So…they’ve taken Christmas out of Christmas and put it in Advent, and they’ve taken Christ out of Advent, except it’s not really Advent anymore, it’s Shopping Season, and then when the real Christmas comes, Christ is still in Christmas but Christmas is over. And who has done it is not who everybody thinks it is. (Are you still with me?) That is where modern American society is. The true Advent and Christmas are still here in the Church, but is anybody paying any attention?
Orthodox Advent and Christmas
Here’s how the Church intends us to keep this time of year: On November 15 our Orthodox Advent (Christmas) Fast begins. The calendars all say it should be kept like Great Lent. In parish use (outside the monasteries) I think it is usually just meatless. All Christians once kept an Advent Fast; now we Orthodox alone are left to tell you, and I’m not sure how many of us keep it. All the liturgical churches, east and west, follow approximately the same pattern. Advent is intended to be a time of quiet patient waiting, hope, prayer, repentance, reflection on the m
Most of us are familiar with the main principle of parenting: leading with your personal example. What should you do if you are far from being a perfect Christian? How can you plant the proper values in your children’s hearts? Even though in theory we are generally aware of what we should be aiming at, we frequently fail at practical implementation of our stated goals. For example, when and how should you begin to explain the basic tenets of the Orthodox faith (such as, the Holy Trinity or the Sacrament of Communion) to your child? How do you explain to your little human why he or she needs to confess his or her sins? What is the age at which your children are required to fast before taking communion?
Today, we have an interview with Fr. Artemii Vladimirov, whose vast pedagogical and priestly experience enables him to come up with answers filled with a little bit of humour and inexhaustible love towards kids.
Father, speaking of children’s confession, how would you explain to a child why he or she needs to see a priest?
First, the mother has to enter into a “separate agreement” with the priest, “Father, my cutie-pie is going to come to you. She is four but she is very eager to confess like her mum. My sweetie wrote down her confession last night, it’s hilarious.” Dear priests! Please don’t say, “What an affront! Get away with your child, and don’t disturb me!” Look at that paper sheet and say, “Hmm, I see, I see. You didn’t do your bed, you lost your toothbrush, and you demanded from your mother to buy something or played up. God will forgive you for these sins, and I’m waiting for your next confession next week.”
The Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist and the Communion of the Holy Body and Blood of Christ is the foundation and the culmination of the innermost life of the Church, and the reason for Her existence. What do we know about it?
Here are several essential or simply interesting facts about the central Sacrament of the Church, which can enhance your knowledge and spur your further learning of the basic tenets of the Orthodox faith:
1. Remembrance of the Sacrifice
When Israelites were liberated from the Egyptian captivity, each Jewish family had to slay a white lamb, the blood of which was used to mark the door posts during the tenth plague (that is, killing of the firstborns in every family) so as to guard against the Angel of Death. The lamb was later eaten at a thanksgiving meal.
That innocent lamb was the prototype of our Savior who pledged himself to a painful death for the redemption of the human race. When we celebrate the Sacrament of Eucharist (Greek for “thanksgiving”) during every Liturgy, we remember the great Sacrifice that our Savior offered on the Cross for our redemption, his resurrection from the dead, and his ascension.