Said farewell to the family today as they traveled once again to Russia while papa stays home to pack for our upcoming move. Wanted to do a divine service at home to make the place feel less lonely. There is a lovely Service of the Small Paraklesis to the Most Holy Lady Theotokos Mary I have been wanting to chant, but I do not know the music well enough, and it is difficult on the voice to do the whole service by myself. Imagine my great joy when I discovered a recorded example of the entire service on youtube using the exact same text and music. It is a great service to pray at any time and in any need. Enjoy!
Saw a documentary this evening about one of my favorite monasteries in the world: Valaam, the Athos of the north. A great quote from the movie: “If only the world knew the pleasures of being a monk, everyone would flock to the monasteries.” Enjoy!
Witnessed the yearly piano recital of my two oldest today in the public hall of the Waltham Public Library. Hearing their lovely melodies and inspired playing reminded me of one of my boss’ best articles on the subject of music, inspiration, and worship. Enjoy!
This past summer, my 10 year-old son made a significant breakthrough in his piano playing. All last year, I watched him practice as though practicing was just one more task on his “to do” list before breakfast. He marched through 20 minutes of practicing just as he marched through “make my bed,” “feed the dog,” and “pack my snack.” Where was the joy, the appreciation of beauty, the sense of accomplishment? Masterpieces from Bach to Bizet were reduced to equal footing with readied backpacks and signed permission slips. The tasks were accomplished. And music was nowhere to be heard. Continue reading
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
On 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
Christ 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
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)
“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
Great & Holy Wednesday
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: