Thursday, April 28, 2016

Holy Friday Matins (15th Antiphon) - the late Abp. Job

As I do every year, I post the below beloved video.

(YouTube) - The late Archbishop Job sings the 15th Antiphon at Matins for Great and Holy Friday 2009. This video almost didn't happen. We had wanted to record Vladika singing this antiphon for years, but he often refused to sing it out of humility. This year we managed to convince him to sing it, and I was miraculously able to video it. Little did we know it would also be the last time he would chant it at Holy Trinity.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Trevi Fountain to run red for martyrs

(Christian Today) - The water of the Trevi Fountain will be dyed red on April 29 to honour the Christians who have sacrificed their lives to proclaim their faith.

The event, which is being organised by the group Aid the Church in Need, is intended to be "the start of a long lasting, concrete reaction everywhere so that the persecuted people of the 21st century can as soon as possible return to fully enjoying their natural right to religious freedom."

The event will be attended by the Chaldean Catholic Bishop of Aleppo, Syria, Antoine Audo, and Cardinal Mauro Piacenza, the International President of Aid the Church in Need, who are expected to underscore the need to address systematic violations of religious freedom being experienced by Christians throughout the world.

In his recent homily, Pope Francis recounted the sacrifices of martyrs and lamented that to this day, there are still those who are being targeted and persecuted for their faith.

"It is the witness of our martyrs of today – so many! – chased out of their homeland, driven away, having their throats cut, persecuted: they have the courage to confess Jesus even to the point of death," he said.

Based on the World Watch List report by Open Doors, more than 100 million Christians are being persecuted because of their beliefs around the world.

There is especially severe persecution of Christians in Iraq and Syria where ISIS thrives and subjects believers to violence, enslaving, and displacement. Christians in Nigeria are also being subjected to constant attacks from the Boko Haram terrorist group.

Other countries where Christians experience hardship for their faith include in North Korea, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Azerbaijan and Eritrea.

"Persecution levels have been rapidly rising. This is a cause of great concern," Open Doors CEO Lisa Pearce said previously.

More from Fr. Theodoros Zisis on the upcoming Council

Remembering Chornobyl

(UOC-USA) - Faithful members of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA gathered together with other Ukrainian community members at St. Andrew Memorial Church, South Bound Brook, NJ – part of the Church’s Metropolia Center – to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the worst nuclear disaster the world has known – the explosion of the Soviet era power plant located in Chornobyl, Ukraine. His Eminence Metropolitan Antony conducted a solemn memorial service along with clergy from the Center and neighboring parishes. Visiting clergy, St. Sophia Seminary students and members of the Memorial Church Choir graciously and beautifully sang the responses for the service.

The power of the Psalms

(Youtube) - This short film documents the friendship between Bono (lead musician of the band U2) and Eugene Peterson (author of contemporary-language Bible translation The Message) revolving around their common interest in the Psalms. Based on interviews conducted by Fuller Seminary faculty member David Taylor and produced in association with Fourth Line Films, the film highlights in particular a conversation on the Psalms that took place between Bono, Peterson, and Taylor at Peterson’s Montana home.

Met. Jonah to teach seminarians the canons

(HTS) - In the Orthodox Church bishops are not only required to defend canons, but they are the ones who decide how and when to apply them. Therefore, it is absolutely necessary for Canon Law students to have an opportunity to meet with a proper canon law practitioner - a bishop.

During the two hour-Skype seminar on April 13 with His Eminence Metropolitan Jonah (Paffhausen) students were able to learn about variety of pastoral questions related to canons, and not the least among them, "why do we need to study canons if at the end of the day a bishop will decide how to implement them?"

The Seminary administration, course instructor Deacon Andrei Psarev, and the students of Canon Law thank His Eminence for making himself available to share his expertise with the future priests and lay leaders of the Russian Church Abroad.

St. Alexis, bright beacon of Orthodoxy in America, pray for us!

(OCA-DEPA) - Holy Resurrection Cathedral in Wilkes-Barre, PA invites all the clergy and parishioners of the Diocese of Philadelphia and Eastern Pennsylvania to celebrate the feast day of St. Alexis Toth on May 6th-7th. Vespers will begin on Bright Friday, May 6th, at 6pm. On Bright Saturday, May 7th Divine Liturgy begins at 9:00 am followed by an inside festal picnic. To help in the preparations, please contact Fr. Timothy Cremeens at 570-202-0755 or if you are able to attend.

