Friday, June 4, 2021

Questions and Answers 185 - 190

Question 185: I've looked throughout your website to see if you have posted anything on the miracle of the Virgin Mary at Saydnaya Monastery in 2004 to a Muslim who was murdered and cut to pieces then miraculously restored and resurrected. As far as I know, this has never been confirmed as true, and wanted to know what you have to say about it. (If you are confused by what I'm referring to, the story can be read here:

Answer: Yes, I am familiar with this story. It received heavy rotation over a decade ago on the internet. No, I have not posted anything about it. The main reason I have not posted on it is because I wanted to see how things played out. To tell you the truth, I'm still waiting. That's not to say I don't believe the story, but I am skeptical of at least some details about it, to the point where I don't feel comfortable posting about it and even expressing my skepticism without any basis. However, I will point out two things of interest related to this story.

Thursday, April 29, 2021

Questions and Answers 179 - 184

Question 179: Every Easter my parish reads the Resurrection Gospel at midnight outside in the courtyard of our church. What is the reasoning behind this?

Answer: The Matins Eothinon Resurrection Gospel, which you are referring to, is the only Matins Eothinon Gospel reading done outside the sanctuary in the entire ecclesiastical year. Every Sunday throughout the year during Matins there are eleven Resurrection Gospels that are read from inside the sanctuary in a cycle that renews every eleven weeks. Every Pascha the cycle is renewed with the reading of the first Eothinon Resurrection Gospel during Matins, and it is supposed to be read outside the sanctuary, preferably in the courtyard or in the narthex. The reason for this is because the procession outside is symbolic of a joyous action, and represents the Apostles being notified about the Resurrection in the Upper Room, and not at the tomb like the Myrrhbearers. It can also be seen as the Apostles bringing the Good News of salvation out into the world.

Monday, February 22, 2021

Questions and Answers 171 - 178

Question 171: I'm a recent convert to the Orthodox Church, but have noticed the same troubling dichotomy in the Orthodox Church that I find in all other Churches, where people are divided into conservative and liberal, particularly the clergy in social media I follow. I can't really put my finger on it, so I was wondering if you, who I find to be balanced, could help me understand how to distinguish between a conservative and liberal cleric.
Answer: The easiest way to make the distinction is to observe who they target as "enemies". A conservative Orthodox will usually target Catholicism and have an Evangelical leaning, while a liberal Orthodox will usually target Evangelicalism and have a Catholic leaning. - I'm sort of joking when I say this, but there is some truth to it. - Though there are indeed issues with both, you will be much happier as a newly-illlumined Orthodox Christian if you are "friends" or "followers" with clergy who focus more on bringing fellow Orthodox together rather than letting their politics manifest. Clergy on social media should not be heresy hunters, but church gatherers. If at the end of each day a cleric on social media helps to inspire and strengthen you in your daily path and life in Christ, then keep him as a "friend". If not, run for the hills.

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Questions and Answers 160 - 170


On Wakes Before Funerals
Question 160: Should Orthodox Christians have wakes before funerals? What is the purpose of a wake? If so, should they be in churches or funeral homes?

Answer: The term "wake" is a synonym for "vigil", referring to an all-night prayer vigil held before someone's burial. There is a tradition in the Orthodox Church where before the funeral service an all-night vigil takes place in the presence of the reposed, which is complete with a Divine Liturgy. Included in this vigil is also a long series of readings - for clergy the entire New Testament is read, while for laypeople the entire Book of Psalms is read.

There is a misconception that the origins of wakes goes back to the 19th century, before common embalming existed after the American Civil War, and that it refers to the possibility of the deceased "waking up", since being buried alive was a common fear and worry.

Saturday, June 6, 2020

Questions and Answers 155 - 159

Question 155: Have you read the following articles? My name is Irene and I'm an Orthodox Christian who is confused on what to believe regarding disease transmission via shared Holy Communion. These articles below have me a bit concerned and there seems to be no general consensus in the Church as of yet. I read your top 10 article about this matter and am in the process of reading your other one on Bio-Orthodoxy. Maybe you can post a response discussing these articles if you are so inclined as I really enjoy your writings.

Do the Sacraments prevent illness?

A Note on the Common Communion Spoon

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