Norge av mitte hjerte



Norway of my heart



N A T U R E by Isam Telhami.jpg

Fr. Seraphim Bell, Scotland & USA:

“I became Orthodox for one reason: Obedience to the Truth”

The Orthodox Faith

Readings on The Church

The Nicene Creed – The Symbol of Faith of Orthodox Christians.
The Orthodox Church – the orthodox teaching, some contemporary questions, and more facts about how the Orthodox Churches are built.
I Believe…: A Short Exposition of Orthodox Doctrine
The Church is One – by Alexei Khomiakov, 1804–1860
Origin of the Orthodox Church
Finding the New Testament Church by Jon E. Braun
Beginning Orthodoxy – Part I | Part II
Where Is the True Church? Information on Churches and Sectarianism – Part I | Part II
Thoughts about the Kingdom of God, or the Church – by Bishop Alexander (Mileant)

On the Holy Scriptures

Where did the Bible come from?
About the Holy Bible – by Bishop Nathanael (Lvov, 1906-1985)
Understanding the Bible (Part 1)
Understanding the Bible (Part 9) – The Book of Revelation
How to Read the Bible – by Bishop Kallistos Ware
The Gospel Parables – by Bishop Alexander (Mileant)
The Old Testament in the New Testament Church – by Protopresbyter Michael Pomazansky
The Law of God: The Basics, Old Testament – by Archpriest Seraphim Slobodskoy
The Law of God: The New Testament – by Archpriest Seraphim Slobodskoy
The Law of God: On Faith, Life, Services – by Archpriest Seraphim Slobodskoy
The Sermon on the Mount
The Old Testament Regarding the Messiah
Sermon on the Mount – Matthew chapter 5-7 – by Blessed Theophilact

On Prayer, Worship, Holy Spirit

St. Seraphim of Sarov – On Acquisition of the Holy Spirit
Let us Learn to pray – advices given by Holy Theofan the Recluse
The Divine Services – by Archipriest Seraphim Slobodskoy
The Holy Spirit and His Varieties of Gifts – by Rev. George Mastrantonis
Prayers for Different Occasions

Church Saints & Fathers – lives and words of salvation

The Life and Teachings of Elder Siluan – by Bishop Alexander and Natalia Bufius
Selected Sermons of Saint John of Shanghai and San FranciscoPart I | Part II | Part III
Saint Nektarios of Egina (1846-1920)
Saint John of KronstadtPart I | Part II – by Bishop Alexander (Mileant)
A Spiritual Portrait of Saint John of Kronstadt – by Archimandrite Constantine (Zaitzev, 1888-1975)
St. Seraphim of Sarov – Life and Teachings
Elder Paisios the New of Mount Athos
Ambrose – Elder of Optina – by Bishop Alexander (Mileant), translated by Seraphim Larin
Articles by Fr. Seraphim Rose
The spiritual life in this world – excerpts from the sermons of Archbishop Sergious (Korolev) of Prague
The martyr of Christ Nun Heruvima – Petru Voda Monastery, Romania
Journey to HeavenPart I & II | Part III – by Saint Tikhon’s of Zadonsk
The Way into the Kingdom of Heaven – by Saint Innokenty Bishop of Alaska
Instructions of the Holy Fathers on Spiritual LifePart I | Part II | Part III – by Bishop Alexander (Mileant)

Various Orthodox Readings

Charismatic Revival As a Sign of the Times by Fr. Seraphim Rose
End of the World – an inside look at the end of the world and the Second Coming of Christ.
On the Law of God
A Comparison of the Mysticism of Francis of Assisi With That of St. Seraphim of Sarov
At the threshold of Fiery Gehenna – teachings of the Orthodox Church concerning Evil Spirits and God’s Judgment over Them.
From “Orthodoxy and the Religion of the Future” – by Seraphim Rose
Dogmas and Opinions – by Protopresbyter Michael Pomazansky
FAITH — Key to God’s Treasury – by Bishop Alexander (Mileant)
Apologetic Notes – Part I | Part II – by Archpresbyter Father Michael Pomazansky
Rock Music – from a Christian Viewpoint
The Temple of God — an island of Heaven on our sinful earth – by Bishop Alexander (Mileant)
Apologetic Sketches – by Bishop Alexander (Mileant)
The Great Feast Days of the Orthodox Church
Celibacy, Marriage or “free love”… — Which way to choose? – by Bishop Alexander (Mileant)
Conscience – God’s Voice In Mankind – by Bishop Alexander (Mileant)
Orthodox Psychotherapy – by Dr. Dmitri Aleksandrovici Avdeev
Talks about Faith – by Archbishop Nathanael (Lvov)

What’s Orthodoxy?

Origin of the Eastern Orthodox Church

The Orthodox Church began at Pentecost. It was founded by our Lord Jesus Christ, when after His Ascension, He sent down upon His Apostles the Holy Spirit who proceeds from God the Father as is written in the New Testament. The Orthodox Church of today can trace its history back to the New Testament Church in unbroken continuity. The Apostles, as per our Lord’s command, preached the Gospel of Jesus Christ and founded churches in Europe, Asia and Africa. Under the direction of the Apostles and their successors, whom they appointed to carry on their mission, the Orthodox Church began to thrive. At each city and town that the Apostles traveled they would appoint a bishop to continue to minister to the faithful, before leaving on their missionary journeys. As the Church grew, the bishops in turn had to appoint priests and deacons to help them with their flock.

The Orthodox Faith

Back to the First Church


Finding the New Testament Church

Written by Jon E. Braun, Edited by Bishop Alexander Mileant

THERE IS A PREDICTABLY RELIABLE WAY to tackle the problem of who is right. Rather than trying to decide which of the over 2,500 Christian groups in North America keeps the original faith best by studying what they are like right now, we can start from the beginning of the Church itself and work our way through history to the present.

The birthday of the Church was Pentecost, the day the Holy Spirit descended on the twelve Apostles in the Upper Room. That day some 3,000 souls believed in Christ and were baptized. When the first Christian community began, “they continued steadfastly in the Apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread (Communion), and in prayers” (Act 2:42).

From Jerusalem, the faith in Christ spread throughout Judea, to Samaria (Acts 8), to Antioch and the Gentiles (Acts 13), where we find new converts and new churches throughout Asia Minor and other countries of the Roman Empire.

