On Following Christ

On Following Christ

In mid-September, the Orthodox Church celebrates the feast of the Elevation of the Cross. This feast commemorates the re-discovery of the True Cross by St. Helen in Jerusalem in AD 325. In the Gospel reading for the Sunday after the feast, Jesus Christ tells a group of people: “Whoever desires...

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Baptism and Chrismation

Baptism and Chrismation

We have noted that the service of baptism has undergone a long and profound development. In the early days of the Church’s history, those desiring to become Christians were first enrolled as catechumens, and continued in that state for some months or even years. Their baptism came as the culmination...

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Reception into the Catechumenate

Reception into the Catechumenate

We have seen how our present baptismal service is the result of long development, a part of which consisted of joining the rite for making a catechumen with the later baptismal rite proper. In this fusion, certain baptismal elements (such as the renunciation of Satan, the adherence to Christ, and...

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The Churching

The Churching

The little pew booklet which my church (the OCA) publishes for the baptismal service provides the text of the entire service of Holy Baptism as currently practiced, along with an introduction to the service to explain what it all means. Different jurisdictions have different practices: some practise the rite of...

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Rituals and Sacraments

Rituals and Sacraments

It is difficult to open a book of systematic theology and not find reference to “the seven sacraments,” often capitalized for greater effect: The Seven Sacraments. They take their place in a list of other enumerated realities—the Seven Deadly Sins, the Seven Virtues, the Seven Corporal Works of Mercy, the...

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CONGRATULATIONS! YOU ARE BEING CREMATED TODAY!

CONGRATULATIONS! YOU ARE BEING CREMATED TODAY!

My bishop is probably not going to believe this. Recently, a member of our congregation was very upset. She heard that the new priest was planning to cremate a young couple, right there in church, on the solea, during Great Vespers on the next Saturday night. “Doesn’t the Orthodox Church...

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Pre-Nicene Creeds

Pre-Nicene Creeds

The confession of faith which we Orthodox chant or sing every Sunday at our Divine Liturgy has a long and complicated history, and examining its history plunges us back into the earliest days of the Church’s life. It is a glorious plunge. Discipleship to Jesus and inclusion in His Church...

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I Acknowledge One Baptism

I Acknowledge One Baptism

Another part of the third main section of the present Creed focusing upon the Holy Spirit and His work in the holy Church concerns holy baptism. The phrase runs, “I acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins.” Here we note in passing a change of verb, with the accompanying...

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Baptizing Unenthusiastic Children

Baptizing Unenthusiastic Children

A number of people have viewed a video on Youtube lately showing the last minute or so of a family drama in church. It concerned an Orthodox family gathered with their young three-year-old daughter for her baptism in a Greek Orthodox Church in Munich. Sadly, I am unilingual, and so...

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WATCH: Priest Refuses to Baptize Girl Who Says “No”

WATCH: Priest Refuses to Baptize Girl Who Says “No”

A YouTube video of a priest refusing baptism to an unwilling three-year-old girl is causing a small controversy, after various Greek media outlets have picked up the footage. The Greek website Romfea.gr acquired video of the event, which has ignited wide-spread discussion on the Greek internet and television. The priest,...

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