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 holy and miracle-working icon of the Virgin Mary was brought to the Vatopedi monastery by the blessed elder Joseph from Nea Skete. The Monastery of Vatopedi is one of twenty monasteries on the Mount Athos peninsula (Greece) and is located on the northeastern side of the peninsula. It operates as a coenobitic monastery(a communal monastic community). As of 1999, it is inhabited by 80 monks and is second in hierarchical rank among the monasteries of the mountain.
The first record of the icon’s miraculous powers is from the witness of Elder Joseph. One day a young man from Cyprus went to visit and entered into the church. At that point, the elder witnessed a glowing light radiating from the face of the Theotokos and an invisible power pushed the young man down to the ground. When the young man had recovered from his fall, he began to repent and weep and confessed that he did not believe and was a participant in the black arts. He changed his life and became an Orthodox Christian.
This icon is also known for working many miracles, especially healing people with cancer. There are many recent records of people who have been healed from cancer after participating in the Supplicatory Canon to the Pantanassa at the monastery.
Text from http://russian-crafts.com/russian-saints-icons/pantanassa.html
The following text was translated and set to meter by Fr. Vasile Tudora. Some of the text (especially the heirmoi of each ode) is based on the translation of the Small Paraklesis to the Most Holy Theotokos from http://goarch.org/chapel/liturgical_texts/paraklesis. This has been done to ensure consistency with the current chanting practice in the Greek Orthodox Churches in America.
Pantanassa Paraklesis Booklet for parish usage
Tags: Athos · cancer · English · healer · Monastery · Mount · Mountai · Pantanassa · Paraklesis · Theotokos · translation · Vatopaedi · Vatopedi
There came to the abbot Lucius in Enna certain monks of the kind called Euchitae, that is, the Men of Prayer: and the old man asked them, saying, “What kind of handiwork do ye do?” And they said, “We touch no kind of handiwork, but as the Apostle says, we pray without ceasing.” The old man said to them, “So ye do not eat?” They said, “Yea, we eat.” And the old man said, “Now while ye are eating, who prays for you?” And again he questioned them, saying, “Ye do not sleep?” And they said, “We sleep.” And the old man said, “And while ye sleep, who prays for you?” And they could find no answer… Continue reading
Tags: Desert · Fathers · prayer · unceasing
“When carried into the realm of the intellect, the industrial ideal of efficiency poses, a potentially mortal threat to the pastoral ideal of contemplative thought”
Nicholas Carr, The shallows
There is a lot of commotion in the teaching industry around generational learning. The premise lays in the different approaches that consecutive generations take when it comes to education. Take the baby-boomers generation, most of them like to learn in a linear fashion, read books (actually finish them) and they feel comfortable in a traditional class setting. As you move up toward the newer generations however, the situation changes. The reading pattern is not linear anymore, the learning is blended, books are abruptly loosing importance and the all mighty Internet gains more and more acceptance… Continue reading
Tags: contemplation · generational learning · internet · media · prayer · shallow
The shrine of St. Menas used to be for the Ancient Eastern Orthodox world what Lourdes is for Roman Catholics, a place where thousands of pilgrims would bring their prayers in distress and receive the grace of God in return, through the intercessions of the Holy Martyr.
Though the Shrine of Saint Menas was one of the most popular pilgrimage sites of the early Middle Ages, it fell into oblivion over the centuries with the Muslim occupation and was even believed by many scholars to be a myth. Following its discovery in 1905, the ruins of the fabled city of St. Menas were placed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1979 as one of the five most historically important… Continue reading
Tags: agios · akathist · canon · Egypt · eikos · English · Holy · kontakion · martyr · Menas · Minas · oikos · prayer · saint · wonderworker
Yesterday night, January 27 at 7 PM we had the extraordinary opportunity to host a special session of Gladsome Light Dialogues having as guest Archmandrite Meletios, the Abbot of St. John of St. Francisco Monastery in California.
Archimandrite Meletios (Webber), of Scottish background, was born in London, and received his Masters degree in Theology from Oxford University, England and the Thessalonica School of Theology, Greece. He also holds an E.D.D. (doctorate) in Psychotherapy from the University of Montana, Missoula.
He is the author of two published books: Steps of Transformation; an Orthodox Priest Explores the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous (Conciliar Press, 2003); and Bread and Water, Wine and Oil; an Orthodox Christian Experience of… Continue reading
Tags: heart · Meletios · mind · nous · orthodox · presence · rayer · steps · Weber
I recently stumbled upon an older interview with Bishop Kalistos Ware, one of the most known Orthodox converts, and, with great pleasure I’ve rediscovered a passage that always struck a delicate chord in my heart. Here it is.:
“I first came to know the Orthodox Church when I was seventeen years old, just before I was due to go to university. My first contact with Orthodoxy was, in fact, not through reading books and not through meeting, face to face, living Orthodox Christians; my first contact came through attending a church service. That, I think, is the best way to be introduced to the Orthodox Church. We shouldn’t see Orthodoxy just as a set of ideas or teachings. We need to see Orthodoxy as a worshiping community—a community of prayer… Continue reading
Hamlet’s famous soliloquy, from William Shakespeare’s synonymous play, starting with the memorable phrase “To be or not to be, that is the question”, is a reflection that profoundly resonates with the Eastern Orthodox theology. Let me explain this.
Tags: God · hesychasm · knowledge · orthodox · prayer · reason
I always liked this dialogue from the movie Pulp Fiction (slightly adapted for language):
"Don't you hate that?"
"Uncomfortable silences. Why do we feel it's necessary to yak about nonsense? In order to be comfortable?"
"I don't know. That's a good question."
"That's when you know you found somebody really special, when you can just shut […] up for a minute. Comfortably share silence."
Tags: heart · mind · nous · prayer · silence · uncomfortable
If you ask anyone in church about prayer they will most likely us a descriptor like: a pleasant experience, a conversation with God, a link with the absolute or other general terms, all positive in nature. Things are different however when, during Confession, a Father Confessor asks the same question. He will most likely hear more about lack of time, loss of focus, procrastination and struggle in general. The truth is that prayer is easier said than done.
Tags: desert fathers · orthodox · prayer · struggle