I'll Come Speak

    I write and speak on all sorts of topics: ancient Christian spirituality and the Eastern Orthodox faith, the Jesus Prayer, marriage and family, the pro-life cause, cultural issues, and more. You can contact Cynthia Damaskos of the Orthodox Speakers Bureau if you’d like to bring me to an event. This Calendar will let you know when I’m in your neighborhood.

 

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Wednesday
Sep142016

Faces

Dr. Denis Mukwege is a doctor in Congo, where there is an epidemic of, a craze for, rape. All ages, all across the culture, there is a war of males against females. Dr. Mukwege tries to repair the damage done to little girls. Think twice before reading the article, because it’s heartbreaking.

 

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Friday
Aug192016

A Litany drawn from the Paraklesis Hymn

Roman Catholics have a beautiful litany to the Virgin Mary, and I thought I would create a similar one based on the many ways the Theotokos is addressed in Orthodox hymns. I soon found that there is far too much for only one litany! Here is the first, then, drawn entirely from the Paraklesis Hymn (also called the Little Supplicatory Canon) to the Theotokos. Hopefully there will be other litanies in time, drawn from other hymns. If you’d like to create some, send them to me at fmg@frederica.com.

You’ll find a more attractively-formatted version here. My idea was that you could print this out as a bookmark; it’s only 2” wide. (Admittedly a long bookmark at almost 10”.) I printed mine and then stuck the two columns back to back, and placed it in one of those “Self-sealing Laminating Pouches” you can buy at any office supply store.

A wink: the font I chose is called “Sitka.”

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Monday
Aug012016

Annual Dormition Fast Prayer Vigil to End Abortion

DAY ONE

O most merciful, all gracious and compassionate Lord Jesus Christ our Savior, Son of God: we entreat Thee, most gracious Master: look with compassion upon Thy children who have been condemned to death by the unjust judgment of men. And as Thou hast promised to bestow the heavenly kingdom on those born of water and the Spirit, and those who, in blamelessness of life, have been translated unto Thee; and Who said, “Suffer the little children to come unto me, for of such is the kingdom of heaven”—we humbly pray, according to Thy unfailing promise: Grant the inheritance of Thy kingdom to the multitude of spotless infants who have been cruelly murdered in the abortuaries of this land; for Thou art the resurrection and the life and the repose of all Thy servants and of these innocents, O Christ our God.

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Monday
Aug012016

Dormition Fast Prayer Vigil for the Victims of Abortion

[August 2015]

  DAY ONE

O most merciful, all gracious and compassionate Lord Jesus Christ our Savior, Son of God: we entreat Thee, most gracious Master: look with compassion upon Thy children who have been condemned to death by the unjust judgment of men. And as Thou hast promised to bestow the heavenly kingdom on them born of water and the Spirit, and who in blamelessness of life have been translated unto Thee; and Who said, “Suffer the little children to come unto me, for of such is the kingdom of heaven”—we humbly pray, according to Thy unfailing promise: Grant the inheritance of Thy kingdom to the multitude of spotless infants who have been cruelly murdered in the abortuaries of this land; for Thou art the resurrection and the life and the repose of all Thy servants and of these innocents, O Christ our God.

Turn the hearts of those who seek to destroy Thy little ones. We beseech Thee to pour forth Thy healing grace upon them, that they may be convicted in their hearts and turn from their evil ways. Remember all of them that kill our children as on the altars of Moloch, and render not unto them according to their deeds, but according to Thy great mercy convert them—the unbelieving to true faith and piety, and the believing that they may turn from evil and do good.

O Holy Master, Almighty Father and pre-eternal God, Who alone made and directs all things; Who rises up quickly against the evil of the impious ones; Who, by providence, teaches Thy people preservation of justice and the obliteration of evil on earth; Who condescends to raise up warriors for the protection of the people of God: we entreat Thee with compunction, that as Thou didst give David power to defeat Goliath, and as Thou didst condescend through Judas Maccabeus, to seize victory from the arrogant pagans who would not call on Thy Name; so too, grant protection to us, Thy servants against the enemies rising against us as we go forth to do spiritual battle against the evil one and those who do his will rather than Thine.

