Why does the Church believe in free will?

http://cominghomeorthodoxy.wordpress.com

COMING HOME – ORTHODOXY

FREE WILL

Source:

http://orthodox-apologetics.blogspot.com

http://orthodox-apologetics.blogspot.com/2011/03/why-i-am-writing-book.html

ORTHODOX APOLOGETICS

Saint Ignatius (110 A.D.)

“For when ye are desirous to do well, God is also ready to assist you.”

Saint Justin Martyr (150 A.D.)

“But lest some suppose, from what has been said by us, that we say that whatever happens, happens by a fatal necessity, because it is foretold as known beforehand, this too we explain. We have learned from the prophets, and we hold it to be true, that punishments, and chastisements, and good rewards, are rendered according to the merit of each man’s actions. Since if it be not so, but all things happen by fate, neither is anything at all in our own power. For if it be fated that this man, e.g., be good, and this other evil, neither is the former meritorious nor the latter to be blamed. And again, unless the human race have the power of avoiding evil and choosing good by free choice, they are not accountable for their actions, of whatever kind they be. But that it is by free choice they both walk uprightly and stumble, we thus demonstrate. We see the same man making a transition to opposite things. Now, if it had been fated that he were to be either good or bad, he could never have been capable of both the opposites, nor of so many transitions. But not even would some be good and others bad, since we thus make fate the cause of evil, and exhibit her as acting in opposition to herself; or that which has been already stated would seem to be true, that neither virtue nor vice is anything, but that things are only reckoned good or evil by opinion; which, as the true word shows, is the greatest impiety and wickedness. But this we assert is inevitable fate, that they who choose the good have worthy rewards, and they who choose the opposite have their merited awards. For not like other things, as trees and quadrupeds, which cannot act by choice, did God make man: for neither would he be worthy of reward or praise did he not of himself choose the good, but were created for this end; nor, if he were evil, would he be worthy of punishment, not being evil of himself, but being able to be nothing else than what he was made.”

Tatian (160 A.D.)

“How, then, shall I admit this nativity according to Fate, when I see such managers of Fate? I do not wish to be a king; I am not anxious to be rich; I decline military command; I detest fornication; I am not impelled by an insatiable love of gain to go to sea; I do not contend for chaplets; I am free from a mad thirst for fame; I despise death; I am superior to every kind of disease; grief does not consume my soul. Am I a slave, I endure servitude. Am I free, I do not make a vaunt of my good birth. I see that the same sun is for all, and one death for all, whether they live in pleasure or destitution. The rich man sows, and the poor man partakes of the same sowing. The wealthiest die, and beggars have the same limits to their life. The rich lack many things, and are Continue reading “Why does the Church believe in free will?”

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What is the 40-day season of the Eastern Orthodox Church before the Holy Easter?

http://catechism-orthodox-christianity.blogspot.com

CATECHISM – ORTHODOX CHRISTIANITY

FASTING AND GREAT LENT

THE TRIODION (3 ODES)

Source:

http://antiochian.org

http://antiochian.org/fasting-great-lent

ANTIOCHIAN ORTHODOX CHRISTIAN ARCHDIOCESE OF NORTH AMERICA

Great Lent is the 40-day season of spiritual preparation that comes before the most important Feast of the Christian year, Holy Pascha (which means “Passover” and is commonly called “Easter”,). It is the central part of a larger time of preparation called the Triodion season.

The Triodion begins ten weeks before Easter and is divided into three main parts: three Pre-Lenten weeks of preparing our hearts, the six weeks of Lent, and Holy Week. The main theme of the Triodion is repentance—mankind’s return to God, our loving Father.

This annual season of repentance is a spiritual journey with our Savior. Our goal is to meet the risen Lord Jesus, Who reunites us with God the Father. The Father is always waiting to greet us with outstretched hands. We must ask ourselves the question, “Are we willing to turn to Him?”

During Great Lent, the Church teaches us how to re­ceive Him by using the two great means of repentance— prayer and fasting.

THE LENTEN FAST

The word “fast” means not eating all or certain foods. As Orthodox Faithful, we can fast completely at certain times of great importance, and especially each time before receiv­ing Holy Communion. Usually, fasting means limiting the number of meals and/or the type of food eaten.

The purpose of fasting is to remind us of the Scriptural teaching, “Man does not live by bread alone.” The needs of the body are nothing compared to the Continue reading “What is the 40-day season of the Eastern Orthodox Church before the Holy Easter?”

What Yoga really is?

http://whataboutyoga.wordpress.com

WHAT ABOUT YOGA?

What Yoga Really Is?

By

Johannes Aagaard

Aarhus University, Danmark

Source:

http://www.egolpion.com/root.en.aspx

http://www.egolpion.com/tieinai_yoga.en.aspx

ANTI HERETICAL MANUAL

The philosophy of yoga can be expressed as follows:

“Ashes are fire, ashes are water, ashes are earthy everything is ashes, mind, sight, and the other senses are ashes.” (Atharva Siras)

All things in life are transitory, and pain, suffering, and death lurk behind everything. All of life with its omnipresent suffering and death goes on and on in an eternal cycle (samsara or the reincarnation cycle) from which no one escapes. Life is an endless wandering through relentless and insurmountable suffering. The future holds only further rebirths, and whether one is inching towards a better life or sinking into worse life makes little difference.

For all life is ashes.

Hinduism in all its various forms is first of all an attempt: escape from this relentless cycle of rebirth. It is not death wish because the aim is to escape death as well as life. Hindus wish to escape from life with good reason – for life on the Indian subcontinent is hard. Sickness of every kind, famine due to drought or flood, war and oppression make life an unbearable succession of suffering and defeat. The religious faith of the hindus which grows out of their painful experience of life finds its foremost expression in the god Shiva and his consort Kali.

Fear of death

The various Hindu techniques for liberation are attempts to be free of both life and death. Even those who fail to reach the ultimate goal can at least reduce their involvement with life. This is the aim of yoga. By practicing yoga one can reduce suffering and defer death by reducing or completely halting the normal life

An important text of hatha yoga expresses it this way

92. As long as prana is held in the body, so long consciousness (cittam) (is) free from disease. What cause is there for fear of death so long as the sight (resins fixed) between the eyebrows’

93. Therefore, from the fear of death, Brahma (is) intent on pranayama, as are also Yogis and sages. Therefore, one should restrain the prana.” (Gozaksa Sataka)

As expressed in this text the source of yoga is the fear of death, and the way to avert death is to hold back breathing. The same hatha yoga techniques will hold back and immobilize other life functions.

Hatha Yoga Techniques

Hatha yoga breathing exercises (pranayama) are not intended to lead to better breathing, but to the reduction or complete cessation of breathing! In the Continue reading “What Yoga really is?”

视频: 神存在嗎?Does God exist? ╰⊰¸¸.•¨* English & Chinese video

http://taiwanhongkongofmyheart.wordpress.com

TAIWAN & HONG KONG OF MY HEART

IMG_3983

神存在嗎?Does God exist? (台灣基督東正教會)

台灣基督東正教會隸屬於普世宗主教聖統香港及東南亞教區
主教為黎大略都主教,台灣由李亮神父牧養來自世界各國的教友

李亮神父 Fr. Jonah
來自東正教會希臘聖山(Mt. Athos)Gregoriou Monastery修院,
身為修士們的屬靈父親(spiritual father),
於修院中實踐心禱,鑽研希臘原文聖經十多年。
來臺後於各神學院教導東正教神學、聖經希臘原文等課程,
其屬靈父親為已故希臘知名靈修導師 Elder Porphyrios。

心禱 臉書粉絲專頁 http://www.facebook.com/prayforyou
聖經查經班 臉書粉絲專頁 http://www.facebook.com/bibleoflife
YouTube頻道 https://www.youtube.com/user/asianORTHODOX

来源:

http://theological.asia

台灣基督東正教會

The Orthodox Church in Taiwan

 

無神論 Q&A

If a Roman Catholic or a Protestant wants to convert to Orthodoxy (Eastern Orthodox Church), what are the steps?

http://paintingleaves.blogspot.com

PAINTING LEAVES

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If a Roman Catholic or a Protestant wants to convert to

Orthodoxy (Eastern Orthodox Church), what are the steps?

