Reclaiming St. David (Feast Day March 1)

Devotion to St. David of Wales (and to all the western saints) serves a very important role in the Orthodox Church—it rescues us from the accusation that we are merely “the Eastern Church” (as some textbooks describe us), the eastern half of a sundered and broken body. Many in the west see Orthodoxy indeed as “the Eastern Church”—something exotic, foreign, exciting, mysterious. A wonderful church to visit (all that enriching symbolism!), but,…

A Christian Response to ISIS

It is difficult to tune in to a newscast or to social media these days without learning about the latest atrocities committed by ISIS (sometimes referred to as ISIL, “the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant”). This jihadist group controls territory in Syria and Iraq, and claims to be the revival of the historical Caliphate or center of worldwide Islam. It is famous for broadcasting the beheading of its prisoners, including…

Constantinian Authenticity: Eleona

As we have seen from previous posts, in her book Christians and the Holy Places: the Myth of Jewish-Christian Origins, Taylor argued that none of the churches which Constantine built in the Holy Land were erected on authentic sites—not the buildings in Mamre, Bethlehem, Golgotha or on the Mount of Olives. Since my trip to the Holy Land in 2013 (represented in my new book from Ancient Faith Publishing, Following Egeria), I…

Constantinian Authenticity: Golgotha

This week we continue to examine the assertions of a scholar, Joan E. Taylor who in her book Christians and the Holy Places: the Myth of Jewish-Christian Origins, published in 1993 by Oxford University Press, makes the case that none of the holy sites on which Constantine built churches in the Holy Land were authentic. Today we look at her case against the authenticity of the Constantinian Church of the Resurrection, called…

Constantinian Authenticity: Bethlehem

Recently I examined the assertions of a scholar, Joan E. Taylor, in her book Christians and the Holy Places: the Myth of Jewish-Christian Origins, published in 1993 by Oxford University Press, to the effect that none of the holy sites on which Constantine built churches in the Holy Land were authentic.   She devoted an early chapter of her book to refuting claims that Mamre was an authentic Christian site. This was,…

Constantinian Authenticity: Mamre

In the May of 2013, through the kindness and generosity of my friend and deacon Gregory Wright, I visited the holy places in Palestine, fulfilling a lifetime dream. I went there with Deacon Gregory not so much as a tourist, but as an historical pilgrim, following in the footsteps of fellow-believers like Egeria, a woman who visited some of the same holy places in the fourth century and who left a written…