Hymns for Pentecost

May 30, 2010

Hymns from the Divine Liturgy for Pentecost sung by the parish choir of Holy Trinity Orthodox Church, East Meadow, New York:

O Heavenly King:

O Heavenly King, the Comforter, the Spirit of Truth, Who art everywhere and fillest all things, treasury of blessings, and giver of life, come, and abide in us, and cleanse us from every impurity; and save our souls, O Good One.

Pentecost Kontakion:

When the Most High came down and confused the tongues, he divided the nations. But when he distributed the tongues of fire, he called all to unity. Therefore, with one voice, we glorify the All-Holy Spirit!

As Many As Have Been Baptized into Christ Have put on Christ:

This replaces the singing of the Trisaigion (“Holy God”) for Pentecost.

There is One Physician

May 30, 2010

St. Ignatius of Antioch was martyred in a Roman arena in 107 A.D. After his death, the saint’s followers lovingly carried his relics back to Antioch, where they remained until 637, when they were transferred to the Church of St. Clement in Rome.

This is chapter 7 of St. Ignatius of Antioch’s letter to Christians in Ephesus. After warning about danger of false teachers, he speaks of the true Physician of souls, giving us a strong testimony of the Deity of Christ:

For there are some who make a practice of carrying about the Name with wicked guile, and do certain other things unworthy of God; these you must shun as wild beasts, for they are ravening dogs, who bite secretly, and you must be upon your guard against them, for they are scarcely to be cured.

There is one Physician,

who is both flesh and spirit,

born and yet not born,

who is God in man,

true life in death,

both of Mary and of God,

first passible and then impassible,

Jesus Christ our Lord.

Text from the the translation of the Apostolic Fathers by Kirsopp Lake, Vol. 1, page 181.

Further reading:

Jesus as God in the Second Century

A Review of the Watchtower’s Comments Concerning the Views of Ignatius of Antioch and the Deity of Christ

The Ecclesiology of St. Ignatius of Antioch

“Found to be Above Death”: Ecclesiology as Eucharistic Soteriology in the epistles of St. Ignatius of Antioch

Audio Recordings of the letters of St. Ignatius of Antioch based on the translation by Lightfoot.

ABC News on Married Ukrainian Catholic Priests

May 28, 2010

A very one-sided presentation and inaccurate in its implication that if the Catholic Church permits married priests scandals would go away. Married men can be abusers too. Still, it is accurate in showing that most Eastern Catholics view a married priesthood as the norm:

Further reading:

A great Catholic renaissance in Ukraine may be at risk

Cathedral of St. Sava in Belgrade

May 23, 2010

A very well done piece on the construction of the Cathedral of St. Sava in Belgrade, Serbia. The temple (it’s actually not a cathedral in the technical sense of the word as it’s not the seat of a bishop) is said to be the largest Orthodox church in the world.

One of the most interesting parts of the video is when it shows how the 4,000 ton central dome was raised — in 40 days! The temple is near completion with some interior work left to be done.

For those interested, a listing of the largest church buildings in the world.

St. Irenaeus of Lyons Speaks!

May 21, 2010

St. Irenaeus of Lyons lived from about 130 to 200 AD. He was a disciple of St. Polycarp, who was himself a disciple of St. John the Apostle. St. Irenaeus’ main work Against Heresies gives insight into the world of the early Church.

Now you can listen to St. Ireneaus’ Against Heresies in a newly released audio version of this work from LibriVox or Internet Archive. This is an actual reading of the text, not some computer audio voice. The entire text can be listened to or downloaded for listening later at no charge and the recordings have been released into the public domain.

