…We recognize that the houses in which we live serve only as hostels on the road to eternal life. We do not seek peace or security from the material walls around us or the roof above our heads. Rather, we want to surround ourselves with a wall of divine grace; and we look upward to heaven as our roof. And the furniture of our lives should be good works, performed in a spirit of love.
awkwardbutaccurate said: “In theory, what would be the difference between venerating an icon and venerating a statue? Why would that make you uncomfortable? They’re merely two different types of artistic representations of a saint/Christ. Just curious.”
I am just not used to venerate statues, that’s why we both felt uncomfortable. Apart from that, statues are not regarded as suitable for veneration in the Orthodox Church (more see here and here). Statues are foreign to the Orthodox spirit and tradition.
I am sure that for Catholics veneration of the statues is something totally natural, but not for an Orthodox. I think maybe it depends from which side of the coin you see something.
God bless you my friend!
badwolfcomplexsaid: “Venerating a statue in that way is no different than venerating an icon, or a crucifix, and both traditions venerate crucifixes. The symbolism and creation of statues & icons may be different, but veneration of them serves a similar purpose.”
Hello Q :)
Again, I just explained why the statues are foreign to the Orthodox spirit and tradition and why we Orthodox don’t have statues.
But statues is a big part of Catholicism, something you do for years and natural for you.
Thanks for contribute to the discussion, God bless you!
I just mentioned that Catholics venerate (not worship) statues because in this Catholic monastery that I went as a tourist I saw a couple of people kissing the statues (the smaller ones, not the huge of Mary). I remember talking about this with a friend of mine that was with me and we told to each other that we felt a little uncomfortable because us Orthodox don’t have statues but only icons.
If we were not passionately inclined to money or to vainglory, then we would not fear death or poverty. We would not know enmity or hatred, and we would not suffer from the sorrows of ourselves or others.
Have you ever visited a Catholic church? What's your opinion on Catholic sacred art?
Yes, I have visited a Catholic monastery once as a tourist (outside Greece). I think it was beautiful! It was different from the Orthodox monasteries. It had statues of Jesus and Virgin Mary and it was ornately decorated, mostly with marble and gold. The Orthodox monasteries are usually smaller and more simple, some times wooden. But I liked this monastery!
On Catholic art, though it’s different from Byzantine Orthodox, it’s beautiful. We Orthodox don’t venerate statues, but I like to see them. I remember in this monastery a large statue of Mary, with beautiful colors and gold.
Today is the Akathist Hymn to the Most Holy Theotokos!
The Akathist to Theotokos is one of the most well-loved services of devotion in the Orthodox Church. The four previous Fridays we read the 4 Stasis of the Akathist, one at a time. Today the whole Akathist will be read. The four sections into which the Akathist is divided correspond to the themes of theAnnunciation,Nativity,Christ, and theTheotokos herself.
It will last more than 4 hours, and we will not sit at all (Akathist in Greek means “no sitting”).
May our Mother help us all to fast strictly during the 2 last weeks before the Holy Easter! (Remember, no meat, no dairies and in Wednesday and Friday not olive oil. During the Holy Week the fast becomes more strict.)
How horrible is the emptiness of soul brought on by a sinful life!
Unbearable is the torment from passionate, sinful thoughts and feelings, when they roil like worms in the soul, when they tear at the soul that has submitted to them, the soul that has been violated by them!
God’s pleasure lies in our being pure in the purity of our first creation. We make Him sad when we alter the image in which we were created, for the soul was created in the pure image of God. We have exhanged this purity for its opposite, for when the soul was first created it was able to look upon God in intimacy, but we have now strayed away from him and have worshiped the lusts of the world and the flesh.
- St. Isaac the Syrian, Homily on the Solitary Life, in “The Four Books,” 2, Arabic version.
There are billions miracle stories inside Orthodoxy, that have been performed either by God, by Virgin Mary or the Saints (that are the vessels of Holy Spirit). If we wholeheartedly believe in God and our heart is clear, we can see miracles by ourselves. So, whatever miracles I post here, they are not enough: even if I fill my blog with God’s miracles, it’s never enough.
A characteristic example that happens inside Orthodox Christianity is the Miracle of Holy Firethat is happening in Jerusalem every Orthodox Easter. It will happen in 2 weeks that is the Orthodox Easter. It’s not just a story, but a reality.
Virgin Mary has performed so many miracles to pious Orthodox people because we all love her and honor her very much.
Our inhuman enemy [the devil, in drawing a Christian to defilement] inspires the thought that God loves mankind, and that He quickly forgives this sin. But when we observe the guile of demons, then we see that after the commission of the sin, they suggest to us that God is a righteous and implacable Judge. The first they say in order to lead us to sin, the second, in order to weigh us down in despair.
