Moral Lives, Repentance, and Confession Before Holy Communion

Moral Lives, Repentance, and Confession Before Holy Communion Orthodox Churchby Fr. Paul Gassios –
Many times you have to say to your kids “no, you can’t do that” even if it means your child getting angry at you; they might even say they hate you when you need to enforce an admonition with some type of consequence when they defy it.

In a similar fashion our Orthodox Church teaches certain things that at times are not popular concerning the lifestyles we are to live. There are times we as priests and laity need to say to ourselves and others “no we can’t do that” and if we do; there is a consequence we face if we choose to ignore what the Church teaches. I have already stated when it comes to matters of faith such as the Nicene Creed, that if we don’t accept the tenets of the Creed and outright reject the confession of faith found in it, one should not come to communion until they change their thinking and can say “Amen!” to what the Creed professes to be true.

In the moral area, if someone commits certain sins such as murder or adultery, our Church canons (or rules) call for a certain number of years where one cannot go to communion and must do acts of penance (i.e. actions to show you are sorry for what you did) before someone can be restored to communion. [Read more…]

Scriptures and Christian Saints: Homosexuality is an Abomination

Scriptures and Christian Saints: Homosexuality is an AbominationThe teaching is clear and unchanging. Scriptures, Christian Saints, and Church Fathers warned the faithful that homosexuality is an unrighteous act, a mortal sin, an abomination. There is no lukewarm, duplicitous, ambiguous, or confused language in their preaching.

Leviticus 18:22
“You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination.”

1 Corinthians 6:9-11
“Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.”

Romans 1:24-32
“Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.

For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due. [Read more…]

Fr. Michael Courey: Orthodox Church Must be More Inclusive, Welcome Same-Sex Couples

Fr. Michael Courey: Orthodox Church Must be More Inclusive, Welcome Same-Sex Couples On March 12, 2016, as a featured speaker at the Christian Family Life and the Challenges of Faithfulness symposium organized and sponsored by Huffington Ecumenical Institute at Loyola Marymount University (LMU) in California, Fr. Michael Courey called on the Orthodox Church to be more inclusive and welcome same-sex couples into her sacramental life.

While admonishing those who “place too much emphasis on our sacramental life on exclusiveness rather than inclusiveness,” and bemoaning that “the Church is so oriented towards the traditional conservative view of marriage and the family” that young and old singles “feel there is no place for them in the pews,” Fr. Michael challenged the Church to “embrace and welcome all who seek shelter from the stormy seas of life, traditional and non-traditional families, with open arms and open minds.”

Fr. Michael Courey, is a Greek Orthodox priest serving St. Katherine Greek Orthodox Church in Redondo Beach, California. The Huffington Ecumenical Institute (HEI) was originally funded by a $5 million dollar donation by openly homosexual and LGBT activist millionaire Michael Huffington who also supports same-sex marriage. [Read more…]

Christian Pastors Must Stand for Truth, Righteousness, and Morality in the Public Arena

Fr. Josiah Trenham Christian Pastors Must Stand for Truth, Righteousness, and Morality in the Public Arenaby Fr. Josiah Trenham –
You’d be right to ask, I think, what’s a pastor doing at this conservative political conference. I certainly know some of my clerical colleagues are asking what I’m doing here. Some of my own parishioners are probably asking—if they even know—are asking what I’m doing here. The IRS is certainly asking what I’m doing here. That unbiased and non-partisan government agency has been telling lies to clergy for 50 years to keep our mouths shut and to steal freedom of speech in the pulpit.

So let me answer that question, what’s a pastor doing here at this conservative political conference. It is perfectly natural for me to be here. Absolutely natural. Pastors and politics are intimately connected and have always been intimately connected in God’s design, from the beginning, in the old and the new covenant, from Israel right through two millennia of Christian history. Where you have politics, you have pastors. It’s only the Johnny-come-lately secularists who would like us to think and act differently. [Read more…]

Parents’ Love for Christ and Each Other Makes for Good Children

Parents' Love for Christ and Each Other Makes for Good Childrenby Saint Porphyrios –
What saves and makes for good children is the life of the parents in the home. The parents need to devote themselves to the love of God. They need to become saints in their relation to their children through their mildness, patience and love. They need to make a new start every day, with a fresh outlook, renewed enthusiasm and love for their children. And the joy that will come to them, the holiness that will visit them, will shower grace on their children.

Generally the parents are to blame for the bad behaviour of the children. And their behaviour is not improved by reprimands, disciplining, or strictness. If the parents do not pursue a life of holiness and if they don’t engage in spiritual struggle, they make great mistakes and transmit the faults they have within them. If the par­ents do not live a holy life and do not display love towards each other, the devil torments the parents with the reactions of the children. Love, har­mony and understanding between the parents are what are required for the children. This provides a great sense of security and certainty. [Read more…]

The Pursuit of Happiness: Bear Your Cross With Gratitude

The Pursuit of Happiness: Bear Your Cross With Gratitudeby Fr. Thaddaeus Hardenbrook –
“Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” the Declaration of Independence states, are unalienable rights granted by our Creator, to be protected by the government. Unfortunately the definitions for these terms were never truly agreed upon and, being defined by men, change over time. When does the right to life begin? In the womb or after birth? To what extent are we free? Until we hurt ourselves or others? And happiness, that popular but pitiful word constantly bent to the whim of emotions and impulses.

At the time of the writing of the Declaration, the meaning of the word happiness was greatly debated. Some restricted its meaning to only the acquisition of material possessions. For others it meant absolute freedom. Others insisted that happiness was attained only through the practice of reason and truth. [Read more…]

‘Apocalypse’ Averted

Hillary American Apocalypse Avertedby Archpriest Alexander F.C. Webster –
In A Christmas Carol, a seasonal favorite that Charles Dickens wrote in 1843, the miserly misanthrope Ebenezer Scrooge is privileged, thanks to the silent, ominous Spirit of Christmas Yet to Come, to glimpse his miserable future and lonely demise. Before he turns to read the tombstone inscribed with his own name, Scrooge asks the specter with great trepidation, “Are these the shadows of the things that Will be, or are they shadows of things that May be, only?”

In view of the numerous overwrought displays of grief, disbelief, and even violent protests following the unexpected defeat of Hillary Rodham Clinton by President-Elect Donald J. Trump in the November election, I propose that we consider what might have been if the Democrat nominee had prevailed. What are the “shadows of things” that might have been? [Read more…]

Saving the American Republic

Saving the American Republic Orthodox Christian priestby Archpriest Alexander F. C. Webster –
Benjamin Franklin, one of our nation’s greatest founding fathers, was asked by a resident of Philadelphia after the conclusion of the Constitutional Convention in 1787, “Well, Doctor, what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?” Franklin replied famously, “A republic, if you can keep it.”

In the wee hours of this morning, we learned that God the Holy Trinity had bestowed an extraordinary gift of grace upon our American Republic through the much maligned American electorate—a second chance to reverse the cultural, moral, and political slide that we, the people of the United States, have allowed—and even fostered—during the last few decades, a second chance to keep our Republic alive and to revive the unique American spirit that celebrates faith, family, community, patriotism, and liberty and justice for all as participants in the American experiment in ordered liberty. [Read more…]

Americans for Natural Marriage are ‘Confessors of the Faith’

Patriarch Kirill Traditional Marriage by Fr. Mark Hodges –
Patriarch Kirill, leader of the Russian Orthodox Church met with famous American Evangelical leader Franklin Graham last week, with whom he shared his admiration for American evangelicals’ defense of Christian morals. Kirill called those who suffer for their stand supporting natural marriage modern-day Confessors.

The head of the world’s largest Orthodox church noted tragic changes in Western spiritual life, including turning away from “Christian tradition” and creating societies in which moral values are no longer dominant. Kirill also noted with regret recent legislation and court decisions allowing homosexual “marriage,” “equaling it to natural marriage that the Lord has given us in commandment.” [Read more…]

Culture Wars Threaten the Orthodox Church, Our Freedom, and Our Families

Culture Wars Threaten the Orthodox Church, Our Freedom, and Our Familiesby Fr. John Whiteford –
It would be nice if we could ignore the culture wars, but the culture wars are coming after us, our Church, and our families. You can choose what you are prepared to defend, but you cannot choose who will attack what you wish to defend.

There are those in the Orthodox Church who say that we should have nothing to do with the culture wars that have been raging in our culture since the 60’s. They accuse conservative converts of trying to bring those culture wars into the Orthodox Church. Ironically, those who talk like this are usually the very people who actually are bringing the culture wars into the Orthodox Church by their promotion of the acceptance of homosexuality, gay marriage, abortion, women’s ordination, and various other liberal causes.

It is not as if the Orthodox Church was full of people who thought gay marriage was a great idea until converts started showing up. In fact, the Orthodox in traditionally Orthodox countries are very conservative, and though, for example, there are not lots of Protestant converts to Orthodoxy in Russia, the Russian Church has taken a very strong and vocal position on these issues. [Read more…]

Orthodox Church is the Bridge that Can Unite Russian and American People

Orthodox Church Bridge Russia and AmericaPatriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia by Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia –
The task of our Churches is to pray and work in order that the Lord would grant His mercy on the peoples of our countries, so that God’s strength would make moral basics stronger, which originate in God’s morals of the Bible, and so that the relations between our countries would strengthen based on common moral values.

