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Pro-Life Liturgy

From the April 2019 Print Edition

An icon of the Annunciation appears on the central altar doors of every Orthodox Christian church. The “royal doors” are double doors, so the icon is a diptych, with Gabriel on the left and Mary on the right. As a young child, I found the movement of this icon mesmerizing as the doors opened and . . . . Continue Reading »

“Does the Council Matter to my Mother?”

From Web Exclusives

This question was posed at the Orthodox Theological Society of America’s (OTSA) conference held last month. It was asked in reference to the anticipated Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Church planned for Pentecost 2016. It was offered tongue-in-cheek and was directed at the speculation about whether anything of substance will come out of the Council, but it expressed well the hopes and concerns held by the scholars of the Orthodox Church. Continue Reading »

Purify Her Uncleanness

From Web Exclusives

These words come from the Orthodox Christian childbearing rites contained in the liturgical handbook, the Great Book of Needs. The first few lines are from “Prayers on the First Day after a Woman has Given Birth to a Child,” or the “First Day” prayers, which are prayed by a priest at a new mother’s bedside soon after birth. The last few lines are from “Prayers for a Woman on the Fortieth Day of Childbirth,” or the “Churching” prayers, which are said when a woman first returns to church with her newborn… . Continue Reading »

Under Her Heart

From Web Exclusives

A favorite parlor game of mine is to ask literary-minded friends to name important works of fiction which not only have mothers as primary characters, but feature rich explorations of motherhood. If the topic were otherwise—What works from the canon feature meditations on death? Explorations of romantic love? Or even fatherhood?  Continue Reading »