St. Basil Fool for Christ

St. Basil Fool for Christ

“I wish you would cancel the order, good sir,” said the apprentice to the merchant. The cobbler, Basil the apprentice’s master, looked at him askance. “Be quiet, Basil! Tend to your work! The gentleman is free to order as many boots as he wants, and he’s certainly entitled to have...

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St. Nina, Equal to the Apostles

St. Nina, Equal to the Apostles

The tradition of St. Nina’s story among the Georgians is based on ancient historical documents. Rufinus wrote about her in the fifth century in his church history, and she is also mentioned in the Georgian Chronicle, an ancient document concerning the history of Georgia, which relates Nina’s history from her...

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Of Icons and Akathists

Of Icons and Akathists

It’s a warm June evening, and the nave glows in the long golden light that filters through the windows in the dome. The church is light and airy, and makes me think that some of the glory of Hagia Sophia is captured here, in this tiny wood and glass building....

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The Two-Way Street

The Two-Way Street

“Forgive others not because they deserve forgiveness but because you deserve peace.” “Sometimes you forgive people simply because you still want them in your life.” “To be Christian means to forgive the inexcusable because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.” “And in anger his master delivered him to the...

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St. Maria of Paris

St. Maria of Paris

She smoked, she liked her beer, she was twice divorced, and her eldest child was born out of wedlock. She left liturgy to answer the door and refused to serve the people she fed the fasting food that she herself, as an Orthodox nun, was supposed to eat. “They share...

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St. Alexis Toth of Wilkes-Barre

St. Alexis Toth of Wilkes-Barre

The facts of St. Alexis’s life are well documented – born in 1854 in Austro-Hungary into a clerical family (his father and brothers were priests, and an uncle was a bishop), ordained in 1878 to the priesthood of the Uniate church in Hungary. He spoke a number of languages, he...

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Saint Isidora of Tabenna Monastery

Saint Isidora of Tabenna Monastery

Very little is known about this monastic who chose the role of Fool for Christ, except that if she existed at all, she was one of the earliest recognized Fools in our history. She is said to have lived at the Tabenna monastery in Egypt. Tabenna, or Tabennesi, was the...

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Good for the Gander

Good for the Gander

The recent sexual abuse scandals in Christian Protestant circles, and the “purity” subculture from which the scandal originates, have the internet finally talking, in Protestant circles, about the whole “purity” and modesty issue. Christian Protestants are finally waking up to what most of us already know: that a woman’s goodness,...

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Welcome to the Orthodox Church: A Review

Welcome to the Orthodox Church: A Review

Every single Orthodox person knows that in order to become Orthodox, you don’t read about it. You live it. You attend the services, do the fasting, say the prayers and read the Bible. You  accept the sacraments, venerate the icons, kneel in the prostrations and inhale the incense. Books and...

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Holy Fools

Holy Fools

If any one among you thinks that he is wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is folly with God. (1st Cor 3:18-19) For most of us, St. Paul’s words are reminders to focus on God’s love,...

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St. Feofil

St. Feofil

“Feofil breaks the rule and order. . . . No one knows where he might read his prayers. . .. He barely participates in the . . . liturgy . . . .. He stands before the altar-table as if dumbfounded and requires constant direction . . ..he bends down...

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Missionary Zeal and Mysterious Disappearances

Missionary Zeal and Mysterious Disappearances

For an army engineer, John Feodorovich Hovorukhin made an excellent monk. The man had entered a monastery after the death of his wife in 1791, when he was about thirty years old. He was given the name Juvenaly and settled into life at Varlaam monastery on Lake Lagoda, not too...

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