An Orthodox prayer for a friend

Sometimes it can be difficult to know how to pray for a friend. I found this link very helpful, it contains very wise and useful advice about this matter. (I believe this is written by Father Seraphim Holland, an American ROCOR priest).

I have found myself using this prayer that he recommends very often:

Save, O Lord, and have mercy on Thy servant(s)________
Deliver him (her, them)
from every tribulation, wrath and need,
From every sickness of soul and body,
Forgive him (her, them) every transgression, voluntary and involuntary,
And do whatever is profitable for our souls

I hope it will be useful for the readers of this blog too.

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The Orthodox Faith (T. Hopko)

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These were the first books on Eastern Orthodoxy I had ever read, and it was through these books that I first learned the basics of Orthodox doctrine. The author, Father Thomas Hopko, was the Dean of Saint Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary in the United States, and was very well-known and well-regarded among Orthodox Christians in America and beyond.

Luckily for us in Malaysia, all these books are available online for free! The Orthodox Church in America hosts them on their website here.

This series contains four volumes: they cover doctrine, worship, church history, and spirituality. The books contain short, focused chapters on various topics in Orthodoxy. The typical chapter is only about a thousand words long.

The books are written for the reader who comes in with zero knowledge of Orthodox Christianity. The volumes all start off with very basic ideas, and they only get moderately more challenging at the end. The language style is very simple and clear.

Don’t expect this book to cover the nuances of dense theological topics in great depth (I don’t think that is possible to do in his 1000-word essay format!) but Hopko covers the essentials of the faith really well. I consider these books to be an ideal resource for someone who is curious about Eastern Orthodoxy but knows nothing about it. The short, to-the-point chapters make it very easy to digest, and Hopko skillfully explains complicated ideas in ways that are simple, yet accurate. Plus, the version available for free on the OCA’s website is very mobile-friendly. This is an essential series of books, a primer on Christianity by one of the most respected English-speaking Orthodox writers in our time.

 

 

Prayer Books given in the name of Daniel Holland

The Orthodox Christian community in Malaysia was given a dozen Jordanville prayer books by Father Seraphim Holland, a priest at St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church in McKinney, Texas. Our community really needed these prayer books, as quite a few of our members did not have any, and understandably they are hard to obtain in Malaysia.

These prayer books were given in the name of Father Seraphim’s son, Daniel Holland, who reposed on the Sunday of All Saints, June 11, 2017 at the age of 20. It is requested that all the Malaysian Orthodox Christians who receive these prayer books remember to pray for Daniel Holland.

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Father Seraphim has helpfully provided a webpage with instructions on how to pray for the dead. Father Seraphim’s homily at his son’s funeral is also very instructive in explaining why and how we Orthodox Christians pray for the dead. Text and audio is available at the Ancient Faith Ministries Website .

May his memory be eternal.

Ancient Faith Radio

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One of the struggles of being an Orthodox Christian in a place like Malaysia is finding access to Orthodox resources. Fortunately, we live in the age of the internet, which makes life a little easier for us.

Ancient Faith Radio is a free streaming radio service, run by the Antiochian Archdiocsese of North America. Nevertheless, it is a very pan-Orthodox effort, with music and contributors from many different Orthodox traditions. Ancient Faith Radio is very valuable for small, isolated, Orthodox Christian communities like ours. They run two channels: Ancient Faith Music, that plays Orthodox music more or less exclusively and Ancient Faith Talk which runs other radio programming, like talk shows and interviews. The station is almost entirely listener supported, and the few advertisements they do air are for products and services aimed specifically for Orthodox Christians.

It is wonderful to be able to listen to top quality Orthodox music from the other Orthodox traditions. Their collection is vast and rather eclectic. The educational segments are also very affirming. I have been particularly blessed by the short segments they do on the lives of the Saints.

For Orthodox Christians in Malaysia, or Malaysians interested in learning about Orthodox Christianity, they are definitely worth a listen.