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Everyone Capable of Thanksgiving is Capable of Salvation

Fr. Schmemann captures the spirit of thanksgiving.

Fr. Alexander Schmemann

Protopresbyter Alexander Schmemann was the Dean of St. Vladimir’s Seminary from 1962 until his death in 1983. Hundreds of SVOTS alumni were trained under his keen mind, warm humor, and guiding principle: “A seminarian should know only three paths: to the classroom, to the library, and to the chapel.” Father Alexander celebrated the Divine Liturgy for the last time on Thanksgiving Day, 1983. This is the homily he delivered on that day:

Everyone capable of thanksgiving is capable of salvation and eternal joy.

Thank You, O Lord, for having accepted this Eucharist, which we offered to the Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and which filled our hearts with the joy, peace and righteousness of the Holy Spirit.

Thank You, O Lord, for having revealed Yourself unto us and given us the foretaste of Your Kingdom.

Communion of the Apostles, Patriarchate Of Pec, Serbia. Photo credit:…

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Letter to Government

Nick Baines's Blog

This is the text of a letter I have sent to the Prime Minister and which will be referenced in national media tomorrow.

Recognising the complexities of such matters and the difficult role of the Prime Minister in them, I wrote the letter as a constructive stimulus to discussion of the wider questions provoked by what is happening in Iraq, Syria and elsewhere. Attempting to fix the immediate will prove costly in every respect, if we don’t have a long-term, overarching and holistic vision for what we – along with other governments, agencies and partners (such as the churches) – need to achieve. The lack of clarity about such a comprehensive and coherent vision is being commonly remarked upon, and my letter seeks concisely and respectfully to elicit some response to these serious questions.

Dear Prime Minister,

Iraq and IS

I am conscious of the speed at which events are…

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The Powerful Hand, Derek Neufeld’s New Worship Music Release

The Powerful Hand is a music project created over the course of two years or so. All the material came out of songs I wrote for Sunday mornings at a church community called the Kansas City Boiler Room. While the music was written for the purpose of congregational worship, we wanted to make something a bit more authentic in expression than traditional formulas of contemporary worship music. At the same time, we wanted it to be worship in spirit and in truth. So thematically, the vast majority of the album is taken from scripture or hymns. The form of the album very loosely follows a liturgical structure. There is ascent, repentance, thanksgiving, and resurrection, of course.  I came under the impression at some point in the process of writing worship songs that a lot of people in the past have “said it better.” By this, I mean the psalms, ancient hymns, prayers, etc. Writing a ‘new song unto the Lord’ is often best done through echoing ancient words through the filter of your own honest, musical expression.

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Advent – living between the first and second coming of Christ

The coming of Christ is the beginning of Christianity. Christians are those who know that Christ has come and who look for his final appearing, the hope of glory. To re-member is an essential element of our worship. Recalling the past coming of Christ prepares us for his future return. This is how we remain a Eucharistic community, remembering his incarnation, death, resurrection, ascension and final return.

Christ is the fulfillment of all of Israel’s prophetic hopes and expectations. He is the true Vine, the true Israelite who fulfilled all righteousness, a righteousness never achieved until the incarnation of the God-Man, fully divine and fully human, who stretched out his arms upon the cross, a perfect sacrifice for the whole world. Thus, Christ is the True Man, the Second Adam, who remained perfectly obedient, victorious under trial and faithful to the completion of his redemptive mission.

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Happy New Year! A look at the Christian Calendar

The Liturgical Cycle and the Sanctification of Time

The Church is preparing to enter the New Year, commencing this first Sunday of Advent, December 2nd.  In structuring our lives and worship around the liturgical cycle of the Church calendar, we seek to sanctify time. Something mysteriously happens in and through all of our feasts, as we offer up worship to the King of Glory. Something happens in my life as I fix my eyes on Jesus in the liturgical cycle of the Church. This is what Alexander Schmemann calls the sanctification of time.1 You see, in the fall of the human race, time began to travel towards death. Psychologists have observed that the human condition is always attempting to escape the ultimate awareness of death. To live in time is to know and observe finality. The young eventually grow old. Nothing is permanent. Thus, time is the very icon, a picture of our fallen world under death’s reign.

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