Christ is Our Peace

Christ is Born!

Christ is our peace… ~ Ephesians 2:14

Peace has a Heavenly Perfume

All anxiety disappears. This is the aim of the Orthodox way of life… To put God first and seek the Holy Spirit. The anxieties of modern life are only symptoms of our separation from God. ~St. Paisios the Athonite

Whatever gentleness you use in speaking with others, that very same gentleness will Christ use with you. ~ St. Joseph the Hesychast

This life is nothing but to prepare for the Eternal life. If eternal life is a whole ocean, this life is a drop of the ocean, but on this drop, depends our eternal life. ~ Elder Dositheos

Svetitskhoveli Cathedral in Georgia – shared by Garret

Greetings on the upcoming Feast of St. Basil’s Day tomorrow!

As we celebrate St. Basil the Great’s Day and attend that liturgy, we also remember his many miracles, and perhaps bake the very special and traditional – “Vasilopita” Cake, which commemorates one of his miracles in particular.

Words are truly the image of the soul. The time for prayer is one’s whole life. ~ St. Basil the Great

Congratulations on your Saint’s Day today Melania! (Dec. 31/Jan. 13) God grant you many years!

St. Melania (service); Monastery on Mull, Scotland

May your day be filled with God’s plentiful Blessings, and with His Peace from Above – which surpasses all understanding!

Glorify Him!

Then Will Come the 2nd Feast!

Detail of Parish Mosaic Icon – St. Bail the Great

…that will be St. Basil’s Feast; rejoice!

One of my favourite quotes from St. Basil the Great ~ A tree is known by its fruit; a man by his deeds. A good deed is never lost; he who sows courtesy reaps friendship, and he who plants kindness gathers love.

May we all plant a Perennial Crop of Kindness and Share the Harvest from the Garden of God’s Love!

Happy St. Basil’s Day – January 14/1

Greetings on the Feast – with St. Basil the Great Quotes

St. Basil’s Day Cake Recipe

Sharing our parish choir’s (a cappella) 2014 recording of the Christmastide Carol – We Wish You Good Evening. We sing of the coming 3 feasts! Holy Nativity, St. Basil the Great’s Day, and Holy Theophany.

O rejoice all the world, the Son of God is born!

Past Nativity Posts’ Resource

Church Bells in Ayia Napa, Cypress – Image by Dimitris Vetsikas from Pixabay

May the Light of Bethlehem’s Star illuminate and warm our hearts on this coming Bright Feast of Christ’s Holy Nativity!

National Public Radio NPR Broadcast with Blisswood on Orthodox Christmas Published January 6, 2023

Our Little Nativity Creche Published by issuu magazine 2022

Re-Gift Boomerang Published by issuu magazine 2022

Christ is Born! Posted January 6, 2022

Christ is Born! Glorify Him! Posted January 7, 2021

Happy 2nd Day of Christmas Posted January 8, 2022

Happy 3rd Day of Christmas Posted January 9, 2022

4th Day of Nativity Posted January 10, 2022

5th Day of Nativity – the Holy Innocents Posted January 11, 2022

6th Day of Nativity Posted January 12, 2022

Apodosis of Nativity Posted January 13, 2022

St. Basil’s Feast Day Posted January 14, 2022

St. Basil’s Day Cake Recipe Posted January 14, 2021

Greetings on St. Basil’s Day Posted January 14, 2021

Holy Theophany Posted January 19, 2022

St. Sophia Voices of Faith Hope and Love – Youth Choir Virtual Nativity Concert 2020

St. Sophia Voices of Faith Hope and Love – Youth Choir Virtual Nativity Tropar 2020

St. Sophia Adult Choir Sing the 16th Century Coventry Carol – 2014 Concert (In Honour of the Holy Innocents)

It’s Nativity Poem/Song

Little Pine Tree Poem/Song

The Holly Poem

The Candy Cane Poem/Song

St. Sophia Adult Choir Sing Little Pine Tree – 2014 Concert

Prayerfully wishing you God’s Blessings of good health, strength of spirit, and peaceful joy!

With Love in Christ.

