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 'orthodox'

Seeing the truth through the blind man’s eyes

May 20th, 2012 1 Comment

Say to those of a hasty heart, Be strong, fear not; behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the full dealing of God. He will come and save you. Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped.

(Isa 35:4-5)

In everyone’s life there is evolution. We evolve from being babies to full adults. We start learning how to read and we grow into teachers, engineers, doctors. So in spiritual life we develop from indifference, to interest, to engagement. Of course there is also involution but we’ll leave this subject for another time. In one of these stages of my personal spiritual life (I won’t… 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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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 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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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

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’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

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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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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

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