The Church is THE Essential Institution

Orthodox Christian Church Liturgy, communal and sacramental faithby Fr. Abbot Tryphon –
A nation that forbids her people from participating in corporate worship, is a nation that is doomed.

Christianity is a communal faith, one that requires its followers to be actively involved with others. The Church’s worship is communal, and salvation itself is a corporate act, one that necessitates interaction with others. One is not “saved” in a vacuum, but as part of the corporal life of the Church. Your salvation must be as much a concern to me, as is my own salvation. My relationship with Christ is not about me, but about us. Our sins are not just against God, but against the Body of Christ, the Church. Our love of God can not be salvific if we do not love others, for just as the Lord said, “If someone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? (1 John 4:20)”. [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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Archbishop Kyrill Protests Against California Ban on Church Singing

Archbishop Kyrill Protests Against California Ban on Church Singing A brave and faithful Orthodox archbishop speaks out against California’s scandalous ban on singing in houses of worship. He provides the entire Church and all the other bishops with a great example of how a faithful shepherd protects his sheep and fights back against tyranny. AXIOS!

“For it is a commandment of the Lord not to be silent at a time when the Faith is in jeopardy. Speak, Scripture says, and hold not thy peace.” ~ St. Theodore the Studite

Open Letter to The Honourable Gavin Newsom, Governor of California from His Eminence Kyrill Archbishop of San Francisco and Western America in light of the decree issued by the Governor of California that forbids choral singing in churches. (July 8, 2020)
+KYRILL, Archbishop of San Francisco and Western America (ROCOR)

Your Excellency,

I hereby express my protest against the recent prohibition of liturgical singing in houses of worship, which is an infringement of the rights and religious freedoms of the clergy and faithful of the Western American Diocese of the Russian Diaspora, the other Local Orthodox Churches, performing their ministry in this state, as well as other religious bodies. [Read more…]

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The Stars and Stripes Forever – Stand Up to Marxist Evil Threatening America

The Stars and Stripes Forever – Stand Up to Marxist Evil Threatening Americaby Fr. Abbot Tryphon –
Stand up to those who would destroy our nation’s heritage.

Earlier today it was announced that the statue of Christopher Columbus that has long stood before the state capital in Columbus, Ohio, has been removed. But what really shocked me was hearing that they are now considering changing the name of their city, seeing Christopher Columbus as responsible for the genocide of indigenous peoples.

That we Americans are allowing ANTIFA Marxists to dictate the destruction of national symbols of our history is unbelievable. That there are leftists demanding the removal of the presidential images on Mt. Rushmore, the toppling of statues, not only of Confederacy, but even of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, all in the name of social justice, is appalling to me. The fact that some of these Marxists have even gone so far as to demand all images of Jesus Christ, and His Holy Mother, be destroyed as symbols of white supremacy, is beyond belief. [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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Orthodox Hierarchy Response to Coronavirus Crisis is Not Orthodoxy

Orthodox Hierarchy Response to Coronavirus Crisis is Not Orthodoxyby Nora Kowalcheck –
If I have “unreasonable faith” as one bishop described it to me back in March, perhaps his grandparents and parents had “unreasonable faith,” too, and perhaps that is what lead him to the priesthood and years of service in our church.

I am an Orthodox mother. I have been Orthodox for the last 30 years and my husband is cradle Orthodox, born and raised in the OCA. We have four children here, and one in Heaven.

In the last three months, I have not heard one bishop, or directive from a bishop, speak about our children. Not one. The ONLY reference to children has been that if they cannot distance themselves properly, they will need to remain home.

I am deeply grieved by this and, quite frankly, angry and I believe rightly so. My husband and I, like many other Orthodox parents, have struggled and done the hard work, week after week, year after year, for twelve years now, to take our children to church and teach them our faith. [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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Pascha Celebrations Did Not Spread the Coronavirus in Georgia

Pascha Celebrations Did Not Spread the Coronavirus in GeorgiaThere was no increase in the cases of coronavirus infection following the celebration of Pascha in Georgia, where the churches remained open though observing the necessary sanitary standards, according to a leading infectious diseases expert in Tbilisi.

“At the recommendation of the government, the Church itself has taken a very correct and good position and, in fact, we quietly passed through the period that could have been the basis for the growth of the epidemic,” said Tengiz Tsertsvadze, the Director of the Tbilisi Infectious Diseases Hospital, on
on Adjara Television on May 4.

“There has been no increase in the number of infections due to religious holidays,” the expert said. [Read more…]

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Closing Orthodox Churches is Unjustified Offense Against God

Georgian Church Closing Orthodox Churches is Unjustified Offense Against GodHoly Synod of the Orthodox Church of Georgia –
The Georgian Patriarchate issued a strong statement, both reiterating its call for the faithful to follow necessary sanitary guidelines and responding to those who are attacking the Church’s ancient practices.

In many places where services have continued and the faithful have continued to partake of Holy Communion, those who are ill-disposed to the holy Orthodox faith, including amongst media representatives, are loudly attacking the Church and its hierarchs, accusing them of putting people in danger, such as in Serbia and Ukraine, Romania, and in Georgia as well, as testified to by yesterday’s statement from the Georgian Church.

While calling on the faithful to observe heightened sanitary practices,the Georgian Patriarchate asserts strongly that a ban on Church attendance is an unjustified offense against God, [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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An Orthodox Christian Response to the Coronavirus

Orthodox Christian Response to Coronavirus Bishop Irenei of Londonby Bishop Irenei of London –
No genuinely believing Christian can for one moment accept that the Holy Mysteries might bring or be the source of sickness or ill-health: by no means!

As we enter now fully into this lenten period leading to the bright Resurrection of Christ, we find ourselves also in a period where many are stricken with fear at the spread of a new virus (Coronavirus COVID-19), which is affecting people in many parts of the world — including several countries within the borders of our Diocese. Since many are asking how this situation is to be approached, within our Church consciousness, I write to you in this initial week of the Great Fast to share the comfort and solace of the Church.

The Church of Christ has endured through many centuries — in the course of which she has been confronted with countless illnesses and diseases, small and great — in solid faith and with peaceful hearts, each member of the Church knowing that he or she is part of no worldly or man-made institution, but the Harbour of Life that is Christ’s Body. [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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Giacomo Sanfilippo’s Unholy Vendetta Against Faithful Orthodox Priests and Teachers

Giacomo Sanfilippo Unholy Vendetta Against Faithful Orthodox Priests and Teachersby Fr. Ioannes Apiarius –

Via multiple posts and articles full of hysteria, wild exaggerations, distortions, and innuendos Giacomo Sanfilippo (also known as Peter J. Sanfilippo), has been relentlessly defaming and attacking several Orthodox Christian priests, bishops, and seminary professors. Why? Because these men dare to publicly and fearlessly defend the Orthodox Church teaching on homosexual sin and warn the Church about many false teachers (like Sanfilippo) and deceitful venues that question, challenge, mock, deconstruct, contradict, and distort Church teaching, practices, and theology, especially regarding morality, human sexuality, and marriage.

Since 2017 Sanfilippo has used his inappropriately named “Orthodoxy in Dialogue” website, his Facebook pages, and his Twitter accounts to maliciously condemn these good men and smear their reputations. Sanfilippo has launched an unholy personal vendetta against these priests and teachers and is fomenting rebellion inside the Holy Orthodox Church. [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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