · feelings · New · orthodox · Saint John · saints
On the fifth Thursday of Lent in the Orthodox Churches we chant the service of the Great Canon of St Andrew of Crete. It is a monumental work of hymnography with more than 250 odes, or verses, to which we also add the lengthy reading of the life of St Mary of Egypt. This makes it probably one of the longest services of Great Lent. If one also a counts the number of prostrations performed after each ode, it becomes also one of the most uncomfortable services for any casual observer.
But the length of the service and the physical discomfort of the standing and the prostrations is not the… Continue reading
Tags: church · Cross · East · orthodox · pain · Resurrection · suffering · uncomfortable · West
This article is not about Ghandi and the independence of India; is not about hunger strikes and the upholding of civil rights; but it is an attempt to restore to its former heights an overlooked tool for spiritual development, recommended by generations upon generations of Holy Fathers and spiritual elders.
Upon hearing the word “fast” today, one doesn’t think of freedom, on the contrary, the discipline of fasting is more associated with coercion, restriction and limitation of choices. This is the primary reason why so many people do not even consider fasting in their development as Christian.
From a material point of view however this is what fasting is: we abstain from certain foods, or even all… Continue reading
Tags: Baptist · Comfort · Desert · Fasting · Forerunner · Great Lent · John · lent · orthodox · Pleasure · Rejection · saint · Sarakosti · wilderness
The recent overthrowing of the authoritarian governments from the Middle East countries has brought up again the importance of freedom as an essential human value. The notion of freedom however is not as easy to define as one would think. In general we understand that freedom means the capacity to act without any outside restraint. As J. Rufus Fears, professor of Classics and chair in History of Liberty at the University of Oklahoma, asserts, this concept can be applied to a nation for example that is free from any outside domination, can be applied to a political system, meaning that one can elect its own choice of government, but most importantly can be applied to the individual that is… Continue reading
Tags: christian · decisision · Eastern · freedom · liberty · morality · orthodox · right · Theology · Western · wrong
The veneration of the Virgin Mary has long been point of contention among Christians. Although it may be difficult to delineate a uniform position among the plethora of Protestant denominations, it is generally recognized that most of the Reformed Churches have no particular place of honor for the Virgin Mary in their theology or worship. Most believe that her role was fulfilled at giving physical birth to the human Jesus Christ and from there on she is nothing but a regular woman that went on with her life, having other children and never to be heard of again. On the other hand the Roman Catholic and the Eastern Orthodox, although may differ in some theological aspects, hold the Virgin Mary… Continue reading
Tags: Catholics · Eastern · idol · Maria · Mariolatry · Mary · Opinion · orthodox · Protestants · Roman · Theotokos · Virgin
One of the issues that philosophy has spent a lot of ink on is the answer to the question: who we are? Many thinkers have tried to give a proper answer to this basic question, and yet , despite their efforts, the world is confronted with a huge identity crisis with profound effects at all levels of our society.
In Christianity however, this question is already answered and answered in a very fulfilling way. We know who we are: the Creation of the Most High, fashioned out of His boundless love. Our origin is in Him and this suffices for us. The more important question, as Christians, should be however: where are we going?
The human life should… Continue reading
Tags: Ascension · christian · dynamic · mountain · orthodox · progress · transfiguration
Time is a very precious asset. As a priest, in Confession one of the most common sins I hear is the lack of time for prayer. The majority of the people realize that their prayer life lacks the breadth and the depth it should have and yet over and over they repeat the same mistake. I know very well out of personal experience what a busy schedule looks like, so I generally have a lot of compassion in this respect.
The other day however I read an interesting survey from the Bureau of Labor Statistics regarding how the average Americans spend their time, and my sympathetic mindset has been severely shook.
Here is the daily schedule of… Continue reading
Tags: christian · orthodox · redemption · relax · sleep · statistics · time · TV · Vacation · waste · Work
But we all, with our face having been unveiled, having beheld the glory of the Lord as in a mirror, are being changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Lord Spirit. (2Co 3:18)
Coming back home the other day, I observed with great joy that some trees on my street started to blossom. I was immediately moved to think: the winter is over, spring is here! All the cold weather, all the snow and the ice is gone. But, the thought continued, if we won’t pass through winter we couldn’t appreciate spring in its fullness.
One the most beautiful celebrations in Japan is the cherry blossom festival. People gather from afar to be… Continue reading
Tags: christian · expectation · Fasting · lent · orthodox · transformation