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 'church'

The Narthex as a Dynamic Place of Transformation

August 8th, 2016 No Comments

narthexThe icon of the Fest of Transfiguration, which we celebrate on August 6th, is a beautiful metaphor for the union and the reconciliation that Christ brings between the Old and the New Testament. In this icon we see Christ in the Uncreated Light, flanked on each side by Moses and Elijah, prophetic figures of the Old Testament while, prostrated in front of the transfigured Christ, we find three of His disciples Peter, John and James.

St. Ephraim the Syrian makes a point of this “reunion” of old and new to say:
“The Prophets and the Apostles gathered on the mount were filled with joy; the Prophets rejoiced for they have beheld here His humanity which they did not… Continue reading

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The Christian Family Suspended Between Tradition and Temptation*

March 4th, 2016 No Comments

Root of JeseeBeloved Brothers and Sister in Christ,

As you can see, even from my short greeting, this talk about family is actually a talk in the family. I am not here to preach to strangers, but to converse with people familiar to us who will be able to better understand what I have to say, because you are hearing it from within. You hear a lot from the outside as well; there is a lot of talk about family these days, with everyone trying to define, or rather re-define, what family is, many times based on personal thoughts and feelings or ideologies of various groups of interests, creating a lot of confusion. In the midst of all… Continue reading

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The Sunday of the Romanian Saints – a universal celebration of all the Saints

June 23rd, 2014 No Comments

An icon of all Romanian Saints

An icon of all Romanian Saints

By Prof. Dr. Rev. Dumitru Staniloae

Romanian Christianity has given fruit to many and wonderful saints, even though, the humility characteristic to our nation, or other unfavorable historical circumstances in which they lived in, have not allowed our Church to canonize but a very few of them and only in 1955.

The Romanian saints were real and they have been recognized by popular piety, even though the Church has not formally canonized them and has not dedicated them certain calendar days; this is why their deeds have not been praised through special church hymns.

Actually, for the longest time, the saints have been… Continue reading

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The Tao of Whatever and the Abolition of Man

February 25th, 2014 No Comments

Entrance in JerusalemLiving 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

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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

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In The Footsteps Of The Old Masters Of Byzantium

July 16th, 2012 7 Comments

The Beginnings

When Saint Constantine the Great moved the capital of the Roman Empire in the provincial but well positioned city of Byzantium, his aspiration was not only to transfer the power of Rome to the East but also to overshadow the eternal city with monuments of architecture that will find no rivalry in the world. Miraculously converted to Christianity, Constantine took the small city on the Bosphorus and built it from the ground into a Christian capital, erecting not idolatric temples but Christian churches with an architecture that no one has seen before.

The first Church commissioned by Constantine still stands today, Agia Irene, the Church of Holy Peace. The Church of the Holy Apostles, the… Continue reading

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The Bond That Keeps the Bricks of the Our New Church Together

June 2nd, 2012 1 Comment

Jesus said to him, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.

(Mat 22:37-40)

St. John the Little, a disciple of St. Pachomious the Great, said once “Nobody builds his house from the roof down but from the foundation up”. Asked what he meant by this he said “our foundation is our neighbor; to him I should tend first, because on him hang all the commandments of Christ.”  The essence of… Continue reading

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Why We Come to Church or Entering the Bridal Chamber

May 2nd, 2012 1 Comment

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

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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

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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

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