Some quotes from St. Irenaeus:

“Wherefore we must obey the priests of the Church who have succession from the Apostles, as we have shown, who, together with succession in the episcopate, have received the certain mark of truth according to the will of the Father; all others, however, are to be suspected, who separated themselves from the principal succession.” Against Heresies, (Book IV, Chapter 26)

“But it is not possible that the Gospels can be either more or fewer in number than they are. For since there are four zones of the world in which we live, and four principal winds, while the church has been scattered throughout the world, and since the ‘pillar and ground’ of the Church is the Gospel and the spirit of life, it is fitting that she should have four pillars, breathing incorruption on every side, and vivifying human afresh. From this fact, it is evident that the Logos, the fashioner demiourgos of all, he that sits on the cherubim and holds all things together, when he was manifested to humanity, gave us the gospel under four forms but bound together by one spirit.” Against Heresies, 3.11.8

“Even though Eve had Adam for a husband, she was still a virgin […] By disobeying, Eve became the cause of death for herself and for the whole human race. In the same way Mary, though she had a husband, was still a virgin, and by obeying, she became the cause of salvation for herself and for the whole human race.” Against Heresies, 3:22

On St. Irenaeus’ (and other early Christian fathers’) use of the Deuterocanonical books of the Old Testament, Protestant patristic scholar J. N. D. Kelly writes:

It should be observed that the Old Testament thus admitted as authoritative in the Church was somewhat bulkier and more comprehensive than the [Protestant Old Testament] . . . It always included, though with varying degrees of recognition, the so-called Apocrypha or deuterocanonical books. The reason for this is that the Old Testament which passed in the first instance into the hands of Christians was . . . the Greek translation known as the Septuagint. . . . most of the Scriptural quotations found in the New Testament are based upon it rather than the Hebrew.. . . In the first two centuries . . . the Church seems to have accept all, or most of, these additional books as inspired and to have treated them without question as Scripture.

Quotations from Wisdom, for example, occur in 1 Clement and Barnabas. . . Polycarp cites Tobit, and the Didache [cites] Ecclesiasticus. Irenaeus refers to Wisdom, the History of Susannah, Bel and the Dragon [i.e., the deuterocanonical portions of Daniel], and Baruch. The use made of the Apocrypha by Tertullian, Hippolytus, Cyprian and Clement of Alexandria is too frequent for detailed references to be necessary (Early Christian Doctrines, 53-54).

Listen to or download the recordings here.

For Further Reading:

Our Holy Father Irenaeus, Bishop of Lyons

The New Gnostics and the Wisdom of Irenaeus

Irenaeus and the New Testament

Other Audio Recordings of Church Fathers:

St. Ignatius of Antioch

St. Justin Martyr — First Apology

St. Justin Martyr — Second Apology

ASL Sermon: Holy Tradition

May 21, 2010

Armenian Orthodox acolyte Tigran Khachikyan explains Holy Tradition in American Sign Language (ASL). For those of you who don’t read sign, it’s subtitled into English:

Moscow Patriarch Kirill Honors Pope Benedict XVI With Concert

May 21, 2010

H/T: Rome Reports

May 21, 2010. The patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church, Kirill I, organized a concert in honor of Pope Benedict XVI. The concert marked the end of a series of conferences on culture and Russian spirituality that took place at the Vatican.
Patriarch Kirill did not attend the concert, but send the pope a message in which he compared music to a universal language. He said “music can convey emotions of the human soul and spiritual states that words cannot describe.”

Benedict XVI recalled that music bridges the East and West:

“There is, in fact, a close and fundamental bond between Russian music and liturgical chant. It is in the liturgy and from the liturgy that a large part of the artistic creativity of Russian musicians is released and expressed, giving life to masterpieces which deserve to be better known in the West.”

Russian’s National Orchestra,  Moscow’s Synodal Choir and the Horn Orchestra of St. Petersburg interpreted works by great Russian composes of the XIX and XX centuries. Together, they performed the song of the Ascension, written by the Orthodox Archbishop Hilarion of Volokolamsk, current Foreign Minister of the Patriarch of Moscow.
The concert was a special gift from the Patriarch of Moscow for Benedict XVI’s birthday and 5th year anniversary of his pontificate. A clear sign that the Catholic and Orthodox Churches are growing closer, after years of tensions.
Further reading:

Patriarch Kirill’s message to the guests at the concert

Photos and commentary from Russian Orthodox Church official website