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January 9, 2008 + When Thou O Lord Was Baptized In The Jordan


From: When Thou, O Lord Was Baptized In The Jordan

by Fr. Gabriel Barrow

Word Magazine, January 1976


In this holy Epiphany season, it is the Tradition of the Holy Orthodox Church to Bless Water in the Church. This “Blessed” or “Holy Water” is then sprinkled on everything, so that all creation might receive the sanctification that the River Jordan received at the time of the Baptism of Our Lord by St. John the Baptist.

January 2, 2008 + From Homily XII: The Homilies of St. John Chrysostom on the Gospel According to St. Matthew


From Homily XII: The Homilies of St. John Chrysostom on the Gospel according to St. Matthew

"Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him." (Matthew 3:13)

WITH the servants the Lord, with the criminals the Judge, cometh to be baptized. But be not thou troubled; for in these humiliations His exaltation doth most shine forth. For He who vouchsafed to be borne so long in a Virgin's womb, and to come forth thence with our nature, and to be smitten with rods, and crucified, and to suffer all the rest which He suffered; -- why marvellest thou if He vouchsafed also to be baptized, and to come with the rest to His servant. For the amazement lay in that one thing, that being God, He would be made Man; but the rest afar this all follows in course of reason.

Talking to Children When a Popular Role Model Falls Short

by Fr. George Morelli

Neither do I condemn you; go, and do not sin again (John 6:11).

Most Americans are aware of the recent pregnancy of the star of a well known Nickelodeon program. What makes this distressing to parents and confusing to their children is that the star played the role of a "moral heroine" on the show. She talked about sex in the context of committed relationships and marriage. She dealt assertively with peers who wanted her to try alcohol, drugs and the like. She was described as "standing up for her beliefs."

The media news of the falling short of the Zoey 101 star was accompanied by images like this:

Floyd and Acunta Franz

The lead story on CNN news highlighted the dilemma: "Parents are struggling with what to tell their children after finding out that Britney Spears' younger sister, Jamie Lynn Spears, is pregnant." Reports on a national television show the next day said that parents who don't know what to say to their children are walking away when their children ask questions about the Zoey 101 star.

Media celebrities have an inordinate influence over the lives of children. For this reason Orthodox Christian parents, as leaders of their Domestic Churches, should talk to their children about it.

How to Talk to Children

The Passing of Elinor Bourjaily: Memory Eternal!

image The Order of St. Ignatius was saddened to learn about the passing of our member, Elinor Bourjaily, on January 4, 2007.  She was a past member of the Governing Council and chaired our Public Relations committee.  She was a member of St. Matthew Church in North Royalton, Ohio. Currently her daughter, Anne Thomas, is the Chair of Long Range Planning.  The family requests all spiritual bequests be sent to the Elinor Bourjaily Endowment Fund to benefit Campers and College students:

St. Matthew Church

POB 33183

North Royalton, Ohio 44133

C/O Elinor Bourjaily Endowment Fund

May her Memory Be Eternal!

Finding the New Testament Church

image by Fr. Jon E. Braun


Coming off a couple of decades of heightened awareness of our need for a personal knowledge of Christ—notably evidenced through such phenomena as the Jesus Movement and the charismatic re­new­al—most thinking Christians are realizing something else is needed: the rediscovery of the historic Church.

Often, in heated reaction to dated and dead Protestant liberalism, we would hear evangelical preachers in the late sixties and early seventies say, “All you need is Jesus!” Such statements often got rave reviews, but just a little thoughtful reflection quickly showed such a simplistic religion to be shallow and unfulfilling. More and more, that kind of existential reductionism is being tempered with a renewed emphasis on the whole impact of the Incarnation, the coming in the flesh of the Son of God. There must be more to Christianity than a private, internalized in­di­vi­dual­ism. If all we needed was Jesus, why would Jesus have promised, “I will build My church” (Matthew 16:18)?

But our need for the Church begs a question, a crucial question. Which Church? The easy answer, of course, and a correct answer, is, “the New Testament Church.” But this isn’t A.D. 65, and we aren’t in old Jerusalem or Colosse. We are in the twentieth century and our challenge is to find the New Testament Church in our day, being sure it is historically identical to the Church of the Apostles—the one Christ Himself established.

