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Our Faith 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.

Our Faith
The Liturgy after the Liturgy
The Liturgy after the Liturgy means that we bring our faith and the joy of our faith to every action of our lives. It is a great effort, much greater than engaging in long, formal prayers, but only repeated effort makes one stronger and healthier.

Feb 1, 2011, 10:00

Our Faith
Spiritual Growth: Is it My Job or God's?
Many times we hope to be growing and progressing in our spiritual relationship with God. But then suddenly, this hope is demolished and we end up disappointed and discouraged.

Jan 28, 2011, 10:00

Our Faith
Hidden Pilgrim
There are many problems for me with organised pilgrimage. I do not take to holy jollies such as we see in the Canterbury Tales or their modern versions of comfortable coach parties of pilgrims with thermos, food, pleasant talk and laughter, all heading off for holy destinations.

Jan 27, 2011, 10:00

Our Faith : Feasts. Calendar
On the Blessing of Homes On Theophany
The Orthodox Church teaches that we do not have two separate lives–a secular one and a spiritual one–but one human life, and that all of it must be holy. We must not be Christians for just a few hours on Saturday and Sunday, spending the rest of our life godlessly, that is to say, without God.

Jan 19, 2011, 02:22

Our Faith : Feasts. Calendar
Baptism in Christ
Baptism, however, can only be realized in the life of a person insofar as he or she accepts to make that pilgrimage with a certain ascetic discipline that focuses on repentance. St Peter of Damascus (11th-12th c. ?), St Symeon the New Theologian and many others, make the point repeatedly that baptismal renewal demands asceticism, a gradual dying with Christ.

Jan 18, 2011, 07:11

Our Faith : Icons
We Must Steel Ourselves
When later we were talking about Church he made a strange observation. Though he admired the icons of the Eastern Church, he noted that he could not understand why Jesus, even as an infant, looks so decidedly mannish. It was a thought that had never occurred to me, and he was right. Most of our depictions of the child Jesus show him as a little adult.

Jan 17, 2011, 10:00

Our Faith : Feasts. Calendar
Metropolitan Hilarion: ‘We hold dear St. Seraphim of Sarov’s spirit of joy which the modern man is lacking so much’
Many of you go by metro. Look at people’s faces in a metro car and you will see no joy in them. Your will see all kinds of expression – concern, restlessness, irritation but you will see no joy. Some would say: And what is there to be delighted with in subway? But go to a restaurant and look at the faces of those who sit there. Will you see many joyful and enlightened faces? No.

Jan 15, 2011, 06:20

Our Faith : Feasts. Calendar
Circumcision of Jesus Christ
Memory of St Basil the Great

Today we are celebrating a number of things, among them the Circumcision of Christ, which happened about eight days after His Birth. This feast-day was not celebrated in the early time of the Church, but came later. Today is also the feast of the departure to heaven of St Basil the Great, which was established before the feast of the Circumcision came into being.

Jan 14, 2011, 10:02

Our Faith : Feasts. Calendar
The Circumcision of The Lord
But there is some danger in all this: in the consciousness of some people, especially those who got insufficient spiritual enlightenment, those who seldom read the World of God, patristic writings, those who don’t think over their faith, but simply got used to go to church, dangerous and incorrect attitude to the rites is being formed. They think that exact fulfilment of the rite saves a man and you needn’t do anything more.

Jan 14, 2011, 10:01

Our Faith
They Call it “Heartbreak” for a Reason
Running long distances provides plenty of time to contemplate the meaning of life, which got me thinking: there are countless similarities between running a marathon and having a healthy romantic relationship. Both running and relationships require a great deal of preparation, ongoing vigilance, and appropriate levels of downtime and recovery.

Jan 13, 2011, 10:00

Our Faith
A Christian’s Missionary Calling Begins ’at Home’
As I presented my homily on inner missionary work, I felt my hands tremble with nervousness and fear. We have so many ideas of ourselves. We label ourselves as intelligent or stupid, as victim, as honest, as “spiritual”, etc. We have self-images we try to maintain – both negative and positive ones – and we feel naked without these.

Jan 11, 2011, 10:00

Our Faith : In the Church
Little Things Mean a Lot
With a large number of people entering Orthodoxy from other Christian traditions or from none, attitudes and behaviors taken for granted in traditional Orthodox countries tend often, and quite naturally, to change under the influence of American popular culture. We are perhaps the most casual people on earth, addressing strangers over the phone by their first name, slouching comfortably when we stand or sit, talking loudly and profusely when we want to make a point, and so on.