From the pages of the Epistles and the book of Acts, we learn that the Church was not simply another organization in Roman society. The Lord Jesus Christ had given the promise of the Holy Spirit “will guide you into all truth” (John 16:13). That promise was fulfilled at Pentecost, when the Church was given birth as an divine institution far above all earthly organizations. In Ephesians (Eph. 2:21) St. Paul called it “a holy temple of the Lord.” The Church was a dynamic organism, the living Body of Jesus Christ. She made an indelible impact in the world, and those who became part of her were inwardly renewed.

But we also discover in the New Testament itself that the Church had her share of problems. All was not perfection. Individuals in the Church sought to lead her off the path the Apostles established, and they had to be dealt with along with the errors they invented. Even whole local communities lapsed on occasion and had to be called to repentance. The Church in Laodicea is a vivid example (Revelation ch. 3). Discipline was administered for the sake of purity in the Church. But there was growth and a maturing even as the Church was attacked from within and without. The same Spirit who gave her birth gave her power to correct and purify her members. The Church grew and became strong until she eventually covered the whole of the Roman Empire.



The Orthodox Faith

Written by Protopresbyter Thomas Hopko

The Orthodox Faith series is intended to provide basic, comprehensive information on the faith and life of the Orthodox Church. It consists of four volumes and is available for purchase from SVS Press.
Protopresbyter Thomas Hopko (1939–2015) was professor of dogmatic theology and served as dean of St Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary. Alongside his numerous books and articles, Father Thomas was also renowned as a gifted speaker and homilist.

  • Volume I – Doctrine

    Volume 1 contains three sections: the sources of Christian Doctrine, the main doctrines of the Orthodox Church present by way of commentary on the Nicene Creed, and an explanation of the doctrine of the Holy Trinity.

  • Volume II – Worship

    Volume 2 contains 5 sections

  • Volume III – Bible and Church History

    Volume 3 contains one section on the contents and interpretation of the Bible, and one section on the history of the Church, emphasizing the main theological, liturgical and spiritual development of each century.

  • Volume IV – Spirituality

    Volume 4 deals with the main themes of Christian Life: prayer, fasting, repentance, the virtues, witness in the world, and communion with God.




These Truths We Hold

The Holy Orthodox Church: Her Life and Teachings



The following articles on Orthodoxy are from the book, These Truths We Hold – The Holy Orthodox Church: Her Life and Teachings, published by and available from Saint Tikhon’s Seminary Press:





Holy Icon:

The Hospitality of Abraham

Holy Trinity


The Doctrine of the Holy Trinity


The doctrine of the Holy Trinity is not merely an “article of faith” which men are called to “believe.” It is not simply a dogma which the Church requires its good members to “accept on faith.” Neither is the doctrine of the Holy Trinity the invention of scholars and academicians, the result of intellectual speculation and philosophical thinking.

The doctrine of the Holy Trinity arises from man’s deepest experiences with God. It comes from the genuine living knowledge of those who have come to know God in faith.

The paragraphs which follow are intended to show something of what God has revealed of Himself to the saints of the Church. To grasp the words and concepts of the doctrine of the Trinity is one thing; to know the Living Reality of God behind these words and concepts is something else. We must work and pray so that we might pass beyond every word and concept about God and to come to know Him for ourselves in our own living union with Him: “The Father through the Son in the Holy Spirit” (Eph 2: 18-22).

The Holy Trinity Revealed

In the Old Testament we find Yahweh, the one Lord and God, acting toward the world through His Word and His Spirit. In the New Testament the “Word becomes flesh” (Jn 1:14). As Jesus of Nazareth, the only-begotten Son of God becomes man. And the Holy Spirit, who is in Jesus making him the Christ, is poured forth from God upon all flesh (Acts 2:17).

One cannot read the Bible nor the history of the Church without being struck by the numerous references to God the Father, the Son (Word) of God and the Holy Spirit. The New Testament record, and the life of the Orthodox Church is absolutely incomprehensible and meaningless without constant affirmation of the existence, interrelation and interaction of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit towards each other and towards man and the world.

Wrong Doctrines of the Trinity

The main question for the Church to answer about God is that of the relationship between the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. According to Orthodox Tradition, there are a number of wrong doctrines which must be rejected.

One wrong doctrine is that the Father alone is God and that the Son and the Holy Spirit are creatures, made “from nothing” like angels, men and the world. The Church answers that the Son and the Holy Spirit are not creatures, but are uncreated and divine with the Father, and they act with the Father in the divine act of creation of all that exists.

Another wrong doctrine is that God in Himself is One God who merely appears in different forms to the world: Now as the Father, then as the Son, and still again as the Holy Spirit. The Church answers once more that the Son and Word is “in the beginning with God”(Jn 1:12) as is the Holy Spirit, and that the Three are eternally distinct. The Son is “of God” and the Spirit is “of God.” The Son and the Spirit are not merely aspects of God, without, so to speak, a life and existence of their own. How strange it would be to imagine, for example, that when the Son becomes man and prays to his Father and acts in obedience to Him, it is all an illusion with no reality in fact, a sort of divine presentation played before the world with no reason or truth for it at all!

A third wrong doctrine is that God is one, and that the Son and the Spirit are merely names for relations which God has with Himself. Thus, the Thought and Speech of God is called the Son, while the Life and Action of God is called the Spirit; but in fact—in genuine actuality—there are no such “realities in themselves” as the Son of God and the Spirit of God. Both are just metaphors for mere aspects of God. Again, however, in such a doctrine the Son and the Spirit have no existence and no life of their own. They are not real, but are mere illusions.

Still another wrong doctrine is that the Father is one God, the Son is another God, and the Holy Spirit still another God. There cannot be “three gods,” says the Church, and certainly not “gods” who are created or made. Still less can there be “three gods” of whom the Father is “higher” and the others “lower.” For there to be more than one God, or “degrees of divinity” are both contradictions which cannot be defended, either by divine revelation or by logical thinking.

Thus, the Church teaches that while there is only One God, yet there are Three who are God—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit—perfectly united and never divided yet not merged into one with no proper distinction. How then does the Church defend its doctrine that God is both One and yet Three?

One God, One Father

First of all, it is the Church’s teaching and its deepest experience that there is only one God because there is only one Father.

In the Bible the term “God” with very few exceptions is used primarily as a name for the Father. Thus, the Son is the “Son of God,” and the Spirit is the “Spirit of God.” The Son is born from the Father, and the Spirit proceeds from the Father—both in the same timeless and eternal action of the Father’s own being.

In this view, the Son and the Spirit are both one with God and in no way separated from Him. Thus, the Divine Unity consists of the Father, with His Son and His Spirit distinct from Himself and yet perfectly united together in Him.