What About the Non-Orthodox?: The Exclusive Claims of the Church

image by Fr. David Tillman

One of the most difficult things for people to accept about Christianity is the exclusive claim made by Jesus to be God and the only Savior of the world. This claim causes scandal to many, both those (ostensibly) within and those outside the Orthodox Church—a scandal that is simply unavoidable. Outside Christianity, many actively resent any claim that Jesus is God and the only Savior of the world. Yet this is indeed Christ’s claim, from which there is no honorable escape. C. S. Lewis and others have rightly noted that there are only three logical options to explain Christ’s making this claim: (1) that He was insane; (2) that He was dishonest; or (3) that Jesus is who He says He is. To be sure, one does not have to accept Jesus’ claims, but it is simply silly to contend that He did not make them. To be a Christian, however, one must embrace the Lord’s exclusive claims about Himself, scandal and all.

Because of the exclusive claims of the Lord, the Orthodox Church confesses, believes, and proclaims that the only Savior of the world, Jesus Christ, has one Body, His Church. We Orthodox believe in One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, and we believe that the Orthodox Church is it. In pluralistic societies such as those of North America and Western Europe today, the claim of the Orthodox Church to be the one and only Church that Jesus founded certainly is not popular, but ultimately it is a necessary outgrowth of the exclusive claims of Jesus; it is simply a testimony to the fact that God (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) is One and that salvation is bestowed only by and through Him.

Theosis: Partaking of the Divine Nature

image by Mark Shuttleworth

I said, “You are gods,

And all of you are children of the Most High.” (Psalm 82:6)

This is a verse that most Protestants do not underline in their Bibles. What on earth does it mean—“you are gods”? Doesn’t our faith teach that there is only one God, in three Persons? How can human beings be gods?

In the Orthodox Church, this concept is neither new nor startling. It even has a name: theosis. Theosis is the understanding that human beings can have real union with God, and so become like God to such a degree that we participate in the divine nature. Also referred to as deification, divinization, or illumination, it is a concept derived from the New Testament regarding the goal of our relationship with the Triune God. (Theosis and deification may be used interchangeably. We will avoid the term divinization, since it could be misread for divination, which is another thing altogether!)

Many Protestants, and even some Roman Catholics, might find the Orthodox concept of theosis unnerving. Especially when they read a quote such as this one from St. Athanasius: “God became man so that men might become gods,” they immediately fear an influence of Eastern mysticism from Hinduism or pantheism.

What Does Orthodox Mean?: The Doctrine, Worship and Values of the Church

imageby Frederica Mathewes-Green

The word “orthodox” means “right belief” or “right praise.”

The “Orthodox Church” is also known as the “Eastern Orthodox Church.”

Orthodox Doctrine

In the years after Jesus’ Resurrection, apostles and missionaries traveled throughout the known world spreading the Gospel. Soon five major locations were established as centers for the faith: Jerusalem, Antioch, Rome, Alexandria, and Constantinople. In the year 1054 the Roman church broke from this united Church, and five hundred years later Protestant churches began breaking away from Rome. But the original Church has remained united in the Apostolic Faith since the first century. This is Orthodoxy.

One of the tasks of the early Church was defin­ing, and defending, orthodox theology against the battering waves of heresies. These heresies often appeared in disputes over the nature of the Trinity, or how Jesus could be both God and Man. Church Councils were called to search the Scriptures and put into words the common faith, forming a bedrock of certainty that could stand for all ages. From this time, the Church has been called “Orthodox,” which means “right belief” or “right praise.” The Nicene Creed (see reverse) originated at the Council of Nicea in A.D. 325, and is the central Orthodox statement of faith, a preeminent example of the work of the Councils. Built on the foundation of Christ and His Apostles, nothing has been added to our faith, and nothing can be added. It is complete.

What on Earth is the Orthodox Church?


by Ancient Faith Press


• On the one hand, it is the oldest Church in Christendom. On the other hand, it’s new to most people in North America.

• It is the second largest body in Christendom with 225 million people worldwide. But in the U.S. and Canada there are fewer than six million.

• In the twentieth century alone, an estimated 40 million Orthodox Christians gave their lives for their faith, primarily under communism. So high is the commitment of many Orthodox Christians to Christ and His Church, she has often been called “the Church of the Martyrs.”

• She is the Church of some of history’s greatest theologians, scholars, and writers— people like John Chrysostom, Justin Martyr, Augustine, Dostoyevsky, and Alexander Solzehenitsyn.

But what exactly is this Orthodox Church? What are her roots? What are her beliefs? And why are there so many who have never heard of her?


A Brief History

The Orthodox Church is the original Christian Church, the Church founded by the Lord Jesus Christ and described in the pages of the New Testament. Her history can be traced in unbroken continuity all the way back to Christ and His Twelve Apostles.

Incredible as it seems, for over twenty centuries she has continued in her undiminished and unaltered faith and practice. Today her apostolic doctrine, worship, and structure remain intact. The Orthodox Church maintains that the Church is the living Body of Jesus Christ.

No Graven Image: Icons and Their Proper Use

image by Fr. Jack N. Sparks, Ph.D.

The first time I invited a particular Protestant friend to step inside an Orthodox Church, he looked around very slowly, carefully, cau­tiously. “It’s pretty,” he said, “but doesn’t the Bible warn against graven images?”

His reference, of course, was to the icons, painted images of Jesus Christ and His follow­ers who, through the centuries of our history as the Church, have been portrayed for all to see. Was he right in his concern?

That particular Church, like most Ortho­dox Churches, was very beautiful. And the Bible, specifically the Old Testament law, does say, “Thou shalt have no graven images” (Exodus 20:4, KJV). So, the question is, do those icons, those paintings portraying Christ, His Mother, the saints, and special biblical events, come under the category of graven images?

The history of icons and of their use in the Orthodox Church is not only fascinating but instructive. They are no new thing. Nor were they invented by an apostate medieval Church. The use of representations for instruction and as aids to piety goes back to the earliest centu­ries of the Church, and likely they were there in some form from the very beginning. Cer­tainly we know that even in legal-minded Israel, paintings and other artistic representa­tions used to help the people remember spiri­tual truth were not at all unknown.

In both the tabernacle and the later temples there were images used, especially of the cherubim. And a recently unearthed syna­gogue of the last few centuries before Christ has paintings of biblical scenes on its walls.

Jesus Is Lord! Christianity's Life-Changing Confession of Faith

image by Fr. John M. Reeves



In January 1990, an old man in pajamas sitting on the edge of his bed was interviewed for a television broadcast in Romania. He was the noted philosopher, Petre Sutea. What did he think of the recent revolution, he was asked.

“What revolution?” was his rhetorical reply. Thinking perhaps that his age or his hearing had prevented his understanding the question, the interviewer gently rehearsed the events of the previous month, in which the Ceaucescu regime had been toppled. Sutea replied, “That was no revolution! There has been only one revolution in the history of mankind, the Incarnation of our Lord and God and Savior, Jesus Christ!”

What is it about the Incarnation that would enable a Christian to make such a boast? What does it mean, that God would take flesh and dwell among us? What does it say about both God and man? What does it say, to you and to me, right now?

The earliest confession of faith of the Church has been the simple declaration that Jesus is Lord. Jesus is Lord! This conviction literally turned the world upside down (Acts 17:6). It still provokes the strongest contention. To proclaim that Jesus is Lord demarcates the Christian from the rest of the world. It sums up the Christian faith in three words, and it is far different from merely noting that Jesus was born or that Jesus lived or died.

How To Read Your Bible

image by Bishop Kallistos Ware

Saint Tikhon of Zadonsk, writing in eight­eenth-century Russia, has this to say about our Orthodox attitude towards the Holy Scriptures: “If an earthly king, our emperor, wrote you a letter, would you not read it with joy? Certainly, with great rejoicing and careful atten­tion. You have been sent a letter, not by any earthly emperor, but by the King of Heaven. And yet you almost despise such a gift, so priceless a treasure.” He goes on to say: “Whenever you read the Gospel, Christ Himself is speaking to you. And while you read, you are praying and talking to Him.”

We are to see Scripture as a personal letter ad­dressed specifically to each one of us by God. We are each of us to see Scripture reading as a direct, individual dialogue between Christ and ourselves.

Two centuries after Saint Tikhon, the 1976 Moscow Conference between the Orthodox and the Anglicans expressed in different but equally valid terms the true attitude towards Scripture. Signed also by the Anglican delegates, the Moscow statement provides an admirable summary of the Orthodox view of the Bible: “The Scriptures constitute a coherent whole. They are at once divinely inspired and humanly expressed. They bear authoritative witness to God’s revelation of Him­self—in creation, in the Incarnation of the Word, and the whole history of salvation. And as such they express the word of God in human language. . . . We know, receive, and interpret Scripture through the Church and in the Church. Our approach to the Bible is one of obe­dience.”

