Orthodox

The word orthodox was coined by the ancient Christian Fathers of the Church, the name traditionally given to the Christian writers in the first centuries. Orthodox is a combination of two Greek words, orthos and doxa. Orthos means “straight” or “upright”; doxa means “glory”, “worship” as well as “doctrine”. So, the word “orthodox” signifies both “proper worship” and “upright doctrine”. True Orthodox Christians are not defined by the company they keep, but by living their faith.The protestant reformer Martin Luther is said to have once remarked that he believed the pure Faith of primitive Christianity is to be found in the Orthodox Church.

Halloween

The ancient population of the islands of Britain, Ireland and parts of modern France celebrated their main feast – Samhain, the end of the old and the beginning of the new year, on October 31. The revelry night of Samhain was one of the worst in the year: it was believed that on this night the veil separating people and the sídhe (magical creatures hostile to people) becomes very thin, so that people and the sídhe can penetrate each other’s worlds. After the Christianization of the islands of Britain and Ireland, the remembrance of Samhain still remained among next generations.

Since 835 A.D., at the direction of the Roman Patriarch, Pope Gregory IV, the Western Church began to celebrate All Saints’ Day on November 1. The day before – October 31 – was called in medieval English “All Hallows Eve” or “Halloween”. The coincidence of dates led to the fact that this feast and Samhain were partially equated in the public consciousness, which is why Halloween changed its color to Samhain and was celebrated violently. Samhain is a pagan religious festival originating from an ancient Celtic spiritual tradition. Celebrants believe that the barriers between the physical world and the spirit world break down during Samhain, allowing more interaction between humans and the denizens of the otherworld.

Many children have no idea about the meaning, origins and spiritual dangers of the “Halloween”, neither do their parents.

In us, there are psychological moral barriers between the soul and sin, which the soul does not dare to overstep. Here is what psychologist Tatyana Goncharenko says about such “feasts”: “In the case of such spectacular, emotional shows vivid pictures are deeply imprinted in the child’s unconscious, and the phantoms of such monsters live in his or her psyche. For sensitive, impressionable, suspicious children, this can turn into persistent fears of darkness, loneliness, neurosis, nightmares. It does not even occur to parents that such a pseudo-feast could cause their child’s problems.” Perceiving emotionally such “feasts” or horror films, a person always puts him- or herself in the place of the characters and, depending on his spiritual accumulations, lives the action in either a positive or a negative role, which is imprinted in him or her. In such fake feasts, they almost don’t give a positive image to children; even those who are internally ready to reach for it. Materialism and hedonism suppress higher, spiritual needs of the soul.

True Love Towards Our Neighbor

With its multiplicity of rules, canons, devotional and liturgical requirements, one may be led to believe that Orthodoxy is primarily about formality, the fear of breaking the rules followed by its punitive consequences. Orthodoxy therefore would then be a religion or Christian denomination primarily based on fear and its effects. — However, in spite of a structured church life, Holy Orthodoxy is not about rules and Canons, but about the Gospel truth, i.e. salvation, a life lived in love, peace and joy. That needs a fresh examination of what these words really mean.

Love is not to be confused with indulgence, which connotes more or less to accept whatever choices others make, while refusing to reject their word or action. Telling them that they are wrong and need to change would be somewhat socially unacceptable. The problem with indulgence is that it makes Jesus also unloving, for He began his ministry by saying, “Repent, for the Kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 4:17). He continued His ministry by preaching that people needed to change, even labeling some of the Pharisees with adverse names in the process.
True love is beyond feeling and emotions. It is also an act of will by keeping in mind the highest good of one’s neighbor, his or her actual needs and salvation, insofar as we are able to help. For example, a drug addict may say what he needs is another hit of cocaine. What he actually needs is liberation from his addiction. Sometimes we know what we really need, while at other times we do not. Our essential needs are food when we get hungry, fluid when we are thirsty, warm clothing and shelter when it gets cold, but we need God at all times. We will always be aware of our want for food, drink, clothing and shelter, but we may not realize our desire for purpose in life.

God created the human heart to enter a relationship with Him. If we try to run our love on pleasure and self-will, naturally we will never be satisfied. Subsequently, society will be filled with violence, deception, crime, danger, war, exploitation of the weak and destruction of the environment. Holy Scriptures call this foolish substitution of replacing God with pleasure and self-will “idolatry”. The outcome of this substitution with its inevitable result is abundantly documented for us every night, when we watch the evening news or read the newspaper. It proves that every person needs not only food, drink and shelter but also a relationship with his or her creator.

To love people involves trying to give them whatever they truly need. A loving person will offer to others food, drink, shelter but also spirituality, so that they may connect with God and live as they were destined to live. For example, if someone is sleepwalking and heading over a cliff, a loving person will shout loudly enough trying to wake them up and thus save them from their doom, not just accepting their current state. Many people, some of them hungry, thirsty and cold, are heading towards such the cliff. To love them means attending to their highest good and safety. Social justice and meeting of physical needs must therefore be combined with Gospel truth for the good of both their bodies and souls.
As culture wars rage in this world, we may become tempted to pick sides and become angry. To love involves refusing to allow the violence of that war to enter into our hearts. It is not a matter of condemning others for their choices, but lovingly alerting them of the consequences.

White Cane Awareness Day – Blind Americans Equality Day

The National Federation of the Blind celebrates White Cane Awareness Day every year on October 15.

For blind people, the white cane is an essential tool that gives us the ability to achieve a full and independent life. It allows us to move freely and safely from place to place — whether it is at work, at school or around our neighborhoods.

White Cane Awareness Day is our way of emphasizing the critical role that this tool plays in living the lives we want and informing the public about its true significance.
(NFB President Mark A. Riccobono)

On October 6, 1964, a joint resolution of the U.S. Congress, H.R. 753, was signed into law as Pub.L. 88–628, and codified at 36 U.S.C. § 142. This resolution authorized the President of the United States to proclaim October 15 of each year as “White Cane Safety Day”. President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the first White Cane Safety Day proclamation within hours of the passage of the joint resolution.
In 2011, White Cane Safety Day was also named Blind Americans Equality Day by President Barack Obama.

White Cane Awareness Day – Blind Americans Equality Day

The National Federation of the Blind celebrates White Cane Awareness Day every year on October 15.

For blind people, the white cane is an essential tool that gives us the ability to achieve a full and independent life. It allows us to move freely and safely from place to place — whether it is at work, at school or around our neighborhoods.

White Cane Awareness Day is our way of emphasizing the critical role that this tool plays in living the lives we want and informing the public about its true significance.
(NFB President Mark A. Riccobono)

On October 6, 1964, a joint resolution of the U.S. Congress, H.R. 753, was signed into law as Pub.L. 88–628, and codified at 36 U.S.C. § 142. This resolution authorized the President of the United States to proclaim October 15 of each year as “White Cane Safety Day”. President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the first White Cane Safety Day proclamation within hours of the passage of the joint resolution.
In 2011, White Cane Safety Day was also named Blind Americans Equality Day by President Barack Obama.