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Forgiveness is Healing

Fr. George Morelli

And Jesus said, "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do" (Luke 23:34).

In almost every spiritual text anger is listed as one of several deadly sins. In his classic work, The Ladder of Divine Ascent, St. John of the Ladder, (1982) discusses anger in the eighth step of the ladder; and anger's dependent vice malice in the ninth step of the ladder. St. John tells us: "Anger is an indication of concealed hatred, of grievance nursed. Anger is the wish to harm someone who has provoked you. Irascibility is an untimely flaring up of the heart. Bitterness is a stirring of the soul's capacity for displeasure. Anger is ... a disfigurement of the soul."

Cognitive Clinical Psychology and Anger

Current research psychology has helped us understand dysfunctional emotions such as anger have a cognitive theme and distorted irrational cognitive structures initiating them (Beck, Shaw & Emery, 1979; Burns, 1980; Ellis, 1962). Beck, for example found the theme of anger is significant intrusion. The angry individual perceives some one has intruded on them or on someone or something they love and possess that he considers to be an extension of himself. The value of what they consider significant is such, that they feel they have a "right" to be angry. This is an exalted state of self-importance by which people define themselves which gives them this "right." It reveals an underlying postulate of self-definition that allows all anger to be justified.

"The Golden Compass" and Combating Secularism in the Home

Fr. George Morelli

image Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me; but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened round his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea (Matthew 18: 5-6).

It is very rare that I would use an entire interview from another source as the basis of a Smart Parenting article. C.S. Lewis, in his book -- The Screwtape Letters, is the Christian writer who warned against the subtle devices of the evil one working in the world in such books and films as The Golden Compass. Parents, as heads of their “domestic church," have even a higher God-given calling: to lead their children to the awesomeness of God. Use of the media, the weapon of those who attack God and His Church, an ideal way to accomplish this. Turn the weapon back on the evil one and his cohorts.

The material below speaks for itself. When the topic of this film comes up in a family, the interviewers give parents much information to have a meaningful, respectful, and sincere family discussion about the film. The content of the film as outlined below can be compared to what their children have learned about Christ’s teaching by their scripture readings, religious education lessons, homilies, and church services.

Free Festive Listening: Frederica Mathewes-Green Reads the Nativity Kontakion


imageDon't miss this rich and inspiring reading by Frederica of the entire Nativity Kontakion written by St. Romanos the Melodist and translated by Fr. Ephrem Nash. It was taken from the book On the Life of Christ: Kontakia, published in 1994 and available from Eighth Day Books. It is available online from Ancient Faith Radio.

Frederica is one of the premier writers in the Antiochian Archdiocese today, and is the author of numerous books about the faith.

Her work has appeared in such diverse publications as the Washington Post, Christianity Today, Smithsonian, the Los Angeles Times, First Things, Books & Culture, Sojourners, Touchstone, and the Wall Street Journal. She is a regular columnist for the multifaith web magazine, and she writes movie reviews for National Review Online.

St. Ignatius of Antioch Commemorated on December 20

image This past Sunday, the Antiochian Archdiocese commemorated the special work done in the name by the great saint of Antioch by the Order of St. Ignatius. The Order is people of purpose, like St. Ignatius himself who wrote, "toil together, suffer together, rejoice together as servants of God." The Order is people who put feet to their faith, whether by funding missionary efforts, disaster relief, campus ministries, local outreaches to unwed mothers and kids on the street or by subsidizing our Clergy Benefits Fund or the Holy Trinity Nursing and Rehabilitation Center.

Click here to learn more about, and support, the Order.

"St. Ignatius instructs us to put our faith into action. I want to tell you about a project that exemplifies what the Order is all about. This feast is all about the birth of a child who changes a whole nation and the woman who gave him birth despite what people would think. Can you imagine what would happen today? The Tree House, which gets its name from the live giving tree (cross), got its start from a grant from the Order. So consider giving yourself and others a Christmas gift and make The Order of St. Ignatius of Antioch your choice. You will be glad you did. Be an example to our children that the church is a good investment."

+ From a homily prepared for this special day. Read the rest here!

Our Archdiocese celebrates the feast of St. Ignatius of Antioch on Thursday, December 20.

