Fr Thomas Hopko: Why Celebrate the Entrance of Mary into the Temple?

Feast of the Entrance of the Most Holy Theotokos into the Temple

Entrance_Theotokos_Square_1.jpegDURING THE first days of the Christmas fast the Church celebrates the feast of the entrance of the child Mary into the Jerusalem temple. Called in the Church The Entrance of the Most Holy Theotokos into the Temple, this festival, which is not among the biblically recorded events, is one of the twelve major feasts of the Orthodox... Continue Reading

St Gregory: Do You Dishonor Education by Rejecting Secular Literature?

Feast of St John Chrysostom, Archbishop of Constantinople

Gregory_Theologian_Square_2.jpgI TAKE IT as admitted by men of sense, that the first of our advantages is education; and not only this our more noble form of it, which disregards rhetorical ornaments and glory, and holds to salvation, and beauty in the objects of our contemplation; but even that external culture which many Christians ill-judgingly abhor, as treacherous and dangerous, and keeping us afar from God. For as we ought not to neglect... Continue Reading

St Basil: Are You Purging Your Soul by Nourishing It with Divine Thoughts?

Feast of St Paul the Confessor, Patriarch of Constantinople

Basil_Square_7.jpegTHE DISCIPLINE of piety nourishes the soul with divine thoughts. What then is more blessed than to imitate on earth the anthems of angels’ choirs; to hasten to prayer at the very break of day, and to worship our Creator with hymns and songs; then, when the sun shines brightly and we turn to our tasks, prayer attending us wherever we... Continue Reading

Fr Georges Florovsky: Can East & West Remember Their Original Kinship?

Feast of Sts Cleopas & Artemas of the 70

Florovsky_Square_3.jpgFOR MANY centuries, the Eastern and Western Churches lived in almost complete separation from one another. Yet this separation is always to be understood in the light of the complementary truth that these differing blocks of insights and convictions grew out of what was originally a common mind. The East and the West can only meet and find one another only... Continue Reading

St Augustine: Are You Seeking Things Above & Forsaking Things Below

Feast of the Holy Martyrs Terrence and Eunice

Augustine_Square_2.jpgTHE READER of these reflections of mine on the Trinity should bear in mind that my pen is on the watch against the sophistries of those who scorn the starting-point of faith, and allow themselves to be deceived through an unseasonable and misguided love of reason. Some of them try to transfer what they have observed about bodily things to incorporeal and... Continue Reading

J. R. R. Tolkien: Do You Value Food & Cheer & Song above Hoarded Gold?

Feast of Hosea the Prophet and Andrew the Righteous Monk-martyr of Crete

Bilbo_Square.pngIT'S ME, Bilbo Baggins, companion of Thorin!” he cried, hurriedly taking off the ring.

“It is well that I have found you!” said the man striding forward. “You are needed and we have looked for you long. You would have been numbered among the dead, who are many, if Gandalf the wizard had not said that your voice... Continue Reading

C. S. Lewis: Does Deep Space Bewilder You by its Size or Satisfy You by its Harmony?

Feast of St Domnina the Martyr and her Daughters

Cellarius_ptolemaic_system_Square_1.jpegTHE ARCHITECTURE of the Ptolemaic universe is now so generally known that I will deal with it as briefly as possible. The central (and spherical) Earth is surrounded by a series of hollow and transparent globes, one above the other, and each of course larger than the one below. These are the “spheres”, “heavens”, or (sometimes) “elements”. Fixed in each of... Continue Reading

St John Chrysostom: How Is it Possible to Imitate Martyrs?

Feast of Conception of St John the Forerunner and Baptist

John_Chrysostom_Square_5.jpegHOW IS IT possible,” you ask, “for us to imitate martyrs now? After all, it isn’t a time of persecution.” Yes, I know. Yet while it isn’t a time of persecution, it is a time of martyrdom. It isn’t a time of wrestling matches of that sort, but it is a time of crowns. Human beings aren’t in pursuit, but... Continue Reading

John Henry Newman: What Is a University?

Feast of the Consecration of the Church of the Holy Resurrection

Newman_Square_4.jpegA UNIVERSITY is a place of concourse, whither students come from every quarter for every kind of knowledge. You cannot have the best of every kind everywhere; you must go to some great city or emporium for it. There you have all the choicest productions of nature and art all together, which you find each in its own separate... Continue Reading

John Henry Newman: Have You Been Catechized by a Living Voice?

Feast of the Nativity of the Theotokos

Newman_square_2.jpegRELIGIOUS teaching itself affords us an illustration of our subject to a certain point. It does not indeed seat itself merely in centers of the world; this is impossible from the nature of the case. It is intended for the many not the few; its subject matter is truth necessary for us, not truth recondite and rare; but it concurs in the principle... Continue Reading

John Henry Newman: How Valuable Are Books without a Living Teacher?

