Bulletin Inserts

Sunday to Sunday with the DCE

  • Letting Go of Keeping Score (No. 364)

    Matthew 20: 1-16 is the Parable of the Laborers in the Vineyard.

  • Christlike Love (No. 363)

    Two saints who showed deep love for Christ by doing things that go far beyond what most people would be willing to do are both remembered in the middle of the summer.

  • Giving the Best They Had (No. 362)

    The Church honors two similar saints, one who lived during the first years of the Christian Church and the other who lived just a few hundred years ago. They are the apostle Aquila from among the Seventy, and Saint Nicodemus the Hagiorite.

  • Parables of Patience (No. 361)

    Matthew 13: 10-43 comes after Jesus has just told the crowd the Parable of the Sower. It describes various kinds of ground, and the seeds that fall on the ground as the sower works. Some seeds die because they are scorched by the sun or choked by thorns, eaten by birds or withered in soil that isn't deep enough to sustain them. But the seeds that fall on good soil bring forth abundant grain.

  • The Mother of God (No. 360)

    Sometimes the Church commemorates together a saint and an event, both of which remind us of the central place in our theology of Mary the Theotokos.

  • Never a Deserter (No. 359)

    An important feast in the life of the Church is the Nativity of John the Baptist.

  • Chariots and Horses (No. 358)

    Elisha was a prophet of the Northern Kingdom of Israel.

  • A Man Who Gave Second Chances (No. 357)

    One of the Holy Apostles is Barnabas, the companion of St. Paul.

  • The Holy Spirit At Work (No. 356)

    Pentecost is the day on which the apostles were filled with the Holy Spirit. They were given the power to preach and teach without fear and with joy in the Lord.

  • A Wise Man Writes About Despondency (No. 353)

    The Church commemorates two women who had reason to know about despondency.

  • The Hour Has Come (No. 355)

    In John 12: 19-36 Jesus announces, "The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified." He goes on to tell the listening crowd what those words mean.

  • A Courageous Cinderella and a Fool for Christ (No. 352)

    The Holy Mother Isidora lived in the sixth century.

  • Destroyer of Royalty and Servant of the King (No. 354)

    The Church honors the Holy and Great Martyr Irene.

  • Unlikely Pairs (No. 351)

    The Church honors two saints whose lives intersected in an unusual way. They are the Righteous Virgin Martyr Glaphyra and the Hieromartyr Basil, Bishop of Amasea.

  • Love Overcomes Fear (No. 350)

    After Pascha we read the book of Acts in sections. Acts 4: 13 to 5: 33 are filled with wonderful evidence of the power of love in the young Church.

  • Christ is Risen! (No. 349)

    The Resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ gives us salvation and eternal joy. But it is always beyond our human ability to "understand."

  • The Prayers of Saint Basil (No. 348)

    On Holy Saturday we celebrate the Divine Liturgy of Saint Basil, as we have on all the Sundays of Great Lent. We return to the Liturgy of Saint John Chrysostom on Holy Pascha.

  • Saints from One Age to Another (No. 347)

    Saint Nicetas the Confessor was born in the 8th century in Bithynia (Asia Minor) to a family of dedicated Christians.

  • The Annunciation (No. 346)

    The Feast of the Annunciation celebrates the visit of the archangel Gabriel to Mary, proclaiming God's plan that she would give birth to His Son.

  • Lessons from a Man of Vision (No. 345)

    The Church lovingly marks the repose of Saint Nikolai of Zicha.

  • Two Chroniclers of Holy Lives (No. 344)

    The Church celebrates the memories of two saints who collected and recorded accounts of the lives of holy people.

  • Do the Little Things (No. 343)

    The Orthodox Church commemorates Saint David, the patron saint of Wales. He was born in about 487, on the southwestern coast of the country.

  • Do Not Rely on Your Own Insight (No. 342)

    The title words are from Proverbs 3: 5b.

  • The Day of the Lord (No. 341)

    We read a large portion of the Prophecy of Joel during one day in our Church calendar.

  • Compassion and Salvation (No. 340)

    Saint Martinian was born in the fourth-century in Caesarea of Palestine.

  • The Threat of the Glorious Ones (No. 339)

    We read the entire third chapter, verses 1 to 18, of 2 Peter in a single day. The letter was probably written between the years 80 and 90.

  • Wisdom for Today from the Early Church (Book Review) (No. 338)

    The Church commemorates some of the great Fathers of the early Church, particularly Gregory the Theologian, John Chrysostom, and Basil the Great.

  • Now and Then (No. 337)

    Two readings sometimes assigned to be read together are Wisdom of Solomon 3: 1-9 and Luke 6: 17-23.

  • The First Hermit (No. 336)

    The region of upper Egypt where Venerable Paul of Thebes was born about 227 is called the "Thebaid" because it is near the city of Thebes. It's a desert area, and over the centuries it became the dwelling place of thousands of monks seeking to come close to God.

  • Women as True Witnesses (No. 335)

    The Church gives equal honor to each of the Seventy Apostles, and their icon shows them all together. This grouping of saints is called a "synaxis."

  • A Place Like No Other (No. 334)

    At the end of the calendar year, we read from Mark's Gospel, 11: 11-26. The narrative begins with Jesus' arrival in Jerusalem.

  • Discovering the Wonder of Jesus Christ (No. 333)

    Saint Eugenia of Rome was born in 280, she belonged to a noble pagan family. Though Roman by birth, she lived in Alexandria, Egypt, where her father Philip had been sent by the emperor to govern.

  • Holy Youths and Faithful Children (No. 332)

    The Prophet Daniel and his companions, the three Holy Youths Ananias, Azarias and Misael faced many temptations.

  • Three Mothers (No. 329)

    The Orthodox Church celebrates "Righteous Saint Anna's Conception of the Mother of God." This lengthy, explicit title offers some important insights into Orthodox theology.

  • Costly Mercy (No. 330)

    St. Philaret the Merciful is an 8th-century saint known for his great charity.

  • The Continuing Conflicts in Corinth (No. 331)

    Saint Clement of Rome is one of the Apostolic Fathers.

  • Making Peace by Being Obedient (No. 327)

    St.Hilda, Abbess of Whitby was born in 614 in Northumbria, at that time a kingdom which included northern England and part of southeastern Scotland. She was the grandniece of King Edwin, and it was not until her whole family became Christian, in 627, that she was baptized.

  • The Sad Duties of a Prophet (No. 328)

    The prophet Ahijah lived in the time of Solomon and the kings who followed him.

  • Distressed by Fame (No. 326)

    Saint Marcian the Hermit and Confessor of Cyrus (or Cyrrhus) in Syria lived in the fourth century.

  • The Enemy Still Works Against Us (No. 325)

    The Venerable Abramius, Recluse of Mesopotamia lived in the fourth century.

  • Give Me a Word: Book Review (No. 322)

    Arthur C. Brooks, writing about what constitutes true happiness, concluded that our society does us a disservice by encouraging us to seek luxury and wealth, to look for physical pleasure with numerous partners, and to strive for fame or even the fleeting celebrity of a reality show. These things, he stated, do not bring happiness.

  • Becoming Little Children (No. 323)

    The Church honors the Holy Apostle and Evangelist Luke.

  • Respecting the People We Teach (No. 324)

    We annually celebrate the anniversary of the glorification by the Russian Orthodox Church of Saint Innocent, Metropolitan of Moscow, Enlightener of the Aleuts and Apostle to America.

  • Saved for Greater Work (No. 319)

    Saints who are given the title "Confessor" rather than "Martyr" are those who witnessed to the faith and often suffered for it, but were not put to death as the direct result of their witness. Saint Chariton the COnfessor was one of these. He did undergo imprisonment and torture when he boldly professed his faith, but was not martyred. God saved him for greater work.

  • A Hesitant Hero (No. 318)

    Gideon is an Old Testament hero who is named and praised in Hebrews 11.

  • The Greatest Conqueror is Conquered (No. 320)

    September 14th is the Feast of the Exaltation (or Elevation) of the Precious and Life-Giving Cross.

  • Just Too Generous (No. 321)

    Saint Kieran of Clonmacnois in Ireland was born in 512 in County Roscommon, the grandchild of a poet and historian. He liked to think about the meaning of life, and found joy in nature's beauty. His own family lived simply, and he spent much of his childhood herding the family cattle. This gave him a special love of animals and a willingness to be compassionate with all creatures, including other people.

  • The Power of Speech (No. 317)

    We know a number of things about the Old Testament prophet Moses. One is that he was unsure of his ability to speak eloquently. When God tells him that he is to bring the Israelites out of bondage in Egypt, Moses demurs: "Who am I, that I should go unto Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt?"

  • Apostle to the Dead (No. 316)

    The Church solemnly remembers the Beheading of John the Baptist.

  • Our Minds Also Lead Us to God (No. 315)

    The Church celebrates the memory of the Venerable Christodoulos the Philosopher, born in the 11th century. Young John, as he was named at birth, loved to learn from books and read everything he could get his hands on. Though John especially loved Scripture and knew he wanted to live by Christ's teachings, his curious mind led him to read about other faiths as well. He enjoyed discussions with wise people, which were another source of learning. He further broadened his knowledge by learning several languages.