Blessed Feast Day!

conceptionofthetheotokos330x250The Conception of the Theotokos by Saint Anna is commemorated by the Orthodox Church on December 9. St Anna, the mother of the Virgin Mary, was the youngest daughter of the priest Nathan from Bethlehem, descended from the tribe of Levi. She married St. Joachim, who was a native of Galilee. For a long time St Anna was childless, but after twenty years, through the fervent prayer of both spouses, an angel of the Lord announced to them that they would be the parents of a daughter, who would bring blessings to the whole human race.

The Orthodox Church does not accept the teaching of the Immaculate Conception, but has also always believed that the Virgin Mary was, from her conception, filled with every Grace of the Holy Spirit in view of her calling as the Mother of Christ our God.

The Church also celebrates other saints who were sanctified in the womb of their mothers. St John the Baptist is one example, and St Nicholas the Wonderworker is another.

Troparion (Tone 4)

Today the bonds of barrenness are broken,
God has heard the prayers of Joachim and Anna.
He has promised them beyond all their hopes,
To bear the Maiden of God
By whom the Uncircumscribed One was born as mortal man,
Who commanded an angel to cry to Her:
Rejoice, O Full of Grace, the Lord is with You!

Kontakion (Tone 4)

Nativity Reflections from Ancient Faith Radio

Christmas In The Ancient Church


An interview with Dr. Nancy Barrow, an MD with a specialty in psychiatry, and a talented vocalist. Nancy has produced her own Christmas CD and does all of the vocals herself! You can purchase the CD at her website.


Saint of the Day - St. Nicholas


Play Thursday Dec 6 - St. Nicholas

Readings from Under The Grapevine - The Life of Saint Nicholas The Wonder-Worker

Play Book 1: The Life of Saint Nicholas The Wonder-Worker by Nina Seco (St. Nectarios Press, 1994)
Book 2: Christ in the Old Testament: Prophecy Illustrated, compiled and edited by Thomas Hopko (St. Vladimir's Seminary Press, 2002)


Here Comes Santa!


Fr. Joseph talks to us about Santa Claus in his son's -- and in his own -- imagination.

The Real St. Nick

Play Molly has a special guest on this festal edition of Close to Home in preparation for St. Nicholas Day Dec. 6.

Train Them Up


Catherine is helping us prepare for the Nativity season with some helpful tips on celebrating St. Nicholas. She references a helpful web site for St. Nicholas resources -

Remembering St. John of Damascus, December 4


The year was 676 in Damascus, Syria, when the renowned writer and church poet John Mansour was born. He later became known as St. John Damascene or St. John of Damascus.

St. John’s father, Sergius, died in 726 and St. John was appointed to take his father’s position as counselor to the caliph (civil and religious leader in a Moslem state). During the time he was in office, Leo the Isaurian, the Greek emperor, prohibited the veneration of icons. St. John wrote convincingly against Leo the Isaurian, as well as the iconoclasts (people who destroyed religious images/icons). The emperor tried punishing St. John with physical force, but it didn’t work. So he next tried punishing him with a different strategy.

The emperor had the scribes learn St. John’s handwriting, and had them write a letter of treason, claiming to overthrow the caliph, and the city of Damascus. They sent the letter to Abdul Malek, who was the caliph at the time. St. John was immediately punished. The caliph ordered St. John’s right hand to be cut off and hung in the marketplace.

Later in the night St. John went to the market place and recovered his hand. He placed it in front of an icon of the Virgin Mary and prayed, promising he would write hymns for Orthodoxy if he was healed. That night while St. John was sleeping, the Virgin appeared to him saying, “Thy hand is now whole; sorrow no more.” John awoke with great joy and astonishment seeing that his cut-off hand was back in its place. It had became whole with only a little scar.

Commemorating St. Barbara, December 4


Let us honor holy Barbara, Destroying the snares of the enemy, she escaped from them like a bird with the help of the Cross as a weapon. Troparion (Tone 8)


Great Martyr Barbara, thou didst follow Him Who is praised in Trinity, having abandoned the idols' shrines. Thou didst strive in the midst of the arena not shrinking from the tyrants' threats. Thou didst cry out in a strong voice, I worship the Trinity, the One Divinity. Kontakion of Great Martyr Barbara Tone 4


The December 2007 Issue of The Word Magazine: Now Online

imageClick to read these articles, and more, in the December 2007 issue of The Word Magazine:

  • Gold Streaming from Damascus, Fr. John Abdallah
  • Men and Church, Frederica Mathewes-Green
  • In Control, Iconographer Nick Papas
  • The Prayer Discipline of St. Philip the Evangelist, Fr. Joseph Honeycutt
  • Antiochian Women—the Be-attitudes of a Servant, Joy Corey
  • Oratorical Festival, Danna Sawalha
  • News from the Department of Christian Education, Sacred Music Department, Department of Planning and Future Development, and the Fellowship of St. John the Divine

Access archived issues of The Word Magazine.

