No Other Stream

Among the many things that Christians say that annoy people is their assertion that Christianity is the only true religion.  Given the tremendous number of alternatives to Christianity on the religious market today, the assertion savours of intolerable arrogance, blindness, insensitivity, and self-righteous conceit.  “The only true religion?”  Who do these Christian people think they are?  In the words of one critic, “That’s an outrageous thing to accept”. The outrageousness of it…

On the Wearing of Church Vestments: Do Clothes Make the Man?

One of the first things that clergy do after entering the church on Sunday morning for Divine Liturgy is to put on special clothes called “vestments”.  They are highly stylized and every priest wears the same things:  first the priest puts on a long vestment called a stichar or sticharion, usually white in colour, which falls down to his ankles; then he puts on his stole which hangs down his chest to…

Gregory of Nazianzus: the Cappadocian and the Creed

Everyone once in a while one finds a book that is illuminating, easy and fun to read, opens doors, and leaves you larger than you were before.  Fr. John McGuckin’s St. Gregory of Nazianzus:  An Intellectual Biography is such a book.  I read it before (it was published by SVS Press in 2001) and I recently re-read it.  It is (if he will forgive the comparison) like re-watching Bogey’s Casablanca—McGuckin’s St. Gregory…

“Traditional Family Values”

What are “traditional family values” and what is their role in the life of a Christian? First of all, it is important to understand what is not meant by the term “traditional family values”.  In particular, the term does not mean that the family is the most important thing in life, or that one should put the family first before everything else.  Members of the Mafia might perhaps think so, as the…

The Parish Church: Family or Restaurant?

The clergy friends I know are a diverse lot.  Some are Orthodox, some are Protestant, some are Canadian, and some are American.  But when I talk to them of late, I find that they all tell the same story:  at the beginning of the Covid pandemic, they all lost a sizeable portion of their congregation, and all for the same reason:  they couldn’t please everybody. During the pandemic, as the clergy struggled…

The Meaning of 1453

The year 1453 marked a very significant event in the life of the Orthodox Church, for that was the year that the city of Constantinople fell to the Turks, effectively bringing to an end the long thousand year reign of the Christian Roman Empire (also known as “Byzantium”).  Of course by that time, most of the empire had already fallen to the Ottomans, Constantinople and the little area surrounding it being the…