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Social Life Last Updated: Feb 8th, 2011 - 05:50:02

Dear Readers,
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.

Social Life
Lost in Translation, Found in Translation
Several days ago, my wife and I were having a “disagreement” on the subject of Christmas trees. I won’t bore you with the details, except to say that after several minutes of bickering, we came to realize that the source of our enmity lay in our differing understandings of what the phrase “Christmas tree” actually meant.

Dec 9, 2010, 10:00

Social Life
Why Does a Pastor Need His Own Website?
Is it necessary for a priest to have his own website? Not for everyone, I suppose. We know there are different charismata in the Church. There are pastors of fervent prayer, excellent administrators, and those who consider the execution of divine services in a decorous, deliberate, and decent manner to be their mission.

Sep 2, 2010, 10:00

Social Life
Living the Liturgy: Daily Life
In an ideal world, what are the things about Orthodox Christianity that would somehow be picked up by our colleagues and fellow-citizens? If we were faithful to our calling, what would people make of that calling? What should be the hallmarks of our faith that inspire at least respect among those who find the contents of our beliefs (or indeed the idea of any elaborate and systematic religious practice) strange or bewildering?

Jul 19, 2010, 10:00

Social Life
Teaching Icon Painting to Prisoners
To an outsider, it would have been a very surprising sight — someone with a history of violence very carefully painting the face of Christ, or a man who had committed serious crimes standing reverently before an image of the Mother of God.

Jun 23, 2010, 10:00

Social Life
Remember to Take Your Prayers Along on Vacation
We all need breaks. Even God rested after completing his creation - not because he was tired, but to show us the importance of taking time to rest and admire his work. And because he recognized our impulse to be workaholics, he made the Sabbath day mandatory on pain of death!

Jun 1, 2010, 10:00

Social Life
Church and Prison
Unfortunately, from a certain point in time onwards, our society became imbued with an "imported" moralistic mentality; because of this, the broadly accepted view is that the "bad guys" are the ones who are - or should be - in prison, whereas those who aren't in prison - the "good guys" and peace-loving citizens - are the ones who are entitled to enjoy their lives undisturbed.

Nov 9, 2009, 10:00

Social Life
Orthodox Christians in the Workplace (Part II)
In any work environment, there is informal interaction with coworkers in which almost every topic is discussed. Is it appropriate to "push" your own religion in these discussions, and how do you differentiate between "coercion" and a simple expression of your beliefs? In the course of such innocuous discussions, assumptions will be made that "we all believe in the same God" and that "we are all Christians, right?" The quandary is whether or not to let such an assumption remain, especially if it is unspoken. These are all questions of attitudes and principles which can lead to conflict.

Jun 23, 2009, 10:00

Social Life
Orthodox Christians in the Workplace (Part I)
Some of the practical conflicts have to do with the daily cycles of Church life: such things as fasting, prayer, and holy days. When we strive to keep the fast, it suddenly seems as though there is a cascade of temptations to break the fast. Office lunches, snacks and munchies, even the rushed lunch necessitating "fast food," all seem to have some element of meat or dairy products.

Jun 12, 2009, 10:00

Social Life
On How to Treat Others
People who are near you - that’s where you must toil. They are your grain field, your plot bestowed by God for you to cultivate. A person’s soul should be approached with care as if it was a fragile blossoming flower. You should console, protect and keep them away from any trouble. You should live his or her life, entirely forgetting your own self. Best possible should be done for your neighbours. You should always have only one thing in mind - not to disturb them or hurt their feelings.

Apr 27, 2009, 10:00

Social Life
An Orthodox Christian in the NFL
First of all, I’m a Christian so my prayer life really comes first. Second of all, I’m a husband so my wife comes before anything else. If I have time to do anything else after that, I do it, but I don’t sacrifice any time with her.

Jan 10, 2009, 10:00

Social Life
If you are hit on the right cheek…
I want to be a real man, I want to be able to stand up for myself. Father, please, bless me to start doing martial arts. Is it a sin? – This is a common question usually asked by young people. But in fact the problem is much deeper and much more serious. The question is the following: are martial arts and Russian Orthodoxy compatible, can they go hand in had? And how shall we treat evil and outer aggression in today’s conditions? We will dare to propose our own solution to these live issues.