One God: One Divine Nature and Being

What the Father is, the Son and the Spirit are also. This is the Church’s teaching. The Son, born of the Father, and the Spirit, proceeding from Him, share the divine nature with God, being “of one essence” with Him.

Thus, as the Father is “ineffable, inconceivable, invisible, incomprehensible, ever-existing and eternally the same” (Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom), so the Son and the Spirit are exactly the same. Every attribute of divinity which belongs to God the Father—life, love, wisdom, truth, blessedness, holiness, power, purity, joy—belongs equally as well to the Son and the Holy Spirit. The being, nature, essence, existence and life of God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are absolutely and identically one and the same.

One God: One Divine Action and Will

Since the being of the Holy Trinity is one, whatever the Father wills, the Son and the Holy Spirit will also. What the Father does, the Son and the Holy Spirit do also. There is no will and no action of God the Father which is not at the same time the will and action of the Son and the Holy Spirit.

In Himself, in eternity, as well as towards the world in creation, revelation, incarnation, redemption, sanctification, and glorification—the will and action of the Trinity are one: from the divine Father, through the divine Son, in the divine Holy Spirit. Every action of God is the action of the Three. No one person of the Trinity acts independently of or in isolation from the others. The action of each is the action of all; the action of all is the action of each. And the divine action is essentially one.

One God: One Divine Knowledge and Love

Since each person of the Trinity is one with the others, each knows the same Truth and exercises the same Love. The knowledge of each is the knowledge of all, and the Love of each is the Love of all.

If taken in distinction, each person of the Trinity knows and loves the others with such absolute perfection, knowledge, and love that there is nothing unknown and nothing unloved of each in the others, and all in all. Thus, if the creaturely knowledge of men can unite minds in full unanimity, and if the creaturely love of men can bring the divided together into one heart and one soul and even one flesh, how incomparably more perfect and absolutely uniting must be the oneness when the Knowers and Lovers are eternal and divine.

The Three Divine Persons

In Orthodox terminology the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are called three divine persons. Person is defined here simply as the subject of existence and life—hypostasis in the traditional church language.

As the being, essence or nature of a reality answers the question “what?”, the person of a reality answers the question “which one?” or “who?” Thus, when we ask “What is God?” we answer that God is the divine, perfect, eternal, absolute… and when we ask “Who is God?” we answer that God is the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

The saints of the Church have explained this tri-unity of God by using such an example from worldly existence. We see three men. “What are they?” we ask. “They are human beings,” we answer. Each is man, possessing the same humanity and the same human nature defined in a certain way: created, temporal, physical, rational, etc. In what they are, the three men are one. But in who they are, they are three, each absolutely unique and distinct from the others. Each man in his own unique way is distinctly a man. One man is not the other, though each man is still human with one and the same human nature and form.

Turning to God, we may ask in the same way: “What is it?” In reply we say that it is God defined as absolute perfection: “ineffable, inconceivable, invisible, incomprehensible, ever-existing, and eternally the same.” We then ask, “Who is it?”, and we answer that it is the Trinity : Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. In who God is, there are three persons who are each absolutely unique and distinct. Each is not the other, though each is still divine with the same divine nature and form. Therefore, while being one in what they are; the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are Three in who they are. And because of what and who they are—namely, uncreated, divine persons—they are undivided and perfectly united in their timeless, spaceless, sizeless, shapeless super-essential existence, as well as in their one divine life, knowledge, love, goodness, power, will, action, etc.

Thus, according to the Orthodox Tradition, it is the mystery of God that there are Three who are divine; Three who live and act by one and the same divine perfection, yet each according to his own personal distinctness and uniqueness. Thus it is said that the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are each divine with the same divinity, yet each in his own divine way. And as the uncreated divinity has three divine subjects, so each divine action has three divine actors; there are three divine aspects to every action of God, yet the action remains one and the same.

We discover, therefore, one God the Father Almighty with His one unique Son (Image and Word) and His one Holy Spirit. There is one living God with His one perfect divine Life, who is personally the Son, with His one Spirit of Life. There is one True God with His one divine Truth, who is personally the Son, with His one Spirit of Truth. There is one wise and loving God with His one Wisdom and Love, who is personally the Son, with His one Spirit of Wisdom and Love. The examples could go on indefinitely: the one divine Father personifying every aspect of His divinity in His one divine Son, who is personally activated by His one divine Spirit. We will see the living implications of the Trinity as we survey the activity of God in his actions toward man and the world.

The Holy Trinity in Creation

God the Father created the world through the Son (Word) in the Holy Spirit. The Word of God is present in all that exists, making it to exist by the power of the Spirit. Thus, according to Orthodox doctrine, the universe itself is a revelation of God in the Word and the Spirit. The Word is in all that exists, causing it to be, and the Spirit is in all that exists as the power of its being and life.

This is most evident in God’s special creature, man. Man is made in the image of God, and so he bears within him the unique likeness of God which is eternally and perfectly expressed in the divine Son of God, the Uncreated and Absolute Image of the Father. Thus, man is “logical”; that is, he participates in God’s Logos (the Son and Word) and so is free, knowing, loving, reflecting on the creaturely level the very nature of God as the uncreated Son does on the level of divinity.

Man also is “spiritual”; he is the special temple of God’s Spirit. The Breath of God’s Life is breathed into him in the most special way. Thus, among creatures man alone is empowered to imitate God and to participate in His life. Man has the competence and ability to become a Son of God, mirroring the eternal Son, reflecting the divine nature because he is inspired by the Holy Spirit as is no other creature. Thus, one saint of the Church has said that for man to be a man, he must have the Spirit of God in him. Only then can he fulfill his humanity; only then can he be made a true Son of God, likened to him who is only-begotten.

On the most basic level of creation, therefore, we see the Trinitarian dimensions of the being and action of God: the Word and the Spirit of God enter man and the world to allow them to be and to become that for which the Father has willed their existence.

The Holy Trinity in Salvation

With man’s failure to fulfill himself in his created uniqueness, God undertakes the special action of salvation. The Father sends forth His Son (Word) and His Spirit in yet another mission. The Word and the Spirit come to the Old Testament saints to make known the Father. The Word, as it were, incarnates himself in the Law (in Hebrew called the “words”) which is inspired by the Spirit. The Spirit inspires the prophets to proclaim the Word of God. Thus, the Law and the Prophets are revelations of God in His Word and His Spirit. They are partial revelations, “shadows” (as the New Testament calls them), prefiguring the total revelation of the “fullness of time” and preparing its coming.

