Two-Headed Snake Cane?

Q. Can you tell me what the two-headed snake cane the Greek Bishop is walking with represents? What does it mean?
-V.T.

A. The item to which you referred is properly called a bishop's Pastoral Staff or Crosier (in Greek, paterissa), and is a symbol of the bishop's authority and jurisdiction. It is actually not topped with a double-headed snake, but rather two snakes intertwined. This symbolism comes from the bronze serpent that God commanded Moses to construct in the Old Testament:

8And the LORD said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live. 9And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived. (Numbers 21:8-9).

The snakes represent the enemies of the Church, and the Cross symbolizes the authority that Christ has given to the bishop to guard his flock. As such, it is a powerful reminder of his role as the chief guardian of the faith in the local Church.

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Orthodox Awareness

Bartholomew Prays at Iftar

Iftar, refers to the evening meal when Muslims break their fast during the Islamic month of Ramadan. Iftar is one of the religious observances of Ramadan and is often done as a community, with people gathering to break their fast together. Iftar is done right after sunset.

We report the following unchanged as it was published:

"The leaders of the Armenian, Roman, Jewish and Syrian communities of Turkey sat around the fasting Iftar dinner in the Beyoglu district of Istanbul." Read more...

Missions

Saints Peter and Paul Orthodox Mission, Tucson, Arizona

Saints Peter and Paul Orthodox Church in Tucson, AZ, is a beautiful mission parish near downtown Tucson, a city in southern Arizona. It was started in 1997 by Father John Bockman, who was a missionary priest formerly serving missions in Tennessee and Massachusetts since 1990. Read more...

Youth

Registration is now open for the 2017 St Xenia Camp. Please visit the St Xenia Camp website for more information and registration.

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The Family Youth Conference will be held Friday, October 20 - Sunday, October 22 at The Dormition of the Theotokos Orthodox Church in Concord, NH.

Registration | Flyer

Ask A Priest

Forty Day Memorial Service

Q. Can you please explain the significance of the forty day memorial service? An Evangelical family asked one of our relatives that question. We said that it’s best to ask a clergy member. Thank you in advance for your response. (We will forward it to them as soon as possible).
-P. & M. G. Read more...