Saturday, January 10, 2015

The Eastern Orthodox Church is Southern at Heart

"I don't believe I know your daddy." is a cunning Southern insult. 

It means you aren't from around here and so they don't care what you think about anything. You haven't proven yourself through lineage nor family values.  You have no shared history and you are not known.

Owe!   So much for hospitality.  I guess Southern hospitality is more of a "Be seen and not heard" concept. 

Up North, I was raised with, "A man is known by the company he keeps."  This is more individualized.  It offers the implication that you are self made.  You determine your destiny.  You can even reinvent yourself if you want.  You are the "master of your own destiny."  It gives you freedom from your past.   

As Orthodox Christians, we really are living in a sub-culture where it is important to know who your daddy is.  But in our case it's our bishop.  What we believe, how we worship and what we practice is all authenticated through our bishop.  He is the core of "being in communion." This is how we know we are still connected to the original Christian church. 

Did you know the Greek Orthodox Church in America is connected to the authentic Christian church through His All Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew.  Patriarch Bartholomew is the 270th Archbishop of the 2000-year-old Church founded by St. Andrew, serving as Archbishop of Constantinople-New Rome and Ecumenical Patriarch. 

Consider this scenario, if you wanted to start an Orthodox Church near you, you would need the blessing of a canonical bishop. You can't just go out in the middle Tennessee, build a church, hire any priest and call yourself an Orthodox Church.  "Who's you daddy?"  What is your lineage?  What does your faith teach?  Who are you accountable to? Who is going to give you credentials? 

You can't be Orthodox just because you agree with the teachings of the Orthodox Faith... and you can't be Orthodox without a canonical bishop.

So I suppose "I don't believe I know your daddy." is an Orthodox saying as well.

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

It's House Blessing Season

It's the day after Epiphany and we have not only returned to our regularly scheduled fasting practices but we have also entered into the beloved House Blessing Season...

It's that time of year when we invite the priest to come into our homes and sanctify it with Holy Water.  He can come with already blessed water (or he can read a prayer over a bowl of water) and he sings the hymn of Epiphany while you guide him to every room for him to bless. 

When Thou, O Lord, were baptized in the Jordan, the worship of the Trinity was made manifest! For the voice of the Father bore witness to Thee, and called Thee His beloved Son! And the Spirit, in the form of a dove, confirmed the truthfulness of His word. O Christ our God, who revealed Thyself and has enlightened the world, glory to Thee!

 It can be a perfect opportunity to meet one on one with your priest, who is usually more than happy to get a personal visit with you as well. 

So call your church office today and ask your parish priest to come and bless you home. 

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Making a Vasilopita for the New Year

It has always been an honor to be named after St. Basil.  Known for his generosity and care for the poor, St. Basil was also a brilliant theologian.  St. Basil the Great lived during the Fourth Century and was one of the most favored and respected bishop saints in the Orthodox Church, so much so that he is remembered with two feast days:

January 1st on his name day (the Feast of the Circumcision of Our Lord)

January 30th along with St. Gregory and St. John Chrysostom, on the feast of the Three Hierarchs.


Tradition tells us that St. Basil would hide coins in breads and cakes to give to the poor.  This is why we make a cake or bread with a hidden coin on New Year's Day.

Need a recipe for a Vasilopita cake?  I have a recipe for one on the Orthodox Christian Network.

Monday, December 22, 2014

In Defense of Santa

I’ve always liked Christmas, and I’ve always loved Santa.  He was the one I could count on for years to hear my prayers.  It sounds terrible to write that now at my age, but when I was a four, he was the closest thing to Jesus that I could possibly grasp.  Yes, there, I said it.  A man far, far away knows if we’ve been bad or good, and in his mercy, is willing to give me a gift all the same.  Yup, for the longest time, Santa was my Jesus.  ... Read the full post on the Sounding...


Thursday, December 04, 2014

Today's JAR- Celebrating St. Nicholas

Today's JAR- just a reminder

Saturday is the Feast of St. Nicholas. In this season of Santa Claus and gift giving, celebrating St. Nicholas with charity and hospitality is a great way to remember and honor the saint. 

I find it ironic when we spend the day shopping for Christmas gifts, playing Santa, and end up too busy to acknowledge the saint who inspired him. Start the day with Liturgy, and drop off a donation to a shelter, visit a nursing home or even treat someone to lunch. 

St. Nicholas is a wonderful and beloved saint of the Orthodox Church. 
  His Apoylitikion in Greek on Youtube...

Apolytikion of Nicholas the Wonderworker in the Fourth Tone

A model of faith and the image of gentleness, the example of your life has shown you forth to your sheep-fold to be a master of temperance. You obtained thus through being lowly, gifts from on high, and riches through poverty. Nicholas, our father and priest of priests, intercede with Christ our God that He may save our souls.


For the parents..
One tradition is to leave candy, money and fruit for your children on the feast of
St. Nicholas, in memory of the many people he helped through charity.