  • No Pity and No Fear (No. 314)

    The Hieromartyr Sixtus, became Bishop of Rome at a time when having that position meant almost certain death

  • Three Brave Women (No. 313)

    The Church honors together three women saints who showed great bravery. The first was a contemporary of Jesus Christ, and the other two lived much later.

  • A Closer Look at Monasticism (No. 312)

    Christians from various backgrounds are discovering the writings of the early desert monastics, and are finding great spiritual profit in the examples their lives offer.

  • Ezekiel the Watchman and Warner (No. 311)

    The prophet and priest Ezekiel was known as a visionary who had many vivid dreams.

  • God Uses the Imperfect (No. 310)

    The Great Prince Vladimir is called Equal to the Apostles and Enlightener of the Russian Lands.

  • Mindful Humility (No. 309)

    Saint Sisoes the Great was known for his holy life and deep humility.

  • By No Means! (No. 308)

    The words "By no means!" are Saint Paul's emphatic answer to a rhetorical question he asks in Romans 11: 2: Has God rejected His people? Paul identifies himself as one of those people, an Israelite, descended from Abraham and belonging to the tribe of Benjamin. He then says, "God has not rejected His people whom He foreknew." Israel is and will always be the people God "foreknew" and will never reject, as promised in the Old Testament.

  • Giving It All Up When You Have It All (No. 306)

    The Church celebrates the memory of a man who, from birth, truly "had it all." He is Saint Sampson the Hospitable. In some accounts he is also given the title of Physician.

  • The Sudden Call (No. 307)

    The Old Testament prophet Amos lived during the 8th Century BC.

  • For Times of Trouble (No. 305)

    Saint Aquilina lived for only twelve years and came from Byblos, a town in Palestine.

  • Saint Paul the Sailor (No. 304)

    Chapter 27 of the Book of Acts is one of the most exciting, vivid sections of the New Testament.

  • A Man of Visions (No. 303)

    The Apostle Carpus is one of the Seventy sent by the Lord to spread the Gospel through the known world.

  • Saints in Secret (No. 302)

    The Holy Martyr Theodotus was an innkeeper, and lived during the reign of the emperor Diocletian, whose persecution of Christians was the bloodiest of all, in the late third century.

  • Outcasts Working for God (No. 301)

    The Venerable Isidore, Fool-for-Christ lived in Rostov, a city north of Moscow.

  • Struggling to Believe (No. 300)

    The Holy Apostle John the Theologian is given the title "Theologian" because his Gospel interprets events and words, delving into their meaning in the light of the divinity of Jesus Christ. Rather than just recording episodes, John (who, by tradition, was aided in his writing by Prochorus) sets them in the context of Jesus the Messiah's coming: "But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God...(1: 12).

  • Married Saints (No. 299)

    The Church honors a married couple named were Timothy and Maura who grew up in the same small Egyptian village in the third century. Timothy was the son of a priest and owned many books used in church, as well as his most prized book--a copy of the Scriptures. He also could read, and after a day's work people would gather around him to hear the sacred words. The Bishop of the Thebaid ordained him a reader, and the villagers hoped that one day he would be their priest.

  • Christ is Risen! Indeed He is Risen! (No. 298)

    The Gospel of the Holy Apostle and Evangelist Mark is generally considered to be the first one written. It is also thought to be the closest and most accurate record of the "oral Gospel"—the preaching of the apostles. The second-century writer Papias called Mark "the interpreter of Peter."

  • Body and Soul (No. 297)

    The martyr Crescens was the son of a nobleman, and came from Myra in Lycia, a familiar name because it's also the home town of the great Saint Nicholas.

  • A New Testament Prophet (No. 296)

    Anyone who reads the Bible knows about the Old Testament prophets, men and women who tell God's people about His will and His plans. On April 8th we celebrate a man who prophesied in the New Testament.

  • A Prayer Journal - Book Review (No. 294)

    Proverbs 15: 24 tells us: "For the wise the path of life leads upward, in order to avoid Sheol below". These words might be applied to the writer Flannery O'Connor, whose "path of life" was brief but led upward, as she tried always to come closer to God.

  • A Saint from Salzburg (No. 293)

    Many people know Salzburg, Austria as the birthplace of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, who was born there in 1756. But the Church commemorates Saint Rupert of Salzburg, who lived there ten centuries earlier and did great work in spreading the Gospel and building up the Church.

  • When Only Great Courage Will Do (No. 292)

    The Church remembers two very different people who both showed great courage. One was a young woman, and the other was an old man.

  • Words That Tie Us All Together (No. 291)

    Genesis and the Letter to the Hebrews were written in times that are very different from each other. Nevertheless, they show us that we are all together as sons and daughters of the same God—the people of the Old Testament, and we the people of the New Testament or New Covenant.

  • Second Chances (No. 290)

    Saint James the Faster was, as his title tells us, a man who fasted and prayed, but he also faced temptations that almost killed him.

  • The Hunger Games: Catching Fire---A Review (No. 286)

    Jude 1: 11-25 includes these words of the apostles to Christ's followers: "In the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions. It is these who set up divisions, worldly people, devoid of the Spirit."

  • Fearless Love (No. 289)

    The Evangelist John writes a long passage about many aspects of love in verses 2: 18-3: 20 of his first epistle.

  • Is Anything Not a Gift? (No. 288)

    The Hieromartyr Peter Damascene was a man who saw God in everything. He took every event as God's gracious gift, including the terrible things that happened to him.

  • When Humility Breeds Courage (No. 285)

    Two saints, one very early and one relatively recent, have a good deal in common. They are Theodula of Anazarbus and the New Hieromartyr Vladimir of Kiev, Metropolitan.

  • Rich and Poor in the Letter of James (No. 284)

    The Epistle or Letter of James has startingly harsh warnings for the rich who have treated others badly: "Come now, you rich, weep and howl for the miseries that are coming upon you. Your riches have rotted and your garments are moth-eaten. Your gold and silver have rusted and their rust will be evidence against you and will eat your flesh like fire...Behold, the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, cry out; and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts" (James 5: 1-3a, 4).

  • Disturber of the Peace (No. 283)

    The Church honors two saints named Macarius.

  • Deadly Double-Mindedness (No. 282)

    Two saints who suffered because of the double-mindedness, or indecision, of powerful people are Saint Tatiana of Rome and Saint Peter the Apostle.

  • God Invites Us to Grow (No. 281)

    Saint Gregory of Nyssa was born into an extraordinary family; history is not sure of his exact birthdate. His maternal grandmother Macrina is a saint of the Church. Her husband was, in Gregory's words, "killed by imperial wrath" –the deadly wrath of the pagan emperor Maximinus. Therefore Gregory believed that his grandfather could rightly be called a martyr for the faith. As for Gregory's own generation, four of his siblings, in a family of nine children, are saints as he is.

  • We Do Not All Need the Same Things (No. 280)

    Gifts, those we give and those we receive, are on our minds during the season of Christmas. One of the all-time great givers of gifts was Saint Melania of Rome.

  • Taking Hold (No. 278)

    Sometimes the Church celebrates the memory of not one person but a large group of martyrs. One such group-—twenty thousand men, women and children--gave their lives early in the fourth century.

  • Everyday Saints: A Book Review (No. 277)

    Two saints from widely different periods of history are sometimes celebrated together.

  • Unexpected Joy (No. 276)

    The icon of the Mother of God called "Unexpected Joy" shows the Theotokos holding the child Jesus Christ, and one other figure.

  • The Privilege of Being Listened To (No. 275)

    Because Saint Nicholas of Myra, celebrated on December 6, is remembered for generosity and gentleness, one event in his life surprises many people.

  • Who is in Delusion? (No. 274)

    An issue of Time Magazine contained an interview with Richard Dawkins, a biologist and popular author well-known for his vehemently atheistic opinions. As part of the interview, a reader asked, "Given how little we know about the universe, how can we possibly be sure there is no God?"

  • Plain Words for Lofty Truths (No. 273)

    Luke 17: 20-37 contain one of Jesus' extended teachings, and give us a lot to think about.

  • Thoughts on Baptism From a Saint (No. 272)

    The great 4th-century bishop, teacher and preacher, Saint John Chrysostom, wrote several "Instructions for Catechumens" as they prepare for baptism. His words have a note of joyful welcome to those about to become, in his words, "enrolled in the flock of Christ."

  • Working Out Your Own Salvation (No. 271)

    In Philippians 2, verses 12-23 Saint Paul gives a kind of written guide to working out our salvation.

  • Count Others As Better Than Yourselves (No. 270)

    Saint Dimitri of Rostov is one of the great saints of the Church in Russia. He was born in Kiev in 1651, the son of a regimental lieutenant.

  • Two Confessors of Romania (No. 269)

    The Church commemorates two men who lived in 18th-century Romania. Saint Sophronius and Saint Bessarion Sarai are called "confessors" for the faith.

  • Reaping the Whirlwind (No. 268)

    The Prophet Hosea is one of the group sometimes called the Minor Prophets because their books are shorter (not less valuable) than those of Major Prophets like Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel.

