The Historical Case for Infant Baptism

Christian baptism is about conversion, as a quick look at the Orthodox liturgical texts reveals. Questions are addressed to the candidate, requiring him or her to renounce Satan, and to seal this renunciation by spitting upon him. Next, questions are addressed to the candidate, requiring a statement of union with Christ, which the candidate utters and then seals by bowing down in prostration to Christ, and by confessing the Nicene Creed. Clearly,…

Love, Peace, Joy – 3

In the two last blog posts we looked at love, peace, and joy as the defining components of a Christian life and the essence of the Kingdom of God. Last week we examined what peace was; finally we examine the nature of joy. As with the concepts of love and peace, so the concept of joy has undergone some redefinition and is misunderstood. Many today understand joy as an emotion, a feeling.…

Love, Peace, Joy – 2

In the last blog post we looked at love, peace, and joy as the defining components of a Christian life.  It is these realities that constitute fundamental discipleship to Christ, not obedience to rules or fear of contamination, however helpful rules may be.  We have examined what real love is; now we look at real peace. As with love, peace has undergone a radical redefinition.  It now means the absence of war—a…

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…