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 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.