The Emigration of Abraham

Significantly the story of the salvation of the world began in a pagan place far away from what would eventually become the Promised Land. That is, it began in Ur of the Chaldeans with the emigration of the family of Terah (Genesis 11:31). What prompted Terah to uproot his family from a prosperous city and to wander afar from all the security he had known we may never know. Was he part…

Why Do Deacons Speak at Liturgy?

Every once in a while I am asked why I say the prayers aloud when serving Divine Liturgy, and do not serve in the more “classic” manner of silently reciting the prayers (such as the Anaphora, or prayer of the consecration of Bread and Wine). Before answering the question, perhaps I might explain what I mean by “silent prayer” in the Liturgy, since when I use the phrase to non-Orthodox people unfamiliar…

How Does God Guide the Church?

Anyone who believes Christ’s word that the gates of hell will never prevail against His Church and that the Spirit will guide the Church into all truth (Matthew 16:18, John 16:13) must also believe that God watches over His Church to guide it throughout the centuries. This guidance does not mean that no one in authority will ever make a mistake or that everything the Church ever does will be uniformly wonderful.…

Running After Righteousness

A favourite phrase from the American Declaration of Independence tells us that one of our inalienable human rights is the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. This legitimate political goal has morphed into a personal philosophy, and now the notion is so ingrained in western culture that it is common to both liberals and conservatives, to both those in the right wing and in the left wing. This philosophy…

Dining with Caesar

An old proverb says that whoever dines with the devil must use a long spoon—i.e. one should be very careful and keep as much distance as possible. I suggest the same advice is suitable for dining with Caesar. When Caesar is unfriendly to the Church (as he has often been in history) we Christians have cause to be a bit nervous. When he is friendly to the Church we have cause to…

Why Doesn’t the Orthodox Church Use Musical Instruments in its Worship?

I am often asked why the Orthodox Church doesn’t use musical instruments in its worship. After all, we seem to be the odd man out: classic Roman Catholic and Protestant churches used the organ in their services, more modern Evangelical churches used the piano as well, and thoroughly modern Evangelical services now feature the work of “praise bands” with guitars, drums, and amplifiers. So: what’s with the Orthodox? Why doesn’t the Orthodox…