For Thou art a merciful God, and lovest mankind, and unto Thee do we ascribe glory, to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.

 

  DAY TWO

O Lord Jesus Christ, who at the sixth hour did shed Thy precious blood upon the cross for the salvation of all mankind, receive the souls of all the innocent unborn children who have been, are being, or will be slaughtered today in the hospitals and abortion chambers throughout our nation and across the world.

And as their untimely deaths have prevented them from receiving the grace of Holy Baptism, we entreat Thee to accept their innocent blood as baptism as Thou didst with the early martyrs.

To the doctors and nurses, parents and hosts of accomplices responsible for this infanticide, grant tears of repentance and amendment of life. Enable them to run to Thee for forgiveness and healing as have we and to avoid the eternal death of their own souls.

All things are possible with Thee, Lord God Almighty and therefore we entreat Thee on this day through Thy divine grace to bring an end to legalized abortion in our nation, to raise up judges and attorneys who will defend Thy holy laws.

We ask that by Thy mercy Thou wouldst convince mothers to cancel their abortions, to accept from Thy hands the gift of children in faith.

We ask that Thou wouldst persuade the doctors and nurses who are participating in these acts to repent of their actions and to resolve not to kill children in the womb.

Receive our prayer, O Lord God, even though it is offered to Thee from sinful and unworthy servants and unite my entreaty with those of all our other brothers and sisters crying out today on behalf of the little ones, those who are being formed in the wombs of their mothers.

We offer to Thee most sincere thanks and true gratefulness that our mothers bore us, as troubled as we have been. We are grateful to be alive, merciful God, and to know Thee and to be given the kingdom and the promise of everlasting life.

Deliver us, and our land which we love from the shedding of innocent blood. Forgive us and heal us, save us, and receive our worship which we offer to Thee, to Thine Everlasting Father and Thy all Holy Good and Life Giving Spirit, now and ever and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

 

  DAY THREE

O Lord who watches over children in the present life and in the world to come because of their simplicity and innocence of mind, abundantly satisfying them with a place in Abraham’s bosom, bringing them to live in radiantly shining places where the spirits of the righteous dwell: receive in peace the souls of all infants whose lives have been taken while still within the womb by the cruel act of abortion, for You Yourself have said, “Let the little children come to Me, for such is the Kingdom of Heaven.” Amen.

 

  DAY FOUR

O Lord Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son, Who art in the bosom of the Father, True God, source of life and immortality, Light of Light, who came into the world to enlighten it, Thou wast pleased to be conceived in the womb of the Virgin Mary for the salvation of our souls, by the power of Thine All-Holy Spirit. O Master, Who came that we might have life more abundantly, we ask that Thou might enlighten the minds and hearts of those blinded to the truth that life begins at conception, and that the unborn in the womb are already adorned with Thine image and likeness; enable us to guard, cherish and protect the lives of all those who are unable to care for themselves. For Thou art the Bestower of Life, bringing each person from non-being into being, sealing each person with divine and infinite love. Be merciful, O Lord, to those who, through ignorance or willfulness, affront Thy divine goodness and providence through the evil act of abortion. May they, and all of us, come to the light of Thy Truth and glorify Thee, the Giver of Life, together with Thy Father and Thine All-Holy and Life-giving Spirit, now and ever, and unto ages of ages.

 

  DAY FIVE

Again we beg Thee, O Lord, to hear our prayer, and have mercy on Thy servants who strive to save the lives of Thine innocent children. In Thy grace and bounty, fulfill their petitions and forgive all their transgressions, whether voluntary or involuntary. Accept their sacrifice of praise upon Thy heavenly altar; protect them from every visible and invisible enemy; deliver them from all misery, sickness, and affliction; grant them health and length of days, we pray Thee, O Lord, hearken and have mercy.

Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.

 

  DAY SIX (Transfiguration)

O Lord, Who was transfigured on Mount Tabor, have mercy on us and receive our supplications. Save and protect the souls of the innocent children who are at risk of being aborted today. And as You illumined the night-time with the radiance of your Divine glory, illumine also the darkened hearts of the purveyors of the evil practice of abortion. As You opened the eyes of the apostles and enabled them to behold the truth of Your Divinity, allow abortion practicioners to see the error of their ways and guide them to Your truth. Grant that we all might recognize our depth of sin repent, and save us in Your mercy, for You alone lovest mankind. Amen.

 

  DAY SEVEN

O Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, the Only-begotten Son of the Father; Who took on our Human nature to restore its sanctity. Do Thou the same Lord, enlighten Thy people here present and throughout the world, with the knowledge that all life is a sacred gift from Thee, from the instant of conception, to the natural last breath. Dispel from our minds the subjective concept of quality of life, and implant the objective truth of its preciousness. When we consider abortion, remind us that Thou wast conceived and grew in Thy mother’s womb. When we consider euthanasia or assisted suicide, call to mind the leper, the paralytic, and Thy friend Lazarus, and how Thy great mercy and might were revealed through their suffering. When we consider the elderly, call to mind Simeon and Anna the Prophetess who proclaimed Thee to the world before the Forerunner; and Thy grandparents Joachim and Anna, who bore and reared Thy most pure mother, and instill in us the example of Ruth in her care of and humble service to her widowed mother-in-law Naomi. When we consider, criminals to be executed, call to mind not only the Wise Thief, but also that Thou wast executed though Thou wast beyond innocent. When confronted with the possibility of suicide, remind us of Judas, who by his hopeless and desperate act, forfeited the forgiveness given a repentant Peter, even after he had denied Thee to Thine accusers three times. As at the tower of Babel and in the wilderness of Sinai, have we Thy people lost sight of Thy Truth, but restore us in Thy mercy O Lord. Make us instruments of Thy Will, that by Thy loving example, we may lead our misguided brethren to Thee, unworthy as we are. Dispel also from us self-righteousness and narrow-mindedness like that of the Pharisees who challenged Thy good works; as well as over-zealousness and the urge to commit rash acts like Peter, who in attempting to preserve Thy life, endangered that of the chief priest’s servant. For Thou hast saved us, not by summoning twelve legions of angels, but by healing the ear of the chief priest’s servant and teaching and adjuring the people in love even from the Cross. Grant this, we entreat Thee, O Thou Who lovest mankind, for Thou alone art the Creator and Master of all, and to Thee do we ascribe glory, together with Thine unoriginate Father and Thine All-holy, good and life-creating Spirit, both now and ever and unto ages of ages.

 

  DAY EIGHT

Again we pray for mercy, life, peace, health, salvation, and visitation for the servants of God who strive to restore the knowledge that all Life is a sacred gift from Thee; and also for those who suffer from terminal illnesses and debilitating diseases, the elderly, the institutionalized, those incarcerated, and those being neglected, abused, maltreated, and abandoned by their supposed loved ones and care-givers; and for the pardon and remission of their sins.

Lord, have mercy. (3x)

Again we pray that Thou wilt kindle in our hearts the will to do good, to visit the sick, counsel the incarcerated, comfort the distraught, strengthen the faint-hearted, care for the elderly and infirm, support and aid those confronted with the possibility of euthanasia, assisted suicide, suicide or abortion; that we may show ourselves to be truly Thy disciples.

Lord, have mercy. (3x)

Again we pray for the repose of the souls of all those who have died unjustly: those neglected, abused, maltreated, and abandoned by their supposed loved ones and care-givers; those innocent ones unjustly executed; the victims of euthanasia, assisted suicide, abortion; and all victims of violence; and for the pardon and remission of their sins.

