Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Be My Valentine


What does it really mean to be someone’s Valentine?

There are some who mock the association of the Feast of St. Valentine with lovers, but they have missed the point of true love. If you truly love, you are being someone’s Valentine.

Monday, January 2, 2017

An Orthodox Monk

I wrote a blog post on Friday, 30 December 2016. I was just about to post it when I took a phone call from the rector of the Russian Orthodox Cathedral. He had some bad news to tell me. Someone I knew had passed away. The prayer service was that evening and the funeral the next morning at the Cathedral. I put what I was doing on hold, made a phone call, took care of a few things, such as make supper for my wife, and got ready to go to the funeral home.

I’ve been to many prayer services and funerals, even for priests. A few were rather extraordinary, but this was unlike any I had been to before.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Great Martyr Anastasia the Deliverer from Potions

I had planned to go to Liturgy at a parish in my eparchy on the Julian calendar today to celebrate the Conception by Saint Anne of the Most Holy Theotokos, but there didn’t seem to be the usual morning Liturgy at that parish, so I went to my home parish a few blocks south. On the Gregorian and Revised Julian calendars today, we commemorate the Great Martyr Anastasia the Deliverer from Potions, also known as Anastasia the Healer. While I chose today to post my previous blog due to today’s feast on the Old calendar, a secondary topic of my recently revised book is very relevant to today’s commemoration of St. Anastasia on the New calendars.

St. Anastasia received the honour of “Deliverer of Potions,” or Φαρμακολύτρια (Pharmakolytria), due to many healings from the effects of potions, poisons, spells and other harmful substances through her prayers and intercessions. Not only is the root of Pharmakolytria, φάρμακον (pharmakon), the origin of the English word pharmaceutical, there’s only an iota of difference between the beginning of St. Anastasia’s name (Ἀναστασία) and the origin of word anesthesia, ἀναίσθητος (anaisthetos). While the root of St. Anastasia’s name, ἀνάστασις (anastasis) means “resurrection from the dead,” the origin of the word anesthesia, ἀναίσθητος (anaisthetos) means “without feeling or perception.”

The Reason I Became Catholic: My Wife

Since beginning RCIA and then being received into the Roman Catholic Church on 11 March 1993, I have often been accused of becoming Catholic simply because my wife was Catholic. More often than not, such benign accusations have been in the presence of my mother-in-law, who’s been quick to answer, “That’s not true,” and would then prompt me to explain the rest.

In truth, it was around a three year process, including the process of RCIA, of me carefully studying the teachings of the Catholic Church before I was fully initiated as a Catholic. So while it is true that I didn’t simply become Catholic because my wife was Catholic, what motivated me to more fully investigate the Catholic Church was my marriage to a Roman Catholic. One could also say that I transferred ascription to the Ukrainian Catholic Church because I was married to a Ukrainian Catholic, but it would be better to say that my wife simply preceded me by nine years to the Church we had both been moving towards all our lives.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Commemorate the Saint, but have some Fun

Thirteen days ago, Deacon Steven D. Greydanus wrote on his NCR blog: “Today is the feast day of St. Nicholas, original inspiration of Santa Claus or Father Christmas, and beloved figure of irascible social-media memes celebrating the famous incident in which the good bishop, attending the Council of Nicea, became so enraged at Arius’s blasphemies that he struck him.”

It’s been a few years since I read about that incident, but I’m not sure the words “so enraged” correctly describes it. The words I remember were, “filled with righteous anger,” but the Saint of the Day podcast on Ancient Faith Radio does say, “so incensed with the blasphemies of Arius.”

Nonetheless, today on the Julian calendar is the feastday of our Father Among the Saints, Nicholas, the Wonderworker and Archbishop of Myra.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

What Do Santa Claus and the Chemical Imbalance Have in Common?

Before settling my brain for a long winter’s nap tonight, I happened to glance at my email. I noticed that my email newsletter from Mad in America was at the top of my inbox and displayed in the main panel. This would not have normally been a problem, but I accidentally had a four hour nap this afternoon rather than a twenty minute nap and I noticed this at the top of the Mad in America email: “What Do Santa Claus and the Chemical Imbalance Have in Common?”

Thursday, October 13, 2016

There is no substitute

When I first began playing drums, there were two drummers that I modelled my style on: John Bonham and Keith Moon. Although, I preferred the style of John Bonham, the example of Keith Moon was more comfortable to follow because it was easy and took little effort for me to accidentally play cool stuff than to actually know what I was doing. I rethought this after my drum instructor once said to me, “Russell, there was only one Keith Moon,” and I thought about the technical superiority of Kenney Jones, Keith Moon’s replacement after he was dead.