Interesting article…

about the origins of the dates of Christmas, Theophany and Easter. Refutes the common claims of modern “scholars,” atheists and Neo-Pagans.

Many Christians think that Christians celebrate Christ’s birth on December 25th because the church fathers appropriated the date of a pagan festival. Almost no one minds, except for a few groups on the fringes of American Evangelicalism, who seem to think that this makes Christmas itself a pagan festival. But it is perhaps interesting to know that the choice of December 25th is the result of attempts among the earliest Christians to figure out the date of Jesus’ birth based on calendrical calculations that had nothing to do with pagan festivals.

Rather, the pagan festival of the “Birth of the Unconquered Son” instituted by the Roman Emperor Aurelian on 25 December 274, was almost certainly an attempt to create a pagan alternative to a date that was already of some significance to Roman Christians. Thus the “pagan origins of Christmas” is a myth without historical substance.

Continue reading…

Inequality

Something that’s difficult to remember sometimes in a capitalist culture like own here in America:

“It is God’s desire that men be unequal in all externals: riches, power, status, learning, position and so forth, but He does not recommend any sort of competitiveness in this. ‘Sit not down in the highest room,’ commanded the Lord Jesus (Lk. 14:8). God desires that men compete in the multiplying of the inner virtues: faith, goodness, charity, love, meekness and gentleness, humility and obedience. God gave both inward and outward gifts, although He considers outward gifts as lower and of less significance than inward ones.”Bishop Nikolai Velimirovich

Closest Book Meme

David at Oh Taste and See tagged me with this meme:

1. Pick up the nearest book (of at least 123 pages).
2. Open the book to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the next three sentences.
5. Tag five people.

From The Essential Writings of Christian Mysticism, edited by Bernard McGinn:

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus says: “But when you pray, go into a room by yourself, shut the door, and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you” (Mt 6:6). Solitude was a primary value for the eremitical, or hermit, tradition among the monks (see selection 2), but Jesus’ command shows that it was a practice that all could to some extent employ. So, too, both outer and inner silence have been seen as ways of stilling and emptying the mind to prepare for divine visitation.

Wow, well, that worked about better than I imagined it would.

Note: My textbook for Speech 1315 was an equal distance away (this one was laying on top of the textbook), but I doubt that would have been as interesting.

Tag: Irenaeus, Ad Orientem, Rudy, James, and Kyriaki

Chant in Spanish, Arabic and Greek – beautiful!

Related: I was very happy to come across this website the other day, with Spanish translations of the prayers of the Divine Liturgy. My wife is a native Spanish speaker (her mother is an immigrant from the Dominican Republic and her father is from Puerto Rico), and so we have been attempting to teach our son to speak Spanish as well. I’ve tried hard to learn the language for myself, but, in the end, only picked up a few words and phrases here and there, most of them entirely useless (“un gato in los pantalones” for example). I bought a copy of the Bible in Spanish not too long ago and have been reading the English side by side in an attempt to build up vocabulary (and spirituality, too!). This website is definitely going to come into use in the near future. I’m especially going to try to learn the Our Father, Meet it is, and a few other common / important prayers. Also worthy of note is that, when my wife and I were first looking into Orthodoxy, hearing some of the Divine Liturgy in Spanish (during a visit to St. Nicholas Cathedral in Brooklyn, New York) was the final “push” my wife needed to make her decision. And to round out the post entirely en espanol, this from the Orthodox Church in Mexico: