The Holy Mystery

churchofthefrescoes24.jpg

From the Church of the Frescoes, near Valle Crucis, NC 

 On this day we commemorate the Institution of the Eucharist, the beginning of the on-going mystery of Christ in His Body, the Church. It all ties together now: the Body of Christ, present, feeding us who are Christ, active, serving Christ who is you, in the world.

This is not a symbol, not a recreation, not a memory game: this is Christ and so we sing:

Let all mortal flesh keep silence,
And with fear and trembling stand;
Ponder nothing earthly minded,
For with blessing in His hand,
Christ our God to earth descendeth,
Our full homage to demand. 

King of kings, yet born of Mary,
As of old on earth He stood,
Lord of lords, in human vesture,
In the body and the blood;
He will give to all the faithful
His own self for heavenly food. 

Rank on rank the host of heaven
Spreads its vanguard on the way,
As the Light of light descendeth
From the realms of endless day,
That the powers of hell may vanish
As the darkness clears away. 

At His feet the six wingèd seraph,
Cherubim with sleepless eye,
Veil their faces to the presence,
As with ceaseless voice they cry:
Alleluia, Alleluia
Alleluia, Lord Most High!

Let us die with him

Singing Matins and Vespers for Holy Monday we offer this verse:

As th Ge Lord was coming to his voluntary passion,
he said to his Apostles on the road,
‘See, we are going up to Jerusalem,
and the Son of man will be betrayed,
as it is written of him’.

Come then, let us too, with minds made pure,
journey with him,
and let us be crucified with him,
and for his sake become dead
to the pleasures of life,
that we may live with him
and hear him as he cries,

‘I am no longer going up
to the earthly Jerusalem to suffer,
but to my Father and your Father,
and to my God and your God.
And I shall raise you up with me
to the Jerusalem above,
in the kingdom of heaven’.

(Lauds of Monday & again during “Lord I Call” at Vespers)

That’s when it dawns on me that Holy Week is not primarily about a commemoration of the Passion and Death of the Messiah. Besides we have that event every time we break bread together in his name.  Holy week is, at heart, an initiatory rite.  It is about making us ready to die, in our selves, in order to be ready to participate in his Resurrection.  Naturally this is so: it is the time for baptisms.  But it is not only the newly illuminated that participate in Holy Week, it is all of us.

And like Confession is a little refresher in on the Baptism, Holy Week is a reminder of the death of self-will, the sacrifice of ego, the end of self-love that is required to really love God and our Neighbor. Only when the ego dies can we realize the Neighbor is us.  And God.

Daily Office 16 – 30 April

The Daily Offices for Morning and Evening Prayer in the Rite of St Tikhon. The readings are as assigned by the Antiochian Western Rite Vicariate, unofficially supplemented with other devotional material taken from the Breviary and the Psalter. Each MP/EP link will take you to a complete office, needing only the daily Psalter or, for MP, the Martyrology link.


  1.  Wednesday in Holy Week – MP – EP – Martyrology.
  2.  Maundy Thursday (Anicetus, PM) – MP – EP – Martyrology.
  3.  Good Friday – MP – EP – Martyrology.
  4.  Holy Saturday – MP – EP – Martyrology.
  5.  Sunday of the Resurrection – MP – EP – Martyrology.
  6.  Monday in Easter 8va – MP – EP – Martyrology.
  7.  Tuesday in Easter 8va – (Ss Soter and Caius Mm) – MP – EP – Martyrology.
  8.  Wednesday in Easter 8va – (George, M) – MP – EP – Martyrology.
  9.  Thursday in Easter 8va – MP – EP – Martyrology.
  10.  Friday within Easter 8va – MP – EP – Martyrology.
  11.  Saturday in Easter 8va – (Ss Cletus and Marcellinus Mm) – MP – EP – Martyrology.
  12.  Octave of Easter Low Sunday – MP – EP – Martyrology.
  13.  St Mark the Evangelist (xfer) – MP – EP – Martyrology.
  14.  Feria – MP – EP – Martyrology.
  15.  Feria – MP – EP – Martyrology.

Daily Office 1 – 15 April AD 2014

The Daily Offices for Morning and Evening Prayer in the Rite of St Tikhon. The readings are as assigned by the Antiochian Western Rite Vicariate, unofficially supplemented with other devotional material taken from the Breviary and the Psalter. Each MP/EP link will take you to a complete office, needing only the daily Psalter or, for MP, the Martyrology link.


  1.  Tuesday after Lent IV MPEP Martyrology.
  2.  Wednesday after Lent IV – MP – EP – Martyrology.
  3.  Thursday after Lent IV – MP – EP – Martyrology.
  4.  Friday after Lent IV (Isidore of Seville, BCD) – MPEPMartyrology.
  5.  Saturday before Passion SundayMPEPMartyrology.
  6.  Passion SundayMPEPMartyrology.
  7.  Monday in Passiontide – MPEPMartyrology.
  8.  St Tikhon of Moscow, BC (Tuesday in Passiontide) – MPEPMartyrology.
  9.  Wednesday in PassiontideMPEPMartyrology.
  10.  Thursday in Passiontide – MPEPMartyrology.
  11.  Friday in Passiontide (Leo the Great, BCD) — MP – EP – Martyrology.
  12.  Saturday in Passiontide – MP – EP – Martyrology.
  13.  Palm Sunday (Hermengild, M) – MP – EP – Martyrology.
  14.  Monday in Holy Week (Justin, M) – MP – EP – Martyrology.
  15.  Tuesday in Holy Week – MP – EP – Martyrology.

Ontology IV

I see conversations about human sexuality inside American Orthodoxy that are the same ones that happened in Anglicanism. It concerns me when we have conversations about sexuality without questioning our cultural assumptions about Ontology. In thinking about these things, I’ve published a new Essay called Ontology IV.

Evil Imaginations

So, I’m listening to “It’s Fun to Smoke Marijuana” on Freakonomics, a podcast from National Public Radio and I really needed to co to confession.  Not in a little way, mind you, but a big way.  The episode was all about Evil Imaginations. I’ve no idea what it is in Slavonic or Greek, in Russian it’s злые фантазии and it something like злые фантазии that Father Victor (Memory Eternal!) said to me when I confessed that:  I imainge I know what you’re thinking and then I judge for that imagination.  “We have a prayer about that. It’s called “злые фантазии, evil imaginations.”

Every vespers we pray that God will protect us form “Evil Imaginations”.

I’m amazed how often I fall into this: the assumption that I know what you’re thinking, the assumption that I won’t like what you’re thinking.  The NPR story calls bullshit on my pretensions: they are based solely on pride. I assume I’m more important than I really am and there we find the evil one’s intervention.  Our human pride allows us to be tricked into thinking we’re the center of the universe and, as that progresses, the anyone in the second or third person is a threat.

Daily Office 15-31 March AD 2014

The Daily Offices for Morning and Evening Prayer in the Rite of St Tikhon. The readings are as assigned by the Antiochian Western Rite Vicariate, unofficially supplemented with other devotional material taken from the Breviary and the Psalter. Each MP/EP link will take you to a complete office, needing only the daily Psalter or, for MP, the Martyrology link.


  1. Ember SaturdayMPEPMartyrology.
  2. Sunday 2 LentMPEPMartyrology.
  3. Monday 2 Lent (St Patrick, BC, Joseph of Arimathea, C) – MPEPMartyrology.
  4. St Cyril of Jerusalem, BCD (Tuesday 2 Lent, St Edward, KM) – MPEPMartyrology.
  5. St Joseph, Spouse of the BVM (Wednesday 2 Lent) – MPEPMartyrology.
  6. Thursday 2 Lent MPEPMartyrology.
  7. St Benedict, Abbot (Friday 2 Lent) – MPEPMartyrology.
  8. Saturday 2 LentMPEPMartyrology.
  9. Sunday 3 LentMP EPMartyrology.
  10. Monday 3 Lent (St Gabriel the Archangel) MPEPMartyrology.
  11. The Annunciation to the BVM (Tuesday 3 Lent)- MPEPMartyrology.
  12. Wednesday 3 Lent  – MPEPMartyrology.
  13. Thursday 3 Lent (St John Damascene, CD) – MPEPMartyrology.
  14. Friday 3 LentMPEPMartyrology.
  15. Saturday 3 LentMPEPMartyrology.
  16. Sunday 4 LentMPEPMartyrology.
  17. Monday 4 Lent (St Innocent of Alaska, BC) – MPEPMartyrology.