Moses and the Ten Words

Moses Ten Commandments Orthodox Christianityby Fr. Lawrence Farley –
Recently I read an interesting critique of American Christianity. It pointed out that in an earlier day the schoolrooms for our children used to feature the Ten Commandments written on the wall, rather than (for example) the Beatitudes. The author thought this rather odd for a Christian nation, and evidence that something was wrong. I grant you that the preference for the Ten Commandments over the Beatitudes does invite comment.

One begins by asking how the Ten Commandments became so prominent in the eyes of Christians to begin with. One of course understands how a Jew would opt for the Ten Commandments which Moses brought down from the height of Sinai, rather than the Beatitudes of Jesus found in the New Testament. But how did the Ten Commandments become so culturally popular among American Christians? [Read more…]

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Faith Gives People True Freedom and Unites Them with God

Patriarch Kirill Faith Gives People True Freedom and Unites Them with GodPatriarch Kirill (Moscow and All Russia) –

A person who believes in God is filled with tremendous power, because knowledge is revealed through faith. Faith brings a person into living contact with the Lord, and everyone who turns to God with faith gains a special life experience said His Holiness Kirill, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, in his sermon on February 7, on the 35th Sunday after Pentecost, the feast day of the Synaxis of New Martyrs and Confessors of the Russian Church.

“All atheistic work aimed at destroying the faith in our country consisted of rationally, relying supposedly on some scientific achievements, proving that there is no God. [Read more…]

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Corruption Must Be Revealed in Order to Overcome the Darkness

Corruption Must Be Revealed in Order to Overcome the Darknessby Fr. Johannes Jacobse –
Be courageous. Don’t fear. Stand on the Rock.

We may be in the stages of a final reveal. Corruption must be revealed to overcome the power of darkness. The darkness is sustained when fear overcomes the heart and mind of man. He loses hope and the necessary constituents that give his life meaning move beyond the horizon. He becomes blind.

Men embrace ideology because they refuse to face the corruption in their own hearts. The ideology confers a false righteousness that avoids the honest appraisal of one’s own heart that is necessary for freedom, and replaces it with a lie. This lie reiterates the lie first whispered in Eden: “You will become like God.” That is how a man becomes blind. [Read more…]

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Pride and Vanity are Most Dangerous Passions

Pride and Vanity are Most Dangerous Passions by Olga Rozhneva –
In the world, pride and self-esteem are sometimes raised almost to the status of virtues or signs of the nobility of one’s nature. This view is erroneous and happens, according to the words of St. Macarius, “out of ignorance or from darkening by the passions.” The elder wrote to a spiritual child:

“In your previous letter you mention your self-esteem more than once and, as if you hold it in high regard, you show it off like some adornment. You need to extirpate it from yourself by all means—it is the cause of all our evil and vices. Worldly people still regard it as a virtue and as nobility, and this is out of ignorance or from darkening by the passions; while we have to oppose it in everything by humility and selflessness.” [Read more…]

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Russia Affirms and Defends Traditional Marriage, Rejects LGBTQ Delusion

Russia Affirms and Defends Traditional Marriage, Rejects LGBTQ Delusionby Fr. Ioannes Apiarius –
Russia’s Constitution now openly honors God, affirms marriage, and supports the Christian faith. It officially recognizes the authority and role of the Orthodox Church in the life of the people.

Voters in Russia have approved constitutional amendments that enshrined traditional Christian values in the country’s supreme laws. The new Russian Constitution defines marriage as a union between one man and one woman. There was widespread support for these new amendments that uphold the traditional definition of marriage and declare “faith in God” as a core value. Russia’s Central Election Commission reported that 78% of Russian voters approved these changes to the country’s laws. Voter turnout was also an impressive 65%.

Russia’s Constitution now openly honors God, affirms marriage, and supports the Christian faith. It officially recognizes the authority and role of the Holy Orthodox Church in the life of the people and the state. This is a blessing for the Russian faithful. [Read more…]

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Hundreds of California Churches Plan to Open May 31, Not Asking for Permission

Hundreds of California Churches Plan to Open May 31 - Not Asking for PermissionBrave and inspiring leadership from our Protestant brethren. Christians can be safe, loving, and faithful, without being lukewarm or fearful.

by Heather Sells –
Nearly 500 California pastors are preparing to open their doors on Sunday, May 31st — whether or not they have guidance from the state.

