Wednesday, September 4, 2013


A layman who had a son came to see Abba Sisoes on Abba Anthony's mountain.  On the way, it happened that his son died.  He was not troubled by this but brought him with confidence to the old man and bowed down with his son, as though making a prostration, so that he would be blessed by the old man.  Then the father stood up, left the child at the old man's feet and went outside.  The old man, thinking that the little boy was bowing to him, said, "Get up, go outside."  For he did not know that he was dead.  Immediately, the boy stood up and went out.  When he saw it, his father was filled with amazement and went back inside.  He bowed before the old man and told him the whole story. When he heard it, Abba Sisoes was filled with regret, for he had not intended that to happen.  So the old man's disciple asked the father of the child not to speak of it to anyone before the old man's death.

--- From the Desert Dwellers

Saturday, June 22, 2013

The Result of Superstition

"When these gross superstitions are taught instead of a living Faith, in place of the hope in the grace of the Holy Spirit and the hope in Jesus Christ, then people are more alienated, more pushed away, more driven away from the faith than they ever had been before."

--- Archbishop Lazar (Puhalo), Orthodox Church in America

Saturday, May 18, 2013

On Fables Impacting Lives

"Now I realize that in the *Manichean* system, there originated the story that Adam and Eve didn't have any sexual relations in Eden, and wouldn't have, and that God would have provided another means of procreation without sex if they had not fallen. There's no possible way to sustain such an argument."

--- Archbishop Lazar (Puhalo), Orthodox Church in America

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Every Heart is Jerusalem

"But [there will be] not destruction at the end of the world, but a purification, a transfiguration, a metamorphosis of the whole universe."

--- Archbishop Lazar (Puhalo), Orthodox Church in America

Monday, April 22, 2013

Approaching The Educated Person in the Post Christian Era

"Our gift is to witness the Gospel of Jesus Christ, not to govern the world or dictate the behaviour of others. Our gift is to join that great cloud of witnesses that has gone before us and seek to nurture the world, society and culture, and offer the healing of Christ's words and presence to a world which we love and cherish, not one which we consider to be an enemy or adversary. If we can accomplish this, then we may glimpse the energy of creation with an increased capacity to love God and minister in co-suffering love to His creation. We may then be able to heal the wounds of perception, the broken images of life which skew our regard for creation and for each other."

--- Archbishop Lazar (Puhalo), Orthodox Church in America

Read  the full article HERE.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Crucifying our Malice

"Fear has no place for Orthodox Christians. ... Through fear we hate other people who are not like us. Through fear we are afraid of so many things in this life. And through fear we actually do some cruel and terrible things to other human beings."

--- Archbishop Lazar (Puhalo), Orthodox Church in America

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Paradise of the Heart

Prayer of St. Ephraim the Syrian: "When we make metanias, the prostrations, to stop and think about what the prostration actually means. Remember, this is not just some kind of calisthenics, and it’s not just a kowtow to show our humility; it’s a type of the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, a type of our dying to sin to rise to life.”

--- Archbishop Lazar (Puhalo), Orthodox Church in America


Friday, March 29, 2013

The Astronomical Icon to Pascha

Glory to Jesus Christ! Glory Forever!

It is worth thinking about that since the Orthodox Faith absolutely stresses the importance of the *physical* to salvation (the physical Incarnation of God the Word) and to worshipful living (the physical icons the restoration of which we just celebrated, the physical actions of prostrating and fasting) it makes absolutely *no* sense at all to divorce the calculation of Pascha from the actual physical events used for that calculation. There was a reason the Church chose the very physical Spring Equinox and the very physical Full Moon as physical icons to be used in the determination of the yearly day for the most-holy Feast of the Resurrection.

It is always important to stress the significant fact that our Orthodox Faith is an incarnational faith, where physical things point to and connect us with divine realities... wood and paint and art in icons, sound and motion in the hymns and services, and *also* the natural physical processes of the world that God created Good. As St. John of Damascus has said, "The whole earth is a living icon of the face of God."

