God And Clothes

I have a new post in the “Our Faith” section of the church website going up soon.  Here is an excerpt – you can read the rest there:

We are all familiar with the story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden and their disobedience to God. The story forms the basis of our Orthodox understanding of humanity – we are imperfect beings striving to continuously improve and live holy lives. One of the many facets of the story is the introduction of the idea of shame – Adam and Eve, after sinning, become aware that they are naked and, in the brief verse 21 in Genesis 3, we learn that God made “garments of skin” for them to wear. This is an interesting detail (and in the Bible the details have meaning – they are never just added for color). Why did God choose to make clothes from animal skins rather than from a plant-based material?

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January 4th, 2018 by Fr. Greg

Look For The Lion

I have a new “Our Faith” article up on the church’s website.  Below is the first paragraph:

If you look at the iconography and artwork in Orthodox churches you will see a veritable menagerie of animals. Those depicted include both real and imaginary creatures – peacocks, dragons, horses, two-headed eagles, and many more. Often, if you look carefully enough, there is also, amidst all of this fauna, a lion.

Read the rest of it here.

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January 25th, 2016 by Fr. Greg

John Chrysostom, Warhol And Beards

Today was the feast of St. John Chrysostom, who is remembered for many things, not the least which is the liturgy which bears his name and is the one we celebrate most Sundays of the year (outside of Lent).  Chrysostom actually passed away on Sept. 14 – the Feast of the Holy Cross – so both the Western and Eastern churches gave him a different feast day than the day he reposed.  The West celebrates him on the day before he fell asleep, while in the East we celebrate his feast on Nov. 13, which is a day that a church in his honor was dedicated.

I mentioned the Western – Catholic – church above, which may surprise some people.  Chrysostom is like St. Patrick and many other saints who are strongly identified with one tradition but, since they did their work before the schism, are celebrated in both the Orthodox and Catholic Churches.  Andy Warhol – a lifelong practicing Byzantine Catholic – grew up attending St. John Chrysostom Byzantine Catholic church in Pittsburgh (more here).

Where am I going with this?  In Orthodox icons Chrysostom is depicted with a trim beard and is very slender – a result of his ascetic practices.  Below is a typical example.  When I was in the seminary – this would have been about ten years ago – a group of us visited St. John’s Seminary in Brighton to meet some of our Catholic colleagues and tour the campus.  We were taken through a residence hall and I saw a portrait of Chrysostom that featured him with a long, flowing beard.  It struck me as strange because I was used to seeing his trim beard in Orthodox icons.  So the two traditions show him differently.  This being ten years ago, I did not have a phone on my little flip cell phone.  Today I would have snapped (does that term apply to smartphone cameras?) a picture and immediately uploaded it to Twitter or Facebook.  Oh well!


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November 13th, 2013 by Fr. Greg

The Ornaments Are In!!!

The official Sts. Anargyroi ornaments have arrived!  Enosis-Philoptochos will be selling them after church on Godparents Sunday – this Sunday – as well as at the Grecian Festival on Labor Day weekend.  They come in a handsome box and make great gifts.  You can use them as Christmas ornaments and display them the rest of the year in the box on a desk or mantle if you wish.





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May 30th, 2013 by Fr. Greg

Bottom Of The Sixth?

One of the ways in which we are trying to teach our children about art is by buying old calendars – usually in January bookstores and mall kiosks have calendars that didn’t get sold at Christmas for sale at a huge discount.  I usually find our house calendar in the same way – last year it was an awesome Mucha collection while this year we have a new Beatles photo to look forward to each month.  Disappointingly, despite the Mucha find, not many art calendars seem to be available.  I don’t think this is because they all sold out – I imagine they just are not big sellers.  In kiosks and stores dedicated exclusively to calendars I found very few featuring  artists, while there are seemingly hundreds with dogs, horses and other themes.  One art calendar I did find was this Norman Rockwell Saturday Evening Post collection.  This week we are going over Bottom Of The Sixth from April 23, 1949 (see below).

You can read an analysis of the painting here.  The painting shows umpires deciding whether or not to delay or call a baseball game due to rain.  There is a hint of sun above the third ump’s head, so there is a chance the game could continue.  What I find interesting is that the title (and the scoreboard reflects this) has the game in the bottom of the sixth inning, meaning that if the game is called then Pittsburgh would win, since a game is official after five innings.  Yet Rockwell has the Brooklyn manager pointing to the sky with glee, implying that a rainout would benefit the Dodgers.  The Pirates skipper, whose team would win in a rainout, looks upset.   Did Rockwell make a mistake in having the game in the sixth inning?  Or is Brooklyn’s manager pointing to the sun coming out?  I favor the former idea, since the rain dominates and the manager looks gleeful.

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March 6th, 2013 by Fr. Greg

The Angel In The Floor

One day while in the altar at Sts. Anargyroi Vasili said to me “have you seen the angel in the floor?”.  He pointed at a seemingly random pattern in the marble, roughly between the prothesis and the altar table, so not really visible from outside.  And there it was, clear as day – the outline of an angel.  How did it get there?  I will leave it up to you to form an opinion.  It may well just be random, but I am going with what Hunter wrote in Ripple: “that was not made by the hands of men”.  Below are photos Demetri took.  One is unadorned and the other is enhanced to help you make it out.

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June 23rd, 2012 by Fr. Greg

Fun At The Icon Museum

This is a picture of the girls decorating Christmas ornaments at the Museum of Russian Icons in nearby Clinton (about 12 miles door-to-door from Sts. Anargyroi).  Last Saturday was “Family Day” at the museum and it was pretty cool – in addition to the usual exhibits there were ornament and cookie decorating stations as well as story readings and tours.  Our visit was partially a reconnaissance mission – next year we will definitely make this a church outing for our youth.

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December 20th, 2011 by Fr. Greg