Science

Pharisee and sinner

In order to understand this Bible story properly, we should remind ourselves what the roles of Publicans and Pharisees were in Judean society at the time of Christ’s ministry. The Pharisees belonged to a Jewish sect, known for its strict observance of religious ceremonies and practices, adherence to oral laws and traditions, and the coming of a Messiah. They belonged to the middle-class of society, and also believed in an afterlife and the resurrection of the dead. They regarded themselves as righteous people, and their relationship with God was purely legalistic. By certain historical records, at the time of the destruction of Jerusalem A.D. 70, there were around six thousand of them. Publicans were actually tax collectors employed by Romans – occupiers of Judea at the time. They were obliged to pay an agreed amount to the Romans, and whatever was left over they were permitted to keep for themselves. They grossly overcharged people extorting money from them. This was the primary reason they were despised and hated by their own people.

St. Athanasius the Great the Patriarch of Alexandria

Saint Athanasius the Great, Archbishop of Alexandria, was a great Father of the Church and a pillar of Orthodoxy. He was born around the year 297 in the city of Alexandria into a family of pious Christians. He received a fine secular education, but he acquired more knowledge by diligent study of the Holy Scripture. In his childhood, the future hierarch Athanasius became known to Saint Alexander the Patriarch of Alexandria (May 29). A group of children, which included Athanasius, were playing at the seashore. The Christian children decided to baptize their pagan playmates.

The street mission of the Orthodox Brotherhood of St. Herman of Alaska

The street mission of the Orthodox Brotherhood of St. Herman of Alaska
The street mission of the Orthodox Brotherhood of St. Herman of Alaska
The street mission of the Orthodox Brotherhood of St. Herman of Alaska
The street mission of the Orthodox Brotherhood of St. Herman of Alaska

The Brotherhood of St. Herman of Alaska was established at the podvorye (dependency) of Valaam Monastery in Moscow in 2014 on the initiative of a group of parishioners to carry on missionary, educational and parish activities. The nucleus and initial team of the brotherhood were formed at the courses of the Missionary Center in honor of the martyred Fr. Daniel Sysoev. The Brotherhood’s confessor is Igumen Joseph (Kryukov), rector of the Moscow Church of Sts. Sergius and Herman of Valaam (the Dependency of Valaam Monastery). An important element of the activities of the Brotherhood members is street preaching.

Some five or seven years ago the words “street mission” provoked conflicting feelings among the Orthodox faithful. Some said with confusion, “Should we, Orthodox Christians, go out into streets and preach to strangers, like sects?”, whereas others argued, “We must witness to Christ by our lives and good deeds, while evangelism is a business of saints. As soon as you become a saint you will be able to reach out to people and ask questions about God.” But some time has passed, and today very few Orthodox people still ask themselves these questions. You can’t throw words out of the Gospel: Christ clearly calls upon all His followers to spread the Good News, Go ye therefore, and teach all nations (Mt. 28:19). And our tradition teaches us the same. According to His Holiness Patriarch Kirill, time is coming when the mission will become the main focus of the Church.

Why we don’t fast during the week of the Publican and Pharisee, and other questions

Question: Hello Father! Why don’t we observe the Wednesday and Friday fast during the week of the Publican and the Pharisee? Thank you! Respectfully, Olga.

Answer by Hieromonk Job (Gumerov):

The parable of the publican and the Pharisee gives an image of the spiritual truth that God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble (Js. 4:6). The Pharisees were representatives of the social-religious trend in Judea during the second century B.C. Their distinguishing characteristic was an intense zeal for observing the Law of Moses. Religious life requires that a person be attentive to himself, that he have moral sensitivity, humility, and pure intentions. If he doesn’t have these, a hardness of heart gradually creeps in on him. Then a pseudo-spirituality inevitably comes. The result is spiritual death. If instead of humility there is self-opinion and pride, instead of sacrificial love there is spiritual egoism, then it is not hard for the devil to take over such a person and make him an accomplice in his evil deeds. People who are unbelieving or spiritually inattentive do not even know or guess how often they do just what the enemy of our salvation wants them to do.

Synaxis of the Seventy Apostles

Synaxis of the Seventy Apostles
Synaxis of the Seventy Apostles
Synaxis of the Seventy Apostles
Synaxis of the Seventy Apostles

Commemorated January 4/17

The Synaxis of the Seventy Apostles was established by the Orthodox Church to indicate the equal honor of each of the Seventy. They were sent two by two by the Lord Jesus Christ to go before Him into the cities He would visit (Luke 10:1).

Malachi, the “Seal of the Prophets”

Malachi was the last of the Old Testament Prophets, which is why the holy fathers call him the “Seal of the prophets”. After him, until John the Forerunner whom he prophesized, for a whole 400 years there were no great prophets in the world.

It is no coincidence that the Orthodox Church celebrates the memory of the prophet Malachi on January 3/16, three days before the Baptism of the Lord—the time of the appearance in the world of the great triumph and miracle: the Theophany of the Holy Trinity, so long awaited by the holy Patriarchs and prophets of the Old Testament world. The Church also honors by this John the Forerunner, who baptized the Savior of the world in the waters of the Jordan.

The Name of the Lord is a Fortress

A Homily for the Feast of the Circumcision of the Lord. On the Naming of Jesus. On the Jesus Prayer

Today, on the eighth day after the Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Savior, according to the ancient sacred custom, is brought to the Temple of the Lord, and, as an eight-day-old infant, is dedicated to the Heavenly Father, enduring the cutting of His flesh for our sake, foreshadowing the shedding of His Blood on the Cross, indicating thereby His lifegiving death on the Cross. He endures suffering for our sake, manifesting His great condescension and love for mankind fallen into sin, purifying and sanctifying it. On this day is accomplished the naming of the Divine Infant by the righteous Joseph with the sacred name of Jesus—an earthly, human name, but announced to the righteous one by the angel descended from Heaven. From today, this name is adopted by the Divine Person of the Lord Jesus Christ, uniting within Himself His human nature like unto ours and His unseen Divine nature.