Living the Orthodox Christian Life in the Modern World: 55 Maxims

Living the Orthodox Christian Life in the Modern World: 55 Maxims

Below is a list prepared by the late Protopresbyter Thomas Hopko that I have modified for our parishioners. Please consider working these into your daily lives (printable version attached).
 
With much love in Christ,
Fr Mark
 
  1. Be always with Christ and trust God in everything.
  2. Pray as you can, not as you think you must.
  3. Have a manageable daily rule of prayer that is prayed faithfully.
  4. Say the Lord’s Prayer several times each day.
  5. Repeat the Jesus Prayer when your mind is not occupied.
  6. Make some prostrations when you pray.
  7. Eat good foods in moderation and fast on fasting days.
  8. Practice silence, inner and outer.
  9. Sit in silence 20 to 30 minutes each day.
  10. Do acts of mercy in secret.
  11. Attend Liturgy every Sunday and attend the other (non-Sunday) church services regularly.
  12. Go to confession and holy communion regularly.
  13. Do not engage intrusive thoughts and feelings.
  14. Reveal all your thoughts and feelings to your confessor regularly.
  15. Read the scriptures daily.
  16. Read good books, a little at a time.
  17. Cultivate communion with the saints by reading about them.
  18. Be an ordinary person, one of the human race.
  19. Be polite with everyone, first of all family members.
  20. Maintain cleanliness and order in your home.
  21. Have a healthy, wholesome hobby.
  22. Exercise regularly.
  23. Live a day, even a part of a day, at a time.
  24. Be totally honest, first of all with yourself.
  25. Be faithful in little things.
  26. Do your work, then forget it.
  27. Do the most difficult and painful things first.
  28. Face reality.
  29. Be grateful.
  30. Be cheerful.
  31. Be simple, hidden, quiet and small.
  32. Never bring attention to yourself.
  33. Listen when people talk to you (And put down your phone!).
  34. Be awake and attentive, fully present where you are (And put down your phone!).
  35. Think and talk about things no more than necessary.
  36. Speak simply, clearly, firmly, directly.
  37. Flee imagination, fantasy, analysis, figuring things out.
  38. Flee carnal, sexual things at their first appearance.
  39. Don’t complain, grumble, murmur or whine.
  40. Don’t seek or expect pity or praise.
  41. Don’t compare yourself with anyone.
  42. Don’t judge anyone for anything.
  43. Don’t try to convince anyone of anything.
  44. Don’t defend or justify yourself.
  45. Be defined and bound by God, not people.
  46. Accept criticism gracefully and test it carefully.
  47. Give advice only when asked or when it is your duty.
  48. Do nothing for people that they can and should do for themselves.
  49. Have a daily schedule of activities, avoiding whim and caprice.
  50. Be merciful with yourself and others.
  51. Have no expectations except to be fiercely tempted to your last breath.
  52. Focus exclusively on God and light, and never on darkness, temptation and sin.
  53. Endure the trial of yourself and your faults serenely, under God’s mercy.
  54. When you fall, get up immediately and start over.
  55. Get help when you need it, without fear or shame.

Living the Orthodox Christian Life in the Modern World

 

Akathist Hymn – St Elizabeth the New Martyr

Dear Brethren & Friends of St Elizabeth’s,

On July 5/18, 1918, St. Elizabeth was martyred by the Bolsheviks in Alapayevsk along with her companion, the Nun Barbara, as well as other members of the Romanov family. On most Wednesday evenings in 2018, we serve the Akathist Hymn for St Elizabeth in our parish. Attached here is the English translation of the Akathist, which can be printed for praying at home.

Akathist – St Elizabeth the New Martyr

With much love in Christ,
Fr Mark

The Kneeling Prayers of Pentecost

Dear Brethren & Friends of St Elizabeth’s,

Please click on the links below to read the full text of the beautiful and salvific prayers Kneeling Prayers (in English and Russian), which are read on bended knees during Great Vespers after the Liturgy on Pentecost. Also, there is an additional link which explains the reasons why we do not kneel from Pascha to Pentecost and why we beginning kneeling and prostrating in prayer on and after the feast of Pentecost.

