Sister Vassa (Larin) has begun a podcast series on Psalm 50. When I was a Protestant, I knew it as Psalm 51. I like what Sister Vassa has to say about the psalm. She reads it as the prayer of a guy who is eaten up by guilt. Indeed, the psalm is about King David’s internal messiness after committing adultery with Bathsheba and having her husband Uriah the Hittite killed. But it is also a liturgical prayer, which means that… Read more

On Pentecost, we in the Byzantine churches have Kneeling Vespers. To the extent that we aren’t latinized, we’ll do something like the full Vespers service, not just the kneeling prayers. The problem is that the thoroughly non-latinized priest at my church had a hip replacement and broke his ankle. He can’t kneel, and neither can the six other Ukrainian babas in their nineties. So what happened is that I knelt and we sang the ‘Heavenly King’ together: Heavenly King, Paraclete, Spirit… Read more

Lord, I am here. Lord, I am yours. ‘A human being today feels the need to belong to a community that holds the same values regarding family, culture, nation, language, profession, vocation.’ How predictable, someone might say upon realizing that these are the meditations of the Kyivan Church on the Sunday of the Holy Fathers, this third of our Mission Days. Is this not exactly the sentiment that drove the protests on the Maidan, for which Ukrainians have been roundly framed as… Read more

Come, O faithful, let us climb the Mount of Olives with the apostles, let us lift our minds and hearts on high. Let us behold the Lord as He is taken up. Let us cry out with joy and thanksgiving. Glory to Your ascension, O most holy one. (Aposticha for Ascension Thursday). The meditation of the Kyivan Church on this second of the Mission Days begins curiously: ‘Human beings today are deeply concerned how they are viewed by others. However,… Read more

I am not in the Latin Church because I would be pretentious af. I cannot further explicate what ‘af’ means, not without violating the PG rating here on Patheos. If you do not know what ‘af’ is but wish you did, you may consult Urban Dictionary. I am already pretentious enough as it is. How could I not be? I grew up Protestant evangelical in a suburb of San Francisco, which means that I am not even from San Francisco… Read more

When You had fulfilled Your plan for us and united things on earth with those in heaven, You ascended in glory, O Christ our God, in no way distant but remaining inseparable, You cried to those who love You: I am with You and there is none against You. (Kondak for Ascension Thursday). When I visited my friend Julian Hayda’s apartment for the first time, I noticed in his icon corner that there was a cross literally suspended from the… Read more

Around the time I entered junior high, my mom decided that it was time that I put my piano skills to use. In our family, playing the piano was not a class thing, at least not in the sense that my other friends were pushed to go to festivals, win competitions, and put it on their college applications. My mother said that the whole point of learning music was to be able to serve God. What that meant practically was… Read more

Patriarch Sviatoslav has issued an invitation. The Greek-Catholic Church of Kyiv, also known as the Ukrainian Greco-Catholic Church, is a missionary church with an evangelical spirit. We are not an ethnic club, and our church is not only for ethnic Ukrainians. We are, as it is often said among us, a church from Ukraine for the world. I am proof that this is possible, as is our temple in Richmond and our mission in Chicago. We are part of what… Read more

I was out with a friend who worships and works in the Latin Church last night. If you want to know what we were doing, we were seeing Hamilton. We liked it. Over dinner, I mentioned to him that this was a great way of celebrating the leave-taking of Pascha. It was the end of the Pascha season for me last night on the Old Calendar. For me, Ascension Thursday is today. He is, of course, a week ahead of me… Read more

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