International Orthodox Christian Charities: Fresh Confidence through Expert Care

A young lady’s life is turned around with the help of IOCC. To access the story:

International Orthodox Christian Charities: Fresh Confidence through Expert Care

IOCC seeks to address the full scope of people’s needs in other countries as they are able. It is an Orthodox Christian relief ministry worthy of support. 

An Orthodox Christian Perspective on the Sanctity of Human Life

To access: An Orthodox Christian Perspective, from the Orthodox Word

baby at eight weeks


Each human being is unique creation of God. Each one of us has never been before and will never be again – throughout all eternity each human being who is, has, and will be conceived is unique.

  By Rev. Deacon John Protopapas, Executive Director, Orthodox Christians for Life 

The post, by means of videos and quotations with commentaries, covers The Source of Christian Teaching, Orthodox Worship, Scripture and the UnbornWhat The Early Church Said, and What the Modern Church Says.


  There is little more that can be said – the deliberate destruction and/or desecration of a human being is unthinkable for a true-believing Orthodox Christian. God created Man in his own likeness and image, man is a living icon of flesh and blood, in which God gave the breath of life (ruah). Killing an innocent human being can be seen is an act of blasphemy against God – it is the ultimate act of iconoclasm.

See also Orthodox Christians for Life


NDY: Federal study finds QALYs restrict access to lifesaving healthcare for people with disabilities

QALYs = Quality-Adjusted Life Years 

disability = less years

disability = less years

There are alternatives! (See the article and the entire study below.)

In an effort to reduce rapidly rising health care costs, insurers and those who make healthcare policy are making the assumption that people with disabilities have a lower quality of life than those without disabilities. This is discrimination!

To access the article:

Federal study finds QALYs restrict access to lifesaving healthcare for people with disabilities


Texas Mother Fights To Save Her 9-Month-Old Baby From Hospital’s Futility Judgment

The Report:


Click to access NCD_Quality_Adjusted_Life_Report_508.pdf

Monica Spoor’s Story and the Call for an Orthodox Christian Theology of Disability

When I (editor of Arms Open Wide) became seriously depressed, my parish priest told me to listen to my doctor, and take the meds he would prescribe for me. It was different for Monica Spoor; after she became an Orthodox Christian and later struggled with depression, she was discouraged from seeking help from secular professionals; she was even told it was her fault that she was depressed. This kind of thing unfortunately happens in some Orthodox Churches; Orthodox Christians, even those that are clergy, are human, and sometimes give bad advice. The good news is that Monica did go to a professional and got a diagnosis, and through therapy broke the cycle of depression she was trapped in. Her struggles are not over, but she now has the kind of support she needs (though even the pros are still learning).

To Access Monica’s article:


Also by Monica Spoor:

Why I find the Sunday of the Paralytic disheartening




Click to access 9789402162004.pdf


“… the Mighty One entered, and put on insecurity …”

Your mother is a cause of wonder: the Lord entered into her
and became a servant; He who Is the Word entered–
and became silent within her;
Thunder entered her and made no sounds;
there entered The Shepherd of all,
and in her He became the f60a1-easternorthodoxnativity-icon1easternorthodoxchurchorgLamb, bleating as He comes forth.
Praise to You to whom all things are easy, for You Are almighty.

Your mother’s womb has reversed the roles:
the Establisher of all entered into His richness,
but came forth poor; the Exalted one entered her,
but came forth meek; the Splendrous one entered her,
but came forth having put on a lowly hue.
Praise to You to whom all things are easy, for You Are almighty.

The Mighty one entered, and put on insecurity
from her womb; the Provisioner of all entered–
and experienced hunger; He who gives drink to all entered–
and experienced thirst; naked and stripped
there came forth from her He who clothes all!
Praise to You to whom all things are easy, for You Are almighty.

An excerpt from St. Ephrem the Syrian’s Nativity Hymn 11, translated by Sebastian Brock, the distinguished Oxford Syriac scholar (The Harp of the Spirit, Fellowship of St Alban and St Sergius, 1983).

