Before he reposed on January 28, 2008, Archbishop Christodoulos of Athens and All Greece composed last words of exhortation to his flock. His words are very moving and full of good instruction as they exemplify the disposition an Orthodox Christians should have not only at death but every day of their lives.
Before I Close My Eyes . . .
By Archbishop Christodoulos of Athens and All Greece
My brethren, do not forget me when you sing to the Lord, but remember my desire and love and beseech God, that the Lord would grant me to rest among the righteous.
When these lines are read I will not be found in this life. My hope is that I will be found in the mercy of the Lord.
I have no other surety except hope in the Lord. Nothing remains for me but the supplication that the Lord show leniency in His judgment and to forgive me.
I loved my Savior with whatever strength was in my soul. He Who searches the hearts and insides knows. Many times Satan pushed me to actions and plans and to make decisions that I (more…)
We shall now say something about the present feast. Many celebrate the feastdays and know their designations, but the cause for which they were established they know not. Thus concerning this, that the present feast is called Theophany—everyone knows; but what this is—Theophany, and whether it be one thing or another, they know not. And this is shameful—every year to celebrate the feastday and not know its reason.
First of all therefore, it is necessary to say that there is not one Theophany, but two: the one actual, which already has occurred, and the second in future, which will happen (more…)
The ritual of the cutting of the Vasilopita with the family, begins with the head of the household. Making the sign of the cross, he begins by praying to God that He come and bless the household, guests, and finally the food and drink that will be served.
The blessing of the Vasilopita usually begins with the Apolytikion of St Basil the Great (more…)
My ears resound to the Shepherd’s song, piping no soft melody, but chanting full forth a heavenly hymn. The Angels sing. The Archangels blend their voice in harmony. The Cherubim hymn their joyful praise. The Seraphim exalt His glory. All join to praise this holy feast, beholding the Godhead here on earth, and man in heaven. He Who is above, now for our redemption dwells (more…)
The Word became flesh; that is, the Son of God, co-eternal with God the Father and with the Holy Spirit, became human – having become incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary. O, wondrous, awesome and salvific mystery! The One Who had no beginning took on a beginning according to humanity; the One without flesh assumed flesh. God became man – without ceasing to be God. The Unapproachable One became approachable to all, in the aspect of an humble servant. Why, and for what reason, was there such condescension [shown] on the part of the Creator toward His transgressing creatures – toward humanity which, through an act of its own will had fallen away from God, its Creator?
It was by reason of a supreme, inexpressible mercy toward (more…)
This article explores many ways in which the Orthodox Christian heritage from the first 500 years of Christianity in England has survived to modern times with regards to Christmas and Easter traditions. Read it and find out more about the symbolism and origin of sayings about the weather and various animals and plants as well as customs such as window lights, Christmas pudding, mince-meat pies, mistletoe, hot cross buns, and much more.
“They were old men with no scholarship. They told me of their thoughts: the things they said within themselves as they sailed with the stars and with the wild waters about and beneath them.
I have never heard fairer things than fell from the lips of those unlettered men. It was the poetry of the grace of God.”
From a letter concerning the fishermen of Leigh in Essex of с 1900
If we take a human lifetime as the Biblical threescore years and ten, only fourteen lifetimes ago the English Church was an integral part of the Orthodox family, belonging to the Universal Church of Christ. For nearly five centuries the English were in communion with the rest of Christendom. There were close contacts with Eastern Christendom. One of England’s sainted Archbishops, Theodore of Tarsus, was a Greek; Greek monks and a bishop lived in England at the end of the 10th century, and Gytha, the daughter of the Old English King, Harold II, married in Kiev. It is clear that during such a long period, a half-millennium, the Christian faith impregnated the way of life of the people and the Old English monarchy. It is clear that traces of the Faith of the first five centuries of English Christianity, a Faith that was Orthodox though not Byzantine, must have remained after the 11th century. . . .