As someone who grew up the son of Evangelicals, Fr. Andrew has firsthand experience with discovering the Orthodox faith. In this short video Fr. Andrew relates a lot of what needs to be said.
The Canon of St. Andrew, the nine ode prayer of repentance written by St. Andrew of Crete in the early 700’s, is the customary way Orthodox Christians around the world enter the penitential season of Lent. St. Andrew wrote the prayer with the deepest humility, a virtue necessary for entering into the presence of God in ways that foster salvation, and the man who prays it – if he seeks humility – can experience a measure of that virtue and thus of God as well.
Well known author and columnist Frederica Mathewes-Green introduces and explains this much loved prayer in the Orthodox world.
If there is no pre-existing, intelligible order to go out to and apprehend, and to search through for what lies beyond it – which is the Creator – what then is music supposed to express? If external order does not exist, then music collapses in on itself and degenerates into an obsession with techniques. Any ordering of things, musical or otherwise, becomes purely arbitrary.
And the young man came to himself and said “I will return to my father’s house.”
The parable of the prodigal son is one of the most remarkable stories in all of world literature and rich with multiple meanings. But perhaps the most powerful, encouraging message may be summarized in just four words: “It’s never too late!”
St. John Chrysostom wrote, “Turn your home into heaven; you will do this not when you change the walls or rebuild the foundation, but when you invite the Almighty Lord to your repast. God never disregards any kind of supper. Where there is spiritual science, there is humility, sincerity and modesty. Where the husband, and the wife, and the children are in accord and united by the bonds of virtue, there is Christ among them.”
Hats off to Byantine TX for publishing this handy guide for Lent and Holy Week and a special thank you to Fr. Jonathan Bannon of Christ The Savior Orthodox in Rockford Illinois who created it. The guide outlines this penitential period in ways easy to comprehend and digest! The “How to Participate” section is especially valuable for inculcating simple practices into our daily life that bring Christ to mind.
Fr. Seraphim Rose (1934-1982), a convert to Orthodoxy and whose story mirrors that of many Americans looking for a way out of the superficiality that characterizes much of the American religious landscape, left writings that guide pilgrims even today. Fr. Seraphim was a child of the West who knew its riches along with its soul-destroying pitfalls and marshaled this knowledge for the good of those seeking Christ in the Orthodox faith just as he did. Only Christ could fulfill the deepest longings of the soul for truth and meaning Fr. Seraphim discovered, and only Orthodoxy — properly embraced and lived — was the path that best guided a man to Him.
The Ottoman Empire, Roger Scruton writes, was not composed of nation-states but of creed communities. Peace between the sects could not be ensured by borders, as in Europe, but only by custom. Peace is precarious and requires constant work and architecture is part of that work. When France was given the madate to govern Syria in 1923, the character of the ancient cities of the Mideast began to change. Modernist buildings and the mania for vehicles, roads and motion eroded the native traditions of custom and creed that guided the growth of the Eastern cities for centuries.
Drawing upon the Patristic distinction between God’s transcendent and hidden essence (ousia), and His energies (energeia,) which are operative and manifest throughout creation, we can understand God’s commandments not as formal dictates but as His own energies addressing us personally and inviting us to be “partakers of the divine nature” (2 Peter 1:4) The commandments, then, are not merely or even primarily moral but transformative and ontological, concerning our very being.
The Early Fathers of the Church drew upon the philosophy of Stoicism, not only by appropriating certain elements of its philosophical lexicon, but also in shaping the Church’s articulation of moral virtues. Questioning from a secular perspective recent criticisms of “traditional masculinity” for its “stoic” restraint of the passions, this essay effectually defends the moral vision of ancient Christianity against detractors in professional psychology and other behavioral sciences.
The finale of the Christmas Oratorio composed by Met. Hilarion Alfeyev, chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate Department for External Church Relations of the Russian Orthodox Church and performed by the Tchaikovsky Symphony Orchestra in 2007.
One might ask where he finds that time to compose music given his busy schedule. Met. Hilarion responds that much of his writing occurs during layovers in airports because of his frequent international travels.
Christ’s entry into the world, particularly in the way He entered us, reveals how humility overthrows all worldly presumption and the contrivances of the powerful so that grace might fill the world.
As Orthodoxy becomes rooted in areas far from its Mediterranean homelands, it is important to keep seeking ways to articulate the eternal truths of faith in the languages and imagery of these new lands.
It is no accident that most of the language used in the Orthodox services is poetic. Good poetry has the ability to take us into the depths of things much more powerfully than prose.
These two Nativity poems by Mary Lowell penetrate a mother’s reverent wonder at the birth of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Sometimes the trials and irritations of everyday life seem almost impossible to bear gracefully, and at such times we may wonder how it would be possible to endure a far more harsh and hostile environment, such as a Soviet Gulag.
The irreducible difference between Orthodox Christianity and the Western Confessions (Roman Catholicism and Protestantism) writes Metropolitan Anthony (Khrapovitsky) is that the former understands Christianity as first ascetic effort and the latter perceives it as moral perfection. Orthodoxy sees it differently.
“What is hell?” Elder Zosima asks in Dosteovsky’s “The Brothers Karamazov.” His answer draws from St Isaac the Syrian’s “Ascetic Homilies,” a book that Dostoevsky kept by his bedside: Hell is “the suffering of being no longer able to love.”
“He that loveth not, knoweth not God, for God is love” (I John 4:8). So explains St John, Beloved of Christ. Love is at the center of our Orthodox faith, and indeed as the epistle reminds us, at the center of being itself. Assembled here is a selection of short sayings or aphorism from St Paisios of Mt Athos, whose love for God, for his fellow humanity, and for creation itself is unsurpassed in modern times.
God speaks to man writes Elder Cleopa and His living voice is the means of His self-revelation to man. God’s word was first passed on orally and constitutes what we call Holy Tradition and only later written as scripture, both Old and New Testaments.