Love, Peace, and Joy

With its multiplicity of rules, canons, and liturgical stipulations, one might be forgiven for thinking that Orthodoxy is primarily about rules and regulations, coupled with a corresponding fear of breaking the rules and regulations. Orthodoxy therefore would then involve going through life fearful of infraction, mistake, misstep, and contamination from the world—“Want to go through life terrified? Good: become Orthodox!” This is not much of an evangelistic strategy. But thankfully Orthodoxy is…

The Light of Your Countenance

In the translation provided in our official OCA Divine Liturgy book of the festal material for the Feast of the Elevation of the Cross there exists a puzzle. All of the material there is quite appropriate to the feast—the psalm for the First Antiphon is Psalm 22, which begins with Christ’s cry of dereliction from the cross, “My God, my God, why have You forsaken Me?”, the refrain for the Second Antiphon…

Blessed Rather

In the bad ol’ days when I was still highly resistant to what I now call “Holy Tradition” I was keen to sniff out the slightest whiff of idolatrous veneration of the Mother of God—including the use of the term “the Mother of God” used by those poor deluded people (the Catholics).  (I did not really know back then that the Orthodox existed; for me Christians only came in two flavours:  Protestant…

Marginalized Voices: a Review and a Meditation

Not many people know that the charismatic renewal movement which swept through the mainline Protestant and the Roman Catholic churches from the 1970s had an Orthodox component as well. Calling this component a “movement” in the Orthodox Church would be overblown; it was more of a blip than a movement, since it never gathered enough momentum or numbers to actually move. Because of this an historical account of Orthodox people involved in…

Baptismal Boundaries (3)

In my previous blog pieces I examined the question of how converts to Orthodoxy should be received, focusing mostly upon converts coming from Protestant denominations. I also suggested that non-Chalcedonians might be received by chrismation as schismatics, since theologians from our respective confessions have reached a Christological agreement which (in my view anyway) if reached in the fifth century could have preserved the unity of the Imperial Church and avoided the schism…

Baptismal Boundaries (2)

In my previous blog piece I examined the question of how converts to Orthodoxy should be received. One set of criteria which suggested that non-Chalcedonians should be received by confession alone, that those “who previously have been baptized in the name of the Holy Trinity in a manner recognized as authentic” should be received by chrismation alone, and that those “from non-Christian religions who do not believe in the Holy Trinity, or…