63. The Wonderful Works of Saint Nicholas – Part One

Saint Nicholas in May? Nicholas is a December saint. His feast day is December 6. In America he and his merry but slightly demented nephew Santa Claus are associated with December 25. So why an article about him in May? Because on May 9, 1087 Saint Nicholas arrived in Bari in southern Italy. Merchants from Bari had translated (moved) his body from his tomb in his home town, Myra of Lycia in…

62. Orthodoxy and Other Faiths: Classical Protestantism, Part Two – The Denominations

Christ is risen! Luther wanted to reestablish Biblical truth, but because of his “Bible alone” principle, soon in Protestantism there was only a multitude of opinions about the Bible. And so Protestants were divided almost from the beginning. Before Luther there was the Church, not many “churches”. Granted, Orthodox and Roman Catholics had a bit of a disagreement about which was the right Church! but    both were organically connected down through the…

61. Orthodoxy and Other Faiths: Classical Protestantism – Part One

Christ is risen! I’m giving 4 Blog posts to Protestantism, since it is so extraordinarily complex – as you can see here, and this is only part of it.  What is Protestantism? When Protestants ask “What do Orthodox believe?” there is an answer. All Orthodox believe the same things. When I was still Anglican, Father Thomas Hopko told me that “in the Orthodox Church there is complete theological unanimity”. I didn’t believe him.…

60. My Travels: 2009 Trip – Saint Nektarios, Crete

Christ is risen! Truly he is risen!  We’ve been dealing with a lot of heavy subjects lately. We need a break. Our late Antiochian Metropolitan Archbishop Philip (of blessed memory) directed that clergy should stay in our parishes during Great Lent, but now it’s Pascha – and besides, our Milwaukee forecast says freezing rain and snow this weekend. Snow?! In fact we’ve had no spring at all so far, no tulips. So…

59. The Meaning of the Cross

The following is sung during the procession of the Holy Cross at our Orthodox Holy Thursday evening “Twelve Gospels” service. Last Holy Friday (Blog post 9) I compared the Orthodox and Roman Catholic crucifixes. A picture is worth a thousand words, so probably I should now keep quiet. However, being a Blogger, I can’t help talking about it. What Orthodox believe about Christ’s Crucifixion The following magnificent passage is from the Anaphora…

58. Some Lessons from Holy Week

So much happens during Holy Week that there’s not time to take it all in. Let’s look at some things that can be missed. 1. We are encompassed by the Resurrection Tomorrow we celebrate Lazarus Saturday. Actually, the raising of Lazarus took place some time earlier, and John’s Gospel says it was then that the Jerusalem authorities began to plot against Jesus. But he was not ready to get “caught”. The Lord…

57. Saint Patrick: Celtic, Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Anglican – and Coptic!

OK, so March 17 was last week. The article on Other Faiths took longer than I expected. But all times are right for Saint Patrick. Saint Patrick of Ireland, claimed by everybody except the Aztecs. No matter, those were the days when Christians were united, so he belongs to everybody. We’ll talk about all that later. First… The story of Saint Patrick Patrick lived in a tumultuous time. Few records were kept,…

56. Orthodoxy and Other Faiths: Roman Catholicism, Part Three – The Great Schism and What Followed

Results of the Great Schism in the West Rome, cut off from the other 4 traditional Patriarchates, now saw herself as the One True Church. In isolation her authoritarian and legalistic tendencies were magnified. Some examples: 1 Purgatory where after death peoples’ sins “are purged away through torment or ‘purifying’ punishments”. Catechism of Pope Paul VI, 1967.  It is reasonable to believe that after death we sinners need spiritual growth and purification as we…

55. Orthodoxy and Other Faiths: Roman Catholicism, Part Two – The Great Schism

“Cardinal Humbert [of] the holy, primary, and apostolic see of Rome, to which the care of all the churches…pertains… [to] the glorious emperors, clergy, senate, and people of this city of Constantinople…I find great evil” [in this city… Therefore] know…that we thus subscribe the following anathema… unless they should repent. AMEN, AMEN, AMEN.” Please remember again that what follows, like all history, is complex and subject to interpretation, and we’re leaving out…

54. Orthodoxy and Other Faiths: Roman Catholicism, Part One – How We Began to Grow Apart

Here’s the humorous question with the obvious answer: “Is the Pope Catholic?” The Orthodox answer (to be uttered with a slight air of mystery in your voice) is ”Well… …?” Or sometimes we hear this from non-Orthodox folks: “You’re almost like the Catholics.” The proper Orthodox response (to be offered as humbly as possible) is this: “Actually we are the Catholics.” In both cases, this will leave people in total confusion. Lets…