Our Great Lent has come to an end; tomorrow, we enter the Passion Week. Great Lent is our journey to God, and it ends at the gates of Jerusalem. Today, we greet the coming Lord with palm branches in our hands (John 12:13), sing to Him “Hosanna” (Matt. 21:9), carpet his path with our clothes—such a solemn and joyous occasion! It seems that if we become silent, then the very stones will shout out (Luke 19:40). But what a terrible solemnity this is!
Today, we remember the life, struggles, and victory of our Mother among the saints Mary of Egypt. And verily she is our Mother in the faith, as more people have been inspired by her well-known life than there were Corinthians in the days when Apostle Paul wrote his letter to them. Yet so very often we remain distant and strangers to the treasure of Saint Mary’s life experience. (more…)
It has been noted that, according to Genesis 1:3, light has been created by God before the heavenly “lights,” the sun, the moon, and the stars, were created three “days” later (1:14-19). In fact, even “vegetables” were “brought forth” by the earth before the sun existed to make them ripe. The nature of the light that was created on the first day as well as the entire account of the creation of our world found in Genesis has occupied the thoughts of some of the greatest minds of humanity. This intense interest in the creation story is easy to understand: our views on the origins of the world and humankind have a great effect on our understanding of our purpose and destiny. (more…)
The customary Lenten pastoral conference and retreat of the Western American Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church was held in San Francisco from March 8 to 10 of this year. New to our Diocese is Professor Deacon Matthew Steenberg who moved to San Francisco from England and has been assigned to St. Tikhon of Zadonsk church. Father Matthew gave the first lecture of the conference on the topic of whether God causes earthquakes, such as the ones that devastated Haiti and Chile. (more…)
Today we have reached the midpoint of Great Lent; we have travelled half of our path to the Holy Pascha of our Lord. Having come to the center of Lent, we piously venerate the life-giving Cross of Christ. In the synaxarion for today we read that since the Cross is the Tree of Life, and this tree was planted in the center of the Garden of Eden, in the same way the holy fathers placed the Tree of the Cross in the middle of Great Lent, reminding us of Adam’s fall. At the same time we are delivered from the fall through the tree, for partaking of it we no longer die, but inherit life. (more…)
What exactly are we trying to accomplish during Great Lent? Is it simply to attend services and change our diet? Or are these a means to an end? (more…)
Just as there can be a properly trained voice, there can be a properly trained soul.
—Fr. Alexander Yelchaninov
This presentation is based on the research that I undertook for a book titled Imagine That… : Mental Imagery in Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Private Devotion, published in paperback in February of 2009 with the blessing of His Eminence Archbishop Kyrill of San Francisco. The work is an analytical comparison of Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox attitudes toward mental imagery. In this presentation, I wish to focus specifically on the Orthodox tradition of prayer. (more…)