When the time is fulfilled and the world is made ready, the Word and the Spirit come once more—no longer by their mere action and power, but now in their own persons, dwelling personally in the world.

The Word becomes flesh. The only-begotten Son is born as a man, Jesus of Nazareth. And the Spirit who is in him is given to all men to make them also sons of the Father in an eternal development of attaining His perfection by growing forever “to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” (Eph 4:13).

Thus, in the New Testament we have the full epiphany of God, the full manifestation of the Holy Trinity: the Father through the Son in the Spirit to us; and we in the Spirit through the Son to the Father.

The Holy Trinity in the Church

The life of the Church is the life of men in the Holy Trinity. In the Church all become one in Christ, all put on the deified humanity of the Son of God. “For as many as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ” (Gal 3:27). The unity of the Church is the unity of many into one, the one Body of Christ, the one living temple of God, the one people and family of God.

Within the one body there are many individual members. Many “living stones” constitute the living temple. Many brothers and sisters make up the one family of which God is the Father. The unique diversity of each member of the one Body of Christ is guaranteed by the presence of the Holy Spirit. Each unique person is inspired by the Spirit to be a true man, a true son of God in his own distinct way. Thus, as the Body of the Church is one in Christ, the one Holy Spirit gives to each member the possibility of fulfilling himself in God and so of being one with all others in calling God “Father” (See 1 Cor 12).

The Church, then, as the perfect unity of many persons into one fully united organism, is a reflection of the Trinity itself. For the Church, being many unique and distinct persons, is called to be one mind, one heart, one soul and one body in the one Truth and Love of God Himself. The calling of the Church to be one in all things is the prototype of the vocation of all mankind which was originally created by God as many persons in one nature, ultimately destined by God for ever-more-perfect growth in free unity of Truth and Love, in the life of God’s Kingdom.

The Holy Trinity in the Sacraments

The sacraments of the Church portray the Trinitarian character of the life of God and man. Each person is baptized by the Holy Spirit into the one humanity of Christ. Being baptized, each person is given the “seal of the gift of the Holy Spirit” of God in chrismation to be a “christ”, i.e. an anointed son of God to live the life of Christ.

In marriage the unity of two into one makes the new unity a reflection of the unity of the Trinity, and the unity of Christ and the Church. For the family of many persons united in one truth and love is indeed the created manifestation of the one family of God’s Kingdom, and of God Himself, the Blessed Trinity.

In penance once more we renew our new life as sons of the Father through the grace of Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit, forgiven and reunited into the unity of God in His Church.

In holy unction the Spirit anoints the sufferer to suffer and die in Christ and so to be healed and made alive with the Father for eternity.

The priesthood itself, the ministry of the Church, is nothing other than the concrete manifestation in the Church of the presence of Christ by the same Holy Spirit who makes accessible to all men the action of the Father and the way to everlasting communion in and with Him.

Finally, the “mystery of mysteries,” the Holy Eucharist, is the actual experience of all Christian people led to communion with God the Father by the power of the Holy Spirit through Christ the Son who is present in the Word of the Gospel and in the Passover Meal of His Body and Blood eaten in remembrance of Him. The very movement of the Divine Liturgy—towards the Father through Christ the Word and the Lamb, in the power of the Holy Spirit—is the living sacramental symbol of our eternal movement in and toward God, the Blessed Trinity.

Even Christian prayer is the revelation of the Trinity, accomplished within the third person of the Godhead. Inspired by the Holy Spirit, men can call God “our Father” only because of the Son who has taught them and enabled them to do so. Thus, the true prayer of Christians is not the calling out of our souls in earthly isolation to a far-away God. It is the prayer in us of the divine Son of God made to His Father, accomplished in us by the Holy Spirit who himself is also divine.

For we have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry Abba! Father! The Spirit itself bears witness that we are children of God … for we know not what we should pray for as we ought; but the Spirit itself intercedes for us …
(Rom 8:15-16, 26)

The Holy Trinity in Christian Life

The new commandment of Christian life is “to be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Mt 5:48). It is to love as Christ himself has loved. “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you” (Jn 15:12). Men cannot live the Christian life of divine love in imitation of God’s perfection without the grace of the Holy Spirit. With the power of God, however, what is impossible to men becomes possible. “For with God all things are possible.” (Mk 10:27)

The Christian life is the life of God accomplished in men by the Spirit of Christ. Men can live as Christ has lived, doing the things that he did and becoming sons of God in Him by the power of the Holy Spirit. Thus, once more, the Christian life is a Trinitarian life.

By the Holy Spirit given by God through Christ, men can share the life, the love, the truth, the freedom, the goodness, the holiness, the wisdom, the knowledge of God Himself. It is this conviction and experience which has caused the development in the Orthodox Church of the affirmation of the fact that the essence of Christianity is “the acquisition of the Holy Spirit” and the “deification” of man by the grace of God, the so-called theosis.

The saints of the Church are unanimous in their claim that Christian life is the participation in the life of the Blessed Trinity in the most genuine and realistic way. It is the life of men becoming divine. In the smallest aspects of everyday life Christians are called to live the life of God the Father, which is communicated to them by Christ, the Son of God, and made possible for them by the Holy Spirit who lives and acts within them.

The Holy Trinity in Eternal Life

At the end of the ages Christ will come in the glory of God the Father, He will make the Father known throughout all creation. The Holy Spirit will fill all things and enable all to be in union with God through Christ for eternity. Again we have the presence and action of the Holy Trinity.

What we know and experience now in the world as members of the Church will be manifested in power in the life of the kingdom to come. The essence of life everlasting is the life of the Holy Trinity, the same eternal life given to us already in the mystery of faith.

And I saw no temple in the city, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb (Christ) are the temple of it. And the city had no need of the sun … for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb (Christ) is the light thereof…

And the throne of God and the Lamb (Christ) shall be in it, and his servants shall see him … and they shall see his face…

And the Spirit and the Bride (the Church) say Come!
(Rev 21:22; 22:3, 17)

In the eternal life of the Kingdom of God, the Holy Trinity will fill all creation: the Father through the Son in the Holy Spirit. Every man enlightened by Christ in the Spirit will know the invisible Father. “And this is eternal life, that they may know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent” (Jn 17:3). Such knowledge is possible only by the indwelling of the Spirit of God, “the fullness of Him who fills all in all” (Eph 1:23; 2:22).

Come O Ye People! Let us adore the Three-Personal Godhead, the Son in the Father with the Holy Spirit.

