The Apostasy of Judas

The hymns of Holy Week travel straight like arrows to the heart. There we learn of the harlot’s gratitude to Christ, she who formerly lived in the dark and moonless love of sin. We learn of the one who laboured long to serve the Master and increase the talents given to him and who was finally summoned to enter into the joy of his Lord. And also we learn of the apostasy…

Palm Sunday: Where are You in the Crowd?

Come away with me; let us leave our world and travel back together to the first Palm Sunday in the first century. Stepping out of our time machine, we see the bright sunshine beating down on us, the dusty road, the jostling, joyful, shouting crowds. And there, coming down the road from Bethany, with the Mount of Olives towering above on His right, Jesus of Nazareth entering the Holy City with His…

“It is Time for the Lord to Act”: the Significance of Assembling

According to the official OCA service book, the Divine Liturgy begins when the deacon “bows his head to the priest and says, ‘It is time to begin the service to the Lord. Bless, Master’”. (The words translated thus are rendered in the venerable Hapgood version as “time to sacrifice unto the Lord”) The Greek original is καιροζ του ποιησαι τω κυριω/ kairos tou poiesai to kurio. In the Septuagint of Psalm 118/…

Another Jesus

One is tempted to hearken to the siren song of our relativistic and pluralistic society and conclude that all Christian churches believe pretty much the same thing. There are differences of course—some have bishops and some don’t; some consider the Eucharist to be the true Body and Blood of Christ, and some don’t. And of course Catholics have the Pope. But apart from these incidentals (as the world regards them) all people…

Annunciation: Exalting Those of Low Degree

In most Orthodox churches, the image of the Mother of God towers over us—sometimes literally, as her icon fills the upper apse of the church temple, proclaiming there how she united heaven and earth by her willing assent to the Incarnation of the divine Messiah. In all her icons she is a majestic figure—regal, composed, serene, the Queen of Heaven. Many icons of the Annunciation portray her as seated on a throne,…

The Council of Crete and its Aftermath

What was originally billed as “the Great and Holy Council” threatens to leave a legacy of a great and unholy mess. The mess to which I refer is the bitter battle and division swirling around the question of whether certain documents produced by the council were genuine and unexceptionable or erroneous and heretical. The statement on ecumenism draws most of the fire, with some people saying that the use of the term…