Feast of the Holy Martyr Calodote

Newman_Square.jpegMUTUAL EDUCATION, in a large sense of the word, is one of the great and incessant occupations of human society, carried on partly with set purpose, and partly not. One generation forms another; and the existing generation is ever acting and reacting upon itself in the persons of its individual members. Now, in this process, books, I need scarcely say, that is, the litera... Continue Reading

St Symeon: Do You Do Works Greater than Our Master?

Feast of St Symeon the Stylite

Symeon_Stylite_Square_2.jpegON ANOTHER occasion I saw a noteworthy miracle. Someone came in – he too was a tribal leader of the Arabs – and begged the divine person [St Symeon the Stylite] to help a man who on the road had become paralyzed in the limbs of his body. He said the man had suffered the disease at Callinicum, an important citadel. When he had... Continue Reading

St John of Damascus: Do You Remember the Just with Praise?

Feast of the Dormition of the Holy Mother of God

Dormition_Square_2.jpegTHE JUST are remembered with praise,” says the wise Solomon (Prov. 10:7). “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints,” proclaims God’s ancestor David (Ps. 115:6 LXX). If, then, all the just are remembered with praise, who will not give praise to the source of justice, the treasury of holiness – not in order to... Continue Reading

St Anselm: Are You Restraining the Ambition to Explain?

Feast of the Holy Father Niphonus, Patriarch of Constantinople

Anselm_Square_3.jpegOF ALL THE things that can be said of something, could any be appropriate to the substance of so wonderful a nature as this? This is the question to ask as carefully as possible at this point. I would be surprised if we could find anything from among the nouns and verbs which we apply to things created from nothing that... Continue Reading

St Anselm: Do You Love the Lord's Commandments and Carry Them Out Readily?

Feast of St Emelian the Confessor

Anselm_Square.jpgALMIGHTY GOD, merciful Father, and my good Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner. Grant me forgiveness of my sins. Make me guard against and overcome all snares, temptations, and harmful pleasures.

May I shun utterly in word and deed, whatever You command. Let me believe and hope, love and live, according to Your purpose and Your will.

Give me heart-piercing goodness and humility;... Continue Reading

Anonymous: Do You Describe the Savior as One Who Compels or Persuades?

Feast of St Salome the Holy Myrhbearer

Saints_Square_3.jpegIT IS NO earthly discovery that was committed to the Christians, nor some mortal idea that they consider to be worth guarding so carefully, nor have they been entrusted with the administration of merely human mysteries. On the contrary, the omnipotent Creator of all, the invisible God Himself, established among humans the truth and the holy, incomprehensible word from heaven and fixed it... Continue Reading

Anonymous: Do You Live on Earth as if Your Citizenship Is in Heaven?

Feast of Joseph the Righteous of Arimathea

Saints_Square_2.jpegCHRISTIANS ARE not distinguished from the rest of humanity by country, language, or custom. For nowhere do they live in cities of their own, nor do they speak some unusual dialect, nor do they practice an eccentric way of life. This teaching of theirs has not been discovered by the thought and reflection of ingenious people, nor do they promote any human doctrine,... Continue Reading

Fr Georges Florovsky: Do You Realize You Are a Historical Being Who Can Either Create or Destroy?

Feast of St Panteleimon the Great Martyr & Healer and St Nicholas of Novgorod the Fool-for-Christ

Florovsky_Square_6.jpgTHE ULTIMATE purpose of a historical inquiry is not in the establishment of certain objective facts, such as dates, places, numbers, names, and the like, as much as all this is an indispensable preliminary, but in the encounter with living beings. No doubt, objective facts must be first carefully established, verified and confirmed, but... Continue Reading

Fr Georges Florovsky: Did You Realize You Have an Intrinsic Duty to Study History?

Feast of St Christina the Great Martyr of Tyre and of St Athenagoras the Apologist

Florovsky_Square_10.jpegCHRISTIANITY is a religion of historians” (cf. Mark Bloch, The Historian’s Craft). It is a strong phrase, but the statement is correct. Christianity is basically a vigorous appeal to history, a witness of faith to certain particular events in the past, to certain particular data of history. These events are acknowledged by faith as truly... Continue Reading

Christopher Dawson: Do You Know Why We Date History B.C. and A.D.?

Feast of Sts John and Symeon the Holy Fool for Christ

Dawson_Square_3.jpegIT IS VERY difficult, perhaps even impossible, to explain the Christian view of history to a non-Christian, since it is necessary to accept the Christian faith in order to understand the Christian view of history, and those who reject the idea of a divine revelation are necessarily obliged to reject the Christian view of history as well. And even... Continue Reading