“You should bring the shoes to him yourself,” Vera said to me irresistibly, her intensified gaze directed at me from under a lowered forehead in a poignant air of secretive urgency, when I met her at a church after a Bright Week service in the Russian capital. “I’ll take you there.”
In 1913, after a migration beginning in 1880 of Carpatho-Russians from what was then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire (now Slovakia, Czechia, Poland, Hungary, and Western Ukraine) a church was built in honor of the newly-canonized saint, Holy Hierarch Joasaph of Belgorod—a merciful protector of the poor, in the tiny mining settlement of Muddy, southern Illinois.
The details of all his characters, their mannerisms, their actions, their thoughts and words, even their names, all paint individual pictures of the human condition in relation to God and the devil—pictures that don’t fade with time, and are applicable in any culture.
We’ve offered this brief explanation of Nihilism in order to point out that such events as Belgium’s Child Fair, where homosexuals come to choose blonde, slant-eyed, or black babies, purchasing them as on a futures market, renting the womb and buying the gamete of a woman they don’t know and may never meet, is quite obviously part of the nihilist project, possibly the Vitalist stage.
Perhaps never before have the elections in the United States been so fraught with passions and division. The country has not been so ideologically divided since the American Civil War. Perhaps for Orthodox Christians, very much is a stake. We don’t know what the future will bring, but we are very concerned about the thinly-veiled anti-Christian, aggressively liberal convictions now wafting in our air, across our plains and majestic mountains, from sea to shining sea.
In the wake of the recent conference organized in Oxford, England by Fordham University’s Orthodox studies employees on “Bridging Voices” between LGBT+ and traditional Orthodox people, a particular thread has appeared that is gaining credence through spinoff articles and comments.
Christians believe in Jesus Christ—God Who became Man, Who became one of us, lived amongst people and by His life, death on the Cross and Resurrection from the dead opened to us the path of salvation. A person who has become a Moslem does not believe in such a God.
Ukrainians are in general a religious people, but this writer perceives a direct correlation between the violence done to the Ukrainian Orthodox people over many centuries by the Latin West and the violent nature of Ukrainian nationalism, an idea that has been taken to its present extreme in Greek Catholic Galicia.
And our holy hierarchs of the Fourth Ecumenical Council left us a brilliant example: That suffering for Christ is our spiritual compass, and a pure, virgin martyr whose soul is with Christ is more to be trusted than hundreds of scholars.
His departure marks the end of the line of Pskov-Cave Elders, and possibly of the last of Russia’s known, true elders who had passed through the furnace of suffering that was soviet life, who had been formed into diamonds under the onerous repressions and persecutions against those who remained faithful to Christ’s holy Church.
After a number of media, mostly tabloid, picked up a story that President Putin supposedly equated communism with Christianity and Lenin’s embalmed but nevertheless decomposing remains with holy Christian relics, I was hoping to see an article somewhere discussing this sanely in either Russian or in English.
Only a handful of specialists now know about a liturgical rite called “the Furnace Act” practiced in Russia from the sixteenth to eighteenth centuries, and mentioned as early as the tenth century in Byzantium. It was a rite that was celebrated on the great feasts. With this rite also began the forefeast of the Nativity of Christ.
The construction of a church is a sacrifice to God; to allocate a parcel of land for church services is to sacrifice unto God a part of your own property, but most of all it is a gift of your love, your zeal. Churches are not needed by God Whose throne is heaven and Whose footstool is the earth; it is we who need them.
His path is not an easy one—poverty, discrimination against all Christians in a rigidly Moslem society, and isolation from other Orthodox countries are some of the challenges he faces continually in his endeavors to bring his people to the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. But the humility and zeal of his flock inspires him to carry on with the great commission in Pakistan.
