“What do we make of this day?” Reflecting on the Anniversary of Fr. Alexander Schmemann’s Repose

Yesterday marked the 35th anniversary of the falling asleep of Fr. Alexander Schmemann. I would like to follow up on this occasion with some poignant thoughts from one of his lesser-known works, The Liturgy of Death, a compilation of four talks Schmemann gave in 1979 at a summer institute at SVOTS. In these talks, Schmemann traced the historical…

What is Death? Part 2 (Guest Post)

Hi Time Eternalites! Happy Black Friday to all who observe.  Perhaps appropriately, we’re back to the topic of death today as I share another excerpt from Fr. Philip Roger’s thesis entitled “What is death?”  We left off yesterday with the point that Christ’s death revealed to humanity the true gravity and tragedy of death. We’ll shift focus slightly and…

What is Death? Part 1 (Guest Post)

Happy Thanksgiving! I can think of no topic more appropriate for this day than a good ol’ conversation about death and dying. Just kidding–I’m not trying to be metaphorical. It’s not a holiday up here in Canada and when I was planning this blogathon, I completely forgot to develop a post about US Thanksgiving. Generally you folks don’t…

How speedily the Lord can save: A reflection on the Ancient Faith Women’s Retreat (Nov 15-18, 2018)

This past weekend, I had the delightful privilege of giving the keynote address at the first-ever Ancient Faith Women’s Retreat (you can listen to the talk here and see my slides here; I’m working on producing a transcript of this talk sponsored by my Patreon supporters, so stay tuned for that!) In today’s installment of the Nativity Fast…

Death and Fire: An Icon of Modern Mortality

In the class I co-teach on death in Orthodox Tradition, last Thursday I lectured on the medicalization of death in the 20th century. To give us all a kind of anchor in the many complexities that affect how people die in modernity and beyond, I selected one of my favorite works of art as a kind of symbol…

10 Ways the Funeral of a Priest is Different from a Layperson’s

On Friday, I attended the funeral of a much-loved priest in our diocese. It’s not the first such funeral I’ve had the blessing of attending. I say “blessing” because, whatever the tragic circumstances surrounding a priest’s death may be, I find the funeral service for a clergy member–along with the preparations for it–to be among the most moving,…

At the Deathbed of an Exceptional Person

  Before this week, the second-to-last time I saw Fr. C was three or four months ago; he was all smiles, busying himself with small tasks to be done around the Metropolis headquarters. “You’re working too hard for someone who’s supposed to be retired,” I chided him with a grin. “You can’t get rid of me that easily,”…