Lazarus, the Friend of God

Saint Lazarus, the Friend of Christ

The Saturday before Palm Sunday is commemorated as the Saturday of Lazarus. In our hymns, we refer to Lazarus as “the friend of Christ” and “the four days dead.” This Saturday is celebrated with a Divine Liturgy in honor of Lazarus and his resurrection, which serves as a type of not only Christ’s resurrection from […]

Always a Convert, Never a Cradle

Always a Convert, Never a Cradle

Orthodoxy is a liturgical faith. And at the heart of that faith is a calling to be continually converted to Jesus Christ. The Church year begins with the nativity or birth of Mary—the beginning of our salvation story in Christ, and Israel’s return from exile—and continues through the nativity of Jesus. Great Lent is the […]

Saint Patrick and the Emptiness of Revenge

Saint Patrick and the Emptiness of Revenge

Apart from the self-sacrificial love of God, there is only revenge. Considering the message of most Western literature and even Hollywood today, a lust for revenge might seem the dominant meta-narrative of our culture. From the Iliad to Hamlet to the anti-heroine of True Grit, revenge satisfies a sinful passion that infects our souls apart […]

The Triumph of Jesus Christ in the Triumph of Orthodoxy

The Triumph of Jesus Christ

The first Sunday of Great Lent is celebrated as the Triumph of Orthodoxy. This is connected with the victory of the iconodules (those who supported the veneration of sacred images) over the iconoclasts (those who opposed their veneration). The heart of the victory of Orthodoxy in the restoration of iconography—as well as our veneration of […]

Symbolism and the Devil

Symbolism and the Devil

For many, a symbol is roughly defined as “an illustration whose purpose can be termed pedagogic or educational.” It merely points to or teaches about an idea, but offers no real connection to anything beyond itself. In Orthodoxy, however, a symbol is a gateway or ‘window’ to something beyond; it truly connects us with that which […]

The Burdens of Lent

The Burdens of Lent

As Cheesefare Week comes to an end, the daily scripture readings remind us of the journey we are about to undertake in Great Lent. The Epistle reading for Cheesefare Saturday is from the apostle Paul (Gal. 5:22–26; 6:1–2): Brethren, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against […]

Forgiving Our Way into Salvation

Forgiving Our Way into Salvation

If we see the Church year as a recapitulation or commemoration of the life of Christ, then the season of Lent, Holy Week, and the festival of Pascha is analogous to the temptation (and fasting) of the Lord in the wilderness, his suffering and defeat of death on the Cross, and his triumphal resurrection from […]

Paleo Living and Orthodox Lent

Paleo Living and Orthodox Lent

During my first Orthodox Lent, my cradle Orthodox friend Joe Bush remarked (over hummus): “Lent’s funny, you know. When I was growing up, my aunts all gained weight during Lent.” And he’s unfortunately right—for many of us, we make up for the meat, eggs, and dairy with a heavy load of grains, soy products, and […]

Who Were the Pharisees?

Who Were the Pharisees?

To be named a Pharisee today is to be named a legalist. To be someone who trusts in themselves and their own righteousness more than that of the righteousness which comes from the faithfulness of God. While to be a Pharisee is almost always seen in a negative light among Christians and even non-Christians today, […]

The ‘Kinesthetic’ Worship of the Orthodox Church

The Kinesthetic Worship of the Orthodox Church

In a recent post, Donald Miller—post-evangelical author of Blue Like Jazz—admits to not being much of a church-goer. Music and sermons don’t really do it for him, you see, as he is a ‘kinesthetic’ learner or a person who learns by ‘doing.’ There are also auditory and visual learners, who primarily learn by hearing and […]