“The churches are not asking for permission,” said Bob Tyler, a religious freedom attorney advising the pastors. “The governor is sitting here as a dictator, trumping the Constitution and is kind of hanging on to this state of emergency for as long as he can hold it.”

“We’ll give the governor an opportunity to amend his order,” said Tyler. “If he doesn’t, these pastors have told me that they’re committed to opening regardless of what the governor decides.” [Read more…]

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Palm Sunday – Homily on Holy Communion

Palm Sunday - Homily on Holy Communion by Bishop Ilias (Miniatis) –
Hosanna: Blessed is the King of Israel that comes in the name of the Lord. (John 12:13)

The Destroyer of hell, conqueror of death, Author of life, our Lord Jesus Christ resurrected Lazarus the Four-Days-Dead. When on the next day He entered into Jerusalem, the entire city was shaken by the news of such a great miracle and the arrival of such a Miracle-Worker. “Who is this?” they asked each other. The entire multitude had gathered for the Passover, as if drawn by a divine wave of hand, and now receives Him with great solemnity as the King of Israel.

Some go before Him, others behind; some cut branches, others throw them on the ground; others spread their garments on the path, and all with one voice—even the little children—exclaim, Hosanna: Blessed is the King of Israel that comes in the name of the Lord! I will mark three circumstances in this light-bearing solemnity: first, the garments that were spread on the ground; second, the palm branches, the signs of victory; and third, the joyful exclamation of: Hosanna, Blessed is He that comes. [Read more…]

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Fear, Anxiety, and God – Pastoral Advice During Coronavirus Crisis

 Fr. Johannes Jacobse Fear, Anxiety, and God (Advice During Coronavirus Crisis)by Fr. Johannes Jacobse –
If we seek the Savior, if we conform our lives in obedience to Him, then peace and assurance can reign in our heart and we will get through this trial strengthened and changed.

I did a live stream this morning on how to handle the anxiety and fear that grips a lot of people during this pandemic. Here are my recommendations.

(1) Use the media sparingly. Don’t spend the day watching the news. The constant repetition of the same “facts” (in precious short supply until more concrete numbers come in) amplifies them; it gives them a greater authority than what they warrant.

Most news readers (real journalists are few) don’t know much. They simply don’t have the time to study what they report. Consequently, most draw from the same sources, and some of those sources are suspect. Maintaining a critical distance is prudent. [Read more…]

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When People of God Fall, They Behave Worse Than Pagans

When People of God Fall They Behave Worse Than Pagansby Fr. Patrick Henry Reardon –
How are pagans to take seriously those who profess to be better than the world, when in fact they live by norms conspicuously lower than the world?

How are pagans to take seriously those who profess to be better than the world, when in fact they live by norms conspicuously lower than the world? How is it possible for a Christian church to hold its bishops, for instance, to lower ethical expectations in matters of business than the chairman of a secular corporation?

Why are such scandals permitted, year after year? Or again, why should a priest not be unfrocked for offenses that would promptly send a school counselor to prison? How can we expect pagans to take any Christian church seriously if it does not call its own stewards to account?

Alas, it is a demonstrable fact that the people of God, when they fall, often enough do not fall to the level of good paganism, but much lower. [Read more…]

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Jesus Christ and the Social Problem

Jesus Christ and the Social Problem by Archimandrite Georgios Kapsanis –
The more that people are cleansed of the passions, the greater their capacity for real communion with God and other people.

Those who take a romantic and external view of the human person transfer wickedness from the person onto society, which is why they proclaim that any improvement in society will bring with it an improvement in people. But, without denying the importance of social effects on people, we Orthodox prioritize the transformation of the person through repentance and divine grace.

