The Council of Crete and its Aftermath

What was originally billed as “the Great and Holy Council” threatens to leave a legacy of a great and unholy mess. The mess to which I refer is the bitter battle and division swirling around the question of whether certain documents produced by the council were genuine and unexceptionable or erroneous and heretical. The statement on ecumenism draws most of the fire, with some people saying that the use of the term…

Why Wait?

One question that young singles often ask when confronted with the Church’s traditional teaching that one should not engage in sex until marriage is “Why should I wait?” It is a reasonable question to ask when everyone in our sex-soaked culture is bombarded with the assumption in every movie, television show, and pop song ever produced that of course healthy young people will be sexually active before marriage. Indeed, one young Christian…

A Little History Lesson

Not long ago the question about whether or not Orthodox Churches could accept homosexuality as a valid lifestyle came to the fore. The year was 1983. A denomination by the name of the “Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches” applied for membership in the association of mainline Protestant churches, the National Council of Churches. The raison d’être of the Metropolitan Community church was the acceptance of homosexual lifestyle. It was and saw…

The Language of Unworthiness

In his first epistle to Timothy, Paul wrote “It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am first” (1 Timothy 1:15). The last part of Paul’s words is familiar to us Orthodox, since it forms part of our pre-communion approach to the Chalice, when we pray, “I believe, O Lord, and I confess that You are truly the Christ,…

The Priest and the Parish Council

Parish Councils are like personal computers in a number of ways. The initials for both are P.C.; neither existed before very modern times, and we can scarcely imagine life in the church here in the West without them. It is sobering and somewhat instructive to learn that in the early church parish councils didn’t exist. Well, actually they did, but they consisted of the local council of presbyters. In the first several…

“The Doors! The Doors!”

I sometimes think we Orthodox have a problem with modernity—by which I don’t mean that we should begin ordaining women to the priesthood or marrying homosexuals (those two thoroughly modern issues) or otherwise throwing the Scriptures into the dustbin. Rather I mean that we seem not to be as good as we might be at coping with the demise of Byzantium. For example, we still continue to use the term “Constantinople” when…