Reflections in Christ

by Fr. Steven Kostoff

The Cross: “To refresh our souls and encourage us”

This hymn – together with the accompanying rite of venerating the Cross – replaces the usual Trisagion hymn during the Divine Liturgy on the Third Sunday of Great Lent.  According to The Synaxarion of the Lenten Triodion and Pentecostarion...

Acedia, Us, and Our Lenten Effort

My soul, my soul arise! Why are you sleeping? The end is approaching and you will be confounded. Awake then, and be watchful, that you may be spared by Christ God, Who is everywhere and fills all things…

Seeing the “Big Picture”

As we draw closer to the beginning of Great Lent, we are able to set our Lenten efforts against the background of the Last Judgment, thus giving us the “big picture” within which we live our lives and…

Athletes for Christ!

I must say that I enjoy watching the Olympic Games—summer or winter—when they make their way into our homes according to their respective four-year cycles.  In fact, I believe that at this point in the current Winter Olympics, I am fast approaching the status of…

The Publican, the Pharisee, and the struggle for humility

The Parable of the Publican and the Pharisee confronts us with a stark contrast between religious pride and self-righteousness on the one hand, and heartfelt humility and repentance on the other hand. The pharisee…

The week of Zacchaeus:  Embracing pre-lent by being pro-lent!

In the liturgical life of the Church, yesterday—Sunday, February 2, 2014—was called “The Sunday of Zacchaeus,” based on the narrative found in Luke 19:1-10.  This is the first “signal” or “echo” that the season of Great Lent is approaching – four weeks away from today to be exact.  (Great Lent…

The Resurrection of Christ and the rise of Christianity

Orthodox Christians believe that the New Testament Church and the Christian faith itself appeared at a particular point in history because the crucified Jesus of Nazareth was raised from the dead. The cause behind the emergence of the Church and…

Rebuking the Tempter and Following Jesus

Earlier this week, we celebrated the Leavetaking of the Great Feast of Theophany, on which we commemorated the Baptism of the Lord and the revelation of the Holy Trinity…

Giving thanks is central to our relationship with God

In reading the account in Saint Luke’s Gospel, in which Christ healed ten lepers, we learn how only one leper - and a Samaritan at that - returned to Him to offer thanks:  “Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed,  turned back, praising God with a loud voice; and he fell on his face at Jesus’ feet, giving Him…

“O give thanks unto the Lord!”

In an article titled “A Moveable Fast,”  the scholar Elyssa East summarized the history of our American Thanksgiving, and the intentions and practices of the early New England colonists toward this national feast.  Initially, she writes, Thanksgiving was built around the Christian rhythm of fasting and feasting.  Bearing…