For the Faithful, Martyrdom is a Festival


Several times on this blog I’ve mentioned the Spiritual Counsels series by Elder, now St. Paisios the Athonite.  Last night, as I was re-reading Vol. II, Spiritual Awakening, I landed on the chapter called For the Faithful, Martyrdom is a Festival and I couldn’t help think of the evil that just transpired recently to the 21 Christians in Libya.

I refuse to share the video that was so expertly crafted for our viewing pleasure.  I will not give them what they want, and that is for their evil to circulate to cause fear among us, the people they hate so much.  I’ve shared the names of those men on Facebook so that we could pray for them to be crowned accordingly and the peace and comfort of Christ to come upon their families. [Read more…]

10 Ways to Prepare for our Lenten Journey

10 Ways to Prepare for Great Lent

Can you believe it is time for Great Lent already?  We just celebrated the Sunday of The Prodigal Son, which is the second Sunday of the Triodion! I swear Christmas was just last week!

Soon we’ll be celebrating my favorite Vespers service of the year on Forgiveness Sunday, the day before Lent is officially underway.  No matter how many times I experience Forgiveness Sunday vespers, it always feels so new and amazing.  What better way to begin our journey toward Pascha than with forgiveness and repentance?  Such liberation from the bondage of sin!  [Read more…]

Elder Paisios Canonized today!


The Ecumenical Patriarchate officially canonized Elder Paisios the Athonite today!  Glory to God!  This is so exciting for us as Orthodox Christians, to watch our beloved Gerondas receive glorification from God and the Church.  This news brought so much joy to my heart today!

There are several links you can translate here on Agioritiko Vima and Romfea.  Nothing has been posted on the Patriarchate or Archdiocese sites as of yet (an official statement is expected later today) but news has spread throughout Greece and other Orthodox communities worldwide, including here on the web.  [Read more…]

every morning is a new beginning


speak to God in the morning...

the most peaceful time of day for me are the wee morning hours when everyone else is still asleep. the sun begins to peek its magnificent rays through the windows and the birds are chirping.  the house is still blanketed in a quiet slumber and the kitchen smells like fresh brewed coffee.

this is my favorite time to pray and read and spend time with God.  there’s just something so encouraging about that time of day for me.  everyone always looks forward to moments when they can start again, wipe the slate clean and begin anew–sort of like new year’s day.  that’s how i feel on the mornings when i get to take advantage of that precious quiet time.

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Pumpkin Ribbon Bread Recipe


Pumpkin Ribbon Bread Recipe

Fall is definitely in the air.  The leaves are changing and everything is beginning to look and smell and feel like autumn.  I’ve pulled out the flannel sheets and am anxiously anticipating the first bonfire of the season. This has always been my favorite season and every year it has the same magical feeling for me.

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the national anthem of christianity

the art of salvation by elder ephraim

the art of salvation by elder ephraim

*forgive the previous post that was sent out this morning.  seems i didn’t hit the publish button when i originally wrote it so it’s a bit late.  😉

The following is taken from a new book published by St. Nektarios Monastery in Roscoe, NY titled The Art of Salvation.  The book is a compilation of letters written by Elder Ephraim to various spiritual children.   It is the first volume of a series and the theme is repentance.  It is absolutely fantastic!! [Read more…]


barefoot in the grass


barefoot in the grass

it’s that time of year again.  time for watermelon and lemonade.  time to unplug and let my heart be filled with all the wonderfulness of a summer spent with three little boys and one incredible hubby.  i can hardly wait.  as busy as the days are certain to be there is a certain stillness i feel inside when i sit back and watch the kids run around the yard happy and without a care in the world.  and after a long busy school year there is no better gift than that!

i’ll be back in the fall to tell you all about our adventures.  until then, happy summer friends!

Metropolitan Athanasios of Lemesou (Cyprus) on visit from the Pope

Christ Pantokrator of Sinai
This article was originally posted here.
Met. Athanasios of Lemesou (Cyprus) Speaks Out of Upcoming Visit of Pope to Cyprus

Met. Athanasios of Lemesou (Cyprus) Speaks Out of Upcoming Visit of Pope to Cyprus

In an interview published today, May 23, 2010 in the Cypriot Newspaper “Phileleftheros” the Metropolitan distances himself from the Archbishop’s decision to host the Pope in Cyprus.
The following are excerpts from the interview:

“For us Orthodox, the Pope is a heretic, outside of the Church, and, hence, not even a bishop”.

“He [the Pope] has been outside of the Church for ten centuries now, he is not a canonical bishop, he has no relation whatsoever to the reality of the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church of Christ. It is one thing to receive him as a canonical bishop and quite another to speak to him as [being] a heterodox in order to reveal to him the truth of the Orthodox Faith and Tradition.”

“Dialogue is not a bad thing when it is carried out based on correct presuppositions. However, it is wrong to say to these people that we recognize them as a Church, that we recognize the Pope as a Bishop, as our brother in Christ in the priesthood and in [the] faith. I cannot accept this, because we are lying [when we say this], since all of the Holy Fathers teach exactly the opposite. Papism is a heresy and the source of many other heresies which trouble the entire world today. A contemporary Saint of the Church, Saint Justin Popovich, said that in the history of the human race there have been three tragic falls: of the first-formed Adam, of the disciple of Christ, Judas, and of the Pope, who, when he was the first Bishop of the Church, fell from the apostolic faith, was cut off from the canonical Church and lured away a host of people with him until today.”