For before all time the Father gave birth to the Son, co-eternal and co-enthroned with Himself.

And the Holy Spirit was in the Father, glorified with the Son.

Adoring One Power, One Essence, One Divinity, let us cry:

O Holy God who made all things by the Son through the cooperation of the Holy Spirit!

O Holy Mighty through whom we know the Father and through whom the Holy Spirit comes ino the world!

O Holy Immortal, the Spirit, the Comforter, who proceeds from the Father and rests in the Son!

O Most Holy Trinity! Glory to Thee!
(The Vespers of Pentecost)




The role of singing & chanting

in the life of the Eastern Orthodox Church


The Eastern Orthodox Church traditionally does not use any instruments in the liturgy, instead relying entirely on choral music and chanting. Essentially all the words of Orthodox services, except sermons and such, are either chanted or sung by readers and choirs and when possible the congregations.


Nothing in Orthodox worship is simply said; it is always sung or chanted. Chanting in the Orthodox tradition can be described as being halfway between talking and singing; it is musical but not music. One or two notes only are used in chanting, and the chanter reads the words to these notes at a steady rhythm. The notes and rhythms used vary according to what the occasion is, but generally chanting is relatively low-toned and steadily rhythmic creating a calming sound. Chanting not only is conducive to a calm and elevated state of mind but also allows chanters to read through large portions of texts (particularly Psalms) more clearly and quickly than possible with normal speech while also conveying the poetry in the words. That is the essential reason for chanting. Worship at its heart is a song and is beautiful; therefore the words of Orthodox worship cannot be simply said but must be melodiously chanted to express the true nature and purpose of the words.


Words not chanted in Orthodox worship are sung by a choir. Originally singing was done by the entire congregation, however this rapidly became cumbersome and a select group of singers was selected to represent the congregation. Since then Orthodox church music has expanded and become more elaborate. The Church uses eight ‘tones’ or ‘modes,’ which are broad categories of melodies. Within each of these tones are many small more precise melodies. All of these tones and their melodies rotate weekly so that during each week a particular tone is used for singing music. Singing naturally developed from chanting but, unlike in the west, Orthodox music developed from a Greek musical background. Even though Orthodoxy has spread and its music adapted to its various regions, still Orthodox music is distinctive from European music. Singing is used in place of chanting on important occasions thus some things which are chanted at minor services are sung at more important services. Singing is as varied and multi-faceted in its forms as chanting and vestments, it changes with the Church ‘seasons’ of commemoration thus singing during Great Lent is always somber and during Holy Week nearly becomes a sorrowful dirge while during Pascha (Easter) and the Paschal season the notes are high and quick and as joyful as they were sad during Lent. The power of music is not lost on the Orthodox and it is used to its full effect to bring about spiritual renewal in the listeners.

Source: Wikipedia

Holy Bible about singing psalms & hymns:

Colossians 3:16: “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.”

Ephesians 5:18-19: “And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart…”

“Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly…singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs…” Colossians 3:16

“Singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart” (Ephesians 5:19).

Paul and Silas are unjustly imprisoned for the sake of the Gospel, and what do they do while they’re in prison? Sing! (Acts 16:25)

Psalms 5:11: “Let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them ever sing for joy, and spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may exult in you.”

Psalms 9:2: “I will be glad and exult in you; I will sing praise to your name, O Most High.”

Colossians 3 & Ephesians 5 bring this out simply but powerfully telling us to sing “to God” and “to the Lord” because He is the object of our praise.

Ephesians 5:19: “singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart.”

In Revelation 7:9-10, the Apostle John describes a glimpse of eternity with a great multitude of people from every tribe, peoples, and languages singing before the Lamb, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!”



≈ dettifoss ≈ by Jan Mewald.jpg

The Ministry of Church Singers


There are few ministries of the Church that require the devotion and the dedication that church singing does. You who lead the singing as well as you who follow the leader are precious gifts to your parishes. You are as important to the parish as is the holy table itself. As there can be no liturgy without the holy table, there can be no liturgy without you. This is not to compliment you or increase your pride, but rather to put a little fear and awe in you, so you know what your responsibilities are. Church singing is not a hobby. Being a choir director is not something one does for personal fulfillment. It is first and foremost a duty, a duty of those to whom God has given musical talents. It is sinful, in my opinion, for someone not to sing who has been given the gift to sing. Sinful! You join the angels, and do that which the angels do perpetually. That’s not an interest, avocation, or a hobby; it is a duty. Angels were created to serve and to praise, and you have been given voices for that same purpose.

I love to remind our church singers of the fact that we physically jump into something that goes on perpetually. We jump in and join with the angels for a couple of hours, and then we jump back out. The liturgy does not begin with “Blessed is the Kingdom” and your “Amen,” and it doesn’t end with “Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers” and your “Amen.” Those phrases only define the time that we participate in the liturgy which goes on perpetually before the throne of God.

We’ve been told that singers should listen to each other for a good blend. The tenors should listen to each other, and then the tenors should listen to the sopranos. The sopranos ought to listen to the altos, etc., etc. That’s fine for the street. For the church singer it is not the tenor, alto, or soprano who stands next to you we need to listen to, but the angels who lead us in our singing. Those are the voices we need to hear and with which we blend our voices. What can sound beautiful to us can sound like cacophony at the throne of God, if we are not singing with the angels.

St. John Chrysostom tells us that while the priesthood is something that takes place here on earth, and is an ordinance established here on earth, yet it is something that is super-heaven, because the priest and the deacon do that which angels dare not do. The angels stand in awe, not at the priest or bishop or deacon, but at what they’ve been permitted to do by God’s grace. If John Chrysostom wrote a book on choirs, as he did on the priesthood, I’m sure he would say that while being a choir member, cantor, or reader is something earthly, it is also something heavenly. That the angels stand there, perhaps not in awe, but at least with a little bit of jealousy, because you who are flesh and blood have been called upon to serve in the same ministry that they have been created for.

It’s a holiness. It’s not your ministry. It’s a ministry that belongs to the Church, and you respond to the call as well as recognize that the gift which you specifically fulfill in the church was, traditionally, and in some sense still is, an ordained ministry. The choir was not some club that existed in Church for those with some particular musical talent. To be a church singer was an ordained office within the Church. Canon 15, from the Council of Nicea, the Council of the 4th century, makes its point clear that only canonical singers should be appointed for that kind of ministry in the Church. That means “one set apart” for that particular ministry. Today we might call them Readers. While I’m not saying that every choir member must be a tonsured Reader, I do say that if we fulfill at least the spirit, if not the law of the Canon, that each choir member ought to see his/her participation in the choir as seriously as the ordained clergy take their ministry. I don’t know any priest who thinks that he can say on some Sunday, “I don’t want to serve because I want to sit with my wife,” or, “I don’t feel like serving today,” or, “I’m angry, one of the altar boys offended me, so I don’t want to serve this morning.”

