They will kill you.

I have said all this to you to keep you from falling away. They will put you out of the synagogues; indeed, the hour is coming when whoever kills you will think he is offering service to God. And they will do this because they have not known the Father, nor me.
Jn 16:1–3
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Dear Parents… Part Two: Prayer

I remember an old grandfather, God repose his soul, at my church growing up. He used to say Our Father so slowly compared to the rest of the congregation, and it was not because he lacked English skills. He simply refused to rush prayer, and he had a hearing problem.

This is part two of a series to dialogue with parents AND kids, on issues that we see in the service. Please, let’s interact. What’s worked in your home? What didn’t work? What are the problems/causes of our issues.
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Dear Parents… Part One: Christian Education

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Dear Parents,

I’m writing this to you because we, your servants, love your kids. This is not written to attack you or accuse you of anything “bad”. Again, I’m writing it because I, and other servants, love your kids. Because we love them, we also have some concerns. This blog got very long, so I will be dividing it into multiple parts. I am not saying any of this in an accusatory way – I am responding to real issues and things that are really said. I am not making up the issues. The Church cares about your children, as do you as parents, of course, and so it is important here and there to hear about those concerns, in the same way that many are more than happy to express their concerns to servants and clergy. This is not an exhaustive list of issues, but really just a sampling of categories in which there are issues going on in which I hope to engage you. Your comments and feedback are more than welcome.
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Abouna Antonious El Souriani

500 metres away from the famous monastery of St. Pishoy (Deir el Anba Bishoy), is the less known, but still known, monastery of the Syrians, “Deir El Sourian”. The monastery itself has had its recent greats. Bishop Theophilus will go down in history as one of the most charismatic abbots of that monastery. He was the abbot who had all sorts of ways of testing new novices before coming, and it was he who admitted Nazir Gayid to the monastery, who would one day become the thrice-blessed Pope Shenouda III. This monastery also gave us two modern elder saints that have been making their way in the world: Elder Matthias (Mettaous) and Elder Philotheos (Faltaos). There are, of course others. Copts of course are not as keen, it seems, on preserving the written record of some of the teachings of these elders. I pray that we acquire that.
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Theosis and other problems: On Orthodox dis[unity] – Part 3

This is the third and last installment in this series. You can read the first two here and here.

I want to discuss some of the issues and characteristics that I’ve seen come up time and time again in this journey. I’m not claiming this to be an exhaustive piece or even a comprehensive one. This is not my specific area of expertise. If you wish to learn more and want to dialogue with someone who really ‘knows his stuff’, Father Peter Farrington is your priest! Please find his site specific to this topic here.
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Personal pilgrimage: On Orthodox [dis]unity – Part 2

This is the second of probably three parts in this series. The first one was done in allegory, and now I want to apply that allegory to real life through the lens of my own experience in this. I hope in the next one to talk about modern “issues” that we all have and of the things we like to accuse one another and ways to look at things if we want to ever grow from this. Too often we level accusations at one another and we judge others in their contexts without having any real understanding of one another as people or of one another’s contexts! If we want unity, we need to understand one another, not to label one another improperly.
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Some advice for student life.

School’s in! Well, I know that in Canada everyone’s been back a couple of weeks, but in America some people are just starting and others have yet to begin! So for those who think this is late, and for those who think it’s early, I apologise. I know that I lived away from home for almost all of my post-secondary education, and there were things I did well and things that I did not do so well. So here are some tips that were given to me, and some tips that I have for you. They are in no particular order. I know that it’s not normal or necessarily “right” for a person to talk about him/herself, but here I’m articulating things that I did, not to present myself as a positive example at all. I’m simply saying the things that I did from experience that worked or did not work, so that you know that what I say, I say from experience, not only theory.
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Ultimate Deception: What if he comes in our time?

This one is very long – more of an article than it is a blog – but it’s also important. If the Antichrist were to come in our time, what would it look like? How might we be deceived? Would it really be so obvious as doing signs and wonders, and if so – how would we not be able to recognise him? 

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2. The Ministers & The Chief of Ministers

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Our Story: Chapter 1: Beginnings

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Let me tell you a story. It’s a long story, though. It’s going to be told in more than one part because you probably won’t be able to hear all of it today. It’s a beautiful story, but it’s also a sad story. The good thing, though, is that the story is not actually over, and a happy ending is very possible. Actually, the happy ending is preferred, and you will find out that you have a say in how it ends.

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Thoughts & Meditations of an Orthodox Christian