“God is one and the Church of God is one, and that is why we say in the Symbol of Faith [that we believe] “in One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.” This is the Orthodox Church, there do not exist many Churches.”

“When I say to the other that it doesn’t matter that you are catholic and that we all belong to the same Church, I am playing with him [or mocking him] since all of the Holy Fathers teach that the Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church of Christ is one.”

“The Orthodox Church preserves the faith of the Apostles and the experience of the prophets unshakeable up until our own days. The Papists, unfortunately, from the time when they were cut off from the Church added many heretics dogmas to their [confession of] faith, changed the Symbol of Faith [the Nicene Creed] and above all elevated the Pope to the level of being the eminent and unique representative of God on earth.”

“When you add things to the Symbol of Faith that the Holy Fathers did not write, and many other false teachings, this is heresy. This is the reality of things.”

Question: How does the Orthodox Church encounter/deal with heretics?

“With much love. We love the Pope, we love the papists just as we love every person; we do not despise them, we do not reject them as persons, but we do not accept [their] heresy, we do not accept the false teachings, we do not accept [their] delusions. Because we love them we must tell them the truth.”

Question: Do you think that the Dialogue can produce results?

“It can, if it is done properly and based on the right presuppositions. Unfortunately, as it is carried out today, it does not produce results, and that is why they have carried on discussions for so many years without coming to any conclusions.”

“Frankly and before all I disagree with the coming of the Pope to Cyprus and I say with my whole soul that the Pope is a heretic, he is not a bishop, he is not an Orthodox Christian and this is what the Holy Fathers say. If I am wrong, I am ready to be corrected, but on the basis of the Holy Fathers, not based on the mindset of globalization. Just because I disagree does not mean that I am being disorderly and am outside the Church [as some have claimed].”

“The Pope always speaks in a formal manner, says things which are customary [to his position], as he will say now that he will come to Cyprus, but he will do nothing of essence, because he is not the leader of the Church but a political person who cannot come into conflict with the political establishment and system. Did the Pope every speak up for the Orthodox Church?…But I am not returning back [to the distant past]. The reasons I am reacting today are purely theological. When I was consecrated a bishop I pledged to preserve the Orthodox Faith.”

Question: The Pope said that he wants to make a pilgrimage following the steps of the Apostle Paul.

“With the exception that the Apostle Paul didn’t travel using a bulletproof car which cost 500,000 euros, which, I read, the Cypriot government has bought for the Pope to travel around Cyprus for the two days he will be here. I was personally quite scandalized by this news and said that a bulletproof car does not fit the Vicar of Christ. For the people to have to pay such a price in the midst of an economic crisis…”

Question: The announcement from the representatives of the Pope says that he is coming to Cyprus in order to promote human and Christian values and principles, and that he wants to walk in the steps of the Apostle Paul and in a spirit of the brotherhood meet the Orthodox Church with a good disposition.

“I do not doubt his good will – may it be that this is the case. May it be that he resembles the Apostle Paul and that he encounters the riches of the Orthodox Church. We pray that he return to the Orthodox Church and becomes once again an Orthodox Bishop as he was before the schism. This alone is the proper path to unity.”

Question: What do you think is the hidden agenda?

“The Vatican does not take steps thoughtlessly nor naively. Every tour of each Pope has as its aim to present him as the worldwide leader of Christianity. At this point, however, he is neither a canonical Bishop, nor Orthodox, such that he is in no place to present himself as having the first place among bishops.”

Question: Are there hidden political interests at stake here?

“I don’t know; I think that we [the Cypriot people] have nothing to gain politically from the visit of the Pope – only a lot of expenses and great upheaval in the consciences of the faithful.”

Question: The Archbishop said that all those who disagree will place themselves outside the Church.

“I am not aware of the Archbishop’s statements, but I don’t think that whoever disagrees with the coming of the Pope places himself outside the Church. I disagree and I say it boldly and frankly and I am not outside the Church.”

To read the entire interview, click here:

You can read another great article (originally published on here on Lessons from a Monastery regarding the Patriarch and Pope’s recent meeting in Jerusalem. 

against false union

2014-05-26 20.28.46


St. Mark of Ephesus

“These people admit with the Latins that the Holy Spirit proceeds and derives His existence from the Son. Yet, with us, they say the Spirit proceeds from the Father.

The Latins imagine that this addition to the Creed is lawful and just, but we will not so much as pronounce it. They state that unleavened bread is the body of Christ, but we dare not communicate it. Is this not sufficient to exhibit that they came to the Latin council not to investigate the truth, which they once possessed and then betrayed, but simply to earn some gold and attain a false union?

Behold, they read two Creeds as they did before. They perform two different liturgies – one on leavened and the other on unleavened bread. They perform two baptisms – one by triple immersion and the other by aspersion; one with Holy Chrism and the other without it. All our Orthodox customs are different from those of the Latins, including our fasts, Church rites, icons, and many other things.

What sort of union is this then, when it has no external sign? How could they come together, each retaining his own?”


+ St. Mark of Ephesus

New Book for Orthodox Tweens/Teens: Voyage to the Rock {giveaway}


Xristos Anesti! Christ is Risen!


One of the most difficult thing as a parent to a tween boy that loves to read is finding books that are on his reading level yet still has appropriate content.  I feel like we’ve gone through most of the good series that are out there and we recently began dipping our toes into other book series.

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