  • Recognizing a Gift When We Get One (No. 267)

    The Venerable Thais was an Egyptian woman who lived in the fourth century.

  • Make Up Your Mind! (No. 266)

    Scripture tells us that we need to decide, as people called to follow Christ, what we will do when the time to follow actually comes.

  • Turning Weeping into Joy (No. 264)

    Saint Aquilina is one of the "new martyrs" of the Church.

  • No Mere Zealot (No. 263)

    The Apostle Quadratus was one of the Seventy.

  • What We Are is Known to God (No. 262)

    Saint Ciaran is a sixth-century saint of Ireland. His name is sometimes spelled Kieran, and with that spelling the pronunciation (Keer-un) is a more familiar name.

  • The Burning Bush That Was Not Consumed (No. 261)

    The Church honors an icon called "The Icon of the Mother of God, the Unburnt Bush."

  • Baptism and Water (Part Two) (No. 260)

    We read in Matthew 21: 23-27 that Jesus confounded the chief priests and elders by asking them a question they could not answer, about baptism and authority.

  • Baptism and Water (Part One) (No. 259)

    The Church celebrates the memory of the Holy Martyr Andrew Stratelates.

  • Demanding Less Than We Are Entitled To (No. 258)

    Saint Paul once wrote about a deliberate personal choice he made, not to take advantage of all the rights that were due him.

  • In His Good Time (No. 256)

    The Seven Holy Youths of Ephesus, often referred as the Seven Sleepers, lived in the third century.

  • A Mother Predicts the Resurrection of Her Seven Sons (No. 255)

    The Church remembers a group of martyrs who belonged to a Jewish family known as the Maccabees. Their extraordinary mother was Solomonia.

  • A Movie Review: Beyond the Hills (No. 253)

    OSaint Paraskeva was a second-century nun. She traveled from city to city, preaching the faith, until she was denounced to the Roman authorities. After agonizing tortures, she was martyred.

  • The Uncrowned King of Georgia (No. 251)

    Ilya Chavchavadze, or Saint Ilya the Righteous was a poet, journalist, philosopher, lawyer and Georgian nationalist.

  • Miracles of Healing and Water (No. 250)

    Matthew 7:24-8: 4 is an account of Jesus teaching and healing a leper.

  • Hoping Against Hope (No. 249)

    In Romans 4: 13-25 Saint Paul comments on the faith of the Old Testament patriarch Abraham.

  • Inheriting Paradise: a Book Review (No. 252)

    Many New Testament verses remind us how deeply God involves Himself in the world He made.

  • Light that Illuminates, Light That Burns (No. 254)

    Saint Julian of Tarsus in Cilicia was born to a pagan father who was a member of the nobility, and a Christian mother. He lived in the late third century.

  • The Person Right in Front of Us (No. 248)

    On the Sunday of the Blind Man we read the story of this encounter of Jesus Christ with a man born blind in John 9: 1-38. In the verses immediately preceding this story, He has told hostile questioners that He is "before Abraham" and claims the divine name, "I am." There is no longer any possibility of misunderstanding what He is saying; Jesus is declaring Himself to be the Son of God.

  • The Wonder of Love (No. 247)

    In the Gospel of John Jesus Christ tells us how the Kingdom of God grows.

  • The Challenge of Change (No. 246)

    The tenth chapter of the Book of Acts tells of changes and growth in the early Church.

  • Commending or Committing Ourselves to God? (No. 244)

    A group of saints, all Roman soldiers, were martyred together in about the year 302 in Macedonia.

  • Finding Christ Through the Centuries (No. 245)

    Saint Epiphanius, Bishop of Cyprus was born into a Jewish family in Judea, early in the fourth century.

  • Christ is Risen! (No. 242)

    On the day of the Resurrection of Our Lord, we have a special duty to the world around us. We need to help other people come to a true understanding of what Christ's rising from the dead means for the world.

  • It Is Always Jesus Christ (No. 241)

    The television miniseries "The Bible" prompted many comments and analyses, some eagerly praising it and others lambasting it for superficial or wrong theology.

  • Ready in Every Way to Hear His Word (No. 240)

    In the later part of Great Lent we read Genesis 46: 1-7. The passage tells the story of Jacob's journey to Egypt with his sons. God calls the aged Jacob, and makes a great promise to him, speaking to him in visions of the night: "Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for I will make of you a great nation there." God also tells Jacob that his favorite son Joseph, presumed to be dead, will be the one to close the old man's eyes when he dies.

  • A Modern Experience in the Tenth Century (No. 239)

    Saint Tryphon, Patriarch of Constantinople served during the tenth-century reign of Romanus, who ruled the Byzantine or Eastern Empire.

  • Really One of Us (No. 237)

    Hebrews 4: 14-15 is one of the clearest statements the New Testament gives us about Jesus Christ and who He really is. It tells us that Jesus Christ is the Son of God "who passed through the heavens"—meaning that He is the eternal Son of the Father, who has His dwelling with the Father in the heavens.

  • Helping Our Children Reach the Kingdom (No. 236)

    The Church remembers a young but very determined Christian woman who was martyred for the faith. She is St. Theodosia, a native of Tyre in Phoenicia.

  • Good Disobedience and Bad Disobedience (No. 238)

    Mark 1: 35-44 shows that while He was doing great miracles on earth, Jesus Christ still remained obedient to His Father.

  • Following Christ to Hard Places (No. 235)

    The eve of Great Lent is the time when we prepare ourselves to begin the days of intensified prayer and more rigorous fasting that will lead us through the weeks to Holy Pascha.

  • The Wisdom of Jude (No. 234)

    The Epistle or Letter of Jude is the second-last book of the New Testament.

  • Getting Our Facts Straight (No. 233)

    Saint Mark the Ascetic was revered for his gentleness and for his ability to write with clarity about the "facts" of the Christian faith.

  • Dealing with the Devil (No. 232)

    The words of Jesus Christ in Mark 13: 9-13 warn the disciples of difficult times to come.

  • A Book Review (No. 231)

    The book, "Religion for Atheists" by Alain de Botton is subtitled "A Non-Believer's Guide to the Uses of Religion." The author sees value in the forms and practices of various religions, but not in their content, which is faith and worship.

  • A Man with a Mustard Seed (No. 230)

    We read in the Gospel of Luke that Jesus told His disciples: "If you had faith as a grain of mustard seed, you could say to this sycamore tree, 'Be rooted up, and be planted in the sea,' and it would obey you"(17: 6).

  • Where Does Temptation Come From? (No. 229)

    The writer of the Epistle or Letter of James is traditionally identified as James, the "brother" or relative of the Lord, who was the first Bishop of Jerusalem.

  • Onward, Christian Soldiers (No. 228)

    Saint Paul writes these words to the Colossians: "Put to death what is earthly in you" (3: 5a). He names the earthly things that must be put to death: fornication, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.

  • Saving the Songs We Sing to God (No. 227)

    The Church remembers the Abbot and Confessor Ekvtkime (or Euthymius) Kereselidze of Georgia, who had a special love for the liturgical music of the Georgian Church. He did his most important work of saving that music during the terrible years of Communist domination in his home country.

  • Warning: Jesus Never Said It Would Be Easy (No. 225)

    In Luke 20: 1-8 we read a series of warnings that Our Lord gave to His disciples and the Jewish leaders who were questioning Him.

  • A Public Saint and a Private Saint (No. 224)

    Gregory of Nyssa was a saint who probably preferred solitary thought, study and prayer to public preaching and lecturing. Yet he was called to both public and private activity in his life.

  • The Patroness and Protectress of Paris (No. 223)

    Saint Genevieve of Paris lived during the mid-fifth century.

  • Looking Forward to the Mansion While Living in Tents (No. 222)

    The Church celebrates the memory of Saint Niphon, Bishop and Wonderworker.

  • Saintly in Secret (No. 219)

    The Church gives the title of Greatmartyr: Anastasia of Rome.

  • The Gift to Be Simple (No. 220)

    The first words of a well-known Shaker song, which are " 'Tis the gift to be simple," could well apply to the great saint Spyridon the Wonderworker and Bishop.

  • Movie Review: A Separation in Iran (No. 221)

    The movie "A Separation" has won awards at film festivals all over the world.

  • There Are Many Kinds of Prisons (No. 218)

    Saint Clement of Rome was a contemporary of the apostles and one of Rome's earliest bishops.

  • Can You Teach People by Ignoring Them? (No. 217)

    Saint Amphilochius, Bishop of Iconium, was from Cappadocia like his contemporary Saint Basil the Great. Also like Saint Basil, he had to deal with various false teachings that became popular during his lifetime. One of his chief opponents was Macedonius--a man who didn't merely teach wrong ideas, but also used his position as a bishop to persecute some who did not agree. Macedonius was a power-hungry and cruel person who finally fell into disgrace, but not before he had done great damage to the Church and to many believers.

  • Two Outstanding Saints of Constantinople (No. 216)

    The Church celebrates two saints who lived and worked in the city of Constantinople. The first is John Chrysostom, and the second is the Emperor Justinian.

