There is a figure in the standard Nativity creche scene. She is often forgotten other times of the year, but during the Christmas season, it is impossible to avoid her. One popular song during this season evokes wonder about what she knew or perhaps did not know at first about her role in Messiah’s birth. While it is meant to evoke wonder at the Lord, I wonder if it is dismissive of his mother in some subtle way. The words go…
Monday, November 28, 2022 First Day of the Nativity Fast Commencement of Advent in the Orthodox Church
Growing up, I was taught many things about the Christian faith that did not seem exactly right. One puerile notion that was especially debilitating was this idea that fidelity to tradition was somehow antithetical to the more romantic adventure of discerning revival, i.e., what God is doing NOW, in our own day and age. According to this notion, the divine mercies that are “new every morning” have to make a clean break with what came before, and the Christian revolution should break with the old, worn out traditions as well.
Today marks an important feast in the life of the Church, but it is an important feast for me personally, as it features someone who has helped me so much over the years. This feast of the falling asleep of the Blessed Virgin Mother Mary is the foundation of our family life. While the Russian Royal Family serves as our family feast day, this feast was our family feast day before I had a family, or rather when I was praying fervently to have one of my own.
I am an art collector. A good painting with an equally good story has a way of catching my eye and heart. But because I have neither the time nor the pocketbook, most of my collecting happens online via Google image searches. And once I find an image that means something particular to me, I like to hunt it down to its source, where it lives, usually in a museum or sometimes in a church.
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!