Fr. Sergei Sveshnikov

The Law of God: Foundations of the Orthodox Faith. Lesson 3.

Posted in The Law of God: Foundations of the Orthodox Faith by Fr. Sergei Sveshnikov on 18 September 2010

English-language supplement for the Law of God classes for adults at the Holy New Martyrs of Russia Church in Mulino, OR

Lesson 3

Introduction

In the previous lesson, we undertook the difficult task of defining some key terms for our discussion of the Eucharist.  As tedious as this task was, it allows us to come closer to the main topic of this course and begin our study of the Eucharist.  As we discussed earlier, the Eucharist is a sacrament or even The Sacrament—it is the covenant between God and His people, the means by which Christ enters into us and we enter into His Body—and the two shall be one flesh.  Thus, we uncover one more meaning of the word sacramenta covenant.

In our discussion of sacraments we noted that there seem to be many sacraments of which Christians partake, but really there is only one—the sacrament of our salvation.  We can now apply the same paradigm to covenant.  God has established many covenants with the human race: the covenant with Adam, the covenant with Noah, the covenant with Abraham, the covenant with the patriarchs, the covenant with Moses, and many others.  But if we examine all of these covenants, we will realize that they are not separate covenants, but instead the same covenant between God and man, which was confirmed and reassured at different times and in different ways.  Let us now try to place the Eucharist in the context of only three sacred covenants: the covenant of Adam, the covenant of Moses, and the covenant of Christ. (more…)

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The Law of God: Foundations of the Orthodox Faith. Lesson 2.

Posted in The Law of God: Foundations of the Orthodox Faith by Fr. Sergei Sveshnikov on 12 September 2010

English-language supplement for the Law of God classes for adults at the Holy New Martyrs of Russia Church in Mulino, OR

Lesson 2

Introduction

Before we begin our study of the Liturgy and the foundations of our faith expressed through this service, we must define a few key terms that will help us in our discussion: sin, Eucharist, sacrament, baptism, and repentance.  Because this course is designed for people who are not theologians by training and is not intended to produce professionally trained theologians, our definitions and discussions will necessarily be incomplete.  We will try to examine only a few of the key ideas in ways that are easy to understand, but I urge all students to note things that seem interesting, ask questions, refer to the works of the authors whose names are mentioned in the lessons, and study the source texts directly. (more…)

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The Law of God: Foundations of the Orthodox Faith. Lesson 1.

Posted in The Law of God: Foundations of the Orthodox Faith by Fr. Sergei Sveshnikov on 5 September 2010

English-language supplement for the Law of God classes for adults at the Holy New Martyrs of Russia Church in Mulino, OR

Lesson 1

Introduction

When we visit different places, if we pay attention, we can usually tell to what purpose a certain place is dedicated, and what different people find most important or interesting.  At a library, we see shelves with books and comfortable chairs with lamps—this place is designed for storing books and allowing people to enjoy reading them.  At a university, we see large rooms with many seats and a lectern in front of them—this place is designed for allowing professors to lecture students.  At a concert hall, we also see many seats and a stage in front of them—this place is designed for allowing musicians to perform for spectators.  And at a friend’s house, we may see posters of a famous actor on every wall—this tells us that our friend likes this actor, finds him interesting, and spends time reading about him and watching his films.  It is much the same with Orthodox Christians: by observing how we build our churches, how we decorate them, and what we do, we can learn a lot about what we see as most important to us, what we are most interested in.  It does not at all mean that we are not interested in anything else—quite the opposite: we enjoy good books, good music, and good films.  But our relationship with our God is more important than all other things put together, and we express our understanding of this relationship in church. (more…)

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The Feast of the All-Merciful Saviour

Posted in Sermons by Fr. Sergei Sveshnikov on 2 August 2010

1/14 August 2009

All-Merciful Saviour Monastery, Vashon Island, WA

Those who are lucky enough to call this monastery their home parish, and those who came here from other cities and towns in order to partake of the sanctity of this holy place—I greet you with the Feast of the All-Merciful Saviour and His Most Holy Mother. (more…)

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Saint Seraphim will help!

Posted in Sermons by Fr. Sergei Sveshnikov on 1 August 2010

Russian: http://osergii.wordpress.com/

A talk given at the celebration in the Western American Diocese on 2 August 2003, Monterey, California

One of the organizers of the celebration of the glorification of Saint Seraphim of Sarov was a Russian patriot, General Vladimir Feodorovich von der Launitz, governor of Tambov in 1903. The General devoted his whole life to serving the Tsar and his Fatherland, and was eventually killed by a terrorist revolutionary while leaving a church. When he was asked how such a grand ecclesiastical celebration as the glorification of a saint can be organized, Vladimir Feodorovich crossed himself with a sweeping motion and responded, “Saint Seraphim will help!” These words of the Russian nobleman of an ancient boyar family were meant to express that which united over three hundred thousand people gathered from all corners of Russia in the Sarov monastery in July 1903: the hope with which the faithful turn to the God-pleasing saint for almost two centuries now, beseeching him for prayers and intercession before the Lord. (more…)

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Rauschenbusch’s “The Social Principles of Jesus” and the Identity of Western Christianity

Posted in Theology by Fr. Sergei Sveshnikov on 10 July 2010

It is said that Walter Rauschenbusch (1861-1918) was “the leading spokesman for the theology of the Social Gospel in American Protestantism” (from the introduction by Pelikan, 586).  Although a Baptist minister, Rauschenbusch apparently rejected biblical literalism in favor of historical criticism—a method of biblical analysis that originated in Rauschenbusch’s fatherland in the first half of the nineteenth century.  This method, quite popular even today, allowed Rauschenbusch to see the Gospel through the prism of the contemporary understanding of history, which in the age of social revolutions was dominated by the struggles of the lower classes.  In a series of books and essays, Rauschenbusch applied principles he believed were found in the Gospel as calls for social reform that continue to ring true for many modern Christian theologians.  In “The Social Principles of Jesus,” Rauschenbusch’s last essay published in 1918, the author attempted to use his reading of the Gospel as a foundation for social philosophy.  It is this reading, however, that, in our view, makes the foundation rather shaky.

