The doors of repentance are opening, Great Lent is beginning. Every year Great Lent is repeated, and each time it brings us great benefit if we spend it as we should. It is a preparation for the life to come and, more immediately, a preparation for the Bright Resurrection.
Just as a stairway is built into a tall building in order to enable one, by climbing the steps, to easily reach the top, so too, the various days in the year serve as steps for our spiritual ascent.
This is especially true of the days of Great Lent and Holy Pascha.
By means of Great Lent we cleanse ourselves of the filth of sin, and at Holy Pascha we experience the blessedness of Christ's Kingdom that is to come. In climbing a high mountain, one tries to eliminate all unnecessary weight. The less a person carries, the easier it is for him to climb and the higher he is able to climb. So, too, in order to ascend spiritually, it is necessary first of all to free oneself from the weight of sin. This weight is lifted from us through repentance, provided that we banish from ourselves all enmity and forgive each person whom we consider to be at fault before us. Once cleansed and forgiven by God, we then greet the Bright Resurrection of Christ.
St. Tikhon`s Orthodox University will help St. Vladimir`s Seminary in the creation of the Institute of Sacred Arts30. December 2013 - 12:00
The management of St. Tikhon`s Orthodox University (PSTGU) and St. Vladimir`s Seminary of New York, USA met on October 12, 2013, in the Hall of the Academic Council of PSTGU. The University was represented by the Rector Archpriest Vladimir Vorobev, Vice President of Academic Affairs Minister Gennady Egorov, Vice-Rector for International Affairs Archpriest Georgij Orekhanov, Dean of the Faculty of Liturgical Arts Archpriest Alexander Saltykov, Head of the research center of theological history and education Suhova N.Yu., Head of the Department of Systematic Theology and patrology Mikhailov P.B., and the Head of the International Department Nichkova V.V. The delegation of the leading educational institution of the American Orthodox Church was composed by the seminary Dean Archpriest John Behr, Chancellor Archpriest Chad Hatfield and the Head of the publishing house Deacon Gregory Hatrak. Secretary of the Moscow Patriarchate Commission, which regulates student exchange, Fr John Kopejkin has accompanied the delegation of St. Vladimir’s Seminary.
The Nativity fast begins on November 14/27, and lasts forty days. The Nativity fast is not as strict as Great Lent or the Dormition fast, and can be compared to the Apostle’s fast. It was instituted by the Church so that we would worthily greet the feast of the Nativity of Christ after having cleansed our hearts by prayer and repentance.
The establishment of the Nativity fast, like many other long fasts, dates back to the early days of Christianity. Already in the fourth century, St. Ambrose of Milan, Philastrius, and Blessed Augustine recall the Nativity fast in their works. St. Leo the Great wrote about the antiquity of the Nativity fast in the fifth century.
International Scientific Conference – “The Cyrillo-Methodian Tradition, the Language and the Mission of the Church in the XXI Century”10. December 2013 - 10:42
At the Orthodox Theological Faculty of the University in Belgrade, on 6 December 2013 there was held an International Scientific Conference “The Cyrillo-Methodian Tradition, the Language and the Mission of the Church in the XXI Century”.
Before the beginning of the great scientific conference, His Grace Bishop Irinej of Backa celebrated the Hierarchal Divine Liturgy at the chapel of Saint John the Theologian. The dean of the Faculty of Orthodox Theology protopresbyter-stavrophor Professor Dr. Predrag Puzovic opened the conference and Bishop Irinej and protopresbyter-stavrophor Professor Dr. Vladimir Vukasinovic delivered addresses. Director of the Office for Cooperation with Traditional Churches and Religious Communities Dr. Mileta Radojevic also attended the opening ceremony.
Protodeacon Radomir Rakic, Serbian Orthodox Church
RELIGIOUS FREEDOMS FROM THE ORTHODOX CHRISTIAN PERSPECTIVE
It is not in the spirit of Eastern Christianity to formulate relations between people primarily in view of certain rights and obligations. The Orthodox prefer to speak about relations that are “appropriate and corresponding”. These relations originate from a common experience of Christians as members of Christ’s Kingdom. They express our common understanding of the Kingdom of God, and in life they are implemented by the growth of the person according to the image and likeness of God (Genesis 1:27) into the condition of deification (Greek Theosis) becoming more like God.
For those who celebrate the commemoration of the miraculous appearance of the Protecting Veil of the Mother of God, nothing could be more joyous than if we announced that this grace-filled Protection is spread even over us. But who could be the bearer of these glad tidings? Whose eye is capable of seeing the Most Holy Intercessor, “in the air, praying to Christ for us?” There are no obvious mystical seers like blessed Andrew and Epiphanius among us; and the hidden mysteries known only to the Lord will remain hidden unto the ages.
Nevertheless, we also, standing now in church, are not without a witness. In fact, it is the most reliable testimony that the Protection of the Most Blessed Virgin is spread also over us. Who is this witness? Not an earthly person, not even an angel, but our Protectress herself! With boldness and surety I say this on Her behalf; for isn’t Her holy and miracle working icon, which we see in this church, the constant, visible pledge of Her invisible protection?... We know from the history of miracle-working icons that in times of heaven’s wrath against human sins, these icons suddenly hid themselves and appeared in other places, or disappeared entirely. Therefore, as long as our Protectress does not abandon her place here, as long as she does not deprive her image of the grace-filled power of working miracles, as long as she receives our prayers and grants us timely help—we can, despite all our impurity, maintain a steadfast assurance that we are under her grace-filled Protection.