Repentance leads us to resurrection. It is the fifth week of Great Lent, and soon it will be the Resurrection of Christ, Pascha. Pascha is not an earthly feast, it is a heavenly feast – and it is in heavenly fashion, through repentance, that we should prepare for it.
God gives His communion to all who love Him. Communion with God is life and light and sweetness with all the good things that He has. But those who of their own will forsake him he rewards with separation from Him, which they themselves have chosen. As separation from light is darkness, so also alienation from God is deprivation of all good things which He has. But the good things of God are eternal and without end, so that the loss of them is eternal and without end. Thus sinners shall be the cause of their own torments, just as the blind do not see the light, although it is shining on them.
Hi, I have a question about the Orthodox Church of America. I've gathered that they are doctrinally unified with the other churches, but that there is some controversy about them being a self-governing body. I have become interested in the Orthodox Church, as opposed to protestantism or Catholicism. I am also of German descent, and this does not leave me a clear choice in terms of a church. Can you say something about the legitimacy of the OCA, as well as what church an American should join?
It’s true that all the Orthodox Churches are doctrinally unified with the others. We are all Eastern Orthodox, as soon as we have the same doctrines and we stick to the traditions, no matter of the jurisdictions.
About OCA, it’s autocephaly was recognized by some Orthodox churches but either ignored or rejected by others. The autocephalous Orthodox churches that recognize the OCA as autocephalous are 5, among them theChurch of Russia, which granted the tomos of autocephaly.
The autocephalous churches which oppose the OCA’s autocephaly are the Church of Constantinople, the Church of Alexandria, the Church of Jerusalem, the Church of Cyprus, and the Church of Greece (in which I belong). However, these Churches recognize the OCA as a canonical church and their representatives concelebrate services with OCA clergy. Here you can find Responses to OCA autocephaly.
Some arguments in favor of OCA are that The OCA is the second largest in America (first is the Greek Orthodox Church, third is Antiochian), the OCA’s autocephaly promotes Orthodox unity in America etc. But the major argument against the autocephaly is that only the Ecumenical Patriarchate can recognize a church as an autocephalous.
To conclude, we are all Orthodox: no matter if the autocephaly OCA is recognized by all Churches, because we are in communion. The Ecumenical Patriarchate sees the OCA as merely an autonomous church of the Moscow Patriarchate, not an autocephalous church. But this does not affect their sacramental communion with one another.
So, your decision is yours: if you are interested in converting to Orthodoxy, OCA is a good choice. In addition, I really admire Metropolitan Jonah, the primate of OCA.
May God bless you and keep you!
Our good friend Caravanserai adds: “I may add that there is also in America - the Western Rite or Antiocian branch of Orthodoxy. For more information : antiochian.org/western… God bless !”
When someone is wronged in this life either by men or by demons, God does not worry, because the soul benefits as a result. Many times, however, we say that we are wronged, while in reality we are the ones causing the harm. We must be careful to distinguish the two.
Is is true that in Russian Orthodox faith a woman that gave birth is not allowed to enter the church before forty days?
First of all, all the Orthodox Churches have the same tradition and doctrines, no matter if they are Russian, Greek, Romanian, Serbian, Antiochian etc. So whatever tradition has one church, it is the same for all! :)
On the fortieth day after birth, the mother and child are invited to the church temple for a prayer service to reunite the mother and unite the child to the faith community. This practice is also based on the ancient Jewish rite and experienced by Jesus and His mother, Mary (recorded in Luke 2:22-40). Ages ago it took nearly six weeks for a mother to recover from giving birth. This time was also spent bonding with the newborn child. Mother and child did not travel outside the home until both were strong enough. The first place they went was to the temple/church. Today, a mother can recover much more quickly. If she is able, she is encouraged to attend church services but should refrain from receiving Holy Communion until after the 40 Day Churching (a 10 minute service).
For more information on why is this happening and on what exactly is the 40 Day Churching you can see here and here.
God bless you,
Greetings from Greece!
earthboundepiphany added: ”This has a practical aspect to it too. A woman who has just given birth streets for 40 days then it’s less likely she’ll suffer from complications later in their life :) “
The Lord loves all people, but He loves those who seek Him even more. To his chosen ones the Lord gives such great grace that for love they forsake the whole earth, the whole world, and their souls burn with desire that all people might be saved and see the glory of the Lord.
Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia advises Orthodox bloggers to direct their “enhanced energy” to real work.
“It’s enough to follow the discussions in blogs of believers, both laity and clerics. After reading them, you often think: if only they could use this energy for good purposes!” the Patriarch said at a session of the Coordination Committee on Promoting Social, Educative, Cultural and other Initiatives under Auspices of the Russian Church.
He asked a question to the participants in these Internet discussions: “You speak very decisively - but what are your real works and your real deeds? What are your practical actions?”
“I don’t underestimate the importance and need of deep, serious discussion among Orthodox believers, but I want to remind its every participant, that the Savior speaks directly to you: ‘By their fruits you will know them.’ By their fruit, not by their chats, jokes, desire to look strong, clever, convincing, biting and so on,” the Primate stressed.
