Transcripts

From the Amvon

From the Amvon

The First Rung in the Ladder: Renunciation of the World

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Fr. John shares from St. John Climacus and 1 John 2:15-17.

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

I often hear people say that spiritually they’re still struggling with the first rung of The Ladder of Divine Ascent, and one thing I would say about that is that we should all understand is that as long as we are sincerely struggling and trusting in God in his mercy, we can be saved, no matter how spiritually advanced we may or may not be. But I wonder how many people would say…

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From the Amvon

Reconciliation with God

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Fr. John shares from the life of St. Mary of Egypt.

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

In the first gospel reading, Christ plainly tells his disciples what was about to happen. They were on their way to Jerusalem for the last time, and the disciples knew that this was a dangerous move because it put Christ’s enemies in a position to get at him, and they were well aware of the fact that they wanted to get after him. So his disciples were afraid. He said, “Behold, we go…

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From the Amvon

War, Capital Punishment, and the Sixth Commandment

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Fr. John continues his series on the Sixth Commandment.

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

At one time or another, you’ve probably heard someone try to make the argument that the Scriptures teach that Christian participation in war or military service is contrary to the Gospel, or that the death penalty is contrary to what the Scriptures teach. You might even have heard some Orthodox Christians that have made this claim about the Orthodox tradition. Last week we talked about what…

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From the Amvon

Thou Shalt Not Kill

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Fr. John shares his homily on the Sixth Commandment.

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

If you know your Bible trivia, you may know that the shortest verse of the Bible in English is John 11:35, which says, “Jesus wept.” But the shortest verse in the Bible in the original language is actually not that verse, because in Greek it’s three words. The shortest verse is actually—there’s three verses that are tied, and that would be the sixth, seventh, and…

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From the Amvon

Hate and Racism

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Fr. John talks about our Christian response to current events.

In recent weeks, we’ve heard a lot of talk about hate. Those who disagree with the gay marriage decision of the Supreme Court have routinely been called haters by those that are celebrating that decision. And, on the other hand, we’ve recently had a racist who, in South Carolina, went to a black church and killed nine people because he hated black people, and he said he wanted to start a race war.

So, what does it really mean to hate, and how should…

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From the Amvon

What is the Significance of the Feast of the New Martyrs of Russia?

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Fr. John shares stories of martyrdom and encourages us to prepare for our own.

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

Particularly if you’re not from a Russian background, you might ask, “What is the significance of celebrating the new martyrs and confessors of Russia to us here today in Houston, Texas?” The answer to that question is found in one of the earliest accounts of the martyrs, actually the very earliest account of the martyrs outside of the New Testament: the martyrdom of Polycarp.…

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From the Amvon

True and False Unity

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Fr. John addresses the differences between true and false unity as it relates to the Orthodox Church and Roman Catholicism.

In the Gospel reading which we’ve just heard, Christ prayed, “Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are.” (John 17:11) What does it mean for Christians to be “one”, and what, exactly, was Christ praying for?

The Fathers tell us that this refers to the one-ness of mind and the union of purpose, and the bond of mutual love that we, as believers, are to have, and…

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From the Amvon

Does Doctrine Matter?

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Fr. John shares his homily from the Sunday of Orthodoxy.

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. As we celebrate the Sunday of Orthodoxy and we hear so much in the service about the purity of the faith and the triumph of Orthodoxy, one question we have to ask in our time is: Does doctrine really matter? Because to so many people, it doesn’t, but to even those who are in the Church, one could get the impression that doctrine doesn’t matter much to them because they don’t take the…

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