Lenten Epistle of the Ukrainian Bishops outside Ukraine
Release Date: 03/10/2019
2 Corinthians: 4:6-15 and Luke 5:1-11. Fr. Anthony offers a meditation on how our culture sets us up for failure with fallen and incomplete anthropologies and ecclesiologies. The answer is to live Orthodoxy in face-to-face relations (around the table). Enjoy the show!info_outline Homily - The Other Cross
On the Sunday after the Universal Exaltation of the Holy Cross (Galatians 2:16-20; Mark 8:34-38; 9:1) Fr. Anthony explains why the image of the Cross (vs. for example, the sun) is so important for framing the Christian/True approach to salvation and holiness. After stretching the metaphor of gardening (and yes, he really did swing from poison vines when young), he borrows from Mp. Anthony of Sourozh and Fr. Thomas Hopko to share the three types of suffering and the image of the thief's cross. Enjoy the show!info_outline Homily - Christ, Moses, Snakes, Demons, and Salvation
In this homily on St. John 3:13-17, Fr. Anthony describes how we are like the Israelites in the wilderness being bitten by serpents for our sins; and how Christ lifted up is still the way to healing, harmony, and salvation. Enjoy the show!info_outline Homily: Salvation as Letting Go
In this homily on Matthew 19:16-26, Fr. Anthony encourages us to move away from a transactional approach to salvation (what must I DO?!) to one that is transformative (who must I become). He also point out that we need to learn to listen in humility to the very end. Enjoy the show!info_outline Homily - The Dormition
In this bit of homilizing (it really doesn't rate the full moniker "homily") offered on the Feast of the Dormition (Old Calendar), Fr. Anthony puts together some ideas inspired by the Feast. It wasn't particularly well-organized or well-presented, but it was offered with love, both for God's mother and for the people gathered to celebrate this feast. I reckon that counts for something. Enjoy the show!info_outline Homily - The Dormition as a Family Story
In this reflection offered on the Sunday after the Dormition (New Calendar), Fr. Anthony explains that the theological points that are affirmed in the life of the Theotokos - to include her falling asleep - are important while noting that our relationship to her is familial rather than intellectual. Enjoy the show!info_outline Homily - The Virtue of Loving Enemies
1 Corinthians 3:9-17 (we are a temple); Matthew 14:22-34 (walking on water). Sunday of the Cross and Maccabean martyrs. Fr. Anthony compares our situation to that of Peter on the water, then encourages us to reach out to Christ and turn our lives into living temples through virtue. Such a temple can protect us from the chaos and allow us to live in it without losing our peace. Enjoy the show!info_outline Homily - A Transfigured Perspective
1 Corinthians 1:10-17 and the Transfiguration. In this well-intentioned mess of a homily, Fr. Anthony diagnoses our divisiveness as a maladaptation to chaos and describes how the peace of Tabor can become a mechanism for moving us from the tribalism of Babel to the graceful unity of Pentecost. Ignore the bit on multiple reactions to holiness (he didn't really tie that piece in very well, bless his heart!). Enjoy the show!info_outline Homily - Marshmallows, Faith, and Perfection
Matthew 9:27-35 and Romans 15:1-7. Faith is hard. Trust is hard. But they are key to our healing and perfection. Today Fr. Anthony offers encouragement to all those who have been hurt and who want to be made well, but have a hard time being vulnerable because of the many times the world has used their vulnerability (and kindness) to hurt them. Enjoy the show!info_outline Way of Ascetics - Chapters Fifteen and Sixteen
Today Fr. Anthony continues leading us through Tito Coliander's "Way of Ascetics" (St. Vladimir Seminary Press), covering chapters fifteen and sixteen, both "On Prayer." Enjoy the show!info_outline
he 2019 Great Lent Epistle of the Permanent Conference of Ukrainian Orthodox Bishops Beyond the Borders of Ukraine
To the God-beloved Pastors, Monastics, and all Faithful Children of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in the Diaspora and Ukraine,
Beloved in the Lord: CHRIST IS AMONG US!
The Holy and Sacred Season of Great Lent is upon us! Each year, the Church offers us the Lenten season as a time of repentance and renewal. As for us, Orthodox Christians, the contemplation on this beautiful season of the Church year is a cause for much of spiritual joy!
There is real confusion in today’s world about the meaning of joy. Like happiness, joy is often seen as something that we can physically buy. We may be able to buy something that brings temporary pleasure: but we cannot buy joy. They must not be confused. Joy is a free gift from God.
