Carrying the Cross and Suffering in Hope

Carrying Our Cross in Hope

Jesus didn’t suffer so that we wouldn’t have to. He suffered so that we could handle suffering with him. In other forms of Christianity, one is often told that Christ suffered and died so that we could be freed from a similar fate. A focus in Protestant theology is Christ appeasing the wrath of the Father, freeing us from a […]

A Time to Weep and a Time to Laugh

A Time to Weep and a Time to Laugh

Reading the Sayings of the Desert Fathers, I came across the following: A hermit saw someone laughing and said to him, ‘We have to render an account of our whole life before heaven and earth, and you can laugh?’ While this probably strikes most as curmudgeonly, for us Christians, a reference to the Last Judgment ought to inspire sober […]

The Sanctifying Fire of Hell

The Sanctifying Fire of Hell

On Great and Holy Saturday, I was—by the grace of God—baptized into the Orthodox Church. At baptism, one is given a cross that he will typically wear (or at least keep somewhere close and safe) for the rest of his life. The cross that my godparents and I selected had Russian writing on the back. My godparents were […]

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 […]

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 […]

Orthodox Milk: A Plea for Patience

Orthodox Milk

We have much to say . . . but it is hard to explain because you have become slow at understanding. For although by this time you should be teachers, you still need to have someone teach you even the basic principles of God’s oracles. You have come to need milk, and not solid food. Everyone who […]

With Fear of God, Faith, and Love, Draw Near

With Fear of God, Faith, and Love, Draw Near

And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in Gehenna. —Matt. 10:28 We ought to fear God. This might seem to be an obvious point given Our Lord’s clear commandment to do so, but in some of modern Christianity […]

Resources for a Merry Orthodox Christmas

Resources for a Merry Orthodox Christmas

With about ten full days left until the great feast of Nativity (Christmas), I thought I would bring together every one of our posts related to the Orthodox celebration of Nativity—including fasting, gift-giving, works of charity, the history of the holy days, and more. Why We Fast Before Christmas (by Gabe Martini) summarizes the “reason for […]

The Early History of Christian Monasticism

A Brief History of Early Christian Monasticism

The early history of Christian monasticism is often associated with Anthony the Great, a third century, Egyptian monk who helped pave the way for this lifestyle through a radical obedience to the command of Christ: “If thou wilt be perfect, go sell what thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure […]

Overcoming Holiday Depression

Overcoming Holiday Depression

By the time Thanksgiving leftovers are gone, many in America are already struggling with something known as holiday depression. But why does this depression occur, and how can one either prevent or appropriately deal with it? There are a number of causes suggested by medical science for holiday depression, but I would propose that many […]