On Secular Churches and the Mystical Sacrifice

A headline caught my eye several days ago: “They Tried to Start a Church Without God. For a While, It Worked.” While the concept of a church without God is beyond doubt bizarre, it nevertheless also makes perfect sense. In our age of loneliness, amidst the near-total collapse of practically every traditional form of community and social structure, to abandon Christianity is to hurtle oneself into the void foretold by Nietzsche when…

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.

A Higher Love

In the modern world, we have all but forgotten the saints. Once upon a time, we used to name not only our children, but even our streets and our cities in honor of the saints of God, in order to seek their heavenly aid and intercession, and in order to continually bring these holy saints to our remembrance. On each day of the year, we kept the festival of not one saint…

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…

The Age of Loneliness (Anthropology of Antichristianity, Part 2)

We live in strange times. Modern technology has nearly obliterated the constraints of distance, allowing us to become interconnected with one another to an extent unimaginable even a few short decades ago, and yet nevertheless at the same time we find ourselves living in an age of absolutely unprecedented loneliness. According to a recent article in Psychology Today: In the last 50 years, rates of loneliness have doubled in the United States. In a survey of over 20,000…

Prophets, Priests, and Kings (Anthropology of Antichristianity, Part 1)

Introduction Metropolitan Kallistos (Ware) has — quite correctly — stated that “the most important theological issue today is ‘what is man,’ how do we understand the human person. That is particularly important both in our own Orthodox theology and in our discussions with other Christians.” I would add that the question of anthropology is also the fundamental lens through which modernity as a whole must be viewed and understood. Indeed, this question is at…

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…

The Desert and the City

The important conversation I have been having with a reader about finding Orthodox community in the modern world continues, and his most recent response is again so important that I thought that I should repost it from the comments section and reply to it here: Father, bless! Thank you for your responses. You’re right that I was referring in a glancing way to Dreher’s Benedict Option, and I appreciate your perspective and counsel.…

The Benedict Option?

In a recent article I responded briefly and partially to the following question from a reader: What vision in your view could the Orthodox Church offer to people who are seeking life? …Many parish churches that are filled with pious families with the best of intentions occupy such a small fragment of parishioners’ lives that they stand little chance against the array of forces pulling us downwards. At what point would it…