Continuing the Ancient Faith Radio podcast series on understanding the Bible through the fathers, Dr. Jeannie Constantinou talks more about the benefits of reading the Bible as expounded by the holy fathers of the Church, and explains just how we should read them.
Is the holy water blessed on Theophany still Theophany water all week? Is there any difference between the water blessed on the Eve of the Theophany and the water blessed on the day of the Theophany? When should we get the water to take home? Was St. John the Baptist baptized? Does it matter whether a wooden cross or some metal cross was used to sanctify the waters?
Faith, as the knowledge of God, Whom my eyes have seen and my hands have touched, Whom I have come to know with all my senses, as He was with me in sorrow and joy—we can only talk about such faith with young people out of personal experience of a meeting with God. This experience of meeting God first transforms the person himself, and then he has something to share with others—the joy of personal transformation.
St. Herman of Alaska, whose repose we commemorate today, would be proud. In the seminary named after him in Kodiak, Alaska, native women from tribes throughout the state gather to gain the knowledge and experience they need to contribute to the spiritual health of their villages.
The Fathers of the Church recognize that the written Scriptures require interpretation. The written texts occasionally are self- evident in their meaning and can be read at face value, but often they contain within them the prophecies and revelations of God hidden in familiar images, events, and in the language of the text.
For spiritual people struggling to acquire and retain the knowledge of God, understood as entry into the energy of divine eternity, intellectual scientific learning is insufficient, no matter how empirical and apparently irrefutable a character it may have.
Alas, a picture known by many: while a child is yet young he goes to church joyfully, but as he gets older this joy fades away and parents have to persuade their child to receive Communion, to fast, and even just to come to the services. Then as a teenager he even begins to bring home anti-religious propaganda, and the excruciating question “how did this happen?” gives the parents no rest. Why do children, growing up, leave the Church? Who’s to blame? How can we avoid the de-Churchification of teenagers?
Your sons and daughters will travel their own particular paths in life, but you know that the foundation laid in their souls is true. They will fall and make the same mistakes you did in your youth, but they will be their own. And they will get up to go on. But upon them, in their inner hearts' horizon, will shine the star of Orthodoxy, carrying them through life. Only try from a young age to instill in them, with God’s help, love for prayer. It is a journey, and its boat will undoubtedly guide us to God.
At the end of the August, eleven students of Eton College came to Russia on an unofficial visit, spending time in Moscow and St. Petersburg. In Moscow the Etonians were received by Sretensky Monastery and Sretensky Theological Seminary. The undergraduate and graduate students of Sretensky Seminary, many of whom also hold secular university degrees, were especially interested to hear about how education is organized at Eton.
Eleven students of Eton College, the most privileged English school, visited Russia on a personal, non-official tour that included Moscow and St. Petersburg. The students became acquainted with their Russian counterparts, and also met with President Vladimir Putin. Bishop Tikhon (Shevkunov) of Egorievsk, Father Superior of Moscow’s Sretensky Monastery, talked with a correspondent of Pravoslavie.ru about how the trip was organized, and gave his impressions of the young British men.
Is secular art capable of talking about God, or is this the prerogative of church art only? When and why does an artist start to support evil? Is there a chasm between secular and church art, or can they interact with each other? Are modern technologies and styles permissible in the Church?
This is what the North American Thebaid Project is truly all about. It is not merely about monasteries as places, nor about the monastic life generally. Rather, in a challenging and inspiring way, the Thebaid Project strives to present the Monastic Way chosen by these trailblazing monks and nuns, and it is about the future of Orthodoxy in America, which they are helping to prepare by their sacrifice and struggles.
Psalm 137 above, a favorite of Christians for expressing lament and exile as we sojourn through this world, also contains verses of such vile violence that some will not read them. Even knowing that the literal interpretation was not the most common reading among ancient church luminaries, doesn’t always make it easy for the modern reader to apprehend how to pray some of these verses.