╰⊰¸¸.•¨*

Questions & Answers

in

SIMPLY ORTHODOX

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Hello,

The best is first to be willing to spend the time to really understand the commonalities and differences between Roman Catholicism or Protestantism and Orthodoxy (Eastern Orthodox Church).

In most cases, a person begins the process of conversion by speaking with a local Orthodox priest, who gives instructions (or catechism) on the teachings and beliefs of the Orthodox Church. These beliefs and doctrines have continued unchanged for over 2000 years, since the time of Jesus and the Twelve Apostles. This process of catechism could take many months. Once you have learned about the faith and teachings of the church, you would then be ready to be baptized as a member of the Orthodox Church, in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (ie. the Holy Trinity). Baptism is by triple immersion in water. At the same time, you would be Chrismated, which means receiving the Holy Oil and the Holy Spirit.

Thanks for your message! If you need anything, I am here!

I thank God that the truth of the Orthodox Church is being revealed to all over the world!

Source:

http://simplyorthodox.tumblr.com

SIMPLY ORTHODOX

Is your grandmother a fish?

ireland-beach

Is your grandmother a fish?

By

Dr. Georgia Purdom

Source:

https://answersingenesis.org

https://answersingenesis.org/answers/

http://blogs.answersingenesis.org/blogs/georgia-purdom/

ANSWERS IN GENESIS

According to a soon-to-be published book for young children, a fish and many other animals are your “grandmothers.” The subtitle for the book is “a child’s first book of Evolution.” While the author and illustrator do a good job of simplifying evolution through words and pictures and using terminology that is kid-friendly, it is exactly those points that make the book so deceptive.Starting with the Familiar

Rather than starting at the beginning of the evolutionary tree of life with a single-celled organism, the author starts with a fish likely because this would be more familiar to young children. The author chose not to use the terminology of “millions of years” but rather states “a long, long, long, long, long time ago” probably because young children don’t have a good understanding of time. In addition, the author uses the term “grandmother” to refer to each animal (i.e., grandmother fish, reptile, mammal) since children would know what a grandmother is but not an ancestor.

Confusing the Issue of Intelligent Behavior

The book compares animal behavior to human behavior for each of the animal grandmothers. This seduces children into thinking because they can do the same types of things they must be related to the animals. For example, “She [Grandmother Fish] could wiggle and swim fast. Can you wiggle?” Well, certainly children can wiggle (every parent can attest to this!), but that doesn’t mean humans are related to fish. It’s no secret that humans and animals have some similar behaviors, but as we have reported many, many times before this isn’t because of shared ancestry. Instead, God designed animals to beintelligent, but their intelligence pales in comparison to that of humans who are made in the image of God.

Missing Evolutionary Transitions

Following the comparative animal-human behaviors for each “grandmother,” children are presented with a small evolutionary tree showing lines connecting that grandmother to the next one. The book connects fish to reptiles, reptiles to mammals, mammals to apes, and, of course, apes to humans. While visually simple, it discounts the millions of mutations that would have to occur by random chance for these transitions to be possible (and the fact that transitional fossils between these organisms are absent).

Following the conclusion of the book is a parent’s guide giving more detailed information about each evolutionary transition presented in the book. For example, grandmother mammal is said to cuddle and parents are told, “They evolved cuddling as part of nursing our young. Both of these behaviors are governed by the ‘cuddle hormone,’ oxytocin.” It seems the author didn’t stop with simplifying evolution for kids; he also wanted to absurdly simplify it for their parents as well.

How Evolution Supposedly Happens

Also in the parent’s guide are explanations of three major points related to evolution: descent with modification, artificial selection, and natural selection. Dogs are used for artificial selection to show that people have bred dogs to achieve dogs with specific traits (of course, traits that already existed in dogs). They conclude this section with, “All the different kinds of dogs come from one kind of dog that lived a long time ago.” Finally, something I can agree with in the book! All dogs did come from the original dog kind created by God on Day Six of Creation Week, approximately 6,000 years ago. I found it interesting that their point about artificial selection is that it results in variation within a certain group of animals (dogs) and yet somehow a similar type of mechanism (natural selection) is supposed to achieve molecules-to-man evolution with one kind of animal evolving into a completely different kind of animal! I honestly hope parents reading the guide will see the obvious problem this creates for evolution and how natural selection cannot be a mechanism.

As with many books on evolution, time is presented as the key. Evolution can do anything and everything with enough time. But it is this simplification presented to both children and parents in this book that is so problematic. As a professional geneticist, I can attest to the fact that time is not the key but rather what is needed is a genetic mechanism that adds new and novel information so that organisms can evolve from fish to humans. The problem is that with all the thousands of papers published on mutations, no such mechanism has ever been observed. Mutations only alter (and many times detrimentally) genetic information that is already present—they don’t add new and novel information of the type that will change one kind of organism into another. All the time in the world is useless if there is no genetic mechanism to add what is needed for molecules-to-man evolution.

Teaching Our Kids the Truth About Our Origins

With its engaging text and illustrations, I’m sure this book will find its way into many public libraries and even school libraries. I challenge parents and others to suggest to their local librarian an alternative book from AiG’s vast resources for children. One of my personal favorites is Dinosaurs for Kids. I always say it should be called “Dinosaurs for Everyone,” because it is a book that will keep the attention of both children and parents and equip them to answer common questions about dinosaurs. Also, be sure to visit the Creation Museum and take advantage of our “Kids Free in 2014.”

While it is sad to see evolutionary resources like this book for children, it is very encouraging to see the many children’s resources (including Answers Bible Curriculum andAnswers VBS) available through AiG that help us teach our kids that the truth about our origins can only be found in the truth of God’s Word.

Keep fighting the good fight of the faith!

Source:

http://blogs.answersingenesis.org/blogs/georgia-purdom/2014/07/10/is-your-grandmother-a-fish/

ANSWERS IN GENESIS

祈禱不是義務 Is Prayer a Duty? (東正教) ╰⊰¸¸.•¨* Chinese & english video

http://taiwanhongkongofmyheart.wordpress.com

TAIWAN & HONG KONG OF MY HEART

f9e103c2dfa59d1d8df35edd794cad55

祈禱不是義務 Is Prayer a Duty? (東正教)

真正的禱告,如同親吻。
藉著禱告,你親吻神,如同親吻所愛的人。
藉著禱告,你透過神,親吻了你所愛的人。
藉著禱告,你讓神不得安寧,直到祂答應保守你所愛的。

這種發自內心的祈禱,無時無刻,不論何地,
你都可以禱告。

如果你讓祈禱成為例行公事,
或讓祈禱成為繳稅般的義務,
你就殺了祈禱。

影片:3分鐘,學心禱
http://youtu.be/ER5LbIne6bQ

教會官網 http://theological.asia/
愛的箴言 臉書專頁 http://www.facebook.com/prayforyou
YouTube 頻道 http://www.youtube.com/user/asianORTH…
聖禮儀現場直播 http://bambuser.com/channel/orthodox-…

※尊重著作權,引用請註明網址連結。

台灣基督東正教會隸屬於普世宗主教聖統香港及東南亞教區,
主教為黎大略都主教,台灣由李亮神父牧養教友。

李亮神父
來自東正教會靈修聖地阿陀斯聖山
(Mt. Athos, Gregoriou Monastery),
身為修士的屬靈父親(spiritual father),
於修院中實踐心禱,鑽研古希臘文聖經十多年。
來臺後於各神學院教導東正教神學、靈修、聖經希臘原文等課程,
其屬靈父親為已故希臘知名靈修導師St. Porphyrios of Kafsokalivia。

※尊重著作權,引用請註明網址連結。

What about Marriage?

https://orthodoxsaintvalentine.wordpress.com

ORTHODOX SAINT VALENTINE

0582A

4-russian-orthodox-ceremony

AIMILIANOS

Marriage

by

Elder Aimilianos of Simonopetra Monastery,

Holy Mount Athos, Greece

 

When you see difficulties in your marriage, when you see that you’re making no progress in your spiritual life, don’t despair. But neither should you be content with whatever progress you may have already made. Lift up your heart to God. Imitate those who have given everything to God, and do what you can to be like them, even if all you can do is to desire in your heart to be like them. Leave the action to Christ. And when you advance in this way, you will truly sense what is the purpose of marriage. Otherwise, as a blind person wanders about, so too will you wander in life…

