Month: April 2008

Christo ha Resucitado!


CHRIST IS RISEN!

My wife was baptized and she, along with my son and I, were chrismated on Holy Saturday. It was wonderful! Please pray for us! I will be putting up pictures of the baptism and chrismation soon.

Miracle of Holy Fire in Jerusalem
Maria C. Khoury, Ed. D.

April 26, 2008 – Pilgrims from all over the world gathered in Jerusalem today to witness the greatest of all miracles-the Miracle of the Holy Fire. The miracle has turned into a magnificent cultural event but many simply could not get anywhere near the Holy Sepulchre. The soldiers, the police, the large crowds, the noise, the drums of the Boys Scouts and the Girl Scouts anxiously waiting to receive the Holy Fire from the Life Giving Tomb of Christ is a day long adventure. It was a miracle in itself that Sam and Janet from our Sister Parish, Annunciation Church in Little Rock attended.

It was an exciting celebration with the sound of many languages at the same time where representatives of many churches from all over the Holy Land come to receive the Holy Fire and carry it back in small lanterns to their particular churches for the Midnight Resurrection Service. Special permits were issued for Christians from Gaza to enter Jerusalem but the large crowds meant no entry to the Holy Sepulchre.

It is on this Great and Holy Saturday that the Holy Fire was received by the Greek Orthodox Patriarch, His Beatitude Theopilus as it has been done every year, on the same day, in the same manner, at the same time, at the same holy place of Christ’s Life Giving Tomb. This is the miracle that allows us to believe that Christ is alive and offers eternal life. This is the miracle that tells us that Christ is truly among us. This powerful miracle is another way that God communicates. As we chant in our Midnight Resurrection Service: “Come ye and receive light from the unwaning Light, and glorify Christ, Who a rose from the dead.”

A spectacular parade was also held to receive the Holy Fire entering our village of Taybeh by five in the evening. The priests of all three churches, Fr. Daoud, Fr. Raed and Fr. Jack with the mayor of the village, my husband, David, led the faithful with the choir chanting to meet our cousin Ibrahim with his six year old son Philip who traditionally go to the city of Ramallah to receive the Light from a patriarchate representative who brings it from Jerusalem to Ramallah for all the Palestinian Christian communities that cannot reach the Holy City. Philip made his dad put a sign on the white car this year that read “Light of Christ,” and wanted to ride on top but was forced to patiently sit with the flame until he said “Christ is Risen” and gave it to the adults.

Eight years of violence in the Holy Land, back and forth, surely we have been living in the darkness of all evil where children do not even have a childhood. “And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.” (John 1:5) The strong Christian message on this holy day is that our hope lies in Christ and the streets were simply filled with faithful who came to witness in Christ’s love.

Thus today we all received the Light that proceeded from the core of the stone that covers Christ’s Life Giving Tomb and once again celebrated the oldest unbroken Christian ceremony that exists in the world. In Luke 16:15 we read that Jesus said: “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved” We witness the truth and received the Holy Fire today so that all who are not blessed to live in the land of Christ’s Holy Resurrection can believe that Christ is the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. (John 1:9)

“And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And you are witnesses of these things.” (Luke 24:47)

Our Christian community is small and diminishing but with God’s help can survive the daily hardships that make life unbearable. Truly the Lord is Risen!

Paschal greetings and responses from around the world (thanks to Al Green, on the EasternOrthodoxy list):

