Happy Father’s Day!

Happy Father’s Day to those of you who are fathers of any kind:

dads,

grandfathers,

godfathers,

step fathers,

adoptive fathers,

spiritual fathers

and all the rest.

I’ve confessed to taking more photos of nature than of people, and so realize my collection of father photos is limited.

So I have to put on my Father’s Day photo blog, Father Abraham, who is said to be FATHER to three major religions:  Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

Some men are respected as dads, even if they weren’t the real father.  Even the bible says of the good man Joseph he was only “supposed” to be the father of Jesus.

Above is John Adams a founding FATHER of the United States of America.  He also was our second president.

In Orthodoxy we have the Patristic FATHERS to honor as well.

Some fathers, tend to be more behind the scenes type dads – they stay out of the limelight after fathering their offspring.  The antlers on the one above show this deer is also a king of the hill type guy.

Some dads are real family type men and spend a lot of time in the water with their kids.

Some dads are pretty demanding and they keep the rest of the family in line.  Age comes with certain rights of respect from the younger males.

Sometimes dads share wisdom with their grandchildren, and sometimes they share bad habits!   But today to all dads, happy Father’s Day.  May God grant you many years!

Holy = Saint

While in English we use separate words – holy and saint – in Greek these worlds both translate to the one word “agios”. We should remember that saint and holy are the same word.  Saint John = Holy John.  Holy Spirit = Saint Spirit.  Holy Ones = Saints.  The saint receives holiness from the Holy Spirit.  Without the Holy Spirit, there are no holy ones (saints).

“‘The patriarch Enoch was a shoemaker; with every stitch by which he joined the lower leather of a shoe to the upper leather, he united the Glory that is below with the Glory that is above.’ This ancient rabbinical Jewish saying represents a vision in which holiness is a matter of connecting the ordinary matter of earth with its depths in the life of God. This saint is not primarily the high achiever of the moral life, the honors graduate in discipleship, but the person in whom the depths of the ordinary become visible. The face of the saint is just as the tradition of Orthodox icon painting conceives it – a face that is unmistakably distinctive and human, yet ‘thinned out’ so as to let the light through, the light that is found in the deep background of the picture.”  (Rowan Williams in Hidden Holiness by Michael Plekon, pg. vii)

The Saints: Examples of the Gospel

“Perhaps more than anything else the lives of the Saints (and of the elders in this book) provide an ‘interpretation’ of Christ’s Gospel, ‘written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in table of stone, but in fleshly tables of the heart’ (2 Cor. 3:3). That which is of greatest importance in these lives are not so much the details of each llife, but rather the spirit that breathes in them, which shaped them into precious vessels of the Holy Spirt. These lives bear witness to the transformation of man that is possible, when the Christian gives himself wholly over to the will of God. As Elder Sophrony of Essex has written, it is not arbitrary asceticism or the possession of supernatural gifts that constitute genuine Christian spiritual life, but rather obedience to the will of God. Each person has his own capabilities and his own path to tread; the keeping of Christ’s commandments, however, remains a constant.”   (Herman A. Middleton, Precious Vessels of the Holy Spirit: The Lives & Counsels of Contemporary Elders of Greece, pg.22)

Saints of the 20th Century