The Holy Protomartyr Stephen the Archdeacon

Stephen was a kinsman of the Apostle Paul and one of those Jews who lived in the Hellenic provinces. Stephen was the first of the seven deacons whom the holy apostles ordained and appointed to the service of assisting the poor in Jerusalem. For this, he is called the archdeacon.

By the power of his faith, Stephen worked great miracles among the people. The wicked Jews disputed with him, but they were always defeated by his wisdom and the power of the Spirit, Who acted through him. Then the shameful Jews, accustomed to calumnies and slander, incited the people and the elders of the people against the innocent Stephen, slandering him as though he had blasphemed against God and against Moses. False witnesses were quickly found who confirmed this. Stephen then stood before the people, and all saw his face as it had been the face of an angel (Acts 6:15), that is, his face was illumined with the light of grace as was once the face of Moses when he spoke with God. Stephen opened his mouth and enumerated the many good works and miracles that God had performed in the past for the people of Israel, as well as the many crimes and opposition to God on the part of this people. He especially rebuked them for the killing of Christ the Lord, calling them betrayers and murderers (Acts 7:52). And while they gnashed their teeth, Stephen beheld and saw the heavens open and the glory of God. That which he saw, he declared to the Jews: Behold, I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing on the right hand of God! (Acts 7:56). Then the malicious men took him outside the city and stoned him to death. Among his persecutors was his kinsman Saul, later the Apostle Paul.

Contemplation on The Royal Hours on Christmas Eve: First Hour

Mt. 1:18-25

Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily. But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins. Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us. Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife: And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name Jesus.

Our Lord is born today, let us rejoice and be glad! No one may be sad today no matter what sorrow there be, no matter what losses we have suffered, because today is a festival of life for everyone. There is no more fear of death, for in the love that Christ has revealed to us there is no fear, and He gives to all the joy of eternal life.

The Star of Bethlehem

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit!

In today’s Gospel readings of the Royal Hours and the Liturgy we have heard the story of the Birth of the Messiah from the mouths of different Evangelists.

To confirm the fact that all that happened 2,000 years ago is true, the Apostles not only refer to the words of the witnesses but also to geographical and even astronomical evidence.

Sexual Paradigms in the Orthodox Church

The author of this definitive article addressing the matter of homosexuality in the light of Orthodox theology is Bradley Nassif, a professor of biblical and theological studies at North Park University, Chicago. He holds a PhD in patristics from Fordham University (directed by the late Father John Meyendorff), an MDiv from St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Seminary, MAs in New Testament from Denver Seminary and European History from Wichita State University, and a BA in Religion and Philosophy from Friends University. His most recent book is a co-edited volume, The Philokalia: A Classic Text of Orthodox Spirituality (Oxford University Press).

With the author’s permission we are reproducing Dr. Nassif’s article, which first appeared in The Wheel, on, to make it more available.

G. K. Chesterton once said that one should never tear down a fence unless he knows why it was put there in the first place. In this article, I will attempt to explain some of the foundational reasons why the Church has put a fence around its beliefs regarding the nature and purpose of human sexuality. Those beliefs are summarized in a “Statement on Marriage and Sexuality” by the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States:

The Sunday of the Holy Forefathers

In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

'Many are called but few are chosen'. So says Christ in today's Gospel. If we think of the knowledge of God conserved among different peoples in the world before Christ, these words have a special significance.