Icons have been described as “Theology written in images and colour.” Icons are not just pictures — they are sacred images, which convey spiritual truth in picture form, and are sometimes described as windows to heaven. Let's learn some more about what icons are, how they are made, the symbolism involved, and why some people protested against them!
Fr. Geoff’s Blog
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Exploring Orthodoxy 2019 was a remarkable worship experience and a celebration of the Orthodox witness to Jesus Christ the Son of God. The day began with a Matins service led by the Antiochian Metropolitan Archbishop of Australia, New Zealand and the Philippines, His Eminence Basilios (Kodseie). The antiphonal contrast of Byzantine and Slavonic Polytonic chanting expressed the unity of the Orthodox Tradition within the diversity of multi-cultural Australia.
Learning to live a life of repentance is aided greatly by the Holy Mystery of Repentance. Commonly called “Confession,” it brings enormous relief from the burden of sin. Sin erects a barrier that feels like it cuts us off from God, interrupting our intimacy with Him. Confessing our sins to Christ and being assured they are forgiven restores intimacy.
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.
Orthodox priests were recently featured on the evening news. The Orthodox were celebrating Theophany, which memorialises the revelation of the Holy Trinity in and through Jesus Christ’s baptism. The reporters asked the Orthodox priests what the celebration meant to them. Now I don't know everything the priests said, but what made it to the evening news was, “It's a little slice of Greece.” The news broadcast focused on the cultural aspects of the celebration and completely avoided mention of any religious aspects.
At our Christmas baptism in 2017, six adults were baptised, chrismated and received into the Holy Orthodox Church. Following that service, a member of the congregation predicted that there would be two more sets of six adults baptised, chrismated and received into Holy Orthodoxy. Turns out that was a good prediction.
Pastoral Letter of the Holy Nativity of Christ — 2018 By the Grace of God John X Patriarch of the Orthodox Church of Antioch To my Brothers, the Hierarchs and Shepherds of the Holy Church of Antioch, My Beloved Spiritual Children throughout the Apostolic See “I hear the angels sing today in Bethlehem: ‘Glory to Him whose good pleasure it was that peace should come on earth!’” (Litya of the Holy Nativity of Christ’s Feast).