If a person is locked up in hell, he is locked up there voluntarily, like someone committing suicide in a burning house, or like an elderly, alcoholic bachelor living amidst the bedlam of empty bottles, cobwebs, and cigarette butts.
If God is not needed and there is no prayer, if you are nothing more than a tourist when you enter a temple, then hell eagerly assumes its rights and makes its presence known, not with the smell of sulfur, but with a sense of depression and meaninglessness.
Our society has largely forgot what a wedding is. That is why it cannot understand why the gift of sex should not be given before the wedding day. Instead it asks, “Why wait?”
The belief in the solvability of all things is a foundation of the modern world. We are nurtured with an expectation of progress and solutions. When this turns out not to be the case, despair is a natural result.
Does our present delight in cultural diversity mean that we must now abandon our historical mandate to “go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15)?
Christmas was more than a celebration; it was God’s trumpet, announcing to Herod the beginning of the end. It was a banner of war, unfurled to declare that a divine revolution had begun.
In Orthodox understanding, the bloodless sacrifice of the Eucharist is the primary act of worship. It is not something we do while we worship: it is what worship truly is.
I can think of no better homage to the man who “created” the modern celebration of the holiday than to read his delightful A Christmas Carol.
My focus here is on not the sceptics who doubt the miraculous nature of the Holy Fire. My focus rather is on the significance of the miracle itself.
It was an image of God’s people, shining with a reflected glory, a divine light that came from God and illumining those in the world who could not bear the direct intensity of His glory.
We listen for the essential melody of the patristic chorus, and charitably pass over the odd discordant note which all of the Fathers occasionally sound.
The year is 1868; the place, Damascus. A self-taught mystic calling himself Abd el Matar left his wife, family, and home to found a group of disciples in Damascus, the Shazlis, basing it on a Sufi brotherhood established in the middle ages. About forty or so people gathered about him […]