It is always important to show how this is true *also* in those cases where people may not have particularly thought about it before ie where the physical astronomical events of the Spring Equinox and the Full Moon point to and connect us with the divine reality of the Resurrection... as the Church recognized them to do, even though the Orthodox Church no longer really (but only docetically) follows the Council of Nicaea anymore.

The physical world is important in connecting us with our salvation and deification. Contemplating and living the physical astronomical events which the Church chose to point to the Resurrection is a veneration of the Resurrection, acknowledgment of how "The heavens declare the glory of God, the skies proclaim the work of his hands." (Psalm 19:1)

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Eden & Nature of Sin

"And this is what the Fall of humankind is really all about: the fall from unselfish love and the experience of unselfish love, into self-centeredness, a self-love, an egotism that made it seek its own, therefore making them unable to love their neighbor as themselves, and unable to love our Lord God and Savior with all their heart and with all their might and with all their strength."

--- Archbishop Lazar (Puhalo), Orthodox Church in America

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Food from the Mothers and Fathers

"Some people read books in order to find God. Yet there is a great book, the very appearance of created things. Look above you, look below you! Note it, read it! God whom you wish to find, never wrote that book with ink. Instead, He set before your eyes the things that He made. Can you ask for a louder voice than that? Why, heaven and earth cry out to you, 'God made me'."  --- St. Augustine

"God is glorified not by mere words, but by works of righteousness, which proclaim the majesty of God far more effectively than words."  --- St. Maximos the Confessor

"Christianity is not 'an ideology', an abstract doctrine or a fixed system of rituals. The Good News entered the world as a dynamic force, encompassing all sides of life, open to everything created by God in nature and in human beings. It is not just a religion which has existed for the past twenty centuries, but a Way focused on the future (John 14.6; Acts 16.17; 18.26)."  --- Fr. Alexander Men, martyred Russian Orthodox priest

"A Christian guards against authoritarianism and paternalism, which are rooted not in the spirit of faith but in characteristics inherent to the fallen nature of humanity. (Matt. 20.25-27; 23.8-12)"  --- Fr. Alexander Men, martyred Russian Orthodox priest 

“Let books be your dining table, / And you shall be full of delights. / Let them be your mattress,/And you shall sleep restful nights”  --- St. Ephraim the Syrian 

"If someone makes a display of wisdom and instead of applying it talks at length, that person has a spurious wealth and that one's labors 'come into the houses of strangers' (Prov. 5:10. LXX)."   --- St. Mark the Ascetic 

"To be Orthodox means to have the God-man Christ constantly in your soul, to live in Him, think in Him, feel in Him, act in Him. In other words, to be Orthodox means to be a Christ-bearer and a Spirit-bearer."  --- St. Justin Popovich 

"Go with Him, as His inseparable companion, to the wedding feast of Cana, and drink of the wine of His blessing. Let you have ever before you the Face of the Lord, and look upon His beauty, and let your earnest gaze turn nowhere away from His most sweet countenance. Go before Him into a desert place and see the wonder of His works, where He multiplied in His own Holy Hands the bread that sufficed to feed a great multitude. Go, my brother, go forward, and with all the love of your soul follow Christ wherever He may go... "And lovingly behold Him as taking bread into His hands, He blesses it, and breaks it, as the outward form of His own Immaculate Body; and the chalice which He blessed as the outward form of His Precious Blood, and gave to His Disciples; and be you also a partaker of His sacraments,"  --- St. Ephraim of Syria 

 "A Christian must be courteous to all. That person's words and deeds should breath with the grace of the Holy Spirit, which abides in one's soul, so that in this way one might glorify the name of God. The one who regulates all of one's speech also regulates all of one's actions. The one who keeps watch over the words one is about say also keeps watch over the deeds one intends to do, and one never goes out of the bounds of good and benevolent conduct. The graceful speech of a Christian is characterized by delicateness and politeness. This fact, born of love, produces peace and joy. On the other hand, boorishness gives birth to hatred, enmity, affliction, competitiveness, disorder and wars."  --- St. Nektarios of Aegina

