St John of Damascus: Do You Dishonor Venerable Images?

Feast of Sts Patrobos, Gaios, Hermas, Linos & Philologos, Apostles of the 70

John_Damascene_Square_3.jpgTHE CHRISTIANOCATEGORI, or Accusers of Christians, are such and are so called, because those Christians who worship one living and true God praised in Trinity they accused of worshiping as gods, after the manner of the Greeks, the venerable images of our Lord Jesus Christ, of our immaculate lady, the holy Mother of God, of the holy... Continue Reading

St John of Damascus: Are You a Mutilator of God?

Feast of St Joannicius the Great

John_Damascene_square.jpgTHERE IS also the superstition of the Ishmaelites which to this day prevails and keeps people in error, being a forerunner of the Antichrist. They are descended from Ishmael, who was born to Abraham of Agar, and for this reason they are called both Agarenes and Ishmaelites. They are also called Saracens, which is derived from sarras kenoi, or destitute of Sara, because of what... Continue Reading

St Cyril of Alexandria: Is the Eye of Your Mind Fixed with Care & Subtlety on the Mystery of the Incarnation?

Feast of Sts Acepsimas the Bishop, Joseph the Presbyter & Aeithalas the Deacon, Martyrs of Persia

Cyril_of_Alexandria_Square_3.jpegAS FOR THE inventors of impure heresies, those profaners and apostates who have opened their mouths wide against the divine glory, “those who have uttered perverted things” (Acts 20.30), we could accuse them of having slipped in their madness as low as the foolish pagans, perhaps even lower, for it would have been better never... Continue Reading

St Cyprian of Carthage: Do You Daily Return to the Birthplace of Truth?

Feast of the Holy Martyrs Acindynus, Pegasius, Aphthonius, Elpidephorus & Anempodistus

Cyprian_Square_2.jpegPUBLIC and advertised acts are not the only things to be shunned. There are those acts also which lead astray by the weaving of a clever deceit. Our enemy is very clever and very devious. He was exposed and overthrown by the coming of Christ after His light had come to the pagans and His lamp of salvation had shown... Continue Reading

Fr Thomas Hopko: Is Your Preaching a Sacramental Act?

Feast of Sts Amplias, Apelles, Stachys, Urban, Aristobulus & Narcissus of the 70

Hopko_Square_1.jpegTHE TASK of the preacher at a liturgical service is to deliver the message that God speaks through His risen Christ by the Holy Spirit’s power to the specific gathering in that time and place. The homily at a Divine Liturgy, vespers, matins, baptism, ordination, marriage, unction service, funeral, or special service of prayer is spoken and heard... Continue Reading

Fr Alexander Schmemann: Are You a Receptacle of the Word?

Feast of St Cleopas, Apostle of the 70

Schmemann_Square_2.jpegNOW FOR the first time since the eucharistic journey began, the celebrant turns back and faces the people. Up to this moment he was the one who led the Church in its ascension, but now the movement has reached its goal. And the priest whose liturgy, whose unique function and obedience in the Church is to re-present, to make present the priesthood of... Continue Reading

Karl Barth: Do You Breathe the Air of Expectancy on Sundays?

Feast of St Anastasia the Martyr of Rome

Karl_Barth_Square_1.jpegON SUNDAY morning when the bells ring to call the congregation and minister to church, there is in the air an expectancy that something great, crucial, and even momentous is to happen. How strong this expectancy is in the people who are interested, or even whether there are any people whatever who consciously cherish it, is not our question now. Expectancy is... Continue Reading

St Gregory the Dialogist: Do You Edify Others by the Virtue of Charity?

Feast of the Holy Martyrs Terrence and Eunice

Gregory_the_Great_Square_4.jpegBECAUSE WE have already shown how the pastor should live, let us now demonstrate what he is to teach. Indeed, long before us, Gregory Nazianzus of blessed memory taught that one and the same exhortation is not suited for everyone because not everyone shares the same quality of character. For example, what often helps some people will cause harm in others, just as... Continue Reading

St John Chrysostom: Is Your Aim to Please God?

Feast of St Nestor the Martyr of Thessaloniki

John_Chrysostom_Square_5.jpegLET THE craftsman be the judge of his own handiwork too, and let us rate his productions as beautiful or poor when that is the verdict of the mind which contrived them. But as for the erratic and unskilled opinion of outsiders, we should not so much as consider it. So too the man who has accepted the task of teaching should pay... Continue Reading

Fr Georges Florovsky: Are You Relearning the Idiom of the Bible?

Feast of the Holy Great Martyr Demetrius the Myrrh-Streamer

Florovsky_Square_7.jpegCHRISTIAN ministers are not supposed to preach their private opinions, at least from the pulpit. Ministers are commissioned and ordained in the church precisely to preach the Word of God. They are given some fixed terms of reference—namely, the gospel of Jesus Christ—and they are committed to this sole and perennial message. They are expected to propagate and to sustain “the faith... Continue Reading

Fr Georges Florovsky: Do You Believe Reunification Is a Real Task?