The Orientale Lumen approach to ecumenism

Hymn of Kassiani

O Lord God, the woman who had fallen into many sins, having perceived Thy divinity received the rank of ointment-bearer, offering Thee spices before Thy burial wailing and crying: "Woe is me, for the love of adultery and sin hath given me a dark and lightless night; accept the fountains of my tears O Thou Who drawest the waters of the sea by the clouds incline Thou to the sigh of my heart O Thou Who didst bend the heavens by Thine inapprehensible condescension; I will kiss Thy pure feet and I will wipe them with my tresses. I will kiss Thy feet Whose tread when it fell on the ears of Eve in Paradise dismayed her so that she did hide herself because of fear. Who then shall examine the multitude of my sin and the depth of Thy judgment? Wherefore, O my Saviour and the Deliverer of my soul turn not away from Thy handmaiden O Thou of boundless mercy."

Hymn of Kassiani

Касијанина стихира

Τροπάριο της Κασσιανής

ترنيمة كاسياني

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

The Year of Our Salvation: a new Lives of the Saints website

(HTM) - Holy Transfiguration Monastery has just published a new website,, designed to make it easy to commemorate the Saints of the day, look up the Saints in a complete index for when their feast is celebrated, and read short lives of many of them. We intend to continue adding to it until we have provided lives or short accounts for all the Saints for whom we offer icons at We have received many requests over the years to provide the life of the Saint with each icon, and this website has been designed to fulfill that request, besides being an aid to making the commemoration of the Saints a part of one’s daily spiritual life.

Cart, meet Horse.


Mount Athos to meet on upcoming Council

If you thought the Council was going to meet and promulgate some documents without pushback, you forgot about Mt. Athos. This is some bishops worst nightmare. The monks are not known for putting out polite, subtle, and irenic positions so expect this upcoming meeting to resound across Orthodoxy and receive no little media attention.

(Aktines) - The Holy Monasteries of Mt. Athos have responded to the draft documents and methodology of the Pan Orthodox Council with sharp and pointed reactions. The Letters of Athonite Monasteries, sent to the Holy Community of Mt. Athos, have been released to the public. The letters were written in reaction to the Pan Orthodox documents sent to the Holy Monasteries by the Patriarchate of Constantinople. On account of the seriousness of the matter, it was unanimously decided that the texts prepared for approval by the Council be examined in a specially called Meeting of the Representatives and Abbots of the Holy Monasteries, scheduled to take place after the Bright Week of Pascha.

The Athonite Fathers call attention to the danger presented by the Pan Orthodox Council, as it is being carried out. Namely, among other things, they see:
  • the concilarity of the Church being undermined and a theology supportive of primacy being promoted (due to the limited participation of bishops and an excessive authority given to the primates of each of Local Church),
  • an unacceptable ambiguity in the pre-synodical texts, allowing for interpretations which divert from Orthodox dogma,
  • a placing, as the basis of the dialogues, of "the faith and tradition of the ancient Church and the Seven Ecumenical Councils," such that the subsequent history of the Orthodox Church appears to be somehow lacking or impaired,
  • an attempt by some to gain pan-Orthodox confirmation of the scandalous and totally unacceptable texts approved within the World Council of Churches,
  • and the unacceptable application of the term "church" to schisms and heresies.
Excerpts and full translations of the letters will be forthcoming.

Original Greek here.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Starting the successful OCF chapter

(AFR) - Bobby Maddex interviews Nathan Jekel, the President of the Penn State Harrisburg chapter of OCF, about how to create a successful and invested chapter of Orthodox Christian Fellowship.

Let us truly love the Bridegroom

Let us truly love the Bridegroom, O brethren,
and prepare our oil lamps to receive Him,
and let us shine with virtues and the Orthodox faith,
so that we may be prepared, like the sensible virgins,
and enter the wedding feast together with the Master.
For being God, the Bridegroom bestows on all a free gift,
the crown that will perish not.