SANCTITY OF LIFE SUNDAY 2021
Each year, the Orthodox Church reaffirms its commitment to, in the words of Metropolitan Tikhon, "the proclamation of the Sanctity of Life – as an opportunity to reiterate unequivocally our commitment to the defense of the defenseless, and the protection of the most vulnerable, and thus our opposition to abortion. As Christians it cannot be any other way."
Below are numerous links to outstanding materials from a variety of sources, including several of Fr Steven's classic meditations:
RESOURCES FROM THE ORTHODOX CHURCH IN AMERICA:
See more OCA Sanctity of Life Sunday 2021 Resources here.
Explore the permanent OCA Sanctity of Life Section, with numerous resources.
See this story from 2020: Bishop Paul participates in national “March for Life”.
Read these meditations by Fr Steven on the Sanctity of Life:
Immediately below you will find links to a recent conference held at St Tikhon's Orthodox Theological Seminary, at which one of our parishioners delivered a brief talk on the Sanctity of Life and the issue of Abortion.
For more information and pastoral questions regarding the Sanctity of Life, please contact our pastor, Fr Steven Kostoff.
Christ the Savior parishioner Natasha Frasch delivered a talk at the recent conference, Speaking the Truth in Love, held at St Tikhon's Orthodox Seminary in South Canaan PA over the November 7-9 weekend.
The lineup of speakers included Archbishop Michael of New York & New Jersey, well known and prolific writer and speaker Kh. Frederica Mathewes-Green, Archimandrite Sergius (Abbot of St Tikhon's Monastery), and many other scholars and clergy, monastics and laity, and was organized by Drs. David Ford and Mary Ford, who presented a retreat at our parish back in the 1990s.
- venerable organization relaunches in 2020
Orthodox Christians for Life re-launches with energetic new platform:
Orthodox Christians for Life ("OCLife") is a non-profit organization dedicated to equipping the Orthodox Christian community to strengthen its commitment to the sacredness of human life from conception to death, illuminating the Church's teaching on life issues through education and engagement.
OCLife was originally founded in 1986 by a group of faithful volunteers, who were eventually unable to continue their work. After nearly two decades of dormancy, the organization is now being revived so that we can continue its important mission.
Learn more and help support them on the OCLife website...
2021 March For Life Updates from OCLife:
Due to the coronavirus and political unrest, there is much uncertainty surrounding pro-life marches this year, which typically take place all over the country each January.
Some events are continuing as usual, while others have been converted into online events. If you're not sure about the march nearest to you, find out here.
Read and explore the extensive article with much info, helpful tips, and many links and resources at OCLife.org...
Listen to a recent interview with OCLife Director Emily Wilkinson (transcript available):
Emily Wilkinson, a veteran of the pro-life movement and the new President and Executive Director of Orthodox Christians for Life, speaks with Fr. Andrew Stephen Damick about the revival of OCLife after 20 years and their vision for pro-life ministry within the Orthodox Church and throughout society.
"From ancient times, all who have believed in the One God have believed that He takes special care in the formation of each human being. As God Himself expressed to Jeremiah: 'Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you' (Jeremiah 1:5).
"In the moment of conception in the mother’s womb, a human being comes into existence. Yet even before being conceived and formed, this human being is known by God. God exists outside of time, and already knows and loves each one of us personally, knowing what we will do and who we will become both in this life and in eternity. As Solomon proclaims, “God did not make death, and he does not delight in the death of the living. For he created all things that they might exist” (Wisdom of Solomon 1.13-14). God wants us to be alive, and certainly, this is why we must speak against abortion and its legalization in our country: it is in opposition to God’s loving plan to bring a human being into the world to live..."
Icon of the Meeting of the Virgin Mary and Elizabeth (LK 1:39-56), with Jesus and John the Baptist alive and aware in their wombs.
Dear Parish Faithful,
"To love Christ means not to be a hireling, not to look upon a noble life as an enterprise or trade, but to be a true benefactor and to do everything only for the sake of love for God." — St. John Chrysostom
Affirming the Sanctity of Life
Yesterday (January 22) was Sanctity of Life Sunday in the OCA. This is a day on which we openly affirm our belief that all life is sacred, especially the lives of preborn children in the wombs of their respective mothers. The Church affirms that life has greater priority than a "choice."
If you were at the Liturgy you will recall that I read this year's pastoral letter from Metropolitan Tikhon on the subject, adding some further commentary during the homily. This letter was firm, balanced and compassionate. It deserves a careful and thoughtful reading. This letter can be found on the OCA website, here attached for your convenience. At the end of letter, you will find the petitions and prayer that we offered to God in yesterday's Liturgy. These can be used during one's personal prayers at home. You will also find a video at the same site of Metropolitan Tikhon being interviewed. This is also well-done:
If you think that you need to be further informed on the Orthodox Christian position on bio-ethical issues - and who doesn't? - one of which is, of course, abortion; then I have included links to two remarkable books by Fr. John & Lyn Breck.
The strength of Fr. John's writing is that in addition to being an excellent theologian who writes with great pastoral sensitivity; he also has full command of the biological/scientific facts that are essential to being fully informed on these issues. Fr. John ably demonstrates how biology/science works in favor of Orthodox theological positions. Lyn Breck has years of experience as a counselor and spiritual retreat leader. In Ch. 5 of Stages on Life's Way she addresses addictions and family systems with great insight. These are two endlessly rich resources to have at hand when dealing with such important contemporary issues.
The Sacred Gift of Life : Orthodox Christianity and Bioethics
Stages on Life's Way: Orthodox Thinking on Bioethics (SVS Foundations Series Book 1)
— Fr. Steven
See also the Orthodox Christians for Life website for resources and ways to connect with other Orthodox Christians to support the Sanctity of Life.