Original source: Journey to Orthodoxy.
I would like to share with you a brief letter that was published some time ago in an Italian Orthodox parish newsletter. Its author, Archpriest Gregorio Tognetti (former Catholic, now an Orthodox priest), is the Dean of the Italian parishes under the Moscow Patriarchate. This letter was generally liked by the Italian Orthodox converts, and also received a high degree of appreciation among some cradle-born Orthodox (it was, for instance, translated into Romanian); I hope it may be prove an interesting reading and a source of inspiration for all of you.
Sermon on the Sunday of the Blind Man, John 9:1-38
They were passing by and saw a blind man. No doubt they had encountered many people wherever they went, but this blind man peaked their interest. Who knows, maybe this question had bothered them before, but they never had enough courage to ask the Teacher. And here they had a perfect opportunity to finally ask.
So the disciples ask Him: “Teacher, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”
The question is very appropriate. The Jews believed that a righteous man, the one who observed the commandments, was, if not prosperous, then at the very least in good health. Let's take a closer look at the question.
Originally posted as "Baaaad Exegesis" by Fr. Aris Metrakos.
Scripture separated from its context can be confusing, misleading, and even destructive. Take the well-worn Bible college criticism of the way Orthodox and Roman Catholic faithful address their clergy, Matthew 23:9 (call no man father). The literal application of Mark 16:19 (snake-handling) is downright scary. Women's southern summertime fashions being what they are, I'm grateful that no one is advocating an exact application of Mark 9:47 (if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out).
The ripping and twisting of scripture is not the sole domain of the folks who think that mega-churches are "non-denominational" and that the Orthodox Church was "founded" in the 19th century with the rise of nationalism. We Orthodox also know how to play the game of "Bible pick and choose." My favorite contemporary Orthodox exegetical distortion is Luke 15:4: "What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost, until he finds it?"
Sermon on the Sunday of the Paralytic - John 5:1-15.
“I have no one to help me.”
It’s one of the most miserable phrases a person can say. It’s even worse than being terminally ill. If there is someone by the side of the terminally ill person, they can help that person by sharing in their pain, by being by them and providing comfort.
But having no one by your side, no matter if you are well or sick, must be one of the worst feelings possible.
Weekly, on Tuesdays at 7:30pm, we have Bible Study.
The talks last for roughly one hour. We are studying the New Testament by reading together 1-2 chapters, with reflection and discussion of what was read.
See you all there!
Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing! (Rev. 5:12)
The Lamb of God is the ancient name given to Jesus Christ, and recorded in the Scriptures. More than just a title, it has influenced Christian iconography from the first centuries until today. The image of the Lamb of God has also developed throughout the Church’s history.
Original source: The Lamb of God in Orthodoxy. A History in Icons
It is with great sadness we announce that our long-time parishioner, Steven Sardinsky, has fallen asleep today, April 25, 2017, in the morning.
Thursday, April 27 there will be viewing at Gaita Memorial Funeral Home 4pm-8pm. Panikhida will be served at 7:30pm.
Friday, April 28 at 10am Funeral Service will be celebrated at St John's.
May he rest in peace and rise in glory with our Lord Jesus Christ!
Is there anyone who is devout and a lover of God? Come, and receive this bright, this beautiful Feast of feasts!
Is there anyone who is a wise servant? Rejoice, as you enter into the joy of your Lord!
Is there anyone who is weary from fasting? Come, and receive your reward!
Is there anyone who has labored from the first hour? Accept today your fair wages!
Is there anyone who came after the third hour? Be glad, as you celebrate the Feast!
Is there anyone who came after the sixth hour? Have no doubts, for nothing is being held back!
Is there anyone who delayed until the ninth hour? Come forward, without any hesitation!
Is there anyone who came up only at the eleventh hour? Do not be afraid because of your lateness – for the honor and generosity of the Lord is unsurpassed.
He accepts the last as well as the first. He gives rest to those who arrive at the eleventh hour, as well as to those who labored from the first.
He is as merciful to the former as He is gracious to the latter. He shows His generosity to the one, and His kindness to the other. He accepts the deed and welcomes the intention.
Therefore, enter all of you into the joy of your Lord! Both first and last – receive the reward; rich and poor – dance and sing together; sober and heedless – honor this day; those who have fasted and those who have not – enjoy the Feast today.
The table is filled, and everyone share in the splendor. The calf is fatted, and no one must go away hungry. Come, one and all, and receive the feast of faith! Come, one and all, and receive the riches of loving-kindness!
No one lament his poverty, for the universal kingdom has been revealed. No one despair over his failings, for forgiveness has sprung up from the grave. No one fear death, for the death of the Savior has set us all free.
By being held in its power He extinguished it, and by descending into Hell, He made Hell captive. He embittered Hell when it tasted His flesh. And in anticipation of this, the prophet Isaiah exclaimed: “Hell was in an uproar, when it encountered You below.”
Hell was in an uproar, for it was wiped out. Hell was in an uproar, for it was mocked. Hell was in an uproar, for it was vanquished. Hell was in an uproar, for it was bound in chains.
Hell took a body, and met God face to face. Hell took earth, and came face to face with Heaven. Hell took what it saw, and was struck down by what it did not see.
O Death, where is your sting? O Hell, where is your victory? Christ is risen! and Hell is overthrown. Christ is risen! and the demons are struck down. Christ is risen! and the angels rejoice. Christ is risen! and life is abundant and free. Christ is risen! and there are no dead left in the tombs!
For Christ, when He was raised from the dead, became the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. To Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
Despite all the joyous celebrations and festivities, Palm Sunday is not a joyful day. Yes, Christ entered Jerusalem as King, with people ecstatically crying out, "Hosanna! Praise the Lord!" but He was recognized as true King, as Messiah and Conqueror of death only after going through beatings, scourging and crucifixion. The same people who cried "Hosanna!" in five days would scream in madness "Crucify!"
Below is the sermon delivered on this Feast day.
Unless otherwise specified, the articles here are posted by Fr Aleksey, who has no sense of humor and is extremely straight forward.