The knowledge of God, generally spoken of in a very experiential manner, is an absolute foundation in Orthodox theology. Nothing replaces it — no dogmatic formula, no Creed, not even Scripture — though Orthodoxy would see none of these things as separate from the knowledge of God. But the questions I have received are very apt. In a culture that is awash in “experience,” what do the Orthodox mean when we speak of such things and what do we mean by such knowledge of God?
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Truly blessed are those families whose multiple generations can come together to celebrate the Resurrection of our Lord. Many of us know the heartache of having beloved members of our family absent from Pascha. And too many of us suffer the heartache of seemingly entire generations absenting themselves from communion. The following article, by Abbot Tryphon of the All Merciful Saviour Monastery on Vashon Island, explores why so many in this generation have gone missing.
At the Good Shepherd we commemorate Saint Cuthbert every week and people often ask me why we do this - and it is a good question as we are the parish of the Good Shepherd. Today (20th March 2022) is the day that we commemorate St. Cuthbert in the Orthodox Calendar so it seems appropriate to deal with this question today.
The Truth of Orthodoxy is a theological essay by Nikolai Berdyaev (1874–1948) about what makes Orthodoxy different from all other Christian Churches. In beautiful and nuanced language, Berdyaev examines the revelation of the Holy Spirit throughout Orthodox history, the holy mysteries in the interactions between the material and spiritual, and the liturgical means of teaching people about salvation and the life after death. In this excerpt, we learn why the Orthodox Church has changed so little over the centuries.
The word Advent comes from the Latin Adventus which means “coming.” In the Church calendar Advent refers to the coming of Christ, and is the ecclesiastical season just before Christmas. Advent commences two weeks prior to the Nativity of Christ (Christmas), and is commonly referred to as the “Nativity Fast.” On these two Sundays we are reminded of the Holy Ancestors of God and the Holy Fathers, Patriarchs, and Prophets who played a role in the coming of the Messiah. In the hymns of the Sunday cycle of services, we hear of their great faith and are called to build our own.
Orthodox Christianity involves the whole of life. Every part of an Orthodox Christian’s life is lived in, through and for Christ. Following Christ’s teaching, love for God and love for man constitute the centre of our being. This week, one of The Good Shepherd’s parishioners sent me his reflections the moral case for being vaccinated. I’d like to share it with you. “I’ve assessed the risk vs. reward trade-off of obtaining the COVID-19 vaccination as being strongly positive.
John the Baptist, the Forerunner of Christ, began his preaching with the message: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!” (Matt 3:2). That was Christ’s first message too! (Matt 4:17). In the New Testament, the word translated into English as ‘repentance’ comes from the Greek ‘metanoia,’ which means ‘to change one’s mind’ or ‘to turn around.’ To repent is to have a change of heart. An idea has developed in some non-Orthodox circles that repentance is a unique, one-time activity that occurs when first making a commitment to Jesus as Lord.
The Orthodox mind is a prepared mind. We never just “do an event.” We prepare for the event. And we never just prepare for an event, we prepare to prepare to prepare for the event! The fulcrum of our liturgical year is Pascha. Holy Week Prepares us for Pascha. Lent prepares us for Holy Week. And the week following Zaccheaus Sunday is when we prepare for Lent. So, today is the day we prepare to prepare to prepare for Pascha. What follows are six questions we can ask ourselves to see if we’re truly ready for Great Lent.
Seemingly every year there’s a mad rush to tie up loose ends at work, shop, party and stress over visiting the relatives. Despite our streets and shops having awesome decorations, Christmas in Australia has become increasingly secular. The most counter-cultural thing you can do is to make this season an opportunity for increasing your spiritual sensitivity.