A Sobering Christmas Ghost Story: REPOST

It has been three years since this last time that Scrooge: A Christmas Carol was staged and this review was published. It is happening again, and the Friar Family is in it. Please don’t miss the action. Click on the banner below to buy tickets and come see us.


December 15, 2013
Concord, MA

Every year faithful Christians struggle with the rush and distraction of holiday preparations and long to take a moment to slow down and reflect on the real meaning of the season. It is an especially difficult struggle for Orthodox Christians as we are prescribed by Mother Church to fast in our preparation to meet the newborn King in his Nativity. The Lenten Fast by comparison is somewhat easier in the sense that the season is already more austere in the wider culture (everyone fasting in the springtime, if for no other religious reason, so that they can fit into summertime bathing suits). The weeks leading up to Christmas in America are anything but austere. Between Christmas parties at work, holiday concerts galore, and the extra latte at Starbucks to keep up our shopping stamina, few things in the broader culture give us pause to stop and reflect on our eternal destiny with one amazing exception, Charles Dicken’s classic Christmas ghost story, A Christmas Carol. Continue reading

Smaller is Better

old-friar-famWanted to publish this rather excellent apologetic for smaller parishes made by one of our favorite pastors, Fr. Marc Vranes, on the 100th anniversary of his parish’s existence today. It is the parish church where my wife and I were engaged in the spring of 2003. We join in the chorus to wish Holy Trinity Orthodox Church in Willimantic, Connecticut many, many, many more blessed years of ministry.

9 October 2016
Feast of St Tikhon, Apostle to America

Your Eminence, Reverend Fathers, My Beloved Community at Holy Trinity, Students from the UConn OCF, Both Current & All Alumni, Honored Guests, & Friends of HTOC in Willimantic, Connecticut-

As we hear in the Orthodox Church throughout the year, “O Lord, how manifold are Thy works, in wisdom hast Thou made them all” (Psalm 103).

Several years ago as I was about to embark on a long discourse with a friend about a subject that required detailed explanation – it was no doubt an opportunity for me to set the record straight on some baseball related matter – I rhetorically asked my friend the time-honored question, “I don’t know where to start?” He responded by suggesting, “How about at the very beginning? It always works for me.” Continue reading

Creative Christian Culture

I was there the first time a Christian tried to create rap music. It wasn’t pretty; or rather, it was too pretty, too trite and contrived to be real:

My name is Stephen Wiley and I’m rated highly
And I rap to a T (beep, beep)
[I could never figure out what the ‘beep, beep’ was for]
Now just sit down and listen to me as I rap religiously

I’m righteously righteous and justly just
Thankful to the Lord in whom I trust
If you think I’m boasting, ya better relax
Because when I speak God’s Word, I’m speakin’ the facts. Continue reading

The Weapon of Discernment

For my yearly Back-to-School post, I would like to republish an article I wrote when I was just a young teacher. It is the first day today for my alma mater, St. Herman of Alaska Christian School, for whom I wrote this article almost 20 years ago. Good strength to all in your September return to learning. God bless your studies in this new school year!

Sunflowers, Autumn 1997

The Weapon of Discernment
by Aaron Friar
Instructor, Grades 3-8

mirrorbbc-758689Many parents have felt the wonder of the moment when their child was old enough to utter his first word. Perhaps, equal to excitement is the moment when he begins to read. He sounds out everything in his path All goes well until he decides to exercise his phonics skills on a supermarket tabloid. Words “scandal” and the easier monosyllable “sex” send his impressionable mind reeling as he asks parents a barrage of troubling questions.

In our age of free access to information, it is more important than ever to learn discernment of words. It is not enough for us to set our children free to roam aimlessly in the abyss of choices provided by almost every media imaginable; we must also give them the tools which will enable them to make wise choices. They do not just need to know how to read but what to read. And our greater task as Christian parents and teachers is to enable our children to discern the words they read and hear by the measuring stick of Christ. The world around them is more than what meets the eye or impresses the mind, and we must give them the mastery of words which is necessary to see a bigger and more truthful picture. Continue reading

St. Helen’s Pilgrimage

Okay. I have to brag about this. My favorite prof from Seminary, Dr. Tim Patitsas has finally succeeded in bringing what used to be blandly called “the senior trip” into a full fledged Orthodox pilgrimage. I can only believe it is due to the communications vision of new Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology President, Fr. Chris Metropulos. Kudos to my Alma Mater for granting this rich experience to her graduates. I am happy to be among the first pilgrims back in 2011 where I recorded my observations in a Pilgrimage_Memory_Book.

The following is so much more worthy of the good donors who make the pilgrimage possible. God bless you all, my dear fellow graduates of Holy Cross!