The problem is in the fact that Rauschenbusch’s historical analysis turns Jesus into a failed Jewish revolutionary, and the Church into a piece of corrupted machinery with aimlessly spinning wheels (587-8).  Of course, Rauschenbusch curtseys to the traditional notions of Christ’s divinity in the opening paragraph of the essay, but immediately announces His losing in the “great spiritual duel … between him and the representatives of organized religion” (586).  As such, however, neither Jesus nor His Church can serve as a foundation for anything, except perhaps something like Vladimir Lenin’s “we will follow a different path.”[1] (more…)

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Varietal or Generic? On William James’ “The Will to Believe.”

Posted in Theology by Fr. Sergei Sveshnikov on 9 July 2010

For approximately a millennium, from the era of the first few Ecumenical Councils and through the Reformation, Christian faith was guided by a rather small number of established traditions.  This was not the case in the first few centuries of Christendom, as many competing views on core Christian teachings were vetted, and theologians sought ways of talking about new concepts and doctrines.  The result was not only the development of uniquely Christian ideas, such as the full humanity and divinity of Christ, but also the crystallization of a new theological language.  This new language gave new definitions to already existing philosophical terms and developed many new ones.  And as Christianity struggled to give precise definitions to such terms as hypostasis or ousia, among many others, strong traditions of Christian theology were established in part through the precision of language and clarity of thought.  Thus, the formation of traditional Christian theologies can be seen as the result of the polemic between the greatest thinkers that Christendom could produce.

A very similar process appears to have been restarted in the West, as post-Reformation Christendom fell apart into various creeds and theologumena.  And just as fitting definitions were sometimes elusive in antiquity, the language employed by modern thinkers is sometimes marked by a lack of clarity.  Apart from the issue of inclusivity—a type of thinking that purposefully avoids rigid definitions on the basis that someone is sure to disagree—some modern Christian theology often lacks definitions as if unintentionally.  Perhaps, this murkiness is due to a more intuitive understanding of faith that does not rely on reason as heavily as did the medieval scholastics.  More likely, however, this is due to a more simplistic approach to faith, rejection of the old dogmas, and a renewed process of finding “new and improved” definitions.  In this sense, in the last four hundred years Western Christian thought has been going through a process of discovering its own beliefs not unlike that of the first five centuries of Christendom.  Whether this is an ascent on the eternal spiral of human self-discovery, or the West’s attempt at reinventing the wheel is a topic for a different paper.  It suffices to say here that while some of the ideas born by modern Christian theologians do excite the taste with their freshness, many others fail to find their way out of the graveyard of ancient heresies. (more…)

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The Problem of the Central Persona in Eliot’s “The Waste Land”

Posted in Articles by Fr. Sergei Sveshnikov on 2 July 2010

I must admit that faced with the task of writing a short paper on “The Waste Land,” I agonized over the difficulty of pinpointing a topic—the poem seems bizarre, to say the least, and defies standard analytical thinking.  I was certainly glad that I did not have to study the poem in school; although my wife, who did, could not recall either a line or a theme from the work.  Perhaps, like esteemed critics of old, I too approached the poem “structurally looking for underlying mystic, symbolic, or formal coherence” (Davidson 6). (more…)

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On Tithing

Posted in Practical Matters by Fr. Sergei Sveshnikov on 1 July 2010

Russian: http://osergii.wordpress.com/

The Church is the Body of Christ, and just as Christ united in Himself human and heavenly nature, in the Church the heavenly is united with the earthly.  The Church is not only comprised of apostles, saints, and holy monks, but also of us—exactly in as much as we submit our earthly selves to the heavenly—”I no longer live, but Christ lives in me” (Galatians 2:20); in as much as we live in Christ.  As the Lord builds His Heavenly Church through the saints, He builds the Earthly Church through us. (more…)

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The Third Sunday After Pentecost: Seek First His Kingdom And His Righteousness

Posted in Sermons by Fr. Sergei Sveshnikov on 11 June 2010

In today’s Gospel reading (Matt. 6:22-33), Christ urges us not to be anxious about our lives and bodies—what we shall eat, drink, or wear (25).  But how can this be, if we must eat and drink, and clothe ourselves?  Are we not earthly beings, who are bound by laws of biological existence?  Do we not come from our forefather Adam, who is dust (Gen. 3:19), and as he was so we also are (1 Cor. 15:48)?  This is true; we are descendants of Adam, and find ourselves in a fallen state.  We sustain our lives by devouring the created world, we wrap out bodies in that which is corruptible, our soul draws its inspiration from the lusts and desires of our bodies, and our spirit feeds on the passions of the soul.  This is the order of life that has become habitual to us, but it is not natural for us; God did not create us for such an existence. (more…)

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On the Significance of the Ritual of the Russian Orthodox Church Surrounding Death and Dying for the Grieving Process of the Bereaved

Posted in Articles, Practical Matters, Theology by Fr. Sergei Sveshnikov on 7 June 2010

Presented at the Pastoral Conference of the  Western American Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church

San Francisco, California, 18 March 2008

Imprimatur: † Kyrill, Archbishop of San Francisco and Western America

Introduction

For them that mourn and grieve who look for the consolation of Christ, let us pray to the Lord! (From the Great Litany during the Panikhida or the Requiem Service)

This workshop was designed to be presented to the clergy of the Western American Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church abroad during the Spring 2008 Lenten Conference in San Francisco, California.  The purpose of the workshop is to provide the clergy with another tool in their work with grieving parishioners and their families as well as to raise the level of awareness of the stages of the process of grieving and the healing properties of the Church rituals which may be explored in relation to the grieving process.  As Lundquist writes in Ethnic Variations in Dying, Death, and Grief: Diversity in Universality, “death [in the dominant culture of the U.S.] is frequently treated as a taboo topic in conversation” (32).  This cultural conditioning of Orthodox Christians living in the U.S. goes against the millennia-old tradition of the Church Who reminds Her children that death is the ultimate culmination of the earthly life of every human.  The conversation about death, therefore, must be continued and supported within the Church which teaches, “in all you do, remember the end of your life, and then you will never sin” (Sirach 7:36 NRSV).  The participants of the workshop were invited to look at the meaning of Church rituals not only as the expression of Her beliefs concerning the fate of the reposed, but also and primarily, for this exercise, as a pastoral tool in helping the bereaved to transform the period of grieving and loss into a period of spiritual development and gain. (more…)

