St Ephraim: Has the Nativity of Christ Increased Your Hope?

Feast of the Ten Martyrs of Crete

Nativity_Square_2.jpegRefrain: 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

St Ambrose of Milan: Are You Allowing the Crib of Christ to Shine Forth?

Feast of St. Ambrose of Milan

Ambrose_Square_2.jpgHEARKEN, 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

Vladimir Lossky: Are You Devoted to the Mother of God?

Feast of the Holy Prophet Habakkuk

Lossky_Square.jpegTHE 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

Fr Georges Florovsky: Is God's Image Fading or Being Tuned?

Feast of the Unmercenaries Cosmas and Damian

Florovsky_Square_8.jpgIN 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

St Gregory the Dialogist: Are You a Bright Star?

Feast of St Thecla the Protomartyr & Equal to the Apostles

Gregory_the_Great_Square_4.jpegAMONG 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

Origen: Have You Ascended Above the Six Days?

Feast of St. Laurence the Holy Martyr & Archdeacon of Rome

Origen_square_2.jpgAND 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

St Ignatius: Are You Bearing Christ on Your Shoulders and of the Same Mind as the Apostles?

Feast of St. Salome the Holy Myrrhbearer

Ignatius_of_Antioch_Square_2.jpegTHERE 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

St Basil the Great: Are You Embracing the Fullness of Wisdom?

Feast of St Paraskeve the Righteous Martyr of Rome

Basil_Square_2.jpgHUNTING 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

St Gregory the Theologian: Have You Become Rich Through His Divinity?

Feast of St. Vladimir, Equal to the Apostles

Gregory_Theologian_Square_2.jpgTHE 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

Blessed Theodoret: Do You Believe in That Which Surpasses Human Nature?

Feast of St Martha, Mother of Symeon Stylites

Simeon_Stylites_Square.jpgNOT 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

St Gregory Palamas: Have You Been Made an Instrument of the Holy Spirit's Power?

Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul, the Holy Apostles

Pentecost_Square_2.jpgWHEN 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

St Gregory Palamas: Are You Imitating Christ So You Can Ascend in the Flesh

Feast of St. Nicholas Cabasilas

Ascension_Square.jpgTODAY 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

Fr Alexander Schmemann: Do You See the World as a Banquet Table?

Feast of St Mary of Egypt

Schmemann_Square_3.jpegMAN 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

Christos Yannaras: Is Your Life an Act of Thanksgiving?

Feast of St John Climacus, Author of The Divine Ladder of Ascent

Yannaras_Square_2.jpegIN 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

Fr Alexander Schmemann: Are You Restoring the Relationship Between Food, Life & God?

Feast of the Holy Righteous Martyr Nicon and His 199 Disciples

Schmemann_Square_3.jpegCHRIST 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

Fr Alexander Schmemann: Do You Believe in Food or God?

Feast of St Christodulos the Wonderworker of Patmos

Schmemann_Square_2.jpegIN 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

Schmemann_Square_1.jpgTHERE 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

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