Blue Highways

A few years back there was an American travel book called Blue Highways. The title referred to American maps on which the smaller roads are printed in blue, while the major arteries, the Interstate System, are printed in red. The book was about a trip across America on the “blue” highways. It was almost time-travel since America prior to the 1960’s was largely without an Interstate system. Blue highways are the land…

Engaging Creation-Praise Him and Highly Exalt Him Forever

Writing on beauty can seem an abstract approach to the created order – except that it draws our attention to see the world in a particular way. It is important, it seems to me, to at least see the world. So much of theology and what passes for religion can be mere intellectual exercise that religion and abstraction become synonymous. This is foreign to the true life of Orthodoxy and the true…

Why Should Beauty Matter?

Reflecting on my last two posts, The Nature of Things and Our Salvation and Beauty and the Salvation of the World, I have a question: What is the nature of things such that beauty should matter? It is a commonplace in our culture to think that “beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” (rendering beauty completely subjective and relative), while at the same time making a cult out of the pursuit…

Beauty and the Salvation of the World

Thus the most persuasive philosophic proof of God’s existence is the one the textbooks never mention, conclusion of which can perhaps best express the whole meaning: There exists the icon of the Holy Trinity by St. Andrei Rublev; therefore, God exists. – from Pavel Florensky’s Iconostasis This short quote from St. Pavel Florensky’s Iconostasis is among the most startling in his extant works. It is not unlike the oft-attributed Dostoevsky quote, “God will save the world…

The Bells

I can never begin describing the layers upon layers of Orthodox Tradition when I am writing or speaking with others. This is true, at the very least, because the Tradition is itself also the “life” of the Church (in Orthodox understanding). A life – particularly a life that is Divine, cannot be described. It can only be experienced. Description, at best, only offers a small glimpse. One of the elements of Orthodox…

Christos Voskrese

This delightful youtube video was posted a year ago. One of our readers and occasional commenter,  Dejan, (without a doubt my favorite Serb) provided the English translation.  The words are from a poem by St. Nikolai Velimirovich who served for a time as the Rector of St. Tikhon’s Seminary – truly one of the great Serbian saints of the modern era.  Translation: People rejoice, nations hear: Christ is risen, and brings the…

The Sunday of Orthodoxy

The first Sunday of Great Lent is always observed as the “Sunday of Orthodoxy” in our Churches. It marks both the return of the icons to the Churches following the end of the Iconoclast Controversy, but also as a summation of all the Holy Teachings of the faith which Orthodoxy holds and for which many have died. Most of our parishes will have a procession around the Church with adults and children…

Dreams and Reality – Prayers by the Lake XXXI

The following poem is from St. Nikolai’s  (Velimirovich) Prayers by the Lake. The only true Reality is God and only in Him do we find ourselves to be real. +++ You pour out light over the darkness, Lord, and colors and shapes emerge. You bend Your face over the abyss, whose name is Nothingness, and the abyss tries to depict the beauty of Your face in shadows. All creation expresses You the…

The Smashing of Images

I have a quote on the sidebar from an earlier posting. It is about the need we have for proper images and the danger inherent in “image smashing” or “iconoclasm.” We have to renounce iconoclasm. In so doing, we inherently set ourselves against certain forces within modernity. The truth is eschatological, that is, it lies in the future, but we also believe that this eschatological reality was incarnate in Christ, the Beginning…