  • Aleut: Khristus anahgrecum! Alhecum anahgrecum!
  • Aleut: Khris-tusax agla-gikux! Agangu-lakan agla-gikux!
  • Albanian: Krishti U Ngjall! Vertet U Ngjall!
  • Alutuq: Khris-tusaq ung-uixtuq! Pijii-nuq ung-uixtuq!
  • Amharic: Kristos tenestwal! Bergit tenestwal!
  • Anglo-Saxon: Crist aras! Crist sodhlice aras!
  • Arabic: El Messieh kahm! Hakken kahm!
  • Armenian: Kristos haryav ee merelotz! Orhnial eh harootyunuh kristosee!
  • Athabascan: Xristosi banuytashtch’ ey! Gheli banuytashtch’ ey!
  • Bulgarian: Hristos voskrese! Vo istina voskrese!
  • Byelorussian: Khrystos uvaskros! Saprawdy uvaskros!
  • Chinese: Helisituosi fuhuole! Queshi fuhuole!
  • Coptic: Pchristos aftooun! Alethos aftooun!
  • Czech: Kristus vstal a mrtvych! Opravdi vstoupil!
  • Danish: Kristus er opstanden! Ja, sandelig opstanden!
  • Dutch: Christus is opgestaan! Ja, hij is waarlijk opgestaan!
  • English: Christ is risen! Indeed He is risen!
  • Eritrean-Tigre: Christos tensiou! Bahake tensiou!
  • Esperanto: Kristo levigis! Vere levigis!
  • Estonian: Kristus on oolestoosunt! Toayestee on oolestoosunt!
  • Ethiopian: Christos t’ensah em’ muhtan! Exai’ ab-her eokala!
  • Finnish: Kristus nousi kuolleista! Totistesti nousi!
  • French: Le Christ est ressuscite! En verite il est ressuscite!
  • Gaelic: Taw creest ereen! Taw shay ereen guhdyne! (Phonetic)
  • Georgian: Kriste ahzdkhah! Chezdmaridet!
  • German: Christus ist erstanden! Wahrlich ist er erstanden!
  • Greek: Christos anesti! Alithos anesti!
  • Hawaiian: Ua ala hou ‘o Kristo! Ua ala ‘I ‘o no ‘oia!
  • Hebrew: Ha Masheeha houh quam! Be emet quam!
  • Hungarian: Krisztus feltamadt! Valoban feltamadt!
  • Ibo ( Nigeria): Jesu Kristi ebiliwo! Ezia o’ biliwo!
  • Indian (Malayalam): Christu uyirthezhunnettu! Theerchayayum uyirthezhunnettu!
  • Indonesian: Kristus telah bangkit! Benar dia telah bangkit!
  • Italian: Cristo e’ risorto! Veramente e’ risorto!
  • Japanese: Christos fukkatsu! Jitsu ni fukkatsu!
  • Javanese: Kristus sampun wungu! Tuhu sampun wungu!
  • Korean: Kristo gesso! Buhar ha sho nay!
  • Latin: Christus resurrexit! Vere resurrexit!
  • Latvian: Kristus ir augsham sales! Teyasham ir augsham sales vinsch!
  • Lugandan: Kristo ajukkide! Amajim ajukkide!
  • Norwegian: Christus er oppstanden! Sandelig han er oppstanden!
  • Polish: Khristus zmartwyckwstal! Zaprawde zmartwyckwstal!
  • Portugese: Cristo ressuscitou! Em verdade ressuscitou!
  • Romanian: Hristos a inviat! Adeverat a inviat!
  • Russian: Khristos voskrese! Voistinu voskrese!
  • Sanskrit: Kristo’pastitaha! Satvam upastitaha!
  • Serbian: Cristos vaskres! Vaistinu vaskres!
  • Slovak: Kristus vstal zmr’tvych! Skutoc ne vstal!
  • Spanish: Cristo ha resucitado! En verdad ha resucitado!
  • Swahili: Kristo amefufukka! Kweli amefufukka!
  • Swedish: Christus ar upstanden! Han ar verkligen upstanden!
  • Syriac: M’shee ho dkom! Ha koo qam!
  • Tlingit: Xristos Kuxwoo-digoot! Xegaa-kux Kuxwoo-digoot!
  • Turkish: Hristos diril – di! Hakikaten diril – di!
  • Ugandan: Kristo ajukkide! Kweli ajukkide!
  • Ukrainian: Khristos voskres! Voistinu voskres!
  • Welsh: Atgyfododd Crist! Atgyfododd yn wir!
  • Yupik: Xris-tusaq Ung-uixtuq! Iluumun Ung-uixtuq!
  • Zulu: Ukristu uvukile! Uvukile kuphela!
INDEED HE IS RISEN!
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Strategic Orthodox-Catholic alliance

This is the most practical and plausible plan for “unity” I have yet heard. Something like this is necessary to combat the inroads that secularism and Islam have made in traditionally Christian societies. As long as we continue to fight amongst ourselves (check the recent story about the Greek-Armenian brawl in the Sepulchre, for instance), the Muslims, Atheists, and others who would destroy Christian society have the upper hand (and they know it and love it!). Even the most conservative and anti-unity on either side of the Orthodox/Catholic separation can see the benefits of, at least in some cases, following the old adage: “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.”

