Longer Podcast List

Ep. 253: Church Fathers (15) Irenaeus of LyonsIn this first of two podcasts on St. Irenaeus of Lyons (+202), Sister Vassa discusses his life and certain church-issues of his times. These include the "Paschal Controversy," and the heretical teachings known as Marcionism, Gnosticism, and Montanism.Listen Now
Ep. 252: Church Fathers (14) Justin Martyr's 1st ApologyIn this 14th talk of her series on Church Fathers, Sister Vassa discusses Justin Martyr's mid-2nd c. "First Apology," or defense of Christians and Christianity before the pagan Roman authorities and society. She goes into extra-detail concerning chapters 65, 66, and 67 of this "Apology," because they are a precious witness to how the Eucharist was celebrated and understood in the mid-2nd c.Listen Now
Ep. 251: June 24, 2019In this episode, Sister Vassa talks about the Apostles' Fast (beginning this Monday); and about the final section of the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed, "And in the Holy Spirit... and the life of the age to come. Amen." Don't miss this one!Listen Now
Ep. 250: Church Fathers (13) Justin MartyrIn this 13th talk of her series on Church Fathers, Sister Vassa talks about the life and works of the most important of the 2nd c. Greek apologists, Justin Martyr. Here she offers an overview of two of his three extant works; of his "Second Apology" and "Dialogue with Trypho the Jew," while leaving her more detailed discussion of Justin's "First Apology" to our next podcast in this series. Listeners are encouraged to read the "First Apology," (or at least its chapters 65, 66, and 67), which they can find online, by googling "Justin Martyr, First Apology," or by ordering on Amazon the volume of "The Fathers of the Church Patristic Series. St. Justin Martyr. The First Apology, The Second Apology, Dialogue with Trypho... (Thomas B. Falls, translator)," The Catholic University of America Press 2008.Listen Now
Ep. 249: Interview with Abbot TryphonHere's a sneak-preview, only for our Patreon-subscribers, of Sister Vassa's interview with Abbot Tryphon, which will be aired this upcoming Saturday on YouTube! In this special episode of Saturday Morning Live with Sister Vassa, she interviews Abbot Tryphon, a popular Orthodox blogger/podcaster on Ancient Faith Radio. Fr. Tryphon, an ex-psychotherapist and ex-Lutheran, who became an Orthodox monk, talks about his experience of pastoral ministry online, and how his past (as a psychotherapist) has informed his vocation today, as an online-missionary and also abbot of a monastery.Listen Now
Ep. 248: The 'Moment of Consecration' in Byzantine LiturgyThis episode is meant to complement Sister Vassa's video-course on Divine Liturgy, which has now reached the part of the Eucharistic Prayer known as the "Institution Narrative." Sister discusses the history of theological issues related to the concept of locating "the moment" of consecration of the Gifts in various words/actions of the Eucharist, (e.g., the Words of Institution, the Epiclesis, the priestly blessing w/his hand, the Pre-Communion Elevation). She explains how it is a reductionist approach, to locate the consecration of the Gifts at just one "moment," just as God's institution of a "New Covenant" of the Church is not located in just one moment of Salvation History.Listen Now
Ep. 247: Church Fathers (12) The ApologistsIn this 12th talk on Patrology, Sister Vassa offers an overview of the 2nd c. Greek "Apologists," (Quadratus of Asia Minor, Aristides of Athens, Athenagoras of Athens, Theophilus of Antioch, Tatian the Syrian, Melito of Sardis, and others) who were the first Christian writers to address their works to outsiders of the Christian faith. They defended the Church against some of the dark rumors that were circulating in pagan society about the practices and beliefs of Christians, and did so in the terms of Greek philosophy and culture, in which they themselves were knowledgable, as well-educated converts from pagan belief-systems to Christianity. The best-known Apologist, St. Justin Martyr, and his "First Apology," will be the topic of our next podcast.Listen Now
Ep. 246: May 9, 2019In this episode, Sister Vassa talks about this second week after Pascha; about the Tuesday called "Radonitsa" (or The Day of Rejoicing, when we visit cemeteries and commemorate the dead); the readings from the Book of Acts and from the Gospel according to John. And then she focuses on the Prologue of John, especially Jn 1: 12, and what it means that we are given the "power/authority" (rather than the "right") "to become children of God."Listen Now
Ep. 245: Church Fathers (11) The Shepherd of HermasIn this 11th talk on the Church Fathers, Sister Vassa discusses a curious, apocryphal text of the late-1st or early 2nd c.: "The Shepherd of Hermas." This work, not entirely "Orthodox" in its Trinitarian theology, was nonetheless highly regarded by early-Christian writers (like Irenaeus, Clement & Origen of Alexandria and others) for its practical teaching on vice and virtue, as well as its insights on the mystery of the Church. As Sister Vassa describes the historical background and contents of this text, she addresses some of the implications of Hermas's story for our lives today, e.g.: 1. The "usefulness" of not-entirely Orthodox texts (and What is "Heresy"?); 2. "Becoming Useful" in the Church; 3. Post-Baptismal "Repentance" (and the history of Church-legislation in this matter); and some more practical, ethical issues, including 1. Sexual Harassment & Reconciliation/Redemption (an example of which we see in Hermas's experience), and 2. Overly-Permissive Parenting. Don't miss this one!Listen Now
Ep. 244: April 23, 2019In this podcast, Sister Vassa reflects on some themes of "Bridegroom Matins," including the Troparion-hymn, "Behold, the Bridegroom comes..." (and related Parable of the 10 Virgins, Mt 25); the Exaposteilarion/Svetilen "I see Your bridal chamber adorned..." (and related Parable of the Wedding Banquet, Mt 22), and the Anointing of the Lord by the sinful woman, as described in Lk 7: 36ff. Don't miss this one!Listen Now
Ep. 243: Church Fathers (10) Epistle of BarnabasIn this 10th talk on the Church Fathers, Sister Vassa continues her discussion of the era of the "Apostolic Fathers" (late-1st - early-2nd c.), covering the historical/theological background and contents of the "Epistle of Barnabas." In this context, Sister V. discusses the "allegorical" and "typological" ways of interpreting Scripture, including curious examples of Alexandrian allegorizing in the text known as the "Epistle of Barnabas." Because of the recent tragic fire in the Notre Dame cathedral in Paris, Sister also makes special note of the "temple"-related exegesis in this text, which reminds us of the symbolic purpose of all earthly "temples," - to make us, human beings, temples of the living God.Listen Now
Ep 242: Ordination of DeaconessesIn this episode, Sister Vassa discusses some aspects of the recent document, published by St. Catherine's Vision, entitled "Introductory Parameters for the Ministry of Ordained Deaconesses in the Orthodox Church." Don't miss this one!Listen Now
Ep. 241: Happy Mid-Point of Lent!In this episode, Sister Vassa talks about the various liturgical traditions of this 4th Week (Middle) of Lent; the Greek-Orthodox tradition of celebrating the Akathist-Hymn to the Theotokos on Friday evenings (as distinct from the Russian-Orthodox "Memorial Saturdays"); and the upcoming (OC) Feast of the Annunciation. Finally, she briefly shares some thoughts on the new document on the Ordination of Female Deacons in the Orthodox Church.Listen Now
Ep. 240: Church Fathers (9) The DidacheIn this 9th audio-podcast on Church Fathers (or the broader topic of "Patrology"), Sister Vassa covers the history and contents of the "Didache," or "Teaching of the 12 Apostles," a church-order of the late-1st or early-2nd c. She discusses the importance if this text, (re)-discovered in 1875, for our understanding of the development of various aspects of Tradition, particularly of liturgy, church-ministries/orders, fasting on Wednesdays and Fridays, and praying (privately) the Our Father thrice daily. Don't miss this one!Listen Now
Ep. 239: Physical & Spiritual "Seeing"In this episode, broadcast from Nyack, NY, where Sr. Vassa has stopped in for just one night, to visit her parents during her trip to the US, she shares some thoughts on the Scripture-readings of the past Sunday of Orthodoxy (on the conversion of Nathaniel, the doubt of Thomas, and the "cloud of witnesses" in Hebrews 11-12), and what these passages say about "seeing." She also shares some other impressions from her ongoing trip to the US.Listen Now
