Honoring the Dead

And Other Weird Orthodox Stuff For Protestant inquirers, Orthodoxy is more beautiful, glorious, wilder, and weirder than they would imagine.  They hear ancient prayers chanted in dark churches illuminated by candles while smelling the scent of incense drifting in the air.  If they attend the Orthodox services on special feast days, they will see other surprising rituals: the priest and congregation processing around the church building with the symbolic funeral shroud of…

“My Wife is Absolutely Opposed”

Recently, Father Evan Armatas was fielding telephone calls on Orthodoxy Live when one listener called in with a particularly vexing dilemma. The caller wants to become Orthodox, but his wife is dead set against the move. Father Evan gave some really good answers — answers that may surprise some listeners. Brian from Cincinnati asked: I have a difficult life situation. I thought maybe you could give me some words of wisdom. You’re…

Eschatological Discipleship

Every year in preparation for Lent the Orthodox Church celebrates the Sunday of the Last Judgment.  On this Sunday we hear the Parable of the Sheep and Goats (Matthew 25:31-46).  It is sobering to be reminded that we will all one day appear before the Great Judgment Seat of Christ. When the thrones are set up and the books are opened, and God sits in judgment, O what fear there will be…

Can Icons Become Idols?

  Question: The point that you made, Robert, about the use of icons in liturgy was understood. However, what might it look like for icons in an individual’s home? Where are the warning against idolatry in that context? How would one know if an icon was being used as an idol away from the context of a Church service?   Answer: Interesting question!  What are some possible deviant/idolatrous practices?  One possibility is…

“Orthodox Mama”

  Folks, Wishing you all a happy and blessed Mother’s Day! I recently discovered “TheOrthodoxMama.com — Faith, Family, and Frugal Living” administered by Sarah Wright. She’s been happily married 7 years and mother of three. She grew up in the Reformed tradition then later converted to Orthodoxy. Her website is about more than theology.  It touches on practical life issues like: Marriage, Family Fun, Children’s Activities, Frugal Living.  Articles Archive include: Creating an Evening Routine…

Holy Saturday and the Harrowing of Hell

  During Holy Week each day has a particular theme, a spiritual lesson for the faithful who attend the services.  As an Orthodox Christian I get much of my theological education not from reading books but from attending the services.  In addition to the Scripture readings, the hymns and prayers of the Church teach me about how God saved us in Christ.  They form as it were a running commentary on the…

April Fools’ Day

  On April 1, 2015, Tony Arsenal, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary graduate “announced” his conversion to Eastern Orthodoxy.  See “From Geneva to Constantinople — The Eastern Orthodox Arsenal.”  He writes: As many of you know, I have a deep love for the early Church. My theological passions circle around the related doctrines of Triadology and Christology, and I have recently become disillusioned with the insufficiency of the modern Reformed bodies in these areas.…