On the Dormition of the Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary

On the Dormition of the Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary

August 28 marked the Great Feast of the Dormition of the Virgin Mary, according to the Julian calendar. Most of the world’s autocephalous, or self-governing, Orthodox Churches celebrate the feast along with Roman Catholics and some Protestants on August 15th.  However, the majority of the world’s Orthodox and Eastern Catholic Christians celebrate...

Read more
Raising Family in the Image of the Theotokos

Raising Family in the Image of the Theotokos

Almost 35 years ago, I chose to leave the Canadian military and get married. My mother was not impressed. She had spent her entire adult life trying to be someone other than a wife and mother and was hoping her daughters would continue the battle. She felt I was giving...

Read more
Understanding and Living Our Faith: Loving One Another in the Name of Our Lord

Understanding and Living Our Faith: Loving One Another in the Name of Our Lord

“And when you perceive the Spirit moving and speaking in your heart, inciting you to proclaim in the great congregation the saving power and truth of God, do not keep your lips sealed for fear of provoking the envy of bigoted men.” (St. Niketas Stethatos) The recent events in Charlottesville...

Read more
Practical Prayer and Other Spiritual Tools

Practical Prayer and Other Spiritual Tools

There are essentially two types of prayer rules that we have in the Orthodox Church. It is important for us to understand these in order to best make prayer a part of our lives, or better put, to keep ourselves from using our spiritual powers of self-justification and personal laxity...

Read more
The Theotokos: An Example for All Women to Emulate

The Theotokos: An Example for All Women to Emulate

“A fervent prayer, and a wall most unshakable A merciful spring And shelter of all mankind; Fervently we cry to you, Theotokos, our Lady, come to us and from all dangers now deliver us….” — Small Paraklesis to the Theotokos As a little girl, I was always fascinated by my...

Read more
Our Mother Who Art in Heaven

Our Mother Who Art in Heaven

Now that I have your attention with the radically unusual title you see above, I want to assure you that no prayer within the corpus of Orthodox Christian writings begins with these words. The ‘paternal’ version of the “Our Father” prayer is well known to us all; and yet during...

Read more
Celebrating the Sweetness of the Theotokos

Celebrating the Sweetness of the Theotokos

It’s hard to believe we are almost at the Feast of the Dormition. Always, the Dormition Fast seems to arrive unexpectedly, dropping into the hot summer sloth of barbecued chicken, flank steak, frozen margaritas, and big bowls of dip and queso. (I think of December and March as the time...

Read more
Paraklesis and Finding Refuge in the Theotokos

Paraklesis and Finding Refuge in the Theotokos

In preparation for the Dormition, a supplication to the Theotokos called the Paraklesis is often chanted. (A longer title is “The Paraklesis Service with the Little Supplicatory Canon to the Theotokos.”) Father Thomas Hopko tells us paraklesis means comfort and encouragement. This beautiful service implores the Mother of God to...

Read more
The Dormition of the Theotokos: Our Promise and Hope

The Dormition of the Theotokos: Our Promise and Hope

The Dormition of the Theotokos was not celebrated for the first five centuries of Christianity. There was silence regarding the holy mystery of the Mother of God’s “falling asleep”. In the beginning, God willed that the details of His mother’s death and glorified, or resurrected, state remain veiled from the...

Read more
CrossRoad Theological Program: Our Call to Follow the Road to Christ

CrossRoad Theological Program: Our Call to Follow the Road to Christ

Each summer, Hellenic College Holy Cross in Brookline, MA, hosts more than 60 Orthodox teenagers for CrossRoad, an incredibly enriching, 10-day theological program based on the topic of vocation. During these 10 short days, the participants immerse themselves in the Faith, form friendships with fellow Orthodox from around the country...

Read more
Transfigured in Prayer

Transfigured in Prayer

The story of the transfiguration of Christ shows us Christ’s divinity, but it also demonstrates how transformative time in prayer can be. The story begins with Jesus going up to the mountain to pray with Peter and John, immediately linking prayer with transfiguration. It is in prayer that God reveals...

Read more
Defining Orthodoxy: The Eternal, Timeless Love Story of God and Man

Defining Orthodoxy: The Eternal, Timeless Love Story of God and Man

Recently I had a fascinating conversation with a childhood friend of mine who is an atheist. He asked me, “What is the core essence of Orthodox Christianity?” and “Why do you live and pray the way you do? Why does this stuff matter to you?” Here is my reflection after...

Read more