Ep. 238: Beginning Lent, 2019In this audio-podcast, recorded just before her trip to the US, Sr. Vassa talks about the structure and traditions of the 1st Week of Lent, as well as the meaning of all of it: the Great Canon of St. Andrew of Crete, the Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts on Wednesday and Friday, and the Saturday of St. Theodore. Tune in, and let's journey through this Lent together!Listen Now
Ep. 237 Church Fathers (8): St. Polycarp of SmyrnaIn this 8th talk on the Church Fathers, Sister Vassa talks about St. Polycarp of Smyrna (+AD 155/156); his life & times (Roman persecutions of Christians under Emperors Hadrian and Antoninus Pius, the increasing differentiation of Jews and Christians following the siege of Jerusalem and the Bar Kokhba Revolt, the heretic Markion, the Paschal controversy, and more!) Don't miss this one!Listen Now
Ep.236 Church Fathers (7): St. Ignatius & Church-OrdersIn this 7th talk on the Church Fathers, Sister Vassa completes the topic of St. Ignatius of Antioch; his vision of the three church-orders of bishop, presbyter, and deacon, and how that vision differs from our understanding of these ministries today.Listen Now
Ep. 235: Church Fathers (6): St. Ignatius, EpistlesIn this 6th talk on the Church Fathers, Sr. Vassa reviews the contents and theological highlights of the 7 Epistles of St. Ignatius of Antioch. The topics covered in this episode include: Judaizing tendencies in Christianity, Docetism (and related heresies today), and Martyrdom (in general, and as manifested by St. Ignatius). The topic of "monepiscopacy," as it relates to St. Ignatius's epistles, will be treated in the next episode.Listen Now
Ep. 234: Church Fathers (5) St. Ignatius of Antioch, Pt IIn this 5th of her series of podcasts on Church Fathers, Sr. Vassa covers the Life and Times of St. Ignatius, "The God-Bearer" and Bishop of Antioch. She also introduces the context and contents of his seven Epistles (to be dicussed at length in our next podcast), which St. Ignatius wrote during his imprisonment, when he was led from Antioch to the place of his martyrdom in Rome.Listen Now
Ep. 233: Church Fathers (4) St. Clement of Rome's Epistle to the CorinthiansIn this 4th talk on the Church Fathers, Sr. Vassa covers the background and contents of St. Clement of Rome's "Epistle to the Corinthians."Listen Now
Ep. 232 Church Fathers (3): The "Apostolic Fathers" & St. Clement of RomeIn this 3rd talk on Church Fathers, Sister Vassa covers some historical background on the era of the "Apostolic Fathers" (late-1st/early-2nd c.). She also begins to discuss St. Clement of Rome, and introduces the topic of his"Epistle to the Corinthians," which she encourages listeners to read, before going through it in our next podcast!Listen Now
Ep. 231: Church Fathers (2) - Introduction (B)In this second part of her introduction to a series of podcasts on Church Fathers, Sister Vassa makes additional comments on the "fronema" of the Fathers, including their approach to the culture and philosophies of their time. In this context, she explains what "Hellenism" is, and its usefulness as the cultural milieu of the Fathers of the first several centuries. Finally, Sister Vassa explains the term "heresy," and offers some reading-suggestions: John Behr, The Way to Nicaea; and for a reliable (yet old) English translation of the sources for the era of the Apostolic Fathers, - J. B. Lightfoot (ed.), The Apostolic Fathers. (Just google these).Listen Now
Ep. 230: Church Fathers (1) - Introduction (A)In this first of a new series of podcasts on Patrology, Sister Vassa introduces the subject by explaining the terms "Patrology," "Patristics," and "Ancient-Christian Literature," their origins and scope. She also addresses the questions: Who are the Church Fathers, and how are they important and relevant in Orthodox Christianity today? Finally, she briefly touches upon the famous collections of patrological sources, the "Patrologia graeca" and "Patrologia latina" of Jacques Paul Migne (+1875).Listen Now
Ep. 229: December 6, 2018In this episode, Sister Vassa talks about St. Nicholas, celebrated December 6 (NC), and also about the "rich ruler" of Lk 18: 18-27. Listen Now
Ep. 228: Nov. 29, 2018In this second podcast of the Nativity Fast, Sister Vassa reflects on three additional aspects of fasting: 1. Patience, 2. Humility, and 3. Good Cheer. She also discusses several Old-Testament prophecies about the birth of Christ, of the Prophet Isaiah.Listen Now
Ep. 227: Getting Motivated for Fasting (or Dieting)Because the Nativity Fast is upon us, Sr. Vassa shares some strategies (psychological, practical and spiritual), on how to get motivated to change that which is most difficult to change: one's daily routine. In this context, she talks not only about our transition to a fasting-season like the Nativity Fast, but also other difficult transitions, like going on a diet for purely weight-loss reasons, or changing our eating, praying, sleeping, and/or exercise habits in a positive way. Do not miss this one.Listen Now
Ep. 226: Nov. 18, 2018 (Sister V. at Newark Airport)In this episode, broadcast from the Marriott hotel at Newark Airport (where Sister Vassa got stuck because her flight was cancelled), Sister discusses the first verses of Psalm 118/119, "Blessed are the blameless in the Way...", chanted every weekday at the monastic service of Mesonyktikon. She also shares some impressions from reading the Book of Mormon, a copy of which is always provided (next to a copy of the Bible) in every room of Mormon-owned Marriott hotels.Listen Now
Ep. 225 Angels & Demons (2)This is a continuation of Sister Vassa's previous podcast, on "Angels & Demons." Tune in and find out more about the invisible creation; the "war in heaven" as described in Rev. 12: 7ff; the "hierarchy" of the bodiless powers; and the mirroring of this reality in the earthly life and liturgical tradition of the Orthodox Church.Listen Now
Ep. 224 Angels & DemonsWe're back! In this long-awaited episode, Sister Vassa talks about the nature of the invisible, bodiless creation; what we know and do not know about them, according to Tradition. Towards the end of the podcast, Sister V also throws in some "fun facts" about Muslim teachings on angels, as compared to biblical revelation about them. Listen Now
Ep. 223: Discovering Your VocationIn this episode, recorded from her parents' house in New York, Sister Vassa shares the talk she recently gave in the OCA parish in Princeton, NJ: "Discovering Your Vocation: Carrying On the Ministry of the Apostles."Listen Now
Ep. 222: The Eucharistic PrayerIn this episode, recorded in New York, Sister Vassa offers an overview of the Eucharistic Prayer of the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom. She also updates the zillions on how her trip to the US is going, and invites everyone who can to come to her upcoming talks in NJ, NY, and Boston! Listen Now
Ep. 221: What is "Original Sin”?In this episode, Sr. Vassa addresses the question, "What does Adam, or any of his decisions, have to do with us?", along with other questions surrounding the concept of "original sin." In this context, she looks at relevant Scriptural texts (Gen 3; 1 Cor 15; Rom 5; Jn 3) and explains why Christ is called the "new Adam" or "last Adam." Don't miss this one! Listen Now
Ep.220: Constructive vs. Destructive Uses of AngerIn this episode, Sr. Vassa discusses various sides of anger; its positive & negative aspects, as well as practical strategies of dealing with it, in light of faith.Listen Now
Ep. 219: What is "Autocephaly”?In this episode, Sr. Vassa discusses the historical, canonical, pastoral and emotional issues surrounding the topic of "autocephaly" in the Orthodox Church.Listen Now
Ep. 218: Parable of the Sower & the Dormition of the TheotokosIn this episode, Sister Vassa discusses the Parable of the Sower (Mk 4: 3-20) in light of recent events in the news, as well as the feast of the Dormition of the Theotokos, coming up tomorrow on the Older Calendar.Listen Now
Ep. 217: Blinded by Secondary IssuesIn this episode, Sister Vassa discusses the consequences, for various aspects of our life, of "straining a gnat" while "swallowing a camel" (cf. Mt 23: 24).Listen Now
Ep. 216: Theotokos, Mother of LightIn this episode, Sr. Vassa talks about the role(s) of the Mother of God in our lives and in Salvation History, and more specifically as the "The Mother of Light," as the Mother of God is addressed toward the end of the Byzantinematins. In this context Sister also discusses how and why our Lord Jesus Christ calls Himself "the Light" and what we learn about Him as "light-giver" in the even of His transfiguration on the mountain (celebrated recently,NC).Listen Now
