How the Grinch Stole Pascha

The year 2020 will be remembered by Orthodox as the year without Pascha. At the beginning of the year, and even at the beginning of Great Lent, it hardly seemed possible. I remember the second Sunday of Great Lent here at St. Herman’s. We had served the Liturgy of St. Basil and commemorated St. Gregory Palamas. We were looking forward to the coming Sunday when we would venerate the Cross, and I…

“Beloved Israel”

It is a sad fact that historically many countries in which Orthodoxy has become well established have had a lamentable record of anti-Semitism. Anti-Semitism, like all forms of hatred, is of course demonic, and no one whose heart is filled with hate knows God. St. John said so long ago: “He who hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going,…

Hysteria or Theology

National disasters and times of war seem to bring out the crazy in all of us, and the present Covid crisis is proving to be no exception. One finds some people suggesting that it is all a conspiracy and that no such virus actually exists, while others tell us that the pharmaceutical manufacturers secretly created it to sell more vaccines. One (of course) finds people declaring that it is a sign of…

The Outstretched Arms

After Israel was brought out of Egypt and as they journeyed to the foot of Mount Sinai, they faced a multitude of dangers in the howling wilderness. They faced the threat of starvation as they slowly trudged southward through the west side of the Sinai peninsula, and in response God provided for them through the provision of manna. They faced the threat of dying from thirst, and in response God provided for…

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…