Showing posts from 2007

Akathist of Thanksgiving

Many Orthodox parishes around the country will use this recent prayer service during the celebration of American Thanksgiving. This is a beautiful service of prayer that was penned only recently (1940's).

The following is an account of its author (Hieromartyr Gregory Petroff) and composition:

"The Archpriest Gregory Petroff was a man who lived and died under this madness.How can we understand the senseless cruelty and slaughter that took place in Communist Russia?We can only by faith in God’s eternal and saving providence.“Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.If they persecuted me, they will persecute you’” (John 15:20).It is said that Fr. Gregory was murdered while in a prison camp, but not before he was able to pen the poignant AKATHIST OF THANKSGIVING, giving to the Church and to the world light from great darkness, reminding us that even in the midst of frightful suffering true Christian conviction and courage are unconquerable.We…

OT Sacrifices: The Meal & Peace Offering

Thoughts on Sacrifice and Sacraments/Mysteries:

One of the things that I have mentioned is that all the sacrifices represent ultimately the sacrifice of Christ on the Cross. Everything in Scripture points to the cross. The OT was preparation for the Cross, and the NT explains the Cross.

We have talked about how we enter the sacrifice of Christ through the Eucharist. However, this is the basis for all sacraments or mysteries. All sacramental acts are us participating in the Cross or the Sacrifice of Christ.

Eg, Baptism, Confession, Marriage, etc. Not just the standard Sacraments but all sacramental activities such as prayer, veneration of icons, almsgiving, fasting.

Grain or Drink Offering:

Lev. 2

- usually accompanied other sacrifices (peace or burnt)

- 1. fine flour (priest would take and mix with oil, incense and salt and place on top of whatever other sacrifice was being offered) 2. baked cakes (flat bread mixed with oil, salt, & incense) 3. boiled as a dumpling (w/ salt, oil, & i…

Orthodoxy in Indonesia

The link to this article originally came from Fr. Stephen Freeman at Glory to God for All Things:

Incarnational Approach to Orthodoxy in Indonesia
An Interview with Fr.Dionysios (Rm.Dionisius Surya Halim)and his presbytera Artemia Rita:
Orthodoxy was first established in Indonesia in Batavia, Java as a parish of the Harbin Diocese in accordance with the Ukase of the Harbin Diocesan Council of November 23, 1934, № 1559. In the late 1940's, the parish was under the omophorion of Archbishop Tikhon of San Francisco. Unfortunately, after the Dutch relinquish their powers to the local leadership, many of the Russian parishioners have already fled during this period of civil unrest, and eventually the parish closed in the early 1950s, when its rector Fr Vasily immigrated to the USA. The following is an online interview conducted by with Fr.Dionysios (and his wife Presbytera Artemia Rita), one of the six newly ordained priests in Indonesia.

Archimandrite Daniel The reb…

OT Sacrifices: Whole Burnt Offering

The Major Sacrifices of the OT:

Whole Burnt Offering
Grain Offering (also the Drink Offering)
Peace Offering
Sin Offering
Trespass Offering

A couple words on sacrifice:

The sacrifice of Christ on the cross is multi-dimensional. There is not one image that can fully display all that happened. Because of this there were multiple sacrifices given in the OT in order to picture the content of the sacrifice of Christ.

The sacrifice of Christ is the ultimate expression of Christ's self-emptying love. The extent of this love demonstrates for man the life of the Trinity ("if you have seen Me, you have seen the Father").

Just as the tabernacle is a picture of what is happening in heaven. We also have a sacrifice for us that is going on for us in heaven eternally. Jesus is eternally offering His perfect sacrifice to the Father on our behalf.

The Greek for offering is “anaphora”. In the Liturgy we are joining into the one eternal sacrifice that Christ made to the Father on the cross.

Whole Bu…

The Tabernacle - part 2

The previous entry discussed the Tabernacle up to the Holy of Holies. The next piece will discuss the Altar of Incense and the Holy of Holies.

Altar of Incense: This is considered part of the Holy of Holies even though technically not in there. For example, in the NT we see Zachariah (John the Baptist’s father) at the altar of incense making the daily offering. This is where God spoke to him through an angel about the birth of John. What were the people doing while he was offering the incense? Praying.

