Orthodox theology

Theology of the Icon, and Recognizing Saints

A conversation with Anatoly Aleshin, iconographer. Part 1

In our conversation with iconographer Anatoly Aleshin, the instructor of the Icon Painting School of Moscow’s Theological Academy, one of the leading specialists in the area of fresco painting, we discussed why it is incorrect to speak about the icon painting canons; what inspires today’s iconographers in the absence of heated theological disputes of old times, and how to decorate a large church in two months. Among some of his projects are the wall paintings in the crypt of the Holy Hierarch St. Gregory of Novgorod in the St. Sophia Cathedral (Veliky Novgorod), the Trinity Cathedral of St. Pachomius monastery in Nerekhta, St. John of Kronstadt Cathedral in Hamburg (Germany), the church at the Russian Pilgrim’s Residence at the site of Baptism of Jesus Christ (Jordan), the churches in Diveyevo, and others

Anatoly Alyoshin, the iconographerAnatoly Alyoshin, the iconographer  

A word from the Patriarch on unity, grace, and life after death

November 20 marked the birthday of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia. Pravoslavie.ru congratulated him on that day, and OrthoChristian.com would also like, albeit belatedly, to congratulate His Holiness and wish him many more profitable years in service to God’s Church!

The Patriarch’s homiletic and epistolary heritage is vast. We publish here in English translation select citations from His Holiness, taken from his sermons delivered in early November 2020. We also express our heartfelt thanks for his inexhaustible wellspring of edification!

Homily on the Feast of the Protection of the Mother of God

O Mother of God, sheltered by Thy coming /
we faithful people today keep feast in joy, /
and looking at Thy most pure image, /
moved to the depths of our hearts, we say: /
Protect us with Thy precious Veil /
and deliver us from every ill, /
by entreating Christ, Thy Son and our God, /
to save our souls.

(Tropar in tone 4 - Protection of the Mother of God)

Early one morning, two sisters were getting ready for school, as one sister walked out of her room with one pillow on her back and one pillow on her chest. Her sister asked, “why do you have pillows on you?” “Well,” she said, “the pillow on my chest is to protect from all the boys that will break my heart. And the pillow on my back is to protect me from all the friends that will stab me in the back."

Saint Thecla: A Symbol of Chastity, Asceticism and Perseverance

She’s widely celebrated and equally venerated and respected among the different churches of the world including the Orthodox, the Catholic and the Coptic. Saint Thecla whom we venerate today (September 24/October 7) is an apostle and a protomartyr among women who’s equal-to-apostles in sanctity.

Why Is Charity Important?

Photo: elohov.ruRegarding the Holy Apostle Paul’s Second Epistle to the Corinthians

From the very earliest days of the existence of the Church, acts of mercy and charity were an essential part of church life. Our Lord Christ Himself said that whosoever has fed the hungry, given drink to the thirsty, welcomed the stranger, clothed the naked, visited the sick and imprisoned, has done those things for Christ Himself (see: Matthew 25: 31- 40).

After Apostolic preaching began in Jerusalem, Christians who were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold, and laid them down at the Apostles’ feet, and distribution was made unto every man, according to his need. (Acts 4: 34–35). Moreover, daily meals were organized in Jerusalem (and later in other cities) for the needy. Once, this even caused a dispute between natives of Jerusalem and the so-called Grecians – who were also Christian Jews, but who lived in various Greek cities in the Diaspora. (see: Acts 6: 1–7). The Grecians considered that their widows were neglected in the daily ministration. (Acts 6: 1). Therefore, the Apostles decided to choose from among the faithful seven men of honest report to take on the responsibility of seeing to charitable activities, as it would not be good for the Apostles themselves to leave the word of God and serve tables (Acts 6: 2).