Category Archives: Eastern Orthodox

Work is over

Advent 4 – Sunday

So my work year is finally over. I’m glad it is. On the other hand, I have precious little idea of what I am to do for the next three weeks that I have off.

I’m thinking cleaning up my room and clearing out the unworn and ill-fitting clothes from my wardrobe is a priority.

Burning a few candles in here is also in order too. Will be interesting to see how the Kosta Boda “Snowball” votive that A got me for Christmas will go. Along with the Orrefors “Discus” votive holder that I picked up for cheap too (A$85 marked down to A$29.95). And I am wanting to try out the Georg Jensen oil lamp I have too. Given the current rainy weather here in Queensland, maybe now is the right time.

Having the relatives over for Christmas day lunch will be interesting also. I wonder how I will pull up in the morning after going for midnight mass on the Friday night for the first Eucharist of Christmas. Maybe these next few days will be a good chance to catch up on sleep then.

I’m feeling quite stuffed from food though. First Zef’s 30th celebrations on Friday night. Today, the Young Adult Group Christmas party. Blech, I’m watching how much I eat the rest of this week. (Oh goody, we have Kettle Chips in salt & vinegar flavor…)

Calling rellies has been interesting yet annoying. It has been good catching up on them. But always that question rears its ugly head: “So, got girlfriend yet or not?”

While I’d like to be in a relationship now, my chances are slim-to-none. If you had to put money on me finding a girlfriend in 2011, I’d be betting on me not finding one (yet again). Sure, they’re crappy odds, but you’d be virtually guaranteed to win some money. To borrow a line of thinking espoused by Malcolm Gladwell in his book Outliers, I think I’m just born in the wrong year to find someone.

Despite those photos that Jacky took at Zef’s 30th party in which I was described as “hawt”, that does not mean squat. So I’ll enjoy my Quasimodo existence again this Christmas and New Years break and I wish a blessed Christmas and a happy and prosperous 2011 to one and all. I fully expect you all to have exceeding amounts happiness in your life than I have in my own.

I’m thinking about posting up some acapella Christmas carols as well later this week. In various languages. I’ve been listening to a lot of Swedish and Norwegian carols this year.

On a carols note, tonight’s 9 Lessons & Carols service at St. John’s Cathedral was beautiful. The Vox Pacifica Chamber Choir was in fine form. Highlights of the evening were:

  • Pärt’s “Bogoroditse Djevo” (O Virgin Theotokos) – an item that I have a particular attachment to given that my devotion to Our Lady has somewhat increased over the last couple of years and that Arvo Pärt is one of my favorite choral composers,
  • David Willcocks’ “Hugh! My dear, lie still and slumber”,
  • “On Christmas night all Christians sing” (arr. David Willcocks),
  • R. Vaughan Williams’ “This Is The Truth”,
  • the English version of the Welsh lullaby “Suo Gan” (arr. George Guest), and
  • “Ding Dong ! Merrily on high” by Charles Wood.

The Pärt song was THE highlight of my night. So given y’all weren’t there, you can watch this recording of the Choir of Trinity College, Cambridge instead.


Pärt and the Gospel

Luke 18:1-14


“There is a good rule in spiritual life, which we all forget continually,” he said, “that you must see more of your own sins than other people’s.” He remarked that the sum of human sin has been growing since Adam’s time, and we all share some of the blame. “So I think everyone must say to himself, ‘We must change our thinking.’ We cannot see what is in the heart of another person. Maybe he is a holy man, and I can see only that he is wearing a wrong jacket.”

Arvo Pärt in the New York Times Magazine, Sunday 17 October 2010


Lord Jesus Christ,
son of the living God,
have mercy
on me a sinner.

+ 2217hrs


P.S. Best. Weekend. In. A. Long. Long. Time.

New blogs to read

I’ve been following a couple of blogs lately, more closely than usual.

Surprisingly (or not surprisingly if you know the journey of Christian faith that I’ve been on over the last few years), they happen to be written from an Eastern Orthodox view.

Fr. Ernesto Obregon’s blog (who also happens to be one of the “Liturgical Gangstas” at iMonk), OrthoCuban is one of those blogs that has been on the BlogRoll to the right for a while now. But lately, I’ve paid more attention than before.

The other blog is OrthoCath who posts up some very interesting and informative articles from a layman’s perspective on Eastern Christianity.

