General


Dear ones in Christ,

I am now discontinuing this blog. However, I will continue to post on our parish blog, which can be found here.

You can also subscribe to that blog by adding: http://www.stgabrielashland.org/feed/

See you there!

In Christ,

Fr. Andreas

Forgive me, an unworthy priest.

Just in case you missed it when it was broadcasted, here is a CBS “60 Minutes” feature on Mount Athos, the Holy Mountain.

By the grace of God, I was ordained to the Holy Diaconate at St. Tikhon’s Monastery on February 5, 2011. I was ordained under the blessed hands of the Right Reverend Tikhon, Bishop of Philadelphia and Eastern Pennsylvania. I ask for all of your prayers for myself and my family as I begin my service in the Church.

 

Abbot Sergius is fastening the orarion.

Waving the fan over the Holy Gifts

Holy Communion

The first Litany of Thanksgiving

As it is not the Orthodox tradition to have Sunday schools during Liturgy, where we rid ourselves of our children for the sake of our own religious experience, I found the following excerpt to be useful. It is an excerpt from a book called “Children in the Church Today – An Orthodox Perspective” by Sister Magdalen.

Children at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church

“Children should not be over-burdened by too long a prayer-time at home, or by being taken to every church service because the parents would like to attend. We would not wish our children to give in to laziness about attending church, but if they see church as a boring obligation, they are likely to revolt against it.

It is impossible to give a general rule about the number of church services children should attend. Every case needs thought and prayer, and the guidance of a spiritual father. The main thing to realize is that Christian parents should not feel guilty if they have to attend church less often than they would like, for the sake of their children who have not the same spiritual measure as they have. We must not blame or resent our children; we must accept it as being for their long-term good – for their salvation. In many cases, parents who have accepted this feel more close to God, taste more often His grace, than when they were neglecting their family to attend church services several times a week, or bringing their children too often. Our children’s life becomes our life: this is our kenosis (self-emptying or self-giving) as parents, and it will bring grace from God. ‘There is a time for everything’; when are children are independent we will have more time to attend services.”

“Kristus är uppstånden från de döda, med döden besegrade han döden och åt dem som vilar i gravarna gav han liv!”

I heard this today in Hermeneutics. Quite a humorous read if you are aware of the different schools of Scriptural criticism. I am not intending to offend anyone, just to offer you a good laugh. Enjoy!

Hermeneutics in Everyday Life

by Tim Perry, Durham University.

Suppose you’re traveling to work and you see a stop sign. What do you do? That depends on how you exegete the stop sign.

1. A postmodernist deconstructs the sign (knocks it over with his car), ending forever the tyranny of the north-south traffic over the east-west traffic.

2. Similarly, a Marxist refuses to stop because he sees the stop sign as an instrument of class conflict. He concludes that the bourgeois use the north-south road and obstruct the progress of the workers in the east-west road.

3. A serious and educated Catholic rolls through the intersection because he believes he cannot understand the stop sign apart from its interpretive community and tradition. Observing that the interpretive community doesn’t take it too seriously, he doesn’t feel obligated to take it too seriously either.

4. An average Catholic (or Orthodox or Coptic or Anglican or Methodist or Presbyterian or whatever) doesn’t bother to read the sign but he’ll stop if the car in front of him does.

5. A fundamentalist, taking the text very literally, stops at the stop sign and waits for it to tell him to go.

6. A seminary-educated evangelical preacher might look up “STOP” in his lexicons of English and discover that it can mean:

1) something which prevents motion, such as a plug for a drain, or a block of wood that prevents a door from closing;

2) location where a train or bus lets off passengers. The main point of his sermon the following Sunday on this text is: when you see a stop sign, it is a place where traffic is naturally clogged, so it is a good place to let off passengers from your car.

7. An orthodox Jew does one of two things:

a) Take another route to work that doesn’t have a stop sign so that he doesn’t run the risk of disobeying the Law;

b) Stop at the sign, say “Blessed art thou, O Lord our God, king of the universe, who hast given us thy commandment to stop,” wait 3 seconds according to his watch, and then proceed.