Ep. 215 - Dormition FastIn this episode, Sister Vassa talks about Dormition Fast, which begins today (NC), as well as the three feasts of the Savior, in which Dormition Fast is "framed" (Procession of the Cross, Aug. 1, Transfiguration, Aug. 6, and The Image Not Made By Hands, Aug. 16)Listen Now
Ep. 214 - Our Thirst To BelongIn this episode, Sister Vassa talks about our inherent, human need to "belong," and how we deal with this phenomenon in the light of faith.Listen Now
Ep. 213: Reading the Eucharistic Prayer Aloud (Pt. 2)In this concluding, second part of our last podcast, Sister Vassa continues to review the historical witnesses to the transition from reading the Eucharistic Prayer aloud to reading it silently. She also discusses the reasons for that shift, and its implications for our practice today.Listen Now
Ep. 212: Reading the Eucharistic Prayer Aloud (Pt. 1)In this episode, Sister Vassa begins to discuss the history of the way the main prayer of the Eucharist (the Anaphora) was recited, in both East and West.Listen Now
Ep 211: Sports & "Play" in Light of FaithIn light of vacation-time, and also the World Cup taking place this season, Sister Vassa discusses our God-given instinct to "play," as well as the spiritual implications and potential benefits of our sports culture.Listen Now
Ep 210: From Adam To ChristIn this episode, Sister Vassa covers our journey from being "in Adam" to being "in Christ," as well as the place within this journey of our creation as male and female. She does so on the basis of Father John Behr's article in a recent edition of The Wheel, "From Adam to Christ: From Male and Female to Being Human."Listen Now
Ep. 209: Resurrection In Our Daily LifeIn this episode, Sister Vassa reflects on how we experience the mystery of the resurrection in our daily lives.Listen Now
Ep. 208: Sts. Peter & PaulSister Vassa discusses Sts. Peter & Paul, celebrated today, June 29th (NC).Listen Now
Ep. 207: The Liturgy After the Liturgy: Daily PrayerSister Vassa discusses the concept of "the Liturgy after the Liturgy," or our daily prayer-life and its challenges, on the basis of Mt. 6: 5-13.Listen Now
Ep. 206: The Delusion of PerfectionismAt the beginning of this 3rd week of Apostles’ Fast, Sister Vassa discusses the benefits of the humble acceptance of shortcomings, as well as the causes and harmful effects of “perfectionism.” She also discusses the meaning of our Lord’s perplexing words, “Be therefore perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Mt 5:48)Listen Now
Ep. 205: Week 2 of Apostles' FastAs we begin the 2nd week of the Apostles' Fast, Sister Vassa discusses the conversion of St. Paul, as described in Acts 9 (and elsewhere).Listen Now
Ep. 204: Beginning of the Apostles' FastOn occasion of the beginning of the Apostles' Fast, Sister Vassa reflects on the word "apostolic"; what it means for our personal vocations in our daily-lives, and for our self-perception as Church. She also discusses the history and motivations of this fasting-season, and offers some (unsolicited) food-tips for those listeners who are fasting.Listen Now
Ep. 203: Psalm 50 (Pt. 2)In this second podcast on Psalm 50 ("Have mercy on me, O God, according to Your great mercy..."), Sister Vassa discusses the rest of the Psalm, verses 8-20.Listen Now
Ep. 202: Psalm 50 (Pt. 1)Sister Vassa discusses the week following Pentecost, and comments on verses 1-7 of Psalm 50 (a.k.a. Psalm 51).Listen Now
Ep. 201: The "One-ness" of the ChurchAhead of the upcoming Sunday of the Fathers, and Pentecost, Sister Vassa reflects on what is meant by our profession of faith in the "one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church," particularly in light of discussions connected to the Orthodox Church's Holy & Great Council gathered in Crete in June 2016.Listen Now
Ep. 200: The Lord's AscensionSister Vassa discusses the great feast of the Ascension, its theology, and what it means for our everyday lives. To donate, visit: http://www.coffeewithsistervassa.com/donate. Thank you from all of us, and God bless you for your continuous support of our online-mission!Listen Now
Ep. 199: Sunday of the Blind Man & "The Mystery vs. The History of the Church's 'Oneness’”Sister Vassa discusses the upcoming Sunday of the Blind Man (Jn 9), and its themes of spiritual blindness, vision, and hearing. She also touches upon herlecture, "The Mystery vs. The History of the Church's 'Oneness'," at theconference of the Ecumenical Patriarchate at the University of Thessaloniki (held on May 21-25, 2018).Listen Now
Ep. 198: Mid-Pentecost (Pt 2)Sister Vassa discusses the end of this week of "Mid-Pentecost," and the upcoming Sunday of the Samaritan Woman (Jn 4).Listen Now
Ep. 197: Mid-Pentecost (Pt 1)Sister discusses the "Feast of Mid-Pentecost," celebrated Wednesday of the 4th week after Pascha; and she reviews the Gospel-reading about the healing of the Paralytic at Bethesda (Jn 5).Listen Now
Ep. 196: Sunday of the Myrrh-BearersSister discusses this past Sunday of the Myrrh-Bearers; practical tips in dealing with grieving the loss of a loved one; and the healing of the paralytic at the pool of Bathesda (Jn 5).Listen Now
Ep. 195: Paschal Canon and the Sundays of the Pentecost-periodSisterVassa discusses several odes of the Paschal Canon, as well as Thomas Sunday and the Sundays of the Pentecost-period in general.Listen Now
Ep. 194: Holy Friday & SaturdaySister Vassa talks about the liturgical services & texts, the traditions at home, and the relevant Scripture-passages of Holy Friday & Holy Saturday.Listen Now
Ep. 193: Bridegroom MatinsSister Vassa discusses "Bridegroom Matins," or the services and theology of Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday of this Holy & Great Week.Listen Now
Ep. 192: 6th Week of Lent (B)Sister Vassa discusses our transition from Lent (the 40 days of which and this Friday) to Holy/Great Week. She also covers Scripture-passages about Holy Thursday (celebrated today on the Gregorian Calendar).Listen Now
Ep. 191: 6th Week of Lent (A)Sister Vassa discusses this "Week of Palms" (and some of the hymnography of the Lenten Triodion), as well as the Gospel-accounts of the resurrection of Lazarus (Jn 11) and Palm Sunday (Jn 12).Listen Now
Ep. 190: 5th Week of Lent (B)Sister Vassa discusses at greater length the upcoming 5th Weekend of Lent, Saturday of the Akathist to the Mother of God, Sunday of St. Mary of Egypt (with excerpts from her life), and the Feast of the Annunciation coming up this Sunday (NC).Listen Now
Ep. 189: 5th Week of Lent (A)Sister Vassa discusses the liturgically-eventful 5th Week of Lent, with the Great Canon of St. Andrew of Crete being read in its entirety at Thursday Matins (usually celebrated on Wednesday evening); the feast of the 40 Martyrs of Sebaste (OC) also on Thursday; the upcoming Saturday of the Akathist-Hymn; and on Sunday -- St. Mary of Egypt, and the Great Feast of the Annunciation (NC). Sister also reflects on the phenomenon of "monument-building" in our daily lives, on the basis of the story of the Tower of Babel in Genesis 11.Listen Now
Ep. 188: 4th Week of LentIn which Sr. Vassa discusses the 4th Week of Lent (Veneration of the Cross, insertion of the petitions for the "fotizomenoi" at Presanctified Liturgy); and Viewer Mail asks about setting boundaries in a potentially-codependent relationship.Listen Now
Ep. 187: 3rd Week of Lent (B)Sister Vassa discusses the upcoming Sunday of the Cross. And Viewer Mail asks about speaking to children about the Big Bang Theory (not the TV show, but the theory :)).Listen Now
Ep. 186: 3rd Week of Lent (A)Sister Vassa focuses on this 3rd Week of Lent, and also on the increase in Psalmody, typical of Lenten weekdays. In this context, she reflects on one Psalm from the Ninth Hour, Ps. 83 (useful in the evening), and one Psalm from Matins, Ps. 62 (useful in the morning). And Viewer Mail asks Sister's views on whether "feminism" makes men "uncertain as to how to be male."Listen Now
Ep. 185: 2nd Week of Lent (B)Sister Vassa discusses the end of the 2nd Week of Lent (includingthe reading from Chapter 7 of Isaiah),the weekend of Lent's first Memorial Saturday, and the Sunday of St. Gregory Palamas.Listen Now
Ep. 184: 2nd Week of Lent (A)Sister Vassa discusses Week 2 of Lent, and Genesis 3 (the story of The Fall), in light of the theology of The Cross.Listen Now
Ep. 183: 1st Week of Lent (B)Sister Vassa discusses the benefits of fasting (e.g., mindfulness of food-choices vs. thoughtlessness with regard to food); as well as some liturgical moments of the end of the 1st week of Lent, — the Saturday of St. Theodore, and the Sunday of Orthodoxy. Listen Now