Up until a few years ago, I hadn’t really paid much attention to the Eastern lunch of the Church. When one focuses on the legalistic and juridicial approach towards salvation and justification that’s present in the Western Church (i.e. Protestantism and Roman Catholicism), seeing the Eastern approach towards these two intrinsically linked issues is like bathing in a cool stream after having one’s soul tortured in fire. I have blogs like OrthoCath and OrthoCuban to thank for showing me a different side of the Christian faith that not many in the Western Church (with the exception maybe of some informed Roman Catholics and Protestants) know about. I need both lungs.


Strains of western Catholicism and Protestantism have fundamentally defined death as legal punishment, an expression of God’s wrath. Death is entrenched within a judicial context; it is a sentence for sin. God is angry, according to the western view, and Christ’s merit applied to us satisfies his anger, so He dies as a sacrifice to appease the Father.

The Greek fathers and the eastern churches historically do not share the western legal emphasis, nor the consequent view of atonement. The fathers of the church teach that humanity is the author of death, not God. St. Basil in the fourth century writes, “God did not create death, but we brought it upon ourselves.” Death is the result of sin; it is the final product that we, apart from God, create for ourselves through the power of the human will, that also ensnares and condemns us.

Hell, then, is not primarily a place where God sends people in his wrath, or where God displays anger, but rather, it is the love of God, experienced by one who is not in communion with him. The figurative, spiritual fire of God’s love is transcendent joy to the person purified and transfigured by it through communion in the body of Christ, but bottomless despair and suffering to the person who rejects it, and chooses to remain in communion with death.

Source: Eric Simpson’s “Hell and God’s Love: An Alternative, Orthodox View”


On sin, grace, salvation and reparation, from Fr. Ernesto’s blog:

In the Western churches, both Catholic and Protestant, sin, grace, and salvation are seen primarily in legal terms. God gave humans freedom, they misused it and broke God’s commandments, and now deserve punishment. God’s grace results in forgiveness of the transgression and freedom from bondage and punishment.

The Eastern churches see the matter in a different way. For Orthodox theologians, humans were created in the image of God and made to participate fully in the divine life. The full communion with God that Adam and Eve enjoyed meant complete freedom and true humanity, for humans are most human when they are completely united with God.

The result of sin, then, was a blurring of the image of God and a barrier between God and man. The situation in which mankind has been ever since is an unnatural, less human state, which ends in the most unnatural aspect: death. Salvation, then, is a process not of justification or legal pardon, but of reestablishing man’s communion with God. This process of repairing the unity of human and divine is sometimes called “deification.” This term does not mean that humans become gods but that humans join fully with God’s divine life.


I’m quite enjoying using Safari 5.0.2 with some extensions installed. Like the one that makes every webpage appear in Helvetica. And prevents Flash items from loading automatically.

Firefox seems slow and clunky now. The same even with Google Chrome. But I haven’t used those for a while.

Also having to get used to this new keyboard layout as well. Should come in handy for my Swedish language learning program that I’ve got installed. Now time maybe for some sleep. It’s been a long day.


Epiphany/Theophany 2010

Feast of the Epiphany – The Western Church
Principal Feast (Anglican), Beginning of the Octave of the Epiphany (Roman Catholic)
Feast of the Theophany – The Eastern Church

Collect for The Epiphany, 6 January
from Common Worship (Church of England)

O God,
who by the leading of a star
manifested your only Son to the peoples of the earth:
mercifully grant that we,
who know you now by faith,
may at last behold your glory face to face;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Collect for The Epiphany, 6 January
from The Divine Office (Roman Catholic)

O God, today you revealed your only-begotten Son to the gentiles by means of a guiding star.
Grant that we who already know you by faith
may be led ever forward until we see you as you are, in heaven.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God for ever and ever.

Troparion of the Theophany
Tone 1

When Thou wast baptized in the Jordan, O Lord,
the worship of the Trinity made its appearance.
For the voice of the Father bore witness to Thee
when He called Thee His beloved Son.
And the Spirit in the form of a dove
confirmed the truth of the word.
O Christ our God, Who hast appeared and hast enlightened the world,
glory to Thee!

Kontakion of the Theophany
Tone 4

Thou hast appeared today to the world,
and Thy light, O Lord, has been signed upon us
who with full knowledge sing to Thee.
Thou hast come, Thou hast appeared,
O Unapproachable Light.