It is an adulteration of marriage for us to think that it is a road to happiness, as if it is a denial of the Cross. The joy of marriage is for husband and wife to put their shoulders to the wheel and together go forward on the uphill road of life. “You haven’t suffered? Then you haven’t loved,” says a certain poet. Only those who suffer can really love. And that’s why sadness is a necessary feature of marriage. “Marriage”, in the words of an ancient philosopher, “is a world made beautiful by hope, and strengthened by misfortune.” Just as steel is fashioned in a furnace, just so is a person proved in marriage, in the fire of difficulties…

marriage, then, is a journey through sorrows and joys. When the sorrows seem overwhelming, then you you should remember that God is with you. He will take up your cross. It was He Who placed the crown of marriage on your head. But when when we ask God about something, He doesn’t always supply the solution right away. He leads us forward very slowly. Sometimes He takes years. We have to experience pain, otherwise life would have no meaning. But be of good cheer, for Christ is suffering with you, and the Holy Spirit, “through your groanings is pleading on your behalf” (cf. Rom. 8:26)…

Marriage is a road: it starts out from the earth and ends in heaven. It is a joining together, a bond with Christ, Who assures us that He will lead us to heaven, to be with Him always. Marriage is a bridge leading us from earth to heaven. It is as if the sacrament is saying: Above and beyond love, above and beyond your husband, your wife, above the everyday events, remember that you are destined for heaven, that you have set out on a road which will take you there without fail. The bride and the bridegroom give their hands to one another, and the priest takes hold of them both, and leads them round the table dancing and singing. Marriage is a movement, a progression, a journey which will end in heaven, in eternity.

In marriage, it seems that two people come together. However, it’s not two but three. The man marries the woman, and the woman marries the man, but two together also marry Christ. So three take part in the mystery, and three remain together in life.

in the dance around the table, the couple are led by the priest, who is a type of Christ. This means that Christ has seized us, rescued us, redeemed us, and made us His. And this is the “great mystery” of marriage (cf. Gal. 3:13). (The Orthodox Word vol. 50, no. 3 [296])

Source:

http://orthodox-heart-sites.blogspot.com

ORTHODOX HEART SITES

What is a Saint who called Fool-for-Christ?

http://foolforchristfullofchrist.wordpress.com

FOOL FOR CHRIST – FULL OF CHRIST

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Holy-Fools-620x350.png

What is a Saint who called Fool-for-Christ?

A saint who has the title Fool-for-Christ is one who is known for his apparent, yet holy, insanity.

Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness. (1 Corinthians 3:18-19)

One form of the ascetic Christian life is called foolishness for the sake of Christ. The fool-for-Christ set for himself the task of battling within himself the root of all sin, pride. In order to accomplish this he took on an unusual style of life, appearing as someone bereft of his mental faculties, thus bringing upon himself the ridicule of others. In addition he exposed the evil in the world through metaphorical and symbolic words and actions. He took this ascetic endeavor upon himself in order to humble himself and to also more effectively influence others, since most people respond to the usual ordinary sermon with indifference. The spiritual feat of foolishness for Christ was especially widespread in Russia. –(Excerpted from The Law of God, Holy Trinity Monastery, Jordanville, NY: 1993)

Source:

Orthodox Wiki

视频:神為何降生為人?Why God became Human? – Video

alaska_waterfall_21

视频:神為何降生為人?

Why God Became Human? (東正教)

来源:

http://theological.asia

台灣基督東正教會

THE ORTHODOX CHURCH IN TAIWAN

神 Q&A

如何愛「惡人」?How to love a bad person? ╰⊰¸¸.•¨* Chinese & english video

http://taiwanhongkongofmyheart.wordpress.com

TAIWAN & HONG KONG OF MY HEART

at-river-in-akita-prefecture-japan-japan-japan1152_12903127648-tpfil02aw-11227

如何愛「惡人」?How to Love a Bad Person? (東正教)

首先,與那些被惡人深切傷害的受害者,一同哀哭。
然後,試著不要「恨」對方。
接著,試著理解對方之所以成為惡人的原因。
最後,意識到對方變成如此,我們都有責任。

也要記得,我們不是任何人的最後審判者。

但是,在我們談論稀有的、最高的「愛」之前,
在我們談論如何愛「惡人」之前,
先思想我們如何「關心」我們「身邊的人」,
關心我們的家人、朋友、妻子、孩子,
踏出最實際的第一步。

李亮神父講道摘要:http://theological.asia/?p=11986

教會官網 http://theological.asia/
愛的箴言 臉書專頁 http://www.facebook.com/prayforyou
YouTube 頻道 http://www.youtube.com/user/asianORTH…
聖禮儀現場直播 http://bambuser.com/channel/orthodox-…

※尊重著作權,引用請註明網址連結。

台灣基督東正教會隸屬於普世宗主教聖統香港及東南亞教區,
主教為黎大略都主教,台灣由李亮神父牧養教友。

李亮神父
來自東正教會靈修聖地阿陀斯聖山
(Mt. Athos, Gregoriou Monastery),
身為修士的屬靈父親(spiritual father),
於修院中實踐心禱,鑽研古希臘文聖經十多年。
來臺後於各神學院教導東正教神學、靈修、聖經希臘原文等課程,
其屬靈父親為已故希臘知名靈修導師St. Porphyrios of Kafsokalivia。

※尊重著作權,引用請註明網址連結。

愛 Q&A

What are Cherubim? Are Cherubs Angels?

http://heavenonearthorthodoxy.wordpress.com

HEAVEN ON EARTH – ORTHODOXY

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What are Cherubim? Are Cherubs Angels?

Cherubim/cherubs are angelic beings involved in the worship and praise of God. The cherubim are first mentioned in the Bible in Genesis 3:24, “After He drove the man out, He placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.” Prior to his rebellion, Satan was a cherub (Ezekiel 28:12-15). The tabernacle and temple along with their articles contained many representations of cherubim (Exodus 25:17-22; 26:1, 31; 36:8; 1 Kings 6:23-35; 7:29-36; 8:6-7; 1 Chronicles 28:18; 2 Chronicles 3:7-14; 2 Chronicles 3:10-13; 5:7-8; Hebrews 9:5).

Chapters 1 and 10 of the book of Ezekiel describe the “four living creatures” (Ezekiel 1:5) as the same beings as the cherubim (Ezekiel 10). Each had four faces—that of a man, a lion, an ox, and an eagle (Ezekiel 1:10; also 10:14)—and each had four wings. In their appearance, the cherubim “had the likeness of a man” (Ezekiel 1:5). These cherubim used two of their wings for flying and the other two for covering their bodies (Ezekiel 1:6, 11, 23). Under their wings the cherubim appeared to have the form, or likeness, of a man’s hand (Ezekiel 1:8; 10:7-8, 21).

The imagery of Revelation 4:6-9 also seems to be describing cherubim. The cherubim serve the purpose of magnifying the holiness and power of God. This is one of their main responsibilities throughout the Bible. In addition to singing God’s praises, they also serve as a visible reminder of the majesty and glory of God and His abiding presence with His people.

Source: C. Fred Dickason, Angels: Elect & Evil, MOODY PUBLISHERS / 1995 / PAPERBACK

Yoga and Orthodox Christianity: Are They Compatible? – Dr. Christine Mangala, India

 http://whataboutyoga.wordpress.com

WHAT ABOUT YOGA?

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Yoga and Orthodox Christianity: Are They Compatible?

Dr. Christine Mangala, India

Source:

http://www.ancientfaith.com

ANCIENT FAITH

Dr. Christine Mangala was raised in India and brought up a devout Hindu. Her family was close to one of India’s leading Hindu gurus and teachers. Now an Orthodox Christian writer and teacher, she and Illumined Heart host Kevin Allen speak about whether various aspects of Hindu Yoga are compatible with Christian faith and practice, or whether Yoga should be shunned entirely.

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http://www.ancientfaith.com/podcasts/illuminedheart/yoga_and_orthodox_christianity_are_they_compatible

The interview video of Dr. Christine Mangala & Kevin Allen

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Mr. Allen: Welcome to The Illumined Heart on Ancient Faith Radio. As many of you know, we have spoken often on this program about the influence of eastern, non-Christian, spiritual ideas, metaphysics, and worldviews on our culture. And this is the spiritual background I came out of, one which continues to be a subject of interest to me, and, I hope, for some of you as well.

