Laurus’ Orthodoxy

“Time is a flat circle.” So says Russ Cohle in True Detective, season one. For him, as for Nietzsche before him, this observation is a nihilistic conclusion about the the ultimately meaningless repetitiveness of life. In the novel Laurus by Eugene Vodolazkin, which follows the life of a Russian Holy fool and healer in the fifteenth century, the main character – who goes by different names at different junctures of life: Arseny, Ustin, Ambrosius,…

Orthodoxy on the Internet: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

It’s always a good thing to be interested in learning more about the Orthodox faith. There are many ways to do this. For some people, it means buying and reading lots of books. For others, it simply means attending services or asking their priests lots of questions. Still others will make friends in their local parish, finding those at a similar place in their own spiritual journeys, sharing common discoveries. And many more…

Building Community in Orthodox Parishes

The latest Pew research has shown no abatement in the decline of American church affiliation. This, together with the continuing growth of the “nones,” is inspiring much discussion across the Internet. Catholic family therapist Dr. Greg Popcak has tied this together with further research in a recent blog post, showing that this decline is closely linked to the breakdown of family structure, and with the failure of the church to be a home…

Cinderella, the Fool for Christ

You have probably seen pictures of the colorful “onion domes” at the heart of Moscow’s Red Square. Now a museum, the Собор Василия Блаженного or Cathedral of Vasily the Blessed (Saint Basil’s Cathedral) is a true Russian icon. But who is this Saint Basil? One might assume it is Saint Basil the Great, a fourth century archbishop of Caesarea and one of the most famous of all the early Church fathers—but that assumption would be…

From Baptist to Orthodox: My Journey of Faith

This post originally appeared at Brian Davidson’s blog LXXI. Brian and I have become acquainted over the past year, and both spent time at the same Baptist seminary (where he currently works as a Ph.D. candidate). His questions are below in bold, prefaced with his initials (BWD), with my responses following (GM). BWD: Gabe, thanks for agreeing to chat a bit about your transition from Baptist to Orthodox. First of all, how do…

The Beauty of Logos: Towards an Orthodox Aesthetic

What is the purpose of ‘beauty’ in the Eastern Orthodox faith? Are these mere externals, or is there something deeper behind our colors, shapes, and forms? We could start by considering Dostoevsky’s famous line (from The Idiot): Beauty shall save the world. “This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?” (John 6:60) Struggling with this very task, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn remarks: What does this mean? For a long time it used to seem to me…

Interview with Timothy Michael Law, author of ‘When God Spoke Greek’

When God Spoke Greek (Oxford, 2013) is an outstanding and accessible introduction to the Septuagint (or ‘LXX’), the ancient Greek translation of the Hebrew scriptures. Dr. Law is an Alexander von Humboldt Fellow at the Georg-August-Universität Göttingen (Germany) and a Junior Research Fellow at the Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies. Law also serves as editor-in-chief for The Marginalia Review of Books, a magazine ‘focused on the nexus of history, theology, and religion.’…

Paleo Living and Orthodox Lent

During my first Orthodox Lent, my cradle Orthodox friend Joe Bush remarked (over hummus): “Lent’s funny, you know. When I was growing up, my aunts all gained weight during Lent.” And he’s unfortunately right—for many of us, we make up for the meat, eggs, and dairy with a heavy load of grains, soy products, and unhealthy faux-meats, while our waistlines suffer the consequences. But it doesn’t have to be this way. We…