||Last Updated: Feb 8th, 2011 - 05:50:02
We are happy to announce plans for a new design for our website Orthodoxy and the World. We will be diverting all our efforts to introduce our new design March 1st, and so will be unable to make new posts at this time. We have many new translations lined up that we hope you will like, so there is much work ahead! Keep us in your prayers, and continue to support our efforts at Orthodoxy and the World.
St. Gregory the Theologian
Today we celebrate the feast of St. Gregory of Nazianzus – Gregory the Theologian. I’d like us to hear something of the life of this saint this morning. I certainly don’t think we can always preach about the saints, but the legacy of the lives of the holy men and women of our Faith are very important. They show us that the way Christ has called us to live is something do-able.
Feb 7, 2011, 10:00
Coming Up Short
Yet when he hears that Christ is about to pass his way, “he wanted to see who Jesus was.” This is the initial act of faith that we must never abandon.Who is Jesus? If He is the Son of God, our lives are about to be transformed forever. Does each of us believe He is the Son of God? The real answer to this question is manifested in our thoughts, words, and deeds.
Feb 5, 2011, 10:00
To Be Loved
Can one sermon change your life? I did not think so, but then it happened to me. The day I heard that sermon was the day I saw everything differently. The difference between what I knew before and what I came to know was huge. At the same time, the difference was also very subtle and seemingly small.
Feb 2, 2011, 10:00
Homily for the Sunday after Theophany
Does this mean, then, that those of us who are not monastics should leave behind all that we are and become monks? No. To do so would demonstrate that we were still in darkness, that we do not understand the meaning of repentance, to confuse the means with eh end. Historically, monasticism is the fruit of repentance, repentance is not necessarily the fruit of monasticism.
Jan 22, 2011, 10:00
The Poverty of Love
"Each individual needs to ask herself, “What is it that keeps me from love?” Whether it’s anger, indifference, laziness, despondency, impulsiveness, or an evil imagination, St. Anthony advises us that each responding virtue requires its own special tool: “Whoever hammers a lump of iron first decides what he is going to make of it—a scythe, a sword, or an axe. Even so we ought to make up our minds what kind of virtue we want to forge, or else we labor in vain.”
Dec 21, 2010, 10:00
How Does God Fit in My Life?
Does this scenario sound familiar? Two friends meet up. One says to the other: ‘How has your day been?’ the other responds: ‘you won’t believe what kind of a day I’ve had…..’ and he rattles on about what a busy day it has been, and describes the day’s never-ending list of things, some of which were accomplished, others which were not.
Dec 13, 2010, 10:00
United to God the Father, in Jesus Christ, through the Holy Spirit, we are able to love the unlovable people in our lives, and this is the miracle of faith. When love seems impossible, when that least- lovable person in your life does that one thing that drives you absolutely crazy, that is the moment that true Christian love is possible.
Nov 27, 2010, 22:00
The Feast and the Eucharist
The annual cycle of church feasts and the sacraments of the Church helps a person to move gradually from time to eternity, to the gradual dismissal from things earthly and participation in things heavenly. But the real feast and the real sacrament will come only there where, beyond time, one will meet God face to face.
Oct 12, 2010, 10:00
Make your Glass Clean
How many times have you picked up a glass at a restaurant and looked at it carefully before you poured in your beverage to drink. You certainly do that because you want to make sure that the glass is clean! Right? And if you see a spot or something else on the glass, you lift up your napkin and wipe it clean, or even call the waiter (the server) and ask for the glass to be replaced.
Oct 2, 2010, 10:00
We hear people many times justifying a sin with a comment: but this is normal, it is in our nature to do so and so. It might be in our nature indeed, but in our fallen nature, not in the nature that God created, but in the nature that sin perverted. We should not confuse a distorted image, a tainted perception with the truth of things.
Jul 2, 2010, 10:00
The Passions: Enemy or Friend?
My spiritual father, Father George, once told me to read Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s The Little Prince. He particularly liked the words of the fox. “Now here is my secret,” said the fox, “a very simple secret: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.” This is the meaning of the heart in scripture and in the Orthodox spiritual tradition.
