A Sin-o-cide Bombing in Many Languages

Christ is risen! Χριστὸς ἀνέστη! Христос Воскресе! !المسيح قام! حقا قام 
Truly, Truly, He is risen!

When our Lord rose from the dead and the Holy Spirit descended upon the polyglotted people gathered at Pentecost, the truth was proclaimed in every language available. In fact, in the latter feast, each heard the Gospel proclaimed in his/her own native tongue. Though of all the world’s languages, some have been set aside for particularly holy purposes, this does not preclude preaching the good news in them all. It is for this evangelical reason that the Church has ordained a service on the day of Pascha called Agape (Love) Vespers.

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An Assurance of Resurrection

duccio-di-buoninsegna-the-raising-of-lazarus-1310e2809311-e1277334608647April 23, 2016
Lazarus Saturday
23rd Anniversary of my Reception into the Orthodox Church by Chrismation

Giving us before Thy passion an assurance of the general Resurrection, Thou didst raise Lazarus from the dead O Christ Our God. Therefore, we like the children carry tokens of victory and cry to Thee the conqueror of death, “Hosanna in the highest! Blessed is He that comes in the name of the Lord.  (Troparia of Lazarus Saturday)

As a youth, I was often in need of assurance. Movements of my soul toward God were quickly followed by moments of intense doubt: “Did the Creator of the universe really perform a work in me or was it simply something I ate?” Assurance of genuine salvation then came by frequently answering a call to the altar, kneeling in a bare church, and praying somehow that this time salvation would really sink in deep. While this was a great beginning, I sensed there was more to my relationship with Christ. And when I discovered the Church’s sacramental life, I also found the key to unlocking my much needed assurance. Continue reading

Honest Doubt that Leads to Deeper Faith

Thomas Sunday, April 19, 2015
Sts. Constantine & Helen Greek Orthodox Church
Webster, MA by Fr. Luke Veronis

Re-posted here with permission. I love Fr. Luke’s distinctions of the various kinds of doubt.

thomas-sunday-largeChristos Anesti! Christ is Risen! As Orthodox Christians, we not only proclaim this fact, but emphasize that Christ’s Resurrection is the very cornerstone of Christianity. Our faith isn’t first and foremost about “Do’s and Don’ts,” about some moralistic standards. No, our faith is first and foremost about Christ victoriously rising from the dead, and destroying death itself! We’re talking about the ultimate victory of good over evil, of life over death, of Christ over Satan.

St. Paul put it most bluntly, when he states that if the resurrection isn’t true, then our faith is meaningless. If the resurrection is a fairy tale, then we Christians are the greatest fools of all, because we believe in a lie. If Christ is not risen, then we are all dead in our sins. The Apostle Paul goes on to say, if Christ is not risen, then instead of trying to live a disciplined, Christ-centered life of love, we should just eat, drink and be happy.  Just enjoy the moment and the day, for there is nothing after death! Continue reading

O God of Too Much Giving

April 12, 2015
Bright and Saving PASCHA
of our Lord Jesus Christ

Come, let us drink,
Not miraculous water
Drawn from a barren stone,
But a new vintage
From the fount of incorruption
Springing from the tomb of Christ:
In him we are established!
(Ode 3, Paschal Canon)

The strongest and most delicious liquor I have ever tasted was made by the hands of monks in a remote monastery in Greece. It brought refreshment at the end of a long and arduous journey and was accompanied by an equally strong piece of candy. Both were inebriating, but not excessive; intoxicating, while at the same time mysteriously bringing the calm of sobriety. Continue reading

The Lord’s Resurrection, Not Evolution From the Tomb

Eve of Great and Holy Saturday, 2014

In the tomb with the body, in hell with the soul as God, in paradise with the thief and on the throne with the Father and the Spirit, wast Thou O Christ, filling all things with Thyself. Bearing life and more fruitful than paradise, brighter than any royal chamber: Your tomb, O Christ, is the fountain of our resurrection.

–Priest’s words at the Great Entrance during the Divine Liturgy

epitaphios_greek

Since Pascha is the Feast of all Feasts, it is easy to miss all of the rich liturgical portions offered by Mother Church directly before the Easter extravaganza and directly afterwards. For me, especially dear is the service which acts as a kind of proto-Pascha, the Vesperal Liturgy usually chanted on the morning of Great & Holy Saturday, a service similar in content and purpose to what in the West is called the Easter Vigil. Continue reading

Calling the World to the Resurrection

I once taught a history course in my former school entitled Traveling the World with the Apostles, in which we learned about the various and diverse cultures of the world through the perspective of the first Christian apostle to those cultures. While a lot has changed at the school since I taught there almost a decade ago, there is still a strong sense in the curriculum of the universality of the Christian faith and how Christ calls the whole world to new life in Him. In this season of the resurrection, the Church celebrates this universality by chanting the paschal (Easter) hymn in as many different languages as our local choirs can muster. Here is just a sample of that diversity: Continue reading

Blessed to Be Her Father

Just finished updating myself on the recent tragedy at the Sandy Hook School in Newtown, CT last Friday. This story is very close to me not only as a parent, but also as a teacher. I want to know what I can do now to prevent such a future tragedy from occurring again. What powerful posture of defense can I take to ensure the safety of my own children and of the innocents given over to my care during the school day?

Combing the excellent coverage given to the event by the New York Times, I was most struck by the courageous and quick response given voluntarily by one of the fathers of the many young victims:

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