The OCMC Board of Directors Gathers for its Annual Fall Board Meeting in Brookline, Mass.

Brookline, Massachusetts – “Who will answer the call?” was the question repeatedly asked at this year’s Orthodox Christian Mission Center (OCMC) Annual Fall Board Meeting held at Hellenic College/Holy Cross School of Theology from November 13th to 15th.

This year’s Fall Board Meeting coincided with the school’s “Missions Week”, which included daily talks, displays, and other activities to help increase awareness of the world-wide Missionary work of the Orthodox Church. The campus, chapel services and interaction with the students, especially the student missions committee led by Seminarian Philemon Patitsis, provided a perfect setting for the OCMC Board Meeting sessions. Fr. Luke Veronis of Webster, MA, a former OCMC long-term Missionary, serves as spiritual advisor for the committee.

The OCMC Board of Directors, representing the various Orthodox jurisdictions under SCOBA, and several staff members were welcomed to the campus by the school’s president, Fr. Nicholas Triantafilou. The meeting saw the approval of a 2008 budget and working operational plan for the coming year. The Board also elected officers for its next three-year term, reviewed an initial report on communications strategy, discussed potential bylaw changes and other administrative and financial matters, and heard from the new General Secretary of the Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas (SCOBA), Fr. Mark Arey.

In 2006, OCMC accepted a new strategic plan aimed at growing awareness and involvement in missions among the Orthodox faithful of North America. Such a plan could not have come at a better time as demand for missionaries and the need for a living Christian witness around the world seems greater than ever.

Metropolitan PHILIP Celebrates St. George Centennial

On the weekend of November 4, 2007, His Eminence Metropolitan PHILIP visited St. George Church in the Nation's Capital to celebrate the Centennial of the Church, 1908 to 2008.


December 6 is the Feast of St. Nicholas, Archbishop of Myra

imageTroparion of Saint Nicholas

"The verity of your actions revealed you to your flock as a rule of faith, an icon of mildness, and a teacher of continence, O Father Bishop Nicholas; wherefore by humility you have achieved exaltation, and by poverty richness. Intercede with Christ to save our souls."

Coming to the city of Myra when the clergy and people of the province were in session to elect a new bishop, St. Nicholas was indicated by God as the man they should choose. This was at the time of the persecutions at the beginning of the fourth century. "As he was the chief priest of the Christians of this town and preached the truths of the faith with a holy liberty, the divine Nicholas was seized by the magistrates. He was tortured, then chained and thrown into prison with many other Christians. But when the great and religious Constantine, chosen by God, assumed the imperial diadem of the Romans, the prisoners were released from their bonds and with them the illustrious Nicholas, who when he was set at liberty returned to Myra."

IOCC's Phase II Recovery for Greece

Pilot Program Aids Farmers While Benefiting Environment

Andreas of the village of Anilio in Greece lost his grazing land and half of his 700 olive trees to last summer’s wildfires. But a new program by IOCC will provide farmers like Andreas with forage seed to grow new grasslands, providing a long term source of feed for their livestock. The forage seed also benefits Greece’s damaged environment since the grass will not have to be replanted for another four years, thereby preventing soil erosion.

OCN to host live and interactive Web TV Christmas Special on December 9

final_appeal_01.jpgThe Orthodox Christian Network, an agency of SCOBA, will be broadcasting a live and interactive Web TV Christmas Special: "Affirming our Faith. Proclaiming Orthodoxy to the World." This live, call-in program will stream on OCN's homepage,, on Sunday, December 9, 2007 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. EST.

