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 'Eastern'

A Year of Firsts

April 26th, 2013 1 Comment

Following Christ_smallIt is the custom in the Orthodox Church on August 6th, the day of the Transfiguration of our Lord on Mount Tabor, to bring the first fruits of the fall harvest into church, as a first offering to God from the gifts that He so richly bestows upon us. Of course He personally does not need any material goods from us, as the Creator and Sustainer of the Universe, but He so desires to see us displaying a giving and loving heart “a humble and lowly heart, God will not despise” (Ps. 50).

What God hopes is to see that we stop for a minute and reflect on the relationship the exists between us

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Beyond Semantics

October 26th, 2012 1 Comment

One of the interesting linguistic phenomena is semantic change, or in layman terms, the change in one of the historical meanings of a word. Archbishop Dmitri of blessed memory, for example, was always making waves during pan Orthodox Lenten Vespers when he was blessing the fasting meal using the prayer “Our Lord Jesus Christ bless Thee the meat of Thy servants”. He always enjoyed clarifying that the original meaning of the word meat in Middle English was actually food, of all varieties, not just of animal origin. It made for sure an interesting conversation over baked potatoes.

There are other changes, however, that occasionally can draw attention to cultural shifts in the society. Take for instance the word holiday… Continue reading

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The Byzantine Style – By Presbytera and Architect Mirela Tudora

July 6th, 2012 2 Comments

Trying to define the Byzantine style only from an architectural point of view one may sorely miss its deep spiritual meaning. Looking only superficial one might think that this style is stuck in thousand year old formal representation, not keeping the pace with all the discoveries in the science and the psychology of the building. But I am asking you: how many times visiting a gothic building you felt that the acute angles and sore heights are quite intimidating, not protective? How many of the modern, original and impressive temples designed by famous architects are not helping you find peace to pray? On the other hand, the architectural language employed by Orthodoxy is aimed to induce the opposite, to produce… Continue reading

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The implications of music in the liturgical life of the Church

November 10th, 2011 6 Comments

I will praise the LORD all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.(Ps 146:2)

Like with any of the other arts employed by the Orthodox Church in its worship, the music does not serve a purpose in itself. Once used in Church the music drops its role as simply embellishing the services and it is elevated to convey, on a deeper level, the meaning of the prayer contained in the hymns of the church and make them resonate with our souls through its melodies. Great saints of the Church, like John Damascene, Ephraim the Syrian, Roman the Melodios, Andrew of Crete, Joseph the Hymnographer, Kosmas the Poet, John Koukouzelis and many others, have carefully matched the meter of… Continue reading

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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

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’s afraid of the Most Holy Virgin Mary?">Whos afraid of the Most Holy Virgin Mary?

August 3rd, 2011 No Comments

The veneration of the Virgin Mary has long been point of contention among Christians. Although it may be difficult to delineate a uniform position among the plethora of Protestant denominations, it is generally recognized that most of the Reformed Churches have no particular place of honor for the Virgin Mary in their theology or worship. Most believe that her role was fulfilled at giving physical birth to the human Jesus Christ and from there on she is nothing but a regular woman that went on with her life, having other children and never to be heard of again. On the other hand the Roman Catholic and the Eastern Orthodox, although may differ in some theological aspects, hold the Virgin Mary… Continue reading

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Pearls to the pigs and communion to dogs

July 30th, 2010 2 Comments

“Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine” (Mat 7:6)

When I was a kid I had a pet, a cat, and loved it dearly.  It slept with me every night and in my teenage years felt at times as my only true friend. But there was no moment during the time we had together, that I confused my pet pal with a true human friend; it remained a cat the entire time. There seems to be however a lot of confusion nowadays about animals and their role in our lives. People treat their animals as family, take them to beauty salons and spas, leave them fortunes in their wills and expect to be joined by them in heaven… Continue reading

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How can God be inside man? – St. Nikolai (Velimirovic)

November 9th, 2009 No Comments

orantaTo a soldier of a student’s brigade who asks how God can be inside man

You asked somebody, “where is God?” And you got an answer that God is inside you. And you marvel at this answer. How can that be?

Kind of like light in a room, or like fire in a; stove. When you are able to feel God within you, you will feel and know that He is inside you, but you will not be able to explain it to someone else. But you will look for images in nature and then you will speak to the other person as I speak to you: God is within me like light in a room, or… Continue reading

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’– Liturgy of the Faithful">Questions and Answers about the Divine Liturgy #4– Liturgy of the Faithful

February 19th, 2009 11 Comments

altar_orthodox1.      Who are the faithful? The faithful are all that have received the Baptism in the name of the Holy Trinity in the Orthodox Church and are found in good ecclesiastical order. As we saw previously the catechumens and the people that were not in good order were leaving the Nave after the Litany of the catechumens and staying in the Narthex
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’– Liturgy of the Catechumens">Questions and Answers about the Divine Liturgy #3– Liturgy of the Catechumens

February 19th, 2009 2 Comments

gospel_book_11. What are the catechumens? The catechumens are those that are preparing to become Christians. 2. Why during the first centuries the catechumens could not participate in the whole liturgy? St. Cyril of Jerusalem explains the situations of the catechumens: „the divine words echoed outside of him; [...] he was a listener of the Christian teachings but they were not penetrating
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