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The Second Sunday After Pentecost: The Feast of All Saints of Russia

Posted in Sermons by Fr. Sergei Sveshnikov on 4 June 2010

Today, on the second Sunday after Pentecost, we continue to explore the meaning of sanctity in our lives through the examples provided to us by the Church.  The Church guides us in the celebration of the memory of the saints who are the closest to us in culture, and often in time.  The numerous holy princes and peasants, learned and simple, monastics and soldiers, hermits and martyrs, men, women, and children—they are our ancestors and neighbors, parents and children, past and present.  Sanctity in the holy Church of Christ did not end in some long-ago century, but has always persevered, and is set as a standard for our own lives here and now.  Sanctity did not stop with the Apostles, or the Fathers, or even the New Martyrs of Russia, but reveals itself in the lives of the saints here in North America, some of whom many present here can remember personally.  And those who remember, for example, the life of Saint John of San Francisco, know that sanctity is not in spectacular fireworks or drumbeat from the sky, but in taking one’s cross and following Christ (Matt. 10:38). (more…)

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The First Sunday After Pentecost: On Sanctity

Posted in Sermons by Fr. Sergei Sveshnikov on 3 June 2010

Today, on the first Sunday after Pentecost, the Holy Church celebrates the memory of all saints.  Just as Pentecost is not the pouring out of the Holy Spirit two millennia ago on the Apostles only, but on the whole Church—that is to say, on us—now as then; in the same way the Feast of All Saints is not a memorial or a tombstone on the graves of some ancients, but a call to sanctity for us here and now.  And if anyone is dead to this call, if anyone is a stranger to sanctity and considers it to be for someone else, in some other place, and at some other time, he must ask himself whether or not he is in the Church, the living and holy Body of Christ, or whether he is a tree that does not bring forth good fruit (see Matt. 3:10).  But what is sanctity?  And what does it mean to partake of it? (more…)

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Blessed Augustine’s View of Self

Posted in Theology by Fr. Sergei Sveshnikov on 21 May 2010

It has been asserted that Saint Augustine of Hippo (A.D. 354-430) has had enormous influence on the formation of Western thought and Western civilization.  Some, as F.J. Sheed, for example, have even argued for St. Augustine’s “towering importance in the history of mankind” (Augustine 323).  It is not my goal in this paper to examine whether St. Augustine’s importance was indeed towering in the history of all mankind.  Nor do I wish to examine Jasper’s assertion that St. Augustine is “by far the most important hermeneut of the early Christian church”[1] (Jasper 39) from the position of the Eastern Orthodox Church.  Both issues, however, are of utmost importance to our discussion, but the authors’ statements and my implied questions are merely rhetorical.  One fact cannot be denied: St. Augustine indeed played a prominent role in the formation of the Western mind.   

Sheed notes that St. Augustine’s was “the one light that shone steadily” for the seven centuries between St. Augustine’s death and the twelfth century, when “first-rate thinkers were once more in action in the Church” (Augustine 324).  Despite the lack of an obvious reference to the Western Church, the context of Sheed’s remark leads me to believe that he would not challenge a hypothesis that the East was nourished by its own lights, while being somewhat shaded from the rays of St. Augustine’s “enormous intellect” (Augustine 324) by the cultural and ecclesiastical divide between the two parts of the Roman Empire.  Although, even in the West, such theologians as John Scotus Eriugena, whom Sheed apparently considers a second-rate thinker, were studying the Eastern Fathers (Pseudo-Dionysius, Maximus the Confessor, the Cappadocians, and others, in Eriugena’s case), and were not blinded by the illustrious Augustine.  In his discussion on the issue of the filioque, the Irishman apparently was not convinced by the Doctor’s arguments and preferred to search for answers, alas!—self-admittedly, in vain, elsewhere.  

Herein lies the area of my interest: if the East and the West are different (and I choose to presuppose that they are), and if the ecclesiastical, cultural, theological, and even intellectual divides have not been healed, despite centuries of pontifical[2] efforts, then it may be possible to find some early signs, some symptoms of the early stages of the looming Great Divorce, in the persona of St. Augustine of Hippo who “single handed… shifted the center of gravity” for the West (Martindale, qtd. in Augustine 324).  I do not wish to imply that St. Augustine’s work was the sole source of the estrangement between the East and the West—this matter is too complex to be addressed in a short paper.  But if St. Augustine’s influence in the West was as great as it is touted to be, then “cut off from its intellectual sources” in the East (Augustine 324), cut off from the ecclesiastical life within the Grace of concensus patrum, the West may have inherited not only the greatness of Bishop Augustine of Hippo, but also his individuality, peculiarities, oddities, and (ready?!)… flaws (!).  Quite apart from looking for straws in St. Augustine’s eyes—thankless pursuit indeed—I shall embark on a voyage of celebrating some of the differences in his and “the Easterns’” (as Pius IX referred to us in his [in]famous epistle) view of self. (more…)

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Ascension of Our Lord

Posted in Sermons by Fr. Sergei Sveshnikov on 12 May 2010

Russian: http://osergii.wordpress.com/

Today we celebrate one of the twelve great feasts of the Church, the Ascension of our Lord.  This feast, unlike immovable holidays, is directly related to Pascha and Pentecost.  Ascension crowns the celebration of Pascha and prepares us to receive the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost.

All this time, from Pascha to Pentecost, listening to the words of the Gospel and of church hymns, we as if again and again recall and relive the joy which encompassed the holy apostles.  Forty days from Pascha to Ascension they rejoiced in communion with the risen Savior (Acts 1:3): He came to them (Luke 24:36), stayed with them, ate with them (Luke 24:43), taught them and explained scriptures to them (Luke 24:45).  We also, keeping our paschal joy like the flame of a small candle, feel the Savior’s presence, commune with Him in the sacrament of the Eucharist, listen to the holy scriptures and teachings. (more…)

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The Healing of the Man Born Blind

Posted in Sermons by Fr. Sergei Sveshnikov on 8 May 2010

Русский: Исцеление слепорожденного

Christ is risen!

