The Life of Saint Stephen the Deacon and First Martyr

(Commemorated on December 27)

St.   Stephen was a relative of St. Paul. He was the first of seven deacons whom the   holy apostles ordained for the service of the poor in Jerusalem. This is why   he is called the Archdeacon - the first, or chief, of them. St. Stephen did   many things for the poor and widows in Jerusalem and by the power of his faith,   he worked many miracles. He lived his life to be an example to everyone who   saw him of how Jesus came to serve and not be served. 

The Son of God Was Born at Night to Dispel the Spiritual Night

Nativity 2019 Epistle of His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine

The primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church
His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine
To the archpastors, pastors, monastics, and all faithful children
of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church

Christ is born! Glorify Him!

I warmly congratulate you all, God-loving archpastors and pastors, pious monks and nuns, dear brothers and sisters, with the great and joyous Feast of the Nativity in the flesh of our Lord and God and Savior Jesus Christ.

His Grace Always Put Others Before Himself

A Reflection on the Life of Bishop Athanasius of Western Kenya

In early December, we requested prayers for His Grace Bishop Athanasius of Kisumu and Western Kenya of the Patriarchate of Alexandria who at that time had already been in the ICU at St. Vincent Hospital in Worcester, Massachusetts for about three weeks. After the news of his illness spread, social media was flooded with reminiscences of and words of praise for Bishop Athanasius who, by all accounts, was a humble and sincere shepherd for his flock. Millions around the world were praying for him. However, it was not God's will to heal him, and Bishop Athanasius reposed in the Lord yesterday, having suffered from a rare form of blood cancer.

Nativity Message of Bishop Irinej of Eastern America

The Star, which long ago appeared over a cave outside of Bethlehem, continuously reveals for us the mystery of the birth of the Divine Christ Child. Christ is born – rejoice, beloved! Rejoice for the light of the Nativity also reveals the intended purpose of humanity and, therefore, our own being. The Word of God – Light of Light, True God of True God – as we faithfully proclaim in the Creed, became man, so that the same Star, which shone upon Him, may continue to shine upon us, illumining our hearts and minds with the Gospel of Truth and Righteousness and, thereby, the promise of salvation for all.

The light of the cruciform Star of Bethlehem, as it reveals the Sun of Righteousness to the world, will also reveal in us the mystery of our humanity and, with it, the salvific nature of incarnate love and community. Through the Gospel encounters of the Nativity, we are summoned to illumination by the light-bearing precepts of family, friendship, fellowship and faith. Through the birth of Christ in the flesh, the fullness of His humanity is realized ultimately in His sacrifice on the Cross, as foreshadowed in the gifts of the Magi, and fulfilled in the light of the Resurrection.<--break->

A prayer for those who are suffering or in anguish

Going through old papers which I saved over the last 40 years, I rediscovered this prayer attributed to St. Ephrem the Syrian in a folder. Unfortunately, I don’t remember where the prayer came from, but share it for all who may be in need of just such a prayer – those being crushed by their own failures, mistakes, sins and sense of sinfulness. The prayer makes several references to the Gospel parable of the Prodigal Son from Luke 15:11-32, the text of which I have included at the bottom of this post just for reference.