Protecting the Church We Love

Protecting the Church We Love

The bark of the Christian Church sails through troubled waters these days. Mega-scandals have assaulted Christian communities throughout the United States and the world, scandals of a grave dimension, scandals which can only be described as sin, as the pervasiveness of evil, and as the failure of Christians and their...

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Lifting Up the Precious Cross That We Love

Lifting Up the Precious Cross That We Love

The Great Feast of the Exaltation of the Precious and Life-Giving Cross that we celebrate every year on September 14 reveals an important lesson: there is a difference between the Cross as a theological construct and the Cross as a lived experience. Suffering with Gratefulness and Grace Fr. Dumitru Stăniloae (1903–1993) was...

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Honoring the Nativity of the Theotokos

Honoring the Nativity of the Theotokos

Sometimes in the Divine Services, we may be graced with a moment of clarity. Something touches us or we, at last, come to an awareness about something in our life. It’s only for a moment. We feel God so close to us. We may sense His mercy intensely for us....

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Reclaiming the Sabbath

Reclaiming the Sabbath

At the beginning of September, we celebrate Labor Day. From the earliest days of the Church, work has always occupied a central place in the life of the Christian. St. Clement of Alexandria, writing in the early years of the third century, reminded new converts that there was no need...

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Faith and Putting First Things First

Faith and Putting First Things First

One of the greatest temptations facing the Christian church today is the tendency to mistake religion for faith. The distinguished Orthodox theologian Christos Yannaras writes: “The greatest problem of Christians – and even of the Orthodox – is that they have ‘religionized’ Christianity and have turned the Church into a...

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Take Up and Read

Take Up and Read

Perhaps one of the most memorable verses in the New Testament comes from the Prologue of St. John’s Gospel, “ἐν ἀρχῇ ἦν ὁ λόγος, καὶ ὁ λόγος ἦν πρὸς τὸν θεόν, καὶ θεὸς ἦν ὁ λόγος.” (“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was...

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Welcoming the Light: Letting Jesus Get Close

Welcoming the Light: Letting Jesus Get Close

The internationally known journalist, cultural critic, and scholar of the English language, H. L. Mencken (1880-1956) of Baltimore—who was also an atheist—regarded the ninth chapter of St. John’s Gospel as the best crafted short story in all of world literature. It is this chapter (read: John 9:1-38) that forms the...

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Meeting Christ: An Encounter She Would Never Forget

Meeting Christ: An Encounter She Would Never Forget

Continuing the post-Paschal themes of healing, transformation and belief in the risen Christ, this Sunday we visit John 4:5-42, wherein we hear of Jesus’ encounter with the Samaritan woman (St. Photini) at the well. In this passage, Jesus talks more to this one woman than in any other individual conversation...

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The Paralytic: Hoping, Healing, and Heralding

The Paralytic: Hoping, Healing, and Heralding

On the third Sunday after Holy Pascha, we hear the story of Jesus healing the Paralytic at Bethsaida (John 5:1-15). This passage is taken from what Biblical scholars have designated as “The Book of Signs,” i.e. John 1:19 through John 12. It precedes “The Book of Glory,” which deals with...

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The Women Were the First Heralds

The Women Were the First Heralds

Since the New Testament and throughout subsequent generations of believers, “Christ is Risen!” has been at the heart of the Christian proclamation (κῆρυγμα). It is how Orthodox Christians greet one another during Paschal season. Of all the written testimony about Jesus’ life, in the four Holy Gospels, His death and...

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A Second Chance Through the Resurrection

A Second Chance Through the Resurrection

As we remember the days of Christ’s final ordeal, the Church feels an oppressive silence at the death of her Lord, a silence that penetrates to the depths of the heart of every disciple—then and now—who stand wordless before the Cross. It is the silence after an execution, when everyone...

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Christ and a Case of Mistaken Identity

Christ and a Case of Mistaken Identity

This weekend, the Church moves into Great and Holy Week, culminating in the Resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. On Palm Sunday we cry out in praise of the Lord, but by the end of the week events will leave the bitter and sorrowful taste of the Passion. This week...

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