From the Depths of the Heart

St. Basil the Great’s Monastery Church, carved into soft, volcanic, Cappadocian rock. Goreme, Turkey – 2004

Love of God is not something that can be taught. We did not learn from someone else how to rejoice in light or want to live, or to love our parents or guardians. It is the same – perhaps even more so – with our love for God: it does not come by another’s teaching. ~ St. Basil the Great

Preserve gratitude like a precious deposit within your soul, and from it you will receive a double portion of delight. Remember the apostolic word, “Give thanks in all circumstances.” ~ St. Basil the Great

The radiance of divine beauty is altogether beyond the power of words to describe. ~ St. Basil the Great

A dear friend shared this beautiful, numinous, prayer: “Speaking with God from the Depths of the Heart” by St. Gregory of Narek (951-1003 AD); it’s beyond the power of words to describe.

St. Basil’s Feast Day

St. Basil the Great’s Monastery, carved in soft, volcanic, Cappadocian, rock. Goreme – 2004

Happy St. Basil’s Day!

Born in 329 AD, his Heavenly Birthday is January 14/1 in the year 379 AD.

…the time for prayer is one’s whole life. ~ St. Basil the Great

St. Basil the Great’s 4th century monastic vision inspired the building of numerous church communities throughout the ancient region over the next five and a half centuries. The rock churches provided the bonus of cool respite amid the surrounding hot, dry, landscape.

Below is a festive Vasilopita – a St. Basil’s Day Cake, which commemorates a certain miracle of St. Basil the Great. My husband baked the celebratory cake using this traditional recipe.

The caramelized sugar and chopped almonds topping the festive cake are reminiscent of the sandy, rocky, Cappadocian countryside landscape.

Cutting the Cake: At home, after the Divine Liturgy, the cake is loosely covered with a napkin, and the sign of the cross is made. The undercover cutting commences, so nobody can see where the secret coin might be. The slices are distributed in this order: First piece cut is in honour of Christ, the second is cut in honour of the Virgin Mary, and the third is cut for St. Basil. These three pieces are saved and given the same day to the elderly, or the poor. The next pieces are cut for the most senior member of the household down to the youngest member. Whoever finds the coin in their piece of cake puts it toward something special!

Preserve gratitude like a precious deposit within your soul, and from it you will receive a double portion of delight. Remember the apostolic word, “Give thanks in all circumstances.” ~ St. Basil the Great

Lovely St. Basil’s Day & New Year Greek Carol – Duet

Old sheet music of St. Basil’s Day & New Year Carol with the verses being sung above (but arranged in a different order on pdf).

With love in Christ.

Apodosis of Nativity

Festive Nativity Morning Breakfast – by Melania

January 13 / December 31

Christ is Born! Glorify Him!

The last day of an Afterfeast is called the Apodosis (Ancient Greek for leave-taking, literally giving-back) of the Feast. Although today is the Apodosis of Nativity, this period of Sviatki (light and holiness) continues its 12 days of Christmastide – preparing our hearts to celebrate Holy Theophany; the Baptism of the Lord – on January 19 /6.

Today is also the feast of St. Melania. Congratulations to a dear friend, blessed to have this patron saint. Happy Saint’s Day Melania! God grant you many years!

Tomorrow is St. Basil’s Feast Day (January 14/1). Celebrations for this special saint include many traditions… And there’s still time to bake a traditional, festive St. Basil’s Day Cake!

With love in Christ.

Lampstand of the Light

Dome Mosaic of St. John the Baptist – St. Sophia Orthodox Church, Canada

St. John the Baptist is called the voice of the Word, the lampstand of the the Light, the morning star and Forerunner of the Sun of Righteousness.

He is named Forerunner, as he preceded Christ… being sent as a Messenger to prepare the people for Christ’s ministry. Angel in Greek means messenger, and some icons of St. John the Baptist depict him with angelic wings, on account of Malachi’s prophecy from the Old Testament.

Several dates during the Liturgical year specifically celebrate the birth, life and death of St. John the Forerunner and Baptist of Christ.

On September 11 (August 29, Julian calendar) we remember St. John the Baptist’s heavenly birthday and martyrdom. In honour of the greatest of all prophets who have ever lived, and since ancient times, the Church has celebrated this leading luminary by establishing this day as a fast.

St. John the Baptist is the personification of faithfulness to God, righteousness, and asceticism. He is so revered, that each Tuesday, every week of the year is also dedicated to him.