As seriously as the ordained clergy need to take their ordination, so you ought to as church singers. Canonically, they are an order of the Church, to begin with. I’m not proposing that we fulfill the letter of the law by having you all ordained, but I think we ought to at least incarnate the spirit of the law, which implies a great responsibility, a great sense of duty and a privilege that is given to him or her as a church singer. This, then, should create in all of us, whether or not we are ordained clergy, a real sense of humility. We should give thanks that God has been pleased to call us who were created from the dust of this earth to participate in the heavenly liturgy and to offer up praises with His angels to join the perpetual hymn of “Holy, holy, holy.”

We jump in and we jump out. Some of us jump in on time and some of us jump in a little bit late. In my opinion, being in church for that first “Amen” is a sign, an indication of one’s humility. And where humility is, indeed, a virtue, its opposite is a sin. The sin is not disturbing other people. The other people in the church are not the object of our worship. It is rude, but not necessarily sinful, to disturb other people. But it is sinful to be presumptuous and prideful that one can jump in and sing with thousands of archangels and ten-thousands of angels at one’s own whim. “This Sunday I feel like singing, and next Sunday I won’t sing. I want to sit with my wife.” Leave that Hallmark—card kind of sentimentality for restaurants, concerts, and cinemas. You sing with angels, that’s secondary to sitting with any husband or wife or children. We stand before the throne of God, and when we realize that, every other consideration, all of our own personal likes and dislikes, become secondary. I’m giving my opinion now, and hopefully it humbles all of us. It’s a humiliation, that in its end, should be something that elevates us, that exalts us, something that gives us wing.

Now, I would like to share with you some of the writings of the Fathers of the Church, and some homilies on the canons about chanting in Church.

The choir leads the congregation in prayer. The invitation to prayer is put out by the deacon or archdeacon. The deacon invites prayer, but the choir leads the congregation in the prayer itself. First I will share the words of St. Meletios the Confessor. He says:

“Prayer with musical chants and melodies, loudly voiced tumult and shouting is heard by men; but before God our Maker, the prayer which proceeds from a man’s conscience and God-imbued intellect stands before God as a welcome guest, while the former is cast out.”

There are choirs which make “loudly voiced tumult and shouting.” Yet I do not wish to imply, and I know that St. Meletios does not imply, that aesthetic beauty is the only criterion for chanting. Here is a little story. Once upon a time there was a Monastery of St. George, and the Abbott was blessed with monks that did not have such wonderful voices. The annual pilgrimage on the Feast Day of St. George was not all that impressive with the rather awful sounds coming from the choir. So the Abbott called together all the monks and said, “Look this year I am going to invite the famous choir from the cathedral for the Feast.” Word went out and thousands of people came to St. George Monastery for the feast day and it was a glorious day. The famous choir from the cathedral was in great form and used its best voices. The Abbott was thrilled and even the humble monks who were not allowed to sing that day were thrilled. Following the day’s festivities the monks went off to sleep, and the Abbott was sound asleep after all the excitement of the day. St. George came to him in his sleep and said, “Father, I think you missed my feast day! Today is my feast day and here you are, you didn’t do anything. Have I not blessed you this past year?” And the Abbott said, “Oh, Saint George, I do not know where you were, but we had a glorious feast today. How could you not be here?” St. George said, “I was in the church and I saw a great multitude of people, but I heard nothing.”

You and your choir need be as aesthetically perfect as you are able. God not only expects, but He accepts only our best. If your best sounds like “a loudly voiced tumult and shouting.” but it is indeed your best, then God hears you, and St. George does too.

Here is a quote from St. Anatoloy Zertsaley of Optina, written to a new choir member:

“The fact that you have started to chant is not important. The roosters out on the farm sing like anything. They will drown you out right away. But you are not a rooster, and you are not a hen. You have to remember that your singing should not be like that of a rooster, but like that of angels, that is done, with humility, fear, ardent love, and self reproach. Such is true and God-pleasing chanting. But the vainglorious kind, designed to please not God but men, is worse than those of roosters. And this is precisely what you did not specify for me, that is, whom did you come closer to in imitating, when you chant, the angels or a hen?”

St. Simon the founder of Simones Petras Monastery on Mt. Athos says that “at the church services we should chant with solemnity and devoutness, and not with disorderly vociferation.”

And St. Nikodemos of the Holy Mountain counsels us, saying,

“The psalmody which takes place in the church is an entreaty to God. Now he who makes an entreaty and prays must be in a state of humility and contrition. Whereas an unduly loud voice manifest audacity and irreverence. One of the techniques that many chanters and choirs use is attempting to interpret to the congregation what the text means. Very loud at one point and very soft at another point, then slow, then fast. That is as artificial as controlling the emotions of those who stand in our churches by dimming the lights or turning them on bright. Your task is to sing, not to interpret. The Holy Spirit is the One who will lead us into the knowledge of all truth, not the choir director or the chanter. Again, he who prays must be in a state of humility of contrition.”

According to Saint Nikodemos, a sign of humility and contrition is that one does not chant or pray with an “unduly loud voice” interpreting the text. He says, “Chanters should psalmodize in a reverent and orderly manner, with fear of God and piety and contrition.”

“Pray gently and calmly. Sing with understanding and rhythm. Then you will soar like a young eagle, high in the heavens,” wrote St. Evagrios.

“He, the church singer, should chant without hurrying and without dragging, and he should pronounce the words clearly and distinctly. He should chant simply and reverently in a monotone, without expressing his feelings by modulations and changes of voice. Let us leave the holy prayers to act on the listeners by their own spiritual power. The desire to convey to the bystanders one’s own feelings is a sign of vanity and pride.”

St. Ignatius Brianchaninov continues, “The singing should be begun and ended all together. Moreover, the hands should not be waved in a distracting manner.” You should not do in the choir loft or the choir area, that which you would not do in the sanctuary. “The hands should not be waved in a distracting manner, and on no account should there be any moving around. The members should go in order quietly, one after the other, without pushing or hurrying one another.”

