No, Pascha does not have to be after Passover (and other Orthodox urban legends)

Right around this time of year, various articles and images begin circulating, giving explanations as to why the Orthodox Pascha (Easter) celebration is usually a week or more after the Western Easter. Most will mention something about the Julian calendar and how its spring equinox is different from the one on the Gregorian calendar. The traditional formula for the date of Pascha (the Paschalion)…

Ego Patricius peccator rusticissimus

My name is Patrick. I am a sinner, a simple country person, and the least of all believers. This photo was taken in the summer of 2001 during a nearly month-long pilgrimage I took to Great Britain and Ireland. It was a dreary day in Downpatrick (and the photo was taken with real film! remember that stuff?), the place where St. Patrick returned to…

Unifying the Orthodox Church in America

I’ve got a new piece published today at First Things, where I discuss the problems and solutions of Orthodox Christian unity in America. Here’s an excerpt: Are you Greek?” This is the question I get asked the most when I tell someone that I am an Orthodox Christian. At first, this question rankled, because I am not Greek. (I am, among other things, Lithuanian.)…

Facing Antioch: Hopes for the Antiochian Archdiocese Nominating Convention and Beyond

We in the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America come now to a historic moment, one that has not been seen for nearly half a century. That may sound a bit melodramatic, especially considering that we are really only a small community, both when compared with the rest of our country and especially when compared with the Orthodox world in general. But it…

“We speak one language: Antiochian”: More Thoughts on the Future of the Antiochian Archdiocese and Orthodoxy in America

If you’ve done any reading from modern Orthodox saints, you know that there is a certain tone among the holy elders of Greece, another from Russia and so forth. Each culture enculturates the Gospel in its own authentic way and speaks of the truth of Jesus Christ with its own voice. One of the things which makes the particular Antiochian voice distinct—although it is…

A Tolkien-Shaped Mind

I do not know how aware most folks are of what books shape their basic imaginations—the formation that to a large part determines what brings them delight, what strikes them as worth attention, what gives them a vocabulary for the world. For me, there are really two sources that give me that shape—the Bible and the fiction works of J. R. R. Tolkien. This…

Rootedness and Uprootedness: A Lament

In the past few weeks, I’ve learned of impending relocations of more relatives west of the Mississippi River, including one family that has been in the same state for decades and one elderly relative who has even been in the same house since the mid-1960s. One by one or in clumps, over the past several years it seems that both sides of my family…