Orthodoxy and Faith

It is understood that Orthodoxy is always closely linked to faith. Thus, we speak of the "right and true faith," in order to distinguish it from the "adulterated faith." Orthodoxy is the true glory and glorification of God--the genuine notion of God--while a heresy is a manufactured glory, a morbid glorification of God. Orthodoxy and heresy thus confront each other in the area of Faith, and that is exactly where they diversify. What, therefore, is "faith" and how is it perceived in the life of the Church as the Body of Christ?

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The Time of Lent (Part III)

The Gospel for the first Sunday of Lent ended with an allusion to the ministry of Angels. And Angels are also called to mind by the Epistle for this day (Hebrews 1:10-2:3). The sacred text compares the ministry of Angels with that, which is so much greater, of the Savior Himself. If disobedience to the messages to us by the Angels is justly punished, how much greater will be the punishment of the man who neglects the salvation that is announced and brought by Christ. For 'to which of the Angels said he at any time, Sit on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool'?

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The Time of Lent (Part II)

On Friday afternoon during Holy and Great Lent the hymn called the 'Akathist' is recited or chanted. It is a long poem of praise to the Most Holy Virgin and Mother of God. It comprises twenty-four stanzas set out in alphabetical order and broken up into four portions. These portions are read one after another--one each Friday--during the first four Fridays of Holy Lent. On the fifth Friday, the Akathist is chanted entirely.

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The Time of Lent

In the same way as on the previous Sunday, fasting figures as a secondary theme in the Divine Liturgy of the day. This Sunday is called 'Meat-fare Sunday', because it is the last day on which the consumption of meat is authorized. From the next day, Monday, one should, if one can, abstain from meat until Pascha. On the other hand, the use of milk, butter and cheese is allowed during all the days of this week, including Wednesday and Friday. During the Divine Liturgy a portion of the first epistle of Saint Paul to the Corinthians (8:8-13 and 9:1-2) is read in which the holy Apostle, in substance, says the following: Eating or not eating meat in itself is not a matter of importance, but this liberty which we have must not scandalize or be a stumbling-block to the weak.

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...The Value of Fasting Consists Not is Abstinence from Food, But Withdrawing From Sinful Practices...

"For the value of fasting consists not in abstinence from food, but in withdrawing from sinful practices; since he who limits his fasting to an abstinence from meats, is one who especially disparages it. Do you fast? Give me proof of it by your works! Is it said by what kind of works? If you see a poor man, take pity on him! If you see an enemy, be reconciled to him! If you see a friend gaining honor, envy him not! If you see a handsome woman, pass her by! For let not the mouth only fast, but also the eye, and the ear, and the feet, and the hands, and all the members of our bodies.

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The Saturday of the Dead and Sunday of Last Judgment

On the day before the Sunday of the Last Judgment, and in close connection with the theme of this Sunday, there is a universal commemoration of the dead 'from all the ages.' (There is further commemoration of the dead on the second, third, and fourth Saturdays in holy Lent.) Before we call to mind the Second Coming of Christ in the services on Sunday, we commend to God all those departed before us, who are now awaiting the Last Judgment. In the texts for this Saturday there is a strong sense of the continuing bond of mutual love that links together all the members of the Church, whether alive or dead.

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The Life and Feast of the Holy Martyr Theodore Tyron (Conscript or Recruit)

This holy, glorious Martyr of Christ came from Amasia in Pontus and was a Roman legionary at the time of the pagan Roman emperor Maximian's great persecution (303 A.D.). He has been a Christian since childhood but kept his faith secret, not out of cowardice but because he has not yet received a sign from God to present himself for martyrdom. While his cohort was stationed near the town of Euchaita (Helenopontus), he learned that the people of the district went in terror of a dreadful dragon, which lurked in the surrounding forest. He realized that here was the quest in which God would show him whether the time had come to offer himself for martyrdom.

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