26. 2006 Trip, Part Three: Forming Authentic Eastern Orthodoxy in the West

As I flew West from Greece I got to thinking about the experiment we are conducting here in America and everywhere in the West. We are taking an Eastern form of Christianity and trying to express it in a way that is accessible to the Western world. Let me give some background to that thought. Christianity’s Middle Eastern Roots Christianity has two chief sources, the first of which is Middle Eastern, Semitic.…

25. My Travels: 2006, Part Two – Exploring Crete

Return to Crete The night after Saint Nektarios did it again, I took the overnight ferry to Crete. In those long ago days of more primitive home computers, I’d had trouble getting my reservation through to the Crete ferry company, so I kept trying and trying. When I got to the ferry office, I discovered that all my attempts had gone through, and I had booked ten rooms! The agent was kind…

24. My Travels: 2006, Part One – Saint Nektarios strikes again!

I try to post every Friday; otherwise who knows when I’d get them done. I’m sorry to be a week late with this one, without giving you fair warning. I was just too busy to post. Our Pastor Father David Moga was away at the national Antiochian Archdiocese Convention, so I the retired priest took the regular weekend and weekday services plus the usual behind the scenes work. And then one of our founding…

23. The Story of the Holy Prophet Elijah – Part Two

So, now began the great confrontation between Elijah and the prophets of Baal, between truth and falsehood, between God and paganism. Elijah said, Take two bulls, one for the prophets of Baal and one for me, cut them in pieces and lay them on wood. Put no fire under them. You call on the name of your gods. I will call on the name of my God. The true God is the…

22. The Story of the Holy Prophet Elijah – Part One

July 20 is the feast of the Prophet Elijah. This is a wonderful story – of how God’s faithful prophet stood up alone to paganism and to power, and paid the price and triumphed. In order to tell the story and comment about it in this short space, I’ve had to leave out a great deal. The full text is found in I Kings chapters 17-20 and II Kings chapter 2. The usual…

21. Patriotism?

Now that US Independence Day is past (sorry, you Brits) and also Canada Day (their 150th anniversary!), and the fireworks and flag waving are over… What do we Orthodox think of patriotism? We’re all for it! Patriotism is a good thing: loving, treasuring one’s homeland and people, a sense of belonging, our own way of doing things, our particular gifts from God. Americans have much to be patriotic about. (We’re certainly not…

20. 2005: the Big Trip, Part 4- the Falling Away from Christianity in the West, “Family Values” and the Value of Travel

I had been in Europe for four weeks. It was my fourth trip to western Europe and my fifth trip to Greece. As I flew home I pondered what I had seen and heard, and I’ve been speculating about it ever since. The Decline of Christianity in the West I hear there are places in western Europe where Christianity is alive and well. All I can say is that I haven’t seen many. Western…

19. The Big Trip: 2005, Part 3 – Saint Nektarios, England

Did Saint Nektarios do it again? It was time to head to London, and on the way I naturally stopped by to visit Saint Nektarios again. I’ve told you (Blog posts  7 and 12) that on my first two visits the saint seemed to arrange my transportation. Surely this great holy man must have better things to do than that. Nevertheless… (With modern saints we have actual photographs.) I took a ferryboat back…

18. 2005: The Big Trip, Part 2 – Italy and Greece

A Visit to Saint Nicholas When Clement Clarke Moore (an Episcopalian clergyman who should have known better) wrote his charming and bizarre poem, “A Visit from Saint Nicholas”, he never explained why he turned our holy saint into a Norse myth. When we draw near to Saint Nicholas day, I’ll write an article or three about the real Saint Nicholas and my parish’s relationship with him. But the best way to be sure that…

17. 2005: The Big Trip, Part 1 – Spain, Switzerland

It’s time for another travelog. This was my longest trip since 1985. Then I left as an an unhappy Anglican and came back from Greece nearly ready to be Orthodox. (See Blog Post 2.) This time I left as a happy Orthodox and returned as a happy Orthodox. It was a wonderful trip. All the people we met were enormously friendly and helpful and kind. In four weeks the first rude person I…