Ep. 182: 1st Week of Lent (A)Sister Vassa covers the liturgical highlights of the1st week of Lent, e.g., the readings from the beginning of the Book of Genesis, the Great Canon of St. Andrew of Crete, and several texts from the Liturgy of Presanctified Gifts (to be celebrated for the first time this Wednesday).Listen Now
Ep. 181: Transition to LentSister Vassa discusses the upcoming transition to Lent, i.e., Cheesefare Friday, Saturday of the Ascetical Fathers, and Forgiveness Sunday (Adam's Exile from Paradise).Listen Now
Ep. 180: Cheesefare WeekSister Vassa discusses this Cheesefare Week (Maslenitsa), as our transition into the Lenten season. She focuses on the Lenten liturgical aspects of this Wednesday & Friday (Cheesefare Wednesday & Friday), e.g., the suppression of Divine Liturgy, the Prayer of St. Ephrem with great prostrations, and special readings from the Old Testament.Listen Now
Ep. 179: The Lenten TriodionSister Vassa discusses the weekend of the Lenten Triodion: the Memorial Saturday (on Feb. 10), and the Sunday of the Last Judgment/Meatfare Sunday (on Feb. 11).Listen Now
Ep. 178: February events of the Church CalendarIn this episode SisterVassa discusses several "current events" of the Church Calendar: 1. The great feast of The Meeting of the Lord; 2. The Sunday of the Prodigal Son; and 3. The Sunday of the New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia.Listen Now
Ep. 177: The Feast of The Three Holy HierarchsIn the context of the Feast of the Three Holy Hierarchs, Sts. Basil the Great, Gregory the Theologian, and John Chrysostom, Sr. Vassa discusses, first, the term "Church Father," and then reviews some of the highlights of the lives & works of the aforementioned Three Holy Hierarchs.Listen Now
Ep. 176: The Beginning of The TriodionSister Vassa talks about the beginning of the Triodion, coming up this Sunday of the Publican and Pharisee, as well as about the purpose of preparing for Lent, physically, spiritually, and even psychologically.Listen Now
Ep. 175: Afterfeast of Theophany, and Sunday of ZacchaeusSister Vassa discusses this week in the Church Calendar(s), i.e., the Afterfeast of Theophany (OC), the Sunday of Zacchaeus, and several saints of this week (OC & NC). She also comments on a current story in the news, about the arrested parents in Perris, CA, and about them supposedly being "deeply religious."Listen Now
Ep. 174: Receiving Communion & “Worthiness”In this episode, Sr. Vassa responds to a question regarding the language of the Prayers before Holy Communion, in which we call ourselves "unworthy." What is meant by this?Listen Now
Ep. 173: 'In' This World, Not 'of' This WorldIn this episode,Sr. Vassa responds to a question regarding how we can lead lives in Christ, and maintain our faith, without sticking our heads in the sand with respect to "this world."Listen Now
Ep. 172: Entering the New YearSister Vassa discusses the Forefeast of Theophany, and shares some thoughts about the beginning of the New Year.Listen Now
Ep. 171: The Shepherds in BethlehemIn this very popular, much talked-about episode Sr. Vassa discusses the unique vocation of the shepherds in Bethlehem (Lk 2), and Viewer Mail asks about teaching faith to children.Listen Now
Ep. 170: The Sacrifice of the TheotokosAfter reviewing the Sundays of the Forefathers (preceding the Nativity), Sr. Vassa discusses the self-offering of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Her unique and "un"traditional vocation, of Birth-Giver of God.Listen Now
Epi. 169: The Incarnation (Pt. 3)In this 3rd part of Sr. Vassa's Nativity-Fast reflections on the Incarnation, she discusses the "sacrificial" aspect of our Lord's coming (advent), or Christ as the Lamb of God.Listen Now
Ep. 168: The Incarnation (Pt. 2)In this second part of our Nativity-Fast podcasts on the Incarnation, Sr. Vassa discusses another aspect of the mystery of the "Word becoming flesh," and that is, "Truth." In this context Sister contemplates the meaning of the word "truth" (aletheia in Greek), what it has to do with the Incarnation, and its implications for our daily lives in Christ.Listen Now
Ep. 167: The Incarnation (Pt. 1)SisterVassa begins her Nativity-Fast reflections on the Incarnation. In this first part she discusses the light-bringing aspect of Christ's coming into our midst, on the basis of Scriptural and liturgical texts.Listen Now
Ep. 166: Sister's Greetings from New YorkIn this podcast, in which Sister Vassa broadcasts from New York, she discusses the current "events" of the Church Calendar(s), as well as Psalm 90/91 and its stabilizing effects on those of us who travel a lot. Featuring a guest appearance of her dad, Fr. George Larin!.Listen Now
Ep. 165: Sunday, The Lord's DayIn this gripping podcast Sr. Vassa discusses the historical origins and theology of the Christian observance of Sunday.Listen Now
Ep. 164: Self-Forgiveness & LoveSister Vassa discusses the connection between self-forgiveness and forgiveness of others, as well as the connection between humble self-love and love for others, in the light of relevant passages from Holy Scripture.Listen Now
Ep. 163: Laypeople & "Pastoral" WorkSisterVassa discusses the ways in which those not ordained to the priesthood share, and do not share, in "pastoral" ministries, based on canonical & scriptural tradition.Listen Now
Ep. 162: The Sabbath-"Problem”Sister Vassa discusses how it is that the Church came to understand the Sabbath-commandment (one of the ten commandments). In this context, she first discusses the Sabbath-"problem" in post-exilic Judaism and in the time of Christ; our Lord's attitude toward the Sabbath; and finally, the theology of the Sabbath in pre-Nicene theology. I know, this one sounds complicated, but lots of fun facts here, - so don't miss it!! :).Listen Now
Ep. 161: The 7-Day WeekSister Vassa discusses the history of the Christian 7-Day week, and its origins from 1.) the Jewish Week and 2.) the Planetary Week of the Romans & Greeks. She also explains the weekly liturgical cycle of Byzantine tradition, specifically the commemoration(s) attached to each day of the week. With a special surprise guest named Daniel!.Listen Now
Ep. 160: Who Needs Church?Sister Vassa responds to the question, "If I am already a well-behaved person, and don't feel the need to go to church, why should I be baptised?" In that context Sister reflects on what we mean by the oft-mystifying words "Church," "sacrament," "baptism," and "salvation.”.Listen Now
Ep. 159: Politics & Life in ChristSister Vassa reflects on the challenges of our 24/7 exposure to "political" news, and on practical, faith-based ways to maintain our sanity in that context.Listen Now
Ep. 158: The Liturgy of the HoursSisterVassa discusses the daily cycle of Byzantine church-services, found in the liturgical book called the "Horologion." In this context she explains the whole concept of dedicating certain times of day to certain memories from Salvation History, and how we can use this to inform our daily lives in Christ.Listen Now
Epi. 157: Lust vs. FreedomIn this podcast SisterVassa defines what is meant by "lust," (e.g., in Gal 5: 16), and how/why it diminishes our God-given freedom. She also discusses how an embrace of our "vocation," or unique calling from God, can inform and guide us out of the enslavement of "lust," and shares some practical tips about dealing with various lust-related obsessions, like "unrequited love." And Viewer Mail asks why Christ didn't experience romantic love.Listen Now
Ep. 156: St. John the BaptistSister Vassa discusses the life and special role in Salvation History of St. John the Baptist, as well as the traditions (i.e., feasts and prayers in the Byzantine Rite) that help us include him in our prayer-life.Listen Now
Ep. 155: Approaching Holy CommunionSister Vassa addresses two questions: 1. What is "Holy Communion"? and 2. How do we approach it? In this context, she discusses the various forms of preparation for Holy Communion (which vary from local Church to local Church, and also from individual to individual), including private prayers, fasting, confession, and the Divine Liturgy itself.Listen Now
Ep. 154: Hurricanes & Other CrisesSr. Vassa offers some reflections on dealing with various calamities in a faith-based way.Listen Now
Ep. 153: Autumn & Other TransitionsSister Vassa discusses the various transitions connected to Autumn (beginning of the Church year, beginning of the school year, as well as the changing colors of the trees, etc.), and how these "seasonal" transitions can inform & inspire our prayer-lives, as well as our more difficult, transitional moments in life. And Viewer Mail asks about weight-loss.Listen Now
