Category: The Sacraments

  • On Earth As It Is In Heaven – And Deeper Still

    We live and move in a sea of others. Our first breath (having emerged from a womb of maternal otherness) is drawn from air that has been breathed through timeless years by trees, animals, whales; whistled by birds, and passed through last words of dying lips; life-giving breathed by God in the First Man. The…

  • Dust of the Earth

    “You are dust, and to dust you shall return…” (Gen. 3:18) Human beings have a fundamental bond with the planet on which we live – we are made of its stuff. We are not made of Mars dirt, or Moon dust, Jupiter gas, or Saturn rings. We are made of earth dust – we always…

  • Robed in the Glorious Garment of Salvation

    “My soul shall rejoice in the Lord, for He has clothed me with the garment of salvation; He has covered me with the robe of gladness; as a bridegroom He has set a crown on me; and as a bride adorns herself with jewels, so my God has adorned me.” With these words from Isaiah,…

  • Baptism and the Final Destruction of Demons

    “Final” is not a word you often hear in Christian teaching. Most Christians leave the final things until, well, the End. But this is not the language of the fathers nor of the Church. A good illustration can be found in the Orthodox service of Holy Baptism. During the blessing of the waters the priest…

  • A Day Off Versus The Day Of

    In medieval England, just prior to the Reformation, there were between 40 and 50 days of the calendar (apart from Sundays) that were feasts of the Church on which little to no work was done. Historian, Eamon Duffy, describes this: As important as fast days were feast days, in particular the festa ferianda, on which…

  • The Sweetest Name of Jesus

    Some years back, I was given instruction on saying the “Jesus Prayer” by Archimandrite Zacharias of Essex. We spoke about the form of the prayer, and the pace it should be prayed. But it was his final instruction that touched my heart: “Pay particular attention to the Name when you pray it.” It is, after…

  • What Happens When We Play (Pray)

    In my previous article I compared children’s use of play to the place of ritual words and actions in the life of the Church. I absolutely did not mean to imply that one thing is like the other. I mean to say clearly that they are very much the same thing. And I say this…

  • Playing with God

    There are things that children understand instinctively. And the things that children know and understand are worth consideration. They have much to teach us. Among the most natural things children do is play. Depending on how you define play, it is among the first activities in which we engage. It comes to dominate the lives…

  • The Scandal of the Transfiguration

    My Archbishop (Alexander Golitzin) shares the story of a young man whom he taught some years ago. He was Orthodox from Estonia. He grew up in the Soviet era and had come to hate all things Russian, including the Orthodox Church. Nevertheless, he saw an Orthodox procession in the streets of his city one year,…

  • The Hidden Gospel

    There is a genre of Scriptural writings that are described as “apocalyptic.” The book of Revelation, in Greek, is called “The Apocalypse.” Ezekiel and Daniel also have very strong passages described as apocalyptic. The term is very straightforward: it means “revealing what is hidden.” These books are described as “making known hidden things,” because their…


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