Jan 10, 2011, 10:00

Our Faith : Feasts. Calendar
Christmas Message of His Holiness Patriarch KIRILL of Moscow and All Russia
As we listen attentively to the powers of heaven, we realize that Christ’s Nativity is filled with an extra-temporal meaning and has a direct bearing upon the destiny of each human person. Even he who does not know of the Saviour’s feat may now acquire the knowledge of the Truth, become a son of God and inherit life eternal. Christ’s Nativity reveals to us the truth about ourselves and makes it possible for us to understand and assimilate this truth.

Jan 7, 2011, 10:00

Our Faith : Feasts. Calendar
The Nativity Epistle of His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America and New York, First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad
We must accept this peace of Christ, so full of love, foreign to falsehood and the other lusts! It is essential that all of us Christians remember that the Lord was born to redeem the sins of all humanity, and for this reason we must love our neighbor, striving to show in deed that we are disciples of Christ! Abiding in the bosom of the Holy Church of Christ, we will learn to live as Christ God, Who is now born, has commanded us.

Jan 7, 2011, 10:00

Our Faith : Feasts. Calendar
Nativity of Christ
And what is the Incarnation about if it is not about the love of God? And it is revealed to us in a way in which all love can reveal itself to us: surrendered, frail, totally within our power to destroy and to hurt; this Babe of Bethlehem is the perfect image of love, given, but perhaps, received by the ones - and indeed, as we know, rejected by the others.

Jan 6, 2011, 10:00

Our Faith : Feasts. Calendar
Christmas x 2
For as far back as I can remember real icicles, angel hair ornaments and tacky silver tinsel, I got to celebrate Christmas twice each year: the first on December 25th with most of the Christian world, and the second on January 7th with other Orthodox families. I didn’t really care why I celebrated twice, but I was told we followed a different calendar.

Jan 5, 2011, 10:00

Our Faith
Who’s to Blame for Human Suffering?
How can one believe in a loving God who allows the innocent to suffer? I’ve been asked this many times, and I’ve never been quick to answer. Subconsciously, I’ve probably asked much the same thing in the past.

Jan 4, 2011, 10:00

Our Faith : Fasting
Preparing for the Coming of Christ
Unfortunately, that seems to be the highlight of this holiday – actually, we should say, “holy day,” which is the origin of the word, “holiday”: feasting, parties, decorations, presents – and let me say that there is nothing wrong with any of these things. But it is easy for us to lose sight of what we are celebrating, and lose our connection to the holy with our focus on the earthly side of the holiday.

Jan 2, 2011, 10:00

Our Faith : Feasts. Calendar
The Feast of Time
Since my ordination I begin every New Year with the words: “Blessed is the Kingdom of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto the ages of ages.” This moment is always one of the most beautiful I ever experience.

Jan 1, 2011, 20:24

Our Faith : Feasts. Calendar
My New Year's Resolution
At this time of year, you may be thinking about making New Year’s resolutions. In the spirit of the season, therefore, I would like share my resolution with you. It is a simple one, but I hope that it makes a larger point. This coming year, I will try to observe the speed limit

Jan 1, 2011, 20:04

Our Faith : Feasts. Calendar
On New Year's Day
We and the Time

In these days, my beloved brethren, millions of men accept the first day of January as the beginning of the new year, regardless of religion, race, or language. They exchange cards with wishes for a long life and a happy new year. Of course, most of them perform this duty just as a custom, without any philosophical or metaphysical regard for the significance of the mystery which we call Time.

Dec 30, 2010, 10:00

Our Faith : Feasts. Calendar
Eternal life and New Year's Resolutions
The reason that we are not ever completely happy here is because we are not supposed to be! ( that is why there is never enough money, or fame, or drink or food, or success or fun.) Earth is not our final home; we were created for something so much better. Our next life, with our Lord is where we will be truly fulfilled. Truly joyful. Truly loved. Truly peaceful

Dec 29, 2010, 10:00

Our Faith : In the Church
What is Ministry in the Church?
Fr. Schmemann used the word "consumer" as the best expression of NOT realizing one's priesthood in Christ. Adam was the first consumer by taking that which was not offered. In the same way, adults and children are led by marketing companies to become the "best" consumers possible. The lie being told by marketers is that possessing things leads to happiness.

Dec 27, 2010, 10:00

Our Faith : Fasting
The Sunday of the Holy Forefathers
'Many are called but few are chosen'. So says Christ in today's Gospel. If we think of the knowledge of God conserved among different peoples in the world before Christ, these words have a special significance.

Dec 26, 2010, 10:00

Our Faith : Feasts. Calendar
The God-Shaped Hole
That’s it. Christmas is over. We purchased our stuff in a frenzy of feverish activity, then wrapped carefully and placed them beneath the tree. But now, with wrappings strewn around like the victims of tornado, the stuff is, well, just more stuff to be added to the rest of the stuff we already possess.