  • The Rest of the Bible (No. 215)

    The New Testament portion of every Bible is the same. There are 27 books, and they are in the same order. But the Old Testament is a very different matter.

  • The "Other" Saints Cosmas and Damian (No. 214)

    The Church celebrates the memory of a pair of unmercenary physicians, Saints Cosmas and Damian of Asia Minor.

  • The Secret Knowledge We Already Have (No. 213)

    In Colossians 1:18-29 Saint Paul is speaking to Christians in Colossae, a city in Asia Minor, who are tempted to seek hidden, exclusive knowledge that others don't have.

  • A Swarm of Locusts (No. 212)

    The Prophet Joel lived in the southern kingdom of Judah.

  • Knowing or Just Thinking You Know (No. 211)

    Luke 7: 36-50 contains a well-known story that the Gospel writer Luke may partially have borrowed from a similar one in Mark's Gospel.

  • Those Who Are Always Praying for Us (No. 208)

    We read in Ephesians 6: 18: "Pray at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints..."

  • A Visit to the Home of an Ancient Saint (No. 209)

    The Protomartyr Thekla (or Thecla) was a young woman whose life was changed when she sat for three nights by her open window and heard Saint Paul preach.

  • The Good Grandmother of Good King Wenceslas (No. 210)

    The Church honors a princess of Bohemia, part of what is now the Czech Republic. She is the Holy Martyr Ludmilla.

  • Human Anguish and Divine Compassion (No. 206)

    The Church remembers three saints of the Church who experienced great anguish in their lives, for different reasons. But the three also received the compassion, and comfort, that God gives.

  • Two Miracles (No. 207)

    Mark 5:1-20 recounts one of the most dramatic of Jesus' healing miracles. The Church also remembers the miracle of the Archangel Michael at Colossae.

  • The Good Son of a Bad Father (No. 205)

    The righteous Hezekiah, king of Judah was the son of the previous king, Ahaz.

  • Samuel the Prophet (No. 204)

    The prophet Samuel is introduced to us in Scripture in a unique way. He is not yet a prophet, the first time we read about him.

  • Paul Punctures the Corinthian Balloon (No. 201)

    In I Corinthians 4: 9-16 St. Paul talks to the Christians of Corinth with sarcasm and severity.

  • A Saint Who Was the Mother, Wife and Aunt of Saints (No. 203)

    Saint Nonna is often chiefly identified as the mother of Saint Gregory the Theologian. She was indeed his mother, but there is much more to know about her.

  • Two Mothers with Different Hopes (No. 202)

    The Church remembers seven brothers, the Maccabees, and their mother Solomonia. She had to witness the brutal deaths of all her beloved boys, but the way she did it is memorable.

  • Did You See the Sign? (No. 200)

    In Matthew 16: 1-12 Jesus Christ talks about signs with some Jewish challengers, and then with His disciples.

  • We Have Our Marching Orders (No. 199)

    Saint Dius was born in fourth-century Antioch to a Christian family.

  • From Nothing to Everything in a Moment (No. 198)

    The Church remembers the woman, called Veronica (or Beatrice) whose story is told in Matthew 9: 20-22. She has been suffering from a flow of blood for twelve years.

  • Jealousy That Kills (No. 197)

    The Church remembers a very youthful martyr: a boy named Hyacinthus or Hyacinth, who lived in Caesarea in Cappadocia in the second century.

  • Our Saints of Britain and Ireland (No. 196)

    The Orthodox Church has a feast day of all the saints of Britain and Ireland. This feast, unlike many much older ones on the Orthodox Church's calendar, was instituted just in recent years. It honors early saints from the western part of the world.

  • On Not Second-Guessing God (No. 195)

    Romans 9: 6-19, contains some uncompromising words of Saint Paul.

  • Even Miracle Workers Have Their Bad Moments (No. 194)

    The prophet Elisha was the disciple and successor of another great prophet, Elijah. In his eagerness to serve God, Elisha performed many miracles. Often these wonderful acts benefited people's physical health as well as their spiritual well-being.

  • God Will Find a Way to Reach Us (No. 193)

    On June 8 we read Romans 2: 14-29. The very first verse is: "When Gentiles who have not the law do by nature what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law."

  • The Walking Wounded at Nicaea (No. 192)

    The Fathers of the First Ecumenical Council are commemorated each year on the seventh Sunday of Pascha.

  • Keeping the Life You Hate or Losing the Life You Love (No. 191)

    In the Gospel of John, 12: 19-47, Jesus Christ describes the kind of life His followers should pursue.

  • Coming from Two Different Places (No. 190)

    In the final climactic verses of the eighth chapter of John's Gospel, Jesus so disturbs His hearers by the things He says that they take up stones to throw at Him.

  • The Afterlife (No. 8)

    The British actor Ricky Gervais has become popular in the United States, partly because he created the original version of the popular TV sitcom "The Office." Being interviewed to promote a movie, he was quoted as saying that he is "a skeptic across the board of ghosts and elves and ESP and the afterlife."

  • The Hard Life of a Prophet (No. 189)

    The Prophet Jeremiah was a sensitive soul who was called by God to do things that would have been difficult even for a person less easily bruised.

  • Jesus Christ in His Own Words (No. 188)

    In John 5:30-6: 2 Jesus establishes Himself as God's Son by calling the Father His witness: "If I bear witness to myself, my testimony is not true; there is another who bears witness to Me, and I know that the testimony which He bears to me is true." In an earlier verse (5:20) Jesus has stated that He "raises the dead and gives them life" and He "judges all people." This authority has been give to Him by the Father, who loves Him and sent Him to the world. Like the Father, He is to be honored.

  • Three Paths to One Reward (No. 133)

    The Church remembers three very different people, sometimes on the very same day. First is Saint Theodore Trichinas, who lived in the late 4th century. Next is Zacchaeus, whose story is told in Luke's Gospel. Finally, we read the Old Testament account of God's meeting with Satan concerning Job in Job 2: 1-10.

  • Christ is Risen! (No. 187)

    As we celebrate the Resurrection of Our Lord and enjoy the festal services, is a good time to think about the deepest meanings of Christ's saving actions for us.

  • When Life Suddenly Changes (No. 186)

    The Church remembers three men whose lives changed abruptly. For all three, the sudden changes had huge consequences. They are the prophet Moses, the Holy Martyr Ardalion the Actor, and Saint Martin, Confessor and Pope of Rome.

  • Saying No When It Counts (No. 185)

    Saint Isidore, Bishop of Seville, Spain was born into a prominent family in Carthagena, Spain in the sixth century. Not only were he and his relatives members of the nobility; they were also pious Christians. His sister Florentina and his brothers Fulgentius and Leander (both bishops) are all saints. Isidore wrote that Leander was one of his greatest teachers. In this his experience was similar to that of Gregory of Nyssa, whose siblings also are saints of the Church. Gregory benefited from their teaching, too, and gratefully described the good influence and instruction of his sister Macrina and his brother Basil.

  • Remember How Long Your Heart Was Hard (No. 184)

    Father John Climacus is known as a worker of miracles and as the writer of the "Ladder of Divine Ascent" in which he showed how a person can work step by step to come closer to God. The "steps" or rungs like those on a ladder were based on his own experience of prayer and asceticism.

  • A Different Kind of Marriage (No. 183)

    The Church celebrates the memory of a martyred married couple, Sts. Chrysanthus and Daria, who lived in third-century Rome. He was born in the Egyptian city of Alexandria; she was a native of Athens.

  • Brokenness (No. 182)

    Great Lent is a good time to consider Psalm 51 (50) with its emphasis on penitence and humility before God.

  • The Inescapable Question (No. 181)

    The fourth chapter of the Book of Genesis, which includes the story of Cain and Abel.

  • Where Forgiveness May Be Needed Most (No. 180)

    Saint Nicholas, the Fool for Christ, confronted power in a most unusual way.

  • Violence in the Service of God (No. 179)

    The Church celebrates the memory of a saint known for compassion and love toward for the poor. Yet he is also associated with a shocking act of violence. He is Saint Leo of Catania, in Sicily.

  • From Slave to Bishop (No. 177)

    The Apostle Onesimus of the Seventy began life in Phrygia as the slave of a prominent Christian named Philemon.

  • Honoring or Abusing the Promise of God (No. 178)

    The New Testament tells us about contrasting groups of people: those who honor God's promise of salvation, and those who abuse it for their own purposes.

  • Two Brothers on Different Paths (No. 176)

    Saints Cyrus and John belong to the group of saints known as "Unmercenaries" because they used their healing skills to help people and did not take payment.

  • A Homeless Wanderer Who Found the Kingdom (No. 175)

    The Church celebrates the memory of Blessed Xenia of Petersburg. She was born in the 18th century to a noble family, and married a colonel who was a member of the Imperial Chorus. But she is probably best known as a "Fool for Christ."

  • Truth at Great Personal Cost (No. 174)

    Saint Maximus the Confessor was born in the year 580 in Constantinople. He defended the faith so uncompromisingly that he is one of the great Fathers of the Church.