Lord, have mercy. (3x)

 

  DAY NINE

“For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made” ~ Psalm 139:13, 14

O Christ our God, most compassionate and merciful Lover of Man, the Author and Creator of Life, we praise and thank You for Your Gift of Sacred Life. You have fearfully and wonderfully created man in Your image and likeness, and You know each human life conceived in the womb.

We implore You to enlighten those who are darkened by error and the evil one to protect and treat all life as sacred inside and outside the womb, with respect, dignity and compassion. Grant forgiveness and healing to all who have participated in the taking of innocent life. Rest the souls of those who have innocently perished through violent acts. Grant divine wisdom, guidance and protection to all who strive to protect innocent life.

Through the intercessions of the All Pure Theotokos, who contained You, the Uncontainable, and through the prayers of Your holy Apostles, radiant Martyrs, our holy and God-bearing Fathers and all the Saints, have mercy on us. To You be all praise, thanksgiving and glory together with Your eternal Father and Your all-Holy, good and life-giving Spirit, now and always, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

 

  DAY TEN

“O most merciful, all gracious and compassionate Lord Jesus Christ our Savior, Son of God: we entreat Thee, most gracious Master: look with compassion upon Thy children who have been condemned to death by the unjust judgment of men. And as Thou hast promised to bestow the heavenly kingdom on them born of water and the Spirit, and who in blamelessness of life have been translated unto Thee; and Who said, “Suffer the little children to come unto me, for of such is the kingdom of heaven”—we humbly pray, according to Thy unfailing promise: Grant the inheritance of Thy kingdom to the multitude of spotless infants who have been cruelly murdered in the abortuaries of this land; for Thou art the resurrection and the life and the repose of all Thy servants and of these innocents, O Christ our God.

Turn the hearts of those who seek to destroy Thy little ones. We beseech Thee to pour forth Thy healing grace upon them, that they may be convicted in their hearts and turn from their evil ways. Remember all of them that kill our children as on the altars of Moloch, and render not unto them according to their deeds, but according to Thy great mercy convert them—the unbelieving to true faith and piety, and the believing that they may turn from evil and do good.

O Holy Master, Almighty Father and pre-eternal God, Who alone made and directs all things; Who rises up quickly against the evil of the impious ones; Who, by providence, teaches Thy people preservation of justice and the obliteration of evil on earth; Who condescends to raise up warriors for the protection of the people of God: we entreat Thee with compunction, that as Thou didst give David power to defeat Goliath, and as Thou didst condescend through Judas Maccabeus, to seize victory from the arrogant pagans who would not call on Thy Name; so too, grant protection to us, Thy servants against the enemies rising against us as we go forth to do spiritual battle against the evil one and those who do his will rather than Thine.

For Thou art a merciful God, and lovest mankind, and unto Thee do we ascribe glory, to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.”

 

  DAY ELEVEN

O Lord who watches over children in the present life and in the world to come because of their simplicity and innocence of mind, abundantly satisfying them with a place in Abraham’s bosom, bringing them to live in radiantly shining places where the spirits of the righteous dwell: receive in peace the souls of all infants whose lives have been taken while still within the womb by the cruel act of abortion, for You Yourself have said, “Let the little children come to Me, for such is the Kingdom of Heaven.” Amen

 

  DAY TWELVE

O Lord Jesus Christ, who at the sixth hour did shed Thy precious blood upon the cross for the salvation of all mankind, receive the souls of all the innocent unborn children who have been, are being or will be slaughtered today in the hospitals and abortion chambers throughout our nation and across the world.

And as their untimely deaths have prevented them from receiving the grace of Holy Baptism, we entreat Thee to accept their innocent blood as baptism as Thou didst with the early martyrs.

To the doctors and nurses, parents and hosts of accomplices responsible for this infanticide, grant tears of repentance and amendment of life. Enable them to run to Thee for forgiveness and healing as have we and to avoid the eternal death of their own souls.

All things are possible with Thee, Lord God Almighty and therefore we entreat Thee on this day through Thy divine grace to bring an end to legalized abortion in our nation, to raise up judges and attorneys who will defend Thy holy laws.

