Savior of the Bulgarian Jews

The following is a commemoration sent to our Bulgarian Orthodox Diocese by Diocesan Metropolitan Joseph on the occasion this Sunday of the 60th anniversary of the death of the Bulgarian Exarch Stefan I (1878-2017). May his memory be eternal.

THE CROWN OF RIGHTEOUSNESS

exarch-stephan1On May 14, 1957, exiled in the village of Banja, Karlovo, died the Bulgarian Exarch Stefan I. The clergy and laity of the Bulgarian Eastern Orthodox Diocese of the USA, Canada and Australia, with prayer and in good memory, will celebrate the 60th anniversary of the falling asleep of this great spiritual elder of Bulgarian Orthodoxy.

Exarch Stefan is a well-known name in the Bulgarian Orthodox Church. We all know him as a high-ranking Bulgarian Orthodox cleric, who during his life left a deep imprint in the troubled 20th century history of our Church. He is known as a teacher, writer, eloquent speaker, international ecclesiastical figure, bold defender of the Bulgarian Church and our national interest at home and abroad. He supported the conversion of the Pomaks, who were newcomers to Bulgaria from the lands added after the Balkan wars. He survived the horror of the church bombings as he was leading the memorial prayer service in the church of “St. Nedelya” on April 16, 1925. He gave his blessing for the establishment of the Bulgarian Eastern Orthodox Diocese of America and Canada. Continue reading

Mocking God with Metaphor

thomasdoubting1500x1105-56a1463f5f9b58b7d0bdb773Christ is Risen! In this great season of the resurrection, I would like to post one of my all time favorite resurrection poems by John Updike entitled Seven Stanzas at Easter. In it, the poet delivers this one liner punch to those who would claim to be Christian, and yet not hold to the belief that Christ is raised from the dead, bones and all: Let us not mock God with metaphor (i.e., Either he rose in fact, or He did not). May He who rose from the dead, Christ our True God, give strength to those who still doubt and wonder at the mystery of our Faith. Truly He is risen!

Make no mistake: if he rose at all
It was as His body;
If the cell’s dissolution did not reverse, the molecule reknit,
The amino acids rekindle,
The Church will fall. Continue reading

Alive Unto God

Great & Holy Saturday, 2017
Eve of Pascha, The Resurrection of Christ

Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:11)

great-and-holy-saturday-burial11“If there were only one book left in the Bible, only one chapter, yea only one verse, it would have to come from Romans chapter 6.” I was used to hearing such hyperboles from our pastor and teacher growing up, so when he made this particular declaration, it did not make much of an impression on me at the time. I mean, if I had to lay my bets on the most seminal verse in Scripture, I might have chosen something about love like the ever-popular football verse, John 3:16. But this spiritual father of mine was closer to the truth than I realized. For the next time I heard his declaration ringing in my ears was the first time I heard that chapter situated in the very heart of the church year. Continue reading

Deep Repentance, Profound Forgiveness

Great & Holy Wednesday
Holy Week

Heard the Hymn of Cassiani last night in church and today on a wonderful youtube mix. What a profound expression of repentance and grace. May he who rose from the dead, Christ our True God, grant us the same grace, mercy, and forgiveness as we near the day of his most glorious resurrection from the dead:

Live in Church!

rsz_the-raising-of-lazarus-2069644_1280Lazarus Saturday, 2017

For those of you in my faithful readership who have yet to experience an Orthodox Christian Holy Week, now is your chance. At an Orthodox parish near you, begins a week of services unlike any you have experienced anywhere else on the planet. If you are local to Boston, you are cordially invited to attend all of the services our parish offers. If you can only do one, come to either Saturday morning Liturgy or late Saturday night, early Sunday morning for the Feast of Feasts, GREAT AND HOLY PASCHA.

Worse case scenario, if you are unable to appear hypostatically (in person), you can at least listen to a youtube channel created that has much of the key music or the ever-mellifluous Ancient Faith Radio. WARNING: Once you have gone to one service, you won’t be able to stop, so clear your schedule for God because He deserves your praise more than baseball games, concerts, or that addicting TV series. Let the divine drama begin!

Fixing Our Hearts on True Worship

liberale-da-verona-monks-singingAlmighty God, you alone can bring into order the unruly wills and affections of sinners: Grant your people grace to love what you command and desire what you promise; that, among the swift and varied changes of the world, our hearts may surely there be fixed where true joys are to be found; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.  

Collect from Fifth Sunday of Lent, Anglican Book of Common Prayer

I could not believe my ears. When I had just begun college, my Pastor at the time was telling me that the music I then desired, the tunes which were my life blood would very soon grow old and seem trite to me. In other words, I was made for something more refined, more subtle, and significantly deeper in both content and form.

Up to that point in my life, I argued vehemently that the Gospel content could be and should be inserted into a variety of contemporary forms and that these forms had little to no impact on the essential message. This Pastor contended otherwise, that medium and message were not only inseparable but mutually co-inherent. Continue reading

A Not So White Winter

Our whole family loves winter. It is a season of fun. I like winter when it is snowing. I fly outside into a blanket of white. This winter [of 2016-2017] we did not have much snow except one pretty big blizzard. The blizzards’ snow was so deep and fluffy and so fun to play with that we stayed outside for a whole two hours! You could make snow houses, snow men, or slide down on hills. The rest of the days of this winter were much warmer. So the snow melted fast.