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Showing posts from July, 2017

Can you live a good life without being Orthodox?

Something can only truly be called ‘good’ if it is agreement with Orthodoxy, but this does not mean that ‘good’ cannot exist outside the Church. The Holy Spirit is everywhere present and fills all things; when non-Orthodox people perform truly good actions they are opening their hearts to the Holy Spirit and allowing their conscience to act properly. 
However, not all deeds that appear ‘good’ are, in fact, good in a spiritual sense. For example, we might help someone with the secret hope that we might receive something in return; we might give money to charity to earn praise from others for doing so. To use an extreme example, someone losing their life to save a child from drowning, is very different to a terrorist committing suicide.
We can say that living an Orthodox life allows us to perceive actions as they really are: a gift known as ‘discernment’. As we grow in the Orthodox spiritual life by praying, fasting, and love of neighbour we also grow in discernment. We are all sinners…

I believe In One Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church

The Church is one because it is the Body of Christ: Christ cannot have many bodies. When we say ‘One Church’ we also mean that only in this ‘one’ Church can we find salvation.
The Church is one even though there are many Christians all over the world. Remember the example of Christ the Shepherd — the sheep are many but there is one sheepfold and one Shepherd. The Church isn’t divided into branches with each containing a small part of the Church because each church building and its faithful together are the whole Church.
Our most important duty as Orthodox Christians is to live our lives according to the teachings of the Church because it is only from within the One Church that we have the possibility of living as Christ commanded.
The Church is holy because it is the Body of Christ. Although we are sinners, by being members of Christ’s Body, the Church, we can unite ourselves with Christ. Only within this Holy Church can we partake of the Body and Blood of Christ in the Eucharist.
The …

Is the removal of life support allowed by the Orthodox Church?

This is a difficult question, and we should probably start by making clear the position of the Church on euthanasia. The word euthanasia means 'good death', and today this word is normally used to describe the voluntary ending of life by means of lethal injection. Euthanasia is unacceptable to the Orthodox Church as it is a form of suicide. Euthanasia by medical intervention is illegal in the UK, but hospitals have sometimes performed it by not feeding patients that were capable of eating and/or drinking; this practice is euthanasia and is not permitted by the Church. 
On the other hand, many patients with advanced cancer are actually killed by their medical treatment because the painkillers that they are given eventually suppress the respiratory system. This is not euthanasia, but merely a side effect of the drugs needed to keep the patient comfortable. In addition, medical staff may decide that if a patient has no hope of recovery, it is not in their best interest to start p…

Hasn’t science disproved religion?

Science asks the questions: ‘how?’, ‘what?’ and ‘why?’. Let’s consider one of the simplest atomic particles and ask the question: ‘What are electrons?’ The answer is not in the least straightforward. It used to be though that electrons were small balls of negative charge. Now it is known that they are waves at the same time. Particles and waves are completely different, but an electron is both of them at the same time!
If this ‘what’ question is difficult, the ‘how’ question is more difficult still. We know that electrons are essential for life and the universe to exist, but how did they come into being? Physicists are still trying to answer this question. If the universe began with the Big Bang, then where did the energy come from? It is well known that energy cannot be created out of nothing. Physicists are also interested in the ‘why?’ question: ‘Why do we have electrons?’ The universe needs them, but why is the universe here at all? Why do have ‘something’ rather than ‘nothing’? Wa…

What do we mean by 'faith'?

There are as many kinds of religious faith as there are different religions. In fact, there are many more because within each religion people emphasize different aspects of their faith. Outside mainstream religions, people cling to faith in pseudo-religious beliefs such as astrology, faith healing, and various other superstitions.
Some western Christians compare faith in God to the many kinds of faith we use in our everyday life. We show faith in an airline pilot when we place our life in his or her hands; we show faith in the surgeon when we undergo an operation; we show faith in the teachers who care for and educate us.These forms of faith appear quite reasonable because pilots, doctors and teachers all undergo extensive training. This is true, but does it make our faith in them reasonable? Have we personally checked the competence of these people or are we relying on faith that they are qualified and still competent to perform these vital jobs? The number of medical blunders and ai…

How often should we receive Holy Communion?

In general, we could say that we should try to receive Communion as often as we can, provided that we have kept the appropriate fasts, have been to Confession, and have no impediment to receiving Holy Communion. Although we are brothers and sisters within the Church, the partaking of the mysteries of the Church is a personal decision which is why they are always given to us personally by name. In addition, some Orthodox Churches have different customs and practices concerning the frequency of reception of Holy Communion. Often, people do not receive Holy Communion because they feel unworthy to do so, but as St. John Cassian teaches, we are all unworthy of such a great mystery: We should not keep away from the Lord’s communion because we know that we are sinners, but we should hasten to it all the more avidly for the sake of our soul’s healing and our spirit’s purification, yet with that humility of mind and faith that will cause us, while judging ourselves unworthy to receive such a g…