Of Tolerance and Tyranny

In our modern age there is nothing praised so much as tolerance, nor despised so much as tyranny. This is because we prize individual freedom above all else, and we worship it in nearly every form and at almost any cost. In a very real sense, we view freedom as the essential quality which makes us human. And in this we are indeed not far wrong. The only restriction on individual liberty…

The Unknown God

I would like to begin by telling two stories. The first is a story from the life of St. Silouan of Mt. Athos (in the story, Fr. Sophrony of Essex is the narrator and St. Silouan is the Staretz): I remember a conversation he had with a certain Archimandrite who was engaged in missionary work. This Archimandrite thought highly of the Staretz and many a time went to see him during his…

Ye Shall Be As Gods

I wrote several days ago that lawlessness is the defining characteristic of both Antichristianity and the modern world. The Antichrist is described by St. Paul as “that lawless one,” and without any doubt at the heart of the modern era is Revolution: the unprecedented systematic overthrow of all traditional political, moral, and spiritual authority. Yet it is clear that the “mystery of lawlessness” means far more than mere anarchy. Although raw and…

The Rise of Antichristianity

For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way. Then that lawless one will be revealed… II Thessalonians 2:7-8 I wrote that this site is intended, in the words of Fr. Seraphim Rose, “to give one a perspective on those things which are happening in the world today which we come across in our daily experience, every…

On Political Philosophy, Fairy Tales, and the Spiritual Life

It might, at first glance, seem strange that I spend so much time writing about political philosophy and propaganda on a site dedicated to Orthodoxy and the spiritual life. It might seem even stranger given the fact that I am a monk, and claim to have renounced the world. Why should I concern myself at all with political philosophy, much less write articles on the internet trying to convince others of my…

The Forgotten Beauty of Sacrifice

“Love is not sentimentality, but sacrifice.” -Archimandrite Vasileios The Language Barrier One of the greatest difficulties which modern Americans face when encountering Holy Orthodoxy is one of language. I do not refer, however, to the outward obstacle of the use of Church Slavonic, Greek, Arabic, or any other of the languages of Orthodox immigrants to this country. I refer rather to the colossal problem of the usage of the English language. For…

Casting Out Demons

I recently finished reading Demons by Dostoevsky [warning: there are some significant spoilers ahead]. It is perhaps the darkest of all the novels of a writer who, in any of his writings, could certainly never be accused of shirking from the depravity of which the human heart is capable. Nearly everyone in the story comes to a bad end in one way or another, except for two of the least sympathetic characters…

A Tale of Two Cities

Today during Matins we heard for the third and final time this year the singing of the beautiful and haunting psalm “By the waters of Babylon.” The chanting of this psalm is extremely solemn, contrasting sharply with the joyous Polyeleos which precedes it and the Magnification which sometimes follows it. Both the rarity of this psalm’s chanting and the starkness of the emotional contrast surrounding it serve to draw our attention to…