Recently, my parish in southern California has begun to see a trickle of enquirers coming from various eastern traditions, especially those of Hinduism. So I hope our conversation today—Yoga and Orthodox Christianity: Are They Compatible?—will bring light to the subject.  In addition to enquirers from eastern spiritual traditions, many Christian believers also practice yoga asanas, physical postures which have become virtually mainstream in North American and European life, and even some forms of Hindu-influenced meditation. So the question of the compatibility of yoga in its various meditative and especially the physical postures forms with Eastern Orthodox Christianity is one that we’ll attempt to address on the program today.

My guest, whom I’m very very enthused to be speaking with, was born a Hindu, a Brahmin, the highest and priestly caste in India. She was brought up on yoga. Her grandfather, in fact, was a personal friend of one of the expounders of modern yoga and Vedanta philosophy, the well-known Swami Sivananda, who is the founder of the Divine Life Society. And Dr. Christine Mangala became a Christian at age 22, and later converted to Eastern Orthodox Christianity. She received her doctorate in English literature from Cambridge University, and has authored articles on literature and books of fiction, of which she has written several, as well as various spiritual subjects, including yoga and Christianity. She is married to Dr. David Frost, the director of the Institute for Orthodox Christian Studies in Cambridge, England—a fine program, by the way—with whom she has four children, and she attends St. Ephraim’s Russian Orthodox Church in Cambridge, UK, England.

Her excellent article, “Yoga and the Christian Faith,” provided the impetus for this program, and I’m speaking with my guest today by telephone in Continue reading “Yoga and Orthodox Christianity: Are They Compatible? – Dr. Christine Mangala, India”

What does the Bible say about clothing?

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EASTERN ORTHODOX CHURCH

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What does the Bible say about clothing?

Clothing has played a major role in the history of God’s interactions with man and is featured prominently from Genesis (3:7) to Revelation (22:14). Outward attire sometimes symbolizes inward realities, and in the Bible clothing often has spiritual significance.

The first mention of clothing is in the Garden of Eden. When Adam and Eve sinned, their eyes were opened (Genesis 3:6–7), which means they had a new awareness that they were naked. The accompanying shame propelled them to fashion the very first clothing—they sewed fig leaves together to try to cover their bodies. So, even from the beginning, clothing has symbolized the need to cover our sin and shame. God, in His mercy, killed an animal and made garments for Adam and Eve from the skin of the animal (Genesis 3:21). This act of God serves as a picture of our inability to effectively atone for our own sin. The fact that an animal had to die—blood had to be shed—in order to cover Adam and Eve’s shame is a foreshadowing of the later sacrifice of Christ. Our inability to cover our own sin necessitated God’s Son coming to earth to do for us what we cannot do for ourselves (Philippians 2:6–8; Titus 3:5).

Throughout human history, clothing styles and colors have been indicators of a person’s status, wealth, position, and gender. The Bible contains many examples of clothing used to communicate different things. Royal robes were worn by kings to distinguish them from commoners (2 Chronicles 18:9; Esther 6:8; 1 Kings 22:30). Sackcloth, a coarse material that was uncomfortable to wear, was worn during times of grief and mourning to symbolize the inner pain someone felt at the loss of a loved one (Joel 1:8), to show repentance (Jonah 3:5), or to mourn a political tragedy (Joel 1:13; 2 Kings 19:1). Prostitutes had a certain manner of dress and could be recognized by their clothing (Genesis 38:14–15; Proverbs 7:10). Leather belts were a sign of poverty or asceticism; Elijah and John the Baptist both wore leather belts (2 Kings 1:8; Mark 1:6). Men and Continue reading “What does the Bible say about clothing?”

What does it mean to dress modestly?

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COMING HOME – ORTHODOXY

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What does it mean to dress modestly?

In describing the mode of dress appropriate for women in church, the apostle Paul exhorts them to dress “modestly” with “decency and propriety” then goes on to contrast immodest dress with the good deeds which are appropriate for those who profess to be true worshipers of God (1 Timothy 2:9–10). While the Bible only specifically addresses the need for women to dress modestly, the same teaching would apply to men in principle. Both men and women should bring glory to God in their manner of dress.

Modesty in the way we dress is not just for church; it is to be the standard for all Christians at all times. The key to understanding what constitutes modesty in dress is to examine the attitudes and intents of the heart. Those whose hearts are inclined toward God will make every effort to dress modestly, decently, and appropriately. Those whose hearts are inclined toward self will dress in a manner designed to draw attention to themselves with little or no regard for the consequences to themselves or others.

A godly woman endeavors to do everything with a “God-ward” perspective. She knows that God wants His people to be concerned for His glory and the spiritual state of their brothers and sisters in Christ. If a woman professes to be a Christian yet she dresses in a way that will unduly draw attention to her body, she is a poor witness of the One who bought her soul by dying for her on the cross. She is forgetting that her body has been redeemed by Christ and is now the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19–20). She is telling the world that she determines her own worth on a purely physical basis and that her attractiveness depends on how much of her body she reveals to them. Further, by dressing in an immodest fashion, displaying her body for men to lust after, she causes her brothers in Christ to sin, something condemned by God (Matthew 5:27–29). Proverbs 7:10 mentions a woman “dressed like a prostitute and with crafty intent”—here, the woman’s heart condition is displayed by her manner of dress.

The Scripture says that we are to dress modestly, but what exactly does that mean in modern society? Does a woman have to be covered from head to toe? There are cults and religions in the world that demand this of women. But is that the biblical meaning of modesty? Again, we have to go back to the matter of the attitudes of the heart. If a woman’s heart is inclined toward godliness, she will wear clothing that is neither provocative nor revealing in public, clothing that does not reflect negatively upon her personal testimony as a child of God. Everyone else in her circle may be dressing immodestly, but she resists the temptation to go along with the crowd. She avoids clothing designed to draw attention to her body and cause men to lust, for she is wise enough to know that type of attention only cheapens her. The idea of causing men to sin against God because of her dress is abhorrent to her because she seeks to love and honor God and wants others to do the same.

Modesty in dress reveals a modesty and godliness of the heart, attitudes that should be the desire of all women (and men) who live to please and honor God.

Source: Elizabeth George, A Woman After God’s Own Heart, 2007

Why do Orthodox Christians not to use musical instruments when they worship the Lord?

Why do Orthodox Christians

not to use musical instruments when

they worship the Lord?

Sounds

The Orthodox Church traditionally does not use any instruments in the liturgy, instead relying entirely on choral music and chanting. Essentially all the words of Orthodox services, except sermons and such, are either chanted or sung by readers and choirs and when possible the congregations.

Chanting

Nothing in Orthodox worship is simply said; it is always sung or chanted. Chanting in the Orthodox tradition can be described as being halfway between talking and singing; it is musical but not music. Only a few notes are used in chanting, and the chanter reads the words to these notes at a steady rhythm. The notes and rhythms used vary according to what the occasion is, but generally chanting is relatively low-toned and steadily rhythmic creating a calming sound. Chanting not only is conducive to a calm and elevated state of mind but also allows chanters to read through large portions of texts (particularly Psalms) more clearly and quickly than possible with normal speech while also conveying the poetry in the words. That is the essential reason for chanting. Worship at its heart is a song and is beautiful; therefore the words of Orthodox worship cannot be simply said but must be melodiously chanted to express the true nature and purpose of the words.

Singing

Words not chanted in Orthodox worship are sung by a choir. Originally singing was done by the entire congregation, however this rapidly became cumbersome and a select group of singers was selected to represent the congregation. Since then Orthodox church music has expanded and become more elaborate. The Church uses eight ‘tones’ or ‘modes,’ which are broad categories of melodies. Within each of these tones are many small more precise melodies. All of these tones and their melodies rotate weekly so that during each week a particular tone is used for singing music. Singing naturally developed from chanting but, unlike in the west, Orthodox music developed from a Greek musical background. Even though Orthodoxy has spread and its music adapted to its various regions, still Orthodox music is distinctive from European music. Singing is used in place of chanting on important occasions thus some things which are chanted at minor services are sung at more important services. Singing is as varied and multi-faceted in its forms as chanting and vestments, it changes with the Church ‘seasons’ of commemoration thus singing during Great Lent is always somber and during Holy Week nearly becomes a sorrowful dirge while during Pascha (Easter) and the Paschal season the notes are high and quick and as joyful as they were sad during Lent. The power of music is not lost on the Orthodox and it is used to its full effect to bring about spiritual renewal in the listeners.

