Archive for November, 2007

the Orders of Sts. Ignatius & John

Our Lord Jesus Christ said, “… lay up for yourself treasures in heaven …” (St. Matthew 6:19) One of the most obvious ways of doing this is to giving money to worthy efforts and people in need. His Eminence Metropolitan Philip has strongly encouraged the corporate participation of the Antiochian Orthodox Christians in North America in this matter, with a lot of emphasis on involvement in our own Archdiocese’ benevolent Order of St. Ignatius of Antioch. Here are two websites which give details on the Order: &

It’s a lifetime commitment of at least $500 a year. One could also choose to give a lump sum of $15,000 spread out over three successive years. All are welcome: “Come, be a part of our vision for the future and find a new and deeper expression of your faith.” – Metropolitan PHILIP (click on name to access)

The Order of St. Ignatius of Antioch gives $8000 a year to the Teen Soyo (click on orange to access)

And I have recently discovered that the Knights Hospitaller (also the Sovereign Order of St. John) are here in America as well. (They were profiled in a post a couple months ago.) “Investiture is by nomination only;” but the following website on the American Hospitallers seems to extend a welcome to potential candidates:

Such organizations are an inspiration to us all to focus on giving. Personally it seems either one would have to be “set for life” or simply have the faith that one will have- available to give- $500 a year to the end of one’s earthly life. I would have to be in the latter category, for I anticipate that my wife and I will be on a limited income in our senior years, if the Lord grants us extended lives.

And the state of our American health care system with its runaway costs, well, it brings to mind the wind and the waves St. Peter saw as he approached the Lord on the water. When he feared and began to sink, the Lord Jesus, taking his hand, asked, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” (St. Matthew 14:28-31) That question applies also to me.

Of course there’s more to giving than money, as St. John Chrysostom noted:

“For St. John, the dimensions of almsgiving extend to all aspects of human need, from clothing, food and shelter to the needs of soul and spirit. St. John says, “Now charity is not bare words, … but a taking care of [people].” He suggests helping the poor, tending the sick, rescuing those in peril supporting the troubled, and empathizing with both those who weep and those who rejoice” (Homily 7 on Romans). He also notes that a good word is as powerful as money in lifting another’s spirit in many cases. (Homily 19 on Romans). Again, he says “… Alms may be done not only by money, but by acts [such as] kindly standing by [or lending] a helping hand.” St. John encourages imitation of the Good Samaritan’s response to the destitute and strangers. But, he says, “exceed material help; acquaint him with heaven, help him don the robe of righteousness, and be sure to wear your own.” (Homily 25 on Romans)

– from my thesis . That said, there is still the matter of good stewardship of “our” money. Really, as St. Paul writes, “all things are from Him and through Him and to Him” – the Lord, that is. It’s HIS money!

Through the prayers of St. Ignatius of Antioch, St. John Chrysostom of Constantinople, St. John the Merciful of Alexandria, and the prayers of our spiritual Fathers who guide us through our earthly sojourn, deliver us from avarice, and have mercy on us and save us, O Lord Jesus Christ our God.

commentary by Fr. George Morelli

Here is a web address for a list of articles by the Very Reverend Father George Morelli, Ph.D, a priest and a psychologist (from the Orthodoxy Today website):

Articles by Fr. George Morelli 

The articles deal with marriage and parenting, as well as a wide range of other issues, such as:

Making Psychological Referrals in the Parish Priests are poorly trained about psychological problems they encounter.

Overcoming Depression Cognitive scientific psychology and the Church Fathers.

Dealing With Brokenness in the World Learned psychological optimism and the virtue of hope.

Orthodoxy and the Science of Psychology When psychology conforms to the scientific method, it can complement Orthodox teaching.

Asceticism And Psychology In The Modern World Ancient practices meet modern scientific psychology.

Resilience and the Canaanite Woman She exhibits strength and perserverence.

Understanding Brokenness In Marriage Hurting marriages can be healed.

The Beast of Anger Understanding and controlling anger.

Compassion and Love Practical advice for Christian parents.


Interview with Fr. George Morelli: To Teach and To Heal

Christmas: What Can We Give to God and our Neighbor?

Fr. George’s 2011 Orthodox Peace Fellowship Conference Presentation: Christ Our Model for Forgiveness

Disabled by sin, we are all journeying toward greater and greater “participation in the Divine nature” (2 Peter 1) toward wholeness, of mind and body, soul and spirit- if we are cooperating with God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. (Phillipians 2:12-13) Fr. George’s writings can help us- however and to whatever degree we are disabled- as we “work out our salvation with fear and trembling.”

Disability Films

The following websites provide lists of films that involve disabilities. Of course, none of them aim at a list of films that are evaluated on the basis of an Orthodox Christian view of reality. And so we must be discerning of whether or not the filmmakers in their efforts are seeking for the true, the good, and the beautiful, which is ultimately found in the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the personal God Who is the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, to Whom be glory, honor, and worship unto the ages of ages, Amen.

A short award winning film (1999): “presents a detailed list of over 2500 films which involve in one way or another various disabilities … listed in 15 categories as well as a “Recommended” category. The website is based in the United Kingdom.

