Gladsome Light Dialogues – An Orthodox Blog

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

Gladsome Light Dialogues – An Orthodox Blog header image 1

Entries Tagged as 'The world around'

The Road Ahead

August 10th, 2012 1 Comment

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:   · · · · · ·

The Uncomfortable Church

March 30th, 2012 7 Comments

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:   · · · · · · · ·

The Empty Churches of the City of Lights

February 3rd, 2012 No Comments

Visiting Paris, the city of lights, is a wonderful experience, anytime of the year. The boulevards, the Arc de Triomphe, the Eiffel Tower and even more so the great cathedrals: Notre Dame, Sacre Coeur, Saint Sulpice and so on, attract visitors like flies. From a tourism perspective it is wonderful to see these great historical churches full of people all day long. But if you cast a closer look and try to find the people that enter to actually pray, you soon realize that the flock is very small for the grandiose size of the gigantic stone and marble monuments.

In contrast, during a recent trip to the same city I’ve been blessed with participating in the… Continue reading

Tags:   · · · · · ·

Setting a good beginning

December 31st, 2011 No Comments

As the New Year is just around the corner, for many people also comes the time for setting their New Year resolutions. This year I will reach my ideal weight, this year I’ll take better care of my health, this year I’ll finish the college that I always wanted and so on. The first weeks of the year the gyms are full of enthusiastic first time athletes, the grocery stores have record sales for diet foods and the pharmacies sell years worth of nicotine patches.  But the statistics show however that only 8% of people are successful in achieving their resolutions. So come February the gym crowds vanish, the excitement fades away and life goes back to its… Continue reading

Tags:   · · · · · · · · ·

’s spot or what do we do when no one is watching?">Parking in the priests spot or what do we do when no one is watching?

December 1st, 2011 No Comments

 

Most parishes in the United States have a designated parking spot for their priest, usually somewhere close to the Church’s entrance.  The reasons are understandably practical. In reality this space proves to be an apple of discord and a stepping-stone for many that dream to park just inches away from the building. Nobody dares however to park there if they know the priest might be stopping by. But as soon as the danger of being caught ebbs away there will always be someone that will take up that spot.

You might already be asking yourself at this point, is it I that Father is complaining about? Guilty or not, this article is not about my frustration of finding out that my spot was taken. I don’t care… Continue reading

Tags:   · · · ·

The Freedom of Morality and the Imorality of Freedom

November 4th, 2011 No Comments

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:   · · · · · · · · · ·

Drought and redemption – The Lessons of Global Warming

September 30th, 2011 No Comments

 

“And the LORD shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not.” (Isaiah 58:11)

October 2010 to July 2011 was the driest of any 10-month period on record for Texas. Scorching heat, wildfires, crops destroyed, cattle herds relocated seem to be the new norm for the Lone Star state. But we are not the only ones suffering this, Asia, Africa are also experiencing similar weather patterns, bringing millions to the brink of starvation.

Who is to blame? Some say the global warming, others argue that is a natural variation of… Continue reading

Tags:   · · · · · · · · · · · · ·

Spiritual Ground Zero

September 14th, 2011 No Comments

Many people would agree that the September 11 terrorist attacks changed not only New York, not only America, but most of the world in many ways. We are involved in a 10 years war in which countless people have lost their lives, soldiers and civilians together; our travel experience hase deteriorated tremendously; our watchfulness level has been raised to paranoid heights; even some people report that church attendance, at least in the United States, might have slightly increased as a result.

The main reason for all this change is that the horrible events in New York shook us all to the core and inflicted a wound that cannot be healed without a visible scar. From an emotional point of… Continue reading

Tags:   · · · · · · · · · · ·

Looking Death in the Face or The Aesthetics of Dying

August 31st, 2011 3 Comments

“Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your sting? O grave, where is your victory?” (1Cor 15:54-55)

As a parish priest one has the privilege to face all aspects of human life from birth until the final departure. In the eyes of a priest, humanity is exposed in its most glorious and most deplorable experiences. Among them one of the most challenging is death. Even writing about it is a difficult task because it is a very unpopular subject.  Nobody wants to die and even more so, nobody wants to talk about it, is a taboo, a place where you just don’t want to go… Continue reading

Tags:   · · · · · · · · · ·

Always forward looking

July 15th, 2011 No Comments

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:   · · · · · ·