St Andrew of Crete (660-740 AD) was a bishop, born in Damascus, who served the Church in various ways until being sent to Crete, which was his final place of office. He is counted as one of the most prolific and important hymnographers of the Orthodox Church, traditionally being known as the first hymnographer to write the type of hymn known as the canon.
In the lead up to Pascha, we are slowly but steadily initiated into the Orthodox way of life through the period of Great Lent. Throughout these six weeks preceding Holy Week we are encouraged to: fast in order to detach from our desires; give alms so that we may connect with our neighbour; and, pray more than we usually do to be filled with the grace of God.
On the 25th of March, Archbishop Stylianos (Harkianakis) of Australia and Oceania reposed in the Lord. In this 2017 article, he tells the story of his own father and how it gave him strength throughout his challenging life.
On the 25th of March, nine months prior to the Nativity, we celebrate the Annunciation; the “announcing” of Jesus’ conception. The Greek word for this day is Evangelismos, or “the telling of the Good News”.
The primary message in both the season of Autumn and the season of Lent is change. For us living in the Southern Hemisphere, Autumn reminds us in various ways of the central 'change' in Lent.
For many people Great Lent is just a cycle in their yearly calendar where they “must” abstain from certain foods, temporarily cut out some bad habits, attend a few extra Sunday Liturgies and then Commune on Holy Thursday before going back to the same old “normal life” after Pascha. However if we wish to take Great Lent seriously, we should consider it a spiritual journey rather than a religious obligation.
Elder Sophrony (Sakharov) of Essex was born in Russia in 1896, but departed as a young man in 1921 for the intellectual and artistic hubs of Europe. He finally settled in Paris where he found success as an artist. During this time, he engaged in the practices of oriental mysticism.
Repentance is the central theme of Christianity. It is the teaching of St John the Forerunner in preparation for the coming of the Lord and it is also the starting point of our Lord’s teaching: “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand!” (Matthew 3:2, 4:17).
Repentance, therefore, is in truth the beginning of the life in Christ.
Prior to 2019 the week before university commenced for the year was called Orientation Week (shortened to O Week). It was in this week that students would walk around campus, find their lecture rooms and start to change the course of their lives.
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. (Matthew 28:19-20)
This Commandment of our Lord also applies to all Christians from every age in history; every person and every nation who has ever existed.