This surreal and joyful season of Great Lent is an opportunity to be graced afresh by contemplating the presence of Christ in our lives. All our efforts to evangelize in our new millennium here in the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in North America, Western Europe, Australia, South America and throughout Diaspora would be fruitless unless we ourselves have first contemplated on the presence of Christ in our relationship with the world around us. It is the presence of the One who has suffered, died and risen from the dead out of love for us. To be so loved by the God of love in the midst of all our sinfulness and human limitations, indeed, is a joyful experience. This is surely the starting point for the Lenten season and the key point in our reflection upon our path to salvation. It is all summarized in one word: conversion.
It resonates with a deep yearning and recognition within us. As we make our first prostrations, we are reminded of our own sinfulness. Throughout the next 40 days we are called to repent and believe the Good News: God loves us. He sent His Beloved Son to suffer and die for us. He has risen from the dead and shares his new life with us. This is the heart of the Gospel. Lent refocuses our attention on this message of salvation, this good news through our ability to recognize and consider our identity as children of God.
Searching for our identity is part of life. We identify our “self” as a family member, spouse, sibling, clergyman, carpenter, farmer, doctor, entertainer or clerk. We also identify ourselves as Orthodox Christians, or as members of a parish. Identity involves discovering who we are as persons and what our role is by answering these questions: who am I, and why am I here? Growth in the awareness of our Christian identity is a lifelong process that shifts as we change. It is rooted in our Baptism, where we are transformed into our true identity as sons and daughters of the God. Holy Apostle Paul in his Letter to the Ephesians (“You should put away the old self of your former way of life . . . and put on the new self, created in God’s way in righteousness and holiness of truth” (Eph 4:22, 24), challenges us to put away our former life and put on a new self. In other words, he tells us to turn from sinful ways and take on our new life in Christ. In so doing, we become one with Christ, where we find our true identity. We accept this challenge during the Great Lent, as we journey with Christ through life’s difficulties to eternal life.
In the Church’s Tradition the season of Great and Holy Lent has always been accompanied by the Lenten efforts of prayer, fasting and acts of charity. We know that parishes will be providing many extra opportunities for prayer over the days of Lenten journey. We call upon you to greater attendance at liturgical services of the season. We hope that the participation in the Holy Mystery of Repentance over this time will be a real priority in your lives and in all parishes. We hope that the prayers of the Church will offer people an invitation to be touched, healed, forgiven, comforted and strengthened by our Lord. Also, at home we recommend a closer attention to times of prayer and fasting and moments of genuine devotion in family life.
Secondly, our journey through Lent and preparation to more fitting celebration of Pascha – the Resurrection of our Lord - includes “willing service to our neighbor”. All Christian true conversion starts in the heart but never stays there. True spiritual conversion always seeks out acts of charity to give practical help to our neighbor in need. This is a vital aspect of who we are as children of God.
We also encourage practical gestures of prayerful compassion to children. In this Lenten period, we must remember that our children are so often victims of human selfishness in today’s world and deserve special attention.During this Lent, perhaps we could find ways in our neighborhoods to share something of the importance of Christ Jesus to those who do not believe in Him. Such efforts can start so simply: with a kind word and gentle smile in His Name.
As we embark upon this Lenten journey, it is the time to renew ourselves as Orthodox Christians. Upon baptism we assumed the obligation of sharing the Good News of Christ with others, of defending the Holy Orthodox faith from persecution and of living a Christ-centered life of love for others. This six-week journey entails striving for humility and contrition before God in our repentance, seeking mutual forgiveness from others and contemplating our renewal in our prayers. Let us open our hearts to let in that, which is eternal, that which is Truth and not be blinded by the temporal world around us. Where there is light there is hope. Through His life and suffering for our salvation, we gain renewed hope in the light of Christ’s glorious victory over death and in eternal life.
May our All-Merciful and Almighty Lord assist us on our journey through this Great Fast with humility and reverence so that we may be worthy to greet the glorious Resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!
With Hierarchical Blessings,
† YURIJ, Metropolitan, Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Canada
† ANTONY, Metropolitan, Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA and in the Diaspora
† JEREMIAH, Archbishop, Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Brazil and South America
† DANIEL, Archbishop, Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA and Western Europe
† ILARION, Bishop, Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Canada
†ANDRIY, Bishop, Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Canada