Ep. 152: Praying to the TheotokosSisterVassa discusses the several branches of Church Tradition, through which we learn to pray to the Theotokos.Listen Now
Ep. 151: Spiritual Fathers & CodependencySister Vassa discusses a potential pitfall in the relationship of a layperson and his/her spiritual father, namely, "codependency." She discusses this phenomenon in psychological and spiritual terms, its symptoms and consequences, and also some practical strategies and solutions for surviving and healing such a relationship.Listen Now
Ep. 150: I Look for the Resurrection of the DeadSister Vassa discusses the final words of the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed, "I look for (expect or await) the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the age to come," as well as the consequences of this "expectation" for our daily lives.Listen Now
Ep. 149: The 'Symbolic' Language of LiturgyIn which Sr. Vassa explains several types of "allegorical" interpretations of Byzantine Divine Liturgy.Listen Now
Ep. 148: Dormition Fast & DormitionIn which Sr. Vassa discusses the 2-week Dormition Fast, as well as the Feast of the Dormition of the Mother of God, celebrated Aug 15 (Aug 28, OC).Listen Now
Ep. 147: Taking Daily "Inventory”In which Sr. Vassa discusses the helpful practice of keeping a spiritual diary, or taking a daily "inventory," in order to lead a more responsible and discerning life in Christ.Listen Now
Ep. 146: TransfigurationIn which Sr. Vassa discusses the Feast of Transfiguration, celebrated August 6 (NC) or August 19 (OC).Listen Now
Ep. 145: Praying Amidst A Busy ScheduleSister Vassa discusses the challenges, misconceptions, and strategies of the prayer-life of today's average layperson, with a busy schedule.Listen Now
Ep. 144: Discerning Our VocationSr. Vassa discusses both the theoretical and practical aspects of discerning our "vocation" or calling.Listen Now
Ep. 143: Humility & MeeknessSisterVassa discusses the elusive virtues of "humility" and "meekness" on the basis of Scripture, as well as their practical implications in everyday life.Listen Now
Ep. 142: Liturgical VestmentsSisterVassa discusses the liturgical vestments of deacons, priests, and bishops, along with their history and symbolism.Listen Now
Ep. 141: Praying the CreedSister Vassa discusses the practical connections between "faith"and "dogma," in our daily practice of "praying," not only saying, TheNicene-Constantinopolitan creed.Listen Now
Ep. 140: What is Loneliness?Sister Vassa discusses what 'loneliness' is, and what it is not, as well as some of the tools we can pick up, from our Tradition, to respond to "loneliness" in a way that is life-giving to us and others.Listen Now
Ep. 139: Self-Reliance vs. God-RelianceJuly 7, 2017. Sister Vassa discusses the fears and delusions we slip into, when in self-reliance, as well as the tools we can pick up, to counter this, in faith, and let God back into the picture.Listen Now
Ep. 138: Sts. Peter & PaulIn which Sr. Vassa discusses the feast of Sts. Peter & Paul, celebrated June 29 (on July 12, OC).Listen Now
Ep. 137: Praying the Divine LiturgySisterVassa explains the six "movements" of Divine Liturgy, i.e., non-textual or ceremonial aspects of the celebration, vital to understanding and participating in it.Listen Now
Ep. 136: The Apostles FastSister Vassa discusses the Apostles Fast, its history and motives, as well as its relation to the Western "jejunium aestivum" (summertime fast).Listen Now
Ep. 135: Learning to PraySister Vassa talks about our prayer-life as a continuous, life-long learning-process. And how, on a daily basis, prayer helps to maintain our sanity, also in turbulent political times.Listen Now
Ep. 134: Sunday of All SaintsIn which Sr. Vassa discusses Sunday of All Saints, the one right after Pentecost. And Viewer Mail asks about violence in the Bible.Listen Now
Ep. 133: 12-Step Programs & OrthodoxySister Vassa responds to an email, asking whether 12-Step programs are compatible with Orthodox Christianity.Listen Now
Ep. 132: Pentecost, the 50th DaySister Vassa discusses the upcoming great feast of Pentecost, with its liturgical & scriptural traditions.Listen Now
Ep. 131: Smashing Our IdolsSister Vassa shares the talk she gave at an Orthodox Youth Conference in Saffron Walden in Essex (UK), "Smashing the Idols: Dealing with Passions & Temptations in Our Daily Lives.".Listen Now
Ep. 130: Book of Acts (Pt 4)In this 4th and final part of our review of the Book of Acts, read this Pentecost-season in Byzantine-Rite churches, Sr. Vassa covers chapters 21-28.Listen Now
Ep. 129: Talking to Kids About FaithSister Vassa replies to Viewer Mail, asking about how to explain to children "why Christ died." Sister also talks about the upcoming feast of the Ascension.Listen Now
Ep. 128: Spiritual Blindness & SightSister Vassa discusses the reading for the upcoming Sunday of the Blind Man (Jn 9), and Viewer Mail asks about the different disciplines of penance with regard to Holy Communion in the Byzantine and Latin traditions.Listen Now
Ep. 127: Book of Acts (Pt. 3)Sister Vassa continues her review of the Book of Acts, covering, in this 3rd part, chapters 16-20 inclusively.Listen Now
Ep. 126: The Hole in the HeartSister Vassa discusses the upcoming Sunday of the Samaritan Woman (John 4), and Viewer Mail asks about the difference between "good" and "bad" escapism.Listen Now
Ep. 125: The Book of Acts (Pt.2)In this second part of Sister's coverage of The Book of Acts (tune in to Episode 123 for Part 1), she reviews Chapters 9-15, select passages ofwhich are being read in our churches these two weeks of the Pentecostseason.Listen Now
Ep. 124: The Paralytic at BethesdaSister Vassa discusses the reading of the upcoming Sunday of the Paralytic, John 5: 1-15. And Viewer Mail asks some questions on women and the priesthood.Listen Now
Ep. 123: Acts of the Apostles (Pt. 1)Sister Vassa covers Chapters 1-9 of the Book of Acts, which are read, according to the Byzantine liturgical calendar, duringthe first 3 weeks following Pascha.Listen Now
Ep. 122: 'Gender Roles' & ScriptureSister Vassa explores whether a life in Christ means we areassigned certain "gender roles," and what the answer to that question means for our "vocation." In this context Sr. Vassa looks at certain modern-day definitions of "gender roles," as well as relevant passagesfrom both the Old and New Testaments.Listen Now
Ep. 121: Bright WeekSister Vassa discusses the services, traditions and readings of Bright Week (the week after Pascha).Listen Now
Ep. 120: The Holy Fire in JerusalemSister Vassa discusses the history and theology of the rite of the "Holy Fire," celebrated in Jerusalem on Holy Saturday, as well as the influence of this rite on the Paschal vigils of both East and West, and its earliest historical witnesses.Listen Now
Ep. 119 - Part 2: Holy Thursday, Friday & SaturdayThis is the second of a two-part podcast about the services & readings of Holy Thursday, Holy Friday, and Holy Saturday. In this part SisterVassa concentrates on the themes and traditions of Holy Friday and Holy Saturday.Listen Now
Ep. 119 - Part 1: Holy Thursday, Friday & SaturdayThis is the first of a two-part podcast about the services & readings of Holy Thursday, Holy Friday, and Holy Saturday.Listen Now
Ep. 118: Holy Monday, Tuesday & WednesdaySister Vassa discusses the services and readings of Holy Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday.Listen Now
Ep. 117: Transition to Holy WeekSister Vassa discusses Lazarus Saturday & Palm Sunday.Listen Now
Ep. 116: St. Mary of EgyptSister Vassa talks about Week 6 of Lent, and tells the story of St. Mary of Egypt, who was commemorated on this past Sunday.Listen Now
Ep. 115: Fifth Week of LentSister Vassa discusses two liturgical services of the 5th week of Lent, The Great Canonof St. Andrew of Crete, and Saturday of the Akathist.Listen Now
Ep. 114: Fear of God vs. Human AnxietySister Vassa discusses the liberating nature & effects of "the fear of God," as distinct from merely-human fears and anxieties. Viewer Mail questions Sr. V's use of quotes from the works of Karl Jung, whom the questioner characterizes as "a danger to Christian thinking.".Listen Now
Ep. 113: Liturgy of the Presanctified GiftsSister Vassa discusses the Lenten Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts. In that context, she also briefly addresses the issue of "Eucharistic adoration.".Listen Now
Ep. 112: Internet Porn AddictionSister Vassa discusses an important problem of our time, internet porn addiction, its symptoms, consequences, and the help available to those afflicted.Listen Now