There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. ~ St. John 1:6-9

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St. John the Baptist – St. Sophia Orthodox Church, Canada

St. John the Baptist Resource Page

700 years before the birth of Christ, the Prophet Isaiah foretold the preaching of John the Baptist. Isaiah called St. John  “the voice of him that crieth in the wilderness”  (Isaiah 40:3); who was to “prepare  the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.” 

Malachi, the last of the Old Testament prophets, who lived more than 400 years before the birth of Christ foretold the coming of St. John the Baptist, and refers to him as an angel. Behold I will send My Angel, and he shall prepare the way before Me; and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to His temple, even the Angel of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, He shall come, saith the Lord of hosts. ~ Malachi 3:1-2

St. Luke 1:5-80

There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. ~ St. John 1:6-9

St. Matthew 3:1-12

St. Matthew 3:13-17

St. Mark 6:17-29

Christ Himself said: Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. ~ St. Matthew 11:11

Through the holy prayers of St. John the Forerunner and Baptist of Christ, may we, too, stand as steadfast shining candles before the Lord; radiating His Effulgent and Gladsome Light!

O Gladsome Light is an ancient Christian hymn originally written in Greek around the 3rd or 4th century. It is the earliest known hymn recorded outside the Bible still in use today, and is still sung in Orthodox Christian Vespers services daily. St. Basil the Great (329-379 AD) referred to this hymn (already considered old in his time) as a cherished church tradition. It is also called the Lamp-lighting Hymn, for at that time in Jerusalem, a lamp was kept perpetually burning at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre inside the empty tomb of Christ. As Christians gathered there to worship, this hymn was sung, and a candle lit from the lamp was brought forth from the tomb, its bright solitary flame reminding all of the Risen Lord. ~ Wikipedia

Greetings on St. Basil’s Day

St. Basil the Great wall mosaic – St. Sophia Orthodox Church

Greetings on this second feast day which falls during Christmastide, celebrating the wonderful saint… St. Basil the Great!

Many bake the traditional cake in his honour!

Preserve gratitude like a precious deposit within your soul, and from it you will receive a double portion of delight. Remember the apostolic word, “Give thanks in all circumstances.” ~ St. Basil the Great

For if we all took only what was necessary to satisfy our own needs, giving the rest to those who lack, no one would be rich, no one would be poor, and no one would be in need. ~ St. Basil the Great

A tree is known by its fruit; a man by his deeds. A good deed is never lost; he who sows courtesy reaps friendship, and he who plants kindness gathers love. ~ St. Basil the Great

A good deed is never lost; he who sows courtesy reaps friendship, and he who plants kindness gathers love. ~ St. Basil the Great

When you sit down to eat, pray. When you eat bread, do so thanking Him for being so generous to you. If you drink wine, be mindful of Him who has given it to you for your pleasure and as a relief in sickness. When you dress, thank Him for His kindness in providing you with clothes. When you look at the sky and the beauty of the stars, throw yourself at God’s feet and adore Him who in His wisdom has arranged things in this way. Similarly, when the sun goes down and when it rises, when you are asleep or awake, give thanks to God, who created and arranged all things for your benefit, to have you know, love and praise their Creator. ~ St. Basil the Great

Human life is but of brief duration. ‘All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field. The grass withers, the flower fades; but the word of our God shall stand forever’ (Isa. 40:6). Let us hold fast to the commandment that abides, and despise the unreality that passes away. ~ St. Basil the Great

Just for Now

A tree is known by its fruit; a man by his deeds. A good deed is never lost; he who sows courtesy reaps friendship, and he who plants kindness gathers love.  ~ St. Basil the Great

This has been a very unusual Great Lent. Granted, each year is different, no two are ever alike. There’s different struggles and temptations.

Through repentance, prayer, fasting and charity, Great Lent renews our minds, hearts and deeds according to His teachings. It refreshes our love for God and neighbour as oneself. During this quiet time of inner reflection, we prepare ourselves for the coming Great and Holy Day of Pascha (Easter), the Resurrection of our Lord.

Unexpectedly driven into global stillness and isolation, there’s an unprecedented general hush throughout our world. Whether we wish it or not, we have a rare opportunity of unavoidable introspection… individually and nationally.

We can see the best and the worst in ourselves. We see the selfless love, courage and compassion of others, during a trying time.

This year, the whole earth is united in a collective Great Lent. Together we wait with quiet hope and patience for Renewal.

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