- 3ft high
- was gold and just like the bronze altar it had four horns on the four corners
- the priest were to burn incense every morning and evening
- the incense was made of 4 spices and was considered holy and the people could not use the formula for anything else. Lev 10:1; Num 16ff
- symbol of the prayers and praises of the people of God
- Ps. 141 - “let my prayer arise as incense before Thee, and let the lifting up of my hands be an evening sacrifice.”
- Mal 1:1; Rev. 8:3
- this …

Orthodoxy for UK fans

For those outside the Bluegrass, UK means University of Kentucky, not the United Kingdom. Being a red-blooded Cardinal (U of Louisville), it is difficult to type something so complimentary of Big Blue Nation. However, within the hallowed halls in Lexington there lies a philosophy professor that is upholding the banner of Orthodoxy. If you have not made yourself familiar with the writings and thoughts of Dr. David Bradshaw, you have missed out on one who speaks clearly and succinctly about the "faith once delivered to the saints". I have yet to meet the man, so I can not speak of his character, but those I respect speak highly of him.

He most recently gave a lecture at the Chrysostom 1600 Anniversary lectures that I heard was fabulous. He spoke about Chrysostom's views on grace and free will. Hopefully Ancient Faith Radio was there to record and publish the lectures.

He has written a book on Aristotle that seems to be a must read for religion and philosophy geeks: Aristotle…

The Tabernacle - part 1

The Tabernacle:


The tabernacle was a mobile place of worship that God instructed Moses to build for the people of Israel. The word tabernacle means tent of meeting. This is the place where the people met with God. (Ex. 29:45-46) "They will know that I am the Lord their God who brought them out of Egypt." The important piece to remember is Moses was instructed to build something reflective of the heavenly worship of God. It was a physical earthly representation of the worship of God in heaven. Today we have the same concern for worship. Just because much of the contents of the tabernacle/temple were fulfilled in Christ, it does not negate the pattern mirroring heavenly images. We do not create our own structure or plan for worship but continue to join in eternal worship in heaven. Orthodox churches are still today modeled after the OT temple, and continue to reflect "heavenly worship". Rev 11:19

Jesus is the tent of meeting, and is where we meet God…

Getting Saved in the Church

If you have not found Fr. Stephen Freeman's blog yet, then you are missing out on one of the most edifying blogs. Yesterday, he posted an excellent article on "getting saved". Here's a link to the article and don't forget to added it to your favorites:

"Getting Saved in the Church"

Leviticus - Introduction

For the next 7-8 weeks we will be studying through Leviticus. Actually it will a study of the OT Liturgical system, so we will include portions of Exodus and many NT passages such as Hebrews.

As a way of introduction let me review the 4 major ways that the Church Fathers read the OT (as well as all of Scripture).

-Ultimately we understand the OT through the person of Jesus. The story of the two disciples on the road to Emmaus is a good paradigm for this. Two disciples unknowingly met Jesus along the road, and Jesus it is said went through Moses and the prophets and revealed Himself (but they did not recognize Him until the breaking of bread).

4 Senses of Scripture
-compiled by John Cassian (360-435)
1. Literal Sense: this is just the plain, historical sense.
2. Typological/Allegorical: The is similar to the foreshadowing that one sees in liturgy. However, in Scripture a real historical event becomes a type or shadow of what is to be fulfilled in Christ. The beauty of this that a historical …

Theosis resources

I know it's a strange title. If you read the previous post on theosis, then you know that the only resources are the tools the God has provided through the Church. However, if you are new to Orthodoxy many of the concepts are different than in other forms of Western Christianity. Many forms of Western Christianity view God in a legal sense. He is a divine judge that has been offended and whose wrath needs to be assuaged through some type of punishment. The Church becomes a court room. Yet in Orthodoxy, the metaphors are more medical than legal. The Church is a hospital through which a loving God heals the cancer of our sins so that we might share in His life. Grace is not an object that provides or an attitude, but His very life that He bestows. Yes, I know that these are generalizations, but it can be useful to understanding the differences.

Here are some print & audio resources that I have found helpful:

Clark Carlton, The Truth

Clark Carlton, The Life

Conciliar Press b…

The Remarkable journeys of St. Andrew

I love history, and when it relates to the Church and her saints it is even better. Here's a link I found about an article in the Orthodox journal "Road to Emmaus" about St. Andrew the first-called.

The author spent several years researching all the local traditions regarding visits by St. Andrew. He then compiled and harmonized them into a full chronology of his missionary journeys. It is truly amazing. Andrew took serious Jesus command to preach to the "ends of the earth".

I always assumed St. John was the last of the apostles to die because he was the only one who died of natural causes. Yet, this author maintains that St. Andrew actually died several years letter as martyr by the Roman authorities. He estimates that Andrew was 85-95 yrs old. See below and read how he brought the Gospel from Ethiopia to Scandinavia.
Check out this link: St. Andrew

St. Andrew's feast day is June 30th.

