Not Yours, But You: Almsgiving in the Modern Age

In the Gospels there are many “hard sayings” of our Savior. Of these hard sayings, there are also many which have been all but forgotten — even by those who sincerely strive to be faithful Christians. Of these hard and forgotten sayings, I would like to call our attention today to one in particular: When you give a dinner or a banquet, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your…

On Ecclesiology, Humility, and Love

It has been argued by some that modernity is, at its core, simply the continuation of the Protestant Reformation. I think that there is a great deal of merit to this theory — at least, so far as it goes (what it leaves out is that the Reformation itself was simply the continuation of the Great Schism, as I have alluded to before). This theory is especially borne out when examining the attempted incursions of modernity into the Orthodox Church: unavoidably (much though their instigators would doubtless prefer to avoid it), such incursions must needs take as their foundation an unmistakably Protestant ecclesiology.

On Holy Week and the Way of the Cross

The Forty Days of the Great Fast have now ended. We have once again been given a foretaste of the approaching Paschal joy in the raising of Lazarus the Four Days Dead. We have once more exulted together at the Triumphal Entry of our Lord Jesus Christ into Jerusalem. And now we watch and wait (let all mortal flesh keep silence!) outside the Holy City, to behold the events of this Great…

Preparing the Cave of our Hearts

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, we are now in the midst of the Nativity Fast, the special time of year set aside by the Holy Church to prepare us to meet Christ when He enters bodily into His Creation on Christmas Day. While the world around us spends this time in an unparalleled frenzy of shopping and socializing, we Orthodox Christians on the other hand seek to carve out at least…

Where Might I Hide My Heart?

Today we celebrate the Synaxis of the Holy and God-bearing Elders of Optina Monastery. These fourteen saints, forming an unbroken chain spanning a century, were at the heart of the last spiritual flowering of Holy Russia before the coming of the Communist yoke. Thousands upon thousands of people of every walk of life came to Holy Elders from all corners of the Russian land. These visitors would wait days – sometimes even…

The Weeping of the Widow

We have just heard the story of the widow of Nain, who wept by the bier of her dead son before he was resurrected by our Lord Jesus Christ. Often when I preach on a Gospel passage, I begin by reminding us to look for ourselves in the story being recounted in Sacred Scripture. And I think that there are exceedingly few among us who cannot identify with the widow of Nain,…

The Consequences of Contraception

50 years ago, Pope Paul VI issued a papal encyclical entitled Humanae Vitae, which he addressed not only to Catholics but also “to all men of good will.” In it, he reaffirmed the universal and unbroken teaching of the Church Fathers, both of the East and of the West, that artificial contraception is intrinsically sinful and incompatible with the Christian life. At the time of its publication, the widespread Orthodox response was…

On Allegations of Orthodox Fundamentalism (Part 3)

Tradition, Fundamentalism, and Modernity In my two most recent posts, I responded in depth to an article from Public Orthodoxy about fundamentalism. The first response concerned the view taken by the article toward the Holy Fathers and Holy Tradition, and the second had to do with the relationship between Orthodoxy and the modern world. There is one section of the article that I have not yet discussed, and that is its conclusion. In this case…

On Allegations of Orthodox Fundamentalism (Part 2)

The Church and Modernity Earlier this week, I began examining an article from Public Orthodoxy entitled “Fundamentalism as ‘Orthodoxism.’” In this article, the author laments what is, in his opinion, “our long-standing captivity to a sad caricature of Orthodoxy.” In the first part of my analysis I discussed two of his four main allegations: that the Orthodox world has developed an idolatrous attitude towards the Holy Fathers, and that it has additionally come to an…

On Allegations of Orthodox Fundamentalism (Part 1)

On the Holy Fathers and Holy Tradition Recently Public Orthodoxy published an article entitled “Fundamentalism as ‘Orthodoxism’.” The content is extremely characteristic not only of Public Orthodoxy in particular, but also of a growing trend in wider Orthodox circles, especially those of an academic character (Public Orthodoxy is published under the auspices of Fordham University, a Catholic institution). Seeing that the exemplified attitudes and beliefs are steadily gaining influence among Orthodox believers, I…