Bells

In Orthodox churches bells are often used. The size of the bells can vary widely as can their number and complexity of tone. Generally however they are rung to announce the beginning and end of services or to proclaim especially significant moments in the services. They are not used as musical instruments in the strict sense, that is, they are not used in conjunction with a choir and are not a part of the worship itself and are always positioned outside the church building.

Source:

https://ex2x2lettersfromgreece.wordpress.com

https://ex2x2lettersfromgreece.wordpress.com/2017/11/21/77488/

EX 2X2 LETTERS FROM GREECE

Why musical instrument such as organs are not found in Eastern Orthodox Church?

Why musical instrument such as organs

are not found in Eastern Orthodox Church?

Question:

I am a member of the Greek Archdiocese and I am wondering why musical instrument such as organs are not found in OCA Churches [OCA=Orthodox Church in America], or in Churches I visited in Greece or on Mt Athos? It seems Psalm 150 condones praising the Lord with stringed instruments.

Answer:

Actually, the tradition of the Orthodox Church is to have no musical instruments in the church. This is not unique to the OCA, as you experienced during your trip to Greece and Mt. Athos. The appearance of organs in Orthodox churches is, to my knowledge, pretty much limited to Greek and a few Antiochian Orthodox parishes in the US. I have never heard of organs or other musical instruments used elsewhere. Hence, the use of organs in some churches in the US is an innovation of recent origin. If I am not mistaken, His Eminence Archbishop Spyridon of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America has addressed his concerns over the introduction of organs into the church’s worship.

It is true that Psalm 150 condones praising the Lord with stringed instruments. This, however, never carried into Christian worship. One could say that there are many things one finds condoned in the Old Testament—the sacrificing of animals, for example—which were not carried over into the New Testament Church, in which Christ becomes the sacrificial lamb and the human voice becomes the musical instrument par excellance.

Source:

https://oca.org

https://oca.org/questions/parishlife/musical-instruments

ORTHODOX CHURCH IN AMERICA

Is it right to kill animals for food? Is it right to eat meal? Can something that we eat making us more closer to God?

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ANIMALS OF MY HEART

Question:

Is it right to kill animals for food? Is it right to eat meal? Can something that we eat making us more closer to God?

Answer:

God in the Holy Bible gave us all the animals to eat.

So we can eat meat. It is not a sin.

Genesis 9:3 > “Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. And as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything”.

Genesis 1:30 > “And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so.”

Acts 10:9-16 > “The next day, as they were on their journey and approaching the city, Peter went up on the housetop about the sixth hour to pray. And he became hungry and wanted something to eat, but while they were preparing it, he fell into a trance and saw the heavens opened and something like a great sheet descending, being let down by its four corners upon the earth. In it were all kinds of animals and reptiles and birds of the air. And there came a voice to him: “Rise, Peter; kill and eat.” …”

* * *

The Buddhists believe in the false reincarnation and they don’t eat meat because they fear not eat their grandmother.

It’s false. It’s wrong.

Also the plants are alive.

The Buddhists don’t eat meat because it is a living animal but they eat plants which are alive, too.

* * *

The Orthodox Christians don’t eat meat, milk, cheese etc. only in the fasting.

Matthew 9:14-15 > ” 14 Then John’s disciples came and asked him, “How is it that we and the Pharisees fast often, but your disciples do not fast?”. 15 Jesus answered, “How can the guests of the bridegroom mourn while he is with them? The time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; then they will fast. ”

With the Orthodox Christian fasting we are close to God and the devil stay far away from us.

With the Orthodox Christian fasting our prayer is stronger and devil goes away.

If someone is ill don’t make fasting or ask his Spiritual Father (=Personal Spiritual Father – Orthodox Priest) about it.

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Abel Gkiouzelis

What is the Holy Bible?

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ORTHODOX HEART SITES

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What is the Holy Bible?

We believe the Holy Bible, comprised of the Old and New Testaments, to be the inspired, infallible, and authoritative Word of God (Matthew 5:18; 2 Timothy 3:16-17).

In faith we hold the Holy Bible to be inerrant in the original writings, God-breathed, and the complete and final authority for faith and practice (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

While still using the individual writing styles of the human authors, the Holy Spirit perfectly guided them to ensure they wrote precisely what He wanted written, without error or omission (2 Peter 1:21).

Why is the Church called Apostolic?

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SAINTS OF MY HEART

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Why is the Church called Apostolic?

╰⊰¸¸.•¨*

Topic 274 of the Catechism

of Saint Philaret of Moscow, Russia (+1867)

November 19

Because she has from the Apostles, without break or change, both her doctrine and the succesion of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, through the laying of consecrated hands. In the same sense the Church is called Orthodox, or Right-believing.

“You are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; and are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;” (Eph. 2:19-20).

Source:

LOVE AND REPENTANCE

Why do we venerate Constantine the Great as a Saint?

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HEART QUESTIONS & ANSWERS

SAINTS OF MY HEART

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Why do we venerate Constantine the Great as a Saint?

The very name of Constantine is enough to move the heart of any Christian. It moves us because the first to bear the name Constantine I, the Great, was not merely one of the greatest men in world history, but he was something more besides: a saint.

And when they hear the word “saint”, the trumpeters of atheism and unbelief start to sound off. Is he a saint? General, yes. King and Emperor, yes. Great, yes. But saint? No, he’s not a saint, they say. Because, they say, Constantine the Great committed crimes: he killed his son Crispus; he killed his second wife Fausta; and so shouldn’t be considered a saint*.

What can we say in response to those who are against Constantine the Great for no other reason than that he was a Christian? Had he not been a Christian, but an idolater like Julian the Apostate, who betrayed the Church, then they would be praising him. But, no. Constantine, who supported the Orthodox faith and established firm foundations, is slandered and hated by the enemies of Christ.

We would answer: they either forget or do not know that, in our faith, there is a great thing called repentance. One tear from a sinner, whatever act they’ve committed, one tear at the sacrament of confession, redeems any fault. Were there no repentance, paradise would be empty, we wouldn’t have a calendar of feasts nor any saints, because there isn’t a saint who hasn’t cried and hasn’t repented sins. There’s no other way to Paradise, beloved, than the door of repentance. Constantine wasn’t born a saint, he became one. He made mistakes, but he repented. Let’s not forget that he was brought up in the inhuman surroundings of the courts of Diocletian and Galerius, yet he disagreed with people like them.

He’s a saint because his presence in the world is the light of Christ. This light is also shown in his call, which is remarkably like that of Saint Paul and which is why it is mentioned in his dismissal hymn. Saint Paul was called by Christ in a vision when he was walking along the road to Damascus; he saw a shining light and heard a voice saying: “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” In the same way, Saint Constantine was called in a vision. A historic vision which is reported by contemporary historians[2]. What was the vision? When he arrived outside Rome on 28 October, in the year 312 A. D., the army of his rival was three times larger and defeat stared him in the face. As he sat there pondering, in broad daylight, he saw a great sign: the stars in the heavens formed a cross and below the cross he saw the words: “In this conquer” (In hoc vinca). And from that moment on, he was convinced that the future of humanity rested with Christ. He then adopted the banner which proceeded his troops and, with this sign, “In this conquer”, he defeated Maxentius, entered Rome and proclaimed to the whole city that this victory did not belong to his legions but to the Honourable Cross.

His edicts are light. The first edict, in February, 313, was for the persecutions to cease. Just imagine. The persecution of Christians had lasted 300 years. It was forbidden to be Christian. The very word “Christian” was cause enough for conviction, nothing else needed to be investigated: “Are you Christian?”. That was it. Possessions confiscated, incredible sufferings, horrifying tortures. How many martyrs? 12 million. For 300 years, Christians begged: “Lord, give us peace”. And He did. Peace came into the world through the chosen vessel of divine providence[3], Constantine the Great.

How, then, can we not honour him? We ought to do so if for nothing other than that edict which he signed with his holy hands. His nobility of soul and forgiving nature were also light. They say that some idolater enemies once decapitated a statue of him. When the news was brought to him he raised his hands, took hold of his head and said: “This is my head here. There’s nothing missing. Don’t punish them”. On another occasion he said that if he saw a cleric sinning, he would cover him with his robes, so as to prevent other people seeing his sins. This showed his intense concern that the Church should not be subjected to scandals.

