Greetings in the name of our Lord and God and Savior, Jesus Christ!
We welcome you to the website of St. Nicholas Orthodox Church. The purpose of this website is to provide an introduction to the Orthodox Church and to our parish, and to provide resources for our members. We come from a variety of backgrounds, and always welcome visitors to our services, which are all in English. If you are a first-time visitor or have any questions regarding the Orthodox Church or our parish, please feel free to contact our priest. We invite you to browse this website, and to "come and see," joining us in worship of the Holy Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
The second Sunday of Lent calls us to honor St. Gregory Palamas. St. Gregory is known for teaching about the “Uncreated Light” of God. We all know about the light of this world: the Sun’s light, the light we see coming from the stars and the moon, the light from fire and electricity. These are all examples of created light. Speaking about the Transfiguration of the Lord on Mt. Tabor, St. Gregory says that the light the disciples saw shining from Christ was not like these other kinds of light. It was not created, but rather, the “Uncreated Light. That is, it was the light of God, the light that existed before anything was created, before there was a sun or a moon or stars or other lights.
What does this Light mean to us? We are like plants who will turn pale, and ultimately wither up without the light of the Sun. Only, our Sun is the Lord. We can’t live apart from His direct intervention. On the other hand, the positive side is that it is possible at any time to turn to the Sun and receive its light and warmth. This world’s light is good, and a gift from God. But the greatest gift, which He desires to give us, is the light of His own presence and His energy.
St. Gregory insisted that it’s possible to have real, direct experience of God. God doesn’t want us to be satisfied with “theologizing” about Him. Barlaam, the 14th century theologian who opposed St. Gregory’s teaching, taught that the highest knowledge is philosophical knowledge. For him, direct experience of the grace, or energy, of God was not possible, and the Christian life was about following a moral code and rationally assenting to the right things. But as St. Gregory made clear, the Christian life is really about being transformed by the fire of God’s presence — becoming “all aflame.” Though God is absolutely transcendent and all-powerful and it is right to have devout fear before Him, at the same time in His incredible love for Mankind He makes Himself present to us: in the incarnation of Christ, in the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, in all the Mysteries of the Church, and even in simple, sincere prayer. We can (and must!) come to know Him deeply and directly, that we might be drawn out of darkness, filled with His life and love, and made like Him by grace.