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Saving Medicine for the Whole Church

In Russia a reader chants the hours in front of the iconostasis (screen in front of the altar)

What you are listening to: Богородице Дево, радуйся, the Hail Mary in Slavonic (liturgical Russian), by Father Deacon Z. Trubachyov

Introduction Explaining Eastern Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism to each other

Christendom lives

Left: The author venerates a relic at an Orthodox church:
Mediæval Christendom lives.

‘Keep us in thy holiness so that all the day long we may live according to thy truth.’LTHOUGH the Schism between East and West was tragic and probably preventable, it seems that God providentially has spared the Eastern Churches, including the Byzantine Rite ones of the Orthodox tradition and communion, from many of the mistakes and their consequences that have beset the West, from Eucharistic heresies (from Berengarius to the Protestants – there never have been any heresies about the Blessed Sacrament in the East) and the rise of ‘man-centred’ rationalism to its fruits, from the Renaissance (revival of pagan thought) and the rise of private judgement (resulting in the Protestant heresies or ‘Reformation’) to their logical results, ‘Enlightenment’ deism and today’s secular humanism. Might there be some cracks in the foundation of Western thought that caused these problems? Fr Seraphim (Rose) (1934-1982), an Orthodox monk, explained much of this in his writings. While one may not necessarily criticise Latin Christianity as harshly as many Orthodox (perpetuating the Schism), it seems that the living, sanctifying tradition of Orthodoxy offers the healing medicine the West needs to restore it: a holistic view of Tradition including liturgy, icons and a strong monastic life. (As good as the Roman Mass but with a mystical ‘kick’ all its own.)

The East views the Bible, ecumenical councils, liturgy and icons as integral parts of an indivisible whole, Holy Tradition. Thus liturgy and iconography, for example, are not seen as only teaching tools or worse, ‘decoration’ that can be thrown away. Rather, they are sacramental POINTS OF CONTACT between God and man, made directly possible through God the Son’s becoming man. An Eastern church has been described as ‘heaven on earth’, and that is exactly what it is: a place where heaven and earth meet.


For Russian speakers

Fr Niphon at prayer in his cell, Mt Athos, Greece, 1982, from a National Geographic photo Дорогие друзья!

Добро пожаловать!

Есть Бог, Единосущний в Трех Ипостасех, и Иисус Христос Бог. Он сказал, “аз (я) с вами есмь во вся дни, до скончания века: аминь.” (Мат. 28.20) Поэтому, основал Кафолическую (соборную, для всех людей) Церковь с специальным служением апостолов и их преемников, чтобы увековечить Его присутствие с нами в тайнствах и быть Его безошибочным голосом к миру.

Церковь старшее чем Нового Завета (компилуемый епископами в Соборе Картаг, в 397 г.), и Символ Веры (“Верую”), написано Церковью, тоже старшее чем этой книги.

Эта веб-страница — мой подарок вам, чтобы преподавать о вашей родной религиозной традиции византийского обряда. Возможно, что список ссылк не необходим сегодня в эпохе Гугла или Яндекса, но я надеюсь, что наслаждайтеся этим участком и находите это полезным.

Мир вам!

‘O strange Orthodox Church, so poor and so weak, at the same time so traditional and yet so free, so archaic and yet so alive, so ritualistic and yet so personally mystical, Church where the pearl of great price of the Gospel is preciously preserved, sometimes beneath a layer of dust — Church that has so often proved incapable of action, yet which knows, as no other, how to sing the joy of Easter.’

– Fr Lev (Gillet), ‘A Monk of the Eastern Church’


There’s something about Mary
What Eastern Orthodoxy believes

Our Lady of Kazan’: I have a copy like this

The one Eastern Orthodox dogma about Our Lady is the teaching of the Council of Ephesus that she is the Mother of God, giving birth to true God and true man united in the person (hypostasis) of Christ. Also mentioned at one of the councils, Chalcedon, but not as a dogma with an anathema attached for rejecting it, is the belief that she is ever-virgin (that she gave birth to Christ but never had sex and never had any other children). Orthodox believe she is sinless/immaculate but don’t explain how, and also believe she died (falling asleep or dormition) but that her body was taken up into heaven afterwards (her bodily Assumption). And finally, like all the saints, she prays for us and we can ask her prayers. Jesus saves; Mary prays.
Christianity in the East venerates Mary with the same profound fervour as in the West. This is true of both Catholics of the Eastern rites and Christians not united with Rome, commonly called the Greek Orthodox. ‘The Cult of Mary… has its strongest roots in the early church of the east. The great Marian feast days derive from the eastern liturgies. The Greek fathers produced the first literary documents of Marian devotion. From Eastern artists came the most ancient treasures venerated in Roman shrines.’ From the popular cult of the east came the custom of keeping a picture of Mary in Catholic homes. Mary’s first recorded apparition was to St Gregory of Nazianzen. Her first popular shrines were in Caesarea, Edessa, Lydda and Mount Athos... This cult of Mary remains strong today… among the [Orthodox] churches. (America, National Catholic Weekly Review).
— Zsolt Aradi, ‘Our Lady in Russia’, Shrines to Our Lady, pages 201-209, Farrar, Straus and Young, 1954


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Fr Nicholas, hegumen (abbot) of Holy Resurrection Monastery, Newberry Springs, California
Russian 3-bar crucifix: click for an explanation


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Конец и Богу слава: The end, and to God be the glory.

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