He abolished the worship of the Roman emperors, who were considered gods on earth.

His legislation was also light. For the first time, Christian legislation was introduced. His vision was rare. What vision? To make a Christian state, on a global scale, and offer it to Christ for sanctification and deification. This is why he’s depicted holding an orb. And just as the Patriarch Abraham heard the voice of God telling him to leave his homeland and settle in a land that God would show him (Gen. 12, 1), so, too, Saint Constantine left Old Rome, the city stained with the blood of innocent Christians criminally killed, and built a New Rome on the Bosphorus, which, after his repose, was quite rightly called Constantinople. And from here he took measures aimed at raising the spiritual state and sanctity of the people.

What measures? He closed all the night-time places of corrupt pleasure. There were places of entertainment where women gathered under the protection of disgusting divinities, Aphrodite centres, Bacchus centres and he closed them all. He closed the oracles and got rid of the magicians who were exploiting people and deceiving them. He forbade blasphemy. He said he would forgive anything, except blasphemy. If anyone blasphemed the name of Christ, they were immediately arrested and exiled.

He honoured Sunday by edict. He declared it a great and splendid day and forbade any shops to open. Horse races, places of relaxation, everything closed.

He supported small land-holders and workers and took measures against usury and every of other form of injustice. He was the first to support human rights, he protected widows and orphans, and showed particular concern for social welfare.

He protected the Orthodox faith. When Arius, the leader of the heresy named after him, came along and opened his dirty mouth against our Lord, Jesus Christ, and said that He was not really God and of the same substance as the Father, Constantine convened the First Ecumenical Synod in Nicaea, Bithynia, to write the Creed. He himself went to the convention, not as emperor and ruler of the planet, but in humility and kissed the hands of the holy bishops, many of whom still had the marks of their mistreatment fresh on their bodies. Not being a theologian, when he was asked for his opinion, he replied: “I respect what I do not know”.

He supported missionary work. It was during his time as emperor that the Armenians and Georgians became Christians, and the light of Christ reached as far as India.

It was at his command that the Honourable Cross was found an d the first churches were built in Jerusalem. He was the initiator and founder of a Christian Empire that lasted one thousand one hundred years.

Finally, beloved, when he realized that his earthly end was approaching, he surrounded himself with bishops and confessed his sins and wept. He was then baptized, at the age of about 63, and never again put on the royal robes, the splendid imperial vestments, but wore only his white baptismal robes, telling people that he now really did feel like an emperor. He took communion, the Body and Blood of Christ, and, pure and clean, rejoicing and praying, departed for the heavenly kingdom.

Beloved, even if we ignore all the above, there are two criteria for the Church regarding his sanctity: a) the vision of God and the grace which the saint enjoyed, as we have mentioned; b) his miracles after death.

After his departure from this life, his sacred relics were buried with imperial honours in the narthex of the church of the Holy Apostles, where they gave off a powerful aroma and myrrh and performed many miracles[4]. It may be that some people wonder whether what the Christians say is really the truth. Beloved, even if some people don’t believe, there are two criteria for his sanctity and only two. It is with the seal of God that Constantine is a saint and Equal to the Apostles. History has shown him to be great and the Church to be a saint.

[1] Words attributed to Konstantinos XI Palaiologos in a poem about the capture of Constantinople (trans. note).

* The truth of the matter is as follows: when Constantine the Great was Caesar in the West, Rome proclaimed the cruel, anti-Christian, Maxentius, as emperor, who wishing to cover his back in the west, since he feared Constantine, forced him to divorce his wife, Minervina and marry Fausta, a very ambitious and cunning woman who was also Maxentius’ sister, in order to control him. When she saw Constantine’s eldest son, Crispus, distinguishing himself in battles and being groomed for the succession, she wanted to destroy him at all costs, in order to promote her own three sons to positions of power. So she slandered Crispus by saying that he had tried to rape her and kill his father in order to seize power, like a new Absalom. Unfortunately, Fausta’s plot was so convincing and her lies so persuasive that Constantine and the generals fell into the demonic trap. And they allowed Crispus to be put to death, in accordance with the law. When the queen mother, (Saint) Helen, who was many miles away, learned what had happened she rebuked her son severely for his decision. Constantine instituted exhaustive enquiries, from which it became clear that he was the victim of a criminal conspiracy on the part of his wife, Fausta, and her supporters. So he ordered that she, too, be put to death. These two murders of people of his own family greatly distressed Constantine, who regretted them bitterly to the end of his days and sought God’s forgiveness. And I order to show his repentance publicly he had a statue erected to Crispus, with the inscription “To my much-wronged son”.

[2] Lactantius (De Mortibus Persecutorum, 44), Eusebius (Eccl. Hist. IX, 9.1-11, Socrates (Eccl. Hist. I, 2.5-10), Sozomenos (Eccl. Hist. I 1) et al.

[3] In his book “The Ecumenical Synods”, Saint Nektarios writes that Saints Constantine and Helen were the hands of divine providence.

[4] See the calendar of the Church.

by Meletios Stathis

Source:

http://www.omhksea.org

http://swww.omhksea.org/2013/05/why-do-we-venerate-constantine-the-great-as-a-saint/

Orthodox Metropolitanate of Hong Kong & South East Asia

Why do women cry?

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PAINTING LEAVES

nuocmat

Why do women cry?

A little boy asked his mother, “Why are you crying?” 

“Because I’m a woman,” she told him.

“I don’t understand,” he said.

His Mom just hugged him and said, “And you never will.”

Later the little boy asked his father, “Why does mother seem to cry for no reason?”

“All women cry for no reason,” was all his dad could say.

The little boy grew up and became a man, still wondering why women cry.

Finally he put in a call to God. When God got on the phone, he asked, “God, why do women cry so easily?”

God said:

“When I made the woman she had to be special.

I made her shoulders strong enough to carry the weight of the world, yet gentle enough to give comfort.

I gave her an inner strength to endure childbirth and the rejection that many times comes from her children.

I gave her a hardness that allows her to keep going when everyone else gives up, and take care of her family through sickness and fatigue without complaining.

I gave her the sensitivity to love her children under any and all circumstances, even when her child has hurt her very badly.

I gave her strength to carry her husband through his faults and fashioned her from his rib to protect his heart.

I gave her wisdom to know that a good husband never hurts his wife, but sometimes tests her strengths and her resolve to stand beside him unfalteringly.

And finally, I gave her a tear to shed. This is hers exclusively to use whenever it is needed.”

“You see my son,” said God, “the beauty of a woman is not in the clothes she wears, the figure that she carries, or the way she combs her hair. The beauty of a woman must be seen in her eyes, because that is the doorway to her heart – the place where love resides.”

Anonymous

Q&A – Father Zacharias of Essex Monastery, England – Video

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GREAT BRITAIN OF MY HEART

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Q&A – Father Zacharias of Essex Monastery, England

Archimandrite Zacharias is a disciple of Elder Sophrony (of blessed memory), who was a disciple of St. Silouan of Mount Athos.

Presently, Fr. Zacharias is the abbot of the Monastery of St. John the Baptist, Essex, England founded by Elder Sophrony.

What is the Holy Confession?

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http://holyconfessionofyourheart.wordpress.com

HOLY CONFESSION OF YOUR HEART

AMERICA OF MY HEART

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Holy Confession

One of the Holy Mysteries (Sacraments) of the Orthodox Church

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ORTHODOXY IS LOVE

Holy Confession (or Repentance) is one of the holy mysteries (or sacraments) in the Orthodox Church, as well as many other Christian traditions. Through it, the penitent receives the divine forgiveness of Christ for any sins that are confessed. Confession is typically given to a Spiritual Father (usually a parish priest or monastic). Confession can be individual or general. The frequency of required confession (as well as whether or not general confession is permissible) can vary from parish to parish, and from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. The better is once a month or twice a month.

