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Descent of the holy spirit

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“The Holy Spirit hath ever been and is, and shall ever be, neither beginning nor endings; but He is ever ranked and numbered together with the Father and the Son. He is Life, and life-creating; Light and light-bestowing; by Nature All-Good, and the Source of goodness; through Him the Father is know, and the Son is glorified; and thereby all Mankind acknowledges a single sovereignty, single covenant, one adoration of the All-Holy Trinity!”

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Lenten Reading: St. Macarius the Great. Homily 3

Lenten Reading: St. Macarius the Great. Homily 3 St. Macarius the Great That the brethren ought to live in sincerity, simplicity, love, and peace with each other, and to carry on contest and war in their inward thoughts. 1. The brethren ought to dwell together in much charity, whether they are praying, or reading the scriptures, or doing some kind of work, that they may have the foundation of mutual charity. In this way, those various inclinations may find favor, and those who pray, and those who read, and those who work, can all live in sincerity and simplicity with each other to their profit. What is written? Thy will be done, as in heaven, so on earth,1 in order that as the angels in heaven dwell together in great concord, peace, and charity, and there is no such thing there as pride, or as envy, but they live together in charity and sincerity, so should the brethren dwell together. Some thirty, perhaps, are under one government; they cannot continue all day and night at one thing. Some give themselves up to prayer for six hours, and then would like to read; others are very ready to serve, while others work at some form of labor. 2. Whatsoever they are about, the brethren ought to be in charity and cheerfulness with each other. Let him who is at work say of him who is at prayer, “The treasure that my brother gets is common, and therefore mine.” Let him who prays say of the reader, “The profit which he gets by reading is to my advantage.” Let him who...

Eve of Nativity of the Lord Jesus Christ in the Flesh

[Note the use of “Today” to recognize that by Faith, we enter into the Eternal Event ever present: Christ comes to us now, presenting Himself to us through the Holy Virgin, for our personal adoration and corporate worship of His Nativity in the Body of Christ, His Orthodox Christian Church.] Readings from Canon of Preparation: Ode 3 when the Creation beheld Thee born in a cave, Thou Who hung the whole earth in the void above the waters, it was seized with amazement and cried out: There is no one holy but Thee, O Lord! Thou didst wish to bear the robe of a slave in order to snatch me from slavery to the Evil One; O Word co-eternal with the Father, I sing of Thy love: glory to Thy work of salvation!” The Virgin is on her way to the cave to give birth to the Lord: O Magi, make haste! Fathers, hurry! Angels, sing your hymns from the heights of heaven: the redemption of Mankind is appearing! Seeking the wandering sheep, O Lord, and seeing me fruitless in my works..Thou hast come to the cave so that the Virgin may give birth to Thee today. O Word, Lover of Mankind, glory to Thy coming! Ode 4: Foreseeing Thy coming from a Virgin, the Prophet Habakkuk cried out in wonder: O Deliverer, Thou hast come in the flesh from Teman, to call back Adam from his exile!” The Light-bearing Cloud is coming, so that Christ may dawn from her maternal womb, as the Sun of Justice, enlightening the whole world with His Divine Splendor. Behold Christ is born...

What is the Orthodox Church?

