The Boundary of Death

This was posted originally last Spring. I have posted again for re-reading and for its assurance that Christ is the only guarantee of our dignity. Having spent two-and-a-half years as a Hospice Chaplain, I had opportunity to be present to over 200 deaths (that does not include the many I have witnessed in my years in ordained ministry. As you sit with someone who is dying, there finally arises a boundary beyond…

Christ the Only Assurance of the Dignity of Man

  I am in Miami attending the annual Diocesan Assembly for the South. This first evening was primarily time with with our Archbishop DMITRI, and my brother clergy in the Diocese. I have known His Eminence since around 1994 and have, on occasion, spent a extended periods with him. I have heard him speak at least three to four times a year (and sometimes more). I add to that numerous private conversations.…

The Unity of the Faith

It is said proverbially in Orthodoxy that “one who prays is a theologian and a theologian is one who prays.” This intends fully to say that an unlettered peasant may be a greater theologian than someone who holds many degrees and can offer page after page of published articles. There is only one reason this is so: theology is about God as reality and not God as a concept. Subtlety was an…

The Fire of Pentecost in Orthodoxy

No one, of course, can describe the fire that fell on the Apostles at Holy Pentecost. At most we are told that the Spirit appeared “like tongues of flame lighting upon the heads of the Apostles.” Not much a description. Other times in Scripture we are told of a Pillar of Fire and of the bush that burned but was not consumed. Again, this is very little information. To this day, there…

The Spirit, the Modern World, Pentecostalism and Orthodoxy

Part of the larger Christian context in which Orthodoxy lives today includes not only Catholics (of various sorts), Protestants (of even more sorts), but Pentecostals as well (of which there are quite a few sorts). Indeed, having come splashing onto the modern religious scene around 1900, Pentecostals have been by far the fastest growing of all Christian groups, and have had huge influences everywhere, with only the possible exception of the Orthodox.…

The Life of the Spirit

The following paragraphs are from the chapter on “The Life of the Spirit” in Fr. Sophrony’s We Shall See Him As He Is. St. Silouan’s method is to place us before the general principle and then leave us to work out and diagnose our own case. To give a few examples: ‘One should eat only so much as allows prayer and the feeling of the Divine presence to continue uninterrupted after food’;…

The God Who Is Beautiful

Everything is beautiful in a person when he turns toward God, and everything is ugly when is is turned away from God. Fr. Pavel Florensky I come to the end of a day that has been filled with other activity and little time for writing. But in my reading at bedtime I came across the above quote. It obviously contains a world of truth, indeed, from a certain perspective it contains the…

Where the Heart Resides

One of the questions that surrounds the knowledge of God, as spoken of by the Scriptures and the Fathers of the Eastern Church, is that of where the heart resides. By this, I do not mean where the heart is located (in the chest or wherever), but where the heart itself lives. Though the heart is by no means disconnected from our rationality, it is also resident in many other places of…

Ars Gratia Artis

This is for my daughter – who is a young artist and in the Governor’s School for the Arts this summer. I say this is for her – though I’m not sure she reads the blog everyday – and, of course, I’m letting the rest of you thousand or two people read it, too, so I guess this is for all of us. The question: what is art? I watched a wonderful…

Fools for Christ – Remembering What Matters

I have been viewing the movie, Ostrov, which I reviewed here, simply because watching it feeds me where watching something else would not. I think I have been particularly fed by mediatating on the actions of the character of Fr. Anatoly, who is something of a “fool for Christ.” He is not the most learned (not learned at all particularly) but he knows what a man must know: God. In that, he…