Ss. Paul and Constantine

It is commonplace for many modern Christians, even Orthodox Christians, to consider St. Constantine a problematic figure.  Even the fact that he is considered a saint within the Orthodox Church is seen as difficult.  Obviously, the end of Christian persecution by the Roman Empire was a great benefit to the Church and to the Christians of the day.  But it is not…

Did the Father Abandon Christ on the Cross?

Of all of the seven last sayings of Christ on the cross, perhaps the most puzzling is the Cry of Dereliction. Recorded only in Matthew 27:46 and Mark 15:34, both in Aramaic and in Greek translation, this phrase was even somewhat confusing to its first hearers who pondered that he was calling Elijah. Matthew 27:46-47 NKJV Mark 15:34-35 NKJV And about the…

Original Sin and Ephesus: Carthage’s Influence on the East

In my last post, I argued that the doctrine of original sin as defined at the Council of Carthage in 418 is just as authoritative in the East as it is in the West because of the inclusion of the canons from Carthage in Canon 2 of the Council in Trullo (692, also known as the Quinisext or Penthekti Council). At first…

Necromancy, Idolatry and the Superiority of Protestant Culture

Once in a while, someone writes or says something about Orthodoxy (and, in this case, several related traditions) that is just so incorrect in so many ways that one doesn’t really even know where to begin. This is one of those times. It’s one thing to disagree with a tradition. It’s something else entirely to get the basic facts about it so…

An Orthodox Circuit Preacher: St. Anastasius of Sinai and the Church Today

The following piece by Nicholas Marinides was originally a talk given at Princeton University to the Florovsky Orthodox Theological Society on December 10, 2011. It followed on a talk given by about the theology of St. Maximus the Confessor. Both were part of a half-day workshop on “Athens vs. Jerusalem,” intended to allow doctoral students to present their research on Church Fathers…

Remembering St. Nicholas, Recovering a Christian Heritage

One of the unexpected blessings of becoming Orthodox is discovering a Christian heritage forgotten in the West.  One example of this is St. Nicholas of Myra, the original Santa Claus.  He is well known in the Orthodox Church.  Every December 6 (December 19 on the Old Calendar) the Orthodox celebrates the life of St. Nicholas of Myra.  When I was a Protestant…

From Hinduism to Orthodoxy: “But what can a virgin know of the sorrows and travail of mankind?”

This post, by author Anjali Sivan, a convert to Orthodox Christianity from Hinduism, was originally featured on her personal weblog. The original is here. The quote in the title is from a book I loved as a teenager, The Mists of Avalon [by Marion Zimmer Bradley -ed.]. In it, Morgaine (the legendary Morgan Le Fay) states: I have no quarrel with the…

The Curious Case of St. John Cassian

St. John Cassian, in his 75 year life lived at the turn of the fifth century, interacted with every major Christian figure of the Patristic Age, founded monasticism in the West, laid the theological foundation for the ‘Seven Deadly Sins’, wrote the papal brief for the position of the Roman See at the Third Ecumenical Council, and wrote the most read work…

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…