Tag Archives: Orthodox

This Cross

2 Sep

I’ve been asked about this cross three times within the last week.  I’ve worn it for eleven years, and it has lived far longer than I.

This cross was with my grandmother over seventy years ago on her first communion in the Roman Catholic Church.

When she was a young girl it was stolen from her home, and somehow, someway recovered from the thieves before they could pawn it.

She gave to me for my sixteenth birthday, and I wore it every Sunday when I found my way back to the Roman Catholic Church.

Then I wore it the evangelical United Methodist church I found a home in when I was a teenager.

I wore it when I was confirmed in the Episcopal Church,

and when we baptized our daughter in the Anglican Church.

And finally, I wore it and it was blessed when we were chrismated into the Holy Orthodox Church.

This cross has had quite a history and has found itself in many, many different churches, but I am pleased to know that it’s found its final destination, as have I, in the Orthodox Faith.

Our Crowning

28 Jun

Matthew and I were blessed to go through the betrothal and crowning service on Sunday after liturgy. I was going to blog about it, but my dear husband beat me to it!  If you’re interested, head over to his blog to read about the blessing. What a joyous day it was, and how lucky we are.  I have a little to add to Matthew’s thoughts, but will share that later.

Also, I feel the need to say to our friends, family, and those who have the wrong idea about the blessing of our marriage.  In no way was our marriage invalid (in our eyes or the eyes of the church) before this blessing.  Because Matthew will be an Orthodox priest someday (Lord willing), it is important that he receive every sacrament available to him.  Even if this were not case, we would have been glad to receive this blessing from God.

Finally, if  you have found your way here researching the Orthodox marriage blessings for those who have joined the Orthodox church after marriage, please feel free to leave a message, question, or comment.  I had a terrible time trying to find information, and I will be glad to share what I know with you.

Sunday of the Holy Cross

7 Mar

This third Sunday of Lent is the Sunday of the Holy Cross.  I really enjoyed what was in our Church’s (Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church) bulletin this morning.  It certainly explains, far better than I can, what we celebrate this Sunday:

On the Third Sunday of Great and Holy Lent, the Orthodox Church commemorates the Precious and Life=Giving Cross of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.  Services include a special veneration of the Cross, which prepares the faithful for the commemoration of the Crucifixion during Holy Week.

As we have “crucified the flesh with its passions and desires” (Galatians 5:24), and will have mortified ourselves during these forty days of the Fast, the precious and life-giving Cross is now placed before us to refresh our souls and encourage us who may be filled with a sense of bitterness resentment, and depression.  The Cross reminds us of the Passion of our Lord, and by presenting to us His example, it encourages us to follow Him in struggle and sacrifice, being refreshed, assured, and comforted.  In other words, we must experience what the Lord experienced during His Passion –  being humiliated in a shameful manner.  The Cross teaches us that through pain and suffering we shall see the fulfillment of our hopes: the heavenly inheritance and eternal glory.

As they who walk on a long and hard way and are bowed down by fatigue find great relief and strengthening under the cool shade of a leafy tree, so do we find  comfort, refreshment, and rejuvenation under the Life-giving cross, which our Fathers “planted: on this Sunday.  Thus, we are fortified and enabled to continue our Lenten journey with a light step, rested and encouraged.

Moreover, as the Holy Cross is called the Tree of Life, it is placed in the middle of the Fast, as an ancient tree of life was placed in the middle of the garden of Eden.  By this, our Holy Fathers wished to remind us of Adam’s gluttony as well as the fact that through this Tree has condemnation been abolished.  Therefore, if we bind ourselves to the Holy cross, we shall never encounter death but shall inherit life eternal.
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The normal service was followed by the procession of the Holy Cross on a tray surrounded by daffodils.  At the end of the service we all received flowers from the tray from our priest.

Adeline was enthralled by the procession and thrilled by the two flowers she received from Fr. Jim.  I still am always struck by the beauty of Orthodox worship, our worship.  The history, tradition, and truth never cease to move my spirit as it approaches the body and blood of Christ.  I am grateful for this tradition, this tangible reminder of the Holy Cross and passion of Christ, during the middle of this Great Lent as our family prepares for His resurrection .