  • Some Writings about Jesus Are Not Gospels (No. 173)

    What is known about the years between the Nativity and Theophany, the time during which Jesus was growing up and preparing for His three-year ministry? The second chapter of the Gospel of Luke gives us a bit of insight, in the description of the twelve-year-old Jesus answering the questions of the elders in the Temple. After this, He returns to Nazareth with Mary and Joseph, and is obedient to them (2: 46-51).

  • Do Hard Things (No. 172)

    On the first day of the year the Church commemorates Saint Basil the Great. He died on January 1, 379, having been born in 330. His few decades of life were packed full of remarkable achievements.

  • Christ is Born and the Wise Men Worship (No. 171)

    One of the ways we celebrate the Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ is to sing the Troparion of the Feast. The words of the hymn describe Jesus Christ as the light of the world, the Sun of Righteousness and the Orient from on high. The hymn also refers to the wise men from the East who followed a star to find this newborn King.

  • Itching Ears (No. 170)

    Saint Paul expresses his concern about people being led away from the true faith in 2 Timothy 3:16-4:4.

  • Resisting Royal Temptations (No. 169)

    In Luke 14: 1-11, Jesus has gone on the sabbath to dine at the home of one of the rulers of the Pharisees. As usual, they are "watchng Him" to see what He will do and whether He might make a mistake. But Jesus is also watching them, and He notices how they choose the places of honor at the table. As a result of His observation, He tells them a parable.

  • The Sufferings of Saint Nicholas (No. 168)

    December 6 is the feast day of Saint Nicholas, the patron saint of everyone from longshoremen to embalmers, and of places from New York City to Argentina. In fact he is the patron of more occupations, causes, people and places than any other saint we know of.

  • Busybodies Need Not Apply (No. 167)

    The prophet Nahum wrote triumphantly about the destruction in the year 612 BC, of the city of Ninevah. With its great city fallen, the Assyrian Empire's long and brutal oppression of its neighbors would come to an end.

  • Hell Cannot Hold Him Nor Can a Bag (No. 166)

    We celebrate the feast of the Entry of the Most-Holy Theotokos into the Temple. The coming of Jesus Christ into the world is so important that everything surrounding it, including the event this feast commemorates, is also important.

  • The Jefferson Bible Rewrite (No. 165)

    The Church remembers two saints who are intimately connected with the Holy Bible. One is the Gospel writer Matthew, and the other is Saint John Chrysostom.

  • Be Sure Not to Do the Wrong Work (No. 164)

    On one day the Church commemorates angels—not only the Archangel Michael, who is named, but "all the other bodiless powers" as well.

  • The Honor God Shows Us (No. 163)

    Five of the seventy apostles are remembered together by the Church: Cleopas, Tertius, Mark, Justus and Artemas.

  • The Armor That Defeats Armor (No. 162)

    The Church celebrates the memory of Saint Nestor of Thessalonica. He was a young student of the Greatmartyr Demetrius, who is remembered on the previous day.

  • Difficult Choices (No. 161)

    Saint Paul wrote the letter to the Christians at Philippi while he was in prison. As he says in the letter's early verses, he so strongly proclaimed the faith that the "whole praetorian guard and all the rest" came to know that his imprisonment was for Christ.

  • The Bible and the Liturgy (Part II) (No. 160)

    We can look at several verses from Saint Paul's Letter to the Ephesians to see how the prayers of the Divine Liturgy are based on the Bible.

  • The Bible and the Liturgy (Part I) (No. 159)

    A passage from Saint Paul's letter to the Ephesians offers us a chance to see how closely the prayers of the Divine Liturgy are based on the words of Scripture.

  • A Prophet in the Shadows (No. 158)

    We remember the Prophet Baruch. He was the stalwart friend and secretary of the much more prominent and often-quoted prophet Jeremiah.

  • Words of Worship Can Sustain Us (No. 157)

    The Church remembers Saint Trophimus, a man who had a special connection with words.

  • What Makes the Kids All Right (No. 156)

    The Church remembers Saint Sophia and her martyred daughters Faith, Hope and Love. They lived in Rome, and spoke openly about their Christian faith even in a time of severe persecutions.

  • The Mysteries of Elizabeth (No. 155)

    The Church commemorates Saint Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptizer or Forerunner.

  • Of Gods and Men (No. 152)

    Monks have faced persecution many times in the history of the Church. We know countless stories of monastic courage, unshakable faith and martyrdom from earlier centuries.

  • No Free Pass (No. 151)

    Isn't it possible to be saved even if you consciously sin throughout your life and never bother to repent? Couldn't you plan to live as you please and then confess everything on your deathbed, and gain salvation that way?

  • Our Ladder from Earth to Heaven (No. 154)

    The Feast of the Dormition (or Falling Asleep) of the Theotokos is celebrated each year.

  • Honoring the Weakest (No. 153)

    In Saint Paul's first Epistle to the Corinthians (12: 12-26) he uses striking images to claim that each human being has the same worth and value in God's eyes.

  • Bearing with Each Other (No. 150)

    In Romans 15: 1-7 Saint Paul writes that we who are strong should bear with the failings of the weak.

  • Three Kinds of Dedication (No. 149)

    Saint Anthusa lived in the eighth century. She is called the Abbess of Mantinea, the place where she led a monastery of 90 nuns. It is located in Paphlygonia, a province in what is now Turkey.

  • Wheat and Weeds and Watchfulness (No. 148)

    A parable that Christ told, recorded in Matthew 13: 24-30, compares the Kingdom of Heaven to a field planted with good seed.

  • Saint Paul Thanks the Women (No. 147)

    During recent decades, some feminist Bible scholars insisted that Saint Paul had changed Christianity from something good for women to something very bad.

  • Repenting is Not Just Lamenting (No. 145)

    Jesus describes Saint John the Baptist in Matthew 11: 2-20. He calls John "more than a prophet" and says John is the "messenger" written about by the prophet Malachi. Jesus goes on to "upbraid the cities where most of His mighty works had been done, because they did not repent."

  • Clint Eastwood Looks at the Hereafter (No. 144)

    The Church honors the two great apostles Peter and Paul. Both men faced hostility, danger and powerful enemies as they traveled and preached the good news of the Gospel. Both, in their own ways, spoke about what happens after we die.

  • In Hope They Believed Against Hope (No. 146)

    In Romans 4:13-25 Saint Paul urges us to follow the example of the patriarch Abraham, whose faith remained constant no matter what happened to him.

  • The Trinity (No. 143)

    Pentecost is also the Feast of the Holy Trinity. It's a good day to consider this question: How can God be One and Undivided, as Christians claim, and at the same time be three distinct Persons, as Christians also claim?

  • The Sadness of Indifference (No. 142)

    The entire twenty-seventh chapter of the Book of Acts describes Saint Paul's final sea journey, from Caesarea to Rome.

  • The Earliest Church (No. 141)

    We remember a great Church Father, the second-century saint Justin the Martyr.

  • Looking for Something We Already Have (No. 140)

    In the Gospel of John, 10: 17-38 Jesus responds to the pointed questions of the Jewish leaders and the Pharisees by telling them that the answers have already been given.

  • What It Means to Love a Child (No. 139)

    Saint Vitus was the young son of a prominent Sicilian father. Vitus' tutor Modestus and his governess Crescentia taught him the Christian faith, and gave him an example of Christlike love.

  • Our God of Surprises (No. 138)

    The second-century virgin martyr Glyceria was born to a rich Roman family, but she faced poverty when her father died and the family money was lost.

  • The Good News and Bad News About Longsuffering (No. 136)

    The Church commemorates Righteous Job the Longsuffering. Scripture tells a lot about that quality of "longsuffering" which is often ascribed to God in Church prayers, and sometimes refers to Job and other human beings.

  • Taking the Good News to New Places (No. 137)

    Christ is Risen! The Church celebrates the memory of two men who not only heard the good news of Christ's Resurrection, but traveled a long way to share it with others. They are the apostles Jason and Sosipater from among the seventy.

  • All Hands on Deck (No. 132)

    For seventeen years my husband served a vibrant but numerically small parish in Erie, Pennsylvania. When Holy Saturday came, it was "all hands on deck" to get everything ready for the Paschal service. Our parish children were a vital part of the team working, preparing, and anticipating the great night to come.

  • Knowing the Faith to Share It (No. 134)

    The Church honors a seventh-century Roman Pope who had to fight for the Orthodox faith against a Patriarch and the Emperor himself.

  • To Be Angry or To Be Faithful (No. 135)

    In Genesis 22: 1-18 we read the story of God's command to Abraham to take his only son Isaac and to "offer him as a burnt offering upon one of the mountains of which I shall tell you."

  • She Toiled Alone and in Silence (No. 130)

    The great desert saint, Mary of Egypt is such a revered person, such an example of holiness, that we read the story of her life every year in church.

  • An Announcement of Life Shared with God (No. 128)

    The Feast of the Annunciation celebrates God proclamation to the world of His plans to come to the world as a baby in the womb of a mother, just as we all do.

