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
The Common Bond of Motherhood

The Common Bond of Motherhood

An expectant mother holds her belly and feels her baby kick inside. A young woman wipes her child’s tears and kisses him afterwards. A grandmother gently tells her grandchild that she loves her. Even though a mother and daughter are separated by miles, their love for each other is never...

Read more
The Theology of Gender – 6. The New Eve

The Theology of Gender – 6. The New Eve

Sofia Matzarioti-Kostara   The honor and respect of Christianity to women is demonstrated especially in the person of the Theotokos. She is the human closest to God; after Christ, she is the most beloved and honored person by men and God. She has a great place in worship and is...

Read more
The message of our salvation

The message of our salvation

Today is a bright and joyful day for the human race. The Archangel Gabriel brings the message of our salvation to the Virgin Mary. God comes to be born in the flesh, to dwell in a human body, to expunge the curse, to bridge the gap that separated God from...

Read more
Division and Content of the 24 Verses of the Akathistos Hymn

Division and Content of the 24 Verses of the Akathistos Hymn

Theodore Rokas   The Service of the Akathistos Hymn is sung at Mattins on the Saturday of the fifth week of Lent or in the evening of Friday of that week, attached to the service of Small Compline. It is sung in full on these days, but in parts on...

Read more
Celebrating the Theotokos Throughout the Calendar Year

Celebrating the Theotokos Throughout the Calendar Year

When I was growing up, I never really gave Mary, the mother of Jesus, much thought, except at Christmas. We were a church-going family, and our church did the whole Sunday School Christmas play thing. That’s when Mary came front and centre. Who would play her? She was, after all,...

Read more
Christmas and the Celebration of Life

Christmas and the Celebration of Life

Is there a more thrilling time of year than Advent? It always seems a little easier to smile during the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. There’s more music in the air, more light in the heart. Growing up as a fairly typical American kid, Christmas was just as much...

Read more
Address on the Feast of Our Most Holy Lady – 2

Address on the Feast of Our Most Holy Lady – 2

Archbishop Theofylaktos of Ochrid This is today’s feast, the event we’re celebrating today, the escorting of the maiden to the Temple and her introduction into the Holy of Holies. What a strange event! What an astonishing thing it is that we hear! A little girl living in the fathomless and...

Read more