A Good Beginning: On Repentance and New Year’s Resolutions

As we once again approach the beginning of a new year, it is good for us as Christians to take advantage of this opportunity for self-reflection, to prayerfully reexamine how we are living our lives and whether we are doing so in light of the Gospel of Christ. Indeed, just as we Orthodox Christians pray each evening in the words of St. John Chrysostom: “though I have done nothing good in Thy…

The OCA and the Academy

Several months ago at their 20th All-American Council, in response to the request of the faithful the Holy Synod of the Orthodox Church in America issued an encyclical entitled Statement on Same-sex Relationships and Sexual Identity. Within the historical context of the Christian faith, the only thing even remotely remarkable about this encyclical is the fact that anyone felt the need to issue it at all (sadly, however, such a need is…

Remembrance and the Spiritual Life

I have often thought that, in many ways, the spiritual life comes down simply to remembering the things that we know — and yet so often forget. As a spiritual father, it frequently seems to me that my role consists not so much in teaching others something new as in reminding them of the truths they already know, and which they need at that particular moment to bear in mind. Nor am…

The Forgotten Virtue of Stability

When people think about the vows that a monk or a nun takes before God (if they think about such things at all), three likely come to mind: chastity, poverty, and obedience. Such vows are quite striking, since in the modern world these three things are no longer generally considered to be virtues common to the life of all Christians, exemplified in monasticism chiefly by the degree to which they are put…

The Metaverse and the Garden of Eden

Recently the company formerly known as Facebook officially rebranded itself as “Meta,” declaring that its new “overarching goal” is “to help bring the metaverse to life.” What exactly is the metaverse? According to an increasing number of influential CEOs and other leaders in the tech world, it is a nascent globally connected virtual reality experience which, in the words of Mark Zuckerberg, will eventually become “an embodied internet, where instead of just viewing content…

Will Beauty Save the World?

“Such beauty has power,” Adelaida said hotly. “You can overturn the world with such beauty.” –The Idiot, by Fyodor Dostoevsky Perhaps the most famous phrase from Fyodor Dostoevsky’s quite voluminous body of writing is the statement that “beauty will save the world.” Much ink has been spilled concerning this phrase by all manner of critics and commentators, both Orthodox and non-Orthodox alike. And without doubt it is extremely important that we Orthodox…

Strangers in a Strange Land

Several months ago a landmark Gallup poll found that for the first time in American history, as of 2020 fewer than 50% of Americans belong to a church, synagogue, or mosque. Ever since 1937 when the survey was first conducted, that percentage remained fairly constant at around 70% until the turn of the century, when the number began its plummet all the way down to 47% in only two short decades. And…

Preparing for Lent in a Time of Pandemic

It has now been a year since the COVID-19 pandemic emerged, changing almost overnight nearly every aspect of our day-to-day lives in the modern world. Some of us have lost loved ones; the Church has bidden farewell to more than a few holy men and women whom the Lord chose this year to call home. The quarantine restrictions that have been in place more or less continuously throughout the world have also…

On Big Tech and Christian Freedom

Over the last month we have been given a glimpse of just how much power Big Tech has gained over our society. In the aftermath of the Capitol Hill riot, the corporations which have become the de facto gatekeepers of the internet acted with remarkable unanimity in deplatforming those they deemed to be responsible for the outbreak of violence… including no less than the sitting President of the United States. For the better part of a…

Living in Apocalyptic Times

There is no question that we live in troubling times. The 20th century witnessed an unparalleled persecution of Christianity across the entire world – primarily through revolutionary violence in the East, but primarily through worldly seduction in the West (if you doubt that the two are comparable, I will simply point to the witness of Alexander Solzhenitsyn who had ample occasion to experience both for himself). Such persecution was prophesied to us…