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  • Eugenia

In the Beginning

Updated: Sep 1, 2021

Hello, and welcome to my blog! The Unfading Rose will be a gathering place of seasonal wisdom and luminous exploration, from the garden to the forest to the home altar. I hope you will join me on my journey as I learn more about the power of plants and nature, the mystical life and the lives of the Saints, and embrace the seasons of the year and the seasons of life. I expect that this blog will be a mix of photographs, reflections, recipes, prayers, essays, and anything else that strikes my fancy.


Why call it The Unfading Rose? The Theotokos, or the Mother of God, has many names, including the Unfading Rose. The rose is a symbol of purity, prayer, and perseverance. She will serve as my guide on my journey, leading me to beauty and a well-tended garden.



Today is September 1, which marks the Indiction, or new year, in the Orthodox Christian calendar. Today is the day when the Church celebrates the creation of the world, when being emerged from darkness, and God breathed the breath of life into mankind. It seems fitting to start my blog on this day. Lord, grant me a beginning!




In Orthodox spirituality, both ends and beginnings have significance. God has neither end nor beginning, but human life has both. And yet, the human soul has a beginning, but no end. As with many things within Orthodoxy, we live in the paradox – having both a beginning and an end, and yet endless. That space between the end and the endless is where the seasons lie, where the movement of the year takes us closer to God in due season. Where we labor and toil, sow and reap, live in joy and sorrow, light and darkness. The Teacher writes: “He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end.” Ecclesiastes 3:11


In the modern pagan tradition, the seasonality of life is depicted as a wheel, turning from year to year and holiday to holiday. This is an apt illustration, indeed.


Orthodox tradition outlines the seasons of the Church year, and mark the passage of time through holy contemplation, times of fasting and times of feasting, and recognition of our embodiment and stewardship of the earth. Countless souls before us served through the seasons of the Church. Our ancestors work beside us even now, urging, instructing, and guiding us in our work.



In the busyness of modern life, it is difficult to live life fully embodied, to experience the seasons, to experience death before our own time comes. Michel de Montaigne quoted

an ancient Latin author in an essay on philosophy and death: “Nascentes morimur, finisque ab origine pendet”, which he translates to “As we are born we die, and the end commences with the beginning.” I hope to explore the truth and the wisdom of this saying this year. And so, let us begin at the beginning, tend to the gardens of our souls as well as the gardens of the earth, and embrace the new year.



Apolytikion [dismissal hymn] of the Beginning of the Indiction:


Creator of the universe, setting times and seasons by Your sole authority, bless the cycle of the year of Your grace, O Lord, guarding our rulers and Your nation in peace, at the intercession of the Theotokos, and save us.


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