From Interfax:

Sofia, April 21, Interfax – The Orthodox and Catholic Churches could form a strategic alliance for the protection of Christian values, Russian Orthodox Church Representative to European International Organizations Bishop Hilarion of Vienna and Austria said in an interview with the Bulgarian magazine Christianity and Culture.

“We must realize that Orthodox and Catholic believers are no longer rivals. We are allies. The rivalry must be gone once and for all. If we understand that, proselytism will stop,” he said.

‘The romantic ecumenism’ personified by the World Council of Churches and the Conference of European Churches is not viable, the bishop said. In his opinion, it would be much better to form bilateral strategic alliances or partnerships, for instance, between the Orthodox and Catholic Churches.

“I don’t mean union, administrative merger or compromise in theological teaching, I mean strategical partnership,” the Moscow Patriarchate’s representative said.

According to Bishop Hilarion, joint Orthodox-Catholic “front” is required both to oppose to the challenges of secularism and to protect traditional Christianity and dialogue with other world religions.

He believes that many Protestants unlike the Orthodox and the Catholic have created “a light version of Christianity, without apostolic succession, without sacraments, without strict dogmatic teaching and what is also important they don’t require sticking to Christian moral norms.”

Such communities don’t consider centuries-old sins as such and even promote them. When Christian community starts “revising theological or moral teaching of Christianity in order to make it more “modern” or “politically correct”, it’s a direct way to spiritual death,” Bishop Hilarion said.

Saint Dorotheos of Gaza

“Those who want to be saved scrutinize not the shortcomings of their neighbor but always their own and they set about eliminating them. Such was the man who saw his brother doing wrong and groaned, ‘Woe is me; him today – me tomorrow!’ You see his caution? You see the preparedness of his mind? How he swiftly foresaw how to avoid judging his brother?” – St. Dorotheos of Gaza

On repetition in church services

Thanks to Silouan for this:

I thought the following story might be enjoyed by many on this list in light of recent conversations on this list about repeating things in church services. It was told to me by an OCA priest, who had heard it from a hierarch.

In Warsaw, in the 1950s, when Communism was strong, three young Communist men were walking past the cathedral on Holy Friday at about noon. The young men realized the significance of the day to Christians and came to the agreement that they ought to go into the cathedral and make a statement, on behalf of “enlightened” communists. They drew straws to decide who would make the statement, and one of the young men went in. So they went in, and, like many young men who don’t go to church, felt a little awkward and weren’t quite sure what to do.

There happened to be a hierodeacon working in the church between services who spotted the young men coming in and recognized that something was going on. He went up to the young man that was to make the statement, as he was kind of standing towards the front of the group, and asked if he could help him. The young man looked back at his friends, who motioned for him to go ahead and talk to the hierodeacon. The young man, walking with an air of purpose, said, “yes, we would like to make a statement. We don’t believe in all this nonsense, and we would like to make a statement.”

“Sure. Sure,” the monk responded. He put his arms around the young man and brought him to the front of the temple, where the corpus was still on the Cross, while the other young men watched from a distance at the back of the temple. “I tell you what I think you should do: Look up here at Jesus crucified, and say, “You died for me, and I don’t give a damn.”

The young man thought about it, decided that that wasn’t too hard, and said, in a loud voice, “You died for me, and I don’t give a damn!”

“Very good, very good,” replied the hierodeacon. “But, of course, in the Orthodox Church we like to repeat things, so go ahead and say it again.”

The young man was a bit taken aback by that, because he thought he had finished with his statement, but he looked up at Christ on the Cross again and said, in not so loud a voice, “You died for me, and I don’t give a damn.”

