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Our Life

 

“Pray unceasingly, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (1Ths. 5:17-18)

It is through prayer that holiness will come to us. It is through prayer that the will of God for us will be fulfilled.

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How to live an Orthodox Lifestyle

It is significant to always remember that Christianity and the Orthodox Faith is not a “Religion” but a Way of Life. It is difficult, sometimes, to live that life in a full way as we are immersed in a secular world and the cares of life. For that reason, we need to exercise a greater effort to stay on the path and build routines and habits which will deepen our faith and keep us connected to God. Here are some thoughts as to how to do this:

List of a number of spiritual and pious practices to do in the home, as families, and personally:

  • Praying morning prayers
  • Praying evening prayers/Small Compline
  • Praying before and after meals
  • Attending Church Services/Communal Prayer
  • Studying the Holy Scriptures (Especially the Gospels-the life and teachings of Christ)
  • Censing the home (charcoal and incense can be obtained at the church bookstore)
  • Celebrating the name-days of the members of the family
  • Making prosphoro (for the Eucharist) and artoclasia for feasts of saints and name-days
  • Bringing to church offerings of wine for Holy Communion and olive oil for the Kandylia (oil lamps)
  • Have an iconostasion in the home for the family Icons and pray there
  • Lighting of an oil lamp at home (be careful with this if you have a gas stove or gas heat)
  • Doing memorial services for departed relatives (including on the Saturdays of the Souls)
  • Asking forgiveness of each other frequently and especially before Holy Communion
  • Regularly confessing our sins to our spiritual father and seeking spiritual direction

The Saints stand out as the heroes of the faith. They are the people who followed Christ and gave their lives to honor Him and serve Him. By studying the lives of the Saints we are continually reminded of the ultimate goal to follow the Lord and surrender to His Will. We are also given the method of humility and obedience which we must embrace. Our ultimate goal is to unite ourselves to God like the Saints did.

Here is a list of Saints whose lives are very inspiring and we must read them:

The Champions of the Faith (top saints and elders)

  • St. Nektarios (by Sotos Hondropoulos)
  • St. Seraphim of Sarov (from little Russian Philokalia)
  • St. Arsenios of Cappadocia (Pub. Souroti)
  • Papa Nicholas Planas (Pub. HTM)
  • Elder Hadji-Georgis (Pub. Souroti)
  • Elder Paisios
  • St. John the Wonderworker (Maximovitch)
  • The Life of St. Anthony the Great by St. Athanasius
  • Fr. Arseny (SVS)
  • The Monk of Mt. Athos (Archimandrite Sophrony)

Spiritual books keep us connected to the spiritual world and inspire us to continue the path to the Kingdom of God. Here is a list of recommended books to enrich our knowledge and keep our heart warm for the Love of the Lord:

List of top books to read:

  • The Sayings of the Desert Fathers (Cistercian Publications)
  • The Mountain of Silence (Kyriacos C. Markides)
  • Gifts of the Desert by Kyriacos C. Markides
  • Wounded by Love (Elder Porphyrios)
  • The Gurus, the Young Man and Elder Paisios by Dionysios Farasiotis
  • The Way of a Pilgrim
  • Surprised by Christ (Bernstein)
  • Wisdom from Mt. Athos (Sophrony)
  • Watchfulness and Prayer
  • The Power of the Name (Kallistos Ware)
  • Prayer and Holiness (Staniloae)
  • The Unseen Warfare
  • Great Week and Pascha (Calivas)
  • Great Lent (Schmemann)
  • On Marriage and Family Life (Chrysostom)
  • On Wealth and Poverty (Chrysostom)
  • Living the Liturgy (Harakas)
  • The Orthodox Church by Kallistos Ware
  • Facing East (Matthews-Green)
  • At the Corner of East and Now (Matthews-Green)
  • Encountering the Mystery (His All-Holiness Bartholomew)
  • O Death, Where is Thy Sting (Schmemann)
  • Repentance and Confession in the Orthodox Church (Chryssavgis)
  • The Way of the Ascetics (Colliander)

You may also visit the following site for more texts on Orthodox Living http://orthodoxwiki.org/Orthodox_Living#Introduction

See also the Pastoral Guidelines on Various Issues of Life

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How to address Orthodox Clergy – etiquette

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On Humility and Repentance

Humility should not be confused with weakness of mind. It is, rather, the desire to not be arrogant. Humility is exhibited when one lowers himself in order to help the other climb higher. It is the act of helping others improve themselves by accepting them where they are and lifting them up.
Repentance is a process of transforming one’s heart and mind from sinfulness to righteousness. It is a change of path, a change of direction from evil to good. Repentance is an act of humility, where one recognizes his/her faults and vices and tries to correct one’s self.
Christ is the prime example of humility; although He was God He lowered Himself to become like us in all things except sin. Hence, He needed no repentance for He was sinless.

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Growing Spiritually as Persons & as a Parish

Spiritual Growth

Click on the graphic above to see and download the presentation on Spiritual Growth given at the church by Fr. Panayiotis on March 20, 2011