March 15, 2018

The Concept of Sin as Debt in the Early Church Fathers and Writers

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In a recent theological discussion, someone spoke about the concept of sin as debt. I was curious as to what the patristic literature had to say and compiled these quotations from most of the major series translated in English. Unsurprisingly, I found quite a few more references to sin as debt in Western writers than in Eastern writers, which perhaps explains some of the differences that exist in terms of our understanding of salvation. Origen …

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Tagged: Salvation, atonement, debt, sin, soteriology
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February 9, 2018

Why Are Some People Punished While Others Are Not?

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“But why,” someone asks, “are some punished here, but others only hereafter and not at all here?” Why? Because if all were punished here, we would all have perished, for we all are subject to penalties. On the other hand, if no one were punished here, most people would become too careless, and many would say that there is no providence. For, if now, although they see many of the wicked being punished, they utter …

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Tagged: Patristics, trials, tribulations
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May 19, 2017

Homily 67 on John 14:1-3

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Let not your heart be troubled:1 believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you, that I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I come again, and will receive you unto Myself; that where I am, there ye may be also (Jn 14:1–3). We must lift ourselves up, my …

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Tagged: Fear, Heaven, faith
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April 4, 2017

An Overview of the Holy Pascha Week

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Excerpt from Treasures of the Fathers: The Holy Pascha series, which is available for purchase and download here. Without question, the Holy Pascha week is the holiest week of the entire year. The artistic beauty and spiritual depth of the rites of this week are at its zenith. Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection are the foundation upon which is built the whole fabric of Christianity. The Word, “Pascha” “He is the Pascha of our salvation.” Melito …

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Tagged: Holy Pascha, Passion Week, Passions, Patristics
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February 16, 2017

A Nineteenth Century Account of Coptic Wedding Customs

Fr. Moses Samaan   ·   Articles

The following account was written by a British author, E.L. Butcher, during the time of the British occupation of Egypt in the late 19th c. The ceremonies of a wedding, on the other hand, are most of them beautiful and symbolic. Unhappily, Moslem influence has affected even these, and till quite lately it was thought improper for a man even to see beforehand the girl he was going to marry, much more to have any …

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December 31, 2015

Sermon for New Year’s Day

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We see, beloved Brethren, that you have come together to-day as for a feast and that for this day you have gathered here in greater numbers than usual. We urge you to remember what you sang a moment ago; otherwise it will only mean that your tongue made some noise while your heart remained still. The sounds you have produced in each other’s ears, these it is for your love to reproduce with loud voice …

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December 1, 2015

Holy Tradition: Divine, Apostolic, and Patriarchal

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Tradition is, basically, the spiritual teaching we have inherited from the Holy Apostles and Church Fathers. Tradition is divine, apostolic or patriarchal. Divine tradition is that teaching given by Jesus Christ directly and by word of mouth to the Holy Apostles. It was not recorded in a book until later through the inspiration and guidance of the Holy Spirit. [1. Patriarch Ephrem Barsoum I, Alhak Alkanoni, chps. 22 & 23. Art. 112-120.] It includes the …

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November 21, 2015

On the Holy Angels

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“Who maketh his angels spirits; his ministers a flaming fire” (Ps. 104:4). These are the words of the King and Prophet David. With these words, he said that God created the wisest minds, the fleshless spirits, servants loyal to Him, who burn with eternal love for God, fulfill God’s will and abide in the unapproachable light of the Throne of Glory. The Lord created the angels as wise, powerful, eternally holy, purity and within Divine …

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November 19, 2015

The Meaning of Fasting in the Orthodox Church

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Fasting is as old as the human race. Fasting was practiced by pagan religions, Judaism and Christianity, and it was generally considered an important element of religious life, although with different practices and understanding. In the ancient religions of the East fasting meant a complete abstention from good for a certain period of time — one day or more. The origin of fasting as a moral discipline, especially among the old pagan religions is very …

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Tagged: Fasting, Spiritual Counsels, Spiritual Life
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November 18, 2015

Why Do Children Lose Faith in God?

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Why is it that some people are able to know God and believe in Him until the end of their days, while others lose their faith while still young ? How does this loss of faith occur and by what means can faith be preserved or renewed? Before answering these questions I would like to say a few words to those who say that religious beliefs should not be “foisted upon” children. Religious faith cannot …

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Tagged: Ego, Parenting, Secularism, Youth, faith
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