Collect concrete, living insights and understanding, the priest told the young man, as best you can, drawn upon your vital experience with God and not from books. Read, pray, give to the poor, do labor on behalf of someone who cannot do it, all in secret, if possible…Of all these things, fasting seemed the most puzzling, perhaps because it seemed to have so little connection with morality, with being good and righteous, and he had always heard that religion was about being moral and good. But at the same time, this had always given him a certain disdain for Christianity, which seemed quite unnecessary as an aid to being good and upright (we all have our own “virtuous atheists’ to exhibit).
Hegel argued that history was at an end, a final culmination. This belief was embraced both by the cultural left (Marx and his successors, promoting “liberation” and revolution to realize this end) and the cultural right (most recently espoused by Neo-conservative Francis Fukuyama, whose End of History promotes a global hegemony of capitalism and liberalism). Both parties are convinced they are “on the right side of history.” Both thereby “immanentize the eschaton,” i.e. both insert the Kingdom of God into history itself.
Meanwhile, Nietzsche argued that things were not getting better, but rather declining into a nihilism of meaninglessness. To counter this he prescribed valiantly embracing an endless cycle of cosmic repetition as an existential tonic.
In his brilliant reflection on Time and Eternity, Fr George Florovsky shows us how these contemporary views are rooted in an ancient conflict between paganism and Christianity, while showing the Orthodox resolution of these dilemmas.
It is not merely that artists, directors, musicians, and others connected with the arts are in flight from beauty. Wherever beauty lies in wait for us, there arises a desire to preempt its appeal, to smother it with scenes of destruction. Hence the many works of contemporary art that rely on shocks administered to our failing faith in human nature—such as the crucifix pickled in urine by Andres Serrano. Hence the scenes of cannibalism, dismemberment, and meaningless pain with which contemporary cinema abounds, with directors like Quentin Tarantino having little else in their emotional repertories.
Prayer is infinite creation, far superior to any form of art or science. Through prayer we enter into communion with Him that was before all worlds. Or, to put it in another way, the life of the Self-existing God flows into us through the channel of prayer. True prayer uniting us with the Most-High is nothing other than light and strength coming down to us from heaven. In its essence it transcends our plane of existence. True prayer to the true God is contact with the Divine Spirit which prays in us.
The politics of gender, sexuality, race, and immigration are increasingly eschatological. Their power and appeal depend on the belief that they advance a liberating moral narrative, inspiring a secular Exodus that will lead to a secular Pentecost. To adopt this creed is to join a chosen people, a royal priesthood, and a holy nation It does not bear witness to God, but to the belief that we can be like gods.
Sexual sins foster isolation and shame. Healing comes through a surrender to reality, a coming to the senses much like the Prodigal Son before his turning back to the Father. Communion with the self, others, and God must can be restored.
The Presentation of Christ in the Temple. The Meeting of the Lord. The Purification of the Virgin. Candlemas. Why does this Feast have four names? Fr Andrew Philips tells us why.
Twentieth-century readers knew Kerouac’s On the Road and Jack London’s earlier hobo classic, The Road, but how many of us know what the 21st-century counter-culture is up to, their life-styles and aspirations? We see the tattoos, nose-rings, attitudes, but do we hear the cries of the heart from young people searching for truth?
One of the greatest spiritual gifts that Elder Paisios gave me was his guidance along the mystical path of the Jesus Prayer. This started at the beginning of our acquaintance and continued until his repose twelve years later.
When we saw this chart at Byzantine, TX, we couldn’t resist sharing it with our readers, many of whom will have seen it already.
In a time when churches of every description are faced with Vanishing Male Syndrome, men are showing up at Eastern Orthodox churches in numbers that, if not numerically impressive, are proportionately intriguing. This may be the only church which attracts and holds men in numbers equal to women.
Orthodoxy is life. If we don’ t live Orthodoxy, we simply are not Orthodox, no matter what formal beliefs we might hold.
“I guess it really was all for nothing…” Marina worried. Her daughter had distanced herself from her. Why has her daughter squandered the warmth and comfort the Church offerred; why has she lost her strong, childhood faith?
Human life within materialism can be described as a moment of consciousness sandwiched between eternal oblivion—it is a flicker of time expended within the ultimate reality of a non-conscious universe. In atheistic materialism, evil is nothing more than the expressed opinion of some upright apes who don’t like the behavior of certain other apes, or some particular aspects of nature.
Today you have appeared to the whole world, and your light, O Lord, has made a sign upon us who, with knowledge, sing your praise, You have come, you have appeared, the unapproachable Light
While John is baptizing, Jesus approaches, perhaps also to sanctify the baptizer, and certainly to bury the old Adam in the water. But before these things and for the sake of these things he comes to sanctify the Jordan [and all creation].
The divine Logos, who once for all was born in the flesh, out of his love for humanity always desires to be born in the spirit in those who desire Him. He becomes an infant and molds Himself in them through the virtues.
Once more the darkness is dispersed; once more the light is created. Let the people that sat in the darkness of ignorance now look upon the light of knowledge. The things of old have passed away; behold, all things are made new. He who has no mother in heaven is now born without a father on earth.
My favorite part of holiday dinners is not the turkey or the ham, but the cornbread dressing. It’s been like that for me since my childhood in the rural South.
Were the Scots-Irish who settled in the Appalachian mountains America’s first Old Calendarists? Until the last century they celebrated Christmas on January 7. Here’s why.