The Moral Christian: A Response to Fr. Stephen Freeman

In a recent post at Glory to God for All Things, “The Un-Moral Christian,” Fr. Stephen Freeman critiques what he sees as common conceptions of Christianity as moral, defined as “the rules and standards by which we guide ourselves.” These, he writes, are external and can be described and discussed. They are the rules by which we choose how to behave and…

Is Orthodoxy the Same Everywhere?: Understanding Theological Controversy Within the Church

What do we mean when we say that Orthodoxy is the same everywhere? One of the “features” of Orthodoxy that is commonly put forward especially by converts as proof of the truth of the Orthodox Christian faith is that Orthodoxy is the same everywhere. They may point to the unanimity of liturgical practice, that all Orthodox look to the same councils and…

Should Orthodox Christians Get Their Icons Blessed?

It is no secret that icons are an important part of Orthodox faith and worship, covering the walls and ceilings and iconostases of our parishes, and most Orthodox Christians have at least a few icons at home. It also is no secret that the Orthodox Church practices blessings throughout the Church year—we start with the blessing of the waters at Theophany, and…

“Giving Up Something” for Lent

The original version of this post from February of 2012 first appeared on the Roads From Emmaus weblog. It is also available as an audio recording at Ancient Faith Radio. In February of 2012, Mark Galli posted an article entitled Giving Up Self-Discipline for Lent which is actually a fairly fascinating look into what Lenten ascetical effort looks like from within a…

A Tale of Two Bishops: St. Cyprian and the Novatianists

For the previous post in this series, see A Tale of Two Bishops: An Introduction Via Ravenna. The history of early Christianity is replete with persecutions, and the time of St. Cyprian was no different. After thirty-eight years of tolerance, AD 250 began another persecution of Christians at the hand of the emperor Decius. At his command, all imperial inhabitants must sacrifice to the…

A Tale of Two Bishops: An Introduction Via Ravenna

Only minutes from the sandy beaches of the Adriatic, Ravenna is a tourist city for those “in the know.” Its local cuisine and small shops are a delight for those looking to escape the long lines of crowded Venice, Florence, and Rome. Ravenna is famous for its classical music, hosting numerous events by the world’s most accomplished musicians. However, Ravenna’s main attraction…

Why Evangelicals Need Mary

In recent years growing numbers of Evangelicals have become interested in Orthodoxy.  Many want to convert to Orthodoxy but have difficulty with certain Orthodox teachings. Without question, one of the most difficult obstacles for any Protestant Evangelical interested in Orthodoxy is Mary. A large part of the problem lies in a communications gap between Evangelicals and Orthodox.  Unlike Eastern Orthodoxy which has…

Venerating the Virgin: Orthodox Christian Reflections for Protestants

One of the more divisive issues between Orthodox Christians and Protestants is how Mary, the Theotokos, is viewed by the Church. I frequently meet people who are on the fence about what church to attend, who have a great interest in Orthodoxy, but who are uncomfortable with the place of Mary in our faith and worship services. The purpose of my article…