Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Wise Words...

"Christian ministers are not supposed to preach their private opinions, at least from the pulpit. Ministers are commissioned and ordained in the church precisely to preach the Word of God. They are given some fixed terms of reference — namely, the gospel of Jesus Christ — and they are committed to this sole and perennial message. They are expected to propagate and to sustain 'the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.' Of course, the Word of God must be preached 'efficiently.' That is, it should always be so presented as to carry conviction and command the allegiance of every new generation and every particular group. It may be restated in new categories, if the circumstances require. But, above all, the identity of the message must be preserved."

- Archpriest Georges Florovsky, one of the great Orthodox writers of the 20th century, in an essay entitled "The Lost Scriptural Mind"

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Many Thanks!

Many thanks to all who came out for services this past weekend. We had twelve for Vespers on Saturday evening and nineteen for Liturgy on Sunday morning.

Fr Ted Pisarchuk, who coordinates missions and evangelism work for the OCA Diocese of the South, tells me that there are several priests willing to fly in periodically for services.

Our next task is find a regular place for services and raise funds for various expenses, including the priests' trips to Baton Rouge.

A bit of Lenten wisdom from the Fathers:

"The way to God consists in a daily cross: no one can ascend to heaven in comfort – we know where the road of comfort leads to!" - St. Isaac the Syrian

Glory to God for all things!

Monday, March 13, 2006

What should I expect in Orthodox worship?

When first experiencing Orthodox Christian worship, especially in its Eastern forms, many Westerners quickly come to the realization that something very different is going on...

Where's the pipe organ? or the pulpit? and why's everybody standing so much?

One of the most helpful and concise introductions for visitors to Orthodox Christian worship is available at Khouria Frederica Mathewes-Green's website, entitled "Twelve Things I Wish I'd Known..."

Click the title above to read the essay. Enjoy!

Sunday, March 12, 2006

The Sunday of Orthodoxy

This, the first Sunday of Great Lent, is known as the Sunday of Orthodoxy. The dominant theme of this Sunday since 843 has been that of the victory of the icons. In that year the iconoclastic controversy, which had raged on and off since 726, was finally laid to rest, and icons and their veneration were restored on the first Sunday in Lent. Ever since, that Sunday been commemorated as the "triumph of Orthodoxy."

Orthodox teaching about icons was defined at the Seventh Ecumenical Council of 787, which brought to an end the first phase of the attempt to suppress icons. That teaching was finally re-established in 843, and it is embodied in the texts sung on this Sunday.

In a letter addressed to all of the Orthodox faithful throughout North America on the occasion of this Sunday, the Hierarchs of the Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas included this statement:

"As we celebrate this day in our parishes and communities, we are openly invited to participate in a ministry of the restoration of the truth within our contemporary world. We affirm on this day the power of truth to triumph over falsehood and its harmful influences, recognizing that these influences confuse the mind and attempt to distort the divine imprint upon our lives and all of Creation. We can labor for the restoration of a truth that transforms lives and that leads souls into communion with God. We can guide others to Christ, with the full knowledge that our worship of Him as God is facilitated by our usage of Holy Icons in worship because of the truth that He condescended to become a human being for our salvation.

"As we journey through this Holy Lenten season may we offer a ministry of the restoration of the truth through our communion with God, Who became a human being, and through our worship of Him and our honor to His saints by means of our veneration of Holy Icons."

Glory to Jesus Christ! Glory to Him forever!

(the icon for the feast is from the website of the Orthodox Church in America. Additional information came from the website of the Greek Archdiocese.)