Cremation: A Message from St. Nikolai Velimirovic (written in 1956)


You ask me, why is the Orthodox Church against cremation. First of all, because it considers it violent. The Serbs still shudder with the crime of Sinan Pasha, who burned the dead body of St. Sava on Vrachar.

Do people burn dead horses, dogs, cats and monkeys? I have not heard of this. I have heard of and seen them buried. Why should the dead bodies of people who are the lords of all animals on earth endure violence? Would it not be in all respects much more reasonable to incinerate dead animals, especially in big cities, than people?Cremation 1

Second, because this pagan and barbaric habit disappeared from Europe thanks to Christian civilization two thousand years ago. Anyone who wants to reinstate it doesn’t do anything else, neither civilized nor modern nor new, but something ancient which has long expired.

In England, which one can hardly call uncivilized, this form…

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Here’s Mud in your Eye

Ramblings of a Redneck Priest

In my party days, I sometimes heard the phrase “Here’s mud in your eye.” (OK, I’m showing my age) Where did this phrase come from? Like a a good “scholar,” I went to the Internet and checked on Google – the source of all knowledge and wisdom! (sic) It may be a farming phrase, a way of wishing your neighbor a good and prosperous year. After all, plow horses could kick up a bit of mud. The phrase may come from the story of the man born blind in the Gospel of John. I don’t know how it came to be attached to the consumption of alcohol since drinking doesn’t open your eyes but usually closes them.

The Sundays after  Pascha give us different responses to Good News of the Resurrection of Christ. St. Thomas Sunday brings up the possibility of doubt which is a universal response to the Resurrection. Then, the Sunday…

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Pardonable Sins

Again and Again

manastir-vavedenja-presvete-bogorodice-1H/T: Thoughts Intrusive (here)

St. Nikodemos the Hagiorite

Would you like, O Christian, for the small errors you commit as a man, either with your eyes or with your ears, to be forgiven? Draw near to the Mysteries with fear and with a broken heart, and they will be remitted and forgiven. St. Anastasios of Antioch confirms this:

If we fall into some small, pardonable sins on account of our being human, either with our tongue, our ears, our eyes, and we fall as victims of deceit into vainglory, or sorrow, or anger, or some other like sin, let us condemn ourselves and confess to God. Thus let us partake of the Holy Mysteries, believing that the reception of the divine Mysteries is unto the purification of these small sins (though not the grave and evil and impure sins which we may have committed, regarding which we should…

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Learning Like a Saint — Glory to God for All Things

The preparation for Baptism in the early Church often lasted as long as three years. Of deep significance is the fact that during that three-year period, many basic doctrines were not explored. The “mystagogical catechesis” (instruction in the sacramental mysteries of the Church) did not begin until after Baptism. What, we may wonder, were they…

via Learning Like a Saint — Glory to God for All Things

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Little Pigs

Ramblings of a Redneck Priest

wolf“For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.”

Is there any fable that has lasted as long as the story of “The Three Little Pigs?” It is a great analogy that can apply to spiritual life. Like these little pigs, each of us must build a secure dwelling place or we will not  survive.  Another truth comes through- the Wolf…

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Camping out

Ramblings of a Redneck Priest


I read a study that says that if you have insomnia, the best thing to do is to go camping for a week. The only restriction is that there must be no electronics, artificial lights or clocks. At the end of the week, your biorhythms will be restore to the rising and setting of the sun. You will sleep like a baby. (well, better than my grandchildren!)

When we were young, we started camping. We would go into the woods of the National Forrest. We only had a small tent and sleeping bags. We slept on the ground and actually enjoyed it. Then, as we got older, we upgraded. We bought an air mattress and  Coleman lanterns and cook stoves. Then we bought a large luxurious tent and started camping at KOAs. The campground had hot showers, a swimming pool, and even a hot tub. As we walked around the campground, we…

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Study Notes: Liturgical Minyan

Fr. Sergei Sveshnikov

The principle of correlation or concelebration in Liturgy described by Fr. Alexander Schmemann brings the laity into the equation of the Liturgy and strikes at the very heart of clericalism. Clericalism, at least as it exists in the Russian Church, seems to elevate ordained priests to some strange position within the Church. People are convinced that priests are not normal humans, that they have some special “superpowers” acquired through ordination, and that they are very much separate from the rest of the faithful–as if they were some alien beings. And while these ideas may be correct in some specifics–I do believe that priests receive divine grace from God–they are wrong in principle.

What clericalism breeds with respect to the Liturgy is an attitude that the Liturgy is something that the priest does. The priest becomes a provider of services, and people come to consume these services: watch the Liturgy, pick…

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