Many Years, Master! November 26 is Bishop Basil's birthday.

image More information about our beloved Bishop Basil is available on the page for the Diocese of Wichita and Mid-America which he leads. Our prayers go out to Bishop Basil on this day. We also want to direct our readers to this wonderful meditation on the Theotokos by His Grace:


Mary, Our Cause of Rejoicing


"Mary the Theotokos is very close to my heart, and, I am certain, close to the hearts of all who love her Son, Jesus. I can hardly think of her name without tears. When God, in the fullness of time, because of His great love for His creation, sent His Only-Begotten Son to save us sinners, He chose to do so in a way that is at once simple and tender, and profound, beyond our comprehension. He came to find a bride." - Bishop Basil Essey

St. Eulampia and her brother, Eulampius


Commemorated on October 10

Saints Eulampius and Eulampia were brother and sister and lived at the beginning of the fourth century in the city of Nicomedia. Eulampius became upset after reading the decree of Emperor Maximiam (284-305) sentencing all Christians to be executed. Eulampius was horrified that the emperor was persecuting his own people rather than fighting the enemies of his country.

Eulampius was brought to trial and commanded to renounce the Christian Faith. When he refused, they raked him with iron hooks and then placed him upon a red-hot bed of coals. Eulampius suddenly expressed a wish to visit the pagan temple. The judges were delighted thinking they had turned him from Christianity. In the pagan temple of Mars, the saint approached the idol and cried out, “In the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ I command you to fall to the floor and crumble into dust!” The idol immediately crashed down to the floor and was destroyed.

The people exclaimed, “The Supreme God is the Christian God, Who is great and mighty!” St. Eulampius was again taken away for torture. This time his sister, Eulampia, appeared before the judges and declared that she also was a Christian. Eulampius told her, “Sister, do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul.”

The martyrs were tortured and thrown into a red-hot furnace, but the Lord protected them from the fire. Finally, Eulampius was beheaded, but Eulampia died from her torments before she could be beheaded.

Troparion (Tone 4) –

St. Eupraxia, Princess of Pskov


Commemorated on October 16

St. Eupraxia, Princess of Pskov, was the daughter of Prince Rogvolod Borisovich and the wife of Prince Yaroslav Vladimirovich. Prince Yaroslav fled from Pskov to Livonia and married a German. After her husband left her, Eupraxia turned to deeds of piety. In 1243, she built a monastery on the banks of the River Velika named for St. John the Forerunner and became its abbess.

Invited to Livonia for a meeting with her former husband, she was murdered by the son of Yaroslav and his German wife. She was buried at the cathedral of the monastery she founded. Ten days after the death of St. Eupraxia, a miracle occurred over her grave when myrrh issued from an icon of the Savior. The icon came to be known as “The Myrrh-Bearing Savior.”

By permission of the Orthodox Church in America (

St. Ethelburga


Commemorated on October 11

St. Ethelburga (Aethelburh) was born into the royal family of East Anglia in the seventh century. She was the sister of St. Erconwald (May 13), who founded the monastery of Barking (Berecingum) in Essex. St. Ethelburga became the first abbess of this monastery. She led a virtuous life and guided those who were under her. It is said that many miracles took place at the monastery during her time.

Shortly before St Ethelburga’s death, a nun called Tortgith had a vision in which she saw a body wrapped in a shroud, and shining with a bright light. She watched as the body was drawn up to Heaven on cords which seemed brighter than gold. Sister Tortgith had no doubt that this vision signified the immanent death of one of the nuns. Not many days later, St. Ethelburga fell asleep in the Lord. Years later, when the nun Tortgith was dying, St. Ethelburga appeared to her and told her that the hour of her passing was at hand.

This St. Ethelburga should not be confused with another saint of the same name (April 5), who was married to the holy martyred King Edwin of Northumbria (October 12).

By permission of the Orthodox Church in America (

Glory to God for All Things!

New CD Jacket Scan

This time of year is a good time to give thanks to God in all things. A special work of one of the parishes of our Archdiocese, St. Ignatius of Antioch Orthodox Christian Church of Madison, Wisconsin, pastored by Fr. Patrick Kinder, helps us remember the blessings we have received from God. The people of St. Ignatius have produced an excellent recording of one of the most powerful prayers of the recent life of the Orthodox Church, the Akathist of Thanksgiving of Fr. Gregory Petroff. This inspiring CD is available for purchase on their website, in support of their parish building fund.

Since the fall of Communism, we have all come to a more complete knowledge of the crimes against humanity committed in the Russian Empire and Soviet Union by those dedicated to the destruction of Tsarist rule, the Orthodox and other Christian Churches, and religion in general, for the cause of atheist “revolution”. An estimated 45 million people and more were slain out of a programmed hatred and paranoia. The Archpriest Gregory Petroff was a man who lived and died under this madness.

