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.
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Angels are an important part of Orthodox belief, because we understand that angels are part of the worshiping church. But what are they? Well, the word angel comes from the Greek word for “messenger.” They are beings created by God, who are completely spiritual and have no body — though they are able to assume bodies. At baptism, every Christian is assigned a guardian angel who is to guard, guide and pray for him or her. Let's learn some more about angels and their role in the history of the Church.
What do you think or feel when you hear the name, “Mary”? For some her name evokes utmost love, but for others it surfaces wariness. Some people have their mind made up about Mary in advance — even if they haven’t thought about her themselves. We all need to avoid allowing preconceptions to colour our understanding. So, let’s open our minds for the next few minutes and examine what Scripture and History tells us about Mary the Mother of Jesus.
Epiphany is celebrated on Jan 6th, and it commemorates the Baptism of our Lord in the Jordan River by John the Baptist (Matthew 3:13-17). Epiphany is one of the major feasts of the Liturgical Year. During this service the Parish Priest blesses the Holy Water for the year, which is used to bless the homes of the people in the congregation. Let’s learn some more about Epiphany, the Blessing of the Water, and House Blessings. The meaning of Epiphany The doctrine of the Trinity is revealed in the Gospel reading of Christ’s Baptism, which reads:
The Lenten season is about penitence and reconciliation with God. The Holy Orthodox Faith gives us a prescribed way to achieve this through fasting, prayer and almsgiving. During the time of Lent we endeavour to prepare ourselves in holiness that we might properly greet the Risen Christ at the greatest of all Christian Feast Days, Pascha (also known as Easter). Let's learn more about the purpose of Lent, the weeks of remembrance during Lent, and how Lent is practiced.
In the seven weeks approaching Pascha, the Orthodox fast and pray during a season that we call, “Lent.” Lent is a practice that has been part of the Orthodox tradition for thousands of years. Let’s discover what Lent is, and learn a little more about its long historical development. Great Lent We can divide Eastern Orthodox Lent into three basic periods:
In the Orthodox Church the Easter Feast is officially called Pascha, which means “Passover,” and it remembers the new and everlasting covenant foretold by the prophets, which was fulfilled by Christ’s Resurrection. Pascha is the major feast of the Orthodox Liturgical year, and is a time of exultant joy and celebration, because Christ has broken the power of death! Let's learn some more about what Pascha is and how it is celebrated.
The Orthodox Church embraces what is known as “Holy Tradition.” Sometimes Christians have a problem with this position because they confuse “Holy Tradition” with what the Bible calls “the tradition of men.” But if we look closely at Scripture, we find that Scripture commends us to follow and practice “Holy Tradition.” Let’s learn a little more about the difference between the two.
The church of Antioch is the most ancient church after that of Jerusalem. The city of Antioch is situated on the eastern shore of the Mediterranean near the mouth of the Orontes River in northwestern Syria. Let’s learn about: the history of the Antiochian Orthodox Church, how the Antiochian Church was established and became a major centre for Christians, the persecution and decline of the Antiochian Church, and what can be found in Antioch today.
The ancient city of Byzantium, later renamed Constantinople, today known as Istanbul in Turkey, was dedicated by the Roman Emperor Constantine the Great as the new capital of the Roman Empire in 330 AD and functioned as the centre of the East Roman (or Byzantine) Empire for over 1000 years. Let’s learn about what Constantinople was like and how the city fell.