Posts on Orthodox subjects such as spirituality, practices, saints, services, and history


All Scripture is Inspired by God: Thoughts on the Old Testament Canon

This article by Joel Kalvesmaki highlights the history of the Orthodox Church’s Old Testament canon based on the Septuagint (LXX) and contrasts it to the Protestant Old Testament canon based on the Hebrew (Masoretic) text.

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All Scripture Is Inspired by God
Thoughts on the Old Testament Canon

by Joel Kalvesmaki

All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work. (II Tim 3:16)

What Scriptures did St. Paul have in mind when he wrote the above to St. Timothy? Was he referring to the 66 books making up the Bible Evangelicals read today? What exactly did Paul mean by “all?”

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St. Seraphim of Sarov on Despair

Icon of St. Seraphim of SarovJust as the Lord is solicitous about our salvation, so too the murder of men, the devil, strives to lead a man into despair.

A lofty and sound soul does not despair over misfortunes, of whatever sort they may be. Our life is as it were a house of temptations and trials; but we will not renounce the Lord for as long as He allows the tempter to remain with us and for as long as we must wait to be revived through patience and secure passionless!

Judas the betrayer was fainthearted and unskilled in battle, and so the enemy, seeing his despair, attacked him and forced him to hang himself, but Peter, a firm rock, when he fell into great sin, like one skilled in battle did not despair nor lose heart, but shed bitter tears from a burning heart, and the enemy, seeing these tears, his eyes scorched as by fire, fled far form him wailing in pain.

And so brothers, St. Antioch teaches, when despair attacks us let us not yield to it, but being strengthened and protected by the light of faith, with great courage let us say to the evil spirit: “What are you to us, estranged from God, a fugitive from heaven and evil servant? You dare do nothing to us. Christ, the Son of God, has authority both over us and over everything. It is against Him that we have sinned, and before Him that we will be justified. And you, destroyer, leave us. Strengthen by His venerable Cross, we trample under foot your serpent’s head” (St. Antioch, Discourse 27).

+ St. Seraphim of Sarov, “The Spiritual Instructions to Laymen and Monks”, printed in Little Russian Philokalia: St. Seraphim of Sarov

Tolstoy and the Sign of the Cross

Sergei Romanov offers commentary on how Tolstoy, despite rejecting the Orthodox Church, could not reject the Sign of the Cross.

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St. John of Kronstadt on Praying for Others

posts-pic-st-john-of-kronstadt3“Do not let pass any opportunity to pray for anyone, either at his request or at the request of his relatives, friends, of those who esteem him, or of his acquaintances. The Lord looks favorably upon the prayer of our love, and upon our boldness before him. Besides this, prayer for others is very beneficial to the one himself who prays for others; it purifies the heart, strengthens faith and hope in God, and enkindles our love for God and our neighbor. When praying, say thus: ‘Lord, it is possible for Thee to do this or that to this servant of Thine; do this for him, for Thy name is the Merciful Love of Men and the Almighty.’”

+ St. John of Kronstadt, My Life in Christ

Sermon on the 15th Sunday of Pentecost

Icon of ChristMany questions were put to our Savior during His earthly life. For the most part, they were not well intended. His enemies would try to catch Him in His words to prove that He was not divine. Instead, they fell into their own trap and find themselves silenced by His wisdom.

Not too long ago we heard one ask the Lord “Master… is it lawful to give tribute to Caesar, or not?” It was not a simple question, because many considered it wrong or sacrilegious to give to Caesar, yet if He said “No, it is not necessary.” Others would accuse Him of being a lawbreaker. His answer, “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.” confounded their evil intentions. It is not that Jesus was a clever debater or a brilliant logician; He was (more…)

Simple Village Folks Who Saw the Uncreated Light

Picture of Greek VillagersAn excerpt from the homily by Fr. Nicholas Loudovikos delivered on March 15, 2008 at the Diakideios School of Patrae.

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Once, I happened to witness an event that I will tell you about in closing…

I was a young officiating presbyter at the time, and I was serving at some village churches just outside Thessaloniki. At the same time, I was the assistant to a very important theologian at the school of theology. What I was going through, while writing for my diatribe at the school of theology at the same time, was one, huge contrast: On the one hand, at the school of theology I was in contact with everything grand and strange and incomprehensible that theology holds with its profound meanings etc., and on the other, I was a village priest to 10 different (more…)

Holy Scripture and the Church

By New Hieromartyr Hilarion (Troitsky), Archbishop of Verey

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New Hieromartyr Hilarion (Troitsky), Archbishop of VereyEditor’s Note: The following article was written in 1914[1],when St. Hilarion was an archimandrite and a professor of the Imperial Moscow Spiritual Academy. Its message is especially pertinent for our times, when there is widespread confusion and ignorance about the true nature of Christ’s Church and about the right approach to Holy Scripture. It can provide invaluable help to Orthodox Christians in understanding their Faith more deeply, and in defending and giving an account of it when confronted with heterodox—especially Protestant—claims. At the same time, it can serve as a wake-up call to Protestants, who separate the Bible from the Church, as well as to those Orthodox Christian scholars who have been unduly influenced by the modern ”higher criticism” of the Bible which originated within German Protestantism—the fallacies of which are profoundly demonstrated by our modern-day Orthodox apologist, St. Hilarion.

In the Church there are no stone tablets with letters inscribed by a Divine finger. The Church has the Holy Scriptures, but He Who established the Church wrote nothing. . . .

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Every Christian is chosen . . .

posts-icon-st-theophan-the-recluseEvery Christian is chosen—chosen for similar deeds, namely: to be with the Lord, through unceasing remembrance of Him and awareness of His omnipresence, through the preaching and fulfillment of His commandments, and through a readiness to confess one’s faith in Him. In those circles where such a confession is made, it is a loud sermon for all to hear.

Every Christian has the power to heal infirmities—not of others, but (more…)

Fr. Seraphim Rose on Orthodox Converts

Fr. Seraphim RoseThe following is an excerpt taken From Not of This World: The Life and Teachings of Fr. Seraphim Rose, pp. 781-82.

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Fr. Seraphim Rose of Platina, himself a convert to Orthodoxy, was once asked to compose a “Manual for Orthodox Converts.”  In his notes for such a manual, he jotted down the following (more…)