By Father Sergius Nezhbort
The Church is not a social club, where you can go if you want, where you can listen to choirs, have a rest for your soul, console yourself and then leave it go on your way. It is a place where we meet God. And this meeting changes a person significantly.
Sometimes it happens when the person least expects it: God comes into our lives and there is nothing we can do with this. The only way is to humble and to accept His will. Not to oppose, but to understand the God’s plan of our salvation no matter how difficult this plan seems to us. (more…)
Yesterday I was crucified with Him; today I am glorified with Him.
Yesterday I died with Him; today I am made alive with Him.
Yesterday I was buried with Him; today I am raised up with Him.
Let us offer to Him Who suffered and rose again for us … ourselves, the possession most precious to God and most proper.
Let us become like Christ, since Christ became like us.
Let us become Divine for His sake, since for us He became Man.
He assumed the worse that He might give us the better. He became poor that by His poverty we might become rich. He accepted the form of a servant that we might win back our freedom.
He came down that we might be lifted up. He was tempted that through Him we might conquer. He was dishonored that He might glorify us. He died that He might save us. He ascended that He might draw to Himself us, who were thrown down through the fall of sin.
Let us give all, offer all, to Him who gave Himself a Ransom and Reconciliation for us.
We needed an incarnate God, a God put to death, that we might live. We were put to death together with Him that we might be cleansed. We rose again with Him because we were put to death with Him. We were glorified with Him because we rose again with Him.
A few drops of Blood recreate the whole of creation!
— St. Gregory the Theologian, Easter Orations
St. Kosmas Aitolos
“If a man insults me, kills my father, my mother, my brother, and then gouges out my eye, as a Christian it is my duty to forgive him. We who are pious Christians ought to love our enemies and forgive them. We ought to offer them food and drink, and entreat God for their souls. And then we should say: ‘My God, I beseech Thee to forgive me, as I have forgiven my enemies.’”
St. Mark the Ascetic, Homilies, 2.48
“The forgiveness of insults is a sign of (more…)
I will arise and go to my father (Luke 15:18)
Brethren! All our attention must be centered on the parable of the Prodigal Son. We all see ourselves in it as in a mirror. In a few words the Lord, the knower of hearts, has shown in the person of one man how the deceptive sweetness of sin separates us from the truly sweet life according to God. He knows how the burden of sin on the soul and body, experienced by us, impels us by the action of divine grace to return, and how it actually does (more…)
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…)
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…)
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. . . .
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About 140 orphans are housed and cared for by the monks of the Monastery of the Holy Ascension in the Ukraine near the Romanian border. Many of the children have disabilities, but they all receive Christ-like love and compassion because all life is precious. The faith of the abbot in God’s provision for their needs is inspiring, and the joy that radiates from the children is amazing!
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Today we celebrate the memory of one of the greatest saints of the Church of Christ, our holy father Nicholas, Archbishop of Myra the Miracle-Worker, who as no one else has been revered by all at all times and peoples of the world, not only Christians, but even Muslims and pagans.
“I see, brethren, a new sun rising above the earth and bringing sweet consolation to the sorrowful and suffering,” said the Bishop of Patara as he ordained Nicholas to the priesthood. “Joyous is the flock which will be under his ministry; he will strengthen them in faith in the Lord, he will guide them in goodness and piety, he will be an earnest helper to all those in need.”
St Nicholas’ entire life was a brilliant fulfillment of these prophetic words of the visionary bishop. St Nicholas burned with a passionate faith in God since his youth, being a strict, unbending zealot for the purity of Orthodox Christianity; he was a severe ascetic, in constant vigil, fasting and prayer; forgetting himself, he generously helped the (more…)
All sorrows, sicknesses, torments, deprivations, are allowed by God in order to drive out the enticement of sin, and to implant true virtue in the heart, that we may learn by experience the falsehood, insolence, tyranny, and deadliness of sin, and may be inspired with a loathing for it; also that we may learn by experience the truth of meekness, wisdom, of gently ruling the hearts of men, and of the life-giving properties of virtue.
Therefore, I will bear all afflictions courageously, with gratitude to the Lord, the Physician of our souls, our Most-loving Savior.
St. John of Kronstadt, My Life in Christ
It is a Palestinian custom to make Burbara for the feast of St. Barbara on December 4/17 in remembrance of the food she had available while imprisoned by her father. Read more about her life here. Holy Great Martyress St. Barbara, pray to God for us!
- 1 lb. shelled wheat
- 1 lb. raisins
- 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 2 tsp. fennel
- 1 tsp. ground cloves
- 1 tsp. ground nutmeg
- 1 cup sugar
- crushed almonds and walnuts, for garnish
- 1 tsp. anise (optional)
Soak wheat overnight and rinse.
Place wheat in a pot and cover with about an inch of water. Boil until wheat is tender, adding water if necessary to keep a stewy consistency.
When wheat is tender, add about a cup of sugar (to desired sweetness), the raisins, and the spices. Boil for another 10 minutes.
Serve hot, garnishing with nuts to taste.