The Spiritual Exaltation of the Cross

From: Letters on the Spiritual Life

The Exaltation of the Lord’s Cross has arrived. Then the Cross was erected on a high place, so that the people could see it and render honor to it. Now, the cross is raised in the churches and monasteries. But this is all external. There is a spiritual exaltation of the cross in the heart. It happens when one firmly resolves to crucify himself, or to mortify his passions—something so essential in Christians that, according to the Apostle, they only are Christ’s who have crucified their flesh with its passions and lusts (cf. Gal. 5:24). Having raised this cross in themselves, Christians hold it exalted all their lives. Let every Christian soul ask himself if this is how it is, and let him hearken to the answer that his conscience gives him in his heart. Oh, may we not hear, “You only please your flesh in the passions; your cross is not exalted—it is thrown into the pit of the passions, and is rotting there in negligence and contempt!”

Christians and Entertainment

In a recent sermon, I addressed the problem of Christians in our time who seem to have rather large gaps in their understanding of Christian morality -- particularly with regard to the question of entertainment. You can listen to that sermon here: When Lot Pitched His Tent Toward Sodom (Genesis 13:1-13)

There is another article on this site on the same subject, which shows what the Fathers had to say about Christians and unwholesome entertainment: A Patristic Checkmate on the Game of Thrones.

Converts and culture

How can someone best assimilate into the “culture” of Orthodoxy, even picking up other national customs, without losing their own nationality (being from the USA for example)? How do we find that middle balance of taking the good and leaving the bad from our own culture? Fr. John Whiteford talks about the experience of a convert to Orthodoxy in the cultural context.

The Palestinian village of Ma'lul - Remains of shrines

The Palestinian village of Ma'lul - Remains of shrines
The Palestinian village of Ma'lul - Remains of shrines
The Palestinian village of Ma'lul - Remains of shrines
The Palestinian village of Ma'lul - Remains of shrines

12 km to the west of the city of Nazareth, a rugged country road leads us to a hill covered with pine trees. As our vehicle starts to go through this pine forest, we may get the sense of domination and power. But as we ascend towards the top of the hill, 275 meters above sea level to be exact, this forest can`t stop giving us a sad vibe of loneliness. We might get a little disappointed to see that there is no one or anything to welcome us as we step from our vehicle and walk around. Little do we know, that this piece of land was once overcrowded with houses. The origin of the spot where we`re now standing dates back to the times of the Canaanites, and the origin of the hill we are about to explore used to be a village, and for a certain period of time this village was populated with Palestinian residents.

Saint Angelina of Serbia

Saint Angelina was the daughter of Prince George Skenderbeg of Albania. Her mother’s name is not known, but she raised her daughter in Christian piety and taught her to love God.

Moscow to host “For Life” family values festival

Moscow will host the 8th international “For Life” festival of social technologies in defense of family values August 14-17. The festival is the largest such forum on the territory of the former Soviet Union, with more than 500 participants coming from 186 cities of Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Georgia, Serbia, Lithuania, Italy, and Spain to work out measures aimed at the protection of human life from the moment of conception, and overcoming the demographic crisis, reports