Saturday, September 13, 2014

Another Fasting Feast Day

September 14th is the day we remember the Elevation of the Holy Cross.  It's the second major feast day of the new church calendar year.  It's a good way to reflect upon what Christianity really is: To follow Christ means to "pick up your cross." 

Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.   For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it.  For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and is himself destroyed or lost?  -Luke 9:23-25 

To honor the importance of the day and what the cross is, the Church has designated this feast day as a fasting day.  And not just a meat free day, but a strict fast day.

This dichotomy of a fasting feast is appropriate for today as the cross was the tool for torture and killing of Christ, but it also reveals the power of the resurrection. We all have something that we are struggling with.  Many times we run from the struggle due to fear or weakness.  But there are times when we accept our cross, we also experience the joy of the resurrection. 

If you need a new fasting recipe, follow the Lenten Recipe page above for my top posts, or search "Lenten" over to the right. 

The Feast Day's Apolytikion Hymn
Lord, save Your people and bless Your inheritance,
granting our rulers to prevail over adversaries,
and protecting Your commonwealth by Your Cross.

Monday, September 08, 2014

Keeping a Vigil Olive Oil Lamp

And you shall command the children of Israel that they bring you pure oil of pressed olives for the light, to cause the lamp to burn continually (Exodus 27.20)


As a child, I remember always having an olive oil vigil lamp to light up the icons in my room.  It was comforting because I didn’t like my bedroom too dark and it seemed like something living was there to comfort me… breathing in the oxygen, giving off heat.  Its reflection on the icons of Christ and the Virgin Mary was all I saw in my dark room.  I never felt alone when my vigil lamp was lit.  I have continued to maintain one as the years have passed.

Since the lamp is an open flame, I am careful where I place it.  We have ours on a tall dresser and have mounted the icons on the wall behind it.  It can’t be knocked over and it doesn’t heat anything above it to be a fire hazard. 

His Eminence Metropolitan Alexios of Atlanta showed me  a quick and easy way to light an oil vigil lamp using a cotton ball for the wick.   Click here for the video 

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!  

Yes, that's right!   This is the beginning of the new ecclesiastical calendar.  We start the cycle of feast and fasts September 1st.   And how?  The first of the twelve major feasts days is the Nativity (Birth)of the Theotokos. 

September 1st isn't her real birthday.   But it's not like she is 8 and has to celebrate her birth on the exact day.  It's more of an honor that the celebration of Christ's incarnation and resurrection begins with her birth because it was her obedience that brought the Light into the world.

So, Happy New Year! 

Friday, August 22, 2014

We All Lost in Mosul

Here is an interview of people from Mosul who have been chased out of their homes.

I have been thinking of the nuances of Orthodoxy that have been lost when so many have died in Mosul.  Little habits, traditions, expressions of faith that have been buried.  Although we are full members of the faith after our baptism, I am referring to how we express our faith. 
I think of the many little habits I've acquired since moving to the south... (or that I am painfully aware that I haven't) dyed hair, painted nails, asking "How's your mom and family?"   And I think that if I can be impressed upon, even at my age, by my environment, what would it have been like to live among Christians who have been Christians since the time of Christ.  How did they express themselves in everyday living?  How did they treat each other?  How did they deal with conflict?  What did they consider to be common sense?  

And I wonder, if the fullest possible expression of Orthodox Christianity were left up to me and my family, what would we be leaving the next generation?   It would only be a grain of sand on a beach, in comparison. 

I weep for what was lost in life and in Christianity when the terrorists attacked Mosul. 

Saturday, August 16, 2014

It Transfigures- An Orthodox Comic Strip

My newest endeavor...  It Transfigures... A monthly comic strip about a little altar boy named Yianni who gets into mischief.

Now available: