The Problem of Socials


The Bible states that “Christ is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow” (Hebrew 13:8). This statement is one which guides the Orthodox Church continually in its mission to lead people to salvation, teaching them to follow all that Christ established; that His teachings are not subject to change no matter what generation or century we live in awaiting His second coming.

         When you look at the 40 days of Great Lent along with Holy Week which follows it, for although Christ did not say “thou shall observe Lent” by direct words. He established the practice of a special 40 day period, by doing it. We must remember that the period of time called “Great Lent” follows the example of the 40 day fast that Christ observed in the desert following His Baptism.

         Thus, the Church in an endeavor to guide faithful Christians in a year cycle of observances, includes events such as this in Christ’s life as a special period for emulation which also brings personal benefit, both in the renewal of our life practice and routine today, as well as hopefully a lasting affect on our life from that point on, leading to our ultimate salvation.

         The heart and soul of lenten life is fasting, repentance-confession, more prayer, church attendance, alms giving and the limitation of social activities (dances and parties) to the bear necessity. The last point (social activities) seems to be the most abused. The Bible tells us that “there is a time and season for everything” (Ecc 3: 1-7). Concerning socials, clearly there is a time for them. Dances are wholesome fun and relaxation. They have no place however during Lent. Those secular establishments who host them and those artists who perform during this period defile our Orthodox tradition.

         It is sad to observe that social functions are creeping into Lent by various organizations and establishments and that even musicians come from Greece to the USA during Great Lent. This places great stress on conscientious Orthodox Christians, for the desire is there to “keep lent” properly and also to support an organization or enjoy their fellow countrymen at the same time. The two however, just don’t mix! What’s the solution? “Christ is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.” Avoid social functions during Lent as the Church has guided us through the centuries.





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·       St. Andrew's Center for Orthodox Christian Studies is hosting a monastic community of 8 monks from the Romanian monastery of Sambata de Sus. The community will take up residence in the Center on Friday, February 24, 2001. Abbot is Very Rev. Archimandrite Irineu (Duvlea). The community will hold weekday services in the St. Andrew Chapel and will concelebrate with the English Community on Saturday evening and Sunday.   






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The Romanian people was formed, together with the Romanian language, between the first and the seventh centuries A.D. According to the ecclesiastic history, the inhabitants who were lived in the North of the Danube received the Gospels from Apostle Andrew and his disciples, in the first to third centuries A.D. Archaeological testimonies prove that at the end of the fourth century church life was powerful, numerous religious abodes, priests and faithful existing on the territory of present-day Romania. The first printings in Romanian were achieved in the Orthodox monasteries, which also organized the first Romanian schools. The Christian terminology in the Romanian language is yet another indication that the proto-Romanians were developed by consensus of the universal church synods. In accordance with the census of January 7th, 1992, from the sum of 22.760.449 inhabitants of Romania, 19.762.135, that is 86.6 per cent, are Orthodox.

The highest authority of the Romanian Orthodox Church is the Holy Synod, made up of the Patriarch, as chairman, and all the metropolitans, archbishops, bishop vicars and archhierarchs-vicars, as members. The executive representative body of the Holy Synod is the National Church Council. 

The Romanian Orthodox Church keeps up relations with nearly all the Christian churches in the world.

         Outside the country's boundaries, on the territories of neighboring countries, there are a few million Romanian Orthodox organized in church units. Most of them are in the Metropolitan Seat of Bessarabia, and in the Northern Bukovina. On December 19th, 1992, the Synod of Romanian Orthodox Church, endorsed the request to reactivate and receive under its canonical jurisdiction the Metropolitan Seat of Bessarabia, autonomous and in the old style, based in Chisinau.  At present, there are 15 religious denominations officially acknowledged in Romania: the Romanian Orthodox Church, the Romanian Church United with Rome, which received official recognition under CPUN decree no 9 of December 30, the Evangelical Church of Augustan Confession, the Evangelical Synod-Presbyterian Church, the Unitarian Church, the Armenian Church, the Christians of Old Rite, the Muslim Cult, the Mosaic Cult, the Christiana according to the Gospels. To them we may add upwards of 120 religious associations, both independent and within the denominations. At present, the denominations freely elect their leading bodies and their servants, without any interference from the State.

         Religious freedom of the cults in Romania is assured materially as well. The State supports their activity, granting monthly financial contributions to the religious staff, earmarking annual sums for the building of new abodes, as well as the conservation and restoration of valuable assets of the national heritage in the property of the denominations.

         The Romanians living in the world have also organized in approximately 250 Orthodox communities, most of them under the canonical jurisdiction of the Romanian Patriarchate.

         The Romanian churches, representing landmarks in history, are superb monuments of art and architecture, proving by their variety, in point of construction and painting, the spirit of an ancient culture, philosophy, art and technique of a people of universal vocation.




Suicide is the taking of one's own life. The Orthodox Church has, over the centuries, taught that we do not have the right to take our own lives, since life is a gift from God which we are called upon to preserve and enhance. Hence, the Church considers direct suicide, when a person destroys his or her life with his or her own hand, to be the most serious kind of murder, because there is no opportunity for repentance.

The canons and practice of the Church thus prohibit a Church burial to a person who has committed suicide. However, if it can be shown that the person who has committed suicide was not mentally sound, then, upon proper medical and ecclesiastical certification, the burial can be conducted by the Church. In cases, however, where the deceased held a philosophical view affirming the right to suicide, or allowed despair to overcome good judgment, no such allowance can be made.

Morally speaking, there is also the case of indirect suicide, in which people harm their health through abusive practices such as excessive smoking, excessive drinking of alcoholic beverages. The Orthodox Church teaches that we are obligated to care for our health, so these kinds of practices in fact are looked upon as immoral. However, they do not carry the same negative implications which the direct taking of one's own life has.