+ 0700hrs

Transfiguration 2009

Ordinary Time 18/Trinity 8 – Thursday
Feast of the Transfiguration of Christ

The Transfiguration of Christ by Theophanes the Greek
The Transfiguration of Christ by Theophanes the Greek

Collect for the Feast of the Transfiguration

Eternal God, our glorious King,
whose Son Jesus Christ was transfigured on the holy mountain
and seen in splendour by his chosen witnesses:
grant us, his followers, faith to perceive his glory,
to listen to him, and to walk in his way,
that we may be changed into his likeness from glory to glory;
for he lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Continue reading Transfiguration 2009


Trinity Sunday – Anglican Calendar
Ordinary Time 10 – Sunday

[ feeling? ] my usual melancholic self

O Father, my hope:
O Son, my refuge:
O Holy Spirit, my protection:
Holy Trinity, glory to thee.
Prayer of St. Ioannikios

There came to St. Antony in the desert one of the wise men of that time and said: “Father, how can you endure to live here, deprived as you are of all consolation from books?” Antony answered: “My book, philosopher, is the nature of created things, and whever I wish I can read in it the works of God.”
Evagrius of Pontus

God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself.
2 Corinthians 5:19

Thirst after Jesus, and he will satisfy you with his love.
St. Isaac the Syrian

An old man used to say: “Spread abroad the name of Jesus in humility and with a meek heart; show him your feebleness, and he will become your strength.
The Sayings of the Desert Fathers

The Holy Spirit for ever was, and is, and shall be;
He has neither beginning nor ending,
But He is always joined and numbered with the Father and the Son:
Life and Giver of Life,
Light and Bestower of Light,
Love itself and Source of Love:
Through Him the Father is made known,
Through Him the Son is glorified and revealed to all.
One is the power, one is the structure,
One is the worship of the Holy Trinity.
Eastern Orthodox Hymn for the Feast of Pentecost, The Pentecostarion, p.418

Saviour (Featuring Tim Hughes)
Written by: D.Plumb, K.McGlade, J.Morson, P.Laryea, T.Hughes

I wait in the silence to hear your voice, just to hear your call | And I’ll catch the intonation of each syllable as it falls | No one can replace it. My words cannot attain it. | Your love is boundless, without condition; I fumble for words to explain it? | Warm me with your love. Thaw my unbelief. | Lift from me from the floor place me back upon my feet | You renew my strength, so I can walk and not faint | My hope is in you, you have my heart and my faith

Aahh, (man) where would I be without you? | My skin crawls at the very thought of a world without you | And even if I die, I know that I can’t be without you| `Cause the afterlife means that after life I’ll never be without you | But for now I’ll focus on the time on earth we share | And when the silence falls shhhh… you’re there | Still waiting to care for any load I have to bear | So in the silence of these moments my heart whispers these prayers…

When hope is lost, I’ll call you Saviour | When pain surrounds, I’ll call you healer | When silence falls you’ll be the song within my heart.

Insecurity had me going insane I’ve never been so lame | Your voice to me was calming like the rain on a windowpane | Not lusting or a flirt, never putting others first | What a brother didn’t deserve you covered with your loving words | You reached out and embraced me, without you I’m flaky | Now I’m a new man because your love completely re-made me | Ever will you be the song of my heart, regardless | Cause you were the light of life that got sparked in my darkness.

Mr Prince:
In spite of all my failures and mistakes my shame and disgrace | You took my life and covered it with grace | I know that all my steps are ordered by you | And so I step with confidence because your love is true | When I’m tossed by life’s winds and waves | I’m not afraid ’cause you got power and you’re strong to save | Not too concerned if my friend’s disown me | I know late into the night, when the tears fall you hold me.


Happy Day
Written by: Tim Hughes & Ben Cantelon

Verse 1:
The greatest day in history | Death is beaten, You have rescued me | Sing it out, Jesus is alive | The empty cross, the empty grave | Life eternal, You have won the day | Shout it out, Jesus is alive | He’s alive

Oh happy day, happy day | You washed my sin away | Oh happy day, happy day | I’ll never be the same | Forever I am changed

Verse 2:
When I stand in that place | Free at last, meeting face to face | I am Yours, Jesus You are mine | Endless joy, perfect peace | Earthly pain finally will cease | Celebrate, Jesus is alive | He’s alive


Oh what a glorious day, what a glorious way | That You have saved me | Oh what a glorious day, what a glorious name