The Kneeling Prayers of Pentecost

Kneeling_Prayers_Pentecost_Eng_Rus_

orthodoxinfo.com-Why Are Prayers Said In Church Without Kneeling On All Sundays and From Pascha Until Pentecost

With much love in Christ,
Fr Mark

From the Rector: How to Become a Good Orthodox Christian

From the Rector: How to Become a Good Orthodox Christian
 
Often times the Rector is asked, “What must I do, or how must I live, to be a good Orthodox Christian?” One of the keys to understanding the answer to this question is to realize that we are not saved alone, but rather within the Church. This is why it is essential to be a member of a parish or a monastic brotherhood (or sisterhood). There is no such thing as a “free agent” or “independent” Orthodox Christian. No one is in a “special category” with some level of independence from the brethren as thinking that way about oneself only leads to self-delusion (“prelest” as the Fathers call it). So, with this important proviso in mind, here are the Rector’s “top ten” things to do in order to be a good, faithful Orthodox Christian.
 
1.      Attend Liturgy every Sunday (and be on time standing attentively ready for the priest to proclaim: “Blessed is the Kingdom of the Father, and the Son, and of the Holy Spirit…”).
 
2.      Go to Confession and Communion regularly.
 
3.      Pray every morning, evening, and before and after every meal.
 
4.      Read the scriptures daily.
 
5.      Fast to the best of your ability according to the Church Calendar.
 
6.      Tithe to the parish.
 
7.      Offer your time to the parish and to your brethren.
 
8.      Be grateful, cheerful, and cultivate a simple way of life.
 
9.      Do not gossip or get unnecessarily involved in controversies.
 
10.  Do not be self-directed in spiritual things, but rather seek guidance from your priest and faithfully work to follow his counsel.
With much love in Christ,
Fr Mark

Paschal Quotations for Week of the Samaritan Woman (from The Pentecostarion)

Dear Brethren and Friends of St Elizabeth’s,
 
Christ is risen! Христосъ воскресе!
 
The link below includes some of the stichera (verses) from the services of Matins and Vespers for the Week of the Samaritan Woman. They are taken from The Pentecostarion, which is the special liturgical book used during this season of the year – Pascha through All Saints –  for our worship and edification. The verses chosen focus on the glorious resurrection of Our Lord and how His resurrection changes our humanity and the very fabric of Creation.
 
 
With much love in Christ,
Fr Mark

Paschal Quotations for Week of the Paralytic (from The Pentecostarion)

Dear Brethren and Friends of St Elizabeth’s,
 
Christ is risen!
 
The link below includes some of the stichera (verses) from the services of Matins and Vespers for the Week of the Paralytic. They are taken from The Pentecostarion, which is the special liturgical book used during this season of the year – Pascha through All Saints –  for our worship and edification. The verses chosen focus on the glorious resurrection of Our Lord and how His resurrection changes our humanity and the very fabric of Creation.
 
 
With much love in Christ,
Fr Mark

Paschal Quotations for Thomas Week (from The Pentecostarion)

Dear Brethren and Friends of St Elizabeth’s,
 
Christ is risen!
 
The link below includes some of the stichera (verses) from the services of Matins and Vespers for Thomas Week. They are taken from The Pentecostarion, which is the special liturgical book used during this season of the year – Pascha through All Saints –  for our worship and edification. The verses chosen focus on the glorious resurrection of Our Lord and how His resurrection changes our humanity and the very fabric of Creation.
 
 
With much love in Christ,
Fr Mark

Paschal Quotations for Bright Week (from The Pentecostarion)

Dear Brethren and Friends of St Elizabeth’s,
 
Christ is risen!
 
The link below includes some of the stichera (verses) from the services of Matins and Vespers for Bright Week. They are taken from The Pentecostarion, which is the special liturgical book used during this season of the year – Pascha through All Saints –  for our worship and edification. The verses chosen focus on the glorious resurrection of Our Lord and how His resurrection changes our humanity and the very fabric of Creation.
 
 
With much love in Christ,
Fr Mark

The Liturgical Meaning of Holy Week

Dear Brethren & Friends of St Elizabeth’s,

Now that we have completed  the 40 days of the Lenten Fast, it is time for us to transition from our Lenten “preparation” to “participation” in the Our Lord’s Passion and Resurrection during Holy Week. Attendance at the divine services is essential in this endeavor. In addition to the link below of the Holy Week Schedule of Services is a short essay to help in the understanding of the divine services entitled, “The Liturgical Meaning of Holy Week.” May this help you in your “participation” this Holy Week.

Holy Week Schedule 2018

A Liturgical Explanation of Holy Week

With much love in Christ,
Fr Mark