“Do not give anyone your soul.” – “The purpose of life is Christ.”
St. Porphyrios the Kapsokalyvite, whom we were blessed to know (the account of one of our meetings with him is recorded by Fr. Zacharias in his, Remember Thy First Love, pp. 393–394), is now added to the calendar of the Orthodox Church in Russia.
His feast day, it was decided by the Holy Synod of the Church in Russia on December 25, 2014, would be the same as that of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, namely, December 2.
For more details, see www.pravoslavie.ru/english/76197.htm
“Do not give anyone your soul.” “The purpose of life is Christ.”
“Prayer in Saint Silouan the Athonite and Elder Sophrony of Essex” – Monday, November 17, from 1:00 to 3:30 PM, at St. Vladimir’s Seminary in Yonkers, NY
Dr. Christopher Veniamin, Professor of Patristics at St. Tikhon’s Seminary and author of The Orthodox Understanding of Salvation: “Theosis” in Scripture and Tradition, has been graciously invited by Dr. Peter Bouteneff, Associate Professor of Systematic Theology at St. Vladimir’s Seminary, to teach a class on “Prayer in Saint Silouan the Athonite and Elder Sophrony of Essex,” on Monday, November 17, from 1:00 to 3:30 PM.
Professor Christopher Veniamin is a spiritual child of Elder Sophrony of Essex, holds his first degree in Theology from the University of Thessalonica (Greece), and obtained his doctorate from Oxford University, under the supervision of Metropolitan Kallistos Ware. He is the editor and translator of Saint Gregory Palamas: The Homilies (2009 and 2014), for which he also wrote over 100 pages of notes and scholia, and the author of The Orthodox Understanding of Salvation: “Theosis” in Scripture and Tradition (2013).
Dr. Veniamin’s doctoral dissertation at Oxford, “The Transfiguration of Christ in Greek Patristic Literature: From Irenaeus of Lyons to Gregory Palamas” (1991), was a diachronic study of the meaning of the Taborian theophany in Patristic literature, spanning some thirteen centuries, and is currently being reworked in preparation for publication in 2015.
Professor Veniamin is also the President of Mount Thabor Publishing, which was established in 2005, and has edited and published books by Archimandrite Zacharias, Professor Constantine Scouteris, and Klaus Kenneth.
From its first beginnings the Church carefully prepared anyone wanting to become a member. Catechism was a journey towards purification, so that once purified, the person would be baptised and become a temple of the All-Holy Spirit. In our own day too, certain indispensable conditions must be fulfilled in order for Catechism to take place in a correct and Orthodox manner. In the author’s view, the fundamental prerequisite for proper Catechism is the existence of an experienced Catechist capable of adjusting the message on each occasion according to the requirements and interests of the Catechumen. The association of Catechism with worship and ascetic practice is also absolutely necessary, because otherwise it will be merely cerebral and theoretical.
It is highly desirable for Catechumens to be associated with a Church community, either a parish or a monastery, where they will meet the truth that the Orthodox Church is a spiritual therapeutic community within which the illnesses of man’s soul are cured.
The reader can study a general framework of catechetical homilies drawn up by the author, which demonstrates how contemporary Catechism can be applied to those wishing to be baptised. An exposition of the Creed (the Symbol of Faith) is provided. There are lists of questions and answers which refer to the basic central points of Orthodox faith and life, the aim being to consolidate the knowledge imparted to the Catechumens so that the Catechism can be as correct and complete as possible.
Writing about the rite of the sacrament of Baptism, the author stresses that linking Baptism with the Divine Liturgy will contribute to a revival in liturgical life. The Holy Spirit, Who acts and works with the water of the baptismal font, regenerates the whole human being. Through Holy Baptism, which is seen as an introductory sacrament, we receive the light of divine grace and enter the Body of Christ, the Church.
The final section of the book underlines some basic points about guidance after Baptism, and stresses that the Catechism of those already baptised is much more difficult than the Catechism of Catechumens before Baptism. Through his own personal effort and by divine grace, as the believer attains to a personal knowledge of God, he becomes a true member of the Church. The aim of Baptism is to lead people to communion of the Body and Blood of Christ, which is the centre of all the Sacraments, and the whole of Church and spiritual life.
Nowadays we see that many people are asking to be baptised and become members of the Church. They are disillusioned with other religions and theories, including atheism, and come to the Orthodox Church. As we read Entering the Orthodox Church (the Greek original of which is the sixth book in the series “Theoria and Praxis” published by the Apostolic Ministry of the Church of Greece), we realise that it makes a significant contribution to the pastoral care of those entering the Orthodox Church.
In addition it is a useful aid for those already baptised, in other words, for every faithful member of the Church. The task of Catechism should be undertaken responsibly and seriously, not in a secular or indiscriminate manner, because it is a blessed ministry.
This second edition is also equipped with two indexes, an Index of Scriptural References and an Index of Names and Subjects.
The Hidden Man of the Heart consists of a series of presentations on the place of the heart in the spiritual life of the Christian, with special reference to the Hesychast tradition of the Orthodox Church, including two of the most influential figures in contemporary Christianity: Saint Silouan the Athonite (1866–1938) and Elder Sophrony of Essex (1896–1993).
Delivered in Wichita, Kansas at the 2007 Clergy Brotherhood Retreat of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Church, each lecture is published here in full together with its corresponding Questions & Answers.
For the Table of Contents, Sample Pages, and further details, please click here.
About the Author
The author is a disciple of Elder Sophrony and a member of the Monastery of St. John the Baptist, England. Also published by MOUNT THABOR PUBLISHING are his The Enlargement of the Heart (2nd edition, 2012) and Remember Thy First Love (2010),
“Father Zacharias has inherited the rare and precious spiritual gift of ‘speaking a word’, an authentic word inspired by these contemporary spiritual giants [sc. St. Silouan the Athonite and Elder Sophrony].” The Right Reverend Basil Essey, Bishop of Wichita, Anthiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America
“The writings of Archimandrite Zacharias evince that inspiration which is born of the undistorted vision of Christ in glory.” Dr. Christopher Veniamin D.Phil. (Oxon.), Professor of Patristics, Saint Tikhon’s Seminary, USA