Sunday, March 15, 2015


As some of you may know, I am not Orthodox; nonetheless, I created this blog a few years ago to share the luminous treasures that I have found in my reading and in my reverently tentative exploration of holy Orthodoxy.

Recently (this past Friday night), I had the immense joy of attending an Akathist and Little Compline service at an Antiochene Orthodox church some five miles from where I live. To say that it was an hour well spent is an understatement!

The inexhaustible poetry and richness of the Akathist, the beautiful solemnity of the Compline prayers, the loveliness of the church -- I marvel.

It was my first time in an Orthodox church while public prayer was taking place. I hope and pray that it will not be my last!

To those of you who are reading this post, I ask for your prayers. I may be firmly ensconced in my baptismal Roman Catholicism, but my profound respect for the traditions and the liturgies of  holy Orthodoxy has increased immeasurably with this recent visit to the church nearby. Visiting an Orthodox church was something I had wanted to do for over 15 years.

Thank you all. Blessings and peace!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Prayers and the One God of All

A beautiful reflection on prayer by an Orthodox priest, Fr Stephen.

Monday, December 31, 2012

Archimandrite Sophrony

If we would concentrate on divine truth as seen in Christ, all need for a stream of words disappears, until finally the mind enters the realm of profound silence.

St John Chrysostom

The name of our Lord Jesus Christ, descending into the depths of the heart, will subdue the serpent holding sway over the pastures of the heart, and will save our soul and bring it to life. Thus, abide constantly with the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, so that the heart swallows the Lord and the Lord the heart, and the two become one. But this work is not done in one or two days; it needs many years and a long time. For great and prolonged labor is needed to cast out the foe so that Christ dwells in us.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

St Anthony the Great

To say that God turns away from the sinful is like saying that the sun hides from the blind.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

St John of Kronstadt

When you are praying alone, and your spirit is dejected, and you are wearied and oppressed by your loneliness, remember then, as always, that God the Trinity looks upon you with eyes brighter than the sun; also all the angels, your own Guardian Angel, and all the Saints of God.

Friday, November 18, 2011

55 Maxims

by Fr Thomas Hopko

  1. Be always with Christ, and trust God in everything.
  2. Pray as you can, not as you think you must.
  3. Have a keepable rule of prayer, done by discipline.
  4. Say the Lord’s Prayer several times each day.
  5. Repeat a short prayer when your mind is not occupied.
  6. Make some prostrations when you pray.
  7. Eat good foods in moderation, and fast on fasting days.
  8. Practice silence: inner, and outer.
  9. Sit in silence 20 to 30 minutes each day.
  10. Do acts of mercy in secret.
  11. Go to liturgical services regularly.
  12. Go to confession, and holy communion regularly.
  13. Do not engage intrusive thoughts, and feelings.
  14. Reveal your thoughts, and feelings to someone regularly.
  15. Read the scriptures regularly.
  16. Read good books, a little at a time.
  17. Cultivate communion with the saints.
  18. Be an ordinary person, one of the human race.
  19. Be polite with everyone, first of all with family members.
  20. Maintain cleanliness, and order in your home.
  21. Have a healthy, wholesome hobby.
  22. Exercise regularly.
  23. Live a day, even a part of a day, at a time.
  24. Be totally honest, first of all with yourself.
  25. Be faithful in little things.
  26. Do your work, then forget it.
  27. Do the most difficult, and painful things first.
  28. Face reality.
  29. Be grateful.
  30. Be cheerful.
  31. Be simple, hidden, quiet, and small.
  32. Never bring attention to yourself.
  33. Listen when people talk to you.
  34. Be awake, and attentive, fully present where you are.
  35. Think, and talk about things no more than necessary.
  36. Speak simply, clearly, firmly, directly.
  37. Flee imagination, fantasy, analysis, figuring things out.
  38. Flee carnal, sexual things at their first appearance.
  39. Don’t complain, grumble, murmur, or whine.
  40. Don’t seek, or expect pity, or praise.
  41. Don’t compare yourself with anyone.
  42. Don’t judge anyone for anything.
  43. Don’t try to convince anyone of anything.
  44. Don’t defend, or justify yourself.
  45. Be defined, and bound by God, not by people.
  46. Accept criticism gracefully, and test it carefully.
  47. Give advice only when asked, or when it is your duty.
  48. Do nothing for people that they can, and should, do for themselves.
  49. Have a daily schedule of activities, avoiding whim, and caprice.
  50. Be merciful with yourself, and with others.
  51. Have no expectations, except to be fiercely tempted until your last breath.
  52. Focus exclusively on God, and light, and never on darkness, temptation, and sin.
  53. Patiently endure your faults, and sins peacefully, under God’s mercy.
  54. When you fall, get up immediately, and start over.
  55. Get help when you need it, without fear, or shame.

Two readings

From Daily Readings in Orthodox Spirituality (ed. P. Bouteneff, Templegate, 1996, 94 pp)

p 42 The Struggle and the Kingdom

Amma Theodora said, “Let us strive to enter through the narrow gate. Just as the trees, if they have not stood before the winter’s storms cannot bear fruit, so it is with us; the present age is a storm and it is only through many trials and temptations that we can obtain an inheritance in the kingdom of heaven.”

Amma Synclectica said, “Great endeavors and hard struggles await those who are converted, but afterwards inexpressible joy. If you want to light a fire, you are troubled at first by smoke, and your eyes water. But in the end you achieve your aim. Now it is written : ‘Our God is a consuming fire.’ So we must light the divine fire in us with tears and struggle.”

:: :: :: :: :: ::

p 43 Temptation and Humility

Abba Anthony said to Abba Poemen, “This is the great work of a man : always to take the blame for his own sins before God and to expect temptation to his last breath.”

He also said, “Whoever has not experienced temptation cannot enter into the Kingdom of Heaven.” He even added, “Without temptations, no one can be saved.”

He also said, “I saw all the snares that the enemy spreads out over the world and I said groaning, ‘What can get one through such snares?’ Then I heard a voice saying to me, ‘Humility.’”

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

St John of Kronstadt

We must not return anger for anger, pride for pride; those who are angry or proud towards us we must pity as overcome by the flames of hell, and by spiritual death; we must pray for them from the depths of our hearts, that the Lord may take away the darkness from them, enlighten them by the light of his grace.