Christian baptism is about conversion, as a quick look at the Orthodox liturgical texts reveals. Questions are addressed to the candidate, requiring him or her to renounce Satan, and to seal this renunciation by spitting upon him.
I wrote this as a letter to a non-Orthodox friend who was coming to visit my church–way back in 1993, not long after my chrismation. I’m amazed at how widely it has been used by churches, and even translated into different languages. I guess it works pretty well. Hope you find it useful, too.
Protopresbyter Thomas Hopko (1939–2015) was professor of dogmatic theology and served as dean of Saint Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary. Alongside his numerous books and articles, Father Thomas was also renowned as a gifted speaker and homilist.
Forefeast of the Theophany of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The first day of the Forefeast of Theophany falls on January 2. Like the hymns for the Nativity, many of the Church’s hymns of this period are slightly modified versions of the hymns of Holy Week.
Forefeast of the Theophany of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
In these extreme situations of isolation, in moments of despair and depression, which are common today, when you feel suppressed, in these moments, you have only one opportunity left—a very great, very, very great opportunity—the opportunity to talk with God.
Each year one of my favourite Christmas songs is an old novelty song called Snoopy’s Christmas, released in 1967 by the Royal Guardsmen as a follow-up to their previous hit Snoopy vs. the Red Baron. (Those who are too young to have heard it or oldsters like me who enjoy a stroll down memory lane may find the song here.)
Not as the world gives, do I give unto you” (John 14:27). But does this promise of our Lord apply not only to His peace, but to other blessings as well. Could it be, for example, that the self-confidence of a Christian needs to be very different from the self-confidence that the world offers us? We endlessly seek approval from others, not just in direct interactions, but in poring over responses on social media, avid to fill ourselves up with positive appraisals and perceptions of ourselves by others.
The Internet provides an unprecedented amount of information on virtually any topic, all at the click of a mouse. Fly-fishing, cat videos, comic book collecting, the history of woodcarving, how to knit sweaters for your dog – it’s all out there. Some of it is even useful.