Silence and the Prayer of the Heart

March 27, 2015 / Jean Hoefling This is an excerpt of the article originally published by Relief Journal, a Christian online publication. Click the link below for full article. “Speech is the organ of this present world. Silence is the mystery of the world to come.” –St. Isaac the Syrian, 7th century An irony of Lent is that too many of us like to talk about the discipline of personal silence, yet practice it little and poorly. Like breathing big city air, we’re accustomed to wallowing … [Read more...]

Vacancy At the Place of the Skull

April 23, 2015 / Jean Hoefling This is an excerpt of the article originally published by Relief Journal, a Christian online publication. Click the link below for full article. Today is suspended upon the tree, He who suspended the earth upon the waters. A crown of thorns crowns him Who is the King of the angels . . . 15th Antiphon of Holy Friday The 15th Antiphon is a stark hymnal summation of the great paradox that is the Crucifixion of Christ: the holy God-man dying for want of … [Read more...]

Stand Firm…Get Moving

Sermon by Fr. Evan Armatas (Matthew 19:16-26) Recently, someone sent me a pretty funny video. It opens with the camera on a man riding up an escalator and behind him just a few yards away is a woman. Abruptly, the escalator stops and the camera widens out to show both people standing still and stuck on an escalator. In fact, the title of the video is, ‘People stuck on an escalator.’ Now maybe in hearing the title of the video you’ve already picked up on its meaning. How can someone be stuck … [Read more...]

Becoming Two-Eyed

September 15, 2014 / Jean Hoefling This is an excerpt of the article originally published by Relief Journal, a Christian online publication. Click the link below for full article. When your eye is healthy, your whole body is full of light. ~ St. Luke 11:34 In accurately rendered Orthodox icons of the Mystical Supper of Christ, both eyes of each of the human subjects present are viewable to the observer. Except one, for Judas the traitor is painted in full profile, a single eye … [Read more...]

Beauty and Saving the World

July 16, 2014 / Jean Hoefling This is an excerpt of the article originally published by Relief Journal, a Christian online publication. Click the link below for full article. Beauty will save the world. – Fyodor Dostoyevsky In the Orthodox Church, from Easter to the Ascension, an ethereal hymn is sung while the faithful partake of Eucharist. The brief lyrics implore all who will, to receive the Body of Christ, drink of the Fountain of Immortality. Assuming this transformation of … [Read more...]

I Need Lent

Recently, just a few days ago, I asked somebody, “How are you doing?” Their response was to some degree unexpected but to those who have struggled to live the Christian life, perhaps it wasn’t that unusual. The young man said to me, “Father, I need Lent.” He went on to say, “I think I’ve come to realize how wise the church is in providing this annual challenge. I need lent.” So needless to say, for the past few days I’ve been thinking about these simple three words, “I need Lent,” and you may … [Read more...]

Epiphany-Theophany-Feast of Lights

On January 6th the Church celebrates one of the great and wonderful events in the life of Jesus Christ, His Baptism. Jesus was baptized in the River Jordan by the Prophet and Saint, John the Baptist. In the New Testament we read how Jesus approached John who was preaching a life of repentance and spiritual purity in the wilderness and asked to be baptized. Saint John's famous response was simple and straightforward, "I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me" (Matthew 3.13)? While … [Read more...]