Semester 1, 2020 was the semester that none of us expected. We all began the year just like any other, and in a matter of days - almost overnight - we transferred to online classes and found ourselves at home for the majority of the semester.
With semester two around the corner, many USYD students will continue to study from home. Faced with a continuation in this unexpected university experience, as well as the ongoing developments of COVID-19, how do we, as Orthodox Christians, navigate through it all?
“Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me bless His holy name”
The Psalmist begins by expressing his strong desire to praise God. We discover the meaning of our existence only when our life becomes an act of worship, a gift of praise offered in gratitude and love towards God.
The followers of the Way, as described in the first chapters of the Acts, were Jews centered around Jerusalem. While the Faith entered Roman society under the veil of Judaism, quite soon it became separated. In the time of the Apostles’ preaching, the Way spread from Jerusalem to Antioch, where St Peter preached and baptised and where the followers of the Way were first called Christians (Acts 11:19-26).
Saint John of Damascus is an important father of our Church who lived in Syria in the seventh century. A monk, but also a polymath, he was very knowledgeable in the areas of law, philosophy, music, science and astronomy. Above all, he was gifted in tying all of these disciplines with the field that he is most famous for: Theology.
What does it mean to bring an offering to the church? It means that you prayerfully give of yourself to Christ who is the giver of ‘all good things’. (cf. James 1:17)
We can learn many things from older people because whatever they are, their personalities and characteristics, good and bad are amplified in old age. Just like the very, very young, so too the very old cannot hide behind masks of politeness and civility like younger people can. Everything they are, good or bad, pours out freely, almost uncontrollably.
When heresies arise in the Orthodox Church, the Truth is always defended by the Saints of God. In the case of the Ecumenical Council of Chalcedon, the Truth was revealed by a miracle of St Euphemia.
What is meant by Christ’s words, “Heaven and earth will pass away” (Matt 24:35)?
In each of the synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark and Luke), we read about Jesus’ account of the Great Tribulation. The passage was set during Holy Week.
In The Ladder of Divine Ascent, St John describes the spiritual life as a thirty step ladder of virtues and passions. Each step is one chapter, and when successfully dealt with, raises the Christian one step closer to Christ who awaits at the top of the ladder.
"The Beginning of Wisdom is the Fear of God" - Proverbs 1:7
This phrase from the Proverbs of King Solomon, written towards the end of his life, provides an insight into how the spiritual life is to be approached.