O, Happy Day

Today I return to my home parish, my home altar, and the people who are my home in the Orthodox Church. We are not a perfect lot, but it is the lot that I know and love, and who, largely, know and love me. Some of them have suffered long with me from early early days in a warehouse in Knoxville, TN, to our present, relatively good days, others have joined us only recently.

But like all Orthodox congregations, He has called us to love beyond ourselves and beyond the borders of what we thought possible. It is a congregation that has loved and nourished me.

A little over ten years ago I had no vision other than a conversion to Orthodoxy. I could not imagine a ministry or anything beyond survival. That my ministry has far exceeded mere survival is abundantly beyond all I could ask or think.

I ask your prayers as I enter into the ministry that is my day to day life and prayers for those who have to live with me as their priest. May God have mercy on them!

About Fr. Stephen Freeman

Fr. Stephen is a priest of the Orthodox Church in America, Pastor Emeritus of St. Anne Orthodox Church in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. He is also author of Everywhere Present and the Glory to God podcast series.





6 responses to “O, Happy Day”

  1. frmilovan Avatar

    And may God bless you in your pastoral obedience.

  2. luciasclay Avatar

    Today I attended an Orthodox Church service for the first time. The Liturgy was in English.

    Having been listening to Ancient Faith Radio, and a couple CD’s I bought, one of the liturgy it seemed at least familiar to my ears. I had at least some small understanding of what I saw. But it was indeed a small understanding.

    Lets just say to one who has grown up in an evangelical fundamentalist type background it was a wee bit different 🙂

  3. Ezekiel Avatar


    Indeed! 🙂

    There is a fullness to the Divine Liturgy not found anywhere else. Many levels, many marvelous things happening at the same time: the priest praying, the chant, the personal prayers and piety.

    So, attend for a “month of Sundays ..” because except for some of the hymnody and the readings, the Liturgy is the same every Sunday, making it easier to pick up, to learn.

    In praying the Liturgy you are also learning the faith, so to speak!

    It certainly isn’t a thing that can be fully appreciated in a “hit and miss” manner” or in one visit!


    Christ is in our midst!

  4. shevaberakhot Avatar

    …and the fullness of things to come!

  5. Ioannis Freeman Avatar

    Oh, happy day,
    Oh, happy day,
    When Jesus washed,
    (when jesus washed)
    Oh, when he washed,
    (when Jesus washed)
    When Jesus washed,
    (when Jesus washed)
    He washed my sins away!
    —-lyrics by Edward Hawkins

    Mercy unfolds one happy day, and the lyrics keep ringing in ears across the globe every day thereafter. Father +Stephen tends the flock at home and heart, both local and far, with abiding thanks.

  6. mic Avatar


    hahaha, i know what you mean man! before i attended my first Orthodox Liturgy i listened to the Divine Liturgy every day for 5 months straight (and prayed the daily prayers found in the Orthodox Pocket Prayer Book) and still when i attended that first Liturgy, it was for me as you said, “a wee bit different.”

    but, i have been attending Divine Liturgy now for 2 years (as Orthodox for 1-1/2 of those years) and now i feel more natural celebrating the Liturgy, than i ever did as a protestant celebrating any protestant service.

    Ezekiel has the right idea about attending Liturgy consistently over an extended period of time. that is the only way that you can truly learn Orthodoxy…Christ is in our midst!!!

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