The Holy Cross of Christ

In writing about our union with Christ I offered the following as the response some time ago to a question. It seemed to me, worth a posting of its own, though it be short. I have, however, added a few thoughts to it. This Sunday marks the Sunday of the Cross in the Orthodox journey of Lent. There are many ways of which to speak of Christ’s work on the Cross, all of…

Of Calendars and Christians

This year the Gregorian Calendar and the Julian (and the Revised Julian) differ on the date of Pascha (Easter) by about as much as possible. The story of the calendars, both in the East and West is a very convoluted tale, sometimes requiring a knowledge of math (hence my reluctance to go into the matter). We know that even in the early 2nd century there was a difference on when the Pascha…

The Lost Tradition

Many people think of the loss of various pieces of “Tradition” when they think of the modern, non-Orthodox, churches. Some may think of the loss of liturgical riches or the loss of the canons. Others may see a wholesale change in the spiritual teachings of the Christian faith. When I think of the loss of “Tradition” I think of the loss of fullness – of various truncated versions of Christianity, which, though…

Scripture and the Church

I recently encountered a use of Scripture in a web posting that was alarming to a degree. The writer (who was not apparently a believer) sought to use Scripture to prove that God was a murderer and that the Bible was an immoral book. It gave me an opportunity to reflect on why certain approaches to Scripture will never be productive of a proper understanding and why the Bible is not a…

At the Edge of Tradition

There are many things that we see in our lives to which the word “traditional” may be attached. It can refer to a style of dress or an understanding of relationships. In Church it may refer to the use of certain kinds of music or a sytle of worship. Many years ago, pastoring my first parish as an Episcopal priest, I had a young couple who were Roman Catholics, who had come…

St. Gregory the Theologian on our Ransom by God

One of the greatest orators of his age, St. Gregory the Theologian (also known as Gregory Nazianzus), is considered among the most central of Church fathers. His work, and that of St. Basil the Great, did much to win the day for the Nicene Creed (by God’s grace) and to secure its completion at the first Council of Constantinople, where the Creed received its final and present form. He is not as…

Justice and Mercy – With Thanks to the Pontificator

Fr. Al Kimel has recently posted an article (The Injustice of Grace) on the triumph of God’s mercy that is well worth reading.  The following is an excerpt in which he quotes passages from St. Isaac the Syrian and St. Antony the Great: The seventh century ascetical master, St. Isaac the Syrian, boldly challenged the portrayal of God as one who rewards the virtuous and punishes the wicked: Do not call God just,…

What’s Beneath the Water? Crushed Dragons.

This coming Sunday (New Calendar) marks one of the greatest feasts of the Orthodox year, the Feast of Theophany, Christ’s Baptism in the Jordan river. Across the world Orthodox Christians will gather after the Liturgy to bless the waters: the ocean, a river, a spring, etc.   Every feast day in Orthodoxy is connected to the Feast of Pascha, because Pascha is God’s great act of salvation. However, some feasts show this…

Renouncing Iconoclasm

I have added a new quote to the sidebar of the blog – it is from an earlier posting: 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 and the End, the Alpha and the Omega. We do not…

The Nature of Things and our Salvation

The nature of things is an important question to ask – or should I say an a priori question. For once we are able to state what is the nature of things then the answers to many questions framed by the nature of things will also begin to be apparent. All of this is another way of saying that questions have a way of determining answers. So what is the nature of…