Dec 25, 2010, 10:00

Our Faith : Fasting
Waiting for the Lord to Come
In these days of fasting as we approach the festival of the Incarnation, the Church gives us in the words of Christ Himself, a stern and clear warning. Are we going to be like the guests called to the bridal feast of the king’s son? One refused to come because he had acquired a plot of land. He wanted to possess the earth and instead became a slave to it. The others could not come because they were too busy—there was no time for God.

Dec 23, 2010, 10:00

Our Faith : Feasts. Calendar
Praising Christ with the Hymns of the Nativity

In case the title startled you a bit, you can relax: I’ve taken the liberty to quote from Joan Osbourne’s 1995 hit, “One of Us,” but “just a slob like one of us” is nowhere to be found among the hymns chanted in the Orthodox Church! Osborne’s song, nonetheless, is a beautiful piece of music, with intriguing lyrics.

Dec 22, 2010, 10:00

Our Faith : Feasts. Calendar
A St. Nicholas Day Reflection
The Orthodox Church’s main hymn (troparion/apolytikion) for the feast of St. Nicholas of Myra is the general hymn for all of the Church’s holy bishops. As such, for example, it is sung the day after the feast of St. Nicholas for the celebration of St. Ambrose of Milan. This hymn tells us what a Christian bishop (and, by extension, also a presbyter) ought to be for his people.

Dec 18, 2010, 10:00

Our Faith : In the Church
The Church is our Mother
The priest who gave the homily at my grandfather’s funeral was a man who pulled no punches. I had once, several years before, heard him speak at the funeral of a more distant relative; his opening words were, “Those who knew her in life knew that she was a difficult person to get along with…” And, maybe not so surprisingly, nobody got mad.

Dec 14, 2010, 10:00

Our Faith : In the Church
What Does the Church Expect of You?
We should not think of our creation as the winding of a time clock which thereafter runs independently from its winder. The creation of man is rather like the plugging in of a light bulb which gives light only when in full contact with the source of its power. When man, through erroneous, independent use of his life, cuts himself away from his Creator, he no longer reflects the image and likeness of God.

Dec 8, 2010, 10:00

Our Faith : Feasts. Calendar
The Ambience of Christmas
When I heard “It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas” for the umpteenth time on the radio and I looked out through the windshield of my truck and saw the sun shining, people in shorts on bicycles, I thought to myself, “No, it’s not.” The images of snowflakes and tinsel (or icicles as we called them when I was young) and Christmas lights on palm trees seemed just incongruous…wrong.

Dec 7, 2010, 10:00

Our Faith : Feasts. Calendar
Having the Mind to Feast
It seems thousands of years removed from us, but it was not so very long ago that life was marked out by religious feasts. Although everyone went to church, not everyone, of course, knew the exact contents of each celebration. For many, perhaps even the majority, the feast was above all an opportunity to get a good sleep, eat well, drink and relax.

Dec 4, 2010, 10:00

Our Faith
What is Expected of Me as an Orthodox Christian?
So, when people today ask: “What is expected of me?” they first need to look into their own hearts to see if they are looking for the right things. Because without a proper desire and orientation there can be no convincing answers to the above question.

Dec 3, 2010, 10:00

Our Faith : Prayers
Prayer - Our Nativity Centerpiece
We don’t always realize that our commitment to daily morning and evening prayers has a residual effect on the rest of our day and night. This is also true of the cumulative effect of prayer on us if we sustain and even deepen our prayer rules in a consistent way over time. The fruit of consistency in prayer is the increased remembrance of God throughout the day.

Dec 2, 2010, 10:00

Our Faith : Fasting
The Inconvenient Commandment
Millions of people throughout history have given their lives as martyrs to defend this very Truth. And today we are content, it seems, to be comfy cozy in our new slippers and sip cider around the tree, enjoying our own "personal religious practices" at the appropriate service times - practices which don't "infringe" on our neighbor.

Nov 30, 2010, 10:00

Our Faith : Fasting
The Nativity Fast
One of the perpetual questions that is always asked at this time of year is, "when is it proper to sing Christmas Carols or decorate for Christmas." Unlike the Fast of Lent, which is really a preparation for Holy Week, the Nativity Fast is one of joyful expectation.

Nov 29, 2010, 10:00

Our Faith : Feasts. Calendar
Mercy, Not Sacrifice
The danger for us is that we can get so caught up in trying to do everything right that we can miss the real center of the Orthodox faith: to love God with the fullness of our being, and to love others as we love ourselves. If we remember to pray, but do not remember the poor, what god does praying do for us? If we remember the fast, but do not feed the hungry, does our fasting really benefit us?

