St Basil the Great: Are You Imitating the Original Sin by Not Fasting?

Feast of St Sophronius, Patriarch of Jerusalem

Basil_Square_2.jpgIT IS BECAUSE we did not fast that we were banished from paradise. So let us fast that we may return to it. Don’t you realize that Lazarus entered paradise through fasting (cf. Lk. 16.20-31)? Do not imitate the disobedience of Eve. Then again, do not take the serpent as your advisor, who suggests that you eat out of regard for the flesh.... Continue Reading

St Basil the Great: Do You Revere the Antiquity of Fasting?

Feast of the Holy Forty Martyrs of Sebastia

Basil_Square_5.jpegDO YOU THINK that I posit the antiquity of fasting on the basis of the law? Indeed, fasting is older than the law. If you were to stay a bit longer, you will discover the truth of my statement. Do not suppose that the Day of Atonement (which for Israel was assigned to the seventh month, on the tenth day of the... Continue Reading

St Augustine of Hippo: Is Your Fasting Accompanied by Mercy?

Feast of the Holy Martyred Bishops of Cherson: Basileus, Ephraim, Eugene, Capito, Aetherius, Agathodorus and Elpidius

Augustine_Square_3.jpgBY THE HELP of the merciful Lord our God, the temptations of the world, the snares of the Devil, the suffering of the world, the enticement of the flesh, the surging waves of troubled times, and all corporeal and spiritual adversities are to be overcome by almsgiving, fasting, and prayer. These practices ought to... Continue Reading

St Gregory Palamas: Have You Come to the Father?

Feast of St Gerasimus the Righteous of Jordan

Gregory_Palamas_Square_3.jpgAS SOON as the son who had broken away from his father came to his senses and realized into what evils he had sunk, he wept over himself saying, “How many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger?” (Lk. 15.17). Who are the hired servants? Those who through the sweat of repentance and... Continue Reading

St Gregory Palamas: Have You Dispersed Your Substance?

Feast of St Hesychius the Martyr

Gregory_Palamas_Square_2.jpgAND NOT many days after”, it says, “the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country” (Lk. 15.13). Why did he not set off at once instead of a few days after? The evil prompter, the devil, does not simultaneously suggest to us that we should do what we like and that we should sin. Instead he cunningly beguiles... Continue Reading

St Gregory Palamas: Did You Know Our Creator Prepared a Kingdom for Us Before We Existed?

Feast of Righteous John Cassian the Confessor

Gregory_Palamas_Square.jpgA CERTAIN man,” it says, “had two sons” (Lk. 15.11). Here in the parable the Lord calls Himself a man. There is nothing strange in this. If He truly became man for our salvation, it is not at all strange if He presents Himself as one particular man for our benefit. He is the eternal Guardian of our souls and bodies, of which... Continue Reading

St Augustine of Hippo: Have You Fashioned for Yourself a Cross of the Bodily Pleasures?

Feast of the Holy Great Martyr Photine, the Samaritan Woman

Augustine_Square_2.jpgAN APPROPRIATELY solemn sermon is your due [this Lenten season] so that the word of God, brought to you through my ministry, may sustain you in spirit while you fast in body and so that the inner man, thus refreshed by suitable food, may be able to accomplish and to preserve courageously in the disciplining of the outer man. For,... Continue Reading

St Basil the Great: Are You Running Cheerfully to the Gift of Fasting?

Feast of St Romanos, Prince of Uglich

Basil_Square_4.jpgANNOINT YOUR head and wash your face” (Mt. 6.17). The word invites you to mysteries. He who “anoints” himself applies oil to his bodily members, and he who “washes” himself cleanses himself. Take this prescription as referring to your interior members. Cleanse your soul of sin, and apply holy chrism to your head, that you may share in Christ [nb. untranslatable wordplay: “apply... Continue Reading

St Basil the Great: Have You Learned the Grace of Fasting?

Feast of St Anthousa the Martyr & Her 12 Servants

Basil_Square_2.jpgISAIAH HAS taught us the grace of fasting, rejecting the Jewish manner of fasting and showing us the true fast. “Do not fast to quarrel and fight, but loose every bond of iniquity” (Is. 58.4, 6). And the Lord adds: “Do not be gloomy, but wash your face and anoint your head” (Mt. 6.16-17). So let us acquire the disposition... Continue Reading

Quodvultdeus of Carthage: Do You Believe Firmly in God the Father Omnipotent?

Feast of the Holy Apostles of the Seventy: Philemon, Apphia, Archippus & Onesimus

Quodvultdeus_Square.jpgBELIEVE FIRMLY in God the Father omnipotent. We believe in an all-powerful God who, although making all things, has not been made; and, therefore, He is all-powerful, because everything He made He made from nothing. For no matter at all assisted Him from which He might display the power of His skill. But from nothing, as I... Continue Reading

St Cyril of Jerusalem: Are You Well Pleased in the Only-Begotten Son of God?