Feast of St Sebastiane the Martyr

Florovsky_Square_6.jpgA DIALOGUE is primarily a meeting. In many circles—there is now a real will to meet. Meeting has already occurred at a distance—in the theological literature. We must first of all get to know one another. The problem of mutual familiarization must be tackled at all levels. Most fruitful of all would be joint study and discussion of the main themes of the Christian faith,... Continue Reading

Fr Georges Florovsky: Are You Walking in the Steps of the Fathers?

Feast of St James, the Apostle and Brother of Our Lord

Florovsky_Square_5.jpegTHE TASK of a contemporary Orthodox theologian is intricate and enormous. He has much to learn still before he can speak with authority. And above all he has to realize that he has to speak to an ecumenical audience. He cannot retire into a narrow shell of some local tradition—simply because his Orthodoxy, i.e. the Patristic, tradition is not a... Continue Reading

Fr Georges Florovsky: Do You Acknowledge the Masters of Old?

Feast of the Seven Holy Martyred Youths of Ephesus and St Cecelia the Martyr

Florovsky_Square_4.jpgIN THE EARLY church the preaching was emphatically theological. It was not a vain speculation. The New Testament itself is a theological book. Neglect of theology in the instruction given to laity in modern times is responsible both for the decay of personal religion and for that sense of frustration which dominates the modern man. What we... Continue Reading

Fr Georges Florovsky: Are You Loyal to the Church of the Fathers?

Feast of St Hilarion the Great

Florovsky_Square.jpgTHE LAST and most distinctive feature of the Russian development in recent time was a return of philosophers to the Church and their attempt to re-interpret precisely the Patristic tradition in modern terms, to restate the teaching of the Church as a complete philosophy of life. It was a noble endeavor, and a daring and courageous one. There is no need to conceal all the... Continue Reading

Fr Georges Florovsky: Are You a Theologian Bearing Witness?

Feast of St Artemius the Great Martyr of Antioch

Florovsky_Square_3.jpgTHEOLOGY IS called not only to judge, but also to heal. It is necessary to enter into this world of doubt, illusion and lies, in order to answer doubt as well as reproach. But we must enter into this world with the sign of the Cross in our heart and the name of Jesus in our spirit, because this is a world... Continue Reading

Fr Georges Florovsky: Is Your Theology Historical?

Feast of St Joel the Prophet

Florovsky_Square_2.jpgTHE CONSCIOUSNESS of knowing must expand, embrace the fullness of the past, and, at the same time, the continuity of growth into the future. Theological consciousness must become historical. Only on account of its historicity can it possibly be catholic. Indifference for history always leads to a sectarian dryness, to a doctrinaire attitude. Historical sensitiveness is indispensable to the theologian, it is the necessary condition... Continue Reading

St Theodore the Studite: Do You Have One Worship?

Feast of St Hosea the Prophet

Theodore_Square.jpegWE CHRISTIANS, you know, O heretics, have one worship, and one veneration—I mean, for the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit—because that which is venerated is one in the nature of divinity, although those which are intellectually perceived are three in their hypostatic properties, according to our normal teaching. [. . .]

“But,” the heretics say, “the Godhead does not remain uncircumscribed when Christ... Continue Reading

St Theodore Abu Qurrah: Do You Make Prostrations?

Feast of St Longinus the Centurion

Holy_Napkin_Square.jpegIF, IN SPITE of it all, you want to know that making prostration to the icon of Christ, and to the icons of the saints, is a fundamental principle in God’s church, listen to what the well-known St. Athanasius says about it in the Questions which Duke Antiochus asked him about some things in connection with which he thought the church had some inconsistency. St.... Continue Reading

St John of Damascus: Do You Venerate the Purple Robe of Christ's Body?

Feast of St Lucian the Martyr of Antioch

John_Damascene_Square_5.jpegI KNOW what the One who cannot lie said: “the Lord your God is one Lord” (Deut. 6.4), and “you shall venerate the Lord your God and Him alone shall you worship” (Deut. 6.13), and “there shall be for you no other gods” (Deut. 5.7), and “you shall not make any carved likeness, of anything in heaven above or on the earth below”... Continue Reading

Fathers of the 7th Ecumenical Council: Do You Confess that Christ Can Be Represented in His Humanity?

Feast of St Cosmas the Hagiopolite

7th_Ecumenical_Council_Square.jpegTHE HOLY, great and universal synod, by the grace of God and by order of our pious and Christ-loving emperor and empress, Constantine and his mother Irene, assembled for the second time in the famous metropolis of the Nicaeans in the province of the Bithynians, in the holy church of God named after Wisdom, following the tradition of the catholic church, had decreed what... Continue Reading