Archive for April, 2007

especially for the little and the broken

    Three Pertinent Scripture Passages, with an explanation:
Then Jesus said to them, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who feeds on Me will live because of Me. This is the bread which came down from heaven--not as your fathers ate the manna, and are dead. He who eats this bread will live forever." (St. John 6:53-58
“Then they also brought infants to Him that He might touch them; but when the disciples saw it, they rebuked them. But Jesus called them to Him and said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the Kingdom of God. Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the Kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.” (St. Luke 18:15-17)

Jesus said, “when you give a feast, invite the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind. And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you; for you shall be repaid at the resurrection of the just.” (St. Luke:14:13-14)

The gist is this: What Jesus said in St. John 6 is to be taken at face value. It is not to be rationalized away as magical or too Catholic or Orthodox. And children, and all who cannot think abstractly as to digest doctrines, not only nevertheless but especially qualify for participation in the Body and Blood of Christ, the Eucharist, Holy Communion. This most central Feast of the Kingdom of God is for all, but especially for the little and the broken.

“The sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.” (Psalms 51:17) We are all called to acknowledge that we need to be fixed.

speaking of disabilities

Dr. Vicki Pappas, who in addition to her professional position listed below, is also the Chairman of the National Forum of Greek Orthodox Church Musicians, writes this:


People first” is the most important principle in communicating with and about people with disabilities, said Vicki Pappas, director of the Center for Planning and Policy Studies at the Indiana Institute on Disability and Community. This standard applies in a literal sense when describing people — “person with autism” is appropriate; “autistic person” is not — and in a figurative sense when interacting with someone who has a disability. “People with disabilities would prefer to be seen as people, not as objects of pity or as heroes who have overcome adversity,” she said. “When you meet someone who has a disability, say hello, make eye contact, and give yourself time to get to know that person like you would with any new acquaintance

For the full article and more of Dr. Vicki Pappas’ tips for effective communication:

(Indiana University’s Disability Tipsheet, Feb. 27, 2007)

q & a (by Sbdcn. Herman)

Question: Hi. I am a teacher at a school for students with Special Needs. Within this school we have students with Down’s Syndrome. In your opinion, why did God create such a disability and how and in what state do such people with this disability achieve ‘everlasting life’? I find this a stumbling block in my spiritual path. Regards, Steve.

Answer: Steve, this is certainly a deep and serious question, of the sort that eventually led me to the Orthodox Church. I would like to share a story from an Orthodox list:

Where is God’s Perfection? Click on:

Statement on Human Life

Statement on Issues Concerning the Sanctity and Dignity of Human Life

We believe that the willful abortion of children is an act of murder. … We recognize our moral obligation to be a supportive community for those who adopt homeless, unwanted, or disabled children. We are followers of the One who said. “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly” (John 10:10). ….

the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America has consistently spoken out in defense of the sanctity of life, and has done so in connection with contemporary threats to the life of the unborn, the handicapped, the infirm, and the elderly; ….

the Orthodox Church and Orthodox Christians have a moral obligation to work for the creation and maintenance of Orthodox adoption agencies and for the facilitation of adoption procedures for families to consider adopting a homeless or unwanted or disabled infant, ….

From Word Magazine

Publication of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America

February 1994

pp. 4-6


More from Khorea Frederica

Person or Non-Person?
By Frederica Matthewes-Green

(brief excerpts, to the point) 

“The abortion debate stands or falls on a single question: is the preborn a person?” . . .

“Let us examine some of the arguments used to depersonize the preborn.” . . .

(just one, actually)

“The preborn is not a person because he would be disabled.
Our disabled friends may well feel a chill; if we’d only caught them before they were born, we would have “spared them” their “unhappy, unsightly” lives. Killing in the name of compassion has had a tenacious appeal throughout this ruthless and sentimental age. We stand with Scrooge, with the strong and healthy, and locate the “surplus population” in the weak and sick. It is worthwhile to recall that we are each only temporarily able bodied, each potential candidates for lovingly-administered death.”

(reprinted from California ProLife Council, Inc.)
For the whole article:


Supporting Families

Counselor Matt Courey with Family Campers  (ANTIOCHIAN VILLAGE FAMILY CAMP) 

How can the Orthodox Christian parish church support its families with differently abled members? A large part of the answer lies in the way the Church is called to support all its families.

 John Boojrama’s call to an active focus on family-centered parish catechesis and group discussions in light of the fact that socialization in the home is more decisive for the development of Christian character and continuance with the Church than Sunday School participation remains highly pertinent.

Also, Boojrama’s identification of the father’s spiritual health and the health of the parent’s relationship as the key factor in successful socialization of all family members are also large factors to be acted upon.

The frequent times of crisis faced by families with disabled members can be faced as both they and the parish families that offer the various kinds of practical support they need are grounded in the unshakable foundation of Orthodox Christian community life- in its’ sacraments, symbols, practices, prayers, and teachings, both dogmatic and social.

And this grounding will include an understanding of the implications of these treasures for life in the home and in the surrounding community.

from Foundations for Christian Education, Boojrama, 61-106.

in St. John Chrysostom and the Socialization of Persons with Developmental Disability: Patristic Inspiration for Contemporary Application, Gall, 34.

Khorea Frederica’s grandson

Loving a Child with Autism   

(For those readers who aren’t Orthodox Christians, a Khorea is a priest’s wife and and also his co-laborer in the local parish)

Khorea Frederica Matthewes-Green, an Orthodox Christian author, has published online a concise story of at least the beginning of  her and her family’s life with her grandson Adam, who has been diagnosed with autism. It is reprinted from Beliefnet, April 13, 2007, in their Christian Life, Family and Marriage section. Here it is (again):

 Loving a Child with Autism:


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