It’s a grave error to want to change society without first striving to change ourselves. It is, at the very least, naive to believe that a change in a few social institutions will also bring about a change in people even if they don’t repent. [Read more…]

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Satan Attacks Purity First to Lead Us Away from God

Satan Attacks Purity First to Lead Us Away from Godby Peter Howard –
That’s why Satan attacks purity first because then we can’t see God (“Blessed are the pure of heart for they shall see God”). Lack of purity (moral impurity) results in loss of holiness and that lack of holiness leads to division in relationships, which results in lack of communion of life, which results in not transmitting life and love.

That’s the oversimplified, but nonetheless true, breakdown how impurity leads from a culture of life and love to a culture of death and self-centered immorality.

And the world — and many in the Church — have rejected the call to purity, embraced immorality and abandoned God, calling this insanity “freedom.” [Read more…]

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How to Know When God is Calling – Tuning in to the Call of God

How to Know When God is Calling - Tuning in to the Call of Godby Regis Nicoll –
“When God calls you to do something,” the speaker cautioned, “your only response is, yes.” I saw a number of heads nodding in agreement, but I sensed a question stirring in the heads of others: “But how do I know when God is calling?”

It’s an important question. In fact, there is no question more important for Christians. For how can we follow Christ, if we can’t tell his call from that of the culture or of those darker angels that would lead us into temptation or prod us to another have-to, got-to, need-to duty that seems good and feels good—and maybe, is good—but is not God sent? [Read more…]

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Parable of the Wheat and the Tares – Why Priests Must Vigilantly Keep Watch

Parable of the Wheat and the Tares - Why Priests Must Vigilantly Keep Watchby Archpriest Victor Potapov –
The devil sows tares, says the Lord, while men sleep. In other words, the devil sows his tares secretly, unnoticeably, when the guards appointed to look after the field, that is, the pastors of the Church, keep watch inadequately, and when the faithful themselves live carelessly as well and listen too credulously to impostors and false teachers.

In the parable of the sower and the seed, the discourse was about how men accept the word of God in different ways, and how this word affects men in different ways. In the next parable ­ that of the wheat and the tares ­ Christ speaks of the fourth portion of seed, which had fallen on good ground, and how the enemy of man’s salvation does everything possible in order to ruin that which grows in this good ground.

The parable of the wheat and the tares is extremely topical for our days, when people raise the question of the origin of evil in the world and are perplexed over the temptations, schisms and fallings away which they encounter in the Church Herself. [Read more…]

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The 2018 Resolution on Same-Sex Relationships the OCA Bishops Rejected

OCA synod of bishops As publicly confirmed by a senior OCA priest and privately confirmed by other OCA priests, at the Nineteenth All-American Council in July 2018, a Resolution aimed at asking the bishops to correct errant clergy and lay persons who promote false teaching on same-sex relationships was rejected by the OCA Synod of Bishops and not permitted to be voted on by the assembly. Concerned that publications such as The Wheel were perceived to be given a tacit blessing by the hierarchy, senior priests urged the bishops, through the resolution, to send an unambiguous message that false teaching will not be tolerated.

The OCA Synod rejected the resolution citing that it was not appropriate for the All-American Council to “give direction” to the Synod. The OCA bishops also did not provide any feedback to revise or edit the priests’ statement to make it more acceptable to them. [Read more…]

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No Scriptural Approval, Acceptance, or Tolerance of Homosexuality

Bishop Alexander Mileant - no example in all of the New Testament of approval, acceptance, or even tolerance of homosexualityby Bishop Alexander (Mileant) –
There is no example in all of the New Testament of approval, acceptance, or even tolerance of homosexuality.

Homosexuality: Although there is much more open discussion about homosexuality in the twentieth century than in previous times, there is definite reference to it in ancient writings. The frequently used synonym, sodomy, comes from the apparent homosexual activity among men of Sodom (Genesis 19), and the severity of strictures set forth in the Holiness Code, with nothing short of the death penalty being imposed, suggested that the need for discipline must have been great, (Leviticus 18:22; 20:13). The Old Testament understood normal sexual intercourse as not only a way of expressing a loving relationship, but also as a divinely appointed way of procreating new life.

In the New Testament, St. Paul condemns male prostitutes and homosexuals (I Corinthians 6:9-11). In the first chapter of his epistle to the Romans (Romans 1:24-32), he also judges it as unnatural. [Read more…]

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