Saturday, January 14, 2017

Do not neglect your salvation.

Saint Anthony the Great.

   Beloved and honoured brothers, Antony greets you in the Lord!. 
   "Truly, my beloved in the Lord, God did not visit his creatures only once, but since the beginning of the world. As soon as anyone has turned through the law of promise to the Creator of all, God embraced him in his benevolence, grace and Spirit. As for those rational beings in whom the law of promise grew cold and whose faculties of the mind thus died, so that they could no longer know themselves after their first formation, they have all become irrational and serve the creatures instead of the Creator. But in his great benevolence the Creator of all visited us through the law of promise, for our essence is immortal.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Baptism as the new birth in Christ.

By Saint Nicholas Cabasilas.

   To be baptized, is to be born according to Christ and to receive our very being and nature, having previously been nothing. This we can learn from many sources. First, from the very order itself: it is the first of the Mysteries into which we are initiated, and before the others this Mystery introduces Christians into the new life. Secondly, we may learn this from the very names which we call it, and thirdly, from the ceremonies which we employ and the words which we sing.
   This, then, is the order which we follow. First we are washed, then, when we have been anointed with chrism, we approach the sacred table. This is a clear proof that the baptismal washing is the beginning of life, its foundation and presupposition, that Christ Himself, who endured all things for our sake, considered it necessary to be baptized and underwent this before all else. As for the names, what else could they imply?. We call it "birth," "new birth," "new creation," and "seal," and in addition "baptism" [i.e., "dipping"], "clothing," "anointing," "charisma" [i.e., "gift"], "illumination," and "washing." These all signify this one thing, that this rite is the beginning of being for those who are in accordance with God and so live.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

The Church of Spirit and Truth.

“Now anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ,
he is not His (i.e. he is not for Christ).
For as many as are led by the Spirit of God,
these are the sons of God”.(Rm 8:9-14)

   Father Youssef Daros, from Egypt, sent us the following question: “Does the Holy Spirit act in the sacraments of the non-Chalcedonian Churches? (Copts, Syrians, Armenians and Ethiopians), and in the Catholic Church?”.
   Often our questions are incorrect due to our erroneous approach. It is however important, when considering these questions, that we try to explain the correct traditional perspective of “the Church”. Hence, in this correct framework, we can discern the correct question from the incorrect one!
   Firstly, we would like to express our reservation towards the way, the enquirer uses the terms “Church” and “Churches”. To know the cause of our reservation, I refer the reader to one of my previous articles, in the section “Dots on Letters”, titled “Seeking the Church”, written on 13 November 2016.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Le Cierge de Saint Séraphim de Sarov.

   Parmi les choses ayant appartenu au bienheureux Serafim (de Sarov), les sœurs, qui étaient expulsées du Monastère de Diveïevo en 1927, conservaient soigneusement dans un précieux coffre un petit cierge: Quand "Mère Frossia" sortait ces reliques afin que les pèlerins puissent les vénérer, le cierge était d'ordinaire à part, personne ne le remarquait. Un jour, je lui demandai ce qu'il avait de singulier. Et elle me raconta son histoire.
   Le cierge datait de l'époque de "Saint Serafim". Il l'avait offert aux moniales juste avant de mourir en leur disant: "L'une d'entre vous ira en tenant ce cierge à la rencontre de mon corps quand il sera transporté et inhumé à Diveïevo. Car ma dépouille ne restera pas à Sarov, je viendrai vous retrouver à Diveïevo."

Saturday, December 24, 2016

The Nativity of Christ.

Saint Theophan the Recluse.

   Glory to Thee, O Lord!. Once again we greet the awaited bright days of Christ's Nativity. Let us be glad and rejoice. In order to raise our festivities to a higher level in these days, the Holy Church has intentionally instituted a fast before them - a certain amount of constraint, so that as we enter the festive period we might feel as though we were coming out into freedom. Nevertheless, the Church in no way desires that we give ourselves over to mere sensual delights and fleshly pleasures. Since the Church has from olden times called these days sviatki ("holy days"), they require that our very rejoicing on these days be holy, as they are holy. So that those who rejoice might not forget themselves, the Church has placed a short hymn upon our lips to glorify the newborn Christ, by which the flesh is settled down and the soul is uplifted, showing the proper occupations for these days: "Christ is born, give ye glory" (Nativity Canon).