St. Elias the Presbyter counsels us, saying, “When through continuous prayer the words of the psalms and hymns are brought down into the heart, then the heart like good soil begins to produce by itself, various flowers: roses, the vision of the incorporeal realities; lilies, the luminosity of corporeal realities; and violets, the many judgments of God, difficult to understand.” There are the gifts, the graces that come to the church singer who sings with humility and contrition, who leaves aside his or her own personality and idiosyncrasies.

If indeed we are singing with the angels, listening to their voices and melodizing with them, then we know that the responsibility for conveying the import of the text does not rest upon our shoulders at all. That is not to say that we can mumble. The Fathers that we have heard say that we should chant with understanding, distinctly and clearly. But we do that because we wish to show respect to the text, not because we are trying to tell the congregation what the hymn is about. We are not there in positions of teachers, the Church says. We show respect to the text, not to the hearer. Our first concern is the text, the holiness of the words themselves. And if we do that the hearers will hear. They will be given all the tools necessary to understand the mysteries which are encompassed in the holiness of the text. And yes, the words are holy. And the sheets of paper that have music on them are holy, just as holy as a paper icon. Words have power. And “The Word” is the title given to the Son of God Himself. The words and the music both have power. They have a holiness. The spoken word is a gift given to us, and given to none of God’s other creatures. And it is a gift that we must perfect, the gift of speech, the gift of communication, and the gift of music. It is a gift that we perfect and offer back to God as a spotless sacrifice and a pure offering, to our God who gave us the gift of words and music to begin with.

Q: Should the first antiphon and cherubic hymn be sung in the same manner?

A: That is a good question, but I will speak about the interior attitude in the church singer. The music need be tasteful, beautiful and non-intrusive, so the liturgy flows. And again the flow is important, not so much because a break in the flow would be disruptive to those who hear, but that it would be cacophony at the throne of God. The object of our worship is not the congregation but God Himself, and we do things well for Him. Everyone else may benefit, but they cannot be and must not be our consideration. Our consideration is that we offer God our best. That means: the best in sound, the best in taste (which may vary a lot, but that is fine.)

Q: What about dynamics and choral interpretation?

A: If they are done to make things more beautiful and not merely to express your own personal taste, then they are fine. There are some things that just naturally take a crescendo. It comes from the text in music that is well written. Where the music and the text marry, they are not obtrusive to each other. If they are a loving couple, the music does not need much external “mood setting.” It does it by itself, especially if one chants with understanding and contrition. Submit yourselves to the text. Choir singers submit yourselves to the director. Directors submit yourselves and the choir to the text.

Q: How do we find the balance between wanting it to be beautiful, but not going overboard?

A: What is one’s motivation for doing it? When I was at a monastery on Mt. Athos, they had no choir. But they had a chanter that was out of this world. It was a three hour Orthros with a one hour Liturgy and Fr. Theodore had been chanting for four hours. It was gorgeous. He had the most beautiful church voice; it wasn’t some ‘Frank Sinatra’ voice. We’ve got plenty of those. I mentioned to one of the monks afterwards how blessed the monastery is to have Fr. Theodore. He said, “excuse me, but he distracts us from our worship. We would start saying, ‘That was beautiful,’” What is our best and what is beautiful? Our best must be objectively discerned. Beauty is subjective to taste. That’s a way out of not answering the question, but I really don’t know how to answer it.

Q: How can we hear the voice of the angels?

A: That is not a hard thing to answer, but it is a hard thing to do. The way that we may hear them is to become childlike when we stand before God. Children can hear angels speak. Children see angels, and that is how we are told to be, like little children. Too often rather than being childlike, we become childish. To become childlike is to be innocent, to stand before God in the spirit of humility, and contrition, laying aside our own likes and dislikes, and our personality, if you will. Age or education does not necessarily mean that you cannot be childlike anymore.

There is a young man whom I have known since he was a teenager. He went on to law school and is now a very successful attorney. When he was about twenty-seven we met at a church gathering, and he asked if he could spend some time with me alone. We went off to the side, and he said, “you know, Fr. Basil, I am very disturbed because I do not see my angel anymore. I used to see my guardian angel by my bed every night. And I do not see him anymore, not for the past three months.” Here is a young man who, despite his sophistication, maintained his childlike innocence, when it came to things of God, until he was twenty-seven. Then something happened. What was especially beautiful about his attitude was his naiveté. For twenty-seven years, he believed that everyone must, like him, see his guardian angel. He did not think that it was anything unusual. What he thought unusual was that he was not seeing it anymore!

We can see the angels if we live with them, if we attune our ears to their voices, and focus our eyes on seeing them. They are there. Just because we do not see them, or do not hear them, does not mean they are not there.

Here is a canon that deals with church singing and church singers. It is from the 75th Canon of the Council in Trullo that took place in the 7th century (691-692):

“We wish those who attend church for the purpose of chanting neither to employ disorderly cries and to force nature to cry out loud, nor to introduce anything that is not becoming and proper to a church; but on the contrary, to offer such psalmodies with much attentiveness and contriteness to God, Who sees directly into everything that is hidden from our sight. For the sons of Israel shall be reverent (Lev.15:30), the sacred word has taught us.”

There is that word again, contriteness or contrition. Either humility or contrition has come up in almost every quote. Not only the ones that I am presenting, but all the ones I could find, from the Holy Fathers and from the canons. At our rehearsals, and our sessions with choirs, we talk about promptness, generally, and about dedication, both of which are important; but we need also speak about humility and contrition. If we take a poll of the Fathers those are the two characteristics that seem to be most important for church singers. Humility and contrition. They did not say anything about a beautiful voice. Did you notice that? It has to be orderly; it has to start together and stop together. That is a good thing for choirs. Blend your voices, another good and very practical thing. But sing with humility and contrition, that is the most important thing.

Now about forcing nature, here is a famous commentary on Canon 75:

“The chanting, or psalmody, that is done in churches is in the nature of begging God to be appeased for our sins. Whoever begs and prayerfully supplicates must have a humble and contrite manner. But to cry out manifests a manner that is audacious and irreverent. On this account, the canon commands that those who chant in the churches refrain from forcing their nature to yell, but also from saying anything else that is unsuitable for the Church. But what are the things that are unsuitable for the Church? The expositor Senoras replies that there are womanist members and warblers (which is the same as saying trills and an excessive variation or modulation in melodies which inclines towards the songs sung by harlots). The present canon, therefore, commands that all these things be eliminated from the Church, and that those who chant therein shall offer their psalmodies in great care to God, Who looks into the hidden recesses of the heart, into the psalmody and prayer that are framed mentally in the heart rather than uttered in external cries. The sacred words of Leviticus teach us, ‘sons of Israel,’ to be reverent before God. That is why divine Chrysostom says that these things (meaningless utterances, singing words that either make no sense, or singing without understanding) are natural, not to those who are engaged in doxologizing God, but to those playing, and mingling the sport of demons with angelic doxology. By means of many arguments he, Chrysostom, teaches that we ought to offer up doxologies to God with fear and a contrite heart, in order that they may be welcome, like fragrant incense.”

