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Archive for the ‘reflections, ephemera’ Category

Hellenistic Greek: the main language of the canonical impartation of the Gospel

In reflections, ephemera on March 10, 2009 at 9:04 pm

You, my readers, may enjoy this lovely piece by the V. Rev. Patrick Reardon, “The Macedonian Call.”  He correctly stresses the particularity of the first trajectory of the New Testament kerygma (proclamation) as shaped by a specific tongue, koine (“kee-NEE”) Greek.  Thank you, Fr Alban West, for calling this to my attention!

Here is the link to “The Macedonian Call”:

http://www.orthodoxytoday.org/articles-2009/Reardon-The-Macedonian-Call.php

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

In reflections, ephemera on November 27, 2008 at 6:06 pm

Let us offer our humble thanks to the all-good Lord Who has granted us so many gifts!

I recommend the beautiful Akathist of Thanksgiving for a vehicle of prayer: http://www.antiochian.org/node/18543

wishing and praying all good things to you who read my blog!

a gem from the St Anthony Monastery Divine Music Project

In reflections, ephemera on November 26, 2008 at 5:20 am

If you who love our Orthodoxy have not yet seen the beautiful work of the brotherhood of St Anthony Monastery (Florence, Arizona), you will find a garden of spiritual refreshment there.

Here, following, is a gem from St Basil about the psalms, found after the koinonikon for righteous fathers:

A psalm is a city of refuge from the demons; a means of inducing help from the angels, a weapon in fears by night, a rest from the toils of the day, a safeguard for infants, an adornment for those at the height of their vigor, a consolation for the elders, a most fitting ornament for women. It peoples the solitudes; it rids the market places of excesses; it is the elementary exposition of beginners, the improvement of those advancing, the solid support of the perfect, the voice of the Church. It brightens feast day; it creates a sorrow which is in accordance with God. For, a psalm calls forth a tear even from a heart of stone. A psalm is the work of angels, a heavenly institution, the spiritual incense.

See: http://www.stanthonysmonastery.org/music/download.php?file=Chrys/Finale%202003%20-%20%5B1260_Tuesday%20-%20brief.pdf

More on the recent election of Bishop JONAH to be Metropolitan of the OCA

In reflections, ephemera on November 17, 2008 at 1:51 am

I have reflected much recently over the rapid elevation of Bishop (I am still not even used to that!) JONAH to be Metropolitan of Washington and New York and all America.  Here are some ephemera for reflection:

http://www.post-gazette.com/multimedia/?videoID=101187  which is a nice, 4 minute video showing the dramatic election at the OCA’s council.

http://www.times-standard.com/lifestyle/ci_10992476  gives a bit of the flavor of Fr Jonah’s ministry of outreach from the monastery in northern California.  This is the context in which I have gotten to know him; namely, his tireless interest in active intercession in behalf of various people who are struggling.

And, la piece de resistancehttp://ancientfaith.com/specials/podup/oca15aac/bishop_jonah_addresses_questions

This message must be heard by every single Orthodox Christian in this country!

Eis polla eti, Dhespota!  God grant you many years, Master!

On pursuit of the divine eros…

In reflections, ephemera on November 10, 2008 at 6:46 am

My heart longeth for Thee in a land where there is no water, untrodden, wasteland…

I melt for Thy love, O Lord!  My flesh trembleth in holding Thy divine Communion within, as I journey forth from the holy Liturgy.  Today, when we commemorated Thy friend, our father Nektarios the wonderworker of Aigina.  Where else can I find this sweetness?  Where else is my repose, my rest?  Thou, O Lord, my Lover, O Thou Who seekest out the lost and beareth them on Thine own Shoulders to the place of green pastures.  My heart cannot contain this Love; my eyes drip with tears in Thy mercy. I am wax melting in the dew-breeze of Thine uncreated Fire.  How can any filthy passion still endure?  How can I dare utter any mean thing about my neighbor? I must keep silence before Thee!  I can barely utter any of Thy words without the running waters of the baptism of tears.  I am all dust and ashes; Thou dost consume every stubble in the heat of the Thy Love!  Truly, THOU ART!

Doxa Theo yper panta!  Glory to God for all things!

To the newly-consecrated–and now newly elevated–Metropolitan JONAH, new primate of the OCA, Eis polla eti Despota!

In reflections, ephemera on November 10, 2008 at 6:15 am

Such a meteoric rise, and for such a time as this in the Orthodox Church in America!  Such is God’s gracious providence.

My father-confessor and friend, the former hieromonk and newly-elected Metropolitan JONAH, is newly consecrated to the episcopate, as of November 1, 2008:

http://www.oca.org/HSbiojonah.asp?SID=7

For pictures, see:

http://picasaweb.google.com/FrThomas/ElevationOfBishopJohah#

And now, as of November 12, 2008, newly-elected at chief hierarch of the OCA!

http://www.oca.org/news/1693

GOD GRANT YOU MANY YEARS, VLADIKO!

A “word” from His Beatitude, IGNATIUS IV, Patriarch of Antioch

In reflections, ephemera on November 10, 2008 at 4:59 am

To all who follow my blog:

The following is a distillation, in epistolary form, of an interview which I was blessed to have in privato with our father in Christ, His Beatitude, IGNATIUS IV, Patriarch of Antioch, during his visit to Boston over a few days at the end of October and beginning of November, 2008.  The Patriarch had founded an Orthodox university in Lebanon some 20 years ago, Balamand University.  His visit to the USA was in the role of promoting the university, as well as participating in the session of the Holy Synod of our (American) Self-ruled Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese.

