Gladsome Light Dialogues – An Orthodox Blog

A journey through our Orthodox faith as we live it every day

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Entries Tagged as 'Lent'

Like through a mirror dimmly

March 31st, 2017 No Comments

mirrorLent is upon us and as we start cleaning our fridges of the food that we feasted upon until this point, we also start a much deeper interior cleaning of our inner being to prepare our souls for the joy of the Resurrection of our Lord.

Every year though, Lent looms over as a big and scary thing, mostly because it is something that stretches us to our limits. How much should I fast? How long can I resist standing? How many prostrations I should do? How many services are there to attend? Is it Pascha already? As thoughts like this pass through our minds we boldly move ahead with the discipline of fasting and the heightened rhythm… Continue reading

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The Icon of the Kingdom

March 5th, 2015 No Comments

St. John the Baptist GOC, Euless, TX - AltarEvery year, in the first Sunday of Lent, we celebrate our Orthodox heritage. It is a wonderful festivity involving a touching procession with icons, lifted up high, around the church and ending in the declamatory proclamation of the Synodikon of Orthodoxy.  Since we do it every year, it became so engrained in our fiber that we rarely stop to ponder about what does it really mean to us. It is important to know, after all, what we celebrate; otherwise it makes no sense to go on with a party that we know nothing about.

So let me start by asking you a simple question. What is Orthodoxy to you? A place called… Continue reading

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Are we religious or are we faithful?

April 2nd, 2014 No Comments

Pascha_multitudesI 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

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We remember and we honor because it matters

March 8th, 2014 1 Comment

20140308-235337.jpgSunday of Orthodoxy 2014

We all take Orthodoxy for granted and we forget all about Synods, Saints and Holy Fathers. We are mostly ignorant that torture, prison, exile, even death were things experienced by previous generations, even close to us, just to keep the faith. Persians, Turks, Communists, even modern secularists all tried to break the faith but all failed.

However the greatest danger comes always from within: heresies. The most dangerous are things that seem right, are apparently well intended but are actually not. In the First ecumenical council one iota (the letter i in Greek alphabet) made the difference between Orthodoxy and heterodoxy (homoousios vs homiousios).

The last ecumenical council argued over what a kiss represents. What do I believe when I venerate an… Continue reading

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The Great Fast – by Metropolitan Isaiah of Denver

February 28th, 2014 No Comments

Metropolitan Isaiah of Denver

Metropolitan Isaiah – photo courtesy of Vladimir Grigorenko

As we enter into the holiest period of the year in preparation for the glorious Resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, we ask ourselves, “Why should we follow the discipline of fasting, which in essence is abstinence?” What is the purpose of it? Obviously the purpose is that we may be ready to meet our Lord and to receive His promise of eternal life in His Kingdom.

We realize, according to Holy Scripture, that we were created to live forever; and that we will live eternally after the return of Christ to the earth, with our resurrected bodies reunited with our souls. The… Continue reading

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The Last Temptation

March 29th, 2013 1 Comment

bloom_snowComing 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

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Lent – an intimate journey to God. Lessons from the sermon on the mount

March 1st, 2013 2 Comments

Crucifixion_of_Jesus,_Russian_icon_by_Dionisius,_1500What 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

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Fasting for Freedom or Growing Wings for God

February 28th, 2012 No Comments

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

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The Counter Culture Church – Sermon for the Sunday of St. John of the Ladder

April 4th, 2011 4 Comments

We live in a world with blazing speed internet that renders TV, radio and newspapers obsolete, we have access to rapid  couriers that can bring to our doors anything from around the world in 24 hours, we even have churches that promise instant  salvation with a simple declaration of faith.  If there was one word to define our society today that would be instant gratification. With the development of technology this long awaited dream of man is getting closer to becoming reality.

I say long awaited because even in the Biblical times people dreamed of such things. Adam and Eve in paradise were seeking  instant knowledge by eating from the tree of knowledge. The apostles today, after seeing Christ… Continue reading

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Lent as transforming expectation

March 5th, 2011 No Comments

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

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