Archive for March, 2010

perfect praise

 Now when they drew near Jerusalem, and came to Bethphage, at the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, “Go into the village opposite you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her. Loose them and bring them to Me. And if anyone says anything to you, you shall say, ‘The Lord has need of them,’ and immediately he will send them.” All this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying:

“Tell the daughter of Zion,‘ Behold, your King is coming to you, Lowly, and sitting on a donkey, A colt, the foal of a donkey.’”

Then Jesus went into the temple of God and drove out all those who bought and sold in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves. And He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a ‘den of thieves.’

Then the blind and the lame came to Him in the temple, and He healed them. But when the chief priests and scribes saw the wonderful things that He did, and the children crying out in the temple and saying, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” they were indignant and said to Him, “Do You hear what these are saying?” And Jesus said to them, Yes. Have you never read,

Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants
You have perfected praise’?
(St. Matthew 21:1-16)
The Orthodox Christian Gospel reading for Palm Sunday stops at verse 11. But it is extended here for consideration of this:

Just as the poor widow, in giving her two mites, (which are roughly equivalent to pennies) gave more than all those who simply gave out of their abundance, (their “overflow,” so to speak) the praises of those who are the more simple among us, whether children or not, who are not eloquent, intelligent, prominent, or influential – as well as those whose voices would not make them candidates for a choir- are treasured by our Lord in a way that conventional human reckonings do not fathom. The Lord sees the heart.


Antiochian Orthodox Christian Special Olympics Sport Camp

Attention Christian youth! Once again applications are being taken for the position of coach at the Special Olympics Sports Camp this summer at Antiochian Village near Ligonier, PA. Applications must be postmarked by April 1, 2010. Here’s the info (To see more, click on Special Olympics Material Archive):

See especially the program’s 25th anniversary page: 

† Father Ilyan Eades, Memory Eternal

Father Ilyan Eades

Archpriest Ilyan, of Dunedin, New Zealand, reposed on the 18th Of March 2010. Memory eternal, Father Ilyan.

O Master, Lord our God

Who in Thy wisdom hast created man,
and didst honor him with Thy Divine image,
and place in him the spirit of life,
and lead him into this world,
bestowing on him the hope of resurrection and life everlasting;
and after he had violated Thy commandments,
Thou O Gracious lover of mankind, didst descend to the earth that Thou mightest renew again the creation of Thy hands.

Therefore we pray Thee,
O All-Holy Master give rest to the souls of Thy servant Priest Ilyan in a place of brightness,
a place of green pasture,
a place of repose,
and, in that they have sinned in word,
or deed or thought forgive them:

For Thou art a good God and lovest mankind and unto Thee do we ascribe Glory, together with Thy Father, Who is from everlasting and Thine All-Holy and good, and ever giving Spirit, now, and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.

Memory Eternal, Father Ilyan!

During the week Fr. Ilyan worked for IHC with people who have intellectual disabilities.

Father Ilyan serving Divine Liturgy:

A History

Orthodox Christian appropriations of the vision of Jean Vanier

In the months and years leading up to our discovery of the Orthodox Church, while working in a Protestant Christian group home system – Friendship Community, a residential provider for persons with developmental disability, in which my wife and I still live and work- the writings of Jean Vanier strengthened my sense of mission for our life with our friends in this community.
Specifically, in Vanier’s book, Community and Growth, he challenges those called to this kind of ministry to fidelity, to long-term relationships with persons with developmental disability, in which their genuine humanity and brokenness will lead us to a palpable, illuminating, and redemptive sense of our own brokenness, our own sinfulness. And this will bring us to our knees before the One Who can heal and save us- Jesus.
 As St. Antony the Great said, “in whatever place you live, do not easily leave it” and “Our life and death is with our neighbor.”
 The desire to explore this matter from an Orthodox Christian perspective (appropriating Vanier’s vision and implementing it with other Orthodox Christians) remains.
 Jean Vanier, Raphaël Simi, and Philippe Seux are the three men who founded L’Arche. Here is a brief history, from their website:

Following the suggestion of his mentor Father Thomas Philippe, a Dominican priest, Jean Vanier, son of a former Governor General of Canada, decided to invite Raphaël Simi and Philippe Seux to live with him in a small house which he named L’Arche, the French word for the Ark.

