Christ the Savior-Holy Spirit Orthodox Church
Archpriest Steven C. Kostoff
4285 Ashland Ave, Cincinnati OH 45212 - (513) 351-0907
Meditations: Meditation Archive | Orthodox Q&A Forum | Meditations for Thanksgiving


Welcome to Father Steven's rich collection of Meditations dating back over the past decade.

We publish Father's writings on his Orthodox Christian Meditations blog, which is enabled for subscription, comments and search. Further down this page you will find other select treasures on Orthodox Spirituality, and links to other sites of interest. We invite you to linger here a while, and to return often.
 
 
A Classic Article and Podcasts on the Resurrection

 

Living in the Light of the Resurrection

Fr Steven C. Kostoff

 

Christ is Risen!

In May 2008, Fr Steven gave a two-part talk on the Resurrection, at Holy Dormition Monastery in Rives Junction, Michigan, to a retreat of the Midwest Antiochian Women's Association.

This warm and inspiring, richly developed presentation on the Resurrection of Christ was digitally recorded in excellent quality, and made available as a special podcast on Ancient Faith Radio. We rejoice to make it available again here during the Paschal season.

Save it to your computer, smartphone and tablet. Share the joyful message of the reality of Christ's Resurrection with your family and friends!

Indeed He is Risen!

 
Part 1: Theological and Historical Aspects of the Resurrection

Direct Link - Play in Popup - Download - Transcript

 

Part 2: Living in the Light of the Resurrection

Direct Link - Play in Popup - Download - Transcript

 

Be sure also to read Fr. Steven's classic article in defense of the bodily resurrection of Jesus:

The Resurrection of Christ and the Rise of Christianity

Also available in PDF format.

 




Lenten Readings

 

A "classic" by Archbishop Kallistos Ware
 
Perhaps one of the best all-around essays on Great Lent was written by Archbishop Kallistos Ware as an Introduction to his translation of The Lenten Triodion (the book that provides the hymnography and scriptural readings for Great Lent).  The article has the simple title of "The Meaning of Great Lent," but is already a kind of "classic" as Archbishop Ware offers brilliant insights into the nature of meaning of fasting within the context of our preparation for the great paschal mystery.  If you search hard enough, you could probably find this article somewhere on the internet.  (If you undertake that search, let me know if you find it!).  However, some years back our dear friend Mother Paula (formally Vicki Bellas) created an excellent summary of the most essential points of the article in a very accessible and "handy" version.  She was able to convey the content of the article in a "reader-friendly" form so that everyone can gain access to Archbishop Ware's teaching without the full article at hand. 
 
Therefore, to share this with everyone, I am attaching this shortened version from Mother Paula so that you can carefully read through it, gain new insight into Great Lent, and perhaps make provisions for incorporating some of this teaching in your upcoming Lenten efforts.  As in all insightful writing on Great Lent, we find ourselves quickly moving beyond the "rules of fasting," and into the deepest realms of repentance, conversion, renewal, etc. 
 
If you have any furthers questions, or would like to discuss anything that you read in this article, please feel free to contact me.
 
Besides the Bible What Other Book Are You Reading for Great Lent?
 
 
Turning again to another "classic" - Great Lent by Fr. Alexander Schmemann - I would like to share what he briefly writes there about "Lenten reading:"
 
    It is also a good time to read a religious book.  The purpose of this reading is not only to increase our knowledge about religion; it is  mainly to purify our mind
    from all that which usually fills it.  It is simply incredible how crowded our minds are with all kinds of cares, interests, anxieties, and impressions, and how
    little control we have over that crowd.  Reading a religious book, concentrating our attention on something entirely different from the usual contents of our
    thinking, creates by itself another mental and spiritual atmosphere.  - (Great Lent, p. 91)
 
Too much pop culture?  Sports?  Politics?  Internet reading?  A good theological/spiritual book would be the perfect remedy for the over-crowded mind alluded to by Fr. Schmemann. 
 
Speaking of good Lenten reading, there are many excellent choice in our parish bookstore. We will try to have about three copies of Fr. Schmemann's Great Lent on hand in the near future (I believe that we do have one copy available right now).  There are many other good choices already available there on theology, spirituality, liturgy, iconography, patristics, etc.
 
There is also the possibility of simply reading some good literature, like one of the enduring classics of our Western tradition.  These enduring classics are read to this day precisely because of what they reveal about "life."  There is often a hidden "theology" there that can penetrate or minds and hearts in an imperceptible but satisfying manner. (Of course, the greatest example of such a work would be The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky).
 
In addition, we have slowly and steadily built up an impressive library catalogued downstairs in the parish library section of our Education Center.  Could I assist you in finding just the "right book" out of our library?  Please let me know



Orthodox Q&A ForumThis special section enables you to easily send a question or message about any topic related to the Orthodox Church, her practices, dogmas, teachings, how she encounters and responds to the challenges of life in the 21st century.

Questions, and Fr. Steven's replies, are posted on our Orthodox Q&A Forum Blog, where further discussion can take place via the comments feature.

Please proceed to our Special Q&A Form to submit your questions, which will go directly to Fr. Steven. If you desire to ask your question "anonymously" you can do so. Simply do not provide your actual name or email address in the form. (Use something like "test@test.net".) If you send questions in this manner, of course Fr. Steven cannot respond directly. If you have a question you wish not to be shared publicly via our Q&A Blog, please indicate that in the form.




Fr Steven Kostoff
Fr Steven Kostoff
Fr Steven Kostoff


Monday Morning Meditations

     — And Then Some!

During certain seasons, such as Pascha, Great Lent, the Nativity Fast, and at other times, these brief messages can become more frequent, and make for a shaft of light in the midst of one's day or week. Fr. Steven's Midweek Meditations, Thursday Theological Thoughts, and Fragments for Friday are the most welcome emails to receive!



Meditation Archives:

Fr. Steven's meditations from late 2007 through the present are archived and easily browsed or searched through the Meditations Blog. Meditations from 2004 through 2007 are now archived on a separate page on this site. Earlier meditations dating back to 2001 are to follow as phase two of the archive project.

Fr. Steven is also a contributor to
OrthodoxyToday.org, an online digest of Orthodox commentary on spiritual, social and moral issues.

 

Fr. Steven Interviewed on The Illumined Heart Podcast on AFR

Oct 22, 2010
DOWNLOAD NOW: 'Immortality of the soul', or 'Resurrection of the dead?"with Father Steven Kostoff, features Fr. Steven's interview and discussion with host Kevin Allen. The Illumined Heart is one of Orthodoxy's premier internet podcasts on Ancient Faith Radio, and each week presents an encounter with an Orthodox Christian we should know, discussing the issues that form, inform, and transform our lives. This is Father Steven's first appearance on The Illumined Heart.  AXIOS Father Steven!




Fr. Steven was also recently featured on 'Come Receive the Light', a podcast of the Orthodox Christian Network. Fr Steven's talk, 'Bored By Sin', originally aired in October 2009, and is available for download. We hope there will be many more!
Seeds of Wisdom

Updated November 11, 2017

 

MONASTIC WISDOM

 
Talks by Mother Abbess Gabriella, of Holy Dormition Monastery, Rives Jct MI.
 
 
Talks by Mother Abbess Christophora, of the Orthodox Monastery of the Transfiguration, Ellwood City PA.
 
• Four talks on the Church's spiritual resources for healing, given in July 2016
Restoring the Human Icon
• and the role that monasteries have in aiding this restoration, 2014
The Joy of Repentance: Part 1Part 2

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Firmly rooted and grounded in the fullness of Orthodox Patristic Tradition, OCIC is one of the largest and oldest sites on Orthodox Christianity. Think of the OCIC as a vast online article repository, with over 700 articles and 6,000 printed pages. This site has been online since 1996 and receives over 36,000 unique visitors per month.

Numerous topical sections, including:

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St Gregory Palamas Monastery

 
Books Published by the Monastery:


Recent Homilies:

  • On the Transfiguration
  • The Ascetic and the Thief
  • On Holy and Blessed Prayer
  • On Humility (Step 25)
  • The Way of a Pilgrim

 




A Word from the Holy Fathers

Posted October 26, 2009

Monachos.net provides many in-depth resources on Orthodox patristics, theology and monasticism. This special feature of their website is unique:

"A Word from the Holy Fathers is a start page for your browser, randomly displaying a different set of patristic quotations each time it is loaded. Click here for a full index of short sayings (and to contribute); here for full patristic texts; and here for our radio broadcasts on the Fathers."
Preparation for Communion


Dear Parish Faithful,
 

As we begin a new Church year, it is always helpful to remind ourselves of how we are practicing our Orthodox Faith.  At the heart of that "practice" is our preparation for, and reception of, the Eucharist.  Therefore, I have attached a document dealing with our preparation, so that it be in a "worthy manner."  This article goes into some depth in explaining the meaning and purpose behind preparing to receive Holy Communion.   These are meant to be guidelines that assist in creating a "eucharistic discipline" rather than an air-tight set of "rules" that are meant to be legalistically adhered to. 

 
Please pass on any questions or concerns.

In Christ,
Fr. Steven

Preparing to Receive Holy Communion in a Worthy Manner


A Smile from Eternity

Blessed Elder Joseph of Vatopedi in Repose
Blessed Elder Joseph of Vatopedi in Repose
Blessed Elder Joseph of Vatopedi in Repose
Added July 30, 2009

Dear Parish Faithful,
 
I had to send along these remarkable photographs and the explanatory texts below.  This is an incredible example of what we mean by "falling asleep in the Lord."  Have you ever seen anyone in a coffin with such a smile on his face?!  No wonder the article is entitled "A Smile From Eternity."  All of the eyewitnesses must have been overwhelmed with the certainty that they were burying a saint.  The Holy Mountain - Mt. Athos - has a great reputation for sanctity even to this day.

~ Fr Steven

Links to the Articles:

A Smile from Eternity
This warm, brief article describes the funeral of Blessed Elder Joseph and the effect his radiant smile had on all those present. (Note: the website seems to be in Greek, but the article has been translated into English - just scroll down.)

Why is the Smile of Elder Joseph of Vatopedi from Eternity?
As the photos and text in this article show, Elder Joseph did not repose smiling, but rather, his smile appeared some forty-five minutes after his death!