The Spiritual Watch

Below, please find the first issue of The Spiritual Watch, the new publication of the Metropolis of America, published with the blessings of His Eminence, Metropolitan Demetrius of America. In The Spiritual Watch, you will find news and information regarding our Holy Metropolis, as well as spiritual writings.

The Spiritual Watch

Quote From the Fathers

Watchfulness is like Jacob's Ladder: God is at the top while the angels climb it. It rids us of everything bad, cuts out loose chatter, abuse, backbiting, and all other evil practices of this kind. Yet in doing this, not for an instant does it lose its own sweetness.
—St. Hesychios the Priest, On Watchfulness and Holiness.

About the Fast

The feast of the Resurrection, Pascha, is the most important feast of the liturgical year. In order to prepare for this great day, the Church has appointed a time of fasting and preparation, which is called Great Lent. Great Lent begins on Clean Monday (February 10/23 this year), and lasts 40 days. After the 40 days, we begin Holy Week with the Feast of the Raising of Lazarus and Palm Sunday.

There are five Sundays during Lent:

  1. Sunday of Orthodoxy
  2. St. Gregory Palamas
  3. The Holy Cross
  4. St. John of the Ladder
  5. St. Mary of Egypt

In addition, there are multiple other commemorations that the Church has arranged for our spiritual edification.

How do I Fast?

If you are new to fasting, or are not sure you have been doing it properly, know that the first step is to find an experienced spiritual father; a priest or monk of our Metropolis, or of one of the monasteries or parishes of our Church in Greece. Fasting is not a discipline that can be self-directed, and should be part of a balanced spiritual life including attendance at the Divine Services, private prayer at home, acts of charity, and the reading of Holy Scripture.

The general rules of Lent are simple; Monday through Friday are strict fast, when we refrain from meat, dairy, fish, olive oil, and wine. Saturday and Sunday we are permitted wine and oil.

If you are elderly, very young, sickly, or new to fasting, your spiritual father may give you a rule of fasting that is less strict than that which is described here. This is because fasting is not a set of rules and regulations, but a spiritual medicine that the spiritual father, as your spiritual doctor, determines will be for your benefit, taking in to account your state in life. We should refrain from judging those who do not fast as strictly as we do, while praying that they will grow in strength to do so.

In addition, there are extra services such as the Presanctified Liturgy and the Salutations that are prayed during the weekdays of Lent, and we should make every effort to attend these.

Fasting will be of no benefit to us, however, if we do not love our neighbors more than ourselves. Fasting is a tool in our arsenal against the Evil One, but it is useless if we bite the head off of our brother.

If you are living far away from a Church and cannot attend the services during Lent, contact our missions department below for advice on how to participate as best as you can. Spiritual growth is open to you even if you live a great distance.

Finally, dear readers, we pray that you will include us in your prayers, those who prepare this site for you, that we will remain firm, crossing the Sea of the Fast, and arriving at Pascha prepared.

The Icon of Christ used in the above banner is copyright Holy Transfiguration Monastery, Boston, MA, and used by permission.

About the Church

The Church of the Genuine Orthodox Christians (GOC) of America is The Traditionalist Orthodox Church serving the faithful of North and South America following the old (Julian) calendar. Having its roots in the Diocese of Astoria, founded by Metropolitan Petros (Astyfides) in 1954, it presently consists of two Metropolises (America and Toronto) and two dioceses (Etna and Portland, and Boston), shepherded by five hierarchs, under the Presidency of His Eminence, Metropolitan Demetrius of America.

The Church of the GOC of America is an autonomous Eparchy whose Mother Church is The Holy Synod of the Church of the GOC of Greece, under the Presidency of His Beatitude Archbishop Kallinikos of Athens and All Greece. The bishops belonging to the Eparchial Synod are also members of the Holy Synod of the Church of Greece. We resist the heresy of Ecumenism.

Orthodox Awareness

Hero-Worshipping: the Sickness of our Holy Struggle

“Trust ye not in princes, in the sons of men, in whom there is no salvation.”
(Psalm 145:3)

We mustn’t have absolute trust in human beings for our salvation, no matter what dignity they have. Human beings are changeable. Today they are saints, tomorrow—deniers. Today—sinners, tomorrow—righteous. We must have absolute trust in God, and in Him we must base our hopes of salvation. “Blessed is he of whom the God of Jacob is his help, whose hope is in the Lord his God” (Psalm 145:5). Read more...

Missions

Saint Matthew the Evangelist, Jonesboro, Arkansas

Jonesboro is a town located near the Eastern border of Arkansas, with a population of approximately 60,000. From a human standpoint, it’s not the most likely candidate for a traditional Orthodox mission, but for an Orthodox Christian who orders his priorities around Christ and His Church, it makes perfect sense. Read more...

Ask A Priest

Is the GOC Insular?

Q. In considering becoming part of the GOC in America, I am getting warnings from various circles that the attitude of GOC people is that of being “walled off,” “arrogant,” “judgmental,” and “in your face” toward those not in the Genuine Orthodox Church, with accusations such as “World Orthodox” priests are “not even Christians” and the like. Could you give me your personal, realistic assessment of this dynamic and possibly refer me to an official statement on how GOC members should and do relate to and communicate with those in “World Orthodoxy”? Read more...