Troparion - Tone 4

First-enthroned of the apostles,
teachers of …


Theosis is an essential concept in understanding salvation in the Orthodox Church. Sometimes Orthodox literature will refer to theosis as divinization or deification. It simply means to become like God. This concept is explicitly expressed in the Biblical passage of 2 Peter 1:4. This passage illumines and summarizes theosis as the process whereby man may become partakers of the divine nature. Much has been said by the Fathers in regards to this passage and the doctrine of theosis. This essay will discuss the definition of theosis; in what sense does man become a partaker of “the divine nature”; how the concept of synergia is a part of theosis; and the implications of theosis not only upon man but all creation. A discussion of salvation history will be necessary to fully understand the theological concepts as well.

The goal of the Christian is to become like God. Man was created for this purpose. In Gen. 1:26, “God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likenes…

FOURTH ANNUAL St. Michael Institute for Orthodox Studies

If you are in Louisville or within driving distance, St. Michael's has an upcoming conference.

FOURTH ANNUAL St. Michael Institute for Orthodox Studies
St. Michael the Archangel Orthodox Church
Louisville, Kentucky • September 21 - 22, 2007

An intimate treatment of the continuity of the Orthodox Faith passed from dislocated immigrants of the diaspora to their children and to converts in the New World who come to the Church as spiritual orphans.

SPEAKERS Old World/New World: The Legacy of Church Planting
V. Rev John Nehrebecki, pastor emeritus
Christ the Savior Orthodox Church, Paramus, NJ

New World/Old World: Inheritors of Church Planting
V. Rev. John Bethancourt, pastor
Holy Trinity Orthodox Church, Santa Fe, NM

Recipes for Humus & Homousius
V. Rev. Michael Laffoon, pastor
St. Mark Orthodox Church, Irvine, CA

From Seminary to Assignment
Fr. Justin Patterson, pastor
St. Athanasius Orthodox Church, Nicholasville, KY

Growing-Up in the Compan…

Why Don't Protestants Protest the Filioque?

Normally I reserve this blog to the posting of class notes from St. Michaels. However, we finished our year in June discussing a lot of apologetically issues. Because Orthodoxy is a minority Christian, it not unusual to get strange looks or questions when your religious affiliation comes up in the workplace or everyday life. As a result, we spent some time discussing ways to talk about the faith that is understandable to those with no knowledge of Orthodoxy.

I ran into a blog post that brought up a question that surprises me. Why don't Protestants protest the filioque? This was not a front-burner issue for me in coming to Orthodoxy, however, it did play into my decision to go toward Rome or Constantinople. Now this would be a tough discussion to have with the average lay-person, most people would not know what this little addition to the creed would do to their theology. Though this is a great question for those with more academic backgrounds.

This addition to the creed is held fast…

Philemon part 2

III.Request of Reconciliation.A.Appeal of Love not Authority.8Therefore, though I might be very bold in Christ to command you what is fitting, 9yet for love's sake I rather appeal to you--being such a one as Paul, the aged, and now also a prisoner of Jesus Christ—- Because of Paul’s apostolic authority he could have commanded him to receive Onesimus back.However, he appealed out of love to receive him back.B.Receive Onesimus. 10I appeal to you for my son Onesimus, whom I have begotten while in my chains, 11who once was useless to you, but now is useful to you and to me. 12I am sending him back. You therefore receive him, that is, my own heart, 13whom I wished to keep with me, that on your behalf he might minister to me in my chains for the gospel. There could be a play on words here in order to lighten up the seriousness of the letter.Onesimus meant useful. “begotten while in my chains” Paul converted Onesimus, and possibly baptized him.“my own heart” Paul shows his love he develo…

Philemon part 1

Summary:Onesimus was a household slave of Philemon, and ran away.If you are a runaway slave in the 1st century where would you go to hide?Rome.It’s easier to become anonymous in a big city (1 million people in the first century).However, in some providential coincidence Onesimus runs into Paul.We can only guess how this may have happened.Perhaps he felt guilty over his actions, and he had heard of Paul and knew of his connection to his master.Whatever the case, Onesimus meets Paul and apparently converts to the Christian faith as a result.He then becomes a great consolation to Paul and begins to minister him while in prison.Paul feels the need to reconcile Onesimus and Philemon.Philemon was part of his responsibility as an apostle and he could not ignore this event.So Paul crafts a letter of reconciliation to be sent along with Onesimus and others when he sends his other prison letters throughout the Mediterranean.I.Introduction1 PAUL, a prisoner of Christ Jesus, and Timothy our broth…