In the 1960s, the rapidly growing community in Trosly attracted young people from all over the world who were keen to share their everyday life with a growing number of people with an intellectual disability. 

Here is what L’Arche is about:

And here is what Faith and Light is about:

 L’Arche is a residential community; Faith and Light gatherings are once a month, for encouragement and Christian inspiration. Roman Catholic Christians founded these ministries, but people from other Christian groups are welcome and encouraged to take part, including members of the Orthodox Church.
 Of course we Orthodox and the Roman Catholics have a long history of interaction, some of which is decidedly tragic. We worship differently, we understand the Faith differently. Yes, there is much we share; we were united for the first thousand years of Christian history. But we Orthodox hold that the differences are not in regard to peripheral matters; they touch the very foundation of the Faith, and truly divide us. We declare this with sorrow.
 And so overtures from the Roman Catholic Church to minimize these differences and receive the Eucharist together are declined. We, sadly, cannot accede to a “big tent” approach.
 The claim of the Pope of Rome to be supreme Pontiff over all, with infallibility in certain statements, the decision to insert the “filoque” into the Creed without the received consensus of an Ecumenical Council, and the doctrine of the immaculate conception of the Virgin Mary, are the most prominent differences. But there is also, generally, a difference of ethos. To be truly united and in communion with the Roman Church would indeed be heavenly. But for the love of the truth, we must remain true to Who and how we worship, and what we believe. If the Roman Catholic Church reconsiders those things that are problematic, then reunion will be in sight. Love hopes and believes all things.  
Our goal as Orthodox Christians is to form local Orthodox Christian societies which will shine the light of Christ to all around:
The Emergence of Local Orthodox Christian Societies in America, by His Grace Bishop Thomas and Subdeacon Symeon Dana Kees:
 And toward this will we are strive.
But in many places we are few and far between, and our resources are insufficient, in these localities, at the present time, to be comprehensive Orthodox Christian societies. Yet we are called to a light for Christ to the suffering, needy world around us- now. The need is there now.
 And so we resort to provisional arrangements as we work toward the local comprehensive Orthodox Christian societies that His Grace Bishop Thomas calls for. As His Grace Bishop Thomas and Subdeacon Symeon have written,
“In reality, Orthodox Christians will likely to find themselves working alongside non-Orthodox, including those friendly toward the Faith and also those hostile to it.”
If there was an Orthodox Christian group home system in my area, my wife and I surely would have made the move to it, notwithstanding our love for the people we have lived and laughed and worked with all these years. We would have then maintained those relationships as best we could.
But there isn’t one, and so we press on with Friendship Community, thankful that it is not simply secular, and for the Christian values that we do share. And we’re very thankful for the friendships we have there with the people we have come to know and love. And had our involvement been with L’Arche, we would be thankful for all these things there as well.
 In light of our goal- local, comprehensive Orthodox societies- the parameters of our ecumenical cooperation with Protestants and Roman Catholics will be provisional, and carefully limited to efforts that would not contradict our way of worship and our doctrine. But for the love of those in various kinds of need, many of us feel the call to enter into these partnerships. They may be provisional, but for some of us, it is our life, for the foreseeable future. Of course,
Who is so great a God as our God? 
 Thou art the God who workest wonders.
 One hopeful development that promises Church arrangements that will help
facilitate better cooperation among Orthodox Churches is the pre-conciliar conferences that have been taking place toward an Ecumenical Council – which seem poised to create ways and means to escape the thorny jurisdictional issues that have been hindering our cooperation. Together, we have more resources so as to become local Orthodox Christian societies. See
Here are some instances of other Orthodox Christian interactions and appropriations of the vision of Jean Vanier, as well as Faith and Light:  
This from the Faith & Light USA East Newsletter- Vol. 11, No. 2, Dec. 2007:

The Family of Friends Richfield, MN Community meets monthly in the community room of the apartment in which many members live. They also meet twice a year at St. Mary’s Greek Orthodox Church where they are invited to join the service, act as hosts at morning coffee and then stay for their regular monthly meeting. In October St. Mary’s will host Family of Friends meeting and then serve them a typical Greek meal to conclude the afternoon. The Family of Friends is also associated with St. Richard’s Catholic Parish where they are included in theregular activities of the parish such as usher’s altar servers, gift bearers, and hosts at morning coffee. Both St. Mary’s and St. Richard’s financially support the community . . .