Picture This Film Festival: International Disability Film Festival

And here is the website for the “Breaking Down Barriers” International Disability Film Festival in Moscow, Russia:

Too many choices? Here’s a 2003 list that suggests “25 outstanding disability-based films:

Still too many? Here’s Susan M. LoTempio‘s “very short list” of best disability films- two! But beware; her first recommendation is “Murderball.” The second is “Notting Hill.”

King Gimp:

Dan Keplinger, Artist

In everything give thanks

Reprinted from Nov. 24, 2006 Thank You, Lord, for our daily bread- what we need, when we need it, from Your loving hand. On Thanksgiving, the day after, and forevermore.

The Akathist of Thanksgiving, a CD by the St. Ignatius of Antioch Antiochian Orthodox Mission in Madison, Wisconsin, was written by Archpriest Gregory Petroff in a Soviet Prison Camp, where he passed through the shadow of death into the eternal loving Presence of God. In the midst of great terror and privation, he found within the illumination to grasp “the beauty of the universe … the festival of life … the bread of eternal joy.”

“Glory to you, for every sigh of my sadness … for every moment of joy … for the fragrant lillies of the valley and the roses … for the morning dew, shining like diamonds … I kiss reverently the footprint of Your invisible tread … for the last rays of sunlight … for rest and the gift of sleep … for providential encounters with people … for the love of relatives, the devotion of friends … for our tireless thirst for You … Who have broken the spirits of darkness … for the genius of the human mind … for the life-giving strength of work … Who grant my wishes when they are good … for Whom there is no such thing as a hopeless loss … Who send failures and sorrows to us so that we might be sensitive to the sufferings of others … Who have raised love higher than anything on earth or in heaven … for providential coincidences … for the guidance of a secret inner voice … for revelations in dreams and when awake … Who destroy our useless plans … Who humble pride of heart to save us … for the unfathomable life-giving power of grace … Who have raised up Your Church as a refuge of peace for an exhausted world … Who breathe new life into us with the life-giving water of Baptism … Who restore the purity of immaculate lillies to those who repent … Glory to you, inexhaustible abyss of forgiveness … Who led us to heaven … Who have loved us with love immeasurable, deep, Divine … Who have surrounded us with light, and with hosts of angels and saints … Glory to You , all Holy Father, Who have willed us Your Kingdom … all Holy Son, the Way the Truth, and the Life …all Holy Spirit and life-giving sun of the future age … Glory to You for everything, O Divine Trinity, all bountiful … unto ages of ages.”

“Thanks be to God, Who has given us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!” (1 Cor. 15:57) To order copies of this CD or to read the Akathist of Thanksgiving in its entirity see this website:

St. John Chrysostom (III)

This year is the 1500th year of St. John’s entrance into the Presence of our beloved God and November is the month of his Feast Day, which our Parish, St. John Chrysostom Antiochian Orthodox Church in York, St. John ChrysostomPA celebrated with our Bishop, His Grace Bishop Thomas last weekend. So it is altogether fitting to bring forward again St. John’s vision as it relates to the theme of this site.

And so here is an article from In Communion magazine, by your truly: 

St. John Chrysostom, Almsgiving, and Persons with Disability, accessible by means of the following web address:

I trust you will be uplifted by St. John’s fiery, Holy Spirit-inspired vision, even if it is presented by someone without his golden gifts.

In My Language

from the Inter-Orthodox Community Outreach Network, Inc., (ICON) an 8 1/2 minute You Tube video, “In My Language” by A.M Baggs, a person with autism: 

There are by the way, 13 other videos on life with autism that appear on the screen and are available to watch as well.

Ms. Baggs makes the point that the fact that she attends to much more of the phenomena of her environment (that most of us screen out) is an argument against those who would say that “she lives in her own world.” She wonders why she is expected to learn the language of “normal” people when they won’t learn hers.

That there are multiple intelligences is well documented. (See “Multiple Intelligences” by clicking “zzOther Resourceszz” on the Blog Roll and you will find it on the blogroll on that page.) In general society some intelligences are valued more than others, which means we are all probably missing the undervalued contributions of some uniquely gifted persons who act outside the mainstream.

But as I wrote recently, the Orthodox Church teaches that the many languages that were understood on that great day of Pentecost 50 days after our Lord rose was a reversal of the scattering at the Tower of Babel. In the Church, the Holy Spirit can enable us to understand and appreciate the gifts, or multiple intelligences, of others. And our worship is very multisensoral, as Kathy Grant (also a person with autism) has noted very well. (see the post “all my senses”)

 Thus the unique language of a person with autism can indeed by integrated into a community that loves that person enough to appreciate it. Personhood is fulfilled in openness to others through Christ by the Holy Spirit in the Church. 

ICON- an outreach network

The Inter-Orthodox Community Outreach Network, Inc., based in the state of Georgia (USA) is “developing a network of professionals, volunteers, clergy, and donors to provide God-centered (theocentric) social service care to help our neighbors overcome life’s challenges.”


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