Ep. 111: Hesychasm & St. Gregory PalamasSister Vassa discusses the "Hesychast" teaching of St. Gregory Palamas. At the end of the podcast, she also touches upon some ecumenically-significant changes made in Roman Catholic pneumatology in recent times.Listen Now
Ep. 110: Idle Words & Idle TalkSister Vassa discusses the "idle talk/idle words" mentioned in the Lenten Prayer of St. Ephrem.Listen Now
Ep. 109: Icon-Veneration & "Orthodoxy”This episode is about The Sunday of Orthodoxy (1st Sunday of Lent). In this context SisterVassa discusses the Church's teaching on icon-veneration, as well as the term "Orthodoxy," and how/why the term is both distasteful and important in post-modern times.Listen Now
Ep. 108: Lent in Light of the CrossSister Vassa discusses the Mystery of the Cross, commemorated at the beginning, middle and end of Lent. At the beginning of Lent, as Sister points out, we are called to remember the "Tree of Life" in paradise, from which Adam was exiled (Sunday of Forgiveness). In the middle of Lent, there is the Sunday of the Cross (3rd Sunday of Lent). And at the end of Holy Week we commemorate our Lord's Passion. Sister discusses this structure and its meaning.Listen Now
Ep. 107: Pre-Lenten Carnivals & CheesefareSister Vassa talks about the pre-Lenten “carnival” celebrations, as well as "Cheesefare Week" (Maslenitsa), according to the Byzantine Liturgical calendar. In this context, she discusses the topics of the two pre-Lenten Sundays, of the Last Judgement (Meatfare Sunday), and Adam’s Exile from Paradise (Cheesefare Sunday).Listen Now
Ep. 106: Our Sense of Humor: Curse or Blessing?Sister Vassa discusses the positive and negative aspects of our sense of humor, in light of its physiological, psychological, spiritual, social, and biblical implications. Viewer Mail asks about the biblical Joseph (Gen 37-50), and why he's a topic of Lent.Listen Now
Ep. 105: The Parable of the Prodigal SonSister Vassa discusses The Parable of the Prodigal Son (Lk 15). Viewer Mail asks about stay-at-home-dads and “traditional gender roles.”.Listen Now
Ep. 104: By the Rivers of BabylonSister Vassa discusses Psalm 136/137, "By the Rivers of Babylon," which is sung in some Byzantine-Rite churches on the three Sundays preceding Lent.Viewer Mail asks about Sister's reflection from a week ago, on "Physical Fitness.".Listen Now
Ep. 103: Lust for PowerSister Vassa discusses one of the vices mentioned in Part 1 of the Lenten Prayer of St. Ephrem, "lust for power." Viewer Mail asks a question about dealing with a divorce.Listen Now
Ep. 102: The Meeting/Presentation of the LordSister Vassa discusses the great feast of The Meeting/Presentation of Our Lord, celebrated Feb. 2 (Feb. 15, OC).ViewerMail talks about the frustrations surrounding a woman's position in the workplace.Listen Now
Ep. 101: Church Buildings & "Sacred" SpacesSister Vassa discusses the Lord's "cleansing of the Temple" (Mk11: 15-17) and its implications for our understanding of "sacred" space.Listen Now
Ep. 100: Courage & "Empowerment”Sister Vassa reflects on the Christian concept of "courage" and what "empowerment" means in light of faith.Listen Now
Ep. 99: Does the Mother of God “Save” Us?SisterVassa discusses the oft-perplexing Byzantine prayer, “Most Holy Theotokos, save us!”.Listen Now
Ep. 98: Sr. Vassa's The Wheel InterviewSister Vassa shares the replies she made in an interviewpublished in the online-journal, The Wheel (check it out at www.wheeljournal.com).Listen Now
Ep. 97: Living Orthodoxy in a Non-Orthodox SettingSister Vassa discusses some practical and theoretical sides of "living Orthodoxy in a heterodox setting.".Listen Now
Ep. 96: The Feast of Theophany or Baptism of Our LordSister Vassa discusses the Feast ofTheophany,or Baptism of the Lord celebrated on the Byzantine liturgical calendar on January 6 (January 19 OC).Listen Now
Ep. 95: The Feast of the Circumcision of Our LordSister Vassa talks about a feast in the Byzantine liturgical calendar that doesn't get much "press," The Feast of the Circumcision of Our Lord, celebrated January 1 (or January 14 Older Calendar).Listen Now
Ep. 94: Entering the New YearSister Vassa reflects on our entrance into the new year, and departure from the old one. And Viewer Mail asks about the process of learning languages.Listen Now
Ep. 93: The Feast of Our Lord's NativitySister Vassa discusses some of the texts (hymns and Scripture passages) of the Byzantine services of the Feast of our Lord's Nativity.Listen Now
Ep. 92: Loneliness During The HolidaysSister Vassa discusses the phenomenon of loneliness, as distinct from solitude, in both its productive and destructive aspects, in the context of this holiday season. And Viewer Mail asks about female head-coverings in church.Listen Now
Ep. 91: A New Kind of Parish Coffee HourSister Vassa responds in more detail to a question regarding our parish’s coffee-hours/luncheons, as to how we might make our conversations there more beneficial for our spiritual lives.Listen Now
Ep. 90: The Sundays Before Nativity, of the FathersSister Vassa discusses the two Sundays preceding Christmas, of The Forefathers, and of the Holy Fathers, of the Byzantine liturgical calendar. Viewer Mail asks, How can we make our conversations with other parishioners more beneficial for our spiritual lives?.Listen Now
Ep. 89: Cross-Carrying vs. VictimhoodSister Vassa discusses the pitfalls of, and faith-based strategies against, slipping into a "victimized orientation.".Listen Now
Epi. 88: Fear of Financial InsecuritySister Vassa discusses the challenges of an inherent part of human existence, the whole area of financial matters. Viewer Mail asks about the reasons for the different Calendars in the Orthodox Churches.Listen Now
Ep. 87: When the News Is Too MuchSister Vassa discusses strategies against being overburdened with the news.Listen Now
Ep. 86: The Feast of the Entry of the TheotokosSister Vassa discusses the great feast of the Entry of the Theotokos into the Temple, celebrated November 21 (December 4, OC). Viewer Mail questions the prayers of Roman Catholic Saints.Listen Now
Ep. 85: Advent & The Nativity FastIn which Sr. Vassa discusses the preparatory period preceding the Feast of the Nativity of our Lord. And Viewer Mail asks about burn-out.Listen Now
Ep. 84: An Attitude of GratitudeIn this Thanksgiving-Day episode Sr. Vassa discusses gratitude, and how it can change our daily lives.Listen Now
Ep.e 83: What’s the Point of Church-Services?SisterVassa discusses what the objectives of church-services are, and what they aren’t.Viewer Mail asks about the formula, “Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us.”.Listen Now
Ep. 82: Post-Election Heavy HeartRecordedby Sister Vassa from Moscow, Russia! Here she responds to "Viewer Mail"about having a heavy heart after the recent US-elections.Listen Now
Ep. 81: Ordination & PriesthoodSister Vassa discusses the Sacrament of Ordination, specifically the ordination of a priest in the Byzantine Rite.Listen Now
Ep. 80: What Is Contemplation?Sister Vassa and special guest Zhenya discuss the daily practice of "contemplation," and its benefits. Sister responds to Viewer Mail complaining about Sister posting on Facebook an interview with Mel Gibson.Listen Now
Ep. 79: Self-Righteous AngerSister Vassa explores the whole phenomenon of self-righteous anger, its effects on us, and some practical strategies from Scripture on how to deal with it.Listen Now
Ep. 78: Keeping Christ in OrthodoxySisterVassa discusses the phenomenon, both in our personal and communal lives, as Church, of replacing our God-centered focus with secondary issues or "God-surrogates.".Listen Now
Ep. 77: Vocation & Ministry in Our Internet-AgeSister Vassa broadcasts from New York City! With surprise guest Steven Christophorou of the Be-the-Bee YouTube videos.Listen Now
Ep. 76: Icon-Veneration & LiturgySister Vassa records from Pennsylvania, during her speaking tour there. She talks about the Sunday of the Fathers of the 7th Ecumenical Council, and the veneration of icons in the context of the celebration of Divine Liturgy.Listen Now
Ep. 75: People-Pleasing vs. ServiceSister Vassa discusses "the disease to please," as opposed to Christ-like ministry to ourselves & others.Listen Now
Ep. 74: On Women & "Ritual Impurity”Sister Vassa discusses the grisly topic we all hate to talk about, "ritual impurity" i.e., the canonical rules that limit women's liturgical participation during times of menstruation and after childbirth.Listen Now
Ep. 73: Allegory: A Different Way of SeeingSister Vassa discusses the importance and benefits of "allegorical" interpretations of various branches of Tradition (e.g., Scripture, Liturgy) and life. Viewer Mail comes from Fr. Prof. Philip Zymaris, who tells us about the Feast of the Protection of the Mother of God in the Greek Orthodox Church on October 28th.Listen Now
