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administrator's blog

A Meditation on the Nativity of Christ

“To Erect the Kingdom of God in Our Own Souls”
Delivered by Saint Tikhon (Bellavin), Bishop of San Francisco

Christmastide breathes the spirit of peace, good will, gentle joy, and holy simplicity. The stillness of night enwraps the fields of Palestine; above them stretches the starry sky, with the brightly shining “Star of the King of Jews”. The day's turmoil is hushed in Bethlehem, filled to overflowing with strangers. Not far from the town is the lonely stable which shelters the Holy Family; in a lowly manger, wrapped in swaddling clothes, lies the Infant, while over Him bends His Mother, with a glad smile. There too, is Joseph, the just man, in reverent contemplation of the great mystery and there are the shepherds — simple men, but pure of heart, come to worship the new-born Christ. And in the heavens above the heavenly hosts are singing: “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace, good will among men” . . .


  • Nov 23 2013

Forgiveness and the Gift of Lent

By Fr. Alexander Schmemann
Forgiveness Sunday 1983

As once more we are about to enter the Great Lent, I would like to remind us – myself first of all, and all of you my fathers, brothers, and sisters – of the verse that we just sang, one of the stichera, and that verse says:"Let us begin Lent, the Fast, with joy." 

Only yesterday we were commemorating Adam crying, lamenting at the gates of Paradise, and now every second line of the Triodion and the liturgical books of Great Lent will speak of repentance, acknowledging what dark and helpless lives we live, in which we sometimes are immersed. And yet, no one will prove to me that the general tonality of Great Lent is not that of a tremendous joy! Not what we call "joy" in this world – not just something entertaining, interesting, or amusing – but the deepest definition of joy, that joy of which Christ says: "no one will take away from you" (Jn. 16:22). Why joy? What is that joy?

So many people under various influences have come to think of Lent as a kind of self–inflicted inconvenience. Very often in Lent we hear these conversations: "What do you give up for Lent?" – it goes from candy to, I don’t know what. There is the idea that if we suffer enough, if we feel the hunger enough, if we try by all kinds of strong or light ascetical tools, mainly to "suffer" and be "tortured," so to speak, it would help us to "pay" for our absolution. But this is not our Orthodox faith. Lent is not a punishment. Lent is not a kind of painful medicine that helps only inasmuch as it is painful...

  • Mar 11 2013