We ask that by Thy mercy Thou wouldst convince mothers to cancel their abortions, to accept from Thy hands the gift of children in faith.

We ask that Thou wouldst persuade the doctors and nurses who are participating in these acts to repent of their actions and to resolve not to kill children in the womb.

Receive our prayer, O Lord God, even though it is offered to Thee from sinful and unworthy servants and unite my entreaty with those of all our other brothers and sisters crying out today on behalf of the little ones, those who are being formed in the wombs of their mothers.

We offer to Thee most sincere thanks and true gratefulness that our mothers bore us as troubled as we have been. We are grateful to be alive, merciful God, and to know Thee and to be given the kingdom and the promise of everlasting life.

Deliver us and our land which we love from the shedding of innocent blood. Forgive us and heal us, save us, and receive our worship which we offer to Thee, to Thine Everlasting Father and Thy all Holy Good and Life Giving Spirit, now and ever and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

Wednesday
Jun082016

The High and Holy Calling of Being a Wife

Like elementary school students, writers are regularly asked to supply an essay to fit an assigned title. When I learned that the title of this essay would be “The High and Holy Calling of Being a Wife,” I did what any sensible person would do: I tried to get out of it.

My husband and I celebrated our 40th anniversary last spring, so I have extensive experience in being a wife. But whatever I’ve been doing around here for the last 40 years, “high” and “holy” aren’t terms that immediately spring to mind. For most of us, married life is something we make up as we go along. We learn some deep truths along the way, but usually immediately after it would have been really useful to have known said truth. Whatever height or holiness might have resulted would be entirely the Lord’s doing, not our own.

 

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Sunday
May222016

The Efficient Men of Gennesaret

What’s surprising is how efficient these men are. First, they recognized Jesus. Then they immediately sent alerts “into the whole region around,” putting out the word far and wide.  “Jesus just showed up, so if you want to be healed, get over here!” They gathered all (pantas) those who had any illness; they reached the largest number of sick and suffering as quickly as they could. Everyone was informed and invited.

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Saturday
May072016

Tsar Nicholas Enjoyed the Wedding Very Much

Princess Alice’s aunts were St. Elizabeth the New Martyr and Tsarina St. Alexandra the New Martyr, so it’s no surprise that Tsar Nicholas II attended her 1905 wedding. This anecdote shows a completely different side to his personality—funloving, carefree—which is consoling to hear.

 

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Thursday
Apr282016

The Good Thief

What was it like for the Good Thief, after Jesus died? He was left alone on his cross in terrible pain, and the one he put all his hopes in was gone, unmistakably dead. Jesus had not come into his kingdom after all.

No matter how bleak your faith has become at times, it can’t have been worse than that.

I expect we all love the Good Thief. His name is not certain; Russians call him St. Rakh, and to the Copts (and in the West) he is St. Dimas.

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Wednesday
Apr272016

The Hymn of Cassiane

In the first three days of Holy Week, Orthodox Christians have a series of three Matins services called “Bridegroom Matins.” We sing:

I behold Thy bridal chamber richly adorned, O my Savior,
But I have no wedding garment to worthily enter.
Make radiant the garment of my soul,
O Giver of Light, and save me.

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Saturday
Apr092016

Repentance and Faithfulness (Wilberforce Wknd)

In this session we’ll be hearing a lot about persecution, and I was asked to lead off by talking about repentance—which might sound irrelevant. Don’t we have enough to worry about already?

But the connection is this. If our faith is going to be increasingly mocked and rejected, it will negatively affect our ability to speak in the public square. What we say will be distorted or ridiculed. Communication will be difficult. So we’ll need to put more emphasis on connecting one to one, person to person. Not just learning how to talk cleverly about our faith, but actually living it in ways that other people can see. The early Christians did this during the Roman persecution; they lived in ways different from their neighbors, and the church grew. Like them, we’re going to need to let the light of Christ within us shine out.

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