Friday, December 21, 2012

Hymns on the Nativity of Christ

small Nativity icon

Dear Students and Friends,

Oh, this is lovely. Thanks to Mystagogy for this list: Nineteen Hymns on the Nativity of Christ by St Ephraim the Syrian.

Direct link to hymns here.

How about reading one per day to get ready for our Lord's Holy Birth?


Friday, December 14, 2012

Podcast: The Conception of the Theotokos/Christmas and Loss

Joachim and Anna with the Theotokos

Dear Students and Friends,

The Nativity season is a perfect time to reflect on the Theotokos, she who was able to say "yes" to God and to be a perfect example for us of obedience and holiness.

On Come Receive the Light, Fr. Anastasios Kousoulas of St. Anna’s Greek Orthodox Church in Flemington, NJ, discusses the Conception of the Theotokos, a feastday that is celebrated every year on December 9th. Plus, His Grace Bishop John of Worcester talks with Fr. Chris about the challenges of celebrating the Nativity when you've experienced a loss - whether it’s a death, divorce, or other major life change.

Listen now.

You can earn 1 credit for listening to this podcast. Simply listen, fill out the Podcast worksheet (available on the Lessons tab, above) and email it to else10(at)gmail(d0t)com for credit.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

New Book Wednesdays: The Paradise of the Holy Fathers

Dear Students and Friends,

This week's book is a Kindle e-book called The Paradise of the Holy Fathers, Volume 1 translated by Wallis Budge.

It contains The Life of St. Anthony by St. Athanasius the Great, The Paradise by Palladius, The Rule of St. Pachomius, and The History of the Monks by St. Jerome. The Paradise of the Fathers is the classic compilation of the lives and teachings of the early monastic saints. It has been said that for a monastic to achieve perfection there are only two books needed: the Bible and the Paradise of the Fathers.

Dr. Ernest A. Wallis Budge, Curator of Assyrian and Egyptian Antiquities in the British Museum has for decades been recognized as one of the great translators of ancient manuscripts into the English language. These volumes are translated from a Syriac manuscript he discovered in 1888. He first published his translation in 1904 in a private printing. Later in 1907 he printed a revised and updated version in a public edition which has yet to be rivaled to date. This is a new English special edition.

This book sounds inspiring--as Christians we can learn so much from those who have gone down the Path of Holiness in front of us.

You can earn 2 credits for reading this book. Simply read, complete the General Worksheet for Books (available from the Lessons tab, above) and email it to else10(at)gmail(d0t)com for credit.

You can get the book for your Kindle here on Amazon.  Don't have a Kindle? Get one here.

The Paradise of the Holy Fathers, Wallis Budge (translator), ASIN B00AMKMPTC, St Shenouda Monastery, 2012.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Read-Along Lessons Updated!

Dear Students and Friends,

Lessons 6, 7 and 8, along with a new definitions document, are now available on the Read-Along tab at the top of this blog.

Remember, you can earn 1 credit for each lesson you complete as you read along with us in the book "Words of Fire."

If you have any questions, please email else10(at)gmail(d0t)com.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Happy St Nicholas Day!

Happy and Blessed St Nicholas Day!

For your consideration:

Troparion - Tone 4

In truth you were revealed to your flock as a rule of faith,
an image of humility and a teacher of abstinence;
your humility exalted you;
your poverty enriched you.
Hierarch Father Nicholas,
entreat Christ our God
that our souls may be saved.

Kontakion - Tone 3

You revealed yourself, O saint, in Myra as a priest,
For you fulfilled the Gospel of Christ
By giving up your soul for your people,
And saving the innocent from death.
Therefore you are blessed as one become wise in the grace of God.

You can earn one credit for reading both links above and answering the following questions:

  1. Who is St Nicholas to you? If he is a new saint to you, how do you think knowing about St Nick will affect your Nativity celebration?
  2. What made St Nicholas holy?

Email your answers to else10(at)gmail(dot)com.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

New Book Wednesdays: Everyday Saints & Other Stories

Dear Students and Friends,

Here's a book that we'll all be able to relate to: Everyday Saints and Other Stories.

About the Book

In Communist Russia in 1984, five youths from non-religious backgrounds joined a monastery. This is the story of what they experienced and some of the "everyday saints" they met. The author says, "In this book I want to tell you about this beautiful new world of mine, where we live by laws completely different from those in 'normal' worldly life—a world of light and love, full of wondrous discoveries, hope, happiness, trials and triumphs, where even our defeats acquire profound significance: a world in which, above all, we can always sense powerful manifestations of divine strength and comfort."

Originally published in Russian, Everyday Saints has been translated into ten languages and has sold millions of copies since its publication in late 2011.  In September 2012, Everyday Saints received the Russian “Book of the Year Award”, one of the most prestigious literary awards in Russia.  You can now experience in English the grace-fllled world that has charmed and blessed so many—believers and atheists alike.

Archimandrite Tikhon (Shevkunov) is a priest-monk of the Russian Orthodox Church, Moscow Patriarchate. He is the Abbot of the Sretensky Monastery in Moscow, the Executive Secretary of the Patriarchal Cultural Council of the Moscow Patriarchate and a member of the Presidential Council on Culture and the Arts for the Russian Federation.

This would be a great personal read and a special Nativity gift for someone, too!

You can earn two credits for reading this book. Simply read, fill out the General Worksheet for Books (available from the Lessons tab above) and email it back to else10(at)gmail(dot)com.

Everyday Saints and Other Stories by Archimmandrite Tikhon, ISBN 9780984284832, 490 pages, Conciliar Press: 2012.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Tonight! Live Broadcast from Ancient Faith Radio!

Orthodoxy LIVE with Fr Evan Armatas
8 Eastern/5 Pacific
Ask your question via phone or e-mail

Go there NOW.

Orthodoxy Live with Fr Evan Armatas offers listeners an opportunity to ask pointed questions about the Orthodox Church. Perfect for seekers, converts and cradle Orthodox alike, this program is your chance to ask the tough questions about the Orthodox faith. Fr Evan is a great communicator and well-versed in all aspects of Orthodox theology. The program streams live, with listener call-ins from around the world.

Go to the broadcast NOW.

Advent Resources and Activities

Dear Students and Friends,

We are now fifteen days into Advent and the preparation for the Nativity. What are you doing to prepare? Here are some resources for you.

You can receive credit for these activities. Please contact else10(at)gmail(d0t)com for more information on this. Happy Advent to all!