On the weekend of Palm Sunday, six adults were joyfully received into the fellowship of Holy Orthodoxy through baptism and chrismation. Taking their stand with Christ and His Church, four received the grace of baptism and two of chrismation. They join an increasing number of people whose lives are being transformed by “the grace of the Lord, the Love of the Father and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit.”
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St. Symeon was the Abbott of Studios Monastery, outside of Constantinople. His writings date from around 1003 AD. He came from an influential political family that was swept from government when he was six. Trained to be a government official, he was leading a religious but worldly life in his early twenties. One night while saying his prayers, His life was dramatically transformed by a vision of the uncreated light. Wanting to follow the calling of God into a monastery, his spiritual father advised him to stay in his courtly role.
The genius of Orthodoxy is its ability to grasp such apparently paradoxical teachings as: God is one and three. Christ is fully God and fully man. The faithful are both sinners and saints. The following article, by Abbot Tryphon of the All-Merciful Saviour Monastery on Vashon Island, explores the reality of the holiness of the Church in the face of apparent evidence to the contrary.
Growing in Orthodoxy Joining the Church was only the start of a wonderful journey of discovery. Archbishop Paul had me undertake three years of Orthodox theological training. I learned by correspondence with the Antiochian Village in America, which offered the St. Stephen’s Diploma of Orthodox Studies. That was brilliant. I discovered that there are many subtle theological shifts I needed to get my head around. I had no difficulty accepting them all.
Finding the Orthodox Faith I knew we needed to join the Church. I’d learned from Peter Toon that Christ’s Church exists as a physical reality on this earth. I knew Christ had said the gates of hell would never prevail against it, so I knew that it existed. And I had learned from Michael Harper that the Anglican Communion was simply no longer the Church.
Completing my military training In Sandhurst, I’d picked up the terrible habit of swearing: that’s what Army men did. But following my conversion, the next time I reflexively uttered the Lord’s name in vain: I was utterly shocked and realised what I’d done. That was the last time I took the Lord’s name in vain. I’d become very self-focused during the intense military training. Now I became much more aware of the others around me and my focus began to turn outward.