Where in the Bible do they talk about aerial tollhouses—those obstacles that the forces of darkness put in the way of souls rising after death to heaven through the space under heaven? Why do the demons wait for a soul in the under-heavens? How should we view the fact that there are differences between patristic works and the lives of the saints in explanations of the tollhouses? How can we answer critics of the teaching on the tollhouses?
Even if only St. Andrew and Epiphanius saw the Protection of the Mother of God, don’t we know that her Divine Protection invisibly spreads across the whole world? Could it be that the one who from the very first days when her Divine Son began His preaching to the world asked Him about the wine running out at the marriage in Canaan of Galilee, would after departing to heaven cease to ask and pray for the human race?
Many people send letters to Pravoslavie.ru addressed to Professor Alexei Iliych Osipov. After choosing those more frequently asked, these question were posed to Prof. Osipov—on doubts about the faith, about how to discern God’s will, how to give alms, why the Orthodox are patient in deprivations, and whether there is justice on this earth.
Why is earthly life is so valuable to us? What does a soul experience as it separates from the body? What are the aerial tollhouses? What is life, and what is death in the Orthodox understanding? These are the topics of a series of talks with Archpriest Oleg Stenyaev, which we will be translating for our English language readers.
Archpriest Artemy Vladimirov discusses the spiritual meaning of the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul; why these very different individuals who became followers of Christ in very different ways are commemorated together; and how their personal qualities should become examples for us.
Reading of such distant personages as Tsarevich Dimitry and the anti-Dimitries, or “false Dimitries”, we Orthodox Christians are drawn to look at our own selves, at how our own human ambitions can lead us to destroy what is innocent and authentic, and what terrible consequences this can bring for us and everyone around us.
The Most Pure Virgin Mary’s answer is the joyful, prayerful concentration of all ages of Christian sanctity; the fate of every person, into which we are all called to delve. Let everyone who turns his mind and heart to the Lord always stand before this mystery, and with thankfulness witness the joy of today’s feast. The Annunciation has happened. Be it unto me according to thy word.
All the children are doing it, and we know how hard it is to get our children to swim upstream and ignore the heathenish customs of their peers. Rather than make light of this problem, we decided to ask some Orthodox priests in the United States who have to deal with this every year what they say to their own children and other families about Halloween.
We recently had a chance to sit down with Charles Bausman, an American living in Moscow, who recently started Russia Insider, a media watchdog news site for news about Russia. Unlike most of the other Russia-related news websites such as The Moscow Times, for example, Charles’s site fairly covers topics related to the Orthodox Church.
As Orthodox Christians not only in Russia but around the globe attended services and sang the praises of these righteous ones of the comparatively recent past, little did they suspect that two more Russians Orthodox Christians in the Russian far east would die that day, in a way that can only be called martyric. Who were these two martyrs, and what motivated the young man who everyone described as an ordinary Russian guy, indistinguishable from anyone else in the church until he opened fire on the worshippers assembled there?
Our biker rode off on his Harley Davidson, and soon had a terrible accident, which cost him his legs. Eventually he landed back in the company of his old “friends”, in a run-down apartment in a low-rent neighborhood in the bad part of a crime-ridden city.
There are so many traces of the undivided Church, the beginnings of Christianity, and by these very archeological facts, I was “pushed” to dig deeper into the foundations of the Church. I am a historian by formation, a numismatic.
In his most recent blog post, he has now taken aim against not only the "religious right" (a favorite target of his in recent years), but now even the Orthodox Church that he still is ostensibly a member of is in his cross-hairs—because they support Russia's laws restricting the promotion of homosexuality.
The Russian people’s problems with power struggles, treachery, and war between different princes were not over. In the midst of it all, there stood a humble monk, ever avoiding honor or power over others, asking nothing and giving everything. This was a magnetic force that drew together seemingly irreconcilable enemies.
Dr. James H. Billington, the distinguished scholar and Librarian of Congress, recently visited the Moscow Sretensky Monastery. We asked Dr. Billington about how he came to love Russia, about Christianity in America, and about his impressions of the Sretensky Monastery Choir and the book, Everyday Saints and Other Stories.