 Saint Ephrem the Syrian

On Behalf of All: An Orthodox Reflection on the 12 Days of Christmas

to access: An Orthodox Reflection on the 12 Days of Christmas,

by Gabriel Vincent 

Holy Prophet David

The Theotokos with Christ,

St. James 


Holy Proto-Martyr Stephen  

Sts. Joachim & Anna

St. Joseph the Betrothed


the prophet Malachi

The Nativity



seventy apostles

the holy innocents



the circumcision of Christ               ——————––                         The Song “The Twelve Days of Christmas:”

Free Sunday School Lesson: Silent Night + Holiday Tips

Two Posts by Summer Kinard, author of Goodreads: Of Such Is the Kingdom: A Practical Theology of Disability

Summer Kinard and her daughter work together to craft an autism-accessible Sunday School lesson in preparation for the Feast of the Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ. They suggest a number of visual and tactile aids to gather for the lesson to make the lesson concrete. Summer also provides a You Tube video for the occasion.

To Access the Post:

Free Sunday School Lesson: Silent Night

After watching the video, scroll down for post number two.

In the following post, Summer Kinard discusses a wider range of practical issues Special Needs families face in regard to celebrating the Nativity season. Summer has had plenty of personal experience to draw from in addressing this, and provides lots of detailed suggestions to make the Nativity season real to those in families with Special Needs.

To access:

Holiday Tips for Making Christmas Easier for Special Needs Families

Of course there’s also western Christmas carols to supplement the hymns in Church. This is my favorite:



Making Christmas Easier for Special Needs Families

From the blog of Summer Kinard; TO ACCESS:

Holiday Tips for Making Christmas Easier for Special Needs Families

Merry Christmas! Christ is born; glorify Him!

From the You Tube Page of Liturgica– An animated version of the story of Christmas as found in the well known Icon of the Nativity, drawn by Bonnie Gilles, and accompanied with the Byzantine chant rendition of The Kontakion of the Nativity (composed by St. Romanos the Melodist in the 6th century), sung by Fr. Apostolos Hill (Give the video a moment to load):

Between Two Gardens: A Divine Liturgy for Those with Autism & Disabilities

by Sofia Chatzi, published in “Orthodox Truth,” May 15, 2019

The Holy Transfiguration of our Lord Jesus Christ

The two gardens are the “Lyssous Garden,” a vocational training program in organic farming young people with slight mental disabilities, and the Holy Monastery of the Transfiguration of our Lord, Jesus Christ in Mani, Messinia, Greece, where the Divine Liturgy for Autism & Disabilities, inspired by Metropolitan of Mani Chrysostomos, was celebrated. Maria Kasampalakou brought her son Angel to participate in this meeting between heaven and earth . . . 

“Thine own of Thine own, we offer unto Thee on behalf of all and for all …”

Sofia Chatzi relates Maria Kasampalakou’s experience of this event in a heartfelt way. To access:

The Divine Liturgy in Mani dedicated to children with special needs

Not Wired for This World : Making a Home for Special Needs

by Kathryn Butler

To access:

Not Wired for This World : Making a Home for Special Needs

Kathryn Butler reflects on her special needs son’s difficulties on the first day of Sunday School. She reflects how people with special needs are sojourners (“one who resides in a country apart from his native home”), living in a world not geared to who they are. She brings forth a directive from the Holy Scriptures concerning this:

You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt” (Leviticus 19:34)

Simply speaking, special needs calls for special love. Kathyrn also offers encouragement for other parents who have special needs children.

Kathyrn has her own blog, Oceans Rise: Musings on Faith, Medicine, and MotherhoodShe is a surgeon, and has written a book,

Between Life and Death: A Gospel-Centered Guide to End-Of-Life Medical Care.

This subject is very pertinent to people with disabilities, who are are considered by some in the medical community as lacking “quality of life,” and are often deprived of care when they are teetering between life and death. At which point, some have had all treatments, including food and water discontinued, leading to death by dehydration. This is a terrible and painful way to die for a person who is not terminally ill.

To access her bio:

About the Author

You Tube: Kathryn Butler shares from her experiences working as a trauma surgeon in an ICU, correcting common misconceptions about CPR, ventilators, and other forms of intensive care medicine and offering biblical wisdom for walking alongside loved ones at the end of life:






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January 2021

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