Why are Easters a month apart….

Taken from Public Orthodoxy…..

There is a common misperception among Orthodox Christians that the reason why Orthodox Easter (i.e. Pascha) often occurs so much later than Western Christian Easter is because the Orthodox Church abides by the rules for calculating the date of Pascha issued by the 1stEcumenical Council at Nicaea in 325 AD and thus the Orthodox must wait for Passover to be celebrated by the Jewish community before Pascha can occur. Despite this view being held by so many Orthodox Christians as well as being promoted in popular essays written by some Orthodox priests, it is not accurate. The reason why Orthodox Pascha frequently occurs so much later than Easter celebrated by Roman Catholics and Protestants has nothing to do with the Orthodox Church following the Paschal formula of Nicaea and the Western Churches not doing so, nor is it because the Orthodox must wait for Jewish Passover to be celebrated. Rather, Orthodox Pascha frequently occurs later than Western Easter because the Orthodox Church uses inaccurate scientific calculations that rely on the inaccurate Julian Calendar to determine the date of Pascha for each year. Some background information is in order to help explain precisely what the problems are. Continue here

What is heaven? What is salvation?

From the YouTube channel, The Orthodox Christian Studies Center of Fordham University: The Orthodox Christian Studies Center, in partnership with the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America and with the blessing of His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros, is pleased to announce the launch of the new video series “Orthodox Scholars Preach.”

In anticipation of the Second Sunday of Lent, of St. Gregory Palamas:

Why flee to the desert?

Taken from Arab Orthodoxy (here)

Tranquility

By Metropolitan Ephrem (Kyriakos)

Once I asked an elder, “Why do you flee to the desert? Why don’t you remain in the world where you can benefit and be of benefit?”

The elder replied, “If a person does not become like an angel, then he will not gain anything from the world. As for me, a wretched son of Adam, when I see the fruit of sin I desire it, I eat it and I die.”

What did the Lord Jesus do?

“When He had sent the multitudes away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray” (Matthew 14:23). This is to teach us that if we want to turn to God with a pure heart, we must remove ourselves a little from the din of the crowd.

Solitude helps us to be continually united to God. It helps one who prays to be more united to the hidden world within himself, so that he can struggle against various thoughts and inner temptations, imitating Christ in the salvific confrontation with temptations.

It is difficult for contemporary man to attain such inner experience while he is occupied with various outward concerns that prevent him from securing this outward tranquility as a prelude to attaining inner tranquility through prayer without distraction.

Attention to the inside produces inner wakefulness where the Holy Spirit becomes the starting-point for all activities and “those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil” (Hebrews 5:`4).

The spiritual father possesses the virtue of discerning spirits.

This gift causes one to no longer regard the self as the center of the world, but to look to the other and become a being of communion.

Saint Macarius the Egyptian describes hell as “no longer being able to see the face of the other.”

The work of the hesychast in his prayer is to unite the body to the soul under divine watch. Purity of heart in the ascetic struggle and hesychastic prayer do not aim to mortify sensation and erase the will, but just the opposite, to tame the human animal nature.

In this way savage beasts become tame and prayer causes man’s passions to transform into a capacity for love of God and the neighbor.

“Inadmissible to equate same-sex unions with marriage”

H/T: Serbian Patriarchate (here)

The Holy Synod of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church submitted objections and opinions on the draft law on same-sex unions to the Government of the Republic of Serbia in a timely manner and within the period prescribed by law.

The mentioned bill for the Serbian Orthodox Church is unacceptable, because the vast majority of the proposed provisions are in contradiction with the Gospel of Christ and the overall experience and practice of the Church on which our Serbian people, as well as the entire European civilization, are spiritually and morally based.

It is inadmissible to legally equate same-sex unions with marriage and the family, as stated in the text of the Draft Law, because marital union is discriminated in this way, as a Christian and legally protected value. The Church respects the freedom that God has given us and understands the human aspiration to express its freedom in different ways.

The Holy Synod of Bishops agrees that there is a need to exercise certain personal, property and other rights of those treated by the draft law, but pointed out the possibility that they are exercised in the legal order of the Republic of Serbia entirely administratively, without interfering with marital and family legislation.

The Holy Synod of Bishops emphasizes that it accepts and promotes dialogue, as the only and necessary way to find a solution regarding all issues of general social importance, as well as on this issue that has caused great concern.

The Holy Synod of Bishops expressed the expectation that the arguments of the Serbian Orthodox Church on this issue will be respected.

What is rain?

His Grace Bishop Irinej of Eastern America gave an excellent inaugural St. Nikolaj Lecture a few evenings ago. I posted a save-the-date about it and then, naturally, forgot the date. But the Eastern Diocese posted this morning the YouTube video, which you can view on the bottom of this post.

I just wanted to post a snippet from the talk as bishop, as he usually does, spoke so eloquently and with such a commanding tone as if he was present at everything described. He spoke beautifully about how the saintly bishop would use every opportunity and every question, as mundane as it might have been, as a teaching tool. And he says:

“…As an example, one day at class Fr. Joseph Preda …. mentioned that it was such a terrible, dismal day when they were siting in class. It was raining. And all the students were complaining. So Nikolaj walked over to the window, looked outside and decided he was going to expound on the further dimensions of rain, beginning with Noah and continuing to their very day. And then he posed a question to the students: What is rain? However, the answer, before they could respond, he said: “It is like Christ who was also sent by the Father from Heaven to water a thirsty earth.”

That ended the dismal nature of that day.”

Watch the full lecture here: