Sunday sermon on the Gospel lesson from Luke 13:10-17
With the spread of smartphones and tablets, a few dangerous trends are also noticed - more and more people get addicted to their electronic devices, including an alarming number of children; and, more and more people indulge themselves in watching pornography, including an alarming number of children.
Have you ever heard someone claiming that Christmas has pagan roots? That Christians stole (!) a pagan feast and made it Christian (how dare they!?)?
It's popular #fakenews. No one stole anything from anyone, and nothing was adapted or adopted.
Below are two articles that do some myth busting.
Protopresbyter Serafim Gascoigne from the Holy Protection of the Theotokos Orthodox Church, Seattle, Washington, and Priest Sergei Sveshnikov, rector of the Holy New Martyrs and Confessors of Russian church in Mulino, Oregon answer Pravmir’s questions about the Nativity Fast and the Nativity celebration.
Fasting is not difficult if we live in an Orthodox family. In fact the external act of fasting from animal products is not difficult, for this is part of our daily liturgical life. On a spiritual level it is more challenging, especially with the demands that are made on us at this time of the year. I am referring to our ‘obligation’ to join in office parties or socialize with non-Orthodox friends. For those of us whose immediate family is not Orthodox, this poses a challenge on the physical level as well.
Source: The Catalog of Good Deeds
There is a remarkable story in the book Everyday Saints related to fasting. Russian monks came to the Caucasus during the Chechen War to hear confessions of the local Orthodox flock and to give them communion. The organizers of the trip decided to arrange a thank-you meal for the priests. They cooked a fabulous meal with smoking hot heaps of roasted lamb meat and other delicious dishes. When the monks learned about the “surprise”, they were shocked. First, monks don’t eat meat at all. Secondly, it happened during the Great Lent, or more precisely, during the stringent days of the Holy Week. What could they do? The author writes that the monks immediately realized that their refusal would be a horrendous insult for the hosts. So they ate meat and drank wine, and that meal was the most joyful feast of love in their lives.
Источник: Интернет Журнал Православие.фм
В книге «Несвятые святые» есть замечательный эпизод, связанный с темой поста. Во время Чеченской войны русские монахи приехали на Кавказ, чтобы исповедовать и причастить местных православных жителей. Организаторы поездки решили отблагодарить священников за труды. Тайком от отцов была приготовлена сказочная трапеза, с дымящимися грудами жареной баранины и прочими яствами. Узнав о «сюрпризе», монахи ужаснулись. Во-первых, монашествующие не вкушают мяса по обету. Во-вторых, на дворе стоял Великий Пост, а именно – суровые дни Страстной седмицы. Что делать? Как пишет автор, монахи мгновенно поняли: если они откажутся, то нанесут страшное оскорбление хозяевам. И они ели мясо, и пили вино, и это угощение было самой радостной трапезой любви в их жизни.
Source: Ancient Faith Ministries blog - Orthodox Reformed Bridge
Author: Robert Arakaki
Question: I have a question. Baptists and Pentecostals say infant baptism is not biblical. Do we find infant baptisms in the Bible? I heard someone say that this practice started around year AD 200. Where can I find the earliest teachings about infant baptism? When is the first time the early Fathers mentioned it? What does the Orthodox Church teach about this? How can a baby be “born again” with no personal faith before he/she has heard the Gospel being preached? Or what is the point of infant baptism? What difference is there between Catholic, Lutheran and Orthodox infant baptism?
If there is one civil holiday that Christians can totally sign up for, it is the Thanksgiving Day. One of the most important things we do in our Christian life is give thanks to God for everything.
We do it first of all during the Liturgy. In fact, one of the names for Liturgy is Eucharist. Which comes from a Greek word – ευχαριστώ (eucharisto), which means – thanksgiving.
We don’t have to wait for one special day in the year to give thanks. We do it every day - in daily prayers, with every breath we take, with every Liturgy we participate in. But to have one day as a reminder that all things belong to God, and all things come from Him, isn’t a bad idea.
Below is a sermon that was delivered by the late Father Alexander Schmemann, who did a lot in terms of preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ on American soil.
He died in December 1983 from cancer. The last service he was able to serve was Thanksgiving Day that same year. During that Liturgy, Fr Alexander gave this sermon (slightly edited for our parish use), which is in the form of a prayer, a thanksgiving prayer of a man, who knew his journey on this earth was coming to an end.
Here are the words of Fr Alexander Schmemann:
Limitless and without consolation would have been our sorrow for close ones who are dying, if the Lord had not given us eternal life. Our life would be pointless if it ended with death. What benefit would there then be from virtue and good deed? Then they would be correct who say: "Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die!" But man was created for immortality, and by His resurrection Christ opened the gates of the Heavenly Kingdom, of eternal blessedness for those who have believed in Him and have lived righteously. Our earthly life is a preparation for the future life, and this preparation ends with our death. "It is appointed for mortals to die once, and after that the judgment" (Hebrews 9:27). Then a man leaves all his earthly cares; the body disintegrates, in order to rise anew at the General Resurrection. Often this spiritual vision begins in the dying even before death, and while still seeing those around them and even speaking with them, they see what others do not see.[i]
Unless otherwise specified, the articles here are posted by Father Aleksey, who has no sense of humor and is extremely straight forward.