It is not for much longer that we will hear these marvelous words from the church ambo.  The all-Church celebration of this great solemnity, this salvific work of God is coming to an end.  Together with the angels in heaven, we sang the resurrection of Christ; together with Apostle Thomas, we called out, “My Lord and my God!” having met the Savior; together with the myrrh-bearers, we ran to the empty tomb, carrying our pain, our sadness, our sorrow and received the good news; like the paralytic, we were raised by Christ from the death of sin to pure life; and like the Samaritan woman who left her clay pot by the ancient well and ran to tell the people in the city about the coming of the Messiah, Christ urges us to leave the muddy waters of the worldly and the sinful and drink from the ever-flowing Divine source, leading us into eternal life. (more…)

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On The Parable of the Talents/Minas

Posted in Theology by Fr. Sergei Sveshnikov on 5 May 2010

“He Put Before Them another Parable” (Matt. 13:24)

Jesus told the crowds all these things in parables; without a parable he told them nothing. (Matt. 13:34)

Of all the passages in the Gospels, some of the best known and most often retold are probably the parables of Christ.  The stories of the Prodigal Son, the Good Samaritan, the Rich man and the Beggar Lazarus, the Publican and the Pharisee, the Talents and others have not only given rich homiletic material to preachers from across the full spectrum of Christian denominations, but have served as staples of Christian children’s education for many generations of the faithful and have become part of the collective cultural make up that has shaped the Christian world.

Perhaps due to this assimilation and acculturation of the Parables of Jesus within the Western mindset, many preachers and Sunday school teachers tend to forget the fact that Jesus was not an American televangelist and that his audience did not live in the American Suburbia.   Relatively recently scholars began the colossal work of putting many familiar stories into their proper first-century Palestinian context.  The shear amount of material uncovered by the historical social sciences will be enough for schools of theologians to sift through for years and decades to come.  Yet, as Richard Rohrbaugh writes in his recently published work The New Testament in Cross-Cultural Perspective (2007), very little work specifically on the parables of Christ “has taken into account recent efforts to use the social sciences in New Testament interpretations.  That is certainly the case with the parable of the talents…” (109) (more…)

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The Sunday of the Samaritan Woman: “Give me this water!”

Posted in Sermons by Fr. Sergei Sveshnikov on 30 April 2010

Русский: Неделя о самарянке: «Дай мне этой воды!»

Christ is risen!

Last week we heard the Gospel story about the healing font in Jerusalem, and about Christ, the Source of all healings, raising a paralyzed man.  And, as if in unison with that man, we asked the Savior to raise our souls that are paralyzed by sins.  On Wednesday we celebrated Mid-Pentecost, recalling the Savior’s teaching at a synagogue that He had come to heal the whole man (John 7:23) and to give him life; and also, remembering that Christ is the Source of life (John 7:37), we blessed the waters, asking God to give us His healing grace through the visible matter of water.  Today, as if continuing to point to the salvific font, to the spring of pure water, the Holy Church offers us a Gospel reading about Christ which likens His coming to the water of life, which quenches all thirst and flows into eternal life. (more…)

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More to the Point: Should Nuns Light Their Icon Lamps?

Posted in Women in the Church by Fr. Sergei Sveshnikov on 28 April 2010

As a continuation of the discussion started in my previous paper, “On ‘Ritual Impurity’: In Response to Sister Vassa (Larin),[1] I now would like to address some of the issues that have been raised in greater detail.  The problem that has been posed by Sister Vassa is as follows:

When I entered a convent of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad in France, I was introduced to the restrictions imposed on a nun when she has her [monthly] period. Although she was allowed to go to church and pray, she was not to go to Communion; she could not kiss the icons or touch the Antidoron; she could not help bake prosphoras or handle them, nor could she help clean the church; she could not even light the lampada or iconlamp that hung before the icons in her own cell: this last rule was explained to me when I noticed an unlighted lampada in the icon-corner of another sister.[2]

The conclusion at which Sr. Vassa arrives after a study of early Church writings and contemporary opinions expressed by a handful of ecclesiastical bodies is that the rules surrounding “ritual impurity” are “a rather disconcerting, fundamentally non-Christian phenomenon in the guise of Orthodox piety.”  In my previous paper, I raised some very general concerns about Sr. Vassa’s methodology in addressing the issue of ritual impurity in the Orthodox Church.  In this paper, I wish to attempt to find some constructive ways forward…

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There Is No Sex in the Church!: On the Problematics of Sexuality and Gender In Orthodoxy

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On “Ritual Impurity”: In Response to Sister Vassa (Larin)

Posted in Women in the Church by Fr. Sergei Sveshnikov on 27 April 2010

I recently read an interesting paper by Doctor Sister Vassa (Larin) concerning the issue of ritual impurity in the Orthodox Church. This topic is extremely important both because the bodily functions that give rise to this issue have been around presumably since the fall of Adam and Eve and because they are not likely to go away any time soon, save for an imminent parousia.  Namely, Sister Vassa explores the attitudes in the Church toward menstruation, although the issue of ritual impurity is broader than that, and I shall return to this point.

In a sort of deconstruction of the Orthodox tradition with respect to menstruating women’s participation in the liturgical life of the Church, Sister Vassa briefly examines the evidence of this tradition and conflicting opinions from various sources—the Old Testament, the Protoevangelium of James, writings of the Church Fathers—and notes some of the recent developments which point to the instability of the tradition.  The conclusion to which Sister Vassa arrives is that ritual impurity “finds no justification in Christian anthropology and soteriology.”  But is this really so?  I believe that a few comments made by Sister Vassa deserve further examination.

NOW AVAILABLE IN PAPERBACK!

A new book by Fr. Sergei Sveshnikov

There Is No Sex in the Church!: On the Problematics of Sexuality and Gender In Orthodoxy

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Other Books by Fr. Sergei Sveshnikov

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To donate through PayPal, click here

Or mail a check to Russian Church, PO Box 913, Mulino, OR 97042

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The Sunday of the Paralytic: “Do you want to be made well?”

