An Alternative Eros

A Greek note:  the English word “erotic” is derived from the Greek word ἔρως/ eros, defined by the Arndt-Gingrich lexicon as “passionate love”.  In Proverbs 7:18 LXX it is used for the adulteress’ forbidden “embrace in eros”; in Proverbs 30:16 LXX the “eros of a woman” is listed along with the hungry Hades/ Sheol as something which is never satisfied.  In a rather less sensual way St. Ignatius wrote that he was…

“The Autonomy of Women”

At the recent March for Life in Washington, D.C. one person gave a speech.  In it he said, “We affirm the gift and sanctity of life—all life, born and unborn.  As Christians we confess that every human being is made in the image and likeness of God.  Every life is worthy of our prayer and our protection, whether in the womb or in the world…At the same time, we also affirm our…

Zacchaeus Up a Tree

With the possible literary exception of Tarzan, real men do not climb trees.  At least they didn’t in the Middle East in the time of Jesus.  Neither did they run.  Running was for children, and professional messengers, and soldiers.  Adults who were neither professional runners nor soldiers did not run.  They strolled at a leisurely pace, as befit men of importance and great dignity. It is important to keep these bits of…

Autocephaly and the Episcopate

I have just finished reading a very important and immensely depressing book about the autocephaly of the OCA entitled, The Time Has Come: Debates over the OCA Autocephaly Reflected in St. Vladimir’s Quarterly. It is an important book because it offers so many insights about the OCA’s autocephaly and church history in general (not surprisingly, given the high quality of the contributors). It is depressing because it documents a long history of…

On Masking One’s Face

As the Covid pandemic drags on into its third wearying year, the debate regarding the legitimacy of certain government restrictions grows ever more shrill, and people ever more divided.  For Christians for whom their primary allegiance is to Christ—and therefore to each other—this division is problematic.  We exclude heretics from our Eucharistic fellowship and regard them as religiously “Other” because of their fundamentally incompatible understanding of Christ.  But should differences regarding our…

A Christianity of the Catacombs

I begin with a quote from an article that is almost 60 years old, but which has lost none of its timeliness:   “Since the Byzantine era, Orthodoxy was always brought to and accepted by whole nations.  The only familiar pattern of the past, therefore, is not the creation of mere local churches, but a total integration and incarnation of Orthodoxy in national cultures; so that these cultures themselves cannot be separated from…