Confession: the Healing Sacrament

image by Jim Forest

A young monk said to the great ascetic Abba Sisoes: “Abba, what should I do? I fell.” The elder answered: “Get up!” The monk said: “I got up and I fell again!” The elder replied: “Get up again!” But the young monk asked: “For how long should I get up when I fall?” “Until your death,” answered Abba Sisoes. —Sayings of the Desert Fathers

“When I went to my first confession,” a friend told me, “tears took the place of the sins I meant to utter. The priest simply told me that it wasn’t necessary to enumerate everything and that it was just vanity to suppose that our personal sins are worse than everyone else’s. Which, by the way, was something of a relief, since it wasn’t possible for me to remember all the sins of my first thirty-odd years of life. It made me think of the way the father received his prodigal son—he didn’t even let his son finish his carefully rehearsed speech. It’s truly amazing.”

Another friend told me that he was so worried about all he had to confess that he decided to write it down. “So I made a list of my sins and brought it with me. The priest saw the paper in my hand, took it, looked through the list, tore it up, and gave it back to me. Then he said ‘Kneel down,’ and he absolved me. That was my confession, even though I never said a word! But I felt truly my sins had been torn up and that I was free of them.”

The very word confession makes us nervous, touching as it does all that is hidden in ourselves: lies told, injuries caused, things stolen, friends deceived, people betrayed, promises broken, faith denied—these plus all the smaller actions that reveal the beginnings of sins.

Confession is painful, yet a Christian life without confession is impossible.

OCN Invites You to Share the Light

bishopjosephSTLBanner(1)Share the Light Sunday is an annual event designated by the Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas (SCOBA) to spread the word about Orthodox Christian Network's programs and mission, and to raise financial support for the growth of its national outreach programs.

Parishes throughout North America traditionally observe Share the Light Sunday by taking a special offering, mentioning OCN in the homily, or reading the Share the Light Sunday encyclical letter by the SCOBA hierarchs.

"As Orthodox Christians, we have been richly blessed with the sacred repository of the fullness of the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ," the Bishops of SCOBA wrote in their encyclical. "With such a blessing, there comes both the responsibility to offer our Orthodox Faith to the world around us and the challenge to find means that are consistent with the our Divine Message of love and forgiveness and suited for contemporary society. Therefore, on this 'Share the Light' Sunday, we ask that you take time to learn about and support the Orthodox Christian Network, a ministry of SCOBA."

Orthodox bishops speak about growth of media ministry during Share the Light Sunday

Touching Heaven through Children of the Past and Present

by Chrissi Hart

Many years before I was born, in 1909, my grandmother lay on a bed under the shade of a grapevine, dying. She was just five years old. Then one day, a kind grandfather figure—a holy man, a saint—appeared to her on his white horse and miraculously changed her life forever. This event not only made my life possible, but filled it with inspiration as well.

A Childlike Faith

When I think of my grandmother as a young sick child, I am truly inspired and awestruck by her experience and her healing through the intercessions of a saint. To have such a story in my family heritage is a great treasure and blessing. She was the granddaughter of a priest who was visited by a saint! By God’s grace, one hundred years later, I would write about Saint Kendeas to glorify his name in the Western world.

My grandmother planted memories for me early on which I never forgot. She did this by frequently taking me to Saint Kendeas’ cave and church in Cyprus when I was an infant and young child. On my first visit as an adult, though I did not clearly remember those earlier visits, I somehow knew I had been there before and felt the saint’s presence outside the cave where he had lived. My mother commented, “Your grandmother used to bring you here all the time as a baby.” The stairs leading down into the cave were in my early memories, but I could never figure out where they belonged until that visit. Years later, I discovered the story that was waiting to be told.

I identify with my grandmother in many ways. I was named after her and am told I look like her—her youthful oval face, light olive skin and dark hair, her petite stature, her smile—and I also share her love of gardening and cooking and, unfortunately, her migraines.

His Grace Bishop THOMAS Serves 300 OCF Students During College Conference

ocf-button-On a beautiful and very cold Pennsylvania day nearly 300 college students from over a dozen countries descended on the Antiochian Village to kick off the 2007 OCF College Conference (East Coast), a five-day spiritual retreat packed full of speakers, workshops, service projects, panel discussions, fellowship activities, and powerful services.  Fr. Anthony Salzman remarked that serving in the altar with 300 young and amazing singing voices behind him was exciting and moving...and felt a little bit like driving a Ferrari race car. 

ocf2aHis Grace, Bp. THOMAS presided over each of the services and offered insights and encouragement to the attendees urging  them to stay their paths, to stay connected to the Church, and to consider serving God through vocation.  Full of wit and humor, His Grace connected with the students at every opportunity enthusiastically proclaiming that they are the future of the Church.  