Posted in Sermons by Fr. Sergei Sveshnikov on 24 April 2010

Русский: Неделя о расслабленном: «Хочешь ли быть здоров?»

Christ is risen!

Here we are, halfway between the Holy Resurrection of the Lord, the day of the salvation of the world, and Holy Pentecost, the birthday of the Church.  The holy Church, as if connecting both holidays with an invisible thread, tells us about the healing of the paralytic by Christ on the day of the Jewish Pentecost.  In this story we hear about the paralysis of sin and lengthy, very lengthy awaiting of healing, about hopelessness and the coming of Christ, our hope, and finally we hear the commandment to lead a righteous life. (more…)

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The Sunday of the Myrrh-Bearers

Posted in Sermons by Fr. Sergei Sveshnikov on 17 April 2010

Русский: Неделя жен-мироносиц

Christ is risen!

Today the Church celebrates the memory of the holy myrrh-bearing women.  The holy women were faithful disciples of Christ and always remained near the Lord in His earthly service.  They listened to his preaching in Galilean synagogues, walked with Him to Jerusalem, were present at the resurrection of Lazarus, cried with the Mother of God at the foot of the Savior’s Cross and followed Joseph and Nicodemus to the tomb.  They spent the hours following the Crucifixion in pain and agony with what was left of the Lord’s disciples.  Undoubtedly, their hearts burnt with the desire to run to the Lord, but they observed the Sabbath with other Jews “because that sabbath was a day of great solemnity” (John 19:31 NRSV). (more…)

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Saint Thomas Sunday

Posted in Sermons by Fr. Sergei Sveshnikov on 9 April 2010

Русский: Неделя Фомина

Christ is risen!

All of Bright Week we lived in the Paschal joy in the risen Savior; and our joy, just like that of the holy apostles, was mixed with confusion: not long ago we had remembered the death of Him Who is the Source of life, but now we rejoice, having been raised to life by Him Who had been in the tomb.  Just like the holy disciples and apostles during the first days after the resurrection, we vividly remembered the passions of Christ during the reading of the 12 Gospels; the Lord’s death and the taking down of His Body from the Cross, which we symbolized by the bringing out of the shroud; the Savior’s burial, when we carried the shroud in a procession around the church; and the long hours awaiting the miracle on the Saturday of Great Stillness. (more…)

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Palm Sunday: Entrance of Our Lord into Jerusalem

Posted in Sermons by Fr. Sergei Sveshnikov on 26 March 2010

Русский: Вербное воскресенье: Вход Господень в Иерусалим

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!

(more…)

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The Fifth Sunday of Great Lent: Satan’s Temptations

Posted in Sermons by Fr. Sergei Sveshnikov on 18 March 2010

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…)

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The Lion’s Song

Posted in Theology by Fr. Sergei Sveshnikov on 12 March 2010

It has been noted that, according to Genesis 1:3, light has been created by God[1]  before the heavenly “lights,” the sun, the moon, and the stars, were created three “days” later (1:14-19).[2]  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…)

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What is Your Name, Brother?

Posted in News by Fr. Sergei Sveshnikov on 11 March 2010

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…)

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The Third Sunday of Great Lent: The Veneration of the Cross of Christ

Posted in Sermons by Fr. Sergei Sveshnikov on 6 March 2010

Русский: Третье воскресенье Великого поста: Поклонение Честному Кресту Господню

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…)

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Why do we “diet” during Lent?

Posted in Interviews by Fr. Sergei Sveshnikov on 3 March 2010

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…)

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Mental Imagery in Eastern Orthodox Private Devotion

Posted in Theology by Fr. Sergei Sveshnikov on 1 March 2010

See also: Imagine That…: Mental Imagery in Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Private Devotion

Deutsch: http://vatopaidi.wordpress.com/2010/01/19/mentale-einbildungskraft-im-gebet/

 Just as there can be a properly trained voice, there can be a properly trained soul.[1]
 

—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…)

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The Second Sunday of Great Lent: On the Importance of Prayer

Posted in Sermons by Fr. Sergei Sveshnikov on 27 February 2010

Today, on the second Sunday of Great Lent, we celebrate the memory of Saint Gregory Palamas, Archbishop of Thessaloniki, who lived in the fourteenth century.  He is known for his defense of the Hesychasm of Athonite monks and the Orthodox understanding of prayer against the attacks of theologians who were influenced by Western scholasticism.

Most of us, living in the world as we do, know very little about the Hesychast controversy, the works of Saint Gregory, or about the practice of Hesychasm.  This is not because Orthodox theology and praxis is somehow more complicated than other areas of human knowledge and experience.  We are often very successful at learning highly complex subject-matters, mastering very sophisticated skills, and becoming experts in our area of work or study.  Yet, when it comes to prayer, too many Christians spend very little time and effort to learn about it and to practice it.  It is hardly surprising, therefore, that among the multitude of very accomplished experts on a variety of subjects that attend our churches, very few are experts in prayer. (more…)

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On the Spiritual Significance of Fort Ross

Posted in History by Fr. Sergei Sveshnikov on 26 February 2010

Russian: http://osergii.wordpress.com/

What we have, we protect not, and, losing it, we weep. 

A great deal has been written and said about the possible closing of Fort Ross on the Pacific Coast of California to the public, and about the cultural and historical significance of this southernmost Russian 19th-century settlement on the North American continent. Indeed, Fort Ross was and continues to be a symbol of the Russian presence on the West Coast of North America, and it played a key role in the history of the Russian exploration of Alaska and the Pacific coast of Oregon and northern California. But for an Orthodox Christian, the history of the Ross settlement is first of all tied to the history of the spreading of Orthodoxy in the United States, which for us has become a second home. (more…)

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“You, Brood of Vipers!”—Or What to Say to People Who Have Come to Be Baptized

Posted in Articles, Theology by Fr. Sergei Sveshnikov on 22 February 2010

See also “On the Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector.”

