What Good Are Religious Leaders?

I have just received by email a very nice brochure from the Canadian Council of Churches entitled, Hope, Gratitude, and Solidarity: a Message from Religious Leaders in Canada in Response to the Covid-19 Pandemic. It is well-produced, with a lovely yellow flower adorning the cover and lovely photos within of a sun-drenched field, a young family of four, a doctor in a surgical mask, an elderly woman looking at her relative through…

How Many Deaths?

As of time of writing, here in Canada there have been 60 deaths documented from the current Covid outbreak. (There have been 5425 confirmed cases of Covid here.) Many of the deaths occurred in nursing homes among the elderly, though of course this hardly consoles those who have lost loved ones there. The untimely loss of anyone through disease is a tragedy. I cannot help wondering, however, what the current reaction in…

The Annunciation

St. Ignatius of Antioch, martyred in Rome in about the year 107, wrote that along with the death of the Lord, the virginity of Mary and her giving birth were mysteries that were hidden from the ruler of this age, and were accomplished in the silence of God (To the Ephesians, 19.1). That is, their full significance were not immediately perceived by the world. This was certainly true, for when news of…

Covid Catechesis

As I write these words, we are under effective lockdown because of the spread of the Corona Virus, often referred to as “Covid 19”. In the current absence of a vaccine, the health departments of the various governments here in Canada have determined that the only way to slow the spread of the disease is by “social distancing”—i.e. by staying away from others by a distance of several feet. This obviously presents…

A Handsome Volume and a Valuable Resource

I note with satisfaction that Lexham Press has just produced a new translation of the Septuagint in English. It is of course not the only translation of the LXX on the market. As noted in the book’s Introduction, Lancelot Brenton produced a translation in the middle of the nineteenth century; NETS (or the New English Translation of the Septuagint) produced a volume recently under the supervision of my old Greek prof, Albert…

A Guest Post by Matushka Donna Farley: Lenten Distancing

Church closed. Community members scattered widely. Weeks without normal daily and weekly routine, without spiritual instruction, without icons to venerate, without Sunday eucharist, without community agape meals. This was the deliberate practice of the monastery of Abba Zosima in the sixth century Palestinian desert, every Lent. On the Sunday of Forgiveness, the brethren would prostrate themselves to each other and ask forgiveness and receive a blessing from their abbot. Then each would…