Archpriest Andrei Tkachev: Climacus

“Oh, if only I could / At least to some degree, / Write eight lines I would / About passion’s properties. / About the / transgressions and the sins, / The running and the chasing, / The hasty inadvertences, / The elbows, my palms”1—thus wrote Pasternak, aware that a precise, accurate word on the passions is difficult to give, and there can be few such words.

Precise words on the passions slip out of your hands, like a wet and lively fish, and the passions themselves are interwoven together, knit together one with another, forming a repugnant unity. Obviously the word “passions” in the this case is used as a synonym for “disease of the soul,” and not as romantic longing or a noble fire in the blood.

Saint Proclus: Sermon on the Annunciation

Our present gathering in honor of the Most Holy Virgin inspires me, brethren, to offer her a word of praise, of benefit also for those who have come to this holy celebration.  It is a praise of women, a glorification of their gender, which (glory) she brings to it, she who is both Mother and Virgin at the same time.

O desired and wondrous gathering!  O nature, celebrate that whereby honor is rendered to woman!  Rejoice, O human race, that in which the Virgin is glorified.  “But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound” [Romans 5:20].  The Holy Mother of God and Virgin Mary has gathered us here.  She is the pure treasure of virginity, the intended paradise of the Second Adam, the place where the union of natures (divine and human) was accomplished, and the Counsel of salvific reconciliation was affirmed.

St. George Church-Carmichaels Subject of Conference Presentation

Dr. Ezekiel Olagoke, Associate Professor of Sociologyat Waynesburg University, Waynesburg, Pennsylvania has been conducting researchon the history of the St. George Serbian Orthodox Church in Carmichaels,Pennsylvania. Dr. Olagoke is a member of the St. George Serbian Orthodox Church. As part of his research, he has reviewed parish publications and hasspoken to the parish priest and parishioners. Dr. Olagoke will give a presentation based on his research at the  Christianity and Literature Conference at Grove City College on April 1, 2017. His topic is: “Hearts in Exile: Modes of Religiosity and Social Engagement Among the Serbian Orthodox Community in Carmichaels, Pa.”

St. John of Damascus: On the Veneration of the Cross

From An Exposition of the Orthodox Faith, Book IV, Chapter 11: Concerning the Cross and here further concerning Faith.

The word “Cross” is foolishness to those that perish, but to us who are saved it is the power of God (1 Corinthians 1:23). For he that is spiritual judges all things, but the natural man receives not the things of the Spirit. For it is foolishness to those who do not receive in faith and who do not consider God's goodness and omnipotence, but search out divine things with human and natural reasonings. For all the things that are of God are above nature and reason and conception. For should any one consider how and for what purpose God brought all things out of nothing and into being, and aim at arriving at that by natural reasonings, he fails to comprehend it. For knowledge of this kind belongs to spirits and demons.

Homily on the Third Sunday of Great Lent. On Carrying Your Cross

Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me (Mk. 8:34), said the Lord to his disciples, calling them unto Him, as we heard today in the Gospels.

Dear brothers and sisters! We too are disciples of our Lord Jesus Christ, because we are Christians. We too are called unto the Lord, to this holy temple, to hear His teaching. We stand before the face of the Lord. His gaze is directed at us. Our souls are laid bare before Him; our secret thoughts and hidden feelings are open to Him. He sees all of our intentions; He sees the truth, and the sins we have committed from our youth; He sees our whole life, past and future; even what we have not yet done is already written in His book.[1] He knows the hour of our passing into immeasurable eternity, and gives us His all-holy commandment for our salvation: Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.

St. Gregory Palamas and the Tradition of the Fathers

"Following the Holy Fathers" ... It was usual in the Ancient Church to introduce doctrinal statements by phrases like this.

The Decree of Chalcedon opens precisely with these very words. The Seventh Ecumenical Council introduces its decision concerning the Holy Icons in a more elaborate way: "Following the Divinely inspired teaching of the Holy Fathers and the Tradition of the Catholic Church." The didaskalia of the Fathers is the formal and normative term of reference.

When Should Children Begin to Fast?

 Take possession of your stomach, before it takes possession of you. —St. John Climacus

How early should children begin fasting? According to the teaching of the ancient fathers, a healthy child begins to fast once it no longer takes its mother’s milk, that is, at around age three. (In ancient times, Jewish women breastfed their infants until they reached three years of age). Along with the need to observe whatever degree of fasting, parents must also take care to prevent their children from forming a habit of overeating, or eating too often, outside of the times established for taking food—eating between meals. St. Theophan the Recluse gives parents advice in this regard: “A child should eat in such a way that while developing and fortifying the body and giving it health, he does not foment flesh-pleasing in the soul. Regardless of how young your child is, he must begin from the earliest years to stabilize the flesh, which leans toward coarse matter, and accustom it to self control, so that in both the childhood and teenage years and beyond, he can easily and freely control this need.”