As our family gets older, it becomes harder and harder to find a movie that will both enlighten and entertain a vast range of ages without scandalizing the younger ones (we currently range from ages 7-18). When it became clear that almost everyone would be home this Friday evening, I made an announcement that I often make when I am trying to widen the cultural horizons of our children, reduce the number of individual screens, and make watching more communal. I said, “I want to show you all a movie together, and I want you to give it 30 minutes before you decide you want to see something else.” The 30 minute rule is for us the test of a universally good family flick. The Jesus Revolution passed this test for all but the seven year old. Available now to rent or buy through Amazon Prime, this film will be worth every minute of your family’s time.Continue reading
Author Archives: Mendicant Monk
The Courage to Believe
Second Sunday of Pascha; Sunday of the Myrrh-bearing Women
In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit Amen. Christ is risen! Truly He is risen!
I had the good fortune this last Friday to attend and sing at the funeral of our parish’s newest member: The servant of God, Lev, in the final moments of his earthly sojourn, consented to his family’s fervent desire that he be baptized and receive Holy Communion as an Orthodox Christian. At his funeral just a few days ago the church sang some of the boldest, most audacious words about our brother’s death and what most assuredly will someday be our fate as well:
Thou alone art immortal, [addressing Christ]/ Who didst create and fashion man; / but we mortals were formed of earth, and unto earth shall we return, / as Thou who madest me didst command and say unto me: / For earth thou art and unto earth shalt thou return, / whither all we mortals are going, / making as a funeral dirge the song: // Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.IKOS of Kontakion after Ode 6, Funeral Service
Converts for the Risen Christ
This is from a homeschooling mom who is a family friend. Christ is risen!
Hello! I am so excited to be a guest here on this platform. Please feel free to comment or reach out. I’d love to hear from you! I have an extensive number of topics to blab about: being a Christian, mom of three boys on a homeschooling journey, but I thought it would be most appropriate and recommended by my friend that I write about Pascha. Below is my very first Pascha basket! I dyed the eggs with my children, baked the Pascha bread which I learned is a Russian and Ukrainian tradition, amongst other European countries. I added in my culture’s famous cookies (Lebanese & Syrian) later. It is truly a beautiful season to honor our Lord while making memories with friends and family of Christ.Continue reading
A Bible-Believing Church
Great & Holy PASCHA, 2023
I was raised to revere the Holy Scriptures. God’s Word was imprinted on my soul at a very early age because my family went often and repeatedly to the divine services offered at our local church. It was important that the church we attended not be merely a place that taught good morals or provided wholesome fellowship but believed in the Bible as God’s revelation of Himself to mankind. Too many churches that do not take the Bible seriously enough become mere social clubs, a place to converse with one’s fellow man, but not a place to meet God.Continue reading
Good From Evil
A Christian news group that I subscribe to offered a wonderful segment last week for Western Good Friday that I wish to chew on today for Orthodox Good Friday. A listener to their news service asked why the agency is Christian yet covers so much bad or depressing news stories. Can’t they just up the anty on more positive, life-affirming stories, and would that not be a more redemptive, Christian approach to news? That is, they wanted to see more stories that demonstrate where God is working.Continue reading
Ravish Me With Longing
Thou hast ravished me with longing, O Christ, and with Thy divine love Thou hast changed me. But burn up with spiritual fire my sins and make me worthy to be filled with delight in Thee, that I may leap for joy, O gracious Lord, and magnify Thy two comings. Into the splendor of Thy Saints how shall I who am unworthy enter? For if I dare to enter the bridechamber, my vesture betrays me, for it is not a wedding garment, and as a prisoner I shall be cast out by the Angels. Cleanse my soul from pollution and save me, O Lord, in Thy love for men.Preparatory Prayers for Holy Communion
“Uh, Fahhh-ther, the Bible says that the sacrament of the Lord’s supper is only a symbol or a mere remembrance.” I can still hear my nagging, self-righteous challenge from so long ago. As one of the few fundamentalist, Protestant Christians in an all-boys Roman Catholic high school, my biblical challenges in a class on sacramental theology came often and not always welcomed. I was especially bothered by what the priest would teach concerning what the Roman Church calls the sacrifice of the Mass; i.e., that in consecrating the bread and wine into the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, we the faithful are not merely remembering Him like some historical event or person, but re-presenting Him in this particular moment of time. In other words, whenever the Mass is celebrated, the timeless work of salvation, the Paschal Mystery (first time I learned this word “Pascha” from a Catholic priest) of Our Lord’s death, burial, Resurrection and Ascension is brought again from the timeless into this present moment of time.Continue reading
Revival in the Resurrection!
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, a week of services has begun unlike any you have experienced anywhere else on the planet. Today is Great and Holy Wednesday. If you are local to Boston, you are cordially invited to attend all of the services our parish offers. On Holy Friday, for instance, one of my sons feels like heaven and nature weep, so he makes a special candle to resist the elements and howling of any storm. If you can only do one service, 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!
In the Land of My Fathers…
When I first moved to Boston from the Midwest in the mid 90’s, I used to long after the land of my fathers. It has been a long time since I last visited. But now I get the chance to return to my home state of Ohio this weekend for a clergy retreat.
Fr. Basil Rusen, our host, tells the story of how St. Herman of Alaska Eastern Orthodox Church in Hudson, Ohio began in 2003. First, the faithful met in a small cemetary chapel, then a store front, and by God’s grace, eventually bought an old grange hall that they turned into an honest to goodness temple. Fr. Basil’s care for his flock and the people’s love for their parish is palpable in every nook and cranny. Besides the roof and windows, EVERY OTHER improvement and renovation was performed by the rational flock!Continue reading
Revival on the Mind
Dear friends, as we approach the beginning of Great Lent in both the Orthodox East and the West, I am so glad about what I hear coming from the Evangelical Church concerning revival of commitment to the Lord Jesus Christ. While I recognize that such occurrences can be fraught with celebrity pastors cashing in on a genuine work of the Holy Spirit, I am greatly relieved whenever I hear of the increase of worship in the One True God.
Tonight, we Orthodox Christians participated in a centuries old ritual of begging each other’s forgiveness in the name of Jesus Christ. It is a beautiful way to begin Great Lent, to clean our slate of any lingering bitterness or contempt that we often harbor towards our brothers and sisters in Christ. Please forgive me wherein I have offended you in thought, word, or in all my feelings. May God who forgives have mercy on and save us all. Have a blessed and most fruitful Great Lent!
Trading Goods and the Gospel
Sharing the Good News on the Silk Road
Talk by Dcn. Aaron Friar
Boston Trinity Academy, Trinity Term, February 10, 2023
The Gospel of our Lord, God, and Savior Jesus Christ has been preached and is known to thrive in some of the most diverse and exotic places on the planet. The Silk Road with its many varieties of cultures, languages, and peoples is no exception to this rule. “The Silk Road” is a term coined by a German geologist and explorer in the late 19th century to describe not a single route but a network of roads stretching from Xian, China in the east to as far west as Venice, Italy and as far south as India. While different parts of these roads were more or less active at different times in history, there are two periods of intense activity I wish to speak about today. The first spans the 7th – 10th century when the Byzantine Roman Empire and her capital city of Constantinople (New Rome) provided the midpoint and gateway for this road. The second period is the 13th-15th centuries when the Mongol Empire and its peace (Pax Mongolicus) greatly protected and encouraged trade on the eastern end of the road in China.Continue reading