New Additions to the Orthodox Christian Information Center
Dear Friends of the OCIC,
I hope Great Lent is going well, and that you are reaping the fruits of your spiritual labors.
I just posted a major update. Details below. In a few weeks I will have more to post, including excerpts from the forthcoming book by Fr. John Romanides entitled Patristic Theology. You can read a little about the book on the distributor's Web site (Uncut Mountain Supply).
I ask for your prayers.
March 10/23, Second Sunday of Great Lent. Martyrs Codratus (Quadratus) and with
those with him.
- Announcing an important new book: The Boundless Garden: Selected Short Stories, Volume I, by Alexandros Papadiamandis. Read the Introduction and one of the stories entitled "A Village Easter: Memories of Childhood".
- Another noteworthy new book is The Life and Teachings of Saint Seraphim of Sarov.With thirty-one short chapters on a variety of topics, such as peace ofsoul, the light of Christ, tears, repentance, fasting, guarding themind, etc., this book is sure to have a little something for allreaders. Here is an excerpt:
13. On feats.
Itis not advisable to undertake excessive feats but to do one's best tomake our friend our flesh loyal and capable of performing virtues.
Itis necessary to follow the middle path, 'turn not to the right hand,nor to the left.' (Prv., 4, 27): to give the spirit the spiritualnourishment, and the body the bodily nourishment, which is needed forthe maintenance of this temporary life. One should not reject thelawful demands of the public life, following the words of theScripture: 'Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's;and unto God the things that are God's.' (Math. 22, 21)
Oneshould be lenient towards the weaknesses and imperfections of one's ownsoul and endure one's own shortcomings as we tolerate the shortcomingsof our neighbours, and at the same time not become lazy but impeloneself to work on one's improvement incessantly.
Whetheryou have eaten too much or you have done something else of this kind,because of the weakness of human nature, do not become indignant, donot add another harm to the harm which has already happened, but impelyourself manly to correct it and at the same time to preserve peace ofsoul, following the words of the Apostle: 'blessed is he thatcondemneth not himself .' (Rom. 14, 22). These words of the Saviourhave the same meaning: 'Except ye be converted, and become as littlechildren, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.' (Math. 18, 3)
Abody which is exhausted by labour or illness should be fortified bymoderate sleep, food and drink, without even taking into account whattime of the day it is. Jesus Christ, immediately after He raisedJairus' daughter from the dead, ' he commanded to give her to eat.'(Lk., 8, 55)
We should refer any success in anythingto God and say with the Prophet: 'Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, butunto thy name give glory' (Ps. 115, 1).
Before theage of 35, that is, the middle of his life, man needs to undertakeheroic efforts in order to preserve himself, but many at this age strayoff the path of virtues, and become corrupted and follow their ownwishes. Saint Basil the Great attests this (Homilies): many havecollected a lot in their youth, but when they reached the middle oftheir life and the cunning spirits attacked them, they could not standthe tumult and lost everything they had collected.
Inorder not to experience such a transformation, one should examineoneself as one measured by ordeals and pay heed to oneself during one'sentire life, following the words of Saint Isaac the Syrian: 'Everyoneshould weigh his life as if on the scale.' (Homily 40)
- A Guide to Confession. A helpful set of questions to help one prepare for the Mystery of Confession.
- The Lord's Prayer: A Homily by Archimandrite George, Abbot of the Holy Monastery of St. Gregoriou, Mount Athos. Available in four Languages!
- Thoughts on Fasting and Temperance, by Archimandrite Sebastian Dabovich.
- The Condition of Society, by Archimandrite Sebastian Dabovich.
- Archimandrite Sebastian Dabovich: Honoring an American Apostle, by Hieromonk Damascene.
- Metropolitan Laurus, First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia: May his memory be eternal! Extensive coverage of his repose and life can be found on the Ora Et Labora blog.
- The Monk's Mission, by Elder Paisios the Athonite.
- Agrassroots movement to establish a unified and autocephalous OrthodoxChurch in North America seems to be gaining momentum. I was awakened tothis by the outstanding series of interviews that Kevin Allen conductedon his engaging and informative "Illumined Heart"podcast on Ancient Faith Radio. I have gathered the key resources Icould find in order to learn more about this challenging problem. Findthem in the new section on the "Orthodoxy in America" page.
- In the last update I neglected to add a link to this article by Fr. Theodore Zissis, which he wrote after the Letter from Metropolitan Seraphim of Piraeus (Church of Greece) was published.
- If anyone has an extra copy, or would be willing to part with, the issue of Divine Ascent: A Journal of Orthodox Faith dedicated to St. Nikolai of Japan, please let me know.
- Christ is Risen! Truly He is Risen!
April 16/29, BRIGHT TUESDAY. Saints Raphael, Nicholas and Irene of Lesvos.Announcing another important new book: Patristic Theology - The University Lectures of Father John Romanides. Read the following excerpts:
- Chapter 1: What is the Human Nous?
- Chapter 24: What is the Core of Orthodox Tradition?
- Chapter 29: On Conservatives and Liberals
Against Materialism. An Excerpt from Saints Raphael, Nicholas and Irene, by Constantine Cavarnos.
Dear Friends of the OCIC,It's been the longest interval ever since my last update to the site. I apologize for this. It's very difficult to find time these days to focus on the site's upkeep and new content. But I do have some good articles and audio books in the queue and will have another update very soon when Fr. Josiah Trenham's new book and media venture is ready to be unveiled.