Jan 3, 2009, 10:00

Social Life
On the Social and Moral Problems of Youth in the 21st Century
Why do many young people, despite all these pressures and temptations, nevertheless retain the high idealism of youth and find a more moral social ethos? Because we are not in complete bondage to the fallen human nature. God has given us another part to our own nature, and that part the Orthodox Church calls our "hypostasis." The hypostasis, which we would assert is a gift of grace, is our individual personhood. It is this that makes it possible for us to have a degree of freedom from the confines and forces of the fallen human nature.

Nov 21, 2008, 10:00

Social Life
Perfectionism – the religion of XXI century?
The modern perfectionism differs from the classical one. To a large extent, it has modified to the idea of high standards of everyday life, mentality in terms “all or nothing”, excessive concentration on failures and rigidity. According to Gordon Flett, psychology professor from York University in Toronto, perfectionism is a mental illness, expressed in a kind of “obsession with little things, trivial matters” and in attempts to push the matter to some ideal end, to “perfection.”

Sep 26, 2008, 10:00

Social Life
A glance at TV, magazines, newspapers and the deluge of junk mail that we receive everyday, tells us that we live in a pleasure-seeking society. Our everyday recipe for life in the fast lane of this hi-tech century is hedonism, an ancient philosophy that considers pleasure to be the ultimate good and which modern man has adopted as his philosophy for success.

Sep 22, 2008, 10:01

Social Life
Death with Piety is Death with Dignity
No one wants to suffer or watch his loved ones suffer a painful illness. But instead of looking at suffering at the end of life as useless and superfluous, Orthodox Christianity teaches that all things have purpose under the will of God, even when that purpose is not understood. Death is a mystery. We don't understand or know all about death in this life. We must have faith in the goodness and mercy of the Lord.

Sep 17, 2008, 10:07

Social Life
The Body Lovers
For us, Orthodox Christians however, death is not the end but is a new beginning. In all funeral Orthodox services we never use the term dead, but rather passed unto the Lord. The saints are commemorated not on their birth date, but on the date of their death, the moment when their earthly endeavors were accepted into the kingdom of heaven. If we die with Christ, we believe we will be resurrected with Him, so death does not frighten us.

Aug 12, 2008, 10:00

Social Life
Church Positions Regarding the Sanctity of Human Life
The Church's teaching about human life is based on Holy Tradition, including the Scriptures as a primary resource and the ongoing teaching and interpretation of the Orthodox Faith. Life is a gift of God in the formation of the created world. All life is precious, but God uniquely creates human life in the "image and likeness of God." Human life as such is deserving of deep respect and individual human beings are to be treated in accordance to their inherent human dignity.

May 21, 2007, 17:34

Social Life
Depression and Despondency
From the depths of his sorrowful heart, Fr. Arseny, with the grace of spiritual wisdom cried out: "O Lord, my Lord, show me Thy mercy" Fr. Arseny made the sign of the cross, "And suddenly the wind that had been hiding in the forest and the grass was free again; it gave life to the grasses, shook the trees and blew insistently into my face; suddenly everything changed, came awake, came alive ... The feeling of confusion, of oppressive sickness of heart and despair left me. I stood up straight, shook off all fear ... the wind brought me coolness, the smell of grass ... of exceptional joy."

May 15, 2007, 10:39

Social Life
The Virginia Tech Massacre - Lessons to Learn
Only six months ago I spoke to you after three separate incidents involving murders of or by children. As we all know, another tragedy of monumental proportions has occurred. This time 32 students were shot to death at Virginia Tech University in Blacksburg, Virginia by a lone gunman, a fellow student, who also took his own life.

May 8, 2007, 23:43

Social Life
Message of Kornelius Mitropolitan of Tallinn and all Estonia
The Estonian government, ignoring the position of the city authorities based on the opinion of the members of the roundtable on the “Bronze Soldier” issue, and disregarding the statements and opinion of many other local and foreign political and societal activists and organizations and, moreover, contrary to common sense, just before the celebrations dedicated to the victory over Nazism, began the process of transferring the monument to Soviet soldiers who perished during the Second World War. The process started on April 26, 2007 in Tallinn.

