Wednesday, 21 Feb 2018
Statement of Interreligious Council in Russia on Attack Against Believers in ...
17 hours ago
The Interreligious Council in Russia has issued a statement on the attack made on February 18, 2018, against believers who were coming out of the St. George church in Kizlyar. As a result of the shooting opened by a criminal five women were killed and several people were wounded. We, heads and representatives of the […]
Breathtaking ‘Lord Have Mercy’ Sung by Georgians
18 hours ago
This unbelievably beautiful composition, performed in a huge, empty church by Orthodox Christians truly makes you feel as though you’ve left this earthly life behind for some immeasurably more beautiful reality. There are only two words in the chant: ‘Kyrie Eleison,’ which in Greek means ‘Lord, Have Mercy.’ Perhaps, the simplicity and minimalism of the prayer are what […]
Tuesday, 20 Feb 2018
“Ye Must be Born Again”
19 hours ago
Christ’s counsel to Nicodemus that “ye must be born again” (John 3:7) with its assertion that one must be born again to enter the Kingdom of God is arguably the favourite verse of Protestant Evangelicals. It certainly formed the bedrock of Evangelical preaching and the goal of such preachers as Billy Graham. The phrase left […]
OCP Media Network
Wednesday, 21 Feb 2018
‘The Pearl of Great Price’ – the Journey of Veronica Hughes from Rome to Orth...
15 hours ago
OCP News Service – 21/1/18
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Pearl of Great Price is an inspiring book penned by author Veronica Hughes who converted from Roman Catholicism to Orthodox Christianity. The book opened to rave reviews. Veronica Hughes have been a featured guest on Ancient Faith Radio and Orthodox Christian Network.
“I wrote this my Pearl for those who are seeking “the peace that passes all understanding” and have unresolved issues with the Catholic Church, Protestant religions or Christianity in general. How many years of my life did I spend searching for the truth? I never would have imagined that after rejecting Christianity in my late teens I would have ever come back to Christ, but I did and I have found what I was seeking.” – Veronica Hughes.
The Pearl of Great Price, is the Journey of a New Age Seeker to the Light of Christ and the Eastern Orthodox Church, is especially good for people caught in the net of the New Age Movement and Eastern religions, who are searching and inclining towards Christ.
Second and newly published book, In Christ I am a New Creation, Part I, Taking up my Cross, is helpful for those who are struggling to understand the spiritual path of the Orthodox Church, especially with regards to finding Christ through our suffering. Both are autobiographical, weaving my experiences, as the author have struggled to find Christ in my heart, with the teachings of the Holy Fathers of our Church.
Read Bio of the Author here:
A REVIEW OF REV. VALSON THAMPU’S STUDY ON ‘THE SAINT OF PARUMALA’ BY GEORGE J...
17 hours ago
OCP News Service – 21/1/18
Rev Dr Valson Thampu’s study on St Gregorious of Parumala reviewed by George Joseph Enchakkattil
Read the Article ‘Jerusalem Travel of St Gregorious- An Alternative reading’ by Rev Dr Valson Thampu in Focus Journal – ISSUU:
This rather small volume by Rev Dr Valsan Thampu is a study on sainthood through the life of St Gregoriose of Parumala, a Saint in the Orthodox tradition. However, the author is a clergy from Protestant lineage and therefore, there is an element of surprise as well as curiosity to readers, be them Orthodox or Protestants or even Catholics for the simple reason that Protestants in India do not seem to venerate Saints. I am stating these notwithstanding Saints are seen respectfully among believers of non-Catholic and non Orthodox Churches at certain other locations though not as much as venerating them.
Now coming to the point of Dr Thampu’s work under discussion, he has divided this small volume into three parts with a view, perhaps, to look at St Gregoriose of Parumala in a three dimensional scenario. They are (1) URSLEM YATRAVIVARANAM (2) COMMUNING WITH PARUMALA THIRUMENI (3) FROM PRESERVATION TO FULFILLMENT.
In the first among these, the author carries out a sort of analysis of a travelogue by St Gregoriose of Parumala about his visit of the Holy Land. Literary circles have acknowledged this as an ideal one that pictures a journey in all its excitement and is arguably the very first of travelogues in Malayalam. Yet, Rev Dr Thampu chooses to see this more as a volume of spirituality, philosophy and theology rather that a travelogue. He sees glimpses of Abraham in St Gregoriose considering the many similarities in their life experiences particularly in the incident of Abraham leaving Ur and entering Canaan as commanded by Jehovah and likewise, Gheevarghese leaving Mulanthuruthy and entering Parumala as willed by God. He claimed Parumala in faith. Both have settled in lands not seen or known about before. His journey to Parumala is not a journey but a pilgrimage. As Gheevarghese Mar Gregoriose adopted Parumala his home, he carried out another pilgrimage to Holy Land not as a journey but as one to ‘see’. The saintly author would have considered his work, branded by many as a travelogue, not to highlight literary value at the cost of spiritual significance.
