This Week in Orthodoxy, November 21, 2014

This Week in Orthodoxy, November 21, 2014


Hello, I’m Emmy Louvaris with “This Week in Orthodoxy,” the world’s only online video newscast focused on events in the life of the Orthodox Church.

These are the stories making headlines this week:

  • Orthodox Christians around the world begin the 40 day fasting period in anticipation of the Nativity.
  • A Greek Orthodox Metropolitan helps bring the Orthodox Church into the digital world.
  • Russian Patriarch Kirill completes a three day visit to Serbia.

Segment 1: News from Around the Globe

Nativity Fast Begins

First, November 15th marked the beginning of the Nativity Fast for Orthodox Christians worldwide. The Nativity Fast is one of the four canonical fasting seasons and leads to one of the Great Feasts, as it prepares the Orthodox Christian for the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

For Orthodox Christians who wish to observe the fast, you can find guidelines on many of the Orthodox Christian Archdiocesan sites such as the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese website and the Antiochian Church website.

Fasting is an important, voluntary aspect in the life of an Orthodox Christian. It is designed to bring the faithful closer to God and to turn their focus towards all things spiritual. An Orthodox Christian uses fasting to help purify their soul and body.

During this time, not only should the dietary fast be observed as best as possible, but Orthodox Christians should also utilize prayer as a means of reflection and focusing themselves.

Women who are pregnant or nursing a newborn may refrain from fastin,g as may those who are seriously ill. For any additional guidance or assistance in fasting, you should consult your Spiritual Father or Priest who can help you on your journey.

Metropolitan and the Digital Age

On to Pittsburgh where to local Metropolitan has been bringing the Orthodox Church into the digital age. His Eminence Metropolitan Savas Zembillas has become quite popular on Facebook for his noted online presence. With over 7,000 Facebook friends, His Eminence typically uses status updates as a way to present the Gospel readings for the day. However, he also draws attention to issues such as homelessness, the ongoing persecution of Christians in the Middle East, and, in general, spreads the word of Christ.

Recently, His Eminence sat down with Discovering Orthodox Christianity’s Stacey Spanos to talk about Orthodoxy in the Media Age. In the interview, His Eminence explains that social media has an ability to keep him connected to the pulse of communities but also provides a platform to draw awareness and get people’s perspective on various issues, including those where religion and society intersect.

Social Media, according to His Eminence, can be invaluable for those he calls “Casually Orthodox” and a way to get them engaged and more deeply connected with the Church; turning a “Sunday-to-Sunday” experience into a “Day-to-Day” experience with their Faith.

Furthermore, Metropolitan Savas stated that because the presence of Orthodoxy in America is less pronounced than in some other countries, there are fewer daily reminders of our Orthodox Faith. He sees Facebook as the digital equivalent to doing your cross while walking past one of the many churches in Greece, Serbia, Russia, or other Orthodox countries.

Metropolitan Savas went on to say that he receives thousands of private messages from Facebook friends and followers asking for prayers. He receives so many requests that, when preparing for the Divine Liturgy, he comes with lists of Facebook requests.

Patriarch Kirill Visits Serbia

Finally, to Serbia where Russian Patriarch Kirill has completed a three day visit to the country. Accompanied by Serbian Patriarch Irinej, the two Patriarchs blessed a monument to Tsar Nicholas II in Belgrade, which was unveiled by Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic .

The three-day visit, which commemorates the 100th anniversary of the beginning of World War I, began last Friday, when His All Holiness received an honorary degree from the University of Belgrade.

On Sunday, the two Patriarchs also conducted a joint Liturgical service at Belgrade’s Cathedral of Saint Sava, the largest Orthodox Church in the world.

Segment 2. News from OCN

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That is it for “This Week in Orthodoxy.”

For everyone in our studios, I’m Emmy Louvaris.

Let’s go forth in peace.

Posted by the Orthodox Christian Network.  You can find the Orthodox Christian Network on Google+.

About author

Dean Argiris

Constantine (Dean) Argiris is a lifelong Orthodox Christian from the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Chicago who has devoted his time to raising awareness of the 1915-1922 Asia Minor Genocide. His works on the Greek economic crisis have been published in international Greek diaspora news media outlets. Professionally, he works in the political scene as a Staff Assistant to a Chicago Alderman. Previously, he worked as a party-paid staffer for the Illinois Senate, a Regional Field Director for President Obama's "Organizing for America" and has run a number of federal and state level political campaigns as an independent consultant.