May 4, 2007, 08:53

Social Life
Do We Need Sick Children?
Right now we stand before this fact: disabled children in our country practically live on “reservations”. First of all, if they live in a boarding school for the disabled, they have absolutely no contact with their peers. But even if they live in families very few of those children can break the vicious circle of isolation and loneliness. And even if the families are active, find groups, etc., their circle of friends still doesn’t reach outside of the disabled.

May 3, 2007, 22:17

Social Life
Cellist Mstislav Rostropovich dies at 80
Russians on Saturday paid tribute to Mstislav Rostropovich, the legendary Russian cellist and dissident, at a lying in state in Moscow's musical conservatory.

Apr 28, 2007, 14:39

Social Life
AIDS - an Orthodox Perspective
This highly informative program focuses on the disease itself and widespread anxiety surrounding AIDS. It includes a panel discussion, questions and answers on such issues as the communion spoon and our spiritual fortification against our temporal fears. Also, a personal account of a Greek Orthodox AIDS patient discussing his illness, and an interview with a priest and father of a young man who died of AIDS suggests how both Church and society could approach the disease and its victims and the importance of faith.

Apr 21, 2007, 21:32

Social Life
Euthanasia and The Sixth Commandment
Does a person have the right to end his life with dignity? Must a physician or a guardian prolong a person's life when it is obvious that he has no chance to lead a "normal life"? Can an ethical physician cut short the life of a hopelessly sick person to free him from unbearable suffering?

Apr 20, 2007, 09:14

Social Life
A little bit about AA and the Russian Orthodox Church
I heard of the AA Community some time ago, when I was still a doctor. This was over fifty years ago. At that time AA groups using the Twelve steps program were just appearing in France. In England they were organised earlier and continue operating even now. I worked with them from time to time and had some meetings with the groups when they wanted something “deeper”; when they wanted something to do with God or the Church, and the Church not as religious organisation but as a fellowship.

Mar 14, 2007, 02:30

Social Life
Priest murdered in a Russian village
A priest was found dead after a fire that erupted at a local church in the village of Neivo-Shaitansky near Yekaterinburg early on January 7, the day on which Orthodox Christians celebrate Christmas. Twenty-one icons, some of which date back to the 18th century, were stolen from the church.

Jan 7, 2007, 20:54

Social Life
Can a modern man believe?
There are two sides to the title of tonight's sermon 'Can modern man be­lieve?' It could, be answered very quickly and simply, "Yes, modern man does be­lieve". He believes in the most extravagant things: He believes in anything in our Western world except the traditional faith of the land. Credulity is more extraordinary in our days than it was fifty years ago — and I do not go farther back because this is about where my conscious memories reach. People who are scientifically trained and reasonably mature intellectually are prepared to be­lieve certain things while rejecting as impossible other things.

Jan 3, 2007, 01:22

Social Life
Religion and Art
The relationship between religion and art is not a contradictory relationship, nor an identical one. There exists between them a kinship and a peculiar mutual aid. Both religion and art raise us up and awaken in us a striving towards an ideal world. But if the esthetic feeling strives mainly towards an artistic image of the ideal world, then the religious feeling thirsts for living communion with God, the source of all perfection.

Aug 7, 2006, 20:49

Social Life
Mercy House in Brooklyn
The story started in December of 2002, when into the Church of New Martyrs or Russia in Brooklyn where I was serving at the time, came absolutely non-orthodox young woman and ask permission to speak to parishioners after the Liturgy. "Do you know that there are Russian orthodox people dying in the cold on the streets of Brooklyn."

May 31, 2006, 10:41

Social Life
Debunking The Da Vinci Code
The book bears a message sinister in the attempted cover-up of its real intent and foisted on unaware readers by appeals to half-truths and falsified historical events. When decoded, the message is a broadside against the Roman Catholic Church. It is an attack on traditional Christian beliefs and values centered on the person of Jesus Christ, human and divine. It repudiates the New Testament as a hoax in favor of the apocryphal books. It advocates unencumbered feminism, egalitarianism, and sexuality of all types. It is a message about an alternative so-called Christianity that much resembles the post-modern, new age ideology pervading today's media and Western culture. It is a philosophy of those pilgrims who submit to no authority but the self, commit to no abiding truth but their own predilection, and live by no absolute value but that of what has been called the "do-it-yourself-kit" of self-discovery.

May 29, 2006, 10:33

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