Feast of St. Patrick
THE VOICE of the spiritual eagle strikes in the hearing of the church. May our outer senses grasp its transient sounds and our inner spirit penetrate its enduring meaning.
This is the voice of the bird of high flight – not of the bird who soars above the material air or over the aether, orbiting the entire sensible world – but the voice of that spiritual... Continue Reading
Feast of St Procopius the Confessor and St Raphael of Brooklyn
BLESSED IS he who has in the Lord become completely free of all earthly things in this troublesome life, and who has loved the one good and merciful God.
Blessed is he who has become a doer of good works and, like a fruitful field, brings forth a great abundance of the fruits of life in the Lord.
Blessed... Continue Reading
Feast of Theophany and St Theophane the Recluse
CHRIST, THEN, was born as it were a few days ago—He Whose generation was before all things, sensible and intellectual. Today He is baptized by John that He might cleanse him who was defiled, that He might bring the Spirit from above, and exalt man to heaven, that he who had fallen might be raised up and he who had cast him... Continue Reading
Feast of the Ten Martyrs of Crete
Refrain: Glory to You utterly from all of us.
1. Who, being a mortal, can tell about the Reviver of all, // Who left the height of His majesty and came down to smallness? // You, Who magnify all by being born, magnify my weak mind // that I may tell about Your birth, not to investigate Your majesty, // but to proclaim... Continue Reading
Feast of St. Ambrose of Milan
HEARKEN, You who rule Israel,
You who sit upon the cherubim.
Appear before Ephraim; rouse up
Your power and come (Cf. Ps. 80.1-2)!
Come, redeemer of the nations,
Show forth the virgin’s begetting.
Let the whole world marvel:
such a birth begets God.
Not by a man’s seed
but by a mystical inbreathing
did the Word of God become flesh
and the fruit of... Continue Reading
Feast of the Holy Prophet Habakkuk
THE ORTHODOX Church has not made Mariology into an independent dogmatic theme: it remains integral to the whole of Christian teaching, as an anthropological Leitmotif. Based on Christology, the dogma of the Mother of God has a strong Pneumatological accent; and through the double economy of the Son and the Holy Spirit, it is inextricably bound up with ecclesiological reality.
In truth, if we... Continue Reading
Feast of the Unmercenaries Cosmas and Damian
IN SEPARATION from God human nature becomes unsettled, goes out of tune, as it were, is decomposed. The very structure of man becomes unstable. The unity of the soul and the body becomes insecure. The soul loses its vital power, is no more able to quicken the body. The body is turned into the tomb and prison of the soul. And physical death... Continue Reading
Feast of St Thecla the Protomartyr & Equal to the Apostles
AMONG THE miracles of God’s providence we can notice how each star takes its place in the firmament of heaven to illuminate the night of our present life, until the Redeemer of the human race, who is the true morning star, rises to end the night. The blackness of night is illuminated by the courses of the stars as... Continue Reading
Feast of St. Laurence the Holy Martyr & Archdeacon of Rome
AND AFTER six days” (according to Matthew and Mark), “He took Peter and James and John his brother, and led them by themselves up a high mountain. And He was transfigured before them.”
It seems to me not without purpose that those who are being led by Jesus “up the high mountain,” and who are deemed worthy of seeing... Continue Reading
Feast of St. Salome the Holy Myrrhbearer
THERE ARE some people who persistently bandy the Name about with the grossest hypocrisy, besides behaving in a number of other ways that do no credit to God. You must keep away from these men as you would from a pack of savage animals; they are rabid dogs who snap at people unawares, and you need to be on your guard against their... Continue Reading
Feast of St Paraskeve the Righteous Martyr of Rome
HUNTING TRUTH is no easy task; we must look everywhere for its tracks. Learning truth is like learning a trade; apprentices grow in experience little by little, provided they do not despise any opportunity to increase their knowledge. If a man spurns fundamental elements as insignificant trifles, he will never embrace the fullness of wisdom. “Yes” and “No” are only two... Continue Reading
Feast of St. Vladimir, Equal to the Apostles
THE ARTIFICER of the universe, the Logos, created man as a single living creature from both elements, that is to say, from the nature of both the visible and the invisible worlds. On the one hand He took the body from already pre-existing matter, on the other He endowed it with breath from Himself, which Scripture terms the intelligent soul and... Continue Reading
Feast of St Martha, Mother of Symeon Stylites
NOT ONLY all the subjects of the Roman government know the famous Symeon, the great marvel of the world, but even the Persians, the Medes and the Ethiopians. His fame has reached the Scythian nomads and taught his love of labor and his love of wisdom. Now although I have the whole world, so to speak, as witnesses to his indescribable struggles,... Continue Reading
Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul, the Holy Apostles
WHEN THE fiftieth day after the resurrection had come, the day we now commemorate, all the disciples were gathered with one accord in the upper room, each having also gathered together his thoughts (for they were devoting themselves intently to prayer and hymns to God). “And suddenly,” says Luke the evangelist, “there came a sound from heaven as of a... Continue Reading
Feast of St. Nicholas Cabasilas
TODAY THE Lord not only stood with His disciples after His resurrection, but was also parted from them and was taken up into heaven as they watched (Acts 1.9-11), ascended and entered into the true Holy of Holies and sat down on the right hand of the Father, far above all principality and power and every name and honor that is known and named, either... Continue Reading
Feast of St Mary of Egypt
MAN IS what he eats.” With this statement the German materialistic philosopher Feuerbach thought he had put an end to all “idealistic” speculations about human nature. In fact, however, he was expressing, without knowing it, the most religious idea of man. For long before Feuerbach, the same definition of man was given by the Bible. In the biblical story of creation man is presented,... Continue Reading
Feast of St John Climacus, Author of The Divine Ladder of Ascent
IN THE OPENING pages of the Bible, we read that God blessed the material goods of the earth and offered them to man “to eat.” Eating that immediate way in which man takes up the world and is physically united with it so that the good things of the earth are transformed into the flesh and life of... Continue Reading
Feast of the Holy Righteous Martyr Nicon and His 199 Disciples
CHRIST IS the New Adam. He comes to repair the damage inflicted on life by Adam, to restore man to true life, and thus He also begins with fasting. “When He had fasted forty days and forty nights, He became hungry” (Mt. 4.2). Hunger is that state in which we realize our dependence on something else—when we urgently and... Continue Reading
Feast of St Christodulos the Wonderworker of Patmos
IN THE ORTHODOX teaching, sin is not only the transgression of a rule leading to punishment; it is always a mutilation of life given to us by God. It is for this reason that the story of original sin is presented to us as an act of eating. For food is means of life; it is that which keeps us alive. But... Continue Reading
Fr Alexander Schmemann: Did You Know Fasting Is Connected with the Mystery of Salvation & Damnation?
Feast of St Benedict the Righteous of Nursia
THERE IS no Lent without fasting. It seems, however, that many people today either do not take fasting seriously or, if they do, misunderstand its real spiritual goals. For some people, fasting consists in a symbolic “giving up” of something; for some others, it is a scrupulous observance of dietary regulations. But in both cases, seldom is fasting referred to the total... Continue Reading