Dn. Nick Belcher was the event's keynote speaker delivering a three-day tour de force on vocation that was motivating, inspirational, and at times hilarious.  His unique perspective can be heard in three parts on Ancient Faith Radio.

Infant Baptism: First of a Series of Doctrinal Resources from and Conciliar Media Ministries

imageIn celebration of the Baptism of Christ, we're happy to offer the first of a series of new articles on the basic doctrines of the Orthodox Christian Faith, Infant Baptism: What the Church Believes, by Fr. John Hainsworth. We're grateful to Conciliar Media Ministries, a department of the Antiochian Archdiocese, for providing these resources. Check back over the coming weeks for more new teachings presenting the timeless wisdom of our Holy Tradition, made accessible and interesting by some of the best Orthodox Christian writers of today.

Infant Baptism: What the Church Believes

imageby Fr. John Hainsworth

Every night my family gathers around the dinner table. We pray, dish out the food, laugh, argue, and ask and answer questions. The scene is sometimes chaotic, sometimes serious, sometimes silly, but this scene defines our family. This table becomes the heart of our family. My girls, when they come to the table, come as full members of the family. They are not invited to the table but excluded from the food. They belong by right to the household, and therefore belong at the dinner table. This right is never questioned, their status never challenged. Do they understand the significance of belonging to the family? Do they appreciate the blessings inherent in membership? Of course not, at least not yet. Will they ever reject this family? Will they break the holy fellowship of that dinner table? Probably not, but even if I worry that they will, I cannot keep from them the family status which they have as a birthright. On the contrary, honoring that status, rejoicing and raising them in it, will do more to preserve them as valuable family members than waiting to offer this membership until I am sure they truly appreciate it.

Theophany Resources for 2008

image Sunday, January 6 is the Feast of the Divine Epiphany of our Lord and God Jesus Christ, also known as Holy Theophany. One of the Twelve Great Feasts of the Church, Theophany is the celebration of the Baptism of Jesus Christ. As a manifestation of the Presence of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, Theophany is also the Great Feast of the Holy Trinity, and the patronal feast day of all of the Holy Trinity parishes of our Archdiocese. May these recommended resources prove fruitful for you, and have a blessed Feast!

When Thou, O Lord, wast baptized in the Jordan, worship of the Trinity wast made manifest; for the voice of the Father bore witness to Thee, calling Thee His beloved Son. And the Spirit in the form of a dove confirmed the truth of His word. O Christ our God, Who hath appeared and enlightened the world, glory to Thee. (Apolytikion in Tone 1)

Liturgical Guides for the Feast of Holy Theophany

The Theophany Icon Explained

For Teens: What is Theophany?

Epiphany: The Celebration of Life, by Fr. Antony Gabriel

A Theophany Within, by Fr. George Morelli

IOCC Announces Internship Opportunity in Ethiopia


2008 IOCC Internship Program

Please note: The deadline for submitting applications for the 2008 IOCC Internship Program is January 31, 2008. Applicants will be notified of IOCC’s decision by April 1, 2008.

Work overseas in the exciting field of humanitarian relief!

The mission of International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) is to respond to the call of our Lord Jesus Christ to minister to people in need throughout the world, sharing with them God’s gifts of food, shelter, economic self-sufficiency and hope.

IOCC Internship Program in 2008

The IOCC Internship Program offers a unique opportunity to gain first-hand experience in the operations of an international humanitarian aid organization.

In 2008, IOCC is offering one 3-month internship in Ethiopia. IOCC internships require a 10 to 12 week full-time commitment. Internship assignments are based on the needs of a particular field office. The proposed internship locations may change due to programmatic changes in the field that cannot always be predicted months ahead.

The intern will receive a stipend of $500 per month. IOCC will also cover the following expenses: visas and related costs, round trip airfare, lodging, and workmen’s compensation while overseas.

January Issue of The Word Now Online


Click to read these articles, and more, in the January 2008 issue of The Word Magazine:

  • Orthodox Unity: A Local Example, Very Rev. Constantine Nasr
  • Summa Contra "Fundraisers", John Truslow
  • Mission Team Experience in Kenya, Deena Khalil
  • The Fruits of Orthodox Unity, Walter Haddad
  • and much more!

Access archived issues of The Word Magazine.