“Very good, very good,” replied the hierodeacon again. “But I was thinking, and if you REALLY want to make a statement that the Orthodox will respect you should say it one last time, because we are a trinitarian faith, and the Orthodox are always saying things in threes. Yes, I think you should definitely say it one more time.”

This time you could see that the young man was totally beaten down by this last suggestion of the monk, but he pulled himself up for one last “statement.” “You died for me,” he began, but then collapsed on his knees, sitting on the floor in front of the Cross. “And I care,” he whispered and began crying.

The priest who told me this story said that the young man in the story was the same hierarch who told him the story.

Saint Patrick of Ireland

Morning Prayer of St. Patrick
I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through a belief in the Threeness,
Through confession of the Oneness
Of the Creator of creation.

I arise today
Through the strength of Christ’s birth and His baptism,
Through the strength of His crucifixion and His burial,
Through the strength of His resurrection and His ascension,
Through the strength of His descent for the judgment of doom.

I arise today
Through the strength of the love of cherubim,
In obedience of angels,
In service of archangels,
In the hope of resurrection to meet with reward,
In the prayers of patriarchs,
In preachings of the apostles,
In faiths of confessors,
In innocence of virgins,
In deeds of righteous men.

I arise today
Through the strength of heaven;
Light of the sun,
Splendor of fire,
Speed of lightning,
Swiftness of the wind,
Depth of the sea,
Stability of the earth,
Firmness of the rock.

I arise today
Through God’s strength to pilot me;
God’s might to uphold me,
God’s wisdom to guide me,
God’s eye to look before me,
God’s ear to hear me, God’s word to speak for me,
God’s hand to guard me,
God’s way to lie before me,
God’s shield to protect me,
God’s hosts to save me
From snares of the devil,
From temptations of vices,
From every one who desires me ill,
Afar and anear,
Alone or in a mulitude.

I summon today all these powers between me and evil,
Against every cruel merciless power that opposes my body and soul,
Against incantations of false prophets,
Against black laws of pagandom,
Against false laws of heretics,
Against craft of idolatry,
Against spells of women and smiths and wizards,
Against every knowledge that corrupts man’s body and soul.
Christ shield me today
Against poison, against burning,
Against drowning, against wounding,
So that reward may come to me in abundance.

Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me,
Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ on my right, Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of every man who speaks of me,
Christ in the eye that sees me,
Christ in the ear that hears me.

I arise today through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through a belief in the Threeness,
Through a confession of the Oneness
Of the Creator of creation.
Salvation is of the Lord,
Salvation is of the Lord,
Salvation is of Christ.
May Thy salvation, O Lord, be ever with us.
Amen.

How Saint Patrick Spent Lent in the Year 439
St. Patrick on The Reek and the Angel Victor

(From the “Tripartite Life”of Saint Patrick)

On the summit of the Reek (a small mountain, now Croaghpatrick) the Tripartite Life tells us that Patrick wrestled with an Angel named Victor who appeared to him to tell him that God will not grant him all that he asks because his demands are both excessive and obstinate.

“Is that God’s pleasure?” asks Patrick. The Angel confirms that it is. To this comes Patrick’s surprising reply: “Then my pleasure is that I shall not leave this reek until I am dead or until all my requests are granted.”

Disheartened, Patrick remains on Croaghpatrick from Shrove Saturday to Easter Saturday, abstaining from both food and drink. As to Moses, God speaks to Patrick out of a fire.

His Triumph over the Devil’s Demon Birds

At the end of forty days and nights a vast swarm of blackbirds covers the place where Patrick is, so that he cannot see. The birds do not leave even when Patrick sings maledictory psalms at them; growing angrier, he strikes his bell loudly, flings it at the birds and so breaks it. Patrick weeps copiously, his tears soak the front of his clothing. An Angel comes to console him and dries his clothing.

White birds come to fly around them singing sweetly, and the Angel promises Patrick the sea and the land as far as his eye can see. Patrick asks, “Is there nothing else that He grants me besides this?” The Angel tells him that he may have seven souls saved from hell on every Saturday until Doomsday. Patrick replies that if God is going to give him anything, let Him give twelve souls. “Thou shalt have them, but get thee gone from the reek,” says the Angel.

