That Was Then, This Is Now

I was born and raised in the greater Toronto area (known to the natives there as “the GTA”), and came to faith in the early 70’s. For the students of ancient history among us, that was the time of the so-called “Jesus Movement”, when tens of thousands of young people came to Christ, many of them former hippies and drug-addicts. It was a brief blip on the cultural radar, and was over…

“Apologize and Then Keep Quiet Forever”

Recently the news has been full of the story of a Roman Catholic monsignor, Krzysztof Charamsa of Poland, the Adjunct Secretary of the Doctrine for the Congregation of the Faith of the Roman Catholic Church. The Reverend Charamsa was a former Vatican official, and he was stripped of his post recently after he publicly acknowledged that he was gay and also in a gay relationship with another man. He has written the Pope…

A Poor Man Named Lazarus

Our Lord’s parable of Lazarus and the rich man is unique among the parables, for in this parable alone one of the characters has a name. The parable begins, “There was a rich man, who was clothed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. And at his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus”.  Compare how the parable of the Prodigal Son begins: “There was a man who…

Moving the Boundary Marker

Part of the Law of Moses forbids moving the boundary marker. It reads, “In the inheritance which you will hold in the land that the Lord your God gives you to possess, you shall not move your neighbour’s boundary marker which men of old have set” (Deuteronomy 19:14). Moving the marker was a serious matter—so serious in fact that it was subject to a terrible curse in the corporate liturgy set out…

Niqab or Icon?

I spent a lot of the Divine Liturgy this last Sunday looking at a woman’s face. The woman was St. Elizabeth the New Martyr, and I was looking at her face because one of the faithful had brought her icon to church for me to bless, and after the customary blessing it remained on the altar for the duration of the Liturgy. As I stared into those luminous eyes, set into a…

How Ecumenical Are You?

My guess is that nothing can stop Orthodox conversation and divide a room quite so fast as someone loudly asking the question, “How ecumenical are you?” If ever I was asked the question, I think that I would feel compelled to answer the question with my own counter-question, “What do you mean by ‘ecumenical’?” Most people do not define their terms before asking questions, and this can make for some long answers…