“'I look for the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come.' What does this last phrase from the Creed mean? We can only bear the idea of eternal life if this eternity has already entered into our life."  --- Archimandrite Sophrony, +1993

"Through the fall our nature was stripped of divine illumination and resplendence. But the Logos of God had pity upon our disfigurement, and in His compassion He took our nature upon Himself. On Tabor He manifested it to His elect disciples clothed once again most brilliantly. He showed what we once were and what we shall become through Him in the age to come -- if we choose to live our present life, as far as possible, in accordance with His ways."  --- St. Gregory Palamas 

"Understand others, and help them, calmly and with a kindly spirit, to understand you. And in this way live with them in mutual understanding, in love and in calmness"  --- Pope Shenouda, Coptic Orthodox Church 

"When we pray for someone, we take upon ourselves that one's suffering."   --- Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica 

"I hear no one boast, that he or she hath a knowledge of the Scriptures, but that they own a Bible written in golden characters. And tell me then, what profiteth this? The Holy Scriptures were not given to us that we should enclose them in books, but that we should engrave them upon our hearts."  --- Saint John Chrysostom 

"The good attained by our diligence is none other than the one implanted in our nature at the beginning. When persons have their sword girded upon their thigh by devoting their life to virtue, they have rejected passions, they become children undisturbed by passion; for the state of infancy is not subject to passion."  --- St. Gregory of Nyssa, *The Song of Songs* 

"I pray you, my siblings, understand this great dispensation, that He was made like unto us, apart from sin (Heb. 4:15). And each of the rational natures, for which principally the Savior came, ought to examine their pattern, and know their mind, and discern between bad and good, to that they may be set free by His advent. For as many as are set free by His dispensation, are called the servants of God. And this is not yet perfection, but in its own time it is righteousness, and it leads to the adoption of children."  --- St. Anthony the Great 

"Nor should it astound anyone that the Devil is reported in this Book as having first spoken the Name of Jesus of Nazareth (cf. Lk. 4:32-34). But Christ did not receive from him the Name which the Angel brought down from Heaven to the Virgin (cf. Lk. 1:31): it is a mark of the Devil's impudence that he first usurps something among humanity and brings it down to humanity as if new, in order to instill terror of his power. Then, in Genesis, too, he is the first to proclaim God to humanity, for thus ye have: "And he said to the woman, 'Why hath God commanded that ye should not eat of every tree'" (Gen. 3:1)? So each is deceived by the Devil, but healed by Christ."  --- St. Ambrose of Milan  

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Theology Made Simple: Energy

"Energy, in both Orthodox Christianity and physics, is about relationships. Energy communicates something between people, and conveys relationships."

--- Archbishop Lazar (Puhalo), Orthodox Church in America

(His Eminence is broadcasting from the seminary I went to and where I had a blessed time!)

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The Martyr Fr. Alexander Men, "Between Past and Future"

"Christianity is not 'an ideology', an abstract doctrine or a fixed system of rituals. The Good News entered the world as a dynamic force, encompassing all sides of life, open to everything created by God in nature and in human beings. It is not just a religion which has existed for the past twenty centuries, but a Way focused on the future (John 14.6; Acts 16.17; 18.26)."

--- Fr. Alexander Men, martyred Russian Orthodox priest

Find out more about the holy martyr at Who is Father Alexander Men?

Monday, January 28, 2013

Consumerism and Prosperity Gospel

"Consumer capitalism is about excess, about great excess... not only the excess of the very wealthy and the very powerful, but the excess of society as a whole."

