No Place to Lay His Head

Op-Ed: Jewish Man Dies Penniless in Jerusalem, Messianic Claims Die with Him

He was born in a small town stable with barely a place to lay his head almost 33 years ago. Apprenticed to his father, a carpenter, he developed a reputation later in life as a teacher of the law and healer. Far from the important centers of commerce, trade, and education, he gathered a following of disciples mostly from the working class in the backwater region of Galilee. Many believed him to be the promised Messiah foretold of old by the prophets, but don’t messiahs come with more exalted pedigrees?

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Mystical Union with God

from “Introduction to Orthodoxy” – a Presentation at Boston Trinity Academy

by Fr. Romanos Karanos

Wednesday, April 6, 2022

a Greek Orthodox priest

Dear students, faculty, and staff of Boston Trinity Academy, it is a great honor for me to be with you today. I was asked to deliver a presentation entitled “Introduction to Orthodoxy” and I have dressed as fully as I could for the occasion. Inner cassock, outer wide-sleeved cassock, and the funny hat. There are two reasons I dressed like this. The first reason is for you to see what an Orthodox priest looks like and not be too scared next time you see one. The second reason is that people often mistake this look and the outward cultural elements of Orthodoxy for its essence. Several communities here in the United States, such as the Lebanese, the Russians, and the Greeks, use Orthodoxy as a banner under which they unite to project their cultural heritage and distinctiveness. Some think Orthodoxy is about the glory of Hagia Sophia, the iconic cathedral of Constantinople, modern-day Istanbul. Or they think it’s about long robes, beards, intimidating monks, and Byzantine Chant. Some believe Orthodoxy is an ethnic religion. “Are you a Greek priest?,” they often ask me. “When is Greek Easter this year?” “Can I come to your church if I am not Greek or Russian?” More tragically, Orthodox nations sometimes exploit their religious heritage to promote political agendas and even wage war on neighboring countries. OK, I’ll take off the funny hat now, so it doesn’t mess my hair!

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Reordering Our Disordered Desires

Forgiveness Sunday

At the beginning of another journey through Great Lent, I would like to offer this review of a book I recently finished. Please forgive and pray for me a sinner, and may our good God have mercy on us and forgive us all. Veliki Post!  Kali Tessarakosti!  Blessed Lenten journey to you all!

Never forget that when we are dealing with any pleasure in its healthy and normal and satisfying form, we are, in a sense, on the Enemy’s [God’s] ground. I know we have won many a soul through pleasure. All the same, it is His invention, not ours. He made the pleasures: all our research so far has not enabled us to produce one. All we can do is to encourage humans to take the pleasures which our Enemy has produced, at times, or in ways, or in degrees which He has forbidden. Hence we always try to work away from the natural condition of any pleasure to that in which it is least natural, least redolent of its Maker, and least pleasurable. An ever-increasing craving for an ever diminishing pleasure is the formula.”

C. S. Lewis’ demon Screwtape

A better description of our current culture’s infatuation with sex and the diminishing returns of unfettered promiscuity has never been so well put. And now with the publication of her most recent spiritual memoir, award-winning author Carolyn Weber describes how to reorder these disordered pleasures and loves in line with what St. Augustine called the City of God. In Sex and the City of God (SCG), Caro (as her close friends call her) provides a personal and powerful roadmap through a variety of sexual temptations including idolization of the beloved, casual hookups with friends, and one of the most devastating of all temptations, adultery. With a sharp wit and creative literary inspiration, this English professor narrates the details of her own love life and illumines all of her various relationships with the eternal truths of Scripture and the Holy Fathers.

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Christ the True Light

Sunday, January 13/26, 2020; Sunday After the Baptism of the Lord

1 Timothy 1:15-17
Luke 18:35-43
Ephesians 4:7-13
Matthew 4:12-17

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. Christ is baptized! An old Gospel hymn says, What can wash away my sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus. What can make me pure within? Nothing but the blood of Jesus. O precious is the flow that makes me white as snow. No other fount I know, nothing but the blood of Jesus.

Brothers and sisters in the Lord, on this Sunday after Theophany, the great Feast of our Lord’s baptism in our human flesh, what darkness covers our minds? What sickness is asking for the blood of Jesus to cure? The blind man in this morning’s Gospel dwelt in a literal darkness, yet his enlightened soul knew who to ask for help and mercy. We live in a supposedly enlightened age but are blind to God, so that while we see with our physical eyes, our spiritual sight is quite limited.

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Great Physician, Prince of Peace

Sunday, November 6/19, 2017
24th Sunday After Pentecost

Ephesians 2:14-22
Luke 8:41-56
St. Paul the Confessor, Archbishop of Constantinople (305)

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Glory to Jesus Christ! Glory forever.

O come, O come, Immanuel,
and ransom captive Israel
that mourns in lonely exile here
until the Son of God appear.

Rejoice! Rejoice! Immanuel shall come to Thee, O Israel.

O come, Thou King of nations, bind
in one the hearts of all mankind.
Bid Thou our sad divisions cease
and be Thyself our King of Peace.
(O Come, O Come, Immanuel, trans. By John M. Neale)

Sad divisions, bleeding people, and loved ones crushed by the weight of sin and sudden death— These are all reasons that Immanuel came in the flesh and dwelt among us. And now as we near the quiet season of Advent when we await that coming, let us pause to consider two particular people in need: A woman bleeding for 12 years from an incurable illness and a ruler stripped of an only daughter, struck down in the prime of her life at 12 years old. Continue reading

Migrants, Refugees & Jesus Christ

Went last night to an event where good friends who went on mission to the Middle East told the stories of  internally displaced persons and refugees from the Syrian Civil War. They blog about some of their experiences here. Below is a recent sermon on the subject from a good friend of mine in Webster, MA. May God have mercy on us all and teach us how best to reach out and care for what happens on the other side of the world.

How many of us saw the picture of the little Syrian boy washed up on the shore in his attempt to flee into Greece? How about other images of migrants desperately trying to leave places of hopelessness for a better future in Europe or somewhere else? What would drive someone to risk not only their own life, but the lives of their children and entire family?

For many of us, we feel quite uncomfortable looking at these scenes of frantic migrants. If you look through the internet, we can see inspiring examples of people reaching out in compassion and care, while we also see how migrants, refugees, and immigrants can be bundled into a political football, and tossed around in quite a callous manner. Continue reading

Welcome Home, Syedna Philip

He only said two words to me in his entire apostolic life, but they were the two most meaningful words I have ever heard a bishop utter. They were the same words he used to greet every wayward American pilgrim that had somehow found themselves at the doorstep of the ancient, apostolic Church. And they are the same words that we who love him the most now use to usher him in benediction on to his true and heavenly abode: WELCOME HOME. Continue reading