logo

Descent of the holy spirit

logo
“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!”

Serving the central coast of california

...

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...

The Struggle for Faith

by St. Justin Popovich (reposed in 1979) Excerpted from Orthodox Faith and Life in Christ (Pages 121ff discussing St. Isaac of Syria’s understanding of Mankind’s ways of knowing God: from his “Spiritual Homilies”) Analyzing Mankind by his empirical gifts, St. Isaac the Syrian finds that his organs of understanding are sick. “Evil is a sickness of soul,” whence all the organs of the understanding are made sick. Evil has its perceptions, the passions, and “the passions are illnesses of the soul.” Evil and the passions are not natural to the soul; they are accidents?and intrusive, an unnatural addition to the soul. What are the passions in themselves? They are “a certain hardness or insensitivity of being”. Their causes are to be found…in the desire for wealth and amassing of goods, for ease and bodily comfort; they are thirst for honor and the exercise of power; they are luxury and frivolity; they are the desire for glory from men and fear for one’s own body. All these passions have one common name – “the world”. “The world means carnal conduct and a carnal mind.” The passions are the attacks of the world on Mankind by means of the things of the world. Divine grace is the only power capable of repulsing them. When the passions make their home in Man, they uproot his soul. They confuse the mind filling it with fantastic forms, images, and desires, so that his thoughts are disturbed and filled with fantasy…Since the passions are a sickness of the soul, the soul can only be healed by purification from the passions and from evil. The virtues...

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....

The River of Fire

by Dr. Alexander Kalomiros Chapter 8: [Pagan Greek philosophy] was mixed with the Christian teaching by the various heresies…They began to distinguish not between God and Creation, but between spirit and matter.They began to think of the soul of Man as something eternal in itself, and began to consider the condition of Man after death, NOT as a sleep in the hands of God, but as the real life of Man, to which the resurrection of the dead had nothing to add – and even the need of the resurrection was doubtful. The feast of the Resurrection of our Lord, which is the culmination of all feasts in Orthodoxy, began to fall into second place, because its need was as incomprehensible to the Western Christians as it was to the Athenians who heard the sermon of the Apostle Paul. But what is more important for our subject, they began to feel that God was subject to Necessity, to this rationalistic Necessity which was nothing else but human logic. They declared Him incapable of coming into contact with inferior beings like men, because their rationalistic, philosophical conceptions did not permit it; it was this belief which was the foundation of the hesychast disputes [St Gregory Palamas’ disputes with the western monk, Barlaam, in which Gregory proclaimed that God could be experienced here on earth within our hearts purified from sin]…It had already begun with Augustine [5th century] who taught that it was not God Who spoke to Moses, but an Angel, instead It is in this context of Necessity, which even gods obey, that we must understand the Western juridical...

The Authentic Seal

Spiritual Instruction and Discourses by Elder Aimilianos of Simona Petra, Mt. Athos (available from Alexander Press, Montreal Canada) (Page 197 excerpts) On Prayer: When we talk about internal prayer of the heart, we do not say petition of the heart, but “prayer”. When we speak of petition, however, we mean that our prayer is directed towards a particular person, its aim being union with that person. While prayer is static..[an] enjoyment of a place where God also is. There is a distinction you see. Petition, is turning to a person. It follows that…the active presence of this Person must exist for me. I have to be able to become familiar with His presence and His existence. Christ, the indwelling [One] Who is everywhere present, becomes present for me in my life through my participation in worship, and more particularly, through my participation in Holy Communion. It follows that worship and Holy Communion are indissolubly united. And what do they do? They make God present and alive for me…and what then remains? For me to speak to Him, to address Him Who comes to me. and so He, through worship, tends towards me and I…tend towards Him, until our total union occurs…I cannot say that I will go to church if I have not been praying. It is superfluous for me to go to church and unnecessary for me to attend the Liturgy and useless for me to take Holy Communion if I am not continuously at prayer. And it is superfluous for me to pray if I have no part in what we have just been speaking about…You know...

Ecumenism

by Raphael Masterjohn, Orthodox Theologian The idea of the Ecumenical Movement of our times is that the Church is divided and must find a way to become reunited as one Church. This idea was conceived by a Patriarch of Constantinople, Meletios Metaxakis about 80 years ago. The premise he presented is flawed, therefore the whole ecumenical idea is flawed. The Church being the Body of Christ, being the branches of the Vine, being the sheep under one Shepherd can never be divided. The Church, conceived as an ark in which those being saved and sanctified, are being transported to eternal life, all of the aforementioned absolutely deny division. You are part of the Body or you are not. You are a branch on the Vine or you are not, you are a sheep under one Shepherd or you are not. You are aboard the Ark or you are not. Our Lord promised that “the gates of Hades would not prevail against his church.” Just what are these gates of Hades? Orthodoxy knows that they are the mouths of heretics through which the Evil One is enabled to insult and slander Christ, and to deny his Divinity, His natures, His essence, His wills, and His sacred icons. A false premise, “the Church is divided” necessarily produces a false conclusion, known today as “ecumenism”. All beliefs contrary to Orthodoxy are heresies…The Papacy is a heresy, because the Pope usurps the authority of Christ and claims to judge everyone one but [is] himself not to be judged at all. All Protestantism is a mixture of many heresies…together they deny the historic Church,...