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A Voice From The Isles

A Voice From The Isles
The Progress Principle

Episode date: January 31, 2014
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Last year I was very slow in sending out Christmas cards. My wife suggested that now, in late January, instead of wishing friends a happy Christmas for 2013, it was more appropriate to send cards that read: “Best wishes for a warm Spring in 2014.” She could have added: “Best wishes for a Lent filled with purpose” or “Best wishes for a joyful Pascha.” However, during the last few days I have tackled this problem. For all those people whom I never see I have sent a single 2013 Christmas letter by email; and for those who do not have emails, I am, as the saying goes, “working on it.”

The gospel and epistle for today…

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A Voice From The Isles

A Voice From The Isles
Heart to Heart

Episode date: February 11, 2014
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Today marks the beginning of the Triodion which is a service book used throughout the great fast. Today of course is not the beginning of Great Lent but we are starting to prepare for this spring clean of the soul. Right at the very beginning, therefore, the Church in her wisdom puts before us the famous parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector. She does this because this particular parable, perhaps above all others, teaches us precisely how we should start, maintain and end our Christian lives. In short we could summarise this as: “shun pride, embrace humility.”  This is how St. Theophylact explains the matter:-
“Pride…

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Ancient Faith Commentaries

Ancient Faith Commentaries
Russia, Christianity, and the Olympics

Episode date: February 11, 2014
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Rick Warren had an enigma on his mantle:  a medallion of a double-headed eagle.  When I asked him if he knew what it meant, he admitted that he did not know, and asked me.  The double-headed eagle is the symbol of the Byzantine Empire, and that symbol carried through to Russia.  One eagle represents Church, and one the State.  The symbol shows the synergy between both.  Then, as now, there have been both benefits and drawbacks to such rule.  And still, even though our country is founded in opposition to such a principle (we have a one-headed eagle), it was the way of the Roman and Byzantine Empires for over…

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A Voice From The Isles

A Voice From The Isles
Rejoicing in Good

Episode date: February 19, 2014
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Sometimes it is better for a priest to preach one of the sermons of the Fathers, albeit there will be a children’s’ piece at the end of this.  Today I give you St. Cyril of Alexandria on the Parable of the Prodigal Son.  St. Cyril was the Patriarch of Alexandria from 412 to 444. He was enthroned when the city was at the height of its influence and power within the Roman Empire.  St. Cyril was arguably not a very likeable person but he is mainly commemorated for his stout defence of Orthodox teaching concerning the person and nature of Christ.  His theology therefore guides us still.  Here is an extract from his…

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A Voice From The Isles

A Voice From The Isles
The Judgement of Love

Episode date: February 26, 2014
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Meatfare Sunday is the last time we shall eat meat before Pascha but if we do not fast from every thought and action that is unloving, then our food fast is in vain.  By controlling our natural appetites we do stand a better chance of exercising compassion, which always requires the kind of selflessness that only self-denial encourages. 

There is nothing automatic about becoming a more loving person.  Fasting is a means to this end of becoming a more loving person, not the end in itself.  Fasting gives us a certain capacity for sacrificial love, but we still have to put our hands to the plough.  We still have…

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