I also have been chipping away at a major upgrade to the site, porting it from ASP.NET to Drupal so that it becomes a true Content Management System, with lots of other great new site features. I'm making progress, but due to increasing commitments and economics I can only devote so much free time to it.
Aside from the new articles (below), I fixed the related articles search panel and the search engine page, broken for some time due to changes in the Google Search mechanism.
Please remember me in your prayers.
September 10/23, Afterfeast of the Nativity of the Most Holy Theotokos. Martyrs Menodora, Metrodora, and Nymphodora at Nicomedia (305).
- Fr. Paul Tarazi: From Study to Heresy! A Critique of his Book Introduction to the New Testament: Paul and Mark, by Archimandrite Touma (Bitar), Abbot of the Monastery of St. Silouan in Douma, Lebanon.
- A Critical Commentary on the book On the Nature of Christ by His Holiness Pope Shenouda III of the Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria. Reviewed by Seminarian Nicholas Vester, St. Tikhon's Orthodox Theological Seminary, Autumn 2005.
- The History and Development of the Orthodox-Oriental Dialogue, a multi-part series by Minas Monir.
- Posted on October 30 / November 12, Hieromartyr Zenobius and his sister Zenobia of Aegae, Cilicia (285):
- Three homilies from an excellent new book entitled Of Whom the World was not Worthy: Sermons on the Lives and Works of the Patriarchs and Prophets of the Old Testament, by Protopresbyter James Thornton:
- The Holy Prophet Zephaniah (Sophonias)
- The Holy Prophet Habakkuk (Ambakoum)
- The Holy Prophet, Forerunner and Baptist John
- How to Give Alms to the Poor, by Teimuraz Kristinashvili. This is the best article on this subject I've ever read.
- The Acts and Decrees of the Synod of Jerusalem, a Synod held in 1672 concerning a work entitled The Eastern Confession of the Christian Faith, which attempted to express Orthodox beliefs in Protestant terms, specifically Calvinism. It was allegedly written by the former Patriarch of Constantinople, Cyril (Loukaris). The "Confession of Dositheos" starts at the bottom of p. 110, and remains an excellent expression of Orthodox theology vis-à-vis Calvinism. Protopresbyter James Thornton offers further historical insights in this excerpt from his book The Oecumenical Synods of the Orthodox Church.
- Pope & Patriarchs: The 1848 Letters of Pope Pius IX and the Orthodox Patriarchs. Thanks to Dave Brown from St. Gabriel Orthodox Church (OCA) in Ashland, Oregon for putting this together.
- God and Modern Culture, a stimulating and edifying lecture using the writings of C.S. Lewis, presented by Fr. Andrew Cuneo at the Serbian Diocesan Days 2010.
January 26 / February 8, St. Xenophon and his wife, St. Mary, and their two sons, Sts. Arcadius and John, of Constantinople (6th c.).
- Reason and Speech: Timeless Truth and Secular Echoes. The Introduction to Ancient Christian Wisdom and Aaron Beck's Cognitive Therapy: A Meeting of Minds, by Father Alexis Trader. This book "details a colorful journey deep into two seemingly disparate worlds united by a common insight into the way our thinking influences our emotions, behaviors, and ultimately our lives. In this innovative study about mental and spiritual health, readers are not only provided with a thorough introduction to the elegant theory and practical techniques of cognitive therapy, they are also initiated into the perennial teachings of ascetics and monks in the Greek-speaking East and Latin-speaking West whose powerful writings not only anticipated many contemporary findings, but also suggest unexplored pathways and breathtaking vistas for human growth and development. This groundbreaking interdisciplinary volume in the art of pastoral counseling, patristic studies, and the interface between psychology and theology will be a coveted addition to the working libraries of pastors and psychologists alike. In addition, it is ideal as a textbook for seminary classes in pastoral theology and pastoral counseling, as well as for graduate courses in psychology dealing with the relationship between psychological models and religious worldviews." (Book Synopsis). This book is available from Amazon.com or Peter Lang Publishing.
- Cultivating the Garden of the Heart: Patristic Counsel and Cognitive Techniques for Schema Reconstruction. Ch. 9 from Ancient Christian Wisdom and Aaron Beck's Cognitive Therapy: A Meeting of Minds, by Father Alexis Trader. Do not be put off by the academic title of this chapter. This beautifully written piece is one of the finest writings on how to live a spiritual life and cultivate the virtues that I have ever read. It will be of interest to all Orthodox Christians.
- On the Gift of Speaking in Tongues, Ch. 15 from The Hidden Man of the Heart, by Archimandrite Zacharias.
- A Catholic Hermit Converted To Orthodoxy, By Konstantin Matsan. "A well-known theologian, hieromonk Gabriel Bunge, rarely gives interviews. He leads a hermit's life in a small skete in Switzerland, never uses the Internet, and the only means of communication with him is the telephone. The latter works as the answering machine in a distant room. If you want to talk with him, you have to leave a message with the time when you are going to phone again, and if Father Gabriel is ready to talk, he will be near the telephone at the time you specified. We were lucky not to go through this complex operation because we met Father Gabriel in Moscow. On August 27, he converted to Orthodoxy from Catholicism."
- St. Innocent Liturgical Calendar. This is a new publication that will be of interest to all English-speaking Orthodox Christians who follow the Church ("Old") Calendar. The general editor is Fr. John Whiteford, a ROCOR Priest who has for years maintained these invaluable liturgical texts and resources.