Asceticism or Pleasure?

Asceticism or Pleasure?

If I was to ask any Christian what is more detrimental to your spiritual life, asceticism or pleasure, I think the answer would be asceticism. Pleasure is good, it is what God wants for us, right…? Let us look at two examples from the Bible, the first is Solomon, who...

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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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Finishing the Race: A Daughter’s Tribute

Finishing the Race: A Daughter’s Tribute

My mother died recently. My sisters and I ordered the marker, and I was confronted with the dash between the dates, the dash in place of 84 years of living. We gave up trying to write an obituary for mom. She did so much in her life, it would never...

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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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Five Ways to Stay Connected to Christ During the School Year

Five Ways to Stay Connected to Christ During the School Year

Even though we all strive to be like Jesus, not everyone always has a starring role. As your kids head back to school and schedules get more chaotic, take time to remind them that Christ is at the center of all that we do. To honor Him and his example...

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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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Orthodox College Students: Turning the World Upside Down

Orthodox College Students: Turning the World Upside Down

For forty days from the middle of August through the end of September, Orthodox Christians across the country focus on the lives of college students. As students settle on campus for another academic year, it is certain that they will encounter a world full of questions about the very meaning...

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Guided by the Mother of God

Guided by the Mother of God

The Feast of the Dormition of the Mother of God holds a place in my life and in my heart that will take me a lifetime to unpack. It has touched me personally on three significant occasions in my ministry. As an Episcopalian, a newly ordained deacon, actually, I had...

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The Theotokos as an Example of Holiness

The Theotokos as an Example of Holiness

St. Mary, the mother of God the, the pure virgin, all holy virgin, and the pride of our race are all names we give the Theotokos to describe her purity and love for God. When we hear these titles, we expect them to come from someone who grew up in...

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The Grand Duchess Maria Romanov and the Prayers of the Saints

The Grand Duchess Maria Romanov and the Prayers of the Saints

A few weeks ago, on July 17, Orthodox Christians in Russia and throughout the world observed the 100-year anniversary of the assassination of Tsar Nicholas and his family. A procession was held, starting from the Church on the Blood in the Russian city of Yekaterinburg, the place where the Romanovs...

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Understanding and Living Our Faith: Holy Theotokos and the Sacrifice and Love of Mothers

Understanding and Living Our Faith: Holy Theotokos and the Sacrifice and Love of Mothers

“Commemorating our most holy, pure, blessed, and glorious Lady, the Theotokos and ever-virgin Mary, with all the saints, let us commend ourselves and one another and our whole life to Christ our God.” We have entered into the time of the Dormition Fast, one of the holiest times of the...

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