Jesus Christ showed us another way to follow that leads to eternal blessedness on the other side of the grave. And this is the path of leading a true Christian life, which can only be achieved by completely changing our behavior.
Unfortunately, the world has too much religion that does not lead people to transfiguration in holiness. If we think that Christianity provides simply theological ideas, moral precepts, or directions about how to conduct religious services, then we will fail to behold and participate in the glory of our Lord.
Michael and Ekaterina have been engaged in aerial photography for several years already. With the help of a camera mounted on board a radio-controlled aircraft, they capture the face of the Earth from a bird’s eye view. The photographers have provided this present collection of photographs from the Russian North.
The rank of a particular commemoration on the liturgical calendar governs many details about how the services for that day will be celebrated. Which stichera (and how many) will be sung at Vespers, whether Matins will have a Gospel reading or the Great Doxology, and whether we sing weekday or Sunday Theotokia at these services are just a few of the details which the rank determines.
Abbess Vitalia (Kochetova) has shared wonderful stories with me which can be compared with those from the Lives of Monastic Fathers of old times. I believe all the readers remember from the Lives of the Fathers how one monk was ordered to plant a dry stick in the sand and water it as obedience, which he did until it blossomed.
For some reason, the words of St. Paisios the Athonite and the Holy Hierarch Luke (Voino-Yasenetsky) sound more convincing. One was uneducated in worldly terms but acquired the Holy Spirit and therefore also the gift of insight; the other was the greatest of scientists who thoroughly knew the human body. And they both speak as one about the falsity of the theory of evolution.
Much as we began our study of the entire order of Vespers by focusing on “Lord, I Call” and its stichera, so we’ll begin to learn about Matins by first looking at the Canon, which many find to be a daunting form of hymnography to understand and to do.
The parable of the unmercirful servant begins with the words, Therefore is the Kingdom of Heaven likened unto a certain king, and that means that the mystery of forgiveness is hidden in Divine grace, in the mystery of the Kingdom of Heaven.
“I firmly believe that familiarity with Prokudin-Gorsky’s photographs (not just a superficial glance) would be a great help to all who want to get to know Russia at least a little better and more sincerely—better than television, blogs, and newspapers. Bear in mind that nostalgia for the “good old days” should motivate us to work for the good of Russia and pray for it instead of plunging us into deep despondency.”