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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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Entries in Orthodoxy (127)

Saturday
Dec222001

Father Arseny

[Los Angeles Times, December 22, 2001] 

Father Arseny: Priest, Prisoner, Spiritual Father (St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 1997)
Father Arseny: A Cloud of Witnesses (St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 2001)
translated by Vera Bouteneff

 Orthodox Christians like to tell each other that their church is the “best kept secret”

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Sunday
Dec092001

Understanding the Orthodox

[Catholic Digest, December 2001] 

Good Friday evening--time to head home for a lenten dinner and prepare for the glorious Easter weekend. But as you stop at a light you notice that something is going on at the church on the corner.

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Monday
Oct082001

Why Did This Happen?

[Touchstone, October 2001]

On the day after the tragedy I drove through Washington, surprised to find it uncongested and tranquil. I drove past the battered Pentagon, where cars crept along the interstate at a few miles an hour as people craned their necks to see and comprehend our national wound. A few miles further, down among the suburban office towers, is a tiny old white clapboard church.

I stepped inside the cool interior, which was dimly lit and covered on walls and ceiling with paintings of Christ and the Apostles, of biblical figures and heroes from long ago. I took a seat to wait for my spiritual father and looked around. I saw faces of men and women who had known suffering, much more severe than what I had ever experienced, even as rocked as I felt just then. They stood serene around the walls, many holding symbols of victory.

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Sunday
Sep162001

How Can God Permit Suffering?

[Beliefnet, September 16, 2001]

When it hits home, we reel back. Thoughts explode in confusion: I trusted God, where is he? If he's all-powerful, why didn't he stop it? Maybe he doesn't love us. Maybe he is punishing us. Maybe he is weak. Are we really so alone and endangered? Can we not trust him? Are we so terrifyingly alone?

Suffering on this scale is new to us. But it is not new to the weary human race, and countless men and women before us have tried to understand God's presence in times of horror.

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Tuesday
Aug142001

My Journey to Orthodoxy

[Woman Alive, August 2001] 

 It is strange that I would be here. I look up toward the vaulted ceiling of our little stone church and see the drifting smoke of incense. Its fragrance mingles with the drowsy honey-scent of beeswax candles. Those tips of flame illuminate ancient faces on painted icons, faces that convey a serious and heroic faith. As my husband passes in the offertory procession, chanting intercessions,

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Thursday
Mar012001

The Joy of Filboid Studge

[Beliefnet, March 4, 2001]

A person can only hope to accomplish so much in a lifetime, and of course many of the better discoveries (fire, the wheel, the home Jeopardy game) have already been taken. But I can rest easier now that my own contribution to mankind has been perfected. I have discovered the moral equivalent of oatmeal.

It goes like this. You know that eating oatmeal is the most noble act a human can perform in the course of food consumption. It’s the right thing to do, as some wise man (Copernicus?) once said. This is because, face it, oatmeal is not very appealing. Once in a bowl, it transitions quickly from homey to homely, and in bright morning light is a soggy, depressing mess. What better sight to thrill our sense of duty?

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Thursday
Jul132000

Proselytizing in Orthodox Lands

[Beliefnet, July 13, 2000[
Is it right to proselytize?

Already it’s a loaded question. “Proselytism” has about as many appealing connotations as “root canal.” It’s more pointed than “evangelism,” which means exposition of the Gospel to any and everyone, particularly those of no faith at all. Proselytizing implies undermining an existing faith in order to clear ground for a new one.

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Friday
Apr142000

Trusting Tradition

[Touchstone, April 2000] 

My young nephew Thomas had been attending an Orthodox church with his dad for several months, and must have been impressed by an exclamation the priest makes at the turning point of the service. When the scripture readings and sermon are concluded, the priest says, "The doors! The doors! In wisdom, let us attend!"

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Monday
Mar202000

Forgiveness Vespers

Updated on Saturday, March 23, 2002 by Registered CommenterFrederica

[Beliefnet, March 20, 2000]

On Sunday night I am going to have to apologize to someone. I am going to have to apologize to about a hundred people, in fact--one at a time, face to face. I'm looking forward to it.

For Orthodox Christians, Lent begins differently than it does for Protestants and Catholics. The observance of Ash Wednesday is dramatic and beautiful, but is not in the Eastern tradition. For us, Lent comes in gradually over a period of weeks, like a cello line subtly weaving itself into our lives.

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Monday
Sep131999

From Agnostic to Christian


A little church on Sunday morning is a negligible thing. It may be the meekest, and least conspicuous, thing in America. Someone zipping between Baltimore's airport and beltway might pass this one, a little stone church drowsing like a hen at the corner of Maple and Camp Meade Road. At dawn all is silent, except for the click every thirty seconds as the oblivious traffic light rotates through its cycle. The building's bell tower out of proportion, too large and squat and short to match. Other than that, there's nothing much to catch the eye.

In a few hours heaven will strike earth like lightning on this spot. The worshipers in this little building will be swept into a divine worship that proceeds eternally, grand with seraphim and incense and God enthroned, "high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple" (Isaiah 6:1). The foundations of that temple shake with the voice of angels calling "Holy" to each other, and we will be there, lifting fallible voices in the refrain, an outpost of eternity.

If this is true, it is the most astonishing thing that will happen in our city today.

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