Patrick refuses to go, saying that as he has been tormented he will not go until he is satisfied, and asks what else God will give him. The Angel promises the rescue from Hell of seven souls every Thursday in addition to the twelve already promised every Saturday, if Patrick will leave the reek. Patrick refuses again in the same terms. He asks what else he can have.

[The reason the Angel wishes Patrick to leave the reek is for him to get on with the pressing work of converting Ireland to Christ.]

……Patrick again refuses to leave the reek in the same terms; he asks what else he can have. The Angel reveals that a great sea is to flood over Ireland seven years before the Judgement, and again asks Patrick to be gone from the reek. Again Patrick refuses. “Is there aught else thou wouldst demand?” the Angel asks him. “There is,” says Patrick, “that the Saxons should not dwell in Ireland by consent or by force as long as I abide in Heaven.”

The Angel also promises exemption from pain and torture to all who sing Patrick’s hymn from one watch to another. When Patrick complains that the hymn is long and difficult, the Angel emends the requirement to singing the hymn from ‘Christus illum’ to the end only, and adds that anyone who gives anything in Patrick’s name, and all who make penitence in Ireland, shall escape Hell.

……..Yet again, the Angel tells Patrick to leave the reek and get on with his missionary work, and yet again Patrick refuses. The Angel promises Patrick the rescue on Doomsday, of one soul for every hair on his chasuble. Still Patrick refuses to obey the Angel’s injunction to leave the reek, remarking that he will not accept this blessing, as any one of the saints who labour for God could expect to bring so many souls unto Heaven.

The Angel asks Patrick what he will accept. “That is not hard to say,” Patrick replies, “seven persons out of Hell on Doomsday for every hair on my chasuble.” The Angel, not yet fully exasperated, grants this, and for the sixth time tells Patrick to leave the reek.

When Patrick refuses this time the Angel threatens him with force, but Patrick boldly answers that even though the High King of the Seven Heavens should come, he will not leave until he is fully satisfied, so the Angel asks him what else he wants.

The Judgement of the Irish

Patrick asks that on the Day of Judgement he, himself, should judge the people of Ireland. The Angel tell him that assuredly that blessing cannot be obtained from the Lord. “Unless it is got from Him,” Patrick says to the Angel, ” there is no leaving the reek before Doomsday.”

The Angel goes back to Heaven. Patrick celebrates the Offering (Eucharist). The Angel returns at the ninth hour to relay to Patrick God’s message. It is that, after the twelve Apostles, there would be no man more admirable than he, were it not for his obstinacy, but that nevertheless he may have what he asked for. Patrick is to strike his bell; the people of Ireland living and dead will be consecrated to him, at which Patrick exclaims,

“Blessed be the bountiful King who has
bestowed this; now shall there be a
departure from the reek.”

Casualties of the Culture War: Orthodoxy and Morality in the Public Arena

Rev. Johannes L. Jacobse

America’s two Orthodox Christian senators–Paul Sarbanes, a Democrat from Maryland, and Olympia Snowe, a Republican from Maine–voted in 2003 against a ban on partial-birth abortion. While the ban on this heinous form of abortion eventually was signed into law, the vote of these senators raises many questions for Orthodox Christians. How do we reconcile our opposition to abortion with public policy? What place does our Christian faith and morality have in the public square? Is it reasonable to expect Orthodox civic leaders to remain faithful to the Christian moral tradition if many of their constituents disagree with it?

These questions are relevant because of the culture war, the struggle in our society about what moral values we should hold in common. A moral consensus is crucial for maintaining stability and ensuring progress in a society. In our day, parts of the consensus have fractured, especially those concerning life-protection issues like abortion, infanticide, and euthanasia.

Abortion is a flash point in this struggle. In general terms, one side sees the unborn child as a distinct human being endowed with the rights and privileges afforded all persons; therefore, aborting it constitutes deliberate killing. The other side insists that the unborn child is not a human being at all; therefore, aborting it does not constitute murder.

Continue reading…