It is usually understood that when John the Baptists thundered “You, brood of vipers!” (Matt. 3:7; Luke 3:7) he was speaking to Pharisees and Sadducees and that this was not a very nice thing to say.  Indeed, Matthew makes it quite clear to whom John was speaking and that they—the Pharisees and Sadducees—were not good people (see Matt. 23:15, 23, 25, 27, 29).  Yet, what we know about the Pharisees is that they were very pious, religious, seekers of God, attempting to fulfill all of the religious rules and customs (Roetzel 39), and that their belief system in many aspects was very close to that of later Christianity (Brown 80).  Additionally, John said those words to the people who came to be “baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins” (Matt. 3:6). [1]

In this paper, I shall explore the possible meaning of the phrase “you brood of vipers” found in the parallel passage in the Gospel of Luke (3:7), where John is addressing the crowds.  Are we “much perplexed by his words and ponder what sort of greeting this might be” (Luke1:29)?  What did the author try to express and convey to the community by putting these words in the mouth of John the Baptist?  Was this an insult, a warning, or praise?  What would the intended reader of this passage learn from it? (more…)

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The First Sunday of Great Lent: The Triumph of Orthodoxy

Posted in Sermons by Fr. Sergei Sveshnikov on 20 February 2010

Русский: Первое воскресенье Великого поста: Торжество Православия

See also The First Sunday of Great Lent: What is Orthodoxy?

We have come to the end of the first week of the holy salvific, and great Lent.  We heard the prayerful canon of St. Andrew of Crete, in which we recalled people and events from the history of the Church, the history of humanity.  But it is not for the sake of a history lesson that we gathered in church each evening.  While hearing about the sinners of old who lived thousands of years ago in far-away places, we sorrowfully recognized our own sins. But it turns out that from the righteous ones we are truly separated by thousands of years and kilometers. (more…)

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The First Sunday of Great Lent: What is Orthodoxy?

Posted in Sermons by Fr. Sergei Sveshnikov on 19 February 2010

See also The First Sunday of Great Lent: The Triumph of Orthodoxy

On the first Sunday of Great Lent we celebrate the Triumph of Orthodoxy, a feast that was established in the year 842 to mark the final defeat of the Iconoclast heresy.  In issuing a decree to celebrate the Sunday of Orthodoxy, the Synod of Constantinople wished to specifically commit the restoration of holy icons and the triumph of Orthodox Christology to the collective memory of the Church.  During the eleven centuries that have followed since that day, the feast has come to be celebrated as the triumph of Orthodoxy over all heresies that have troubled the Church.  Within the solemn proclamation of the Anathema which is heard on this day in every Orthodox cathedral, the Church in its fullness confirms the faith of the Fathers and rejects all heresies of the past and present.  Yet the meaning of this feast is not in the rejection of false teaching from our midst, but in the true triumph of Orthodoxy in our hearts and lives. (more…)

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Repentance and Confession

Posted in Practical Matters by Fr. Sergei Sveshnikov on 17 February 2010

Русский: Покаяние и исповедь

Português: Grande Quaresma : Tempo de Confissão e Arrependimento

In order to understand what repentance is, one must first think about what sin is.  Most often, people liken sin to breaking God’s law or transgressing against God’s commandment.  Undoubtedly, such a characteristic of sin has its basis in the Old Testament.  But just like all Old Testament things, this is only a shadow or a symbol of that which has received a deeper meaning in the New Testament. (more…)

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Forgiveness Sunday

Posted in Fasting, Sermons by Fr. Sergei Sveshnikov on 13 February 2010

Русский: Прощеное воскресенье

Matthew 6 (RSV):

14 For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father also will forgive you;
15 but if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

*             *             *

Tomorrow we enter the holy days of Great Lent, and the Church calls us to ask forgiveness of one another with repentance and humility in our hearts.  We will enter a holy place and time.  In the time of the Law, God’s people travelled every year to the Holy City of Jerusalem and entered the Temple to offer a cleansing sacrifice.  In the weeks leading up to Great Lent, we hear wondrous words chanted in church: “If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning” (Ps. 137).  It is now time for us to remember the Heavenly Jerusalem, our Fatherland.  It is now time for us to direct our path to the Holy City and to enter the Temple of the Spirit to offer a living sacrifice, the fruit of repentance. (more…)

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Maslenitsa —A Pagan Holiday?

Posted in Theology by Fr. Sergei Sveshnikov on 8 February 2010

Русский: Масленица—языческий праздник?

One often hears that Maslenitsa[i] is a pagan holiday and that it is not good for Christians to participate in such festivities.  Is this so?  There is not a simple answer to this question and many similar questions that meet at the intersection of Christianity and pre-Christian pagan culture and customs.  The answer to this question is complex.  That is to say, it consists of several parts.

(more…)

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Memory of the New Russian Martyrs (2010)

Posted in Sermons by Fr. Sergei Sveshnikov on 6 February 2010

Russian: Память святых новомучеников и исповедников Российских (2010)

In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit!

Beloved in Christ brothers, sisters, and children,

Today we have been honored to be concelebrants and fellow communicants in the Divine Liturgy—the great Sacrament of the Body and Blood of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  This day is especially notable for us because today we celebrate our parish feast—the memory of the holy new martyrs and confessors of Russia.  From the earliest times of the Church, Christians gathered on the days of the memory of martyrs for the breaking of bread—participation in the sacred Eucharist; and today, the Lord granted us this great gift. (more…)

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Meatfare Sunday: The Great and Final Judgment

Posted in Sermons by Fr. Sergei Sveshnikov on 5 February 2010

Русский: Неделя мясопустная, о Страшнем суде

Português: O Domingo do Julgamento Final

Only one week is left before the beginning of Great Lent.  For people who are far from the Church, Lent comes unexpectedly, that is to say, they do not expect it and do not prepare for it.  For such people Lent ends just as unexpectedly, Church feasts unexpectedly pass by, and life itself unexpectedly comes to its natural end.  And it so happens that people spent their whole lives trying to hide from God, running from Him, and not expecting to meet Him. (more…)

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Trip to the Holy Land

Posted in News by Fr. Sergei Sveshnikov on 3 February 2010

Photos from the trip to the Holy Land 22-28 January 2010 (more…)

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On the Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector

Posted in Theology by Fr. Sergei Sveshnikov on 1 February 2010

This paper is a development of the study on the Gospel of Luke started in the previous work titled “You brood of vipers!–Or What to Say to People Who Have Come to Be Baptized.”

