Bulletin Inserts

Sunday to Sunday with the DCE


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Apostles

  • 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.

  • 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."

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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 what is called the oral Gospel-- the preaching of the apostles. The second-century writer Papias called Mark "the interpreter of Peter."

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

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

    The very first verse of Romans 2: 14-29 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."

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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 in the eyes of God.

  • 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.

  • Itching Ears (No. 170)

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

  • 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.

  • Make Up Your Mind! (No. 266)

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

  • No Mere Zealot (No. 263)

    The Apostle Quadratus was one of the Seventy.

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

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

  • 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.

  • Paul and his beloved Philippians (No. 51)

    Saint Paul felt special affection for the Christians of Philippi, as we see in Philippians 4: 10-23. Their church was the first he established in Europe, and they 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.

  • 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.

  • Peace and Hope (No. 86)

    In Romans 5: 1-10 Saint Paul describes the way in which suffering can lead to hope.

  • 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 "watching 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.

  • 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).

  • 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.

  • Saint Mark the Evangelist (No. 80)

    The Gospel writer Mark was affectionately called "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.

  • Saint Paul Thanks the Women (No. 147)

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

  • Saint Poemen and Saint Paul (No. 97)

    The Venerable Poemen (often spelled Pimen) was one of the most prominent of the desert-dwelling ascetics, 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.

  • Seeing Saint Paul (No. 83)

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

  • 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.

  • St. Melania the Younger (No. 60)

    In 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."

  • Struggling to Believe (No. 300)

    The Holy Apostle John 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).

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

    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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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 Challenge of Change (No. 246)

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

  • The Earliest Church (No. 141)

    The Church remembers a great Church Father, the second-century saint Justin the Martyr.

  • 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."

  • 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 Jefferson Bible Rewrite (No. 165)

    The Church remembers many saints who are intimately connected with the Holy Bible. Two of them are the Gospel writer Matthew, and Saint John Chrysostom.

  • 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 Reality of Sin (No. 124)

    The verses I John 1:8 to 2:6 contain 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."

  • 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 Secret Knowledge We Already Have (No. 213)

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

  • 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.

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

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

  • The Wisdom of Jude (No. 234)

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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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."

  • Working Out Your Own Salvation (No. 271)

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

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Book Reviews

  • 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.

  • 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 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.

  • 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."

  • 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. As a contemporary and follower of the Messiah, she truly had "conversations with God."

  • 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.

  • Enduring the Greatest Loss (No. 116)

    The Church honors 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 her 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.

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

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

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

    Social scientist 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.

  • Holy Youths and Faithful Children (No. 332)

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

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

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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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."

  • 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.

  • 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).

  • 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.

  • 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 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.

  • Who is in Delusion? (No. 274)

    Time Magazine once printed 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?"

  • 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.

  • 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.

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Christ's Ministry

  • 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.

  • 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 request, as usual with them, is a test.

  • 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.

  • Becoming Little Children (No. 323)

    The Church honors the Holy Apostle and Evangelist Luke.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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."

  • Dealing with the Devil (No. 232)

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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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 "judges all people." This authority has been given to Him by the Father, who loves Him and sent Him to the world. Like the Father, He is to be honored.

  • 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.)

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Letting Go of Keeping Score (No. 364)

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

  • Make Up Your Mind! (No. 266)

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

  • Miracles of Healing and Water (No. 250)

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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Plain Words for Lofty Truths (No. 273)

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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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?"

  • 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.

  • 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 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 describe precisely who He is.

  • 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.

  • 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 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 the 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 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 Wonder of Love (No. 247)

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

  • 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.

  • Two Miracles (No. 207)

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

  • 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.

  • 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."

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Feasts

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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!' "

  • 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."

  • 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."

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

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

    Joshua, the son of Nun, is the man 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).

  • 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 to ride on and shouting, "Hosanna!" These are the joyful images of welcome we associate with the Entrance of Christ into Jerusalem.

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

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

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

    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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • The Greatest Conqueror is Conquered (No. 320)

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

  • 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.

  • 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."

  • 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?

  • 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..."

  • 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.

  • 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."

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • What Kind of Conception? (No. 114)

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

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Movie Reviews

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

    The Holy Mother Isidora lived in the sixth century.

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

    Saint 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.

  • 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.

  • Costly Mercy (No. 330)

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

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

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

  • 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.

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

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

  • 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.

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

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

  • 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.

  • 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."

  • The Wonder of Love (No. 247)

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

  • 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.

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

    On December 6th we celebrate the beloved Saint Nicholas of Myra in Lycia. We know the stories of his saving miracles, his love of children, and the gifts secretly gave. But another story 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.