Clean Monday

15 Feb

Today, in the Eastern Orthodox Church, is the beginning of Great Lent.  Called Clean Monday, today is the day that Orthodox Christians begin the Lenten Fast and strive to increase our spiritual and physical discipline as we await the resurrection of our Lord.

I have to admit that I’m feeling a bit daunted as we begin our first Lenten season as Orthodox Christians.  Because of physical restraints, our household will not hold the complete fast (meat, dairy, olive oil, and wine), but will each hold it according to our own ability. This will may make meal planning a somewhat difficult venture, but will also allow me to meditate even more deeply and frequently of those things not of this world, but of the kingdom of God.  Prostrations with the extra weight of a wiggling toddler ought to remind me of the gravity and responsibility of raising her in and teaching her the Faith.  Increased prayer when I already struggle to find enough time in the day for everything should remind me of my priorities.

So though I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed in the beginning of this Lenten season, and in this very new season of our lives, I pray “Lord, have mercy!” and thank Him that I know He will.

Many prayers for all of you who read this blog as you, no doubt, are on your own journeys (of many kinds, I’m sure).

A blessed Clean Monday to you, and a fruitful Great Lent.

“Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord: though your sins are like scarlet,

they shall be as white as snow;

though they are red like crimson,

they shall become like wool.

Isaiah 1:18-19

My new favorite!

7 Aug

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Why am I blogging about salad dressing?  Well, as I mentioned in my previous post, we’re in the middle of the Dormition Fast.  Until we began fasting, I had no idea how difficult it is to find foods/recipes that don’t contain dairy, eggs, olive oil, or meat!  What is one to put on one’s salad (which we will undoubtedly be eating lots of!)? 

I’m not generally a Ken’s fan.  It tends to be expensive around here and until recently I’ve never found any light dressings other than ranch.  Well, this was on sale, I had a coupon (on double coupon day!), and it contains none of the before mentioned ingredients and so I risked the nineteen cents and tried Ken’s Lite Sweet Vidalia Onion.  It is AWESOME!  Whether you fast or don’t you really ought to try this.

(I am not being compensated for this free advertisement for Ken’s!)

The Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church

13 Jul

Matthew, Adeline, and I headed out Sunday morning to The Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church in Milwaukee.  We’d been past the building before but had never been in it.  The building is super interesting – it’s a Frank Lloyd Wright with an amazing  iconostasis from Greece.  It looks far different from any church I have been in as it is a circular building. The fact that it is circular made for a confusing start to the worship.

Upon entering the church we were quickly spotted and labeled “visitors” by a member of the Welcoming Committee.  We were handed a small pamphlet that would help us navigate the Divine Liturgy.  We watched as members venerated the icons and lit candles. Matthew and I immediately went for the back, closest to the door (you know, moms, that’s the direction we all gravitate toward!) only to find that there is no back closest to the door.  So instead we found a seat near the cry room.

The service was a different experience than any we have been to, differing even from the other Greek Orthodox church we attended.  The service was done in more Greek than I expected, but it was beautiful.  Matthew leaned in at one point and said, “If you knew even just a little Greek, this would make a lot of sense to you.” So, I’m considering either auditing Greek 1 this next semester or doing some sort of teach-yourself Bibical Greek program.  I think that I followed along reasonably well but am sure looking forward to having a few weeks worth of experience.

One of the things that I remember most vividly from the service really wasn’t even part of the service.  After the Eucharist, Fr. Dokos mentioned that His Eminence wanted to remind the people not to wander in too late after Divine Liturgy had started and if they hadn’t heard the Gospel reading that morning, they were not to partake in the Eucharist. Also, those who hadn’t kept the fasts, especially on Friday, oughtn’t to partake either.  The Orthodox church isn’t a “feel good” church and has a very high view of the Sacraments.  I appreciated the honesty and love with which Fr. Dokos spoke – it’s something that I’ve not seen very often.

Ultimately, the experience was an interesting and enjoyable one.  We are looking forward to worshiping there as we prayerfully consider becoming catechumens.