His Holiness, Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, and the Most Reverend Tikhon, Metropolitan of Canada and All America, concelebrated the Divine Liturgy at the Dormition Cathedral of the Moscow Kremlin on December 4, 2014 – the feast day of the Entrance to the Church of the Most Holy Theotokos. Following the divine service, the Primate of the Russian Church delivered a sermon:

I would like to congratulate all of you, dear Reverend Vladyka, Emenences, fathers, and brothers, on the feast day of the Entrance to the Church of the Most Holy Theotokos! [Read more…]

Our Salvation is in the Hands of God

O Plowman of Christ, plow and re-plow your soulSt. Nikolai Velimirovich –
“The horse is prepared against the day of battle: but salvation is in the Lord” (Proverbs 21:31).

We are obligated to prepare ourselves but our success depends on God. All of our preparation is only a proposal to God but the proposal does not decide, but God decides. That is why people wisely say according to their experience: man proposes and God disposes. O Soldier of Christ, prepare your mind as a good horse, arm your heart with virtues, temper your will with mortifications, but know – that “salvation is in the Lord.”

O Merchant of Christ, practice good trade every day, exchanging the material for the spiritual, the earthly for the heavenly and mortality for immortality, but know – that “salvation is in the Lord.”

O Plowman of Christ, plow and re-plow your soul, sow the good evangelical seed on it every day, weed out the field of your soul from weeds, watch over it, but know that “salvation is in the Lord.” [Read more…]

Putting on the Armor of God: Being a Warrior When It’s Popular to Be a Weaner

Putting on the Armor of GodFr. Thaddaeus Hardenbrook –
Being a warrior for Christ has no minimum age or athletic qualifications. All warriors for Christ, however, must want to “be men” or “be manly”. It means to be what a human is really meant to be: brave, courageous, and authentic in obedience to God.

Saint Nestor was only a teenager when he decided he’d had enough of the local Christians being slaughtered in forced combat against a giant named Lyaeus. The Emperor Maximian had set up a raised platform in the center of Thessaloniki where he forced Christians to fight for their lives against the seemingly unconquerable Vandal mercenary “who was a beast in both appearance and character.”

Nestor was thin and not very tall, but apparently that did not concern him. He visited Saint Demetrios in prison and took his blessing to challenge Lyaeus. The saint made the sign of the cross over his head and heart, prophesying, “You will both be victorious and suffer for Christ.” [Read more…]

Christians Are The World’s Most Persecuted Minority

Christians Are The World's Most Persecuted Minorityby Shawn Schuster –

For those Christians living in Muslim-majority countries, torture and death are an everyday occurrence, according to Ibrahim’s new research. “I’m not talking about ‘War on Christmas’ type harassment,” he said in the new video he produced for Prager University. “I’m talking about, ‘know your place or we’re going to kill you’ persecution.”

Ibrahim says that 20 percent of the population of North Africa and the Middle East followed the Christian faith 100 years ago, but that number has dwindled down to a mere 4 percent over the years with most of the decline occurring in the last decade. “Astonishingly, the Western mainstream media barely acknowledge what is happening,” he continued. [Read more…]

The Dark Ages: Pagans Turned Out the Lights, Not The Church

Dark Ages: Pagans Turned Out the Lights, Not The Churchby Fr. Lawrence Farley –
The Dark Ages, insofar as they were dark, were darkened by the barbarian invasions that inundated the western Roman Empire, and that it was only in the Church and monasteries that any light was preserved.

Among the literature of those who make it their main business to vilify the Christians, perhaps no concept has served a more useful purpose than the idea of “the Dark Ages.” The Dark Ages, according to this reading of history, were those centuries in which the Church was culturally ascendant, with the inevitable result that civilization sunk into superstition, ignorance, obscurantism, and moral decadence. Here everything that was bad about the world is laid at the Church’s door, especially the decline of Science (with a capital “S”), which apparently had been going great guns until the Church took over.

As evidence of the Church’s war against Science, enlightenment, tolerance, and reason in general, the name of Galileo is usually bandied about, along with the notion that everyone in the Dark Ages thought that the world was flat. It was from this ecclesiastical abyss that Science eventually pulled us all out, saving the world from the Church and restoring civilization. But as we talk about the Dark Ages, it is worth asking how the Roman Empire of the west came to be so dark in the first place? [Read more…]