Jun 17, 2010, 10:00
The Suffering and Death of Children
We do baptise children. What do we expect, if we expect anything at all? What is the reason why we find it makes sense? Because, consciously or not, we believe that the living spirit, the living soul of this infant, is capable of meeting the living God face to face, apart from any psychological understanding, apart from intellectual or emotional response: a living soul meeting the living God.
Jun 15, 2010, 10:00
Evangelism and Culture
Inculturation is only possible when the evangelist knows the Orthodox tradition and can therefore discern what is and what is not compatible with it. Inculturation is the planting of the gospel, the seed, the presence of Christ, in the unique soil of new culture, and allowing it, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, to mature at its own pace, to produce ultimately a new, indigenous church.
May 25, 2010, 10:00
And what was this ministry of Our Lord's? To teach, to preach, and to heal. If our lives do not teach, preach, heal by our example, then we are no Christians at all! Teaching does not mean "to explain" the way we explain icons. We are called to be icons! Do you realize that if an icon doesn't teach, preach, or heal, then it isn't an icon, either? It is the same thing with us.
May 18, 2010, 10:00
Seventh Sunday after Pascha
However, there is in this prayer a verse that has caused and still causes much scandal: “I do not pray for the world.” Especially in our modern society with its values of permissivity and relativism, this saying of Christ causes scandal, and some even say that it is not Christian. Should we not pray for the world?
May 16, 2010, 10:00
Metropolitan Philaret on Mid-Pentecost
Here is our present life, with its vanity and defilement, with all its hardships and difficulties – is it some evil trick lying upon man, under which he suffocates and loses strength? The Lord says, in contradiction to this: My yoke is easy, and My burden is light, and not at all that terrible burden that the world, gone out of its mind, lays on its children.
Apr 28, 2010, 10:00
I Love, Therefore I Am
To be a person is to grow. To be on a journey. And this journey is a journey that has no limits, that stretches out forever, that goes on even in heaven. Some people have an idea of heaven as a place where you do nothing in particular. But surely that is deceptive. Surely heaven means that we continue to advance by God’s mercy from glory to glory. Heaven is an end without end.
Apr 12, 2010, 10:00
The Mother of God
Some of you may remember that the word 'humility' comes from the Latin humus, the fertile ground. Humility is not a condition which we try to ape by saying that we are unworthy, that we are not as good as others imagine us to be - if they do. Humility is a condition of the earth, lying completely open and surrendered: the earth which is open to all actions, of mankind, of the rain, accepting the refuse and accepting the furrow and bringing fruit, surrendered, offered and given.
Apr 7, 2010, 10:00
As God Wills
When monastic life is flourishing, it is because the Church is healthy. Small and beleaguered monasteries; monastics struggling with the wrong things, are a sign that something is wrong with our Church environment as surely as frogs showing bizarre mutations, strange diseases and simple disappearance from our landscape show that the world’s environment is poisoned.
Mar 24, 2010, 10:00
The Light of Christ Enlightens All!
One of the most significant liturgical actions of the Great Fast takes place when, between the Old Testament readings, the Royal Doors are suddenly opened, the serving clergyman appears with a candle and censer and, making the sign of the cross with them over those present, exclaims: The light of Christ enlightens all!
Mar 12, 2010, 10:00
On the Sinners in the Gospels, and Other Sinners
Who, these days, has the ability to whisper the Publican’s humble prayer? We all consider ourselves to be "successful" Publicans and view all our neighbors as Pharisees. We do not repent as Peter did nor do we give "half of our goods" to the poor as Zaccheus did after a simple glance from Jesus.
Mar 10, 2010, 10:00
Narrow is the Way
How often do we hear someone say, "Well, take it easy," or "Don't work too hard." We have grown accustomed to the idea that life should be easy, that we have every right to enjoy ourselves, ironically, it is this pervasive attitude of 'taking it easy' that creates such difficulties for us as Christians. The American way is "the good life." Christ, however, has called us to the narrow path.
Mar 1, 2010, 10:00
Create in Me a Clean Heart
Infamously, February is the month of hearts, flowers and Valentine's Day wishes. So often, we see the ♥ heart symbol without giving it a second thought. This month, let us reflect on our spiritual heart and examine the core of our being where we can love our enemies, find compassion for those who are suffering, and open our hearts to God's love.