Incidentally, the Talmud has the following comments on this passage: Rabbi Meir says: He who does not stop shall not live long. R. Hillel says: Cursed is he who does not count to three before proceeding. R. Simon ben Yudah says: Why three? Because the Holy One, blessed be He, gave us the Law, the Prophets, and the Writings. R. ben Issac says: Because of the three patriarchs. R. Yehuda says: Why bless the Lord at a stop sign? Because it says, “Be still and know that I am God.” R. Hezekiel says: When Jephthah returned from defeating the Ammonites, the Holy One, blessed be He, knew that a donkey would run out of the house and overtake his daughter, but Jephthah did not stop at the stop sign, and the donkey did not have time to come out. For this reason he saw his daughter first and lost her. Thus  he was judged for his transgression at the stop sign. R. Gamaliel says: R. Hillel, when he was a baby, never spoke a word, though his parents tried to teach him by speaking and showing him the words on a scroll. One day his father was driving through town and did not stop at the sign. Young Hillel called out: “Stop, father!” In this way, he began reading and speaking at the same time. Thus it is written: “Out of the mouths of babes.” R. ben Jacob says: Where did the stop sign come from? Out of the sky, for it is written: “Forever, O Lord, your word is fixed in the heavens.” R. Ben Nathan says: Where were the stop signs created? On the fourth day, for it is written: “Let them serve as signs.” R. Yeshuah says….[continues for three more pages]

8. A Lubavitcher rabbi (Pharisee) does the same thing as an orthodox Jew, except that he waits 10 seconds instead of 3. He also replaces his brake lights with 1000 watt searchlights and connects his horn so that it is activated whenever he touches the brake pedal. He also works out the gematria of shin-tav-pey (S-T-(O)-P) and takes it to mean that the Rebbe Schneersohn, of blessed memory, will be resurrected as the Messiah after he has stopped at this intersection 780 times.

9. A scholar from the Jesus Seminar concludes that the passage “STOP” undoubtably was never uttered by Jesus himself because being the progressive Jew that He was, He would never have wanted to stifle peoples’ progress. Therefore, STOP must be a textual insertion belonging entirely to stage III of the gospel tradition, when the church was first confronted by traffic in its parking lot.

10. A NT scholar notices that there is no stop sign on Mark street but there is one on Matthew and Luke streets, and concludes that the ones on Luke and Matthew streets are both copied from a sign on a street no one has ever seen called “Q” Street. There is an excellent 300 page doctoral dissertation on the origin of these stop signs and the differences between stop signs on Matthew and Luke street in the scholar’s commentary on the passage. There is an unfortunate omission in the dissertation, however; it doesn’t explain the meaning of the text!

11. An OT scholar points out that there are a number of stylistic differences between the first and second half of the passage “STOP.” For example, “ST” contains no enclosed areas and 5 line endings, whereas “OP” contains two enclosed areas and only one line termination. He concludes that the author for the second part is different from the author of  the first part and probably lived hundreds of years later. Later scholars determine that the second half is itself actually written by two separate authors because of similar stylistic differences between the “O” and the “P”.

12. Another prominent OT scholar notes in his commentary that the stop sign would fit better into the context three streets back. (Unfortunately, he neglected to explain why in his commentary.) Clearly it was moved to its present location by a later redactor. He thus exegetes the intersection as though the sign were not there.

13. Because of the difficulties in interpretation, another OT scholar amends the text, changing the “T” to “H”. “SHOP” is much easier to understand in context than “STOP” because of the multiplicity of stores in the area. The textual corruption probably occurred because “SHOP” is so similar to “STOP” on the sign several streets back, that it is a natural mistake for a scribe to make. Thus the sign should be interpreted to announce the existence of a shopping area. If this is true, it could indicate that both meanings are valid, thus making the thrust of the message “STOP (AND) SHOP.”

14. A “propheticpreacher notices that the square root of the sum of the numeric representations of the letters S-T-O-P (sigma-tau-omicron-pi in the Greek alphabet), multiplied by 40 (the number of testing), and divided by four (the number of the world–north, south, east, and west), equals 666. Therefore, he concludes that stop signs are the dreaded “mark of the beast,” a harbinger of divine judgment upon the world, and must be avoided at all costs.

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