It is said that Fr. Gregory Petroff was murdered while in a prison camp, but not before he was able Ito pen the poignant Akathist of Thanksgiving, giving to the Church and to the world light from great darkness, reminding us that even in the midst of frightful suffering true Christian conviction and courage are unconquerable.

An Excerpt from The Akathist of Thanksgiving, by The Very Reverend Father Gregory Petroff (+1942):

Kontakion 1

November 21: The Great Feast of the Presentation of the Mother of God in the Temple

Selections from the prayers for one of the Twelve Great Feasts of the Orthodox Christian Church:


image Let us believers exchange glad tidings, singing to the Lord with psalms and songs of praise, honoring His holy tabernacle, the living ark who contained the uncontainable Word; for in a supernatural manner is she offered to God as a babe. And Zachariah the great High Priest receiveth her rejoicing since she is God's abode. . . .

Today the living temple of holy glory, the glory of Christ our God, who alone is blessed and undefiled is presented in the Mosaic Temple, to live in its holy precincts. Wherefore, Joachim and Anne rejoice now with her in spirit, and the ranks of virgins praise the Lord with songs honoring his Mother. . . .

Thou art the preaching of the prophets, O Virgin Theotokos, the glory of the Apostles and pride of the Martyrs, the renewal of the whole race of earthly ones. For through thee we are reconciled to God. Wherefore, we honor thy coming to the Temple of he Lord, shouting unto thee and hailing thee with the angel, O most honored one; for we are saved by thine intercessions. . . .

In Memoriam: His Eminence Archbishop Peter, Retired Archbishop of New York and New Jersey

Article posted: 11/19/2007 3:24 PM


Archbishop PeterSYOSSET, NY [OCA Communications] -- On Monday, November 19, 2007, His Eminence, Archbishop Peter, retired ruling hierarch of the Diocese of New York and New Jersey fell asleep in the Lord.

Archbishop Peter was born as Paul L'Huillier on December 3, 1926 in Paris, France. In his youth he became interested in Eastern Christian theology. In 1945, while enrolled at the St. Denys Institute in Paris, he embraced the Orthodox faith. In addition to studies at St. Denys, Archbishop Peter did graduate work at the University of Paris and received a Licentiate of Theology from the Moscow Theological Academy in 1962. From the same institution, he earned the prestigious Doctorate of Canon Law degree in 1985. His doctoral dissertation, "The Church of the Ancient Councils -- The Disciplinary Work of the First Four Ecumenical Councils", was published by St. Vladimir's Seminary Press in 1996.

Archbishop Peter began his ecclesiastical life on August 30, 1954, when he was tonsured a monk. On September 4 and 5, 1954, he was ordained hierodeacon and hieromonk. As a hieromonk, His Eminence served as parish pastor at two Orthodox churches in Paris, Three Hierarchs and the Church of our Lady the Joy of Those who Sorrow. In 1960, he was elevated to the rank of Archimandrite. On September 12, 1968, on the Feast of St. Alexander Nevsky, he was consecrated Bishop of Chersonese at St. Alexander Nevsky Monastery in St. Petersburg (then called Leningrad).

2008 Calendar Featuring Antiochian Iconographers Now Available from Conciliar

image imageConciliar Media Ministries, a department of the Antiochian Archdiocese, has released their 2008 Icon Calendar, featuring the work of four contemporary Antiochian iconographers from North America: Diane Plaskon Koory, Heather Sommer, Erin Kimmett, and Fr. Paul Albert.

To learn more about these four gifted icon writers, and to order the calendar, visit Conciliar online: 2008 Icon Calendar.

AGAIN Audio Journal: Orthodox Christian Leadership in a Brave New World

audio_journal_180pConciliar Media Ministries has released the November edition of the AGAIN Audio Journal, a podcast of the best of AGAIN Magazine brought to you by the team at the newly-joined ministries of Conciliar Press and Ancient Faith Radio. Lively and thought-provoking, AGAIN: The Ancient Christian Faith Today is a quarterly magazine ideal for both Orthodox believers desiring a deeper relationship with God, and seekers and fellow traditional Christians interested in encountering the enduring wisdom of the Orthodox Church.

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