The common thread that runs through these quotes is the need for humility and contrition. To be humble will be a struggle. We cannot buy humility; we cannot merely appear to be contrite. Humility and contrition are states of the heart and soul, that then manifest themselves in the behavior of body and attitude, and words, and psalmody. They are things that we need to work on individually. There is no choir practice to rehearse humility. I wish we could! We cannot have a rehearsal for joint contriteness. When choir members come together in individual humility and individual contriteness, we offer up corporate doxology that He hears and that St. George would hear. Something that is an acceptable sacrifice, an acceptable oblation before the throne of God. Brothers and sisters, you have been gifted by God with an angelic gift. Using your voices for His praise is a gift given to you and not to everyone. It is a gift given to you but a gift which you share with the angels and the archangels. Make yourself worthy, by His grace, of that gift, and be worthy of the calling to which you have been called. Not to lead the congregation in prayer; that is secondary. Not to make a beautiful atmosphere for liturgy; that is tertiary, way down the list. But to offer up acceptable glorification before the throne of God, an oblation that He will receive upon His heavenly and ideal altar. An oblation then, like our oblation of bread and wine, which He will in turn offer back to us. When He accepts your offering, He does not keep it. He will take it, transform it, and send it back to touch the hearts, and the minds and the souls of you and your congregants. He will do that. You do not have to worry about doing it. If He can make bread into Flesh and wine into Blood, know that He can make your psalmody into an instrument of the Spirit, which can lead you and your fellow congregants closer to Him. Let Him be the only object of your worship, the only object of your praise, the only object of your glory. Then you cannot help but be humble and contrite, standing and considering and seeing only Him.




Is your grandmother a fish?


Dr. Georgia Purdom


According to a soon-to-be published book for young children, a fish and many other animals are your “grandmothers.” The subtitle for the book is “a child’s first book of Evolution.” While the author and illustrator do a good job of simplifying evolution through words and pictures and using terminology that is kid-friendly, it is exactly those points that make the book so deceptive.

Starting with the Familiar

Rather than starting at the beginning of the evolutionary tree of life with a single-celled organism, the author starts with a fish likely because this would be more familiar to young children. The author chose not to use the terminology of “millions of years” but rather states “a long, long, long, long, long time ago” probably because young children don’t have a good understanding of time. In addition, the author uses the term “grandmother” to refer to each animal (i.e., grandmother fish, reptile, mammal) since children would know what a grandmother is but not an ancestor.

Confusing the Issue of Intelligent Behavior

The book compares animal behavior to human behavior for each of the animal grandmothers. This seduces children into thinking because they can do the same types of things they must be related to the animals. For example, “She [Grandmother Fish] could wiggle and swim fast. Can you wiggle?” Well, certainly children can wiggle (every parent can attest to this!), but that doesn’t mean humans are related to fish. It’s no secret that humans and animals have some similar behaviors, but as we have reported many, many times before this isn’t because of shared ancestry. Instead, God designed animals to beintelligent, but their intelligence pales in comparison to that of humans who are made in the image of God.

Missing Evolutionary Transitions

Following the comparative animal-human behaviors for each “grandmother,” children are presented with a small evolutionary tree showing lines connecting that grandmother to the next one. The book connects fish to reptiles, reptiles to mammals, mammals to apes, and, of course, apes to humans. While visually simple, it discounts the millions of mutations that would have to occur by random chance for these transitions to be possible (and the fact that transitional fossils between these organisms are absent).

Following the conclusion of the book is a parent’s guide giving more detailed information about each evolutionary transition presented in the book. For example, grandmother mammal is said to cuddle and parents are told, “They evolved cuddling as part of nursing our young. Both of these behaviors are governed by the ‘cuddle hormone,’ oxytocin.” It seems the author didn’t stop with simplifying evolution for kids; he also wanted to absurdly simplify it for their parents as well.

How Evolution Supposedly Happens

Also in the parent’s guide are explanations of three major points related to evolution: descent with modification, artificial selection, and natural selection. Dogs are used for artificial selection to show that people have bred dogs to achieve dogs with specific traits (of course, traits that already existed in dogs). They conclude this section with, “All the different kinds of dogs come from one kind of dog that lived a long time ago.” Finally, something I can agree with in the book! All dogs did come from the original dog kind created by God on Day Six of Creation Week, approximately 6,000 years ago. I found it interesting that their point about artificial selection is that it results in variation within a certain group of animals (dogs) and yet somehow a similar type of mechanism (natural selection) is supposed to achieve molecules-to-man evolution with one kind of animal evolving into a completely different kind of animal! I honestly hope parents reading the guide will see the obvious problem this creates for evolution and how natural selection cannot be a mechanism.

As with many books on evolution, time is presented as the key. Evolution can do anything and everything with enough time. But it is this simplification presented to both children and parents in this book that is so problematic. As a professional geneticist, I can attest to the fact that time is not the key but rather what is needed is a genetic mechanism that adds new and novel information so that organisms can evolve from fish to humans. The problem is that with all the thousands of papers published on mutations, no such mechanism has ever been observed. Mutations only alter (and many times detrimentally) genetic information that is already present—they don’t add new and novel information of the type that will change one kind of organism into another. All the time in the world is useless if there is no genetic mechanism to add what is needed for molecules-to-man evolution.

Teaching Our Kids the Truth About Our Origins

With its engaging text and illustrations, I’m sure this book will find its way into many public libraries and even school libraries. I challenge parents and others to suggest to their local librarian an alternative book from AiG’s vast resources for children. One of my personal favorites is Dinosaurs for Kids. I always say it should be called “Dinosaurs for Everyone,” because it is a book that will keep the attention of both children and parents and equip them to answer common questions about dinosaurs. Also, be sure to visit the Creation Museum and take advantage of our “Kids Free in 2014.”

While it is sad to see evolutionary resources like this book for children, it is very encouraging to see the many children’s resources (including Answers Bible Curriculum andAnswers VBS) available through AiG that help us teach our kids that the truth about our origins can only be found in the truth of God’s Word.

Keep fighting the good fight of the faith!