On this day, the 19th of December (December 6 according to the Julian calendar), the Church celebrates the memory of one of her most beloved saints—St. Nicholas the Wonderworker of Myra and Lycia. We are half way through Advent, the fast preceding the feast of the Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ, born as a babe to the Virgin Mary. This is a time when we especially delight in the beauty and sanctity of children—defenseless, dependent, yet meaning everything to us. We would do anything to protect a child, even die ourselves, because we see in him God’s gift of our own eternal existence.
September 2 of this year marks thirty years since the repose of a righteous man of our time, Hieromonk Seraphim Rose. Father Seraphim’s contribution to the spread and deepening of Orthodoxy not only in America, but throughout the world cannot be overstated. A gifted man from birth, he came to his deep faith in Christ and firm belief in the truth of Orthodoxy through intense struggles of soul and mind—struggles so painfully familiar to people of our age that we cannot but acknowledge the veracity of the conclusions he unwaveringly drew from them. His life edifies even in its imperfection, for truly he was “one of us”: For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted (Heb. 2:8).
The late fifteenth, early sixteenth centuries saw a conflict arise in Russia that had some parallels to events and movements in Western Christianity of the time. As the Spanish Inquisition was in full swing against insincere converts to Christianity, and the dissolution of monastery property had already successfully killed Catholic monasticism in some northern European countries, the existential question of “to have or not to have” was reaching like an aftershock the comparatively sheltered religious life of Orthodox Russia.
"We have brought you this holy relic because we believe that its presence in your city will bring a great blessing and relief, much grace, protection, and strength. Venerating this Holy Cincture we feel that the Theotokos herself is in our midst, she is in the heart of each one of us."
People no longer have any boundaries, any anchor, or marker of what truth is. This is very important to remember in looking at this whole issue, because it has taken everything and turned it upside down, so that people do not know where to go.
After the many years of work spent on the translation, Met. Sergius came out to read the Great Canon on Monday of the first week of Great Lent [in the modernized form]. "With what shall I begin to lament the cursed deeds of my life…" After the service, the people did not disperse, and stood there silently. When the future Patriarch started leaving the church, someone asked him "Your Eminence, when will they read the Canon of St. Andrew of Crete?"
All of Russia knew this tall, austere prelate with a formidable beard and moustache, because he was inseparable from the ecclesiastical life of the capital; his name is likewise inseparable from the late twentieth century development of a publishing arm of the Moscow Patriarchate—no simple task in a time when schoolchildren were still being taught that "there is no God."
Thus, the measuring stick of relationships to others is simplicity and sincerity, good will, and love for all—this is the best side of relationships to others. But not rarely, the nature of relationships to others is cunning, suspicion, dislike, rudeness, envy, extreme selfishness, self-seeking, partiality, vanity, ambition, vainglory, sensuality, or extreme haughtiness; that is, a high opinion of one's self, which seeks to humiliate others.
I was immediately attracted to the quality of the stillness that I found in that small room. That has been something that I have consistently valued in the Orthodox Church ever since. It is a quality which is difficult to talk about, but it happens when one goes into a space which is so obviously God-filled.
On Wednesday, the fourth day of the annual Nativity readings began the conference section dedicated to the «Orthodox understanding of creation of the world». One of the speakers was an Orthodox hieromonk, Fr. Damascene (Christensen), an American from the Monastery of St. Herman of Alaska in Platina, California, which belongs to the Serbian Orthodox Diocese of Western America. This monastery is well known in Russia as the home of Fr. Seraphim Rose, its founder, and Fr. Damascene is a member of the Brotherhood from the time of Fr. Seraphim’s repose. He is the author Fr. Seraphim’s biography (due to appear in a new Russian version this year under the title Father Seraphim Rose: His Life and Works), and is something of an expert on Fr. Seraphim’s Life and writings in general.