--- Archbishop Lazar (Puhalo), Orthodox Church in America

Tuesday, January 15, 2013


"When God wants to have mercy on someone, He inspires someone else to pray for him, and He helps in this prayer." --- St. Silouan the Athonite
"Divine determination depends on the life of a human being, and not the person's life upon the determination." --- Saint Theophan the Recluse

"Make an effort , then, to meet more frequently to celebrate God's Eucharist and to offer praise. For, when you meet frequently in the same place, the forces of Satan are overthrown, and his baneful influence is neutralized by the unanimity of your faith. Peace is a precious thing: it puts an end to every war waged by heavenly or earthly enemies." --- St. Ignatius of Antioch, *Letter to the Ephesians*

“Since with all my soul I behold the face of my Beloved, therefore all the beauty of His form is seen in me.” --- St. Gregory of Nyssa

"Will not God, who has commanded human beings to act thus, do as much Himself and even more? For God commanded Peter to forgive till seventy times seven." --- St. Poemen

“And the creation, in the world and above the world, that once was at variance with itself, is knit together in friendship: and we ... are made to join in the angels' song, offering the worship of their praise.” --- St. Gregory of Nyssa

“When I gaze in meditation and with faith upon the holy icons in church, and upon all its appurtenances, then I am lost in wonderful contemplation; the whole temple appears to me to be sacred history in action, a wonderful scripture of the works of God, accomplished in the human race. Here I see the history in action of our fall and of our restoration by God's wonderful ordering...” --- St. John of Kronstadt, from *My Life in Christ* 

"God is fire, warming and igniting the heart and inward parts. So, if we feel coldness in our hearts, which is from the devil (for the devil is cold), then let us call the Lord: He, in coming, will warm our heart with perfect love, not only towards Himself, but to our neighbors as well. And the coldness of the despiser of good will run from the face of His warmth." --- St Seraphim of Sarov 

“Let us then, my sisters and brothers, endure in hope. Let us devote ourselves, side-by-side with our hoping, so that the God of all the universe, as He beholds our intention, may cleanse us from all sins, fill us with high hopes from what we have in hand, and grant us the change of heart that saves. God has called you, and you have your calling.” --- St. Cyril of Jerusalem

"It is always a good thing to devote ourselves to seeking God, as we have been commanded. For although in the present life we are unable to arrive at the limit of God's depth, yet at least by reaching in some small way His depth we would see the holier among holy things and the more spiritual among spiritual things. This is clearly indicated in the figure of the high priest who from the holy place which is more sacred than the courtyard enters into the Holy of Holies which is more sacred than the holy place." --- St. Maximus the Confessor

"When people say that it is impossible to attain perfection, to be once and for all free from the passions, or to participate fully in the Holy Spirit, we should cite Holy Scripture against them, showing them that they are ignorant and speak falsely and dangerously. For the Lord said: 'Become perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect' (Matt. 5:48)..." --- St. Makarios of Egypt, *The Homilies, II: Prayer nos. 29*

"The Woman sinned, and so did Adam. The serpent deceived them both; and one was not found to be the stronger and the other weaker. But do you consider the better? Christ saves both by His Passion. Was He made flesh for the Man? So He was also for the Woman. Did He die for the Man? The Woman also is saved by His death. He is called of the seed of David; and so perhaps you think the man is honored; but He is born of a Virgin, and this is on the woman's side. The two, He says, shall be one flesh; so let the one flesh have equal honor." --- St. Gregory the Theologian

"'A faithful friend is a strong defense' [Ecclesiasticus 6:14]; for when a person is faring well, that one is a good counselor and wholehearted supporter, and when the person is faring badly, that one is a most genuine helper and a most sympathetic defender." --- St. Maximos the Confessor

“I prefer a sinful person who knows he or she has sinned and repents, to one who has not sinned and considers oneself to be righteous.” --- Abba Sarmatas 

Saturday, January 12, 2013

The Truly Christian Life

"A good conscience comes from a living relationship with God and with other human beings. ... The truly Christian life is not just doing things according to rules and regulations, but it's living a life of compassion, of mercy, of trusting one another with our weaknesses. That instead of condemning us, our brothers and sisters in Christ will lift us up again."

--- Archbishop Lazar (Puhalo) of Ottawa, Orthodox Church in America