Feb 10, 2010, 10:00
How to Live an Ecological Life in Christ
Aware or not, our acts greatly influence the people around us. Take a priest: if he does not behave properly in the parish, will his parishioner be willing to advance on the path to Christ he only preaches but does not follow? Take a parent: would a child listen to come home early while his parents party all night every weekend? Take a manager: would everyone perform to their best abilities under his command if he has bad work ethics?
Feb 5, 2010, 10:00
Dostoevsky and Memory Eternal
An Eastern Orthodox Approach to the Brothers Karamazov
Central to Eastern Orthodox Christendom is the singing, at the end of every Orthodox funeral, of the song known as "Memory Eternal" (in Church Slavonic: Vechnaya Pamyat). This song also concludes Dostoevsky's great, final novel, The Brothers Karamazov, when, following the funeral of the boy whom Alyosha Karamazov (and the circle of schoolboys around Alyosha) had deeply loved, Alyosha speaks to the boys about the funeral and about the meaning of the resurrection, with this brief song as their steady focus.
Feb 4, 2010, 10:00
The Pastoral Power of Theology: St John the Golden-Mouthed
Theology has become an abstract, neutral discourse about God. If one looks the word up in a dictionary, one will find that the term “theology” is comprised of theos-God and logos-word/discourse and so the definition of theology is “words about God.” It is a discipline that speaks about God, his revelation and relation to the world. Theology is therefore analogous to geology or zoology, it just happens that its subject-matter is God, rather than the earth or animals. With theology defined in this way, it is hard to see its pastoral implications.
Jan 30, 2010, 10:00
The Lamb of God
We like everything to be clean and sanitary. We want the joys of life, without the pain. We want the pleasures of life, without the work. We want to enjoy the accomplishments, without learning from the failures. If I had to point to the one great flaw of our great American nation, it is that we have forgotten somehow the precious value of sacrifice.
Jan 20, 2010, 10:00
The Sunday after Nativity
The Wise Men came with presents, gold, incense and myrrh. Gold represented the Kingship of Christ. Incense represented the Priesthood of Christ. Myrrh represented the Prophetic nature of Christ and His triumph over Death. For ourselves today, we may ask what significance these presents have in our relationship with Christ and His Church.
Jan 9, 2010, 10:00
Economics of the Kingdom
A final economic principle of the Kingdom of God is this: you have to be ready and willing to invest everything in order to have any hope of receiving something back. Not only is this witnessed to in Christ's sacrificial life and death, but also by the lives and deaths of the martyrs and saints in the life of the Church. To be a disciple means to be willing to lose everything for the safe of Christ and others.
Dec 16, 2009, 10:00
Seeing Things As They Really Are
So, the race is on. The decision is made. I will chase the Great American Dream for it is the only reasonable road to happiness. And if I can find some church that agrees with that, well maybe I will join up and get a little divine help in pursuing my material happiness. If not, then it means that spirituality is as irrelevant to my life as I have always thought and I will proceed without it. It turns out, in the end that we end up chasing a dream that can never come true. The happiness we seek, when it comes, never stays for long.
Dec 3, 2009, 10:00
What is So Orthodox at Thanksgiving?
And yet, this is real chance for us – it may be one of the few “American” things that we can truly make Orthodox. We will never be able to totally interpret the secular things of America in an Orthodox way – such as hot dogs and beer, or Rock and Roll Masses. But here on Thanksgiving Day is exactly where it should be done. This is so because if you think about and are especially aware of the words and feeling of our Divine Liturgy, there is nothing more Orthodox than giving thanks or “thanksgiving.”
Nov 26, 2009, 10:00
The Hidden Kingdom
There is a part of us that yearns for a Kingdom, because it yearns for a King, for someone strong and personal who is in charge and cares about us. When we grew older perhaps we forgot about the Kingdom. Perhaps it was replaced by a bureaucracy, where it seems that no one is in control or cares. Perhaps it was replaced by dictatorship, as we tried to be our own kings and found ourselves to be tyrants.
