Nativity Encyclical 2011

Beloved Children in the Lord,

Solomon, the wisest of kings, prophesies in his Proverbs: Wisdom hath builded herself a house, and hath set up seven pillars. She hath killed her beasts, she hath mingled her wine in a bowl, and hath prepared a table. She hath sent forth her servants, calling with a loud proclamation to the feast, saying, Whoso is foolish, let him turn aside unto me; and to them that want understanding she saith, Come, eat of my bread, and drink the wine which I have mingled for you. (Prov. 9: 1-5)

Today Jesus Christ, the Wisdom of God, fulfills this prophesy. He takes on human flesh and builds the house of His body, being born of the most pure Lady the Theotokos. So doing, He joins together God and man, and makes the two one. He calls each one of us to his spiritual banquet and to share in the Kingdom of Heaven.

During the sixth century after Christ’s incarnation, the great Emperor Justinian built an earthly temple, Hagia Sophia, dedicated to the Wisdom of God. This was the greatest church in the history of Christianity, and it served as a perfect reflection on earth of God’s majesty and glory. Keeping in mind how the economy of our salvation was inaugurated when the Wisdom of God deigned to be born in human flesh in the manger, Justinian chose to dedicate the church on the day of Christmas.

Now, our own Metropolis is celebrating Christmas by building an exact copy of Hagia Sophia at our spiritual center, Holy Ascension Monastery. The Fathers of the Monastery have toiled throughout the Christmas Fast to have the foundations finished in time for the Nativity of our Savior. We pray that God will bless this holy work, that His name might be glorified on earth by all men. Just as the pagans in times of old were converted upon seeing the church of Hagia Sophia, so we also entreat the Savior that this holy temple will bring the erring to the way of Truth and Wisdom, and be a source of consolation to the faithful in these troubled times.

Let us then hearken to the voice of the Wisdom of God calling us to celebrate the feast of the Nativity of Jesus Christ and to help, each as he can, in this blessed work. Let us imitate the Wise Men in bringing our gifts to Him, so that like them, we may receive grace and mercy from our Savior. Thus we will glorify His holy name and receive His blessing.

May the Child lying in the manger be with you all on this joyous day.

Your fervent intercessor,

Pavlos of America

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...


Saints Peter and Paul Orthodox Mission, Tucson, Arizona

Saints Peter and Paul Orthodox Church is a beautiful mission parish near downtown Tucson, a city in southern Arizona. It was started in 1997 by Father John Bockman, who was a missionary Priest formerly serving missions in Tennessee and Massachusetts since 1990. Father John served the faithful in Tucson and the surrounding area in his home Chapel until his repose in November of 2000. His wife, Presbytera Valerie, continued to make her home Chapel available for the mission, with clergy from Saint Nectarios Orthodox Church in Seattle and His Eminence, Metropolitan Moses of Toronto (then of Portland), visiting to provide the Divine Services.


2021 St. Xenia Camp

Greetings St. Xenia Camp family,

As previously announced, through the intercessions of St. Xenia, the prayers of so many of you, and with the blessing of Metropolitan Demetrius, St. Xenia Camp 2021 will return to Forest Acres in Fryeburg, Maine August 15-21! Given the continued impact of COVID-19, camp this year may yet be somewhat different from the past Forest Acres experiences. We are sharing this information ahead of registration so that all families can make an informed decision on whether they feel comfortable sending their camper(s) this year. [Read more...]


Ask A Priest


Q. There seems to be a lot of variation in how people observe fasting, but my confessor told me to fast from oil on Wednesday and Friday. Oil is a pretty vague category, though, and I was wondering if I could get a more explicit description of what kinds of food and drink are excluded on strict fast days. Read more...