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

Friday, May 22, 2020

Questions and Answers 149 - 154

Sainthood of Constantine the Great

Question 149: Do you think we should reevaluate the sainthood of Constantine the Great?

Answer: People that tend to question the sainthood of Constantine the Great seem to be ignorant of his historical contribution, ignorant of the facts regarding his life, ignorant of what sainthood is, ignorant of what he has meant to the Church throughout the ages, and/or ignorant of the power of repentance. All of these are addressed at my Saint Constantine the Great Resource Page, and there is still much more to say, so look for updates there. With that said, there are certainly saints in the calendar that should be reevaluated, and I've addressed those on various occasions, but Constantine is not one of them.

Friday, May 1, 2020

Questions and Answers 143 - 148

A Saintly Example During the Coronavirus Crisis

Question 143: In Question 140 you mentioned that St. Mary of Egypt was not a good example to bring up that matches our situation with not receiving communion and going to church during quarantine. I was wondering if there is another example you could recommend?

Monday, March 23, 2020

Questions and Answers 134 - 142 (A Coronavirus Special Edition)

I received an email with a series of questions from a certain individual regarding the events we are currently going through with the coronavirus. I thought they were good questions that many Orthodox Christians are having right now and want some clarification about, so I selected some of them I believe are of general interest and provide my answers below.

Question 134: Is there an historical precedent for the closure of churches due to an epidemic? It doesn't seem right to me.

Saturday, February 29, 2020

Questions and Answers 128 - 133

The Epistle of Jesus Christ

Question 128: On a recent trip to Greece I noticed many times a little pamphlet being sold alleging to be an Epistle of Jesus Christ, as it is called. I was wondering if it was Orthodox. Can you offer any information about this?

Answer: The pamphlet known as the Epistle of our Lord Jesus Christ has unfortunately been circulated throughout Greece for may decades, in fact, since at least 1896 (when it was published in its modern form). I remember back in 1991 when I was in Greece, I would see it everywhere, and when I went over people's houses, they kept it with their icons and Bibles. I read it back then, and dismissed it as an obvious hoax, but many people naively do not see it as being such an obvious hoax.

Friday, January 24, 2020

Questions and Answers 123 - 127

Priests and Over Political Priests

Question 123: I find it disturbing that an Orthodox priest told me on social media that you can't be a Christian and support President Trump. How would you respond to this?

Answer: I would find something like that disturbing as well. Priests like that should not be priests. They should not be dividing their flocks over political matters, nor should they even make public who they vote for or not and favor or disfavor. Hatred for the President is without any foundation unless you mindlessly believe a lot of propaganda, and there is no justification for it at all for a Christian, making his sins the only ones that he should worry about. It's something I can't even come close to comprehending. I've never come close to hating any President; frustrated, yes; disappointed, yes; disagreed with, yes; voted against, yes; but hate, never. If I were you, I would attend another parish if you belong to his parish. If this isn't possible, and the cleric who said this to you won't commune you for supporting your president and your country, then you should either confront them about this or report them to your bishop or archbishop. But if he is just a friend on social media, excommunicate him from your life and stop following him.

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