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Old Testament

  • A Hesitant Hero (No. 318)

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

  • 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.

  • A Swarm of Locusts (No. 212)

    The Prophet Joel lived in the southern kingdom of Judah.

  • 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 request, as usual with them, is a test.

  • Brokenness (No. 182)

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

  • Busybodies Need Not Apply (No. 167)

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

  • Chariots and Horses (No. 358)

    Elisha was a prophet of the Northern Kingdom of Israel.

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

    The title words are from Proverbs 3: 5b.

  • 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.

  • Ezekiel the Watchman and Warner (No. 311)

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

  • 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.

  • Holy Youths and Faithful Children (No. 332)

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

  • Hoping Against Hope (No. 249)

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

  • 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.

  • 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 (III 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.)

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

    Joshua, the son of Nun, is the man 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).

  • 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.

  • 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 himself dies.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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."

  • The Day of the Lord (No. 341)

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

  • 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 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.

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

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

  • 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.

  • The Inescapable Question (No. 181)

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

  • The Jefferson Bible Rewrite (No. 165)

    The Church remembers many saints who are intimately connected with the Holy Bible. Two of them are the Gospel writer Matthew, and Saint John Chrysostom.

  • 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.

  • 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?"

  • 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 Sad Duties of a Prophet (No. 328)

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

  • The Sorrows of Samuel (No. 96)

    The great prophet Samuel was especially treasured by his mother 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, whose name was Eli.

  • The Sudden Call (No. 307)

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

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

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

  • 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."

  • 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.

  • 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.

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

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

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

    Genesis and the Letter to the Hebrews were written in times 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.

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Parables

  • Letting Go of Keeping Score (No. 364)

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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Wheat and Weeds and Watchfulness (No. 148)

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

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Saints

  • 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.

  • 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, 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.

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

    The Holy Mother Isidora lived in the sixth century.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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."

  • 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.

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

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

  • 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).

  • 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.

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

    The Church honors a group of martyrs who belonged to a Jewish family known as the Maccabees. Their extraordinary mother was Solomonia; sometimes her name is given as Salome.

  • 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. But the Church also celebrates a man who prophesied in the New Testament.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

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

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

  • 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.

  • 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 by the Holy Spirit in some special ways.

  • 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.

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

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

  • Apostle to the Dead (No. 316)

    The Church solemnly remembers the Beheading of John the Baptist.

  • 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.

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

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

  • 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 was an important issue for them, and for Our Lord.

  • 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.

  • 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."

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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 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.

  • Captured but Free in Christ (No. 9)

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

  • Choosing Martyrdom (No. 40)

    The Church honors two fourth-century saints named Adrian and Natalia, a young married couple who lived in Nicomedia, which was part of the Roman Empire. Natalia was a Christian; her husband was not.

  • 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 what is called the oral Gospel-- the preaching of the apostles. The second-century writer Papias called Mark "the interpreter of Peter."

  • 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 remembered in the middle of the summer.

  • Climbing the Ladder Together (No. 16)

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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Compassion and Salvation (No. 340)

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

  • 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."

  • 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. As a contemporary and follower of the Messiah, she truly had "conversations with God."

  • Costly Mercy (No. 330)

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

  • 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.

  • Deadly Double-Mindedness (No. 282)

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

  • Dealing with the Devil (No. 232)

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

  • 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.

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

    The Church honors the Holy and Great Martyr Irene.

  • 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.

  • 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. They are Saint Jacob, Enlightener of the Alaskan Peoples, and Saint Clement of Ochrid. A thousand years earlier than Saint Jacob, Saint Clement helped people in Eastern Europe understand their faith by doing some of the same things that Saint Jacob would do in North America in the nineteenth century.

  • 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.

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

    Saint Eugenia of Rome was born in 280, the child of 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.

  • Distressed by Fame (No. 326)

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

  • Disturber of the Peace (No. 283)

    The Church honors two saints named Macarius.

  • 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.

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

    The title words are from Proverbs 3: 5b.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Enduring the Greatest Loss (No. 116)

    The Church honors 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 her 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.

  • 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.

  • Ezekiel the Watchman and Warner (No. 311)

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

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

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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • For Times of Trouble (No. 305)

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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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."

  • 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.

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

    Social scientist 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • God Uses the Imperfect (No. 310)

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

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

    The very first verse of Romans 2: 14-29 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."

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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 in the eyes of God.

  • Hoping Against Hope (No. 249)

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

  • 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.

  • In His Good Time (No. 256)

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

  • 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.

  • Is Anything Not a Gift? (No. 288)

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

  • 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.

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

    Joshua, the son of Nun, is the man 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).

  • 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.

