Saturday, February 24, 2018

Why icons?.
Archimandrite Touma Bitar.

Today, brothers, the Holy Church commemorates the fathers of the Seventh Ecumenical Council which affirmed the veneration of icons after a long period during which those who venerate them were persecuted and most ancient icons that had existed before the eighth century were destroyed.
 What is the importance of icons in the Church? First of all, brothers, we honor icons and do not worship them. For this reason, all that can be said about us worshiping idols if we use icons in the Church is false. There is a great difference between veneration and worship. Worship belongs to God and God alone. But man expresses himself with word and image. Man has senses with which he expresses himself. Thus we use incense. Incense, for us, is a sign of venerating the faithful and of worshiping God in the faithful. So too with the Holy Bible. There are words in it, but these words are only vehicles for God's presence among us. We cannot express ourselves in a non-human way.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

If God knows us, like the wise virgins, we will never die!.
Dr. Daniel and Dr. Jane Hinshaw.

{Medicine, health, psychiatry, faith, death… issues discussed by Dr.Daniel and his wife Dr.Jane Hinshaw, through an Orthodox, scientific and spiritual perspective, in a meeting with the community that took place in the dining room of our monastery of  Saint John the Baptist, on Saturday 3 February 2018.}
A special blessing that we would like to share with our readers.

One of the extraordinary things about the Orthodox Christianity’s understanding of reality is Orthodox Anthropology: how do we understand the nature of the human person.
The Eastern fathers of the Church have emphasized how there is a unity of the body and soul and this occurs from the very point of conception, and so as human persons we acquire our personhood because God has called us to be persons, God makes us persons.

      The image of the Trinity is impressed upon each of us as Christians, by our Chrismation and baptism, so the Holy Spirit is there and hopefully will dwell with us as we draw toward the Kingdom. And so God has done everything possible to make us His children. And yet we have this tendency, because of the fall, to continually wander away. In the Church’s use of the Greek language, there has been this term called amartia to describe what sin is, but in classical Greek before the Christian era, amartia in its most basic form meant: not being the way things should be. The classical example was the athlete, the one who would be throwing the javelin and he missed the target. Another extraordinary thing about the Orthodox Church compared to the Western branch of Christianity is, there is a recognition because of the fall of Adam and Eve, that not only do we have sins that we consciously choose to do, but there is also sins that we don’t consciously choose, that this is not the way that should be, where we are not meeting the mark, we are not hitting the target.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

“If any man hear my voice, and open the door,
I will come in to him”…
Saint Anthony The Great.

Saint Anthony the Great.
The ancient saints were of the same nature as you and me; they had the same weaknesses that we observe in ourselves: They also experienced hunger like we do; they also wanted to sleep; their bodies were exposed to the same sicknesses as are ours.
God is no respecter of persons; and we hear now the same Divine voice that St. Anthony the Great heard, and that the host of great ascetics and saints following after him heard, and that future generations of Christians coming after us will hear: "Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. To him that overcome will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne" (Rev. 3:20-21).
For our sake, our Lord Jesus Christ created this visible world; for our sake He descended from Heaven, becoming a man like unto us; He poured out His Divine blood for us in the terrible sufferings of the Cross, to grant us such blessings of which we on Earth cannot even conceive.

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Saint Éliane de Homs.
Anargyre et martyr du III siècle.

Le récit le plus complet de la vie de saint Éliane est rédigé en arabe et compris dans le manuscrit n° 652 de la Bibliothèque de l'Université Saint- Joseph de Beyrouth, lui-même la copie d'un texte plus ancien établi à l'intention de J. van Kasteren S.J., en 1860. 
Ce récit nous apprend que saint Éliane était le rejeton d'une famille notable de Homs. Doué de multiples vertus, il pratiquait la médecine non seulement pour guérir le corps de ses prochains, mais pour soigner leur âme aussi. En même temps, il pratiquait la charité, prenant sur le superflu qu'il trouvait dans la maison de son père. Celui-ci, grand dignitaire du duc (douqs, et dans la version arabe wâli) de Homs et portant un nom orthographié de maintes manières (Hastaris, Hattâris ou Fastâris) était idolâtre, donc ennemi naturel de la doctrine que son fils confessait. Le conflit devait éclater sous Numérien, cet empereur éphémère, débonnaire et ami du poète Némésien , mais persécuteur des chrétiens.