This is a talk I gave on January 31st at the NTOM conference “Falling Asleep in the Lord: An Orthodox Perspective on Dying, Death and Grief” at St. Demetrios Greek orthodox Church in Fort Worth.
Blessed is the way in which thou shalt walk today, O soul, for a place of rest is prepared for thee (Prokeimenon of the Apostle, Funeral Service)
Reverend Brothers, Beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
When confronted with the reality of death most people reveal a deep-seated fear of such an event beyond any human control. This is especially acute nowadays when the science of medicine has made great strides in curing diseases that only a century… Continue reading
Tags: body · end · funeral · judgement · kolyva · life · memorial service · Resurrection · soul · suffering
It 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
Tags: Easter · Eastern · Golgotha · orthodox · Pascha · Resurrection
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: church · Cross · East · orthodox · pain · Resurrection · suffering · uncomfortable · West
“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: Christ · coffin · death · Kingdom · life · mortician · orthodox · pain · Resurrection · sting · undertaker
Last year there were rumors that the tomb of Jesus was found. The other day some claimed to have found the nails that were used to crucify Christ. More and more news like this surface today and, although most of them prove to be untrue, the people avidly read them because we, even as Christians, are not happy anymore with what the Holy Tradition has passed unto us for centuries and we want new proof for everything. We have ceased to believe in the catholicity of the Church, in the universal truth shared in the community of the ecclesia for generations and we trust more the intellect of man, despite its shortcomings, ignoring the divine Sophia, the Wisdom of God… Continue reading
Tags: apostle · believe · Christ · christian · doubt · doubting · orthodox · Resurrection · Thomas · truth
O Jerusalem, be exultant, dance and leap for joy, for you have witnessed Christ the King coming forth as a Bridegroom from the sepulcher
(Stichera of Pascha)
It is magnificent to participate in the Church services on Pascha night, to be part of the joyful festival of light that the Resurrection of Christ brings on earth. The only sad part is that we start with many and end up with a few. Many people come, they receive the light, listen to the Gospel and hasten to go home thinking they have fulfilled their duty as Christians. But just witnessing the Resurrection is not enough, and is not the goal, what comes after is equally important. The miracle… Continue reading
Tags: Anastasis · Easter · Greek · orthodox · Pascha · Resurrection
The Seven-Day Commemoration In The Orthodox Church "The Week: A Seven Day Holiday". The Greek Orthodox ecclesiastical year (Indiction), begins in September, and is marked with events and holidays of our religious history. In addition to the annual cycle, the seven-day week...
Tags: angels · apostles · calendar · christian · commemoration · Cross · day · departed · martyrs · orthodox · Resurrection · Theotokos · week
"The LORD your God turned the curse into a blessing for you, because the LORD your God loved you."
What makes our Christian religion unique is our concept of salvation. As Christians we have a Savior that loves us and in His love He comes down on Earth and saves us by
Tags: Christ · christian · orthodox · person · relationship · Resurrection · salvation
The "Mirror", the fourth film in Tarkovsky's line-up of 7 cinematographic wonders, is not made for the casual observer. It has no classic plot, it is anchored in a society that is far, far away, and most of all has no happy ending.
Tags: Cinema · mirror · Resurrection · Russian · tarkovsky