|03/02/15||Fr. Steven's Podcast Series: The Life of the Church Today - |
Listen to Fr. Steven's newest podcast series, "The Life of the World Today," on the Ancient Faith Radio website! Fr. Steven discusses the Church at work in the world and important topical issues sometimes hidden from view.
|03/01/15||Icons, the Invisible Made Visible - |
(Excerpted from the Mar. 1, 2015 Sunday bulletin)
"Perhaps some contentious unbeliever might dispute with us, saying that we venerate images in our churches, and he had therefore concluded that we pray to lifeless idols. Far be it from us to do this! Christians live by faith, and God, who does not deceive us, has shown mighty signs in our midst. Our images are not merely colored pictures; for when we remember whose representation the painting is, we see the invisible made visible through the visible representation, and glorify him who is made present, for we do not believe in a God who is absent, but in Him who is truly present: It is the same for the saints; they have not ceased to exist, but they are present, because they are alive in God." – St. Symeon Stylites
|02/03/15||Preparing Ourselves for Great Lent - |
(Excerpted from the Feb. 1, 2015 Sunday bulletin)
We have entered the period of the Lenten Triodion. The Lenten Triodion is the name of the book of hymns sung during Great Lent and the three weeks of pre-lent. It gets its name from three verses (tri-odes) that are chanted throughout Great Lent and pre-lent during matins. These verses are chanted immediately after Psalm 50. They are a prayer inspired by King David's repentance:
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. Open to me the doors of repentance, O Life-giver; for my soul goeth early to the temple of Thy holiness, coming in the temple of my body, wholly polluted. But because Thou art compassionate, purify me by the compassion of Thy mercies.
Both now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen. Prepare for me the way of salvation, O Theotokos; for I have profaned myself with coarse sins, and consumed my whole life with procrastination. But by thine intercessions purify thou me from all abomination.
Have mercy upon me, O God, according to Thy loving-kindness: according unto the multitude of Thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions.
If I think upon the multitude of my evil deeds, I tremble for the terrible Day of Judgment. But, trusting the compassion of Thy mercy, I shout to Thee like David, Have mercy upon me, O God, according to Thy Great Mercy.
|01/17/15||Fr. Paisios Canonized on Jan. 13 - |
(Excerpted from the Jan. 18, 2015 Sunday bulletin)
Our venerable and God-bearing Father Paisios of Mount Athos or Paisios the New, of the Holy Mountain (July 25, 1924 – July 12, 1994), also known as Elder Paisios, was a monastic of Mount Athos. An ascetic, he was known by his visitors for his gentle manner and acceptance of those who came to receive his advice, counsel, and blessing. His words of counsel continue to be published. Elder Paisios was canonized on January 13th, 2015, by the Holy and Sacred Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople. The Church commemorates St. Paisios on July 12. The saint said, among many things, "A humble man is worth more than the whole world. He's stronger than anything. Today no one wants stock in humility. No one can go to heaven by moving up in the world – only by making a spiritual descent [into humility]. Everyone who humbles himself and is careful will be saved."
|01/10/15||Repenting with One's Whole Heart - |
(Excerpted from the Jan. 11, 2015 Sunday bulletin)
Before the Lord's Theophany, St. John the Baptist called all his followers to repent. In today's gospel, the Lord says "Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." But we don't always understand what repentance is or how to accomplish it. Repentance is not a legal transaction with God but a change of heart. A brother questioned Abba Poemen saying, "I have committed a great sin and I want to do penance for three years." The old man said to him, "That is a lot." The brother said, "for one year?" The old man said again, "That is a lot." Those who were present said, "For forty days?" He said again, "That is a lot." He added, "I myself say that if a man repents with his whole heart and does not intend to commit the sin anymore, God will accept him after only three days." So let us take the easy and light road the Lord gives us, and repent with our whole heart!