Theology

Lenten Prayer of St. Ephrem

O Lord and Master of my life, take from me the spirit of sloth, despair, lust of power, and idle talk.

But give rather the spirit of chastity, humility, patience, and love to Thy servant.

Yea, O Lord and King, grant me to see my own transgressions, and not to judge my brother, for blessed art Thou, unto ages of ages. Amen.

Alhambra Parish Hosts Fifth Annual Sts. Sebastian & Mardarije Orthodox Institute

“For I desire mercy and not sacrifice, and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings” (Hosea 6:6) are the prophetic words which come to mind as clergy slowly began to arrive for the beginning of the 5th annual Sts. Sebastian and Mardardije Institute on Tuesday, February 26, 2019, the feast day of Saint Simeon the Myrrh-Gusher.

His Grace Bishop Maxim of Western America and St. Steven’s Serbian Orthodox Cathedral in Alhambra, California are host to this year’s event in cooperation with the Episcopal Council of the Serbian Orthodox Church in North and South America.

Statement on the Sanctity of Life

The Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America affirms the sanctity of life based on the firm conviction that life begins at the moment of conception.

The Assembly remains steadfast in its conviction that any interference in the development of life is a serious issue, and therefore it regularly participates in a variety of relevant events and also releases pertinent statements on the topic. While recognizing that there are rare but serious medical instances where mother and child may require extraordinary actions, the Assembly of Bishops is deeply concerned that the taking of innocent life through abortion has become an acceptable cultural norm. This phenomenon – increasingly prevalent throughout contemporary societies – was exacerbated by a recent law of the New York State Senate (Bill S.240). The Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America categorically denounces these adverse developments that allow for abortion, under certain unjustifiable circumstances, even within the third trimester of existence. 

Sermon of Saint Sava on the True Faith delivered at Monastery Zica, 1220

Brothers and friends and fathers and children called by God, lend your God-loving hearts to hearing the divine dogmas. And hearing these holy words place them, brothers, in your hearts and the conscience of your souls and before the eyes of your mind and understand them.

God, all merciful and lover of mankind, having immeasurable mercy for man, bowed the Heavens and descended to earth, and with His Divine Dispensation and voluntary bearing of many different sufferings to His Divine Body, enlightened the human race; and He sent to the whole world the Holy Apostles, saying: „Go and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit“.

Homily of His Emience Laurus (Skurla + 2008), Metropolitan of Eastern America & New York, for the Sunday After Theophany

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

Dear brethren and sisters, today we are gathered here to glorify in prayer the great feast of Theophany.

This Sunday, in the liturgical language of the Church, is called the Sunday after the Enlightenment.

Some of us probably know that in antiquity, and even today in the liturgical books, the feast of the Theophany of the Lord is referred to as the Day of the Enlightenment.

Why is such a title, such an appellation, applied to the feast of the Baptism, the feast of Theophany?

If we carefully investigate and delve with you into the hymns of these recent days, we would have to direct our attention to the fact that these hymns speak to us of the appearance of our Lord Jesus Christ at the Jordan for baptism.

Synodality and Primacy in the Orthodox Church

From the Keynote Address by Metropolitan Kallistos (Ware of Diokleia) at the IOTA Inaugural Conference, 9-12 January 2019 in Iasi, Romania

Synodality

Turning now to synodality, we can see at once the way in which a Church council is to be regarded as a Eucharistic event. Most councils have been concerned with the restoration of Eucharistic communion when this has been broken, with the question who may or may not be admitted to receive the sacrament; and most (if not all) councils have concluded with a concelebrated Liturgy, embracing all the members.

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.