Ep. 72: Feast of the Protection of the Mother of GodSister Vassa discusses the Feast of the Protection of the Mother of God, celebrated October 1/14. Viewer Mail asks about the teaching on "Election" and "Propitiation.".Listen Now
Ep. 71: Reading the Lives of the SaintsSister Vassa discusses the ancient Christian practice of reading the Lives of the Saints, and the whole point of that tradition. And it takes her so long to do so, that she doesn't get to Viewer Mail.Listen Now
Ep. 70: Celebrities & ScapegoatsSister Vassa discusses the scapegoating-phenomenon surrounding our approach to the lives of celebrities. Viewer Mail comes from a working mom, who asks if it's OK to put her infant into day care.Listen Now
Ep. 69: On "Growing Up" Too QuicklySister Vassa discusses one of the aspects of our Internet-Age, the challenges of "TMI" (Too Much Information), in the context of Salvation History. The additional responsibilities of our over-abundance of information challenges us, both young & old, to rediscover God's protective and loving boundaries in our daily lives.Listen Now
Ep. 68: Encountering Doubt in FaithSister Vassa discusses the various forms of "doubt" (from the Latin "dubitare," i.e. to hesitate, to question, to waver in opinion), as part of our relationships with others, including God. She also points out biblical examples of the human experience of doubt. Viewer Mail asks about how to find a spiritual father.Listen Now
Ep. 67: The Feast of the Exaltation of the CrossSister Vassa discusses the great feast of the Exaltation of the Cross, celebrated September 14 (September 27th, Older Calendar).Listen Now
Ep. 66: Our Ageing-Process in FaithSister Vassa discusses our aging process and the benefits of a faith-inspired life for the challenges of old age. Viewer Mail comments on the reading of the Eucharistic Prayer out loud.Listen Now
Ep. 65: The Nativity of the TheotokosSister Vassa discusses the great feast of the Nativity of the Theotokos, celebrated September 8 (September 21, Older Calendar).Listen Now
Ep. 64: The Virgin Birth & Moses's Burning BushSister Vassa discusses the passage from Exodus 3 about the Burning Bush, and how it is related to the mystery of the Virgin Birth and of the Church.Viewer Mail complains about the length of the podcasts.Listen Now
Ep. 63: September 1 and The Church YearSister Vassa discusses the tradition behind the calendars, and how to find comfort, rather than confusion, in their differences.Listen Now
Ep. 62: Challenges of Morning Prayer & MatinsSister Vassa discusses the various challenges and benefits of a structured, prayerful morning, as well as the Byzantine morning-service of Matins (Orthros).Listen Now
Ep. 61: Challenges of Evening PrayerSister Vassa discusses the challenges and opportunities of ordering one´s evening prayer-schedule, in the 24/7 culture of our internet-age. In this context, she also reviews the main themes of the evening-service of Vespers.Listen Now
Ep. 60: The Rite of BaptismSister Vassa discusses the importance and depth of tradition that makes Baptism such a major moment in our life in Christ.Listen Now
Ep. 59: Keeping Things SimpleSister Vassa discusses a Christian virtue, particularly important in our stressful, high-paced time, of Keeping Things Simple.Listen Now
Bonus Episode: The "Crowning" Rite of MarriageSister Vassa discusses the rite of Marriage, as celebrated in the Byzantine rite.Listen Now
Ep. 58: The Feast of the Dormition/AssumptionSister Vassa discusses the Feast of the Dormition of the Theotokos, celebrated August 15.Listen Now
Ep. 57: Dealing with Rejection & FailureSister Vassa discusses the "3 facts" about rejection, as well as methods of dealing with the subsequent feelings that commonly arise in such situations.Listen Now
Ep. 56: The Feast of the Transfiguration of Our LordSister Vassa discusses the feast of the Transfiguration of Our Lord, celebrated on August 6 (August 19, Older Calendar).Listen Now
Ep. 55: Putting First Things FirstSister Vassa talks about keeping a God-centered focus amidst political and other issues that may divide us within our Church-communities.Listen Now
Ep. 54: A Journey into OrthodoxyRecorded on-the-road in Wilmington, North Carolina, with special guest-stars Fr. Stephen Freeman and Matushka Beth Freeman! Plus ongoing coverage of the Holy Council's documents!Listen Now
Ep. 53: The Holy Council's Document on "Autonomy" & Its ProclamationSister Vassa discusses the Holy & Great Council's document on "Autonomy," which is a certain canonical status of Orthodox Churches that are self-ruled, and yet not entirely "autocephalous." The Council's document regulates the procedure by which the status of "autonomy" is to be proclaimed in the Orthodox world of today.Listen Now
Ep. 52: The Council-Document on MissionSister Vassa discusses the Holy & Great Council's document on "The Mission of the Orthodox Church in Today’s World.".Listen Now
Ep. 51: The Council-Document on MarriageSister Vassa takes an in-depth look at the Holy and Great Council Document on "The Sacrament of Marriage and its Impediments.".Listen Now
Ep. 50: The Council Document on Relations with the Christian WorldSister Vassa discusses the document of the Holy and Great Council (June, 2016), "Relations of the Orthodox Church with the Rest of the Christian World." Viewer Mail asks about innocent suffering.Listen Now
Ep. 49: Honesty & Humility vs. LustSister Vassa discusses the way in which the gifts of honesty and humility can be powerful antidotes against the frustrations and "wishful thinking" of lust. Viewer Mail comes from an Orthodox female college student who opted out of studying theology, because of women's issues in the Orthodox Church.Listen Now
Ep. 48: The Fasting Document of the Holy CouncilSister Vassa discusses the Holy and Great Council's document on Fasting. Viewer Mail asks about our attitude towards death.Listen Now
Ep. 47: Paganism and Sorcery in Our Church-Life?Sister Vassa discusses how elements of paganism and witchcraft creep into popular approaches to the sacramental life and prayer of the Church in our modern day.Listen Now
Ep. 46: The Diaspora-Document of the Holy and Great CouncilSister Vassa discusses the finer points of the document on the diaspora, post-Council meeting. Viewer Mail from an old friend of the show about the state of today's business world.Listen Now
Bonus Episode: Grieving & HealingSister talks about the four phases of grief in light of Scripture.Listen Now
Ep. 45: The Message of the Holy & Great CouncilSister Vassa discusses the new document of the recently-concluded Holy and Great Council (Crete, June 18-26, 2016), "The Message of the Holy & Great Council of the Orthodox Church." Viewer Mail is from Prof. Fr. Andrew Louth, about women's ministry in the Orthodox Church.Listen Now
Ep. 44: Does Prayer Really Work?Sister Vassa replies to a man who has given up on prayer, because God has not given him what he asked for.Listen Now
Ep. 43: Body Image & Orthodox FaithSister Vassa discusses the pressures and anxieties connected to a modern-day culture obsessed with "body image," in light of a Spirit-filled life. Viewer Mail asks about homosexuality.Listen Now
Ep. 42: Pentecost & Orthodox DisunitySister Vassa reflects on recent, "dis-orienting" events surrounding the convening of the Holy and Great Council, in light of the upcoming feast of Pentecost and the Holy Spirit's undying, consoling presence in the Church.Listen Now
Ep. 41: Theology of Demise and the Holy SpiritSister Vassa talks about a prevalent present-day conviction, that the Church experienced a Golden Age in the first millennium, after which everything went downhill; As if today we remain without further, vibrant guidance of the Holy Spirit or capacity for creativity, or any new surprises in and from the Holy Spirit. Viewer Mail from a priest's son in Russia talks about the upcoming Holy and Great Council.Listen Now
Ep. 40: Does Tradition Change?Sister discusses two aspects of Tradition, the changeable context of History, and the unchangeable Mystery. She also explores the implications of the historical context for issues of change and changeability in various branches of “Tradition,” like Liturgy, Canon Law, Scriptural Exegesis, etc.Listen Now
Ep. 39: Making Decisions & AnxietySister reflects on procrastination, the anxiety that comes from inactivity, and the liberating effects of faith. Viewer Mail asks, Why do we pray, "save us," if we are already saved?.Listen Now
Ep. 38: PatienceSister talks about a great coping mechanism, the virtue of patience. Viewer Mail asks about Coptic Christianity.Listen Now
