Letter #59, 2016: The Face of Christ and Unity

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September 18, 2016, Sunday — The Face of Christ and Unity “Seeking the Face of Jesus must be the longing of all of us Christians… If we persevere in our quest for the Face of the Lord, at the end of our earthly pilgrimage, he, Jesus, will be our eternal joy, our reward and glory […]

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Urbi et Orbi Section: Eastern Tradition, Peter and Paul

PIETRO PAOLO ORTODOSSI

Saints Peter and Paul are considered pillars of the Orthodox Church, and thus share a special feast day which is celebrated on June 29.  This feast is preceded by one of the main periods of fasting in the liturgical calendar, a time of fasting that is unique to the Orthodox calendar.  It is called the […]

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Urbi et Orbi: Spirituality, The Orthodox Saints Speak

gregory palamas

We are made up of a soul and body, and both soul and body consist of many members. For the soul too has members after a fashion: those parts of it concerned with growth, desiring, anger and reason. Therefore, true fasting must extend to every part, cleansing and healing them all. Fasting, brethren, gently and […]

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Urbi et Orbi Section: The Message of the Icon

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The Trinitarian Icon The Trinity as depicted by Andrei Rublev is arguably the most famous and best-beloved icons of all time. Most iconographers would agree that no one has ever surpassed the unity of composition, the balance of color and the sheer spirituality of this image; there literally is nothing else quite like this portrayal […]

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Urbi et Orbi Section: The Message of the Icon

decapitation SAN GIOVANNI-29

The Third Finding of the Head of John the Baptist Along with the lance of Longinus, the head of John the Baptist has a history worthy of an Indiana Jones saga. The Eastern Churches also celebrate the first and second findings in separate feasts. The feasts are celebrated liturgically, of course, but also with the […]

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News from the East

Seraphim (Sobolev)

Archbishop Seraphim (Sobolev) Has Been Canonized On February 3, at the 5th plenary session of the Holy Council of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church, held at Christ the Savior Cathedral in Moscow, the proposal to canonize Archbishop Seraphim (Sobolev) was approved. The members of the Council, which included Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All […]

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Spirituality: The Orthodox Saints Speak

Russia___Kirill_Easter_Pasqua celebration

The Resurrection of Christ “Having beheld the Resurrection of Christ, let us worship the holy Lord Jesus, the only sinless one. We venerate Thy cross, O Christ, and Thy holy Resurrection we praise and glorify. For Thou art our God, and we know none other than Thee. We call on Thy name. O come, all […]

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The Message of the Icon: Extreme Humility

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One of the most powerful icons for the Lenten season is that depicting the King of Glory in His tomb, commonly called “Extreme Humility.” The grave is the great human equalizer, of course; princes and paupers alike must descend into death and experience the corruption of the flesh. An honest contemplation of the grave must […]

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Spirituality: The Orthodox Saints Speak

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Rivalry over material possessions has made us forget. . . So we no longer pursue plainness and simplicity of life. We no longer value stillness, which helps to free us from past defilement, but prefer a whole host of things which distract us uselessly from our true goal. Rivalry over material possessions has made us […]

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The Message of the Icon

CRISTO PANTOCRATOR SINAI CATERINA MONASTERO

Christ the Judge This month we highlight a famous and brilliantly executed icon dating from the 6th or 7th century. The icon was preserved during the time of the iconoclastic heresy simply due to the remote location of Saint Catherine’s Monastery at the base of Mount Sinai. Some of the oldest icons in the world […]

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News from the East

Chambesy, Switzerland, Orthodox Christian communion

Orthodox Clear Way to Historic Pan-Orthodox Council After a five-day conference, called a “synaxis,” held during January in Chambesy, Switzerland, representatives of all 14 of the autocephalous (self-governing) Churches of the Orthodox Christian communion agreed to go forward with the “Great Pan-Orthodox Council” tentatively planned for Pentecost of this year. The long hoped-for historic Council […]

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The Liturgical Year: The Byzantine Great Lent

The Liturgy of the Pre-sanctified Gifts, holy_eucharist

O Lord and Master of my life, drive from me the spirit of indifference, despair, lust for power and idle chatter. Instead, bestow on me, Your servant, the spirit of integrity, humility, patience and love. Yes, O Lord and King, let me see my own sins and not judge my brothers and sisters, for You […]

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Under Mary’s Mantle

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We continue our series of occasional articles on the history and spirituality of the Orthodox and Eastern-rite Catholic Churches. Our hope is to deepen our understanding of the ties that bind us, and to slowly “build bridges” that may, at some future time, allow closer relations, and perhaps even full reunion, among our Churches. In […]

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Urbi et Orbi Section

Fresco of St. John Chrysostom.

Our special Urbi et Orbi section, in which we highlight the spirituality, prayer, customs and practices of our brothers and sisters in the churches of the East, continues… We begin the penitential season of Lent — the season in which we most profoundly enter into the mysteries of Christ’s redemption of the human race. And […]

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“Christmas Is Time to Feel God’s Closeness, Experience Peace”

December 31, 2013, St. Peter’s Square, Vigil of the Solemnity of Mary Most Holy, Mother of God. After the Te Deum of thanksgiving for the past year, Pope Francis went to visit the Manger Scene in the Square. The Holy Father prayed before the representation of the birth of Jesus (Galazka photo)

At St. Peter’s Basilica, Pope Francis celebrates his first solemn Christmas midnight Mass as pontiff.  Celebrating the first Christmas since his election, Pope Francis preached the goodness and tenderness of God, and prayed that men and women around the world would allow God’s grace to transform them into peacemakers. “Let us allow our hearts to […]

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