All the Fullness of Christ

When you read this you can perceive my insight into the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to the sons of men in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; that is, how the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel. Of this gospel I was made…

A Letter from Butyrskaya Prison – Pascha, 1928

Serge Schmemann, son of Fr. Alexander Schmemann, in his wonderful little book, Echoes of a Native Land, records a letter written from one of his family members of an earlier generation, who spent several years in the prisons of the Soviets and died there. The letter, written on the night of Pascha in 1928 is to a family member, “Uncle Grishanchik” (This was Grigory Trubetskoi who had managed to emigrate to Paris).…

What Theology Looks Like

Some seventeen years ago (I cannot believe it has been that long) I became a “dropout” of sorts, withdrawing formally from the PhD program at Duke University and converting my studies into material for an M.A. in theology. The story is more convoluted and personal than I would care to share in this public forum. But I recall a conversation I had with Stanley Hauerwas, who was one of the Professors on…

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…

Reflections on Florovsky

The following is from my earlier post of Florovsky on Ecumenism:  The entire western experience of temptation and fall must be creatively examined and transformed; all that “European melancholy” (as Dostoevsky termed it) and all those long centuries of creative history must be borne. Only such a compassionate co-experience provides a reliable path toward the reunification of the fractured Christian world and the embrace and recovery of departed brothers. It is not…

Apostolic Succession

For the first three days of this week (Mon-Wed) I will be in Jacksonville, FL, along with my brother clergy from the diocese to meet with our hierarch, Archbishop Dmitri. It is always a joy to be with the Bishop. For years as an Anglican, I almost always dreaded such occasions. I rarely got along with other clergy, and I found myself either ill-treated by bishops or simply the butt of jokes.…

The Ecclesiology of the Cross – The Pillar and Ground of Truth – Part 4

We continue from our previous posts with the last two points: 3. All discussion of the Church and its life must include this self-emptying [of Christ], not only of God, but of each of the members of the Church. 4. Every description of the various aspects of the Church would do well to include the self-emptying of God and the self-emptying of Christians in imitation of the God Who Saves. These last…

Ecclesiology of the Cross – Pillar and Ground of the Truth – Part 3

Following earlier posts on this subject, I take up the second of four points:  2. Any imitation of God, any conformity of our life to His, will involve this same self-emptying [as the self-emptying of God on the Cross]. There is a tendency when we think of the Church to think in institutional terms – to speak of hierarchies, the role of Bishops, etc. Scripture uses a variety of images for the Church:…

Ecclesiology of the Cross – The Pillar and Ground of Truth – Part 2

I suggested in my previous post on this topic that the Cross be a central part of our understanding of the Church. There is a natural tendency to compartmentalize in theology – it’s hard to think of everything all the time and everywhere. And yet, it is important that we always remember that our salvation is not a series of discreet, compartmentalized events and undertakings – our salvation is one thing. Thus it…

The Pillar and Ground of Truth

Writing to the young Timothy (first letter) St. Paul gives this homey admonition: These things write I unto thee, hoping to come unto thee shortly: But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth. Paul does not then go on to give us several chapters’ explanation…