Nov 13, 2009, 10:00
"My lover is knocking!" Think of the words of Lord Jesus: "I stand at the door and knock." The Lord is outside the door of our heart waiting to be invited in. Our God is so respectful of our freedom that He never goes where He is not wanted, not even when He knows it is always in our best interests. We may treat one another with intimidation, force, cajoling or deception. God never does that. He patiently knocks, waiting to be welcomed.
Oct 21, 2009, 10:00
The Commandment to Love
In these times of accelerated change, it is not God and his Church that must change, but it is we, the Christians, the followers of Christ, in this secular and godless society, that must undergo a change — and change for the better. In order that we change, we must start where we are, with the real me, with all my faults and virtues, in relationship to who God is. For only out of understanding the theological issues of God, can we become what we ought to be as Christians. The criterian of what we ought to be and how we ought to live, is not to be found in the unstable pluralism of American society, but rather in the Orthodox Christian tradition which has preserved faithfully the faith and morals of Jesus Christ unaltered and unchanged throughout the history of Christianity.
Oct 8, 2009, 10:00
Is Human Perfection Possible?
To be a Christian, then, means to experience the perfection of Theosis, not as something static, (i.e., from a pseudo-moralistic stance), but as something that is an ongoing, continuous mystery. Each of us must seek after the righteousness of our Lord by being transformed from “one degree of glory to another,” as St. Paul so beautifully writes in his 2nd letter to the Corinthians. Each of us must acquire the divine virtues by overcoming their corresponding passions (for every passion is nothing else but a failed virtue).
Oct 3, 2009, 10:00
Meeting a Non-Orthodox Society
We have services and so many people feel that it is the services that are the centre; people come to a service on a Sunday and exclaim, "if only it was possible not to leave the precincts of this church, because outside there is an alien world’, and we forget that Christ said to us, "go, like sheep among the wolves, go into the world to make disciples of all nations." This is as it were, the fruition of the Liturgy. If in the Liturgy we have entered into communion with the Holy Spirit and with Christ, then our function is to go out and to bring the glory, the joy, and the love of it to others.
Sep 26, 2009, 10:00
I once went to preach about death at a British university. Afterwards, the chaplain said to me, 'Do you know, I have never seen a dead person'. I was utterly amazed that a priest, a man in his fifties moreover, had never met death in his family life or in his priestly function - even during the war. It was an incident that made me take more note of my surroundings, and I realized that there is a very strong feeling here that death is a subject to avoid. The dead person should be committed to the care of the undertakers, while the living should turn away from the problem, and the less said about it the better.
Sep 18, 2009, 10:00
The Issue of Evil and the Meaning of Suffering and Sorrow in Our Life
Some consider evil as a punishment for a violation of the juridical world order. Thus, in its time, Western Scholasticism came to a conclusion that Satan happens to be the punishing tool in the hands of God. But this is not correct because people often suffer without being guilty at all. Orthodoxy considers evil as a sickness. Evil has no hypostases, substance, it is not a thing, because everything God created is “very good”. Evil is parasitizing upon the hypostases of good and although it is non-existent, it provokes sufferings to all good creatures.
Sep 12, 2009, 10:00
On Refusal to Judge Our Neighbor
If we remember the saying of the holy fathers, brothers, and put them into practice all the time, it will be difficult for us to neglect ourselves. For if, as they used to say, we do not despise little things and think they are of no consequence to us, we shall not fall into great and grievous things. I am always telling you that bad habits are formed in the soul by these very small things–when we say, ‘What does this or that matter,’–and it is the first step to despising great things.
Aug 21, 2009, 10:00
The Ascetic Podvig of Living in the World
The situation of an Orthodox person, an Orthodox Christian who lives in the contemporary world, may be described, without any exaggeration, as extremely difficult. The whole of present-day life, in all its tendencies, in one way or another is directed against a person who is trying to live according to the teachings of the Orthodox Church. In life around us, in our environment, in our heterodox surroundings, everything is essentially a total denial of Christianity.