In almost two thousand years of Christianity, we have learned to understand the Holy Christian Scriptures in our own particular way.  We have learned to apply the Scriptures to our own time, our own situation, and to derive meaning particular to what we believe.  In our prayers we may ask God to grant us “the humility of the Publican” from Christ’s parable (Luke18:9-14) and compel each other to “flee the proud speaking of the Pharisee” (Lenten Triodion 106).  The very words “Pharisee” and “pharisaic” (“pharisaical”) can be used in a derogative way by some Christians to describe “hypocritical censorious self righteousness” (Brown 79, fn 19), apparently drawing on passages such as Matt. 23:15, 23, 25, 27, 29.  But did the author of the Gospel of Luke and the early Christian community put the same meaning in those words?  Did they understand them in the same way that we so often do? (more…)

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The Meeting / 2/15 February 2009–The Feast of the Meeting of the Lord and Sunday of the Prodigal Son

Posted in Sermons by Fr. Sergei Sveshnikov on 30 January 2010

Today is an unusual day.  On this day, two liturgical cycles come together, and we hear two marvelous Gospel readings about the Meeting of man and God.  In a certain sense, this Meeting contains the meaning of religion.  If we choose to derive the word “religion” from the Latin re-ligāre—“to re-tie,” then the break which began when Adam hid himself from God (Gen. 3:10), ended when the son “arose and came to his father.”  And God, “while [the son] was yet at a distance, … saw him and had compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him” (Luke 15:20).  God Himself comes to us, embraces us in the state in which He finds us, restores in us the robe of righteousness (Isa. 61:10), and leads us home Himself. (more…)

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God, Be Merciful To Us, Sinners

Posted in Sermons by Fr. Sergei Sveshnikov on 30 January 2010

Russian: Неделя мытаря и фарисея

Today, we begin the beautiful cycle of services from the Lenten Triodion.  The word “triodion” means “three songs,” but really there are many odes in this book—all of them are offered for our spiritual benefit.  The Holy Church is preparing us for Great Lent.  Like any journey that is to be successful, the journey of Lent must be undertaken with proper resolve, commitment, and preparation.  And this is why we do not just begin Lent one day, but take time to prepare for it; not merely waiting, but actively preparing our hearts, minds, and bodies for this journey to Pascha. (more…)

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The Sovereignty of God

Posted in Theology by Fr. Sergei Sveshnikov on 13 January 2010

Among the Western thinkers of the Cold War Era, Iris Murdoch (Jean Iris Murdoch, 1919-1999) holds a very special place of honor and distinction.  It is not the fact that she was made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire,—there have been scores of distinguished women before and after Murdoch; and in 1987, she was one of nine.  Nor was it that she was truly intelligent, for although the truly intelligent may be more rare these days than the Dames Commander, they nonetheless abound even among Murdoch’s contemporaries.  What sets Murdoch apart is the rarest quality of all—honesty, primarily with herself, which cannot but captivate and humble her reader. (more…)

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Interview on Church Etiquette

Posted in Interviews by Fr. Sergei Sveshnikov on 8 January 2010

Emmy Louvaris asks questions about church etiquette for the Orthodox Christian Network. (more…)

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On Consumerism in Church

Posted in Sermons by Fr. Sergei Sveshnikov on 2 January 2010

Russian: http://osergii.wordpress.com/

People like that say one thing, but something else is in their heart; on their tongue it is, “Lord, have mercy!” but inside, “Have me excused.”

St. Theophan the Recluse

In Christianity, we constantly use familial themes: we call each other “brother” and “sister,” we call upon God as “Father,” we get together and partake from one Cup, after each service we sit down for a meal at the common table, we are taught to care for each other as one would for family…  but do we adhere to these teachings?  Do we think of our Church as our home, of God as our Father and of each other as a brother or a sister?  Quite the opposite often appears to be true.  In this age of individualized consumerism, we often treat our Church as a spiritual “supermarket.”  We properly recognize that the Church offers us treasures, but instead of communing we consume. (more…)

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The Parallel Slavonic-English Text of the Liturgy is Now Available in Coil Binding

Posted in News by Fr. Sergei Sveshnikov on 1 January 2010

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Morning and Evening Prayer Rules in the Russian Orthodox Tradition

Posted in Practical Matters by Fr. Sergei Sveshnikov on 22 December 2009

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Introduction

My interest in the history of the Morning and Evening Prayer Rules came from a somewhat unusual source: in more than seven years of serving as a parish priest, I have regularly heard it confessed by a large number of people that they fail to complete all of their daily prayers.  What is meant by these confessions is that some penitents regularly cut short the Rules contained in the Orthodox Prayer Book.  It must be noted, however, that there appear to be no standard rubrics for the composition or length of Morning and Evening Rules, nor is there a mention of the “sin of the shortening of the Prayer Rule” either in the daily confession of sins contained at the end of evening prayers, or in the Rite of Confession contained in the Book of Needs.  To be sure, one of the prayers in the evening rule does mention being “neglectful of prayer,” but this likely refers to one’s general attitude toward prayer, rather than to a modification of the Prayer Rule, although there can certainly exist a causal relationship between the two.  At least two issues immediately arise from this situation: 1) whether shortening the generally prescribed Prayer Rule should be viewed as a confessional issue; and 2) by whom and when the Prayer Rules were compiled. (more…)

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On Church Etiquette

Posted in Practical Matters by Fr. Sergei Sveshnikov on 10 December 2009

Russian: О церковном этикете

“…all things should be done decently and in order” (1 Cor. 14:40)

Every human society, or as sociologists would say, “social group,” has its own specific rules of behavior and etiquette.  These rules can be very different, but this does not mean that one group’s etiquette is better than that of another.  Quite simply, in Russia, for example, when meeting someone, it is customary to wish each other good health (“Здравствуйте!”), but in the United States to ask “How are you?”

