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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)

Sunday
Nov222009

Remembering Fr. George Calciu

[Holy Cross Orthodox Church; November 22, 2009]

This weekend we are remembering the repose of Fr. George Calciu, who died on November 21, 2006, just two days before 81st birthday. He died of pancreatic cancer, a fast-moving and painful cancer, and had barely survived long enough to complete one last trip to his homeland, Romania.

 The news reached us on a Sunday evening that he had taken a turn for the worse. Father Gregory and I were hosting a gathering for Orthodox young people at our home that night, but I left our guests and went with Chris Vladimir to the hospital.

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Sunday
Nov152009

Sin as Pollution and Forgiveness Vespers

[Ancient Faith Radio; April 8, 2008]

Well, another Forgiveness Vespers has arrived, and challenged us in many ways, not least challenging those muscles that run up the back of our legs, with all the making metanias, and certainly brought forth some tears and a lot of hugs, and a profound sense of being bonded with the other people in our church.  At Holy Cross, we have about—I guess on a Sunday morning we see a hundred to a hundred thirty people.  There’s some variation; people travel and visitors show up.  But at Forgiveness Vespers, we usually have around a hundred people there.

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Thursday
Dec042008

The Voice Beneath the Altar

[from A Faith and Culture Devotional, Zondervan, 2008]

When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the witness they had borne; they cried out with a loud voice, “O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before thou wilt judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell upon the earth?”( Revelation 6:9-10)

During the first centuries of Christianity, the church was battered within and without. Pseudo-Christians distorted the faith and misled the faithful, while the powerful Roman Empire persecuted Christians with torture and death. When local church members were able to gather the remains of their fellow-believers (often, this was forbidden), they lovingly interred these broken bodies beneath their altars, a reminder that the blessed departed are invisibly present to join us in worship. St. John writes that, in his vision, he heard the voice of the martyrs crying out from under the altar.

 

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Wednesday
Dec032008

Growing a Parish

[Ancient Faith Radio; December 3, 2008]

 

FMG: Today I am at St. Justin Martyr OCA Church in Jacksonville, Florida, just south of Jacksonville, in the area of Mandarin. My family has owned a small farm here since 1880 or so; it’s been in the family, or with the in-laws of the family, since then. I came down to visit my sister, Dorothy, who’s a member of this church, and to visit my mother, who’s in a nursing home here, and now I’m talking to one of my favorite priests, Fr. Ted Pisarchuk. “Ball of fire” is what they call him behind his back, because he’s always up to something. You especially have a love of missions. Were you the founding pastor of St. Justin Martyr?

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Thursday
Nov272008

The Liturgy of St. James

[Ancient Faith Radio; November 27, 2008]

FMG: I’m in a crowded and noisy banquet room here. This is the annual banquet for St. John Chrysostom Antiochian Orthodox Church in York, PA. I’m sitting here at the banquet table, we’ve just finished our… this was really a good meal. This was some kind of terrific filet mignon, sliced, a little garlic, almonds on the green beans, it was delicious. And in this little space we have between when they bring out the dessert- I love these banquets- I would like to talk to Fr. Elias Yelovich. What is the name of your parish, Father?

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Wednesday
Nov192008

Why Converts to Orthodoxy are Obnoxious

[Beliefnet; November 19, 2008]

In 1993, over 15 years ago, I was chrismated and joined the Eastern Orthodox Church, but only lately has it dawned on me that I must have strained friendships over the years, due to my vocal enthusiasm for my adopted church. I can’t be the only one to have done this. Converts to Orthodoxy usually precede their decision with voluminous reading and research, so their friends must endure agitated lectures on church history, ancient heresies, and what words mean in Greek. Those friends benefit, no doubt, from this opportunity to practice patience and long-suffering. But why is our kind so characteristically obnoxious?

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Wednesday
Nov192008

The Saints and Me

[Orthodox Outlook; Fall 2008]

I wrote my most recent book, “The Lost Gospel of Mary: The Mother of Jesus in Three Ancient Texts,” about the Theotokos, and the main reason was that I felt like I didn’t understand her very well. I recognized that other Christians feel very warmly toward her, but I always felt kind of scared of her. She looked so fierce, in her icons. (I underwent some teasing in an all-girl school when I was young, and maybe that had something to do with it.) I could look at the icon of Christ and see that he looked equally tough, and yet I could understand why, and knew that he loved me. I wasn’t sure that the Virgin Mary did. I hoped that by looking into the way that the earliest Christians saw the Virgin, I would myself learn a healthier perspective.

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Thursday
Oct232008

Why C. S. Lewis is So Irritating! Part 1

[Ancient Faith Radio, October 23, 2008]

Today’s podcast is going to be one that I expect will be a continuing topic here, “Why CS Lewis is just so irritating.”

Why CS Lewis *is* just so irritating is because, he already said everything. And he said it better than I’ll ever say it. I find when I read him that I’m simultaneously just delighted and thrilled because he’s just put it perfectly, and it’s such a wonderful, original thought, and it’s even a little deeper, and then I think, darn it, if I’d had enough time I could have come up with that! Curses! Foiled again! I just have to not read him, because I just get so frustrated, because he says everything, and he says it better and more concisely and more delightfully, easier to grasp, and all that. I think this is probably similar to the scientist who thinks, Darn it, if Einstein hadn’t said E=MC2, I would have thought of that! Just give me enough time!

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Thursday
Oct162008

God So Loved the World

[Ancient Faith Radio; October 16, 2008]

Frederica: Well, here I am. Today I am in the back seat of a Camry (so it feels very familiar- my husband has a Camry, too). This one is a 2000 Camry, ours is a 2004, and the driver is Fr. Ted Stylianopoulos, and lovely Presvytera Faye is sitting in the front seat with him. We are leaving their cabin in the gorgeous town of Alstead, New Hampshire, where the leaves are turning, and it just looks like the glory of God ablaze in the woods here. It’s something else. So we went on a walk through their woods this morning, and feel very invigorated, yet still a little bit out of breath. I’m not in great shape here. I was saying to Fr. Ted that I’d love to interview him for the podcast, as he’s such an expert in so many things. Perhaps the Scriptures, or how the Scriptures are interpreted, Orthodox spirituality, the state of the Church- let me start, Fr. Ted, by asking, how long have you been a priest?

Fr. Ted Stylianopoulos: I was ordained a deacon on a Saturday and a priest on a Sunday back in 1965. So it’s been something like forty years plus.

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Sunday
Oct122008

Transfiguration

[From The Good, the True, and the Beautiful, ed. Harry and Rebecca Poe, Chalice Press, St. Louis, 2008]


“We Will Be Like Him” (I John 3:2)

England can be delightful in early August, when the mornings are cool and the afternoons bright. At home, on America’s mid-Atlantic coast, it’s so hot and gummy that the dogs are sticking to the sidewalks. This is one of those rare patches of year when Americans might like to come to England for the weather.

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