December AGAIN Audio Journal Now Available

imageThrough a joint effort of Conciliar Press Ministries and Ancient Faith Radio, every month you’ll be able to access a new edition of a fast paced audio magazine featuring original recordings from AGAIN, home for 30 years to the most compelling voices of today’s Orthodox community.

The December edition includes an interview with Fr. David Rucker of the Orthodox Christian Mission Center speaking about our Christian calling to remember the poor in the world, and an article by Douglas Cramer, Managing Editor of AGAIN, speaking about the relationship between our Orthodox Christian faith and the fantasy literature of CS Lewis and JRR Tolkien.

Bringing with him a lifetime of experience in missionary work, Fr. David Rucker joined the team at the Orthodox Christian Mission Center (OCMC) as its new associate director in late 2006. OCMC is the official international mission agency of the Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas (SCOBA). Its purpose is to encourage, support, and facilitate the establishment and development of self-supporting, eucharistic Orthodox Christian communities worldwide, thus incorporating the person into the fullness of a life in Christ.

The Theophany Poem of Sophronios, Patriarch of Jerusalem

image Trinity above being, above goodness, above divinity, all-powerful, all-seeing, invisible, incomprehensible, creator of all spiritual beings and rational natures; goodness itself, the inaccessible light enlightening all who come into the world, shine in me, Your unworthy servant, and enlighten the eyes of my understanding, that I may make bold to praise Your infinite benevolence and power. May my prayer for the people here present be well-pleasing; may my offenses not impede the coming of the Holy Spirit among us, but judge me uncondemned as I cry to You now and say of Your surpassing goodness:

We glorify You, loving Master, almighty, king from everlasting. We glorify You, creator and author of all.

We glorify You, only begotten Son of God, born of the Father without a mother, and of a mother without father. For in the previous feast we saw You an infant; in this present one we see You complete, perfect, manifested from the perfect God. For today the time for feasting has come and the choir of the saints holds assembly with us, and angels celebrate with men.

Today the grace of the Holy Spirit, in the form of a dove, came upon the waters. Today the unwaning sun has dawned, and the world is lit up with the light of the Lord. Today the moon with its brilliant rays shares its light with the earth. Today the luminous stars embellish the universe with their joyous luster. Today the clouds refresh humanity with a rain of justice from above.

Today the uncreated One is by His own will touched by the creature. Today the prophet and forerunner approaches the Master, but pauses in awe, seeing God's condescension towards us.

Fulfillment: The Feast of the Circumcision of Jesus Christ, January 1

image The Exaposteilarion of today's Feast declares: "Verily, the Creator of ages Who fulfilled the law is circumcised in the flesh as an eight-day old child, is wrapped in swaddling clothes like a man and is fed with milk, He Who is the All-Controller through His boundless might, since He is God, and the Maker of the law in flesh."

Observe the wording of declaration: "the Creator of the ages...fulfilled the law." The statements that follow concerning His circumcision, clothing as a man, and being fed milk, appear to specify ways in which He fulfills the law in concrete terms. How are we to understand these actions as fulfillment? What is filled full, put into effect, brought to an end, satisfied, converted into reality or brought to its potential?

The "laws" of the created order require infants to be fed and clothed for survival, yet the Lord Who is unbounded and is eternally free from any need for protection has chosen to take our flesh upon Himself, for He is God the Word assuming the limitations and demands of the natural law. Therefore, He was diapered and nursed. Observe that His satisfaction of the natural law is expressed in many of the icons of the Nativity for they regularly show Him being washed and cared for as well as being " swaddling cloths" (Lk. 2:7).

These most mundane, human actions direct us to the Apostle Paul's point: when the Lord was "found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself," lowered Himself in every respect (Phil. 2:7). In other words, He came into the world and joined Himself to us an actual man in order to address the terrible side of being human: separation from God and our wedding to death.

Many Years Master! January 1 is Bishop BASIL's Namesday


To St. Basil the Great of Caesarea, by St. John Damascene:

Magnify, O my soul, Basil, the Great amongst Bishops.

O Father Basil, thou didst follow in the life-bearing steps, the steps of Christ, faithful Head of shepherds for thou didst go forth and offer thyself to the usurper, valiantly endangering thyself for the Church, O most-beatified.

Magnify, O my soul, Basil the Great of Caesarea.

Verily, the usurper, having seen the all-sanctified assembly, the assembly of the Church of Christ, adorned by the presidency of thy Priesthood, O wise one, was confounded and fell down, utterly perishing, not being able to bear the radiance of the spirit that was in thee, O Basil.

Learn more about Bishop BASIL (Essey).

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