Thursday, December 17, 2015

Why Are We Losing Our Orthodox Children?

Published on Dec 16, 2015
If we merely bring our children with us to church on Sunday, then we are not allowing them to make the Faith their own.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

What is an Icon?

What is Icon? A brief introduction in to Iconology by Vladislav Andrejev

Prayer in the Heart in a World of Distractions - Mother Victoria

Published on Aug 26, 2014
This lecture is called: Prayer in the Heart in a World of Distractions and was given by Abbess Mother Victoria who is the Abbess of Saint Barbara Monastery, Santa Paula, California (OCA).

This is the third in the 2014 adult catechism series “Acquiring the Mind of the Church” hosted by St Barnabas Orthodox Church in Costa Mesa, CA.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Your Prayer Rope by Fr David Smith

Published on Jun 20, 2014
Praying the Jesus Prayer. A talk by Greek Orthodox priest Fr. David Smith.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Confession - Purification of the Soul - Father Patrick O’Grady

Confession - Purification of the Soul - Father Patrick O’Grady
Published on Oct 6, 2015
This lecture is called: Confession: Purification of the Soul, was presented at our parish by Father Patrick O’Grady is Sr Priest at St Peter the Apostle, Pomona, CA California.

Fr Patrick speaks about the history of and the purpose of confession, (“why can’t I merely make my confession to God?”), the preparation for (e.g. how often; what should I confess), and how different traditions and jurisdictions regard or mandate confession as it relates to receiving the Holy Eucharist (must one make formal confession before each Eucharist?). The focus is on practical information that will help you value, understand and become more regular at the confessional.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Saint Porphyrios on Prayer

This is an audio excerpt read from the book Wounded by Love: The Life and Wisdom of Saint Porphyrios Paperback – March 1, 2005
by Elder Porphyrios (Author), John Raffan (Translator)
This book can be purchased from many sources including Amazon.com

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Sermon of Saint Porphyrios about Orthodox Christian Faith

Porphyrios (Bairaktaris) the Kapsokalivite


Elder Porphyrios
St Porphyrios (Bairaktaris) the Kapsokalyvite (1906-1991) was an 
Athonite hieromonk known for his gifts of spiritual discernment. 
He was officially recognized as a saint by the Ecumenical Patriarchate 
of Constantinople in 2013. His feast day is December 2. (from orthodoxwiki)

Friday, March 13, 2015

TO PARENTS WHO ARE GOING TO BAPTIZE THEIR CHILDREN

Matthew 9:14 - But Jesus said, "Let the children alone, and do not hinder them from coming to Me; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these."

Baptism in our church is a very serious and important sacrament.  Coming to Sunday services before and after baptism is expected to be a part of the life of the child being baptized and their family.

By accepting your child to be baptized, you are asking for them to be part of the living body of Christ. As they grow physically and spiritually, the church is the soil that the child needs in order to grow in their faith.

As no one would plant a tree and then rip it out of the soil, having a baptism only starts your child's journey to Christ and requires participation in Christ's Church to continue growing towards salvation.

Our faith is not an insurance policy but lived through our faith and participation in the living body of Christ as expressed in The Church.  As no one would buy a car and never drive it, the value of the baptism for your child is the beginning of their Christian journey that culminates in Salvation in Jesus Christ.

In life we get more out of something the more we put into it.  I pray you will take this sacrament seriously and will use it as a launching board if needed for your lives in Christ's Church, and not take your child away from Christ soon after they are received by Him.

We give our children the best of everything and I pray God will bless and enlighten your family on this spiritual journey that lasts a lifetime in The Church.  Christ's Church is where God dwells with us and gives us what we need in each of our steps towards salvation.

In Christ's Love,
Fr Ted Toppses

Friday, January 2, 2015

Can we have a personal Theophany?


Can we have a personal Theophany?  
by Fr Ted Toppses

A Theophany is a manifestation of God to mankind.  It can be to one person or many.   Our lives can sometimes be plagued by a lack of understanding and realization of God’s real presence.  This predicament is part of our fallen human nature that causes us to focus on the physical in a very dominant way rather than the spiritual.


We have heard it said that God speaks to man in a “still small voice” (1st Kings 19:12) and yet our Lord is the one who made heaven and earth.  To reconcile this seeming contradiction that the God of all speaks in a “still small voice” and is yet also the creator of all, who is infinite and all powerful, we must understand who we are as human beings and why spiritual realities seem often so far or imperceptible. 


The “still small voice” of God in truth is not a small voice at all, it is perceived that way because of who we are in a fallen human state.  When we make ourselves still, or quiet ourselves,  then with prayer God can be heard as a small voice which gets louder the more we pray in spirit and truth while the body is quiet.


Jesus while speaking to the woman at the well (St. Photini), he explains a profound truth about our communication with God.  Jesus said “But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” (John  4:23-24)


We are made in the likeness and image of God.  We are capable through Christ of union with God and can even become godlike.  And yet the fall of humanity occurred and our being contains fallen aspects.  Christ came and we are given the path and way to God and life. We are able to receive the blessing of these things through Jesus Christ our Lord and God.  As a result of the fall however we should remember that our humanity is focused in a dominant way on the physical. 


We are a composite being made of body and soul, we are our body and we also are our soul.  We are one person. 


For us to hear the “still small voice” which is not actually small at all, we must pray in spirit and truth.  The prayer in truth means that we pray according to the fullness that Christ and the saints gave us.  Our prayer should use the proper understanding of God and His creation. Praying in Spirit and is prayer with the Holy Spirit.


Prayer in truth is prayer that resonates with the understandings of the Orthodox faith which is the fullness of The Truth.  An example of prayer in this way is the quiet practice of the Jesus prayer.  “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner” This prayer contains many truths that profoundly express a proper belief in Christ and His Salvation.  Prayer is a connection with Christ through communication.  


We are speaking to God and not just throwing words out into the air.  The Jesus prayer has a declaration of Christ which when prayed humbly and fervently blesses us with the prayer of the Holy Spirit. 

Can we experience Theophany?  Yes we can.  Will we in this life? That is up to us and God.


We must reach out to God who is patiently awaiting our return from our prodigal living.  We can experience God all the time of our lives as long as we connect with Christ in unceasing prayer.  


This is accomplished the more we pray “in spirit and truth”.  The more we pray this way, we open up our perception to the things beyond the physical to see and feel God who is with us all the time.  

We can experience God who is our parent and loves us more than we know how to love.

So now is the time to act.  Attend the Liturgy, pray the liturgy, and receive Christ within you through Holy Communion.  Take the opportunity also in private to sit still and quietly pray in a peaceful and prayerful place that your heart may open up to receive the King of all invisibly escorted by Angelic Hosts Alleluia! 

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