  • Keep Hold of Good Instruction (No. 12)

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

  • 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 to ride on and shouting, "Hosanna!" These are the joyful images of welcome we associate with the Entrance of Christ into Jerusalem.

  • 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.

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

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

  • Letting Go of Keeping Score (No. 364)

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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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. As he stood there he was moved to make a powerful confession of faith. He declared, "Truly this man was the Son of God!"

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

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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Martyrs and Confessors (No. 85)

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

  • Mindful Humility (No. 309)

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

  • Miracles of Healing and Water (No. 250)

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

  • 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.

  • Never a Deserter (No. 359)

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

  • 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?

  • No Mere Zealot (No. 263)

    The Apostle Quadratus was one of the Seventy.

  • 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.

  • 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.

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

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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

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

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

  • Outcasts Working for God (No. 301)

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

  • Paul and his beloved Philippians (No. 51)

    Saint Paul felt special affection for the Christians of Philippi, as we see in Philippians 4: 10-23. Their church was the first he established in Europe, and they 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.

  • Peace and Hope (No. 86)

    In Romans 5: 1-10 Saint Paul describes the way in which suffering can lead to hope.

  • Plain Words for Lofty Truths (No. 273)

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

  • 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.

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

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

  • 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.

  • 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."

  • 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 "watching 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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 Benedict of Nursia (No. 70)

    The Church remembers Saint Benedict, the founder of monasticism in the Western Church. Benedict and his twin sister Scholastica 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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 Mark the Evangelist (No. 80)

    The Gospel writer Mark was affectionately called "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.

  • Saint Paul Thanks the Women (No. 147)

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

  • 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.

  • Saint Poemen and Saint Paul (No. 97)

    The Venerable Poemen (often spelled Pimen) was one of the most prominent of the desert-dwelling ascetics, 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Saint Thecla (No. 101)

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

  • Saintly in Secret (No. 219)

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

  • 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.

  • Saints in Secret (No. 302)

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

  • 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.

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

    The Church remembers the Abbot and Confessor Ekvtime (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.

  • 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, and in this his experience was similar to that of Gregory of Nyssa, whose siblings also are saints of the Church. Gregory benefited from the teaching of his siblings, and gratefully described the good influence and instruction of his sister Macrina and his brother Basil.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Seeing Saint Paul (No. 83)

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

  • 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."

  • 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?"

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • St. Melania the Younger (No. 60)

    In 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."

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Struggling to Believe (No. 300)

    The Holy Apostle John 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).

  • 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.

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

    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.

  • 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 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.

  • 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.

  • The Challenge of Change (No. 246)

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

  • The Continuing Conflicts in Corinth (No. 331)

    Saint Clement of Rome is one of the Apostolic Fathers.

  • The Day of the Lord (No. 341)

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

  • The Earliest Church (No. 141)

    The Church remembers a great Church Father, the second-century saint Justin the Martyr.

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

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

  • 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.

  • 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."

  • 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 has described:

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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 Gift to Be Simple (No. 220)

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

  • 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.

  • 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.

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

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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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 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.

  • The Jefferson Bible Rewrite (No. 165)

    The Church remembers many saints who are intimately connected with the Holy Bible. Two of them are the Gospel writer Matthew, and Saint John Chrysostom.

  • 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."

  • The Mysteries of Elizabeth (No. 155)

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

  • 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" are words written by the Nun Martyr and Grand Duchess Elizabeth, who was martyred with her companion, the Nun Barbara.

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

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

  • 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 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 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?"

  • 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.

  • The Reality of Sin (No. 124)

    The verses I John 1:8 to 2:6 contain 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."

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

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

  • 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 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, and also a well-mannered and lovely young woman.

  • The Sorrows of Samuel (No. 96)

    The great prophet Samuel was especially treasured by his mother 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, whose name was Eli.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • The Uncrowned King of Georgia (No. 251)

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

  • The Walking Wounded at Nicaea (No. 192)

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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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."

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Three Paths to One Reward (No. 133)

    The Church remembers three very different people, in some years, depending on the calendar, 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.

  • 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."

  • 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.

  • 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."

  • 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.

  • Turning Weeping into Joy (No. 264)

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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Two Mothers with Different Hopes (No. 202)

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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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, but who is also associated with a shocking act of violence. He is Saint Leo of Catania, in Sicily.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • We Have Our Marching Orders (No. 199)

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

  • 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 something important about forgiveness.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

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

    On December 6th we celebrate the beloved Saint Nicholas of Myra in Lycia. We know the stories of his saving miracles, his love of children, and the gifts secretly gave. But another story 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

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

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

  • 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.

  • 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."

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

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

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Theotokos

  • 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 by the Holy Spirit in some special ways.

  • 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!' "

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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."

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

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