Dr Valsan Thampu sees in Bible an anthology of journeys revealing God who calls people out of their habitats. Parumala Thirumeni had a thirst or zeal to respond to such revelations of God. His pilgrimage to Holy Land illustrates this. He was not ready to travel simply to Jerusalem, but had a deep preparation that knew the in and out of Jerusalem much before he commenced his travel. This preparation enabled him to know the place but that was mere ‘knowledge’. Knowledge, Dr Thampu says, may be adequate for worldly purposes or for literary purposes; in the spiritual orbit, knowledge per se is inherently partial. So one has to break open the door and see it. This is exactly what happened, as we understand while reading URSLEM YATRAVIVARANAM; and this pilgrimage in its essence has born out of zeal or ERIVU.
It is worth noting that Parumala Thirumeni wanted to have a copy of this book at all parishes. Dr Thampu understands this as an analogy to Jesus offering living water to that Samaritan woman. The woman had come to Jacob’s well to “see” and collect water, but Jesus offered her water of life in its essence. The Saint offers his flock at various parishes the light he experienced from Jerusalem.
He did not end up his pilgrimage at Jerusalem. His fervor with which he addressed Dalit issues indicates the continuation of pilgrimage as Dr Thampu reads it. His work among the low castes is a learning point for all members of the parishes. Another significant aspect of this spiritual pilgrimage is “PUTHEN THEEI” or the new fire. This new fire too has an analogy with the burning bush Moses saw on the mountaintop. Fire symbolizes zeal. In the spiritual context, zeal is bred by purity that is dynamic and not static. It is a mighty presence and not an absence. Such fire is self-realization. Dr Thampu says that this ‘new fire’ akin to the burning bush Moses saw is also an all consuming fire but what this fire consumes are not the natural bushes; instead it consumes the fetters in culture that holds us back from taking the plunge when called into partnerships by God. The relationship between the fire Moses saw and the liberation of Israelites is significant and likewise, the ‘new fire’ is central to the spiritually transformative experiences that Parumala Thirumeni narrates in URSLEM YATRA VIVARANAM.
The second part of the book mainly concentrates on sainthood. Dr Thampu briefs what is sainthood, as he understood which is surely, what we too can understand. Saint is one who is animated by the breath of the risen Christ and is so at one with the Lord that he can breathe the same breath upon others as well. Dr Thampu admits that he has no other way that the subject travelogue is connected with the spirit of Parumala Thirumeni. He admits that whatever he has written in this book is guided and shaped by his experience. Anyone who reads this is sure to get a feel of what really means by sainthood. Thirumeni went to Jerusalem to be breathed upon by the Lord. As an ardent devotee of Parumala Thirumeni, I do confess that this enlightenment about sainthood has been truly nourishing my spirituality.
Further Dr Thampu says that the asceticism in Parumala Thirumeni symbolizes his discipleship out of his love of God in its wholesomeness. He recalls the observation of L/L HG Dr Gheevarghese Mar Osthathiose about Parumala Thirumeni: His religion was not vertical alone but also horizontal. It is worthy to relate this observation to the ATHRAITHA SIDDHANTAM propagated by Osthathiose Thirumeni. Dr Thampu connects sainthood with St Matthew 5:48 also. After the pilgrimage, Parumala Thirumeni has given a clarion call to redouble the efforts to spread the gospel. This evangelic zeal was free from the taint of European triumphalism. Missionary movement of Europe aimed at overpowering other faiths and Parumala Thirumeni was distinctively different as observed by Dr Thampu. On commemorating Saints or venerating Saints, Dr Thampu clearly spells out that the significance lies in the ‘new fire’.