Nov 29, 2010, 10:00

Our Faith : Fasting
Oriental Christmas in November
Essentially, during Christ’s advent, we are preparing a path to re-orient our hearts, to clear away all the exhausting clutter, so that we can experience the birth of Christ with the same irrepressible joy that the shepherds and the wise men and the angels experienced. The mystery of God’s birth as human flesh is a revolution that brings about the transformation of the world, but starts with each of our hearts--as the mystery of Love.

Nov 26, 2010, 06:07

Our Faith
The Spirit of Thankfulness
Giving thanks to God for everything in our "ordinary" lives can help us to see at last that nothing in our lives is really ordinary. Life is never "ordinary". It is rather a passage from time into eternity. The circumstances that rise before us, the problems we encounter, the relationships we form, the choices we make, all ultimately concern our eternal union with or separation from God.

Nov 25, 2010, 10:00

Our Faith
Glory to God for Everything
Once a pastor visited his sick parishioner in a psychiatric hospital. There one of the patients, who apparently had a period of mental clarity, approached the pastor and asked him, "Do you ever thank God for your reasoning ability?" This unexpected question took the pastor by surprise.

Nov 24, 2010, 10:00

Our Faith : Fasting
Dispelling Confusion About Fasting During Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving Day is also called a Turkey day because it usually involves a meal with turkey or at least a more elaborate meal. Most American Orthodox Christians started the Nativity Fast on November, 15. How can an Orthodox Christian navigate these family gatherings, often with family who are not Orthodox, and still keep the Nativity fast?

Nov 23, 2010, 10:00

Our Faith : Feasts. Calendar
Christmas on a Tight Budget
Already this year, I’ve been a part of several conversations revolving around Christmas gift-giving anxiety. Many of us are much tighter than ever financially, which conflicts directly with the cultural conviction that gift-giving is somehow tied to how successful we are as a person or, worse, how much we love someone.

Nov 22, 2010, 10:00

Our Faith : In the Church
Stewardship: No Magic Pills
Here’s the bottom line: good stewardship is hard. We fool ourselves when we fail to say that out loud. It’s really a burden to keep a church going, a burden on the families that hope to find salvation through the church. A lot of churches advertise stewardship like something fun and easy. It isn’t. It won’t be. And if it is, then whatever you’re doing isn’t really stewardship.

Nov 17, 2010, 04:47

Our Faith
I Believe
I met in Russia a man, a priest who had spent thirty six years of his life in prison and in a concentration camp. To most of us it is either most of our lives, or half our lives, a very long term. He sat in front of me with eyes shining with wonder and said to me, “Do you realise how wonderfully good God has been to me? The Soviet authorities did not allow into prisons or camps priests or any kind of spiritual ministration. And God chose me, a young, inexperienced priest and sent me for thirty six years of my life to minister to the people who needed most of all to be looked after and to have a witness of God in their midst.

Nov 16, 2010, 10:00

Our Faith : Fasting
"It's Just Another Day For You and Me In Paradise"
I'll never forget what I heard one cold winter day on the radio while attending seminary over twenty years ago. . . A man was found frozen to death this morning just outside Fenway Park. Perhaps, loneliness and indifference are the greatest of sins that plague our present time.

Nov 15, 2010, 10:00

Our Faith : Fasting
Preparation of the Soul & Joy in the Mystery
Make plans now to enter in, increase our spiritual discipline, set goals, see to our earthly responsibilities without total spiritual distraction, and prepare for a joyous celebration.

Nov 13, 2010, 10:00

Our Faith : Religions
Church, or churches?
Many years ago, well over a decade and a half, I was wrestling with the fact of the many denominations that are found in our country, and now around the world. At that point, I (erroneously) tried to reason that God reached some through this group, others through that group, etc., etc. This thinking is pretty easy, for one justifies all kinds of things.

Nov 12, 2010, 10:00

Our Faith : Feasts. Calendar
Having a Thankful and Grateful Attitude
As we begin preparation for the Thanksgiving and Christmas season, I was reflecting on St. Paul’s words found in Thessalonians. He says, “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” This is such a grand invitation and one that can change our lives when we live pouring forth a grateful attitude.

Nov 11, 2010, 10:00

Our Faith
Personal Experience
Several years ago a French publishing house asked a cross-section of famous people –writers, philosophers, artists– to contribute to a small book, entitled What I Believe. … Their responses were profoundly different from one another, and each essay is fascinating to read.

Nov 8, 2010, 10:00

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