On the Great and Holy Thursday we commemorate two events united by the common theme of love. One is the Last Supper of Christ, and the other is the betrayal of Christ by Judas. At the Last Supper, God projects His ultimate love of Man, by which He leads humanity to salvation. Judas becomes the epitome of corrupted love that turns into a deadly passion. On this day and in its liturgy, we observe a paradoxical unity of opposites - life and death, light and darkness, as we contemplate the stark life choices before us.
God brought forth the earth, the universe and man, the crown of His creation. He created them out of love. Life was the first gift of His Love to man. From the surrounding world, man got the food and drink he needed for life, and communion with God gave man's life meaning and substance. Man’s love of God affirmed the sanctity of all life and made the world a paradise.
But at some stage, man chose to put an end to this communion. He turned his love away from God to love himself and the world. He looked to the world, not God, as his source of sustenance. Yet God never withdrew His love. God became flesh, so man could ascend to sanctity. He showed with His example what it meant not to live by bread alone. Voluntarily, he accepted death on the Cross in the redemption of our sins. And at the last supper, Christ gave His Body and Blood as food for man, making us partakers of His divinity and restoring us to true life. “Take, eat, this is My Body,” He said.
God is Love (1 John 4:8), and Judas’s betrayal of Christ appears to be its exact opposite. Judas leaves the Last Supper with Christ into the darkness of the night (John 13:30). But in the hymns of this day, we hear that the motive of his betrayal was also love. He loved “silver”, but what turned his love into a deadly passion was his conscious choice to love an object of the world, and turn his love away from God.
Thousands of years after Judas’ betrayal, we are still confronted by the same choice: are we going to direct our love to God, and restore our community with Him, or betray him, to live for the world and ourselves?
Demetrius parental Saturday is a day of special commemoration of the dead in the Russian Orthodox Church. This is a memorial Saturday before the remembrance day of the Great Martyr Demetrius of Thessaloniki (October 26 / November 8).
God, who gives the sinners and the righteous their dues, is not someone who lies in waiting to punish a wrongdoer after the fact. What gives us fear and trembling is the hurting wound of not responding to the love that He had given to us.
On April 27 we commemorate the Icon of the Mother of God known as Our Lady of the Gate of Dawn, which protects our land since ancient times and is especially revered in Belarus, Lithuania and Poland.
Today, we wish to share with you seven facts about how Christians celebrated Christmas in ancient times. Our hope is that you discover the roots of your Christian heritage from those Christians who celebrated before us.
Christ cautions us not to liken ourselves to the five unwise virgins whose lamps faded when the Bridegroom Christ came: "keep watch because you do not know the day or the hour." (Matthew 25: 13).
From the apostolic times monastic women have played an important role in the spread of Christian faith. Today, despite being the smallest known social group, they continue their mission.
In the Orthodox tradition, almsgiving is the third main virtue after prayer and fasting. Our Lord Jesus Christ and many of His Saints have talked about the importance of giving alms. So what is this virtue all about?