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The implication of icons: He has restored the sullied image to its ancient glory

The Feast of the Triumph of Orthodoxy celebrates the final restoration of icons. The veneration of icons teaches us two important things about Jesus and our faith — that God who is infinite, in the incarnation took on our finite human nature; and that in doing so, he made it possible for us to be like Him. The fact of the Incarnation leads us into an even greater and more compelling truth — that like the icons of the ancient Church, our human nature has been restored by Christ. This reality...


The Last Judgment and the border between incorruption and mortality

The story of the Last Judgment from Matthew 25 makes it very clear that if we do not love we will not be saved. We will be helped to love if we know who we are and where we came from and where we are going. We look at two hymns from the Saturday commemoration of reposed which tell us these things, in particular, one which tells us that we are "on the border / between incorruption and mortality". Here are the hymns: Thou hast formed Adam with Thine hand, O Savior, / and set him on the border...


Praying for the dead shows that we look to the heavenly world and not earthly things

Fr. Seraphim Holland shares some reflections on one of the hymns for Meatfare Saturday, and the selection from 1 Thessalonians which talks about us being with the Lord after the second coming, and prayer for the dead. The hymn which he refers to is this: "Why does man deceive himself and boast? / Why does he trouble himself in vain? / For he is earth, and soon to the earth he will return. / Why does the dust not reflect that it is formed from clay, / and cast out as rottenness and...


We must be as the Prodigal son - MANY TIMES - and learn to “Come to ourselves”

Fr. Seraphim Holland explains the parable of the Prodigal Son. The spiritual life of the Prodigal Son began when he "came to himself," and recognized his need for repentance. The same applied to Zacchaeus, to the Publican, and to all of us. In fact, the Christian life begins and continues in that spirit for all eternity. Sin is a kind of delusion, and coming to yourself means seeing the truth about yourself; seeing through the masks we put on to hide that truth. Luke 15:11-32


Sunday of the Publican and Pharisee. Pride: the Worst Master

On the Sunday of the Publican and Pharisee, assistant priest Fr. Nicholas Park shares about how pride is the worst master.


Sunday of Zacchaeus and the New Martyrs of Russia: Repentance and Witness

A sermon by Priest Nicholas Park, fusing the "Witness" ("Martyr" means witness) of Zacchaeus the publican and the New Martyrs of Russia. Luke 19:1-10


A talk about confession in Kenya, translated into Kikuyu

During Fr. Seraphim Holland's visit to Kenya, he gave this talk on Confession, translated into Kikuyu, to priests and church leaders. He addressed the Orthodox view of sin and contrasted it with the typical Protestant/Roman Catholic view of sin. Everything we do in this life should be towards one thing only. He talked about the four components to confession, with the first being 99.99% of the importance. What is the major thing that happens in confession? How to prepare for confession How to...


Who maketh the barren woman to be a mother rejoicing over children

Just 6 minutes! Psalm 112 perfectly describes baptism and its most important result. At the baptism of Nonna, the last verse of this psalm is discussed along with the importance of and reason for struggling for virtue. If a person is Protestant and believed in faith only salvation, I beg them to listen to this short homily, and see how joyful Orthodox are that they are able to pursue virtue.


The Parable of the Great Supper. Compel them to come in!

The parable of the Great Supper is about the incarnation, and is read two Sundays before Nativity. Near the end of the parable, the master of the house, that is, God, tells His servants to: “Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.” This word “compel” is a compelling and even controversial word. The epistle helps explain what this word means. Everything in Christianity is lived in the heart.


The only Christian life is that which is lived in the heart

The words of St. Paul to his son Timothy are an example of living in the heart. The actions of the ruler who followed the external commandments but did not know anything besides them are an example of a man who lives outside of his heart. The Christian life has no power whatsoever if it is not lived in the heart. We examine these positive and negative examples about life in the heart. The person living in his heart understands that "Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I...


Healing of the woman on the Sabbath day. At least be kind.

The healing of the woman with the spirit of infirmity for 18 years has two important lessons that stand out for us. The first is that we are also bent over, so should we should identify with the woman and everyone suffering. In the second is that since we are bent over, we should at least be kind. The great sin of the Pharisees was that they had no kindness. A person cannot be saved if they are not kind.


Great Martyr James the Persian, and Second Chances

James the Persian (November 27) was a great martyr, but not all of his life was that of a great martyr. At first, he was a coward, but then he came to his senses. It is good to learn from people who made terrible errors, and even apostasy, but came to their senses. God never abandons any of us.


The Harvest of the Rich Man, and the Deep Heart

Fr. Seraphim Holland shares from Luke 12:16-21. Man was made to know God and even to contain God within his deep heart. A man’s life consists of completely and only this. The parable of the Harvest of the Rich Man shows a man who does not know who he is, or what his life consists of, who squanders his deep heart (Psalm 65:6), numbering his produce and asking counsel only from himself. Let’s discuss what a man’s life consists of and what he can and cannot possess and the things in life that...


What have I to offer God?

Fr. Seraphim Holland answers the questions, "Why would God want to have communion with me? What have I to offer God?" The answer is in the parable of the Good Samaritan


“For by grace are ye saved through faith; AND we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus”

Exegesis of one of the best and poetic descriptions of the process of salvation, and most misinterpreted part of all of Scripture. Let us look at the meaning of being "quickened ... together with Christ," "by grace ye are saved," and the verse misunderstood by millions: "for we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works." If we understand the Incarnation and its purpose, all of this passage will resonate in our hearts, and guide us and give us great joy. Ephesians 2:4-10


We are good ground and walk according this rule, because we are new creatures!

This Sunday, we read about the Parable of the Sower and about the "Good Ground," which is the most important part of this parable. How do we become the good ground? The epistle tells us exactly how. It tells us that we should walk according to a "rule," and this rule must be that we bear in our body the marks of the Lord Jesus because we are a new creature. Listen carefully. The apostle is telling us the only way that leads to life. It is a wonderful, difficult, and joyous way.


The lives of the former harlots Pelagia and Thais teach, inspire, and rebuke us

On the Sunday that we commemorated the Fathers of the Seventh Ecumenical Council which restored the veneration of icons, we also remembered the former harlots Pelagia and Thais. When we look upon an icon we see holiness, struggle, integrity, and repentance. We see this also in these former harlots who became great strugglers. Their lives should inspire, encourage, and rebuke us. What image do we see when we look in the mirror?


The Golden Rule

In the Feast of the Protection of the Mother of God, the Gospel reading for the Theotokos points to the other Gospel read today - about the Golden Rule. If we follow this rule, we will be choosing the "good part" and be "sons of the highest". Let us look at the Golden Rule in this way - not as an externally imposed law, but an easy way of life that always chooses the "good part".


First Great Catch of Fish

The first great catch of fish after which some of the apostles left all and followed the Lord can be understood as a parable about our life. Things in the story have a mystical significance: launching out into the deep, letting down the nets, toiling overnight, doing things by the Word of the Lord, the boat starting to sink and the fish being salvaged by other boats, and Simon Peter seen the Lord and saying "depart from me if I am a sinful man".


The Martyrdom of Sophia and her children Faith, Hope, and Love

The Sunday after the Exaltation of the Holy Cross coincides this year with the glorious martyrs Sophia, and her children Faith, Hope, and Love. Their martyrdom epitomizes the meaning of the words of the epistle and the Gospel today: “I am crucified with Christ: neverthless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me” (Gal 2:20) and “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel's, the same shall save it” (Mark 8:35).