I very much respect the words of Patriarch Kirill, and think his advice is well-founded. However, I think members of older generations need to know that things that happen on…
His advice are precious to me. It’s like he speaks for me personally.
Look, I spent all these hours to translate and find quotes from Orthodox spirituality. But what are my real works? Did I prayed as much as I could? Did I helped people in need? Did I went to every single Orthodox Church service?
Patriarch Kirill, talked -again- very wise. He talked to my heart.
I lost my husband. Blessed be God! My eldest son fell with his weapon in his hands. Blessed be God! My second and only son, 14 years old, fought with the Greeks and eventually found a glorious death. Blessed be God! Under the sign of the Cross my blood will also flow. Blessed be God! We will conquer or die with the living, but we will have the consolation that in the world we did not leave behind the Greeks in slavery.
- Laskarina Bouboulina, heroine of the Greek War of Independence in 1821 and a devout Orthodox Christian
Another tumblr member will be soon received in the Orthodox Church...!
… namely James! He will be Chrismated at Pentecost and fully received into the Orthodox Church and he will be under his all holiness Patriarch Bartholomew I, Patriarch of Constantinople, New Rome and Ecumenical Patriarch.
I have been reading to his blog since the day I came to tumblr, and his journey to Orthodoxy inspired me and touched me very much.
I am very happy every time someone is converting to Orthodoxy! It’s not an egoistic happiness, but true and original happiness because someone finds the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church and will be real brothers in Christ!
When we say that somebody is “sensitive”, this means he suffers because his ego is hurt and because he is proud. The same happens with children, who as soon as somebody scolds them or opposes them, immediately start crying. This is not permissible for a person of God. The saints didn’t have pride, and whatever people did to them they accepted it because they had humility and meekness. In this case the soul is not “sensitive”, is not offended; it has love, dispassion…
- Mother Gabriel
(This quote is for me… May God have mercy on me, a sinner.)
One must by every means strive to preserve peace of soul and not be disturbed by offenses from others; for this one must in every way strive to restrain anger and by means of attentiveness to keep the mind and heart from improper feelings. And therefore we must bear offenses from others with equanimity and accustom ourselves to such a disposition of spirit that these offenses seem to concern not us, but others. Such a practice can give quietness to the human heart and make it as dwelling for God Himself.
- St. Seraphim of Sarov, Spiritual Instructions, Little Russian Philokalia, V. I
When you are depressed, bear in mind the Lord’s command to Peter to forgive a sinner seventy times seven (cf. Mt. 18:22). And you may be sure that He Who gave this command to another will Himself do very much more.
- St. John Climacus (The Ladder of Divine Ascent; Paulist Press pg. 250)
Seek the simplest in all things, in food, clothing, without being ashamed of poverty. For a great part of the world lives in poverty. Do not say, “I am the son of a rich man. It is shameful for me to be in poverty.” Christ, your Heavenly Father, Who gave birth to you in the baptistery, is not in worldly riches. Rather he walked in poverty and had nowhere to lay His head.
- St. Gennadius of Constantinople, The Golden Chain, 24-25
Whoever you may be, always have God before your eyes; whatever you do, do it according to the testimony of the holy Scriptures; in whatever place you live, do not easily leave it. Keep these three precepts and you will be saved.
Like Christmas fasting period, I will make a series of posts with Lenten recipes! It’s not only for Orthodox Christians, but also for Catholics, Protestants and other denominations that want to abstain totally from meat and dairies for 40 days (21 days left for Easter!).
So.. today’s recipe is “Spiced Biscotti”!
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Yield: About 100 biscotti
2 cups vegetable oil
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 cup orange juice
1/4 cup brandy
Zest of one orange
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
3 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1 tbsp. ground anise seed
1 cup finely chopped walnuts
5-6 cups all purpose flour
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. You will need two cookie or half sheet pans.
Beat the oil and sugar together until thoroughly mixed. Add orange juice, brandy, orange zest, baking soda, and spices. Mix well.
Gradually add flour and nuts to mixture and mix with a spatula until the dough leaves the side of the bowl but is not too sticky. The dough will be wet but should hold together.
Turn dough out on to a lightly floured surface. Divide into four equal parts. Roll into 4 logs and transfer to non-greased cookie sheets about 3 inches apart.
Flatten each log into a rectangular loaf about 3 inches wide and approximately 3/4 inch thick. The thickness of the loaves should be uniform to allow for even cooking.
Using a sharp, serrated knife, make slices in the loaves that are approximately 1/2 inch deep and 1/2 inch apart. Do not slice all the way through.
Bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow biscotti to cool slightly. With a serrated knife, slice the biscotti all the way through and turn slices on their side.
Return to the oven for toasting, about 5-10 minutes each side