Confession In the Bible

Old Testament

“He shall confess his sin that he has committed. And he shall make full restitution for his wrong, adding a fifth to it and giving it to him to whom he did the wrong.” (Num. 5:7)

“Those of Israelite descent separated themselves from all foreigners, and they stood and confessed their sins and the guilt of their fathers. While they stood in their places, they read from the book of the law of the LORD their God for a fourth of the day and spent another fourth of the day in confession and worship of the LORD their God.” (Nehemiah 9:2-3)

“And read out publicly this scroll which we send you, in the house of the LORD, on the feast day and during the days of assembly: ‘Justice is with the LORD, our God; and we today are flushed with shame, we men of Judah and citizens of Jerusalem, that we, with our kings and rulers and priests and prophets, and with our fathers, have sinned in the LORD’S sight and disobeyed him. We have neither heeded the voice of the LORD, our God, nor followed the precepts which the LORD set before us.'” (Baruch 1:14-18)

John the baptist

John the baptist practiced confession

“Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River.” (Matthew 3:6)

“And there went out unto him all the land of Judaea, and they of Jerusalem, and were all baptized of him in the river of Jordan, confessing their sins.” (Mark 1:5)

The Church

“Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” James 5:16

“Also many of those who were now believers came, confessing and divulging their practices.” Acts 19:18

“Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.” (1 Timothy 6:12)

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)

Preparing for Confession

Reflection on the Ten Commandments is often recommended as part of an examination of conscience.

Confidentiality

From “Guidelines for Clergy” (Orthodox Church in America):

“The secrecy of the Mystery of Penance is considered an unquestionable rule in the entire Orthodox Church. Theologically, the need to maintain the secrecy of confession comes from the fact that the priest is only a witness before God. One could not expect a sincere and complete confession if the penitent has doubts regarding the practice of confidentiality. Betrayal of the secrecy of confession will lead to canonical punishment of the priest.

St. Nicodemus the Hagiorite exhorts the Spiritual Father to keep confessions confidential, even under strong constraining influence. The author of the Pedalion (the Rudder), states that a priest who betrays the secrecy of confession is to be deposed. The Metropolitan of Kos, Emanuel, mentions in his handbook (Exomologeteke) for confessors that the secrecy of confession is a principle without exception.”

In St. Nicodemus the Hagiorite’s Exomologitarion, he writes:

“Nothing else remains after confession, Spiritual Father, except to keep the sins you hear a secret, and to never reveal them, either by word, or by letter, or by a bodily gesture, or by any other sign, even if you are in danger of death, for that which the wise Sirach says applies to you: “Have you heard a word? Let it die with you” (Sir. 19:8); meaning, if you heard a secret word, let the word also die along with you, and do not tell it to either a friend of yours or an enemy of yours, for as long as you live. And further still, that which the Prophet Micah says: “Trust not in friends… beware of thy wife, so as not to commit anything to her” (Mic. 7:5).

For if you reveal them, firstly, you will be suspended or daresay deposed completely by the Ecclesiastical Canons. Secondly, you become a reason for more Christians not to confess, being afraid that you will reveal their sins, just as it happened during the time of Nektarios of Constantinople when the Christians did not want to confess on account of a Spiritual Father who revealed the sin of a woman. The divine Chrysostom both witnessed these things and suffered because of them on account of his trying to convince the people to confess. It is impossible for me to describe in words how much punishment this brings upon you, who are the cause of these things.”

St. John of the Ladder writes:

“At no time do we find God revealing the sins which have been confessed to Him, lest by making these public knowledge, He should impede those who would confess and so make them incurably sick.”

The Byzantine Nomocanon states, in Canon 120:

“”A spiritual father, if he reveals to anyone a sin of one who had confessed receives a penance: he shall be suspended [from serving] for three years, being able to receive Communion only once a month, and must do 100 prostrations every day.”

Source:

ORTHODOX WIKI

What the Saints say about Paradise?

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ORTHODOXY IS LOVE

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Saint John of Damascus

“An Exact Exposition of the Orthodox Faith”

Concerning Paradise

BOOK II CHAPTER XI

Now when God was about to fashion man out of the visible and invisible creation in His own image and likeness to reign as king and ruler over all the earth and all that it contains, He first made for him, so to speak, a kingdom in which he should live a life of happiness and prosperity. And this is the divine paradise, planted in Eden by the hands of God, a very storehouse of joy and gladness of heart (for “Eden” means luxuriousness). Its site is higher in the East than all the earth: it is temperate and the air that surrounds it is the rarest and purest: evergreen plants are its pride, sweet fragrances abound, it is flooded with light, and in sensuous freshness and beauty it transcends imagination: in truth the place is divine, a meet home for him who was created in God’s image: no creature lacking reason made its dwelling there but man alone, the work of God’s own hands.

In its midst God planted the tree of life and the tree of knowledge. The tree of knowledge was for trial, and proof, and exercise of man’s obedience and disobedience: and hence it was named the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, or else it was because to those who partook of it was given power to know their own nature. Now this is a good thing for those who are mature, but an evil thing for the immature and those whose appetites are too strong, being like solid food to tender babes still in need of milk. For our Creator, God, did not intend us to be burdened with care and troubled about many things, nor to take thought about, or make provision for, our own life. But this at length was Adam’s fate: for he tasted and knew that he was naked and made a girdle round about him: for he took fig-leaves and girded himself about. But before they took of the fruit, They were both naked, Adam and Eve, and were not ashamed. For God meant that we should be thus free from passion, and this is indeed the mark of a mind absolutely void of passion. Yea, He meant us further to be free from care and to have but one work to perform, to sing as do the angels, without ceasing or intermission, the praises of the Creator, and to delight in contemplation of Him and to cast all our care on Him. This is what the Prophet David proclaimed to us when He said, Cast thy burden on the Lord, and He will sustain thee. And, again, in the Gospels, Christ taught His disciples saying, Take no thought for your life what ye shall eat, nor for your body what ye shall put on. And further, Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you. And to Martha He said, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: but one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her, meaning, clearly, sitting at His feet and listening to His words.

The tree of life, on the other hand, was a tree having the energy that is the cause of life, or to be eaten only by those who deserve to live and are not subject to death. Some, indeed, have pictured Paradise as a realm of sense, and others as a realm of mind. But it seems to me, that, just as man is a creature, in whom we find both sense and mind blended together, in like manner also man’s most holy temple combines the properties of sense and mind, and has this twofold expression: for, as we said, the life in the body is spent in the most divine and lovely region, while the life in the soul is passed in a place far more sublime and of more surpassing beauty, where God makes His home, and where He wraps man about as with a glorious garment, and robes him in His grace, and delights and sustains him like an angel with the sweetest of all fruits, the contemplation of Himself. Verily it has been fitly named the tree of life. For since the life is not cut short by death, the sweetness of the divine participation is imparted to those who share it. And this is, in truth, what God meant by every tree, saying, Of every tree in Paradise thou mayest freely eat. For the ‘every’ is just Himself in Whom and through Whom the universe is maintained. But the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was for the distinguishing between the many divisions of contemplation, and this is just the knowledge of one’s own nature, which, indeed, is a good thing for those who are mature and advanced in divine contemplation (being of itself a proclamation of the magnificence of God), and have no fear of falling, because they have through time come to have the habit of such contemplation, but it is an evil thing to those still young and with stronger appetites, who by reason of their insecure hold on the better part, and because as yet they are not firmly established in the seat of the one and only good, are apt to be torn and dragged away from this to the care of their own body.

Thus, to my thinking, the divine Paradise is twofold, and the God-inspired Fathers handed down a true message, whether they taught this doctrine or that. Indeed, it is possible to understand by every tree the knowledge of the divine power derived from created things. In the words of the divine Apostle, For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made. But of all these thoughts and speculations the sublimest is that dealing with ourselves, that is, with our own composition. As the divine David says, The knowledge of Thee from me, that is from my constitution, was made a wonder. But for the reasons we have already mentioned, such knowledge was dangerous for Adam who had been so lately created.

The tree of life too may be understood as that more divine thought that has its origin in the world of sense, and the ascent through that to the originating and constructive cause of all. And this was the name He gave to every tree, implying fulness and indivisibility, and conveying only participation in what is good. But by the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, we are to understand that sensible and pleasurable food which, sweet though it seems, in reality brings him who partakes of it into communion with evil. For God says, Of every tree in Paradise thou mayest freely eat. It is, me-thinks, as if God said, Through all My creations thou art to ascend to Me thy creator, and of all the fruits thou mayest pluck one, that is, Myself who art the true life: let every thing bear for thee the fruit of life, and let participation in Me be the support of your own being. For in this way thou wilt be immortal. But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die. For sensible food is by nature for the replenishing of that which gradually wastes away and it passes into the drought and perisheth: and he cannot remain incorruptible who partakes of sensible food.

