Remember Us In Your Kingdom

Remember Us In Your Kingdom

To be “remembered” by God is vitally important in Orthodox spiritual life. But what does this mean? Before receiving the holy Eucharist at a Divine Liturgy, we confess: I will not reveal Your mystery to Your adversaries. Nor will I give You a kiss as did Judas. But as the thief I confess to You: “Lord, remember me in Your […]

A Thin Veil Between Heaven and Earth

A Thin Veil between Heaven and Earth

As faithful Christians, believing the scriptures to be reliable and true, we are called to pray to both saints and angels. There are a number of biblical passages which suggest the following: Some of God’s people, both on earth and in heaven, have the ability to see and hear things which happen far away. Based […]

Why We Need and Honor the Saints

Why We Need and Honor the Saints

The Orthodox Church has a long tradition of honoring the Saints. While all of God’s people, sanctified or “set apart” from the world, can be properly termed saints (e.g. Acts 9:13,32,41; Rom. 1:7; 1 Cor. 1:2; etc.), there are some who are already glorified in Christ, resting in the uncreated light of God’s eternal kingdom. These […]

The World Turned Upside Down: The Service of the Bridegroom

The World Turned Upside Down

Once the forty days of Great Lent are complete, the Orthodox Church enters into Holy Week, a time of intense reflection and joyful sorrow. Beginning with the Saturday of Lazarus, and the triumphal entry of Christ into Jerusalem (Palm Sunday), the next three nights are marked by one of the most beautiful services of 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 ‘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 […]

Tobit as Gospel and Christian Scripture

Tobit as Gospel and Christian Scripture

One of my favorite books of scripture is the book of Tobit. This fondness and familiarity came from spending nearly a year at a previous parish both reading and teaching through it. Originally written in either Hebrew or Aramaic, Tobit was later translated into Greek (in two extant versions) as part of the Septuagint, the […]

Praying the Hours

Praying the Hours

The tradition of prayers at specific hours of the day is one that goes back as far as the ancient Hebrews. For example: Seven times a day have I praised Thee for the judgments of Thy righteousness. —Ps. 118:164 LXX There are also a few examples of this tradition in the book of Acts, among the […]

Early Christian Worship and the Bones of Martyrs

Early Christian Worship and the Bones of Martyrs

In the Apostle’s Creed (an early Roman baptismal statement of faith) a person confesses belief in “the communion of saints.” While this creed is not widely used in the East, it is important that we understand the communion of saints as a matter of both ontology and incarnation—it is related to the essence or ‘being’ […]

The Lamps of the Wise

The Lamps of the Wise

Despite the invention of both electricity and modern light bulbs, oil lamps remain a key aspect of Orthodox worship. Much could be said about the physical arrangement of these lamps in our churches as well their symbolic meaning and significance. Of their literal place in our churches or home prayer corners, this has been Christian […]