How Do We Know One Another?

One of the more curious aspects of Christ’s resurrection appearances are the stories told of Him not being recognized at first. I have heard what seem to me to be silly explanations – that “the disciples were grief stricken and therefore did not recognize Him” – is one that seems completely implausible to me. It seems implausible primarily because grief does not work in such a manner. Indeed, my own acquaintance with…

The Shape of Heaven

I am feeling my way forward with this post – that is to say – I have some thoughts that are probably still in formation – so bear with me. That human beings have a particular relationship with icons is, to me, part of the dogma of the Church. It is not an expressed dogma – the Seventh Ecumenical Council made its defense of icons dependent on the right understanding of the…

Keeping the End of Things in its Place – and a Little Bob Dylan

I started to entitle this, “Keeping Eschatology in its Place,” but then I remembered that I should eschew obfuscation. 🙂 But the doctrine of the Last Things, generally referred to as “Eschatology,” is deeply important for our lives as Christians – primarily because our faith is an eschatological faith. There it is in the Creed, “He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead…” Like the incarnation, crucifixion,…

Ships and Saints and All the Company of Heaven

I offered a quote from Charles Taylor in a previous posting – as a small reminder I offer it again. One of the central points common to all Reformers was their rejection of mediation. The mediaeval church as they understood it, a corporate body in which some, more dedicated, members could win merit and salvation for others who were less so, was anathema to them. There could be no such thing as…

Truth and the Icon

Icons are very peculiar things as art goes. Those who do not understand them often find their “flat,” and almost “stylized” presentation of human beings and events rather stitled or off-putting. The non-Orthodox, I believe, realize that there’s more to an icon than meets the eye, but are not sure where to begin or how to frame the question. Not all Orthodox know the correct answers. We have many visitors to St.…

See Paradise

This June I will be joined by Fr. Justin Mathews and his family here in my ministry at St. Anne Orthodox Church. Among other things, he is a contemporary Christian musician with some excellent work. I have a feeling that I’m going to know much more about contemporary Christian Orthodox musicians in the near future. I offer one of his songs here for your edification and ask you to remember him and…

Deep in the Heart of Texas

Today (Wednesday) and tomorrow I am in Dallas, Texas, with my Archbishop, DMITRI of Dallas and the South (OCA). I’m here for a small meeting with him and my fellow deans. Probably more social than practical – but time will tell. The Church in Dallas could have been pulled from the countryside of Russia. Built around 2000, it’s frescoes continue to slowly grow as the entire interior of the Church proclaims the doctrine…

The Iconostasis

A recent email suggested to me that I might write about the iconostasis (the icon screen) found in Orthodox Churches. Some Protestants in particular have problems with it, feeling on the one hand that they are “shut out” of the liturgy to some extent or that Orthodox practice is restoring the “curtain of the Temple” that Christ’s crucifixion rent in two.  Those are not surprising thoughts and are worth some comment. I…

Saving the World Through Beauty

This essay of mine was originally posted on Pontifications. It is reprinted here with some slight changes.    Thus the most persuasive philosophic proof of God’s existence is the one the textbooks never mention, conclusion to 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…

Icons And Coming Home Again

A recent news story reported the return of icons to Cypress from the United States, where they had apparently surfaced after being missing for a fair number of years. The museum in whose possession they had come worked with the Church in Cypress to see them restored to their rightful place. This is not the first time such an event has occurred, even in recent times. Back in mid-December I wrote about…