Ep. 37: The Samaritan Woman & ChristSister Vassa comments on the modern-day implications of Christ's conversation with the Samaritan woman in John 4, and in Viewer Mail a young man asks about unrequited love!.Listen Now
Ep. 36: Addictions and FaithSister Vassa explores the positive ways in which the afflictions related to various forms of addiction can lead the modern-day indifferent or agnostic human being to faith. Viewer Mail comes from the Ecumenical Patriarchate's website!.Listen Now
Ep. 35: Praying to the SaintsSister discusses the meaning of the word "saint," and the "communion of the saints." Viewer Mail comes from a concerned parent who asks about the popular television series, "The Vampire Diaries.".Listen Now
Ep. 34: What and Why is "Church”?Sister delves into the term "ekklesia" (church), in order to refocus on the primary purpose of church-being amidst hot-button issues in the church-politics of today. Viewer Mail talks about the experience of a convert to Orthodoxy & its oft-exaggerated ethnic aspects.Listen Now
Ep. 33: Is Our Church Life God-Centered?Sister Vassa discusses the finer details around how & why we go to Church. Viewer Mail from an OCA priest, and special guest producer Zhenya!.Listen Now
Ep. 32: Awaiting the Holy SpiritSister Vassa talks about the period from Pascha to Pentecost, as well as the event of the descent of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles (Acts 2). Viewer Mail asks about "transubstantiation," as depicted by the Latter Day Saints movement.Listen Now
Ep. 31: The Risen Lord's AppearancesSister Vassa discusses the Post-Resurrectional appearances of our Lord to St. Thomas and Mary, as well as the differences and meanings between the two. Viewer Mail concerning heresy and Council documents.Listen Now
Ep. 30: The Meaning of AscensionSister Vassa reflects on the meaning of Christ’s Ascension. Viewer Mail is from Dr. Carrie Frederick Frost, one of the authors of the "Women and the Holy Council." She loved Sister's recent podcast on Women & the Upcoming Council!.Listen Now
Ep. 29: What is Obedience?Sister reflects on the various meanings (and distortions) of "obedience." And Viewer Mail asks about Celibacy and the Priesthood.Listen Now
Bonus April: Women & the Upcoming CouncilSister Vassa comments on the issue of women's participation in the upcoming Holy and Great Council of June 2016. Sister also expresses gratitude and support for a document recently published by several prominent scholars in the United States, "Women and the Great and Holy Orthodox Council.".Listen Now
Ep. 28: Crucified for UsSister talks about the Gospels and about the Lord's Passion, celebrated this week according to the Orthodox calendar. And Viewer Mail asks for prayers, in view of Easter-time depression.Listen Now
Ep. 27: Judas & BetrayalSister reflects on the human phenomenon of betrayal, including that of Judas, in light of our Lord's forgiveness and mercy. In this context she also looks at the examples of Peter's denial, and the loving act of the sinful woman who washes the feet of Jesus in the house of the Pharisee.Listen Now
Ep. 26: Transition to Great WeekSister Vassa talks about the raising of Lazarus, the end of Lent & the beginning of Lament. Also, Viewer Mail asks again about the Filioque, and Sister clarifies in simple terms!.Listen Now
Ep. 25: I Believe in the Holy SpiritThis episode Sister Vassa delves deep into what is meant when the Holy Spirit is talked about in Scripture.Listen Now
Ep. 24: The Mother of God and UsSister Vassa discusses the importance of Mary, the Mother of God. Viewer Mail asks about adultery.Listen Now
Ep. 23: I Believe in One GodThis episode Sister Vassa discusses the Creed, and the liberation that comes from understanding it. Plus: allegory in Scripture!.Listen Now
Ep. 22: Seeing My Sins & Not JudgingThis episode Sister Vassa talks about the 3rd part of the Prayer of St. Ephrem, seeing clearly and simply, and accepting others as well as ourselves. Viewer Mail asks about "whole-mindedness" & the God-given gift of sexuality!.Listen Now
Ep. 21: Whole-Mindedness & HumilitySister Vassa records from Moscow, Russia, and discusses two virtues mentioned in Part 2 of the Lenten Prayer of St. Ephrem: "Whole-Mindedness and Humility." Viewer Mail asks about Christ's Ascension, and how it is that His body went up to a certain "place"?.Listen Now
Ep. 20: Prayer of St. EphremSister Vassa discusses the points of "Lust of Power" and "Idle Talk" in the Prayer of St. Ephrem. Viewer Mail asks about cynicism and open-mindedness.Listen Now
Bonus Episode: Mission of the Church TodayIn this Bonus Episode Sr. Vassa discusses the Council document "The Mission of the Orthodox Church in Today’s World.".Listen Now
Ep. 19: Divorce, Divorcees and Church-LifeIn this episode Sister Vassa discusses the problematic issue of divorce, and ministry to divorcees, in Orthodoxy. Viewer Mail asks why Christ told Mary Magdalene, "Touch me not!".Listen Now
Ep. 18: The Paschal MysteryIn this episode Sr. Vassa discusses the Paschal Mystery with a bit of assistance from Isaiah and St. Paul. Viewer Mail concerning Sister's latest video "Triumph of Orthodoxy vs. Triumphalism in Orthodoxy".Listen Now
Ep. 17: Making Scripture Part of My LifeIn this episode Sr. Vassa talks about the very real importance of Scripture, and how we can incorporate it deeper into our lives. Viewer Mail asks about the Old Testament.Listen Now
Ep. 16: Going to Confession During LentSister Vassa discusses going to confession, "cleaning house", and tending to your spiritual garden, so to speak. Plus: Viewer Mail concerning weight and body issues!.Listen Now
Ep. 15: The Salvific Sadness of LentSister Vassa talks about what's at the very heart of Lent, and what it's all about. Plus Viewer Mail concerning inconsistency.Listen Now
Ep. 14: Lent, Back to BasicsThis episode Sister Vassa talks about the basics of Lent, and how we can use it to refresh and rejuvenate ourselves physically and spiritually. Plus Viewer Mail: women and Orthodoxy.Listen Now
Ep. 13: The Physical Side of FastingSister Vassa talks about the effects & meaning of fasting, as well as how to do it in a healthy way. Plus: Viewer Mail concerning further questions about the Holy and Great Council!.Listen Now
Ep. 12: God's Judgment & Satan's AccusationsThis episode Sister Vassa discusses Judgement and Accusations, and how to stay in the light, rather than get dragged down into the shadows. Also, Viewer Mail asks about revelations!.Listen Now
Ep. 11: What Do I 'Get' Out of Church?With Spring at our doorstep Sister Vassa talks about Renewal, Rebirth and Self-Giving, plus Viewer Mail asks about "Learning Theology from the Non-Orthodox?".Listen Now
Ep. 10: Being Bored in ChurchThis week Sister Vassa discusses Idleness and Despondency regarding the Church and our lives. Plus: Viewer Mail with Rob, in which Sister addresses concerns about the upcoming Holy and Great Council.Listen Now
Ep. 9: Walking Through TransitionsSister Vassa discusses the large and small transitions in life, as well as the Lenten transition, reading the Lenten Prayer, Open to me the Doors of Repentance. And Viewer Mail has a question about the upcoming Holy and Great Council.Listen Now
Ep. 8: Living a Comparative Life & Baptism-for-MarriageIn this episode Sister Vassa talks about living a comparative life in connection with today's day & age, the Publican & the Pharisee being a great example. Plus Viewer Mail, in which Sister discusses baptism for the sake of marriage.Listen Now
Ep. 7: Honesty & Women's MinistryHonesty– and Foundation of a Life in Christ. Plus viewer mail and thoughts on Women's Ministry!.Listen Now
Bonus Episode: Pan-Orthodox Synod 1 (Basics)Sister Vassa goes over the basics of the upcoming Pan-Orthodox Synod, a.k.a. The Holy and Great Council, as well as some thoughts on Prayer vs. Cynicism.Listen Now
Ep. 6: Loneliness & Valentine's DaySister Vassa talks about the up's and down's and good's and bad's of loneliness in this romantic season of Valentine's Day. Plus: fan mail with Rob!.Listen Now
Ep. 5: Dealing With FeelingsDealing with feelings, good & bad, plus fan mail with Rob!.Listen Now
Ep. 4: Becoming Teachable For LentToday´s podcast topic is "Preparation for Lent: A Journey toward Teachability" and on the Churching of Women!.Listen Now
Ep. 3: Meeting of the LordToday´s podcast is on Meeting of the Lord!.Listen Now
Ep. 2: Blessing GodSister talks about “blessing God”, and what it means. Plus: viewer mail with Rob.Listen Now
Ep. 1: Christ's First WordsThe debut episode of the Coffee with Sr. Vassa Podcast! Enjoy, and spreadthe word!.Listen Now