Life in a Sacramental World

At the ordination of a priest, the consecrated Body of Christ is placed in his hands. He is told to “Guard this!” until the coming of Christ. It is a very solemn moment – the beginning of a lifetime in which a man’s relationship to bread will never be the same. It is also something … Read More ›

The Day the Earth Stood Still

Orthodox Christians (New Calendar) commemorate the death (Dormition) of the Virgin Mary today. For those for whom such feasts are foreign, it is easy to misunderstand what the Orthodox are about – and to assume that this is simply a feast to Mary because we like that sort of thing. Flippant attitudes fail to perceive … Read More ›

The Sacrament of the Heart

Scholars of the New Testament occasionally conjecture about what is termed the ipsissima verba of Christ, the “very words themselves.” It is a term for those sayings that are considered historically authentic beyond question. One saying which in my opinion belongs to such a category are the so-called “words of institution” (“this is my body…this … Read More ›

God’s Grandmother

Today is the patronal feast of my parish, St. Anne. St. Anne (Anna) was the wife of St. Joachim. Joachim and Anna were the parents of the Virgin Mary, according to the early tradition of the Church. In Orthodox commemorations they are referred to as the “ancestors of God.” It is a shocking title, perhaps … Read More ›

Rational Sheep and the Word of God

Any parent who has raised a child has witnessed the miracle of human language. Even children with handicaps find ways to communicate except in the most extreme circumstance. The genius of language is not something we learn – it is instinctual for human beings. Those who study linguistics and neurobiology recognize that we have an … Read More ›

Beauty and the Face of God

Everything is beautiful in a person when he turns toward God, and everything is ugly when it is turned away from God. Fr. Pavel Florensky +++ In thinking about darkness and light – and their role in our apprehension of the truth – I cannot but think about Beauty, which is a primary place in … Read More ›

Unshakeable Reality

In his novel, The Great Divorce, C.S. Lewis imagines a bus-load of people who travel from “hell” to “heaven.” Their trip takes them from a place described as “gray,” and ghost-like in its not-so-solid existence. Heaven, on the other hand, is quite solid. The day-trippers find the most immediate difficulty of their journey to be … Read More ›

The Heart of Darkness – the Dawn of Mercy

The Christian faith is not about ideas – it is about things that are. As such, we do not need to cultivate theological systems – we need to know how to live. This also tells us something about darkness. The dangers we face are not found in mistaken ideas – they are found in the … Read More ›

To Tell the Truth

Abba Poemen said, “Teach your mouth to say that which is in your heart. +++ Speaking the truth is as fundamental as the Ten Commandments. It also receives a great deal of attention within the pages of the New Testament. Do not lie to one another since you have put off the old man with … Read More ›

The Transformation of Orthodoxy

I apologize. There are many others who can write with far more knowledge and expertise about this topic. I write out of deep gratitude from within the limits of my situation. On July 1, the Very Rev. Peter Gillquist fell asleep in the Lord. His story, along with that of many others, is part of … Read More ›

The Long Journey Home

It’s not getting to the land of the dead that’s the problem. It’s getting back. – Capt. Hector Barbossa, Pirates of the Caribbean at World’s End It is possible to speak in great detail about the origins and problems of the “false-self” (ego). Once the characteristics of the ego, it’s narrative, defenses, aggression, and unrelenting … Read More ›