An account by Jean Vanier of the the 38 Faith & Light communities in Syria:

The 38 Faith and Light communities in Syria are full of life: many young people sharing the joy and pain of people with disabilities and their parents. They are a mixture of Catholics and Orthodox, encouraged and supported by their respective bishops. They form a real family.  . . .  I gave two short days of retreat for l’Arche and Faith and Light and their friends. I was touched by the pilgrimage to Homs with all the Faith and Light communities in Syria, (about a thousand people in all), the four bishops (2 Roman Catholics and 2 Orthodox) leading a procession.  . . .

From the Summer 2008 newsletter of St. John the Compassionate Mission, an Orthodox Christian mission of mercy in Toronto, Canada, 21 Years and Counting! Breaking Bread With Jean Vanier” (scroll to page 2): see also

Here’s an appropriation by a Russian Faith and Light Community of the Orthodox Christian Monastic Tradition, in pictures: Pilgrimage to Borodino Convent:

And from the website of St. Mary Orthodox Church in Cambridge, MA- – a number of interesting articles, including one- right in the middle of the list- by Jean Vanier. (Also take note of the article above it for a more authoritative- and hopeful- statement on our Orthodox Christian relationship with Rome.)

Orthodox Christian Society: a Shelter

His Grace Bishop Thomas and Subdeacon Symeon Dana Kees co-authored a visionary statement which was published in the recent WORD Magazine (the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese magazine):

The Emergence of Local Orthodox Christian Societies in America 

This article tells me that our goal is to create parishes, schools, monasteries, health care networks, businesses, and other social structures that have the Orthodox Christian way of life- toward healing and theosis- at the very center of their aims. Such would embody true worship and true teachings.

The upcoming Ecumenical Council will, among other actions, seek to straighten out the jurisdictional questions that have led to separate efforts that would be stronger if they were brought together. 

One new effort which is already beginning to bring unity to our social service efforts is Focus North America: 

Recently Focus North America began supporting a new ministry in Omaha, Nebraska, The Sheltering Tree, Inc.:  See also 

The Sheltering Tree, Inc. is an Orthodox Christian-based ministry which is seeking to provide a residential facility as well as vocational opportunities to young people with developmental disability through the ABLE Center (Arts, Business, Life Enhancement and Education).

Here is their June 2009 newsletter:

In this newsletter one may learn some of the sources of their funding, the phases of their comprehensive plan, three short pieces on “Overview of the Development of Teens with Down Syndrome,”  “The Parent Dilemna: What Will Happen to my Adult Developmentally Disabled Child?” & “Vessels of Honor- All the Glory We Can Hold,” by Louis Markos (2006), among other things.

After the Hellenos House on Long Island, this will be the second Orthodox community for persons with developmental disability in the U.S.- as far as I know of.

And so His Grace Bishop Thomas’ vision for local Orthodox Christian societies is finding fulfillment.

Thanks be to God, Who has given us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!

dealing with depression

Here are two very substantial articles on how one can overcome depression with the aid of a spiritual father and professional help,  by the Very Reverend Father George Morelli:

Depression: A Clinical and Pastoral Guide | … 

Overcoming Depression: Cognitive Scientific Psychology and the Church Fathers 

picture from Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson 

5 struggling toward mental health in Russia

From a 5 year old article in Road to Emmaus Magazine, the stories of five who have struggled with mental illness. Their names: George, Nadezhda, Tatiana, Sergei, & Michael. To access, click one of the following Google listings:

george, nadezhda, tatiana, sergei, and michael [PDF] RTE No 17 Interior File Format: PDF/Adobe Acrobat – View as HTML

reprinted from February 2009


Blog Stats

  • 116,174 hits
March 2010
« Feb   Apr »

%d bloggers like this: