Seeing that bodily disposition is important in worship and spiritual life, in general, great emphasis is placed in the Orthodox Church on fasting; if one should add up all of the fasting seasons and days of the Church calendar, he would find that more than half of the year is devoted to this ascetic labor. The question might rightfully be asked, then, as to why this is so.
According to St. Basil the Great, Adam, the first-created man, loving God of his own free will, dwelt in the heavenly blessedness of communion with God, in the angelic state of prayer and fasting. The cause of this first man’s fall was his free will; by an act of disobedience he violated the vow of abstinence and broke the living union of love with God. That is, he held in scorn the heavenly obligations of prayer and fasting by eating of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Lack of abstinence, then, was the cause of the Fall and, as a result, because of this original greed, the soul becomes dimmed, and is deprived of Continue reading “Fasting – Orthodox Catechism”
ORTHODOX HEART SITES
What is the Holy Bible?
We believe the Holy Bible, comprised of the Old and New Testaments, to be the inspired, infallible, and authoritative Word of God (Matthew 5:18; 2 Timothy 3:16-17).
In faith we hold the Holy Bible to be inerrant in the original writings, God-breathed, and the complete and final authority for faith and practice (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
While still using the individual writing styles of the human authors, the Holy Spirit perfectly guided them to ensure they wrote precisely what He wanted written, without error or omission (2 Peter 1:21).
HEAVEN ON EARTH
Holy Eucharist (Holy Communion)
It can doubtlessly be said that the central sacrament of the Church is Holy Eucharist. It is the sacrament of sacraments. It was established by Christ Himself: “When it was evening,” Jesus “took bread, and blessed, and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, ‘Take, eat; this is My body, broken on behalf of all for the forgiveness of sins,’ and “He took the cup, and when He had given thanks He gave it to them, saying, `Drink of it, all of you; for this is My blood of the New Covenant, which is shed for many for the forgiveness of sins.'” Christ added, “Do this in remembrance of Me” (Matthew, 26:20-9; Mark, 14:17-25; Luke, 22:14-38; John, 6:27-69; 1 Corinthians, 11:23-26).
From these words of Christ we see that the Holy Eucharist is truly the body and blood of Christ. It is not a symbol. It is truly the body and truly the blood of Christ. Christ did not say that “this symbolizes My body” and “this symbolizes My blood.” He said, “this is My body” and “this is My blood.” Of course, even after the celebration of the Holy Eucharist, all we see with our human eyes is bread and wine. Even the taste on our tongues is that of bread and wine. In reality and in essence, though, that which we see and that which we taste is truly the body and blood of Christ. How does this happen? How does this change occur? No one can say. It is done in a mysterious way with the intervention of the Continue reading “Holy Eucharist (Holy Communion)”
SAINT PAISIOS OF MOUNT ATHOS, GREECE
Advice about Confession
Saint Paisios of Mount Athos, Greece (+1994)
ST. JOHN THE FORERUNNER
We all know the importance of Confession, but yet so few take advantage of it. Here Saint Paisios of Mount Athos, Greece (+1994) shows us why it is so important.
A young man went to see the Elder. I arrived the moment he was ringing the bell, and waited behind him. After a while, Father Paisios opened the door and came to the fence.
-What’s up, young man, what do you want? asked the Elder.
-Father, I would like to see you and get your advice on something.
-Have you gone to confession? Do you have a spiritual father?
-No, Father, I don’t have a spiritual father and I haven’t gone to confession.
-Well, then you better go to confession and then come to see me.
-Why can’t I see you, Father?
-I will explain to you, so you can understand. Your mind is confused and troubled by the sins you have fallen into; as a result, you cannot realize the Continue reading “Advice about Confession – Saint Paisios of Mount Athos, Greece (+1994)”
HAVE FAITH – ORTHODOXY
Creation – Fr. Antonios Alevizopoulos, Greece
Orthodox Christians believe that God is “the Creator of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible”. The world is not eternal; only God is eternal. He created the entire world out of nothing: “for he spoke, and it came to be; He commanded, and it stood forth” (Ps. 33,9).
Man cannot determine the manner in which the world came into being; for it is not an object of scientific examination, for it transcends man’s “rational” ability (his logic). Man is part of created reality, he cannot become an “observer” of the manner in which he himself was created!
The world is not of the same nature with God; “by nature” it is entirely different. The world is not a creation from the essence of God, “light from light” but the fruit of God’s volition and freedom; there is an insurmountable chasm separating God’s essence from the essence of the created world.
God need not have created the world. The world, however, was pre-eternally in God’s “thought”. Thus the creation of the world does not mean a change in God’s life. The world came into being according to God’s plan and at a time which pre-eternally existed in God’s will.
Before making visible creation, God created the spiritual world, i.e. the angels: “When the stars were created, all my angels with a loud voice praised me”, says God to Job (Job 38,7). Neither angels nor men existed pre-eternally. Angels are spiritual persons. They were created in time and are limited by Continue reading “Creation – Fr. Antonios Alevizopoulos, Greece”
What does the daily invocation of the saints signify?
Saint John of Kronstadt, Russia (+1908)
What does the daily invocation of the saints signify — of different ones each day, during the whole year, and during our whole life? It signifies that God’s saints — as our brethren, but perfect — live, and are near us, ever ready to help us, by the grace of God. We live together with them in the house of our Heavenly Father, only in different parts of it. We live in the earthly, they in the heavenly half; but we can converse with them, and they with us. God’s saints are near to the believing heart, and are ready in a moment to help those who call upon them with faith and love.”
From the Book: St. John of Kronstadt, My Life in Christ
ORTHODOX CHURCH QUOTES