by Fr. John Meyendorff INTRODUCTION Structure and Organization: The Orthodox Church is a fellowship of administratively independent, or autocephalous (self-governing) local churches, united in faith, sacraments, and canonical discipline, each enjoying the right to elect its own head and its bishops. Traditionally, the ecumenical patriarch of Constantinople (Istanbul) is recognized as the “first among equal” Orthodox bishops. He possesses privileges of chairmanship and initiative but no direct doctrinal or administrative authority. The other heads of autocephalous churches, in order of precedence, are: the patriarch of Alexandria, Egypt, with jurisdiction over Africa; the patriarch of Antioch, now residing in Damascus, Syria, and heading Arab-speaking Orthodox Christians in Syria, Lebanon, and Iraq; the patriarch of Jerusalem, with jurisdiction over Palestine; the patriarch of Moscow and all Russia; the patriarch-catholicos of Georgia (former USSR); the patriarch of Serbia; the patriarch of Romania; the patriarch of Bulgaria; the archbishop of Cyprus; the archbishop of Athens and all Greece; the metropolitan of Warsaw and all Poland; the archbishop of Albania; the metropolitan of Prague and all the Czech Lands and Slovakia; and the metropolitan of all America and Canada. Three autonomous churches also enjoy a large degree of independence, although the election of their primate is subject to nominal approval by a mother church. These are the churches of Crete and Finland, under Constantinople, and the churches of Japan and Ukraine, under Moscow. The autocephalous and autonomous churches differ greatly in size and membership. The churches of Russia (50-90 million) and Romania (21 million) are by far the largest, whereas some of the ancient patriarchates of the Middle East, including Constantinople, are reduced to...

Ancestral Sin

by Dr. John S. Romanides Excerpts from: Translator’s Introduction by Dr. George S. Gabriel Before “The Ancestral Sin” became widely acclaimed for its unprecedented exposition of the patristic and scholastic traditions in conflict, this work was the doctoral thesis of Fr. John Romanides. For this reason, the author wrote the Introduction primarily as an historic overview of the theological themes that the subsequent chapters examine in considerable detail. In this Translator’s Introduction, I offer a theological summary of some of the main themes. The transgression of Adam and Eve was first called “original sin” (Latin: peccato originali) by Augustine, Bishop of Hippo (d. 430). With its new name, Adam’s sin also received a new theology. The term “original sin” is known to everyone in the Western?Christian world today…What the world generally understands about original sin dates from the formulations begun by Augustine?and systematized by the post-Augustinian Theologians… The Fathers simply could not have called Adam’s transgression the original, generic, or first sin, nor could they have imagined God imposing legal guilt for it on all human beings at the moment of their conception. The Fathers assigned responsibility solely to the transgressors: Adam and Eve. Original Sin posed a massive dilemma for the cosmological, [and all]…paradigms of Augustine and the post-Augustinian theologians. After all, in the following scheme of Augustinian…theology, the first man’s sin had disturbed the self-contented happiness…of the Unmoved Mover, a philosophically-conceived (Aristotelian) deity that is neither moved by nor moves toward things outside His Divine essence. Moreover, the first man…came into perfection [in this Augustinian world]) and happiness, enjoying the beatific vision of the Divine Essence [unheard...

The Teachings of the Holy Orthodox Church

by Dr. Michael Azkoul Excerpts from Appendix: Augustine of Hippo If we give special attention to this 5th century North African Orthodox bishop, it is not because, as most post-Orthodox Western historians…think, Augustine was “the father of fathers” and “the greatest genius the church has ever produced.” He was neither… We agree that Augustine might well be distressed by Western theological developments of the last millenium, yet it is important to keep in mind that there would have been NO such developments without him. His writings lie at the basis of every heresy which now afflicts the religion of the West. Every major religious writer and movement in Europe has claimed indebtedness to him: Thomas Aquinas, Joachim of Flores, the Spiritual Franciscans, the Protestant Reformers…describe themselves as “Augustinian”. We should be aware too, that Augustine achieved a certain reputation in Russia…(especially since the time of Peter the Great)…[many] have quoted him with favor…[However], had all of his works been known to our Russian saints and Fathers [it] would have been evident to them, as it is becoming increasingly clear to many now, that Augustine had departed significantly from the Apostolic Tradition. Anyone armed with the writings of the holy fathers will discover that, from the beginning, his opinions were challenged, with good reason, in both the East and West: a) His theory of original sin evoked consternation everywhere in the West, but especially among the monks of southern Gaul (France). [Their] leader, St. John Cassian, who had been ordained to the diaconate by St. John Chrysostom, took exception to Augustine’s views on God, Man and grace… [along with] St....