Is Liturgy Magic? A Response to Peter Leithart’s Puritan Sacramentalism

I must admit that it always bugs me a bit when someone tells me what I believe, especially when I do not actually believe it. And so the bug in my bonnet buzzed again a bit when I read Peter Leithart’s latest musings on liturgy over at First Things. In this piece, Leithart lets the Orthodox, Roman Catholics and other “high church”…

On Leithart’s Puritans and the Purity of Sacraments

Introduction In a recent article at First Things, Peter Leithart laments the “high-churchism” of non-Protestant celebrations of the Eucharist. For Leithart, the essential difference between “high” and “low” liturgies is that of the preparatory rites—not necessarily the external ornaments of incense, bells, and vestments. Beyond mere simplicity, the Protestant or “Puritan” sacramentalism was one that eschewed excessive and unnecessary foreplay: The low-church Reformers…

Infant Communion, Revisited

By Fr. Gregory Hogg Commemoration of the Holy Innocents, 29 December 2014 I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world. John 6:51 The young children ask for bread, But no one…

Church History and Same-Sex Marriage

Relevant to several recent postings here on same-sex marriage is this May 2012 piece from the Roads From Emmaus weblog. It is mainly a clearinghouse of links to other resources on the position of same-sex marriage in the history of Christianity. It has been slightly edited for this publication. There have been several postings online in the past few days of various…

The Doctrine of Transubstantiation in the Orthodox Church

Does the Orthodox Church believe in “transubstantiation” (μετουσίωσις in Greek) with regards to the Eucharist? Or is that only used in the Latin (Roman Catholic) church? There’s certainly a lot of confusion and conflicting information out there, so let’s take a closer look. As a long-time blogger, I can vouch for the necessity of extending grace towards a writer when they are…

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…

Sacrament and Culture: Why Protestants Don’t Redeem the Time

The new group weblog Orthodox Arts Journal recently published a piece by Nicholas Kotar with a rather ambitious title, “The Creation of a Christian Culture“: Of all the great callings that Christians are reminded of on a daily basis, the creation of culture is not among the most mentioned. I would even hazard a guess that many Orthodox would find [the calling…

“The Limits of the Church” by Fr. Georges Florovsky

The following piece by Protopresbyter Georges V. Florovsky was originally published in 1933 in Church Quarterly Review. Where Florovsky does not translate foreign phrases, we have supplied a translation in brackets for non-specialists. It is very difficult to give an exact and firm definition of a ‘sect’ or ‘schism’ (I distinguish the theological definition from the simple canonical description), since a sect…

Unintentional Schism? A Response to Peter Leithart’s “Too catholic to be Catholic”

This post was originally featured on the Orthodox-Reformed Bridge site. The original is here. Of late Protestantism seems to be undergoing a “climate change.” Theological positions are shifting and church affiliations are undergoing realignment in surprising ways. Reformed Christians are rediscovering liturgical worship and the church fathers. While pastors sought to enrich their Protestant heritage, they did not intend that people would…