Feast of St Theodore the Tyro, Great Martyr

Cyril_of_Jerusalem_Square_2.jpgTHOSE WHO have been taught to believe in One God Father Almighty ought to believe also in His Only-begotten Son. For he that denies the Son has not the Father (cf. 1 Jn. 2.23). “I am the door” (Jn 10.9), Jesus says; “no one comes to the Father, but through me” (Jn. 14.6). If you deny the Door, the knowledge of the... Continue Reading

St Cyril of Jerusalem: Have You Gained Knowledge of the Creator from Your Own Nature?

Feast of St Onesimus the Apostle of the 70

Cyril_Jerusalem_Square.jpgIT IS IMPOSSIBLE to examine closely into the nature of God; but, for His works which we see, we can offer Him praise and glory. I say these things to you because of the sequence of the Creed, and because we say: “We believe in One God, Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth, of all things visible and invisible”; that... Continue Reading

St Cyril of Jerusalem: Are You Gaining Glory by Triumphing Over a Former Archangel?

Feast of St Meletius Archbishop of Antioch

Cyril_of_Jerusalem_Square_3.jpgBY BELIEF “in One God,” we cut off all polytheistic error, arming ourselves against the Greeks and all opposition on the part of heretics. By adding “in One God, Father,” we combat the Jews who deny the Only-begotten Son of God. For, as I said yesterday, even before explaining the doctrines concerning our Lord Jesus Christ, by the very mention of “Father” we... Continue Reading

St Cyril of Jerusalem: Do You Believe in One God as Father of the Only-Begotten?

Feast of the Holy Hieromartyr Haralambos

Cyril_of_Jerusalem_Square_2.jpgON THE unity of God we spoke at sufficient length yesterday; I mean sufficient, not according to the dignity of the subject (for that is quite impossible for human nature), but as far as it has been granted to our weakness. I detailed the deviations in the manifold errors of the impious heretics. Shaking off their filth and their soul-poisoning doctrines, yet remembering what... Continue Reading

St Cyril of Jerusalem: Do You Believe that God Is Perfect & One?

Feast of the Holy Prophet Zachariah

Cyril_Jerusalem_Square.jpgWE MUST believe that God is perfect in all things, according to the saying of the Savior: “Your heavenly Father is perfect” (Mt. 5.48); perfect in sight, perfect in power, perfect in greatness, perfect in foreknowledge, perfect in goodness, perfect in justice, perfect in loving-kindness; not limited by space, but the Creator of space, existing in all things but circumscribed by none. The heaven... Continue Reading

Fr Alexander Schmemann: Did You Know the Easter Liturgy Is a Baptismal Liturgy?

Feast of St Agatha the Martyr

Schmemann_Square_1.jpgIN THE PAST, during the “golden age” of Christian liturgy, the sacrament of Baptism was performed on the paschal night as an organic part of the great annual celebration of Easter. Even today, long after the link between the two solemnities has been broken, the baptismal rites and the paschal liturgy still keep an indelible mark of their initial connection and interdependence. Not many... Continue Reading

St Irenaeus of Lyons: Do You Bear the Spirit of God?

Synaxis of the Holy and Righteous Symeon the God-Receiver and the Holy Prophetess Anna

Irenaeus_Square_3.jpgSO, FAITH procures for us this, as the elders, the disciples of the apostles, have handed down to us: firstly, it exhorts us to remember that we have received baptism for the remission of sins, in the name of God the Father, and in the name of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who was incarnate,... Continue Reading

St Gregory the Theologian: Have You Risen Up with the Spirit?

Feast of St Trypho the Martyr and St Perpetua & Her Companions

Gregory_Theologian_Square_2.jpgTHE WORD of Scripture recognizes three births for us: one from the body, one from baptism, and one from resurrection. The first takes place at night and in slavery and in passions. The second takes place in the day and in freedom and releases from passions, cutting away all the veil that has surrounded us since birth and... Continue Reading

Fr Dumitru Staniloae: Are You in Dialogue with the Rational Cosmos?

Feast of St Laurence the Recluse

Staniloae_Square_3.jpegTHE CONTENT of natural revelation is the cosmos and man who is endowed with reason, with conscience, and with freedom. But man is not only an object that can be known within this revelation; he is also one who is a subject of the knowledge of revelation. Both man and the cosmos are equally the product of a creative act of God which is above... Continue Reading

Fr Dumitru Staniloae: Have You Separated Natural and Supernatural Revelation?

Feast of St Peter the Righteous of Egypt

Staniloae_Square_2.jpgTHE ORTHODOX church makes no separation between natural and supernatural revelation. Natural revelation is known and understood fully in the light of supernatural revelation, or we might say that natural revelation is given and maintained by God continuously through His own divine act which is above nature. That is why Saint Maximus the Confessor does not posit an essential distinction between natural revelation... Continue Reading