  • Brother and Sister (No. 129)

    The Church celebrates Saint Benedict, of Nursia, a small town near Rome. He is known as the father of Western and especially Benedictine monasticism.

  • Earthly Refuge and Heavenly Refuge (No. 127)

    The Church remembers Saint Basil of Cherson, one of seven bishops in the fourth century who governed Cherson, located on the Crimean Peninsula in the Black Sea.

  • Rewriting History (No. 125)

    Saint Eudokia of Heliopolis lived a dissolute life for many years. She was converted to Christianity when she heard the chanting of a monastic elder coming from a gathering of believers in a neighbor's house.

  • Having the Guest Room Ready (No. 126)

    In Mark 14:10-42 we read about the preparations for the Passover meal that Jesus instructs His disciples to make.

  • The Reality of Sin (No. 124)

    The verses I John 1:8 to 2:6 contains a striking statement: "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us." Another memorable verse follows: "If we say that we have not sinned, we make [God] a liar, and His word is not in us."

  • To Suffer for Doing Right (No. 123)

    The Church celebrates the memory of the Greatmartyr Theodore Stratelates, whose title is often translated as "commander" or "general."

  • Time and Patience (No. 122)

    The Church remembers two people whose lives are extraordinary examples of patience. In the calendar they are called the "righteous Godbearer Simeon" and "Anna the Prophetess."

  • How Could He Be So Sure? (No. 121)

    Hebrews 11: 17-23 recalls a story from the Old Testament that is for some people a stumbling block: God telling Abraham, in Genesis 22, to sacrifice his only son Isaac on Mount Moriah.

  • Being on the Side of God (No. 120)

    In Mark 8: 30-34 we read one of the New Testament's starkest descriptions of the tribulations that Christ and His followers will face in this world. The words come directly from the Lord's lips.

  • Secrets and Love (No. 119)

    Saint John Calabytes, called the Hut-Dweller, was born in the fifth century to a prominent Christian family in Constantinople. John was well-educated, and had the double luxury of access to books and the free time to read them.

  • Arguing Your Way to Faith (No. 118)

    Saint Abo lived near Baghdad in the eighth century. He was a maker of perfumes and oils, and a devout Muslim.

  • Enduring the Greatest Loss (No. 116)

    On December 31 we remember Saint Melania of Rome, who offered wonderful service to God. Among other things, she was able to succeed where the great Saint Augustine had failed, converting a staunchly pagan uncle to the Christian faith. Melania also copied manuscripts, founded monasteries for men and women, and supported both the Church and those in need by donating the immense wealth she had inherited.

  • From Mockery to Martyrdom (No. 117)

    The Church remembers two saints, the patrician Roman woman Aglaida and her male slave Boniface, who lived in the fourth century.

  • Are Your Hearts Hardened? (No. 115)

    In Mark 8: 11-21 the Pharisees come to Jesus and ask Him for a sign from heaven. Their aim, as it is so often, is to test Him.

  • What Kind of Conception? (No. 114)

    The Orthodox Church celebrates a feast called, in its full formality, The Conception by Righteous St. Anna of the Theotokos. The festal icon shows Anna and her husband Joachim in a loving conjugal embrace.

  • Habakkuk Asks the Universal Question (No. 112)

    The Old Testament prophet Habakkuk, in his brief book, poses deep questions about human life and suggests equally deep answers from God.

  • Rigor and Gentleness (No. 111)

    I Timothy 5:22-6:11 is from a Letter that is one of a group of three (the others are II Timothy and Titus) called the Pastoral Epistles. They are meant to guide a young man in leading his flock, and to warn him about problems he will face in the Church.

  • Surprised by Christ (No. 110)

    The primary audience for the Gospel of the Apostle and Evangelist Matthew was his fellow Jews. One of his main goals was to show that Christ fulfilled the Old Testament prophecies that the Jews revered.

  • Families in God's Household (No. 113)

    The Church remembers several families, or groups, who became saints. Some examples: the Martyr Arethas and his Companions, Terrence, Neonilla and their Children, and Thirty-three Martyrs of Melitene.

  • Like a Thief in the Night (No. 107)

    Most of us are familiar with the prayer, "The Father is my hope, the Son is my refuge, the Holy Spirit is my protection." The Church remembers Saint Joannicius, who created the prayer as a refrain after singing Psalm verses.

  • Joy of All Who Sorrow (No. 106)

    The center of the icon called "Joy of All Who Sorrow" shows the Mother of God with her arms outstretched to the people who surround her. They are those who suffer with various illnesses, worries, and pain of the heart or the body. They reach toward her, asking her prayers and intercession.

  • Seeing the Kingdom Before We Die? (No. 105)

    Luke 9: 26 includes a warning from Our Lord. His words remind us that we are called to witness to Him no matter what the circumstances, and regardless of temptations to disavow Him in order to make our own lives easier. He says, "Whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and the holy angels."

  • The Monk Dostoevsky Most Admired (No. 103)

    Saint Ambrose of Optina lived from 1812 to 1891. The Russian novelist Fyodor Dostoevsky said that Saint Ambrose was the model for the character of Father Zossima in his novel "The Brothers Karamazov."

  • A Bishop Unafraid of Beauty (No. 104)

    Saint Pelagia lived in Antioch in the third century. As a young woman she was the most beautiful and desirable and best-known harlot in the city, a person who couldn't help attracting attention. With her fabulous jewels worn as part of everyday dress, her exotic scents that perfumed the air as she walked, and the cosmetics she artfully applied to enhance her beauty, Pelagia was an unforgettable figure.

  • The Enlightener of the First Christian Nation (No. 102)

    The CHurch remembers Saint Gregory, Enlightener of Armenia. Like other enlighteners--Nina of Georgia, Columba of Scotland and Innocent of the Aleuts--Gregory was not a native of the country he would one day illumine with the Christian faith.

  • Saint Thecla (No. 101)

    Saint Thecla was a contemporary of Saint Paul who became an evangelizer, as Paul was, after hearing his teachings.

  • The Cross (No. 100)

    The Feast of the Exaltation (or Elevation) of the Cross, coming so soon after the beginning of the Church year on September 1st, reminds us that during the whole year the cross will be central to our lives as Christians.

  • A Truly Inspired Woman (No. 99)

    The CHurch remembers Saint Elizabeth, who was privileged to give birth to the last and greatest of the prophets, John the Baptist. She also was privileged to be inspired—visited by the Holy Spirit--in some special ways.

  • Joshua, an Old Testament Saint (No. 98)

    September 1 is the first day of the Orthodox Church calendar. On this day we remember Joshua, the son of Nun, who succeeded Moses as Israel's leader and took the people into the Promised Land. The Book of Joshua describes his exploits as commander of the armies of Israel that marched into Canaan and followed God's instructions: "But in the cities...that the Lord your God gives you for an inheritance, you shall save alive nothing that breathes, but you shall utterly destroy them, the Amorites, the Canaanites and the Perizzites, the Hivites and the Jebusites...that they may not teach you their abominable practices which they have done in the service of their gods" (Deuteronomy 20: 16-18a).

  • Saint Poemen and Saint Paul (No. 97)

    The Venerable Poemen (often spelled Pimen) who was one of the most prominent of the desert-dwelling ascetics. He was born in Egypt in the fifth century. As a young man, Poemen visited great monastics, sharing their way of living and learning from them. He spent the rest of his life as a monk in the Egyptian desert.

  • The Sorrows of Samuel (No. 96)

    The great prophet Samuel was especially treasured him because she had been barren for many years before his birth. When her prayers for a son were answered, she kept her promise to dedicate him to God, and gave him into the care of the aged high priest and judge, Eli.

  • Godly Grief and Worldly Grief (No. 95)

    In II Corinthians 7: 1-10 Saint Paul expresses his joy at being reconciled with the believers who belong to the church in Corinth.

  • Standing Up to Those in Power (No. 94)

    The CHurch honors two men who, in different times and places and in very different ways, bravely confronted those in power. They are the Righteous Gamaliel and St. Basil, fool for Christ.

  • To Bring Light to a Searching People (No. 93)

    The Church celebrates the memory of Saint Jacob Netsvetov, Enlightener of the Peoples of Alaska. Like Saint Paul, he suffered greatly for the faith, but never stopped teaching, guiding, and ministering to people with Christian love.

  • Be United in the Same Mind and the Same Judgment (No. 92)

    In I Corinthians 1:10-18 Saint Paul advises the Christians in Corinth to "Be united in the same mind and the same judgment.

  • Gabriel the Archangel (No. 91)

    The Archangel Gabriel is the leader of the heavenly hosts of angels. The Prologue from Ochrid reminds us that we can find him in many "appearances and marvels through the whole history of the salvation of mankind."

  • Are You Also Still Without Understanding? (No. 90)

    Matthew 14:35-15:21 begins on a wonderful note as Jesus walks among His people. They send word around the whole region, and soon all who are sick come, press close, and touch the fringe (or tassel, worn by every pious Jew) of His garment. Then we read that "... as many as touched it were made well."