The third part is a sort of summing up of the feelings of Rev Dr Thampu about St Gregoriose of Parumala. He ascertains to the credit of Parumala Thirumeni that he did not fall into the trap into which self-styled prophets of reform fall when they cast off the yoke of Christ. How true an analysis of the Saint! He paraphrases the service of Parumala Thirumeni as one with the dialogue Jesus had with the Samaritan woman. The service of Saint Gregoriose is dynamic and redemptive orthodoxy. He says further: In relation to the need for revitalizing orthodoxy or right faith, we need to emphasize the dimension of ‘new’ in its continued journey through history. As orthodoxy is narrowly understood, remaining the same for centuries, Parumala Thirumeni showed that pilgrimage is not a journey to Jacob’s well but a journey from Jacob’s well to the fountainhead of living waters and to the city out there. Here it must be recalled that Jesus had profound respect for Law and Prophets. To him, they did not constitute mere lifeless orthodoxy; they were livewire realities impacting the world. On the Mount of Transfiguration, Moses and Elijah gave company to Jesus. This indicates that preservation is rooted in the past. Mission of Jesus had a spiritual purpose; he went about the task of fulfilling the Law and Prophets. The mission of Parumala Thirumeni fell in line with this. It aimed at dismantling division as St Paul exhorted. Parumala Thirumeni firmly believed in unconditional invitation to all. Thus, Dr Thampu is convinced that the mission of Parumala Thirumeni was no way different from what Jesus revealed.
Dr Thampu rightly recalls the vision of Chathuruthy Gheevarghese Malpan who was the mentor of Parumala Thirumeni in his formative years. Thus, the relationship between the two was more than that of uncle – nephew like, but more spiritual in content.
Coming to the overall perspective, one is excited to go through this book by Rev Dr Valsan Thampu that in essence, he succeeds immensely to present the Saint of Parumala in a new spirituality analyzing the pilgrimage to Jerusalem as the base of his sainthood. The book is penned down in an excellent style of narration that grips one’s attention unbroken throughout. More than all these, a clergy of Protestant lineage shares his experiences of sainthood and the true essence of Orthodoxy in such a way that anyone who desires to know Parumala Thirumeni, anyone who desires to understand sainthood in its true depth and even inputs on true faith.
St Gregorious of Parumala
Rev.Dr. Valson Thampu
About the Author
Tuesday, 20 Feb 2018
President Radev of the Republic of Bulgaria Visited Mother See of Holy Etchmi...
20 Feb 2018 at 6:41am
Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin – 20/2/18
On February 13, in the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians; received Mr. Rumen Radev, President of the Republic of Bulgaria and his wife Dessislava Radeva. They were accompanied by Mr. Edward Nalbandyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Armenia.
His Holiness welcomed the Bulgarian President’s visit to Armenia and Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, and noted that it would become a new impetus for the expansion of bilateral cooperation between the two countries in different spheres. The Catholicos of All Armenians stated that the historic close Armenian-Bulgarian ties dated back to the Middle Ages, and was a solid base for the further development of cooperation. The Armenian Pontiff emphasized the role of the Armenian community in Bulgaria in that development.
The Catholicos of All Armenians also expressed his appreciation to the Bulgarian authorities for the caring attitude shown towards the Armenian community and the Armenian Diocese, which gives an opportunity to the historical Armenian community of Bulgaria to live freely in their spiritual-national life and be an integral part of Bulgarian society. His Holiness noted that he personally witnessed this during his pastoral visit to Bulgaria.
President Radev, expressed gratitude to His Holiness Karekin II for the reception and opportunity to visit the oldest Christian sanctuary, and spoke on the results of his visit to Armenia and his impressions. The Bulgarian President noted that the visit opens good perspectives for expanding Armenian-Bulgarian relations.
President Radev referred to the historical similarities of the two nations, highlighting the role of the Church in the development and formation of the national identity, education and culture. Speaking on the Armenian community in Bulgaria, the President underlined that it has its own unique image, is fully integrated into the public life, and that Armenians are in the leading positions in culture and other spheres.
During the meeting, they spoke about the warm relations between the Armenian Apostolic and Bulgarian Orthodox Churches. In this regard the Pontiff of the Armenian Church conveyed his brotherly greetings and best wishes to the head of the Bulgarian Church, His Holiness Patriarch Neofit. His Holiness also assured that as in the past and in the present, the two churches will contribute to the strengthening of friendship between the Armenian and Bulgarian people.
At the conclusion of the meeting, His Holiness wished the Bulgarian President a fruitful service for the vibrancy of Bulgaria and for the welfare of her pious people.
Attending the meeting were His Eminence Archbishop Nathan Hovhannisyan, Director of the External Relations and Protocol Department of Mother See; Rev. Fr. Isahak Poghosyan, Primate of the Armenian Diocese of Bulgaria; Mr. Armen Sargsyan, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Armenia to the Republic of Bulgaria and Ms. Maria Pavlova Tsotsorkova-Kaymakchieva, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Bulgaria to the Republic of Armenia.
