Natural Death and the Work of Perfection (Part II)

In some Western Christian groups, radiant health and youthful vigor are seen as proof of the vitality and validity of one's faith (this is undoubtedly the most recent incarnation of the Puritan doctrine of predestination and a sign that one is among the "elect".) According to this view, illness is to be banished at all cost and death must be pushed away as far and as long as possible.

Read More

The Life of Our Father Among the Saints, Gregory the Theologian

Saint Gregory the Theologian was born near Nazianzus, a town in Great Cappadocia. His parents, Gregory and Nonna, were of noble ancestry and respected by all; however, the elder Gregory, being the child of a pagan father and a Jewish mother, was not a Christian in his younger years. He belonged to the sect of the Hypsistarii, which combined heathen and Judaic error. The blessed Nonna was the daughter of Christians and was herself an Orthodox Christian from childhood. She was reared in piety and perfectly instructed in the fear of God, which is the beginning of all wisdom. Providence allowed her to be wed to an infidel, so that "the unbelieving husband" might be "sanctified by the" believing "wife" (1 Corinthians Ch. 7) as the Apostle says. Nonna constantly exhorted her husband to accept the true faith, and what is more, fervently prayed for him. Eventually her entreaties secured God's intervention.

Read More

Natural Death and the Work of Perfection

The contemporary debate concerning physician-assisted suicide is predicated, from the traditional Christian standpoint, first, on a belief that illness and suffering have no particular value or purpose and, second, that there is no life after death or, if there is, earthly life is not a necessary preparation or determinative for that life. Traditional Christianity, articulated in some detail by H. Tristam Englehardt in his article, "Physician-assisted suicide reconsidered: Dying as a Christian in a post-Christian age," can also be summarized in the following statement by Saint John of Kronstadt:

Read More

The Feast of the Holy Apostle Timotheos (Timothy) and St. Anastasios the Holy Martyr

Apolytikion (Dismissal) Hymn of the Holy Apostle and the Righteous Martyr. Fourth Tone

Since thou hadst been instructed in uprightness thoroughly and was vigilant in all things, thou wast clothed with a good conscience as befitteth one holy. Thou didst draw from the Chosen Vessel ineffable mysteries and having kept the Faith, thou didst finish a like course, O Hieromartyr and Apostle Timothy. Intercede with Christ God that our souls be saved.

Read More

Our Fathers Among the Saints Athanasius and Cyril, Archbishops of Aelxandria-January 18 (Part II)

Saint Cyril was also from Alexandria, born about the year 376 A.D., the nephew of Theophilus, Patriarch of Alexandria, who also instructed the Saint in his youth. Having first spent much time with the monks in Nitria, he later became the successor to his uncle's throne in 412 A.D. In 429 A.D., when Cyril heard tidings of the teachings of the new Patriarch of Constantinople, Nestorius, he began attempting through private letters to bring Nestorius to renounce his heretical teachings about the Incarnation; and when the heresiarch did not repent, Saint Cyril, together with Pope Celestine of Rome, led the Orthodox opposition to his error (heresy).

Read More

Our Fathers Among the Saints Athanasius and Cyril, Archbishops of Alexandria-January 18 (Part I)

In the half-century after the First Ecumenical Council held in Nicaea in 325 A.D., if there was one man whom the Arians (heretics) feared and hated more intensely than any other, as being able to lay bare the whole error (heresy) of their teaching, and to marshal, even from exile or hiding, the beleaguered forces of the Orthodox, it was Saint Athanasius the Great.

Read More

January 17-The Feast of St. Anthony the Great

Most of what we know about the life of Saint Anthony the Great is from the Greek Life of Antonios by Saint Athanasios.

Saint Anthony was born near Herakleopolis Magna in Upper Egypt in 251 A.D. to wealthy parents. When he was eighteen years old, his parents died and left him with the care of his unmarried sister. In 285 A.D., he decided to follow the words of Jesus who has said: "If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasures in heaven; and come, follow Me" (St. Matthew 19:21). Anthony gave his wealth to the poor and needy, and placed his sister with a group of Christian virgins.

Read More