The Orthodox Church is the sacramental Body of Christ, but at the same time, it is a group of people who are united not only spiritually, but also socially.  This is why the Orthodox Church has developed its own rules of etiquette.  Unfortunately, many of us grew up in an unchurched soviet or post-soviet society and came into the Church at an age when our parents and grandparents were no longer telling us how to behave ourselves, as they did when we were younger.  This is why it is up to us to observe and learn the rules and customs of the Church and of our parish. (more…)

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Jane G. Meyer Reviews “Break the Holy Bread, Master” for Ancient Faith Radio

Posted in News by Fr. Sergei Sveshnikov on 9 December 2009

Jane G. Meyer reviews “Break the Holy Bread, Master” for Ancient Faith Radio (more…)

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Questions and Answers About the Nativity Fast

Posted in Interviews, Practical Matters by Fr. Sergei Sveshnikov on 9 December 2009

Russian: http://osergii.wordpress.com/

Português: http://cetroreal.blogspot.com/2010/11/como-se-preparar-para-santa-natividade.html

Published by Orthodoxy and the World

Pravmir: The Orthodox Church prepares the faithful for the Nativity of the Lord by the 40-days fasting period. The secular world has its own spirit of Christmas preparation: parties, presents, Christmas markets, early decorated stores… How not to be involved by the secular pre-celebration of Christmas and to keep the fast not only in food, but in spirit as well?

Fr. Sergei Sveshnikov: First of all, I would warn against building too high a partition between the “Christian world” and the “secular world.”  In the true sense of the word, there is no such thing as the secular world; there is only one world–that which was created by God and corrupted by sin.  Trying to “flee from the world” may be a lofty aspiration indeed, but one that in its purest form would require us to abandon our employment, family, relationships, oh, and probably the internet as well.  Yet it is unthinkable that the Church would want all of us to become monastic hermits—Christians would simply die out within a generation or two! (more…)

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On the Beginning of the Nativity Fast

Posted in Sermons by Fr. Sergei Sveshnikov on 27 November 2009

Russian: На начало Рождественского поста

Italiano: Sull’inizio del Digiuno della Natività

We have begun the joyous and holy Nativity Fast.  The fast begins on November 28, or forty days before the Nativity in the flesh of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ and ends on the feast itself or January 7, according to the secular calendar.  Just as the Jews wandered in the wilderness for forty years before entering the Promised Land, the Holy Church leads us for forty days into the wilderness of the Fast before entering into God’s promise revealed on the Nativity.  For the Jews, it was in order to shake off the bonds of slavery—physical, mental, and spiritual.  An entire generation of people born and raised in Egyptian slavery was to die before those who no longer remembered being slaves and those who were born free were allowed to enter the “land flowing with milk and honey” (Exod. 3:8).  And so it is with us: we must shake off the bonds of slavery to sins and passions—physical, mental, and spiritual.  We must cease being slaves of sin and become friends of Christ by keeping His commandments (John 15:14). (more…)

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On the Murder of Father Daniil Sysoev

Posted in Sermons by Fr. Sergei Sveshnikov on 22 November 2009

Português: http://cetroreal.blogspot.com/2009/11/perseguicao-igreja-o-assassinato-do.html

Deutsch: http://vatopaidi.wordpress.com/2010/03/01/uber-den-mord-an-vater-daniil-sysoev/

Today, the holy Church celebrates the memory of its martyrs who lived a long time ago.  But it is time for us to also remember those who have suffered for Christ very recently.

Only a few days after a religious extremist shot 13 people on an American Army base, another extremist shot and killed a priest at his church in Moscow.  This was not the first priest who has been killed in Russia in recent years.  In fact, in the last two decades, at least 26 Russian clergy have been killed and many others wounded in failed murder attempts.  Of course, not all of these murders were motivated by religious beliefs; some were committed by criminals who did not believe in much of anything at all.  Yet, many murderers claimed to have been acting in the name of Satan, Krishna, or Allah.  The latest victim in a string of murders motivated by religion appears to have become Priest Daniil Sysoev, the rector of the Apostle Thomas church in Moscow. (more…)

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Reflections on Female Spirituality

Posted in Women in the Church by Fr. Sergei Sveshnikov on 13 November 2009

Every man, at least every married man, is faced with the task of deciphering female psychology.  Popular wisdom provides plenty of evidence to the many differences between men and women, but more scholarly works are equally plentiful.  Additionally, a large body of feminist thought has now provided insight not only into the unique psycho-emotional makeup of men and women, but also into differences in male and female worldview and spirituality. 

The following are very unscientific reflections and observations of one man on just a few ways that expressions of female spirituality may be seen through a male prism, or, as they like to say nowadays, window of understanding…

NOW AVAILABLE IN PAPERBACK!

A new book by Fr. Sergei Sveshnikov

There Is No Sex in the Church!: On the Problematics of Sexuality and Gender In Orthodoxy

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Other Books by Fr. Sergei Sveshnikov

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On the Role of Women in the Church

Posted in Articles, Practical Matters, Theology, Women in the Church by Fr. Sergei Sveshnikov on 13 November 2009

The issue of women in the Church has been raised many times during the history of Christianity, beginning with the very first decades of the Church’s existence.  That is why, when in the twenty-first century one asks about the role of women in the Church, one does not speak of this role—Christ Himself spoke about it and the Apostle Paul wrote about it in his letters—but the continuing problem of the relationship between genders in the family, society, and the Church.

In Church consciousness, this problem is usually expressed in terms of bearded men in black possessing administrative authority which they withhold from women, even if the latter choose to glue on a mustache and don a black robe.  From the point of view of modern Western culture—to which not only immigrants making their lives in the United States belong, but also in a significant way Orthodox people living in the European part of Russia—there is clear evidence of the discrimination of the Church against women only because they were born women.  This is why it seems somewhat strange to me that I, a bearded man in a black robe who possess some limited administrative authority in my parish—a small part of the Church, have been invited to tell women about their place in the Church…

NOW AVAILABLE IN PAPERBACK!

A new book by Fr. Sergei Sveshnikov

There Is No Sex in the Church!: On the Problematics of Sexuality and Gender In Orthodoxy

+

Other Books by Fr. Sergei Sveshnikov

+

Support our church! Make a small donation today!

To donate through PayPal, click here

Or mail a check to Russian Church, PO Box 913, Mulino, OR 97042

Click this link for the donation page

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