The official delegation led by the President of the Republic of Bulgaria visited Mother Cathedral and toured the cathedral museum and learned about the ecclesiastical and cultural treasures of the Armenian Church.
Orthodox Christianity - Pravoslavie.ru/english
Православие.Ru — Orthodox Christianity
Православие.Ru — русский православный информационный ресурс.
Wednesday, 21 Feb 2018
The First Week of Great Lent: More Pastoral Advice
17 hours ago
Lent is a time of conscious effort, which helps us acquire another view on the world—that which the Lord calls the Kingdom of God within us.
Tuesday, 20 Feb 2018
On Fasting and its Benefits
20 Feb 2018 at 3:31pm
The Church combined weeping over sins with fasting, for fasting gives our repentance wings and bears it upward to God’s Throne. The labor of fasting is sacred and quite ancient.
Constantinople condemns actions of Bulgarian Church regarding Macedonian Church
20 Feb 2018 at 6:50am
In the communiquй of the regular session of the Holy Synod of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, held from February 7 to 9, the Ecumenical Patriarchate has declared that it considers the actions of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church regarding the schismatic and unrecognized Macedonian Orthodox Church to be un-canonical.
Orthodox Church in America
Wednesday, 21 Feb 2018
Ads, listings for 19th AAC, FOCA Convention commemorative book being accepted
4 hours ago
Ads and listings for the commemorative book that will be published in conjunction with the 19th All-American Council of the Orthodox Church in America [AAC] and the 92nd National Convention of the Fellowship of Orthodox Christians in America [FOCA] are being accepted through June 1, 2018.
The FOCA Convention will open in Saint Louis, MO on July 20, 2018, while the AAC will gather from July 23 through 27. Both events will share the same venue—the Saint Louis Union Station Hotel.
The commemorative book advertising order form is now available online. Several options, ranging in price from $150.00 for a full page ad to $20.00 for a one-line patron listing, are being offered.
Ads may be submitted as PDF or Word files to email@example.com by June 1. Checks made payable to the OCA may be mailed to Donna Tesar, 5068 West Sixth Street, Brooklyn Heights, OH 44131. Questions and requests for additional information may be directed or texted to John Schultz at 304-479-5071.
Tuesday, 20 Feb 2018
Holy Synod of Bishops issues Liturgical Instructions
20 Feb 2018 at 6:36am
In a letter to all clergy of the Orthodox Church in America dated February 15, 2018, His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon announced two decisions of the Holy Synod of Bishops with regard to the celebration of the Divine Liturgy of Saint Basil the Great and the reception of Holy Communion by clergy at the Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts were announced.
These Liturgical Instructions are available online, together with historical background information , titled “Notes on the Epiclesis in the Anaphora of Saint Basil and on the Chalice at the Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts,” by Dr. Vitaly Permiakov and Hieromonk Herman [Majkrzak].
Both of these decisions are reflected in the new Hieratikon recently published by Saint Tikhon’s Monastery Press with the blessing of Metropolitan Tikhon.
Monday, 19 Feb 2018
St. Vladimir’s Seminary to host open house for prospective students March 8
19 Feb 2018 at 7:24am
Saint Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary will host a campus open house, offering “an immersion into seminary life,” on Thursday, March 8, 2018.
Prospective students and other interested individuals will have an opportunity to attend classroom sessions, chapel services and community meals with the seminarians and their families; meet the seminary President and select members of the faculty; explore the seminary’s Master of Divinity, Master of Arts, Master of Theology, and Doctor of Ministry degree programs; meet members of the seminary’s diverse student body of Eastern and Oriental Orthodox students of many jurisdictions; and experience the rhythm of the Seminary during the season of Great Lent.
To register or to obtain additional information, please contact Robin Hatrak at firstname.lastname@example.org or 914-961-8313, ext. 330.
In related news, Saint Vladimir’s is now accepting applications for Fall Semester 2018. The application deadline is April 1, 2018, with a late application deadline set for June 1. Applications are currently being reviewed on a rolling basis, beginning February 1 and ending June 1.
The seminary’s Admissions Committee will evaluate complete applications at the beginning of each month during this period and will inform applicants of its decision by the middle of that month. Prospective students who apply after the June 1 late deadline will be charged a late application fee and will have lower priority for housing.
Further details concerning applications and admission are available online.
Last Easter, CBS - 60 Minutes was finally granted a Visa by the monks (after two years of trying) to visit Mount Athos. This fascinating video provides a historical background of Orthodoxy and gives you a breathtaking tour of Mount Athos.
** Please click on the photo of Vatopedi Monastery to begin your tour **
(When it starts double-click on the video for a full screen view)