By Grace We Are Saved and Delivered

kazan_moscowSunday, October 22/November 4, 2018
Kazan Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos
Commemorating Russia’s Deliverance from the Poles in 1612

Ephesians 2:4-10
Luke 16:19-31

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. St. Apostle Paul writes in this morning’s epistle to the Ephesians, “But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ… For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” (Ephesians 2:4-5, 8-9) Beloved in the Lord, our salvation from sin, our deliverance from adversity, our emancipation from a life of sin and idolatry are all gifts from God, says the Apostle, not of ourselves lest we should boast. Continue reading

Throw it on the Street

childrens_bigImmigrants, who long to come to America, hear stories that the streets are paved with gold. But, because careless Americans leave their own trash right on the street, and those immigrants find America more paved with trash than with gold.

Well, if you are not an immigrant, then you might be a random American watching “Landfill Harmonic” feeling really bad about all the trash in the movie. And you really want to do something about it. Continue reading

A Christian Ending to Our Life

sophia_the_martyrSunday, September 17/30, 2018
Martyrs Sophia, Faith, Hope & Charity
Sunday After the Exaltation of the Cross

2 Corinthians 9:6-11
Galatians 2:16-20
Matthew 18:23-35
Mark 8:34-9:1

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Beloved in the Lord, St. Apostle Paul once wrote to his disciple Timothy, “Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, and in purity. (I Timothy 4:12) Though these words were written from St. Apostle Paul to his young protege Timothy, they could have easily been the message Saint Sophia used to raise her three daughters Faith, Hope, and Love (in Russian Sophia/Sonya, Vera, Nadezhda, and Lubov) whose memory we commemorate this day. It is the message that all of God’s children, no matter what their ages, can and should serve as his witnesses, his martyrs. And on this Sunday following the Exaltation of the Precious, Life-creating Cross, these four women and child martyrs serve as evidence that no power on earth can compare to this witness of the life to come. Continue reading

Byzantine Choir Concert in NYC

2018_ed_day

To all our friends, please come on Columbus Day weekend if you are local to New York City to hear us in concert at the 50th anniversary of St. Vladimir’s Seminary’s Ed Day. We will be debuting much of the music soon to be released off of our upcoming Christmas CD. Stay tuned….

This year’s Orthodox Education Day (OED) is a special one. Join us as we celebrate not one, but two fiftieth-year commemorations: fifty years of OED and fifty years of St. Vladimir’s Seminary (SVS) Press! Continue reading

A Feast for the Eyes, Ears, and Heart

44676146662_340d0ac3ee_kFor my yearly Back-to-School post, I would like to reflect on our family’s love for out loud reading. Good strength to all in your September return to learning. God bless your studies in this new school year!

It is not enough to love good books. It is not even enough to promote literacy among our youth. For what good is literacy if our exercise of reading is confined to the private, self-contained world of silent reading. Reading, especially to children, should be an event, an out-loud occasion for bonding around a shared narrative. Continue reading

A Life Worth Living

814wvha92ul-_sy445_How could a man who has lead such a noble and praiseworthy life be lead to attempt suicide multiple times toward the end of his life? The answer is not a simple one like he just did not know God or love enough people. The answer to his despair and the clue to his salvation comes from an extended community around him of which he was only slightly aware at first. The Swedish film A Man Called Ove touches the deepest heart of what it means to be human, especially for people who have grown old and no longer feel needed, useful, or loved. Continue reading