Candlewax and Hedgehogs – Groundhog Day

This article, from an earlier parish newsletter is posted here by request. Candlewax and Hedgehogs—a peculiar way to entitle an article, I’ll admit. But both have their associations with the second day of February. The first is more important so we’ll begin there. The second day of February is one of the 12 great feasts, and is also celebrated by Christians in the West. The feast is the Presentation of Christ in the…

The “Crisis” of Modernity

What do you call a Christian whose mind is so constructed that belief in God is almost impossible? Answer: a modern man. I occasionally make allusions to the crisis of modernity (in one form or another), as in a recent post in which I made reference to Florovsky’s term, the tragedy of Western Christianity. The crisis is not financial, though financial stumbles do reveal some of the cultural weakness within modernity. In many…

Living Orthodox in the Modern World

We live in the modern world – a fact for which we have no antidote. It is the moment in history that is ours. Christians before us have lived in the Roman world, various pagan worlds, the Byzantine world, the world of “Holy Russia,” but we are tasked by Divine Providence to live as Orthodox Christians in the modern world. It is a setting that has its own unique challenges and its…

Sloshing Our Way into the Kingdom

A dear friend of mine serves as an Orthodox priest in one of our coastal cities. He told me about a visit to his port of a Russian “sailing ship.” It was a wonderful visit, as he related. The ship had a small chapel on board and a Russian Orthodox chaplain. Together they celebrated a small prayer service in the chapel, which was packed with visitors and sailors. The service including the…

The Mystery of Theophany

This week, the Church moves from the feast of Christmas to the feast of the Theophany – the celebration of the Baptism of Christ. The intent of this feast is not to celebrate a succession of historical events (the Baptism of Christ is at least 30 years later than His birth). Rather this feast takes us into the depths of the mystery of Christ and His salvation of the world. Many Christians,…

Personal Issues

From 2009 The title of this post is quite misleading – for in proper theological language – there are no “personal issues.” Our culture is quite fond of issues – both the politico-entertainment industry – and many individuals. It is a word and a phenomenon that has been baptized by the culture such that “being concerned with the issues” makes someone sound as if things matter to them in a significant way. The…

Formed in the Tradition

Thinking of raising Christian children (in the light of St. Silouan’s family experience), I offer these few thoughts. The Nativity season offers many opportunities for families to be guided by Holy Tradition – just as we are also swamped by the distorting demands of commercial culture. May God guard our children and keep us all by His grace. +++ Sometime back, I watched a group of linguistic-psychologists (of varying sorts) in a…

Another Story of St. Silouan and his Father

This is another wonderful story told by St. Silouan of Mt. Athos about his peasant father.  His father was clearly a man of great faith. St. Silouan thought his father to be wiser than many so-called spiritual fathers. The following story is an interesting account of how a father dealt with anger in correcting his son. This excerpt is from the Elder Sophrony’s St. Silouan the Athonite. Young, strong, handsome, and by this…

The Doors of the Heart

In the summer of 1952, an obscure event took place in London that would have a profound impact on the future of Orthodox Christianity in the English-speaking world. A seventeen year-old English lad walked through the doors of St. Philip’s Russian Orthodox Church on Buckingham Palace Road (the Church has long since been torn down). Today he is known as Metropolitan Kallistos Ware, one of the most important figures in the contemporary…

The Fullness of All Things

I am fascinated by what the Holy Tradition does with the idea of “fullness” or “fulfillment.” The Church is described as the “fullness of Him that filleth all in all” (Ephesians 1:23). And it is not unusual for Orthodox Christians to express the meaning of Orthodoxy under the rubric of “fullness”: Orthodoxy is the “fullness of the Church.” The Scriptures do much with the concept – speaking of the “fullness of time,”…