I read a very interesting article a few weeks ago that caught my undivided attention. The title was very daring to begin with: “Religious people are dangerous” and, on top of that, it was written by an Orthodox Bishop, so that made it even more thought-provoking. The following passage summarizes it best: “You who go to church, how has the Church benefitted you? As we said yesterday, we went to the shrines, you saw the fathers, you saw the holy relics, you saw Mount Athos, you saw the Panagia in Tinos, you saw everything, and now we have returned. Ultimately of what benefit will all these things be? Have our hearts transformed? Have we become more humble people? Are we… Continue reading
Tags: change of heart · christian · faith · orthodox · religion · religiosity · way of life
Living in a multi-cultural, post-modern world brought to us by the new era of rapid communication, we are more and more exposed to cultures that are, or at least seem to be, very remote from our own. Although many of them are in fact foreign, there are times when we find in them something that strikes a sensitive chord with us. Take for instance the concept of “Tao,” found in the homonym religious movement, Taoism, but also in Buddhism, Confucianism, and even in Eastern Martial Arts.
An easy explanation of Tao would be a path or way of life. James Legge, a famous researcher of Chinese culture, described Taoism as “the exhibition of a way or method of… Continue reading
Tags: budhism · Christianity · church · college · morality · orthodox · tao · teens · whatever · youth
Coming back home from spring break was always a joy in my childhood. Somehow over the break the nature was magically starting to come back to life. White blooming cherry trees, budding branches with baby leaves, the green starting to fill the dried lawns were all signs that the dominion of winter is past and the rule of spring has begun. In some years however, in the midst of this resurrection of nature, winter was sending its last unexpected snowfall over the land. The tragedy was that any trees caught in bloom were doomed to a fruitless season, as the unmerciful cold destroyed their delicate flowers. It was the last temptation of winter, sweeping away any impatient tree, too eager to… Continue reading
Tags: bloom · Christ · christian · Judas · last · orthodox · spring · temptation · winter
What is Lent? By most popular definitions lent is a period of abstinence, total or partial, from food. It is basically a diet. If it is not understood as a diet, then is often considered a period of renunciation to some of our guilty pleasures like tv, chocolate etc. The Christian understanding of fasting however and especially the Orthodox one, is much more complex than simply “giving up” something .
So what is Lent? Of course during Lent we renounce some types of foods like meat, dairy products etc. This is an important part of our lenten journey, not to be forgotten or neglected; it helps the body become swifter and, less encumbered by heavy foods, it can rise faster to prayer… Continue reading
Tags: alms · almsgiving · boasting · christian · Fasting · Great Lent · intimate · orthodox · personal · prayer
The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them (Gen 1:21)
Last night I went to a talent show at my kids’ school. It was enjoyable to watch an entirely random blend of performances unfolding in front of a room full of parents eager to applaud at the slightest hint of aptitude showing on the stage. I know this because I was one of them. There really was true talent to applaud and, even when talent was not really present, there was a lot of courage to be praised.
The one thing that set… Continue reading
Tags: age · christian · Confusion · family · gender · marriage · order · orthodox
Any classical public speaking training would tell the aspirant lecturer to always start with a little warm up for the audience, in order to get them engaged, then introduce the topic, present the topic and then a short recap at the end. It is all about building up to your main subject. This is pretty much what I’m doing now.
There is an old story with a priest in a convent that loved to preach. He always used well thought out phrases, nice metaphors, parables, comparisons, his subjects were always good, but he would tend to take a little more time than others. The abbess was a little upset about that because this would cut out the… Continue reading
Tags: after · at hand · Christ · Epiphany · forst · Jesus · Kingdom · repent · repentance · Sermon · Sunday · theophany
During the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony, after the exchange of rings and the bestowing of crowns, the couple takes their first steps of married life led by the celebrating Priest that holds the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. Symbolically, this represents a promise to walk on the road that lays ahead of them together, seeking salvation by following Christ that opens the way into His Kingdom. This ceremonial walk is just the beginning of their journey through the rest of their lives, but they will remember these first steps forever; this is their “hochzeit” as the Germans call it, the “high-time” of their life.
On July 14th 2012… Continue reading
Tags: catechism · christian · church · Euless · mission · New · orthodox
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