Our local bishop, our father in Christ, His Grace, Bishop JOSEPH, had arranged this interview in response to the Patriarch’s request to meet other “adult-convert” clergy who could provide further insights concerning Orthodox conversions in America.  Bishop JOSEPH thought that I could provide something toward this end, along with another priest from our diocese who also participated in the interview.  In the epistle which follows, I provide a distillation of His Beatitude’s utterances. The epistle, as written, is fictional; however, its contents are not.  They are the actual teaching which I heard and noted down. Indeed, my last request of His Beatitude was the following: “please give my parish a word for our salvation, as though you were present to speak directly to the faithful.”  So, here is “a patriarchal epistle for St Peter the Apostle parish, of southern California.”

To the faithful in Christ of St Peter the Apostle parish,

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God the Father, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all!  My beloved children in the Lord, your love for God and for His Church, and your zeal for the Orthodox faith stand as a signet on your parish community for all the world to see.  The gnawing spiritual hunger of confused and seeking souls can find its satisfaction in the fresh spring of life in the community of your parish, in your gatherings for worship, in your agape meals, and in your holy teaching and care one for the other.  You struggled and found the sweet well of Orthodoxy. You embraced the Holy Tradition, which is nothing other than the very life of God incarnate–the life of Christ, the divine energy which leads to compunction, repentance, transfiguration, and a restoration to the likeness of God.

However, as many converts do, you face the temptation of idealism. Idealism is a framework of thinking which holds that one can find a certain specific doctrine and practice which, if taken as the sole standard, will answer all questions and lead the idealist to a life free from troubles.  Idealism is a false god, something like a fairy-tale ending which you Americans like to see in your movies and novels: the so-called “happy ending.”  Idealism is, from a theological point of view, a kind of monophysitism: the idealist says, if one is Orthodox, he becomes swallowed up with the divine!  This however is wrong.  We are sinners, we all struggle and we all must reckon with countless others around us who are not Orthodox and see no need to become Orthodox.  Christ loves them as well–and so should we.  Therefore, beware that your zeal does not fall into idealism. Translate your zeal for the faith into Christian action–holy praxis–which will give you a mission to love everyone as Christ does, regardless of their response.  Do not be concerned with converting souls to Orthodoxy as much as loving them where they are. Remember how you were deeply moved when someone gave you the attention and care you needed. You would not want to be proselytized or drafted for the Church; you wanted only to find spiritual relief to your problems in life.

This is our Orthodoxy; to love as Christ loves, to care as He cares.  Remember, God did not only give us a word through the prophets.  He Himself came into our lowly estate. He BECAME us!  We must then become what our neighbors need for their salvation.  Live as Christ does–always looking out for the care of your neighbor and weeping with them, as you care for their life.  In this way, you will never fail to prosper as a holy community.  One profound way in which you can show your Christian love is in your patient listening.  Be careful in your prayerful way to listen deeply to the heart-beat of the one who is speaking to you.  Listen through the words to the pain, the sorrow, the concern, the fear, the ache, of each person’s heart.  So few people know how to listen today!  Everyone has an agenda; everyone wants to promote his or her ideas. Where can anyone confess their sins to be saved from them?  The parish priest has his role in the sacrament of Holy Confession, to be sure. However, this listening must be the mission for all of us.  It is a wonder, indeed a true miracle, when one truly encounters his neighbor without any other agenda than to love.

In conclusion, my word to you as a holy community is to love as Christ loves. This is the evangelical commandment: “that you love one another as I have loved you.”  May you then follow our Master in the sacred ministry of selfless love for the reconciliation of those in whose area you live and work.  You can be assured of my constant gratitude before God for you and my prayers for your ever-deepening experience of the Great Mercy.

In Christ, your father,

IGNATIUS (IV) of Antioch

Southern California and snow–in May!

In reflections, ephemera on May 27, 2008 at 3:44 am

Christina and I went for a walk in the snow. It’s May 26th; we are in Los Angeles County; it was over 100 degrees last week. And there is snow only 20 minutes drive and a mile-walk up Ice House Canyon in the San Gabriels.

The beautiful spring flowers have blossomed everywhere. Tall yucca flower spikes adorn the mountain sides and canyons. Running creek water offers the proper woodland ambience, in concert with the vigorous mating of birds in full song.  And all this with the adornment of a fresh carpet of snow, heavy, wet, melting and white. You’d think that the flowers were out of place–stuck there out of season. But, no, nature is playing the weather backwards these past 7 days.

Sometimes backwards weather occurs in our spiritual lives. We think the order of events ought to be 1, 2, 3, and then followed by 4. But 4 first? and then a 1?  Even in the Bible, in God’s plan this happens now and again. You know the story of the conversion of Cornelius the pious pagan? Here is his spiritual history: first, deep prayer; second, apostolic visit; third, divine illumination; fourth, holy baptism; and fifth, apostolic laying-on-of-hands. Usually we expect this order: 2, 4, 5, 3, 1. Hey, what gives?

We are always trying to contextualize God. We read our Bible, our theology books, and think we get the picture. And God is free. He does “whatsoever He hath pleased” (Psalm 115). This is the One Who offers to enlighten our path in life, to BE our life. If we are in Him, then, what gives?

The Life-Giver, He is what gives!