134. Last of the Seven Deadly Sins: Envy, Part One – Beware!

Saint Basil the Great said it well: “There is no other passion engendered in human souls more pernicious than envy. It does less harm to strangers, but is the chief homegrown evil for whomever possesses it. As rust eats away at iron, so envy eats away at the soul in which it lives. Envy is grief over a neighbor’s wellbeing. Therefore the envious man never has a lack of sorrows and afflictions.…

133. A Late-Twentieth-Century Saint: The Holy Elder Paisios

People had known for years that Paisios was a saint. Here is how the Orthodox system works: Veneration of a holy man or woman grows and grows and sometimes there are miracles, till finally somebody at the top says OK, it’s obvious we’ve got a saint here. So finally on January 13, 2015, Elder Paisios of Mount Athos was formally canonized by the Patriarch of Constantinople. Saint Paisios, in his unique way, was…

132. The Holy Apostles Rocky Johnson and Paul

On June 29 we celebrate the feast of the Apostles Peter and Paul. The usual icon for the feast shows them united, embracing in a kiss of peace. But they were not always at peace. In fact, in this icon I think they look as if they could be a bit happier with each other! Peter I’m sure you’ve figured this out already: “Blessed are you, Simon bar Jonah” – Simon, son of John,…

131. 2011 Trip, Part Three: Athens, Saint Nektarios does it again (possibly), and Reflections on Re-entry

This has been a long vacation, folks. I see from the Blog stats that some have headed home already. Understandable. However, I think you who are still hanging in here will enjoy our last week in Greece. Today it’s… Back to the Mainland and Saint Nektarios We wanted to visit Saint Nektarios again, so on Wednesday September 28 we flew into Athens. Ever since that first remarkable visit to him in 2002, Nektarios…

130. 2011 Trip, Part Two – Going to Church on Crete

As you know from last week’s Post, we’ve left the problems of the world behind, and now we’re seeing the world. Which raises another problem: Why is it so hard to get to church while we’re on vacation? It’s because we’re out of our routine which, as I said last week, is good for us – but often by the time we’ve remembered church it’s too late. Besides, in the US or…

129. 2011 Trip, Part One – Getting out of Town, “Givens” and Greece

It’s summer. Enough talk about troublesome issues. Time to put all that behind us and go traveling again. Get out of Town! Brothers and sisters, taking a break from regular life is important. We need to get out of the house, away from the job, and do something different – even if we only go to grandma’s house. This gives us a new perspective on life, on whatever we’ve been doing or…

128. War and Peace, Part Three – The Orthodox Priority of Creating Peace

Christ is risen! Truly he is risen! Here’s what we’ve covered so far: In Part One we looked at New Testament and Patristic teaching, and then at the Western Just War Theory by which wars may be judged to be good or bad. In Part Two we saw the classic Orthodox approach: Father Harakas said Eastern Orthodoxy had no theory for evaluating wars, but instead emphasized making peace. Dr. Steven Runciman on…

127. War and Peace: Part Two – The Classic Eastern Orthodox Approach

Christ is risen! Truly he is risen! Most of us living in the West, of whatever Faith, have grown up using many  Western categories and assumptions. OK, folks, give it up! Prepare to change your paradigm! Eastern Orthodoxy often comes at things differently. I learned this early, when I as an Anglican asked certain questions of Father Tom Hopko (+ memory eternal), and he answered “Those questions cannot be answered from an…

126. War and Peace: Part One – Christ, the Early Church, the Just War Theory

Christ is risen! Truly he is risen! “Wars and Rumors of Wars” The time to think about war rationally is before we get into one. Once war begins it’s too late. Then all sorts of emotions and reactions, pride and propaganda take over. And after people are killed in war, there is a fervent and very natural desire to prove that our brave men and women did not die in vain – even…

125. The Gospels of Pascha Season: Third Sunday – Saint Joseph of Arimathea, Nicodemos, and the Holy Myrrhbearing Women

Christ is risen! Truly he is risen! The Church Fathers did nothing haphazardly. During Pascha, as our lectionary takes us through the Gospel of John, * the Fathers selected particular Sunday readings for a reason. This week we get a very clear moral lesson from these holy men and women who ministered to the Lord after his death. In the following weeks we will hear, in symbol, how Christ works with us…