Aug 10, 2009, 10:00
Our Connection to St. Herman of Alaska
You are called, as was St. Herman, to live as an Orthodox Christian in the midst of a people who are not Orthodox. Each one of us is called to be an example of the faith to which we joined ourselves; to be examples of the Lord Who has come to us to save us, and all who are made in the image of God. Did you know that you are called to be a missionary? It’s true. You may not have to leave everything behind and go to a foreign land, as St. Herman did; but you can certainly pray, and fast, and give, and struggle to overcome your passions and pursue purity. You can certainly live in such a way that people receive the merciful, patient, forgiving love of God from your presence.
Aug 9, 2009, 01:12
If There Is No God -Then Everything Is Permitted
Dostoevsky clearly knew the anguish of doubt and the moral paralysis that doubt in God's existence would lead to. His own experience of this religious doubt was such that he had compassion on those who shared this experience. In the last years of his life, when he had achieved a certain level of fame, Dostoevsky became something of a spiritual guide to many people who wrote to him and shared with him their innermost feelings and ideas.
Jul 22, 2009, 10:00
Personal Reminiscences of Father Seraphim Rose
Once, when we were walking somewhere on the monastery grounds, I asked him, "Fr. Seraphim, what's your favorite icon of the Mother of God?" (That's the kind of question converts like to ask, you know.) He stopped and said, "I don't have one." "That's impossible!" I said. "Everyone has a favorite icon of the Mother of God. Which one is yours?" He paused again and looked at me, actually with astonishment, and he said, "Don't you understand? It's the whole thing." That was a very profound answer: you can't just pick out one thing and say this is the best thing, or this is my favorite. It truly is everything!
Jun 27, 2009, 10:00
On Becoming and Remaining an Orthodox Christian
Recently a priest who has received people into the Church for the last twenty years told me that the list of people whom he has received and who have lapsed is much longer than the list of those whom he has received and who have persevered. That priest is relatively cautious about receiving people, but I know two other parishes where the list of the lapsed is at least twenty times as long as the list of the perseverers.
Jun 25, 2009, 10:00
The Spiritual Guide in Orthodox Christianity (Part III)
The task of our spiritual father is not to destroy our freedom, but to assist us to see the truth for ourselves; not to suppress our personality, but to enable us to discover our own true self, to grow to full maturity and to become what we really are. If on occasion the spiritual father requires an implicit and seemingly "blind" obedience from his disciple, this is never done as an end in itself, nor with a view to enslaving him. The purpose of this kind of "shock treatment" is simply to deliver the disciple from his false and illusory "self," so that he may enter into true liberty; obedience is in this way the door to freedom.
Jun 18, 2009, 10:00
The Spiritual Guide in Orthodox Christianity (Part II)
Loving others involves suffering with and for them; such is the literal sense of the word "compassion." "Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ" (Gal 6:2): the spiritual father or mother is the one par excellence who bears the burdens of others. "A starets," writes Dostoevsky in The Brothers Karamazov, "is one who takes your soul, your will into his soul and into his will."
Jun 15, 2009, 10:00
The Spiritual Guide in Orthodox Christianity (Part I)
More important than all possible books if we are climbing a mountain for the first time, we need to follow a known route; and we also need to have with us, as companion and guide, someone who has been up before and is familiar with the way. To serve as such a companion and guide is precisely the role of the "abba" or spiritual father — of the one whom the Greeks call geron or geronta and the Russians starets, a title which in both languages means "old man" or "elder."
Jun 11, 2009, 10:00
Sunday Before Pentecost
We also are on our way to the day of Pentecost, next week we will keep this event. When Paul was on his way, he thought of what had happened to himself in the solitude of his journey from Jerusalem to Damascus and in the gift of the Spirit mediated to him by Ananias. And we also, each of us singly and all of us together should reflect on all that God has given us.
May 31, 2009, 01:33
Repentance, Confession, and Fasting (Part II)
Fr Justin told us that he studied in Oxford from the beginning of 1917 until 1919. An Anglican monk, after two years of friendship, told him: “You are all young and cheerful, like us. But there is one thing that you have that we do not have, and that is repentance. We do not know it…” “The thing is,” Fr Justin said, “that the two of us once got into a real quarrel. Later I could no longer contain myself and went to him to ask forgiveness, throwing myself at his feet, crying, and this man accepted it… He saw repentance.”
May 22, 2009, 00:28