  • Conversations with God (No. 88)

    The Church honors a saint who was given the precious and rare privilege of traveling, hearing and speaking with Jesus Christ as He lived on earth. She is Joanna, one of the Myrrh-Bearing Women who witnessed the empty tomb on Pascha morning. Joanna, as a contemporary and follower of the Messiah, truly had "conversations with God."

  • The Sign That is Given (No. 89)

    The "Vladimir Icon of the Mother of God" is sometimes referred to as "tenderness" because of the loving, intimate way it portrays Christ and His Mother.

  • Peace and Hope (No. 86)

    In Romans 5: 1-10. Here, Saint Paul gives us a sort of spiritual progression in which suffering leads to real hope.

  • Martyrs and Confessors (No. 85)

    The Church remembers Saint Justin the Martyr and Saint Nicephorus the Confessor. These titles, Martyr and Confessor, have different meanings, as we would expect.

  • A Saint Who Both Succeeded and Failed (No. 84)

    The Church honors Saint Augustine of Canterbury, Evangelist of England and first Archbishop of Canterbury.

  • Seeing Saint Paul (No. 83)

    Chapter 28 of the book of Acts offers us several glimpses into the life and character of Saint Paul.

  • The Temptations of Thais (No. 82)

    In Acts 17: 4, 12 Saint Luke mentions "not a few of the leading women" and "not a few Greek women and men of high standing" who became believers after hearing Saint Paul preach.

  • Saint Arsenius, Monk and Wise Teacher (No. 81)

    Saint Arsenius the Great is a revered example of monasticism and also a teacher who knew how to inspire and encourage.

  • Saint Mark the Evangelist (No. 80)

    The Gospel writer Mark was referred to as "my son Mark" by the apostle Peter in Peter's first letter to the churches of Asia. Mark served Peter as a secretary, and was his trusted companion and spiritual son for many years.

  • St. George, St. Paul, and the Dragon (No. 79)

    The Great Martyr and Wonderworker George was born to Christian parents in Cappadocia, toward the end of the third century.

  • The Power of Peter’s Shadow (No. 75)

    On Thomas Sunday we read the well-known story of the apostle Thomas' encounter with the risen Christ. Another passage reveals the extraordinary spiritual growth of the apostle, Peter.

  • The Friend of the Bridegroom (No. 73)

    In Chapter 3 of John's Gospel Jesus has an encounter with Nicodemus, who does not understand His words about being born again.

  • Christ the Conqueror of Hell (No. 72)

    Father Alexander Schmemann has written that Holy Saturday is often ignored or misunderstood. It's as if there is a day of sorrow (Holy Friday) that is quickly replaced by a day of joy (Pascha.) But, Fr. Schmemann says, the services of Holy Saturday connect the two days. They commemorate an event in which "sorrow is not simply replaced by joy, but is itself TRANSFORMED into joy."

  • Wisdom from the Book of Proverbs (No. 71)

    In Proverbs 21:3 One theme is justice. In 21:3 we read, "To do righteousness and justice is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice."

  • Saint Benedict of Nursia (No. 70)

    The Church remembers Saint Benedict the founder of monasticism in the Western Church. Benedict and his twin sister Scholastica, born in 480, were born to prominent parents and had many advantages. Though their birthplace was Nursia, a small town near Spoleto, they spent much of their childhood in the city of Rome.

  • Young Adults In, or Out of, the Church (No. 69)

    A few years ago, a book called "Soul Searching" investigated the spiritual lives of teenagers. It found that religion can be important to teens, but it also determined that many of them adhere to what it called "moralistic therapeutic deism." This can be defined as a belief in a kind, loving God who is not connected to any particular faith tradition, and who is there largely to help in solving personal problems.

  • What Will We Notice? (No. 68)

    Mark 2:1-12 is the story of the paralytic brought to Christ by his friends. Jesus has returned to Capernaum "after some days." Just before this He had healed a leprous man, who ignored His command to say nothing to anyone. The man spread the news, so that Jesus "could no longer enter a town, but was out in the country."

  • Saint Raphael, Bishop of Brooklyn (No. 67)

    Founder of 30 parishes; magazine publisher; fluent in Arabic, Russian, Greek and English; spiritual father to Orthodox from New York to California and Mexico to Canada: these are partial descriptions of Saint Raphael.

  • Biblical Challenge from Saint Andrew (No. 66)

    As Great Lent commences, we begin chanting and singing "The Great Canon of Saint Andrew of Crete" and continue each evening in church.

  • Saint Blaise and a New Book (No. 65)

    The Church commemorates Saint Blaise, the fourth-century bishop of Sebaste in Armenia who lived during the persecutions of Christians by the emperor Diocletian. The bishop encouraged imprisoned believers, prayed for the martyrs, and stood courageously for the faith.

  • Saint Brigid of Ireland (No. 1)

    One of the Orthodox Church's great ancient saints is Brigid of Ireland. Born in about 451, she was the daughter of an Irish chieftain and one of the female slaves in his court. Even as a child, Brigid apparently noticed and cared about poverty and destitution, responding by giving away her own and her family's considerable possessions to people in need.

  • Contributing Out of Poverty (No. 64)

    In Luke 21:1-4 we read the story of the poor widow who donates two copper coins to the temple treasury. Jesus watches as rich people contribute, and also as she makes her contribution. He then says that "she has put in more than all of them; for all of them have contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in all she had to live on."

  • The Power of Words (No. 7)

    Part of growing up is being cautioned by our elders not to use "bad words." Avoiding vulgar speech is part of the reason for that caution. But as Christians we are also cautioned not to use our words to call down God's condemnation on other people.

  • The Fiery Ordeal (No. 63)

    In I Peter 4: 12-13 we read: "Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that is taking place among you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you are sharing Christ's sufferings, so that you may also be glad and shout for joy when His glory is revealed."

  • Using the Gift of Speech (No. 62)

    In his letter the Apostle James Writes about the gift of speech (3:1-4:6). He describes the power speech can have for good or evil, depending on how we use it. Though the tongue is a very small instrument, he writes, it is a fire, and even a huge forest can be set ablaze by a tiny fire.

  • St. Syncletica, Desert Mother & Abbess (No. 61)

    We know that monastics practice poverty. They voluntarily give up possessing, owning, and striving to acquire. But the Church also remembers a monastic saint who cautioned aspiring monastics against being too quick to embrace poverty.

  • St. Melania the Younger (No. 60)

    Hebrews 10:35-11:7, we are cautioned not to "throw away your confidence." We are reminded that we need endurance, and that "we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and keep their souls." We read about Noah, who was faithful when he was warned by God "concerning events yet unseen."

  • The Royal Hours at Christmas (No. 59)

    All Divine Liturgies in the Orthodox Church are preceded by the chanting of the Hours services, consisting of psalms, hymns and prayers. But in the great cathedral of Hagia Sophia in Constantinople, the Byzantine Emperor was present each year at the service beginning the celebration of the Nativity of Christ. Therefore, the Hours preceding the Vespers and Liturgy of Saint Basil the Great on Christmas Eve are given the name "Royal Hours."

  • Saint Sebastian of Rome (No. 58)

    The Orthodox Church commemorates a martyr-saint we have in common with the Western Church. Most tourists in Rome, especially religious pilgrims, will visit a church or basilica named for Saint Sebastian, either the one on the Palatine Hill or the earlier fourth-century one built outside the Aurelian Walls.

  • What Would St. Nicholas Do? (No. 57)

    On Sunday December 6th we celebrate the beloved Nicholas of Myra in Lycia. We know the stories of his saving miracles, his love of children, and the gifts he gave in secret. There is another story, one which seems less in character. Hearing Arius profess his heretical beliefs with smooth, convincing language at the Council of Nicaea, Nicholas finally had had enough. He struck Arius to keep him from speaking more blasphemy. As a result he lost his position as a bishop, and it was not restored until the Theotokos directed that it should be.

  • The People Were Spellbound By What They Heard (No. 56)

    In Luke 20:9-26 we read that the scribes and chief priests wanted to lay hands on Jesus because He had told the parable of the vineyard and its wicked tenants being destroyed. The scribes and chief priests "perceived that He had told this parable against them." But they didn't dare take Him because they "feared the people."

  • The Smartest Person in the Room (No. 55)

    The Church remembers the Great Martyr Catherine, who lived in the fourth century. As residents of Alexandria, Egypt, her wealthy pagan parents had access to all the city's great institutions of learning. They gave their daughter the kind of education such a place could provide, and Catherine was well-versed in public speaking, sciences, languages, and philosophy. She was a brilliant student, extremely attractive, and very well-mannered.

  • The Apostle and Evangelist Matthew (No. 54)

    If someone were to compose a list of people whose jobs made them unpopular, the local tax collector would probably be high on the list. If the tax collector was someone who gathered revenue from his own people for the oppressive foreign government that had given him his job, his name would rise higher. If everyone assumed that this particular tax collector, like all of them, stole and kept some of the tax money, his name would shoot up to the top.

  • Saint John Chrysostom and Frozen River (No. 53)

    Saint John Chrysostom urged Christians to treat the poor as brothers and sisters who not only need but are entitled to their love and care. He would certainly be appalled at seeing people sleeping on cardboard on the sidewalks of our cities.