Source:

Saint John of Damascus

An Exact Exposition of the Orthodox Faith

BOOK II CHAPTER XI

What about Eternal Life?

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Eternal Life

ETERNAL LIFE Q&A

What is Eternal Life in Eastern Orthodox Church?

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USA OF MY HEART

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The Symbol of Faith: Eternal Life

Source:

http://oca.org

http://oca.org/orthodoxy/the-orthodox-faith/doctrine/the-symbol-of-faith/eternal-life

ORTHODOX CHURCH IN AMERICA – OCA

I look for the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world [ages] to come

(From the Sympol of Faith)

The Eastern Orthodox Church does not believe merely in the immortality of the soul, and in the goodness and ultimate salvation of only spiritual reality. Following the Scriptures, Orthodox Christians believe in the goodness of the human body and of all material and physical creation. Thus, in its faith in resurrection and eternal life, the Orthodox Church looks not to some “other world” for salvation, but to this very world so loved by God, resurrected and glorified by Him, tilled with His own divine presence.

At the end of the ages God will reveal His presence and will fill all creation with Himself. For those who love Him it will be paradise. For those who hate Him it will be hell. And all physical creation, together with the righteous, will rejoice and be glad in His coming.

The wilderness and the solitary places will be glad; the desert shall rejoice and blossom in abundance (Is 35:1).

For behold I create new heavens and a new earth says the Lord, and the former things shall not be remembered or come to mind. But be glad and rejoice forever in that which I create, for behold I create Jerusalem a rejoicing and her people a joy (Is 65:17-18).

The visions of the prophets and those of the Christian apostles about things to come are one and the same:

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband; and I heard a great voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling of God is with men. He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God himself will be with them; He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain any more, for the former things have passed away” (Rev 21:1-5).

When the Kingdom of God fills all creation, all things will be made new. This world will again be that paradise for which it was originally created. This is the Orthodox doctrine of the final fate of man and his universe.

It is sometimes argued, however, that this world will be totally destroyed and that God will create everything new “out of nothing” by the act of a second creation. Those who hold this opinion appeal to such texts as that found in the second letter of Saint Peter:

But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away… and the elements will be dissolved with fire, and the earth and the works that are upon it will be burned up (2 Pet 3:10).

Because the Bible never speaks about a “second creation” and because it continually and consistently witnesses that God loves the world which He has made and does everything that He can to save it, the Orthodox Tradition never interprets such scriptural texts as teaching the actual annihilation of creation by God. It understands such texts as speaking metaphorically of the great catastrophe which creation must endure, including even the righteous, in order for it to be cleansed, purified, made perfect, and saved. It teaches as well that there is an “eternal fire” for the ungodly, an eternal condition of their being destroyed. But in any case the “trial by fire” which “destroys the ungodly” is in no way understood by the Orthodox in the sense that creation is doomed to total destruction, despised by the loving Lord who created it and called it “very good” (Gen 1:31; also 1 Cor 3:13-15; Heb 12:25-29; Is 66; Rev 20-22).

 

What do you mean, “Pray to the Saints”? – Video

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FREDERICA MATHEWES-GREEN

USA OF MY HEART

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What Do You Mean, “Pray to the Saints”?

Frederica Mathewes-Green, Maryland, USA

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Welcome to the Orthodox Church! Join Frederica Mathewes-Green, in this video series, on a journey into the Eastern Orthodox Church. Learn about Orthodox teachings and dogma, Orthodox architecture and terminology, and what it means to live an Orthodox life.

In this video, “What Do You Mean ‘Pray to the Saints?’,” Frederica explains that the English word “pray” in this sentence is a little misleading. So, what does it mean to pray to the Saints and what does the Orthodox Church practice? Watch to find out!

These videos are based off of Frederica’s new book, “Welcome to the Orthodox Church.”

Buy the book:
http://bit.ly/1LkQIbD

Frederica Mathewes-Green:
http://frederica.com

Music by Holy Cross Choir:
http://bit.ly/1MD5vid

Special thanks to Evan Brown for all his work on set.

Videos produced by Theoria (Ben Cabe):
http://www.bencabe.com

Theoria Youtube Channel:
http://bit.ly/1UST830

What about our Guardian Angel?

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SMILE OF IRELAND

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About our Guardian Angel

Source:

http://www.pravoslavie.ru/english/

http://www.pravoslavie.ru/english/46500.htm

ORTHODOX CHRISTIANITY

Guardian Angels not only suggest to us good thoughts for eternal salvation—they truly guard us in our life’s situations. The word, “guardian” is not at all an allegory, but the living and precious experience of many generations of Christians. There is a good reason why, for example, in the prayers for travelers we ask the Lord for the special protection of our guardian angel. It’s true—when else but while traveling do we especially need God’s protection?

About thirteen years ago, I was in the Pskov Caves Monastery with one of our parishioners, Nicholai Sergeyevich Leonov, a professor of history and lieutenant general in military intelligence, with whom we had been working for many years on the television program, “Russky Dom” (Russian House). There in the Pskov Caves Monastery, Nicholai Sergeyevich had met Fr. John (Krestiankin) for the first time. As Nicholai Sergeyevich later related, the elder had not only made a very deep impression on him, but had greatly helped him by his prayers.

During those years, Nicholai Sergeyevich was just beginning to enter into the life of the Church, and he still had many questions. One of those questions he asked me was regarding the Orthodox teaching on the angelic world; about guardian angels. I tried very hard, but to my dismay, I still felt that he was disappointed by my artless explanations.

That early summer morning, Fr. John saw us off as we left the monastery for Moscow. The road ahead of us was a long one, and so I asked the mechanics in the monastery garage to look over the car and check the oil before we left.

We sped along the deserted road. I was at the wheel, listening attentively to a story about one of his overseas assignments. He had long promised me that he would tell me that one. I have never met such an interesting storyteller in my life—Nicholai Sergeyevich’s stories leave you breathless. That was how it was that time.

Suddenly and unexpectedly, I caught myself strangely thinking that something was happening to us right then, at that very minute, which was out of the ordinary and threatening. Our automobile was driving along as usual. Nothing—not the indicators, nor the smooth ride, nor any sort of smell—signified any trouble. Nevertheless, I was feeling increasingly uncomfortable.

“Nicholai Sergeyevich, it seems to me that there is something wrong with the car!” I said, making the decision to interrupt my traveling companion.

Leonov is a very experienced driver with many years of practice behind him. Attentively appraising the situation, he finally reassured me that there was nothing wrong. But this did not relieve my inexplicable anxiety in the least. To the contrary, it increased with each passing minute. I felt ashamed about my faintheartedness, but I was simply overwhelmed by a gripping fear.

“Probably we should stop!” I finally announced, feeling that I was breaking out in a cold sweat.

Nicholai Sergeyevich again looked carefully at the indicators. Then he looked through the windshield at the hood. He listened to the automobile’s movement. Looking at me with surprise, he repeated that from his point of view, everything was alright.

But when I repeated for the third time—not understanding why—that we had to stop, Nicholai Sergeyevich consented.

No sooner had we come to a stop, when black smoke came billowing out from under the hood.

We jumped out onto the road. I lunged to lift the hood, and an oily flame burst forth from the motor. Nicholai Sergeyevich grabbed his jacket from the back seat and smothered the flames with it. When the smoke cleared and we were able to investigate what had happened, we could see that the monastery mechanics had forgotten to replace the cap after filling the oil pan. It was still lying next to the battery. Motor oil had been spilling out over the heated motor the entire way, but because of our high speed, the smoke had spread under the wheels, and we did not feel anything inside the car. Just two or three more miles, and the whole thing could have ended tragically.

After cleaning up under the hood a little, we slowly returned to the monastery, and I asked Nicholai Sergeyevich if he needed any additional elucidation concerning guardian angels and their participation in our fate. Nicholai Sergeyevich answered that this was quite enough for today, and he has satisfactorily assimilated that question of dogma.

Archimandrite Tikhon Shevkunov

Translated by Nun Cornelia

ANGELS Q&A

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How to tie an Orthodox Prayer Rope? – Video

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ORTHODOXY IS LOVE

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How to tie an Orthodox Prayer Rope

Andrey Pichugin

Preferably use 100% woolen yarn for knitting needles number 9.

For practice until you learn it properly, use a thick twine to solve easily in every mistake.