  • Saint and Patriarch Paul the Confessor (No. 52)

    The Church remembers a fourth-century Patriarch of Constantinople, Paul the Confessor. He was never to have a peaceful time as Patriarch, having been marked as an enemy by powerful people--those who followed the Arian heresy.

  • Paul and his beloved Philippians (No. 51)

    Saint Paul's felt special affection for the Christians of Philippi (4: 10-23) whose church was the first he established in Europe, and who generously supported his ministry. He wrote his letter to them while awaiting trial in a Roman prison, yet joy and gratitude shine through his words.

  • Saint Hilarion the Great (No. 48)

    The Church remembers a saint who began life possessing many of the delights the world can offer, and willingly gave them all up. He is Saint Hilarion, who became one of the foremost ascetics of Palestine.

  • Longinus the Centurion (No. 47)

    The Church honors the martyred saint Longinus the Centurion, who stood at the foot of the cross and pierced the side of Our Lord with a spear. He was moved, as he stood there, to make a powerful confession of faith. He declared, "Truly this man was the Son of God!"

  • Shall We Look For Another? (No. 46)

    Disciples of John the Baptist approached Jesus one day with this question from John: "Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?"

  • Mothers of Saints (No. 45)

    The Church honors a saint who lived in the 14th century but who was glorified much more recently, in 1992. She is Maria, the mother of Saint Sergius of Radonezh.

  • Jesus Goes Home to Teach (No. 44)

    We read the account of Jesus preaching in His hometown, at the synagogue in Nazareth (Luke 4:16-30.)

  • Exalting the Cross (No. 43)

    The readings for the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross give us many insights into the meaning of the cross.

  • To Hear the Word and Keep It (No. 42)

    For the feast of the Nativity of the Theotokos we read one of Jesus Christ's most meaningful statements about who His true followers are.

  • Simeon the Stylite (No. 41)

    Some years ago, the Chilean writer Isabel Allende included, in one of her books, a reference to the pillar-dwelling saints known as stylites. She described them as squandering their lives, never speaking, and sitting always in the same position, unbathed and covered with sores. She added that credulous believers admired this "spectacle" which "supposedly" pleased God.

  • Choosing Martyrdom (No. 40)

    The Church honors Saints Adrian and Natalia, a young married couple living in Nicomedia, part of the Roman Empire, in the early fourth century. Natalia was a Christian; her husband was not.

  • Two Icons Full of Love (No. 39)

    The icon of the Dormition of the Theotokos shows the Mother of God lying on her deathbed. Jesus Christ, surrounded by angels, tenderly holds her luminous soul which in His glory He has taken to Himself. Her face is serene, and she is surrounded by the apostles.

  • The Memorable Words of Micah (No. 38)

    The prophet Micah was a younger contemporary of Isaiah but came from a very different background. While Isaiah was an aristocrat, Micah was a working-class man, and it shows in his writing.

  • Wait On The Lord (No. 37)

    Some popular stand-up comedians have criticized the God of the Old Testament. He is, they complain in their routines, ruthless. He is unpredictable. He is—especially in the case of Moses--distinctly unfair. One comic declared, as he strode across the stage with his microphone and cigarette, that it wasn't right that Moses should be kept from entering the Promised Land. After all, he had done many good and courageous things for God.

  • Different Centuries and Continents but the Same Goal (No. 36)

    The church celebrates two saints with different life circumstances but a shared determination to serve God's people in a particular way. On Sunday we remember Saint Jacob, Enlightener of the Alaskan Peoples. Saint Clement of Ochrid is remembered on Monday. A thousand years earlier, he helped people in Eastern Europe understand their faith by doing some of the same things Saint Jacob would do in North America in the nineteenth century.

  • If the Lord is God, Follow Him (No. 34)

    The Holy Prophet Elijah appears, with no introduction, at the beginning of the seventeenth chapter of First Kings (3 Kingdoms in the Orthodox Study Bible.) We see that Elijah certainly is a prophet by the way he speaks God's word, but we also see that he is both the beneficiary and the performer of miracles.

  • The Outer Signs are Only to Remind Us of the Inner Things (No. 35)

    "The outer signs are only to remind us of the inner things" were words written by the Nun Martyr and Grand Duchess Elizabeth, who was martyred with her companion, the Nun Barbara.

  • St. Euphemia Gives the Answer (No. 33)

    When 630 church leaders gathered at the Council of Chalcedon in the year 451, their meeting place was the cathedral dedicated to Saint Euphemia. When they struggled unsuccessfully to resolve a very serious disagreement they turned to her, in a surprising way, for the solution.

  • The Icon of the Three Hands (No. 32)

    The Church remembers this famous icon painted by Saint John of Damascus in thanks to the Theotokos for a miraculous healing.

  • Giving Your Life for Another (No. 30)

    Jesus' words in John 15:13 have been acted on in different ways by different people. He said, "Greater love has no man than this, that he lay down his for his friend." Some have lived out these words in self-sacrificing service to others. Some have actually given their own lives so that the lives of others might be spared.

  • The Generous and the Greedy (No. 29)

    The Old Testament prophet Elisha, written about in II Kings 4 (IV Kingdoms in the Orthodox Study Bible), ministered to many people - some generous and unselfish, others greedy and grasping. Their stories are sometimes strikingly similar to those of people we encounter in the New Testament.

  • The Trinity is not in The Shack (No. 28)

    Pentecost is the decisive manifestation of the Holy Trinity. At Theophany the Father's voice is heard, telling us that Jesus Christ is His beloved Son who does His will. The Holy Spirit confirms the Father's Word. Now, at Pentecost, all the promises Jesus made are fulfilled. The apostles, armed with the Spirit, are ready to go forth to make Him known and to baptize in the name of the Trinity.

  • The First Ecumenical Council (No. 27)

    The Fathers of the First Ecumenical Council convened at Nicaea in 325. The results of the Council were very important, but so was its personal meaning for those who attended, as Father Alexander Schmemann described:

  • So That Everything Might Be Fulfilled... (No. 25)

    In John 9 we read the story of a blind man healed by Jesus Christ. The first words of the passage remind us of a basic Christian teaching: Things do not happen because of "karma" - a word that is thrown around by many people today. They happen in order that God's will may be fulfilled.

  • Who is Junia? (No. 24)

    The Church honors the Samaritan Woman who met Christ while drawing water at Jacob's Well. She was surprised by His love and concern for her, since she was a Samaritan, with whom the Jews "had no dealings." She was further surprised by His knowledge of her crowded personal life.

  • Prayer: Basis of Our Christian Life (No. 22)

    "Would that you were hot or cold!" we read in Revelation 3: 16. Zeal—ardent dedication—is a good quality for Christians to have. We are meant to be zealous and "on fire" for Christ, rather than lukewarm and half-hearted. One of the twelve apostles, Simon is called "the Zealot" because he was so dedicated to preaching the Gospel that he traveled to Africa, and later accepted martyrdom.

  • Finding Courage (No. 21)

    Risk and courage are outstanding elements in the lives of the Myrrhbearing Women and also Joseph of Arimathea, who asked for and buried the body of Jesus Christ.

  • Thomas the Apostle (No. 20)

    Thomas will flee in fear when his Master suffers and dies. But like his fellow apostle Peter, he will find that Jesus' love never fails, even when his own courage fails miserably.

  • Christ is Risen! (No. 19)

    Across the world, in countless churches and in many languages, Orthodox Christians proclaim the greeting of Pascha and its confident response, "Indeed He is Risen!" This day also marks the beginning of the period during which we sing joyous words to the Mother of God: "The angel cried to the Lady full of grace, 'Rejoice, O Pure Virgin! Again I say, rejoice. Your Son is risen from His three days in the tomb. With Himself He has raised all the dead. Rejoice, rejoice all ye people!' "

  • Keep Shouting Hosanna! (No. 18)

    Children scrambling up trees to cut branches they will wave, people spreading their garments in the road for the King on and shouting, "Hosanna!" These are the joyful images of welcome we associate with the Entrance of Christ into Jerusalem.

  • A Desert Meeting (No. 17)

    Saint Mary of Egypt immediately recognized the holiness of a man she'd never seen before--the monk Zossimas--when he encountered her in the desert. She had come a long, long way to achieve that recognition of holiness in a man.

  • Climbing the Ladder Together (No. 16)

    "Can the writing of a hermit and monk who lived 1500 years ago say something to us today?"

  • The Cross and the Throne (No. 11)

    "Why would you want to be a Christian?" The verses from Hebrews 4:14-5:6 provides a convincing answer. It outlines the gifts our Savior bestows. They also tell us precisely who He is.

  • Captured but Free in Christ (No. 9)

    It could be a question for an Orthodox version of Jeopardy: What two saints were captured by pirates?

  • Keep Hold of Good Instruction (No. 12)

    The Forty Martyrs of Sebastea are an appealing group because of their youthful energy and courage, and their unyielding faith.

  • What is Forgiveness? (No. 6)

    The Church celebrates the memory of Saint Polycarp of Smyrna. This man was a student of the Holy Apostles, and can teach us a something important about forgiveness.