April 24, 2014

Met. Jonah calls for ‘internal reformation’

Ecumenical News Service interviewed Metropolitan Jonah, who called for better administration and more accountability in Church governance in light of the recent financial scandals in the Orthodox Church in America. The interview was republished by UK church news service Ekklesia. ... Jonah said, "There is a lot of 'internal reformation' that has to take place in the church." He noted that the church needs to put into place systems of administration and accountability that will put it on par with "a 21st century, U.S. non-profit" organization. Other goals include making the OCA a far more visible presence within the United States, though more vigorous missionary work. Jonah notes that already 60 percent of some one million OCA laity, 70 percent of its clergy and 90 percent of its bishops are, like Jonah, converts from other denominational traditions. Jonah also wants to promote Orthodoxy unity within the United States and for U.S. Orthodox churches to explore the creation … [Read more...]

Recalibrating the Conversation

One of the great things about a blog is that it's a conversation, not a monologue. The Observer is a moderated blog, but we keep it fairly open to encourage this conversation and the learning that goes on here. Those of us associated with AOI are grateful for your readership and the constant feedback. I have noticed, however, that in recent weeks some of the comments on this blog have veered off course. Nothing disastrous, but it's time to recalibrate. Now and then, a course correction is in order. What we set out to do on The Observer is discuss how the social witness of Orthodoxy can be an effective force in transforming the culture. The focus here is decidedly domestic (American) but we also bring in currents from other Orthodox cultures where they may be instructive. A couple requests, in particular. First, I'd like to avoid further ruminations on the anti-Christ and other apocalyptic figures. Let us, with the Church, leave these theological excursions to others equipped … [Read more...]

Quote from Bobby Jindal, Governor of Louisiana

Bobby Jindal, governor of Louisiana and a convert from Hinduism to Roman Catholicism, quoted in Newsweek (Dec. 2008) on religion: "If I wanted the aesthetics without the inconvenient morality, I could become Episcopalian." Source: Newsweek … [Read more...]

Fr. Peter Guilquist interviews Met. Philip Saliba

Met. Philip

In this historic interview on Ancient Faith Radio, Metropolitan Philip talks candidly about such things as Orthodox unity, music, our witness to the world, his most memorable accomplishments as well as his biggest disappointments. This two part interview was conducted by Fr. Peter Gillquist, Chairman of the Department of Missions and Evangelism in the Antiochian Archdiocese. Source: Ancient Faith Radio. Listen now: Part 1  widget here (36:33) In part one, Fr. Peter asks His Eminence about health, family, his most significant accomplishments and his biggest disappointments. Part 2  widget here (30:33) In part 2, we hear the thoughts of Metropolitan Philip on the recent OCA crisis, his meeting with Metropolitan Jonah, Orthodox Administrative unity, evangelizing in today's culture, SCOBA and much more. Editor's note. I met Met. Philip for the first time this Sunday. He is a man of prayer. … [Read more...]

Cultural Treasures of the Church of Greece

Greek manuscript

Solidarity, the main charity organization of the Church of Greece, has launched "The Cultural Treasures of the Church of Greece," a multimedia site rich with art, architecture, manuscripts and a digital map where these can be sorted by location. The GR Reporter news site says that more than 30,000 Church treasures can be found in the digital map. "The project was one of the dreams of the deceased archbishop Hristodoulos, who started it," it says. The information is presented in Greek, English, and Russian. The site also makes available the Greek Christian Monuments documentary which has beautiful scenes of monasteries, frescoes and other works of art. … [Read more...]

The Faith-Based Pitfall

A word of warning from Joseph Loconte on the seductive appeal of government funding for Church-based social ministries. Loconte, a senior research fellow at The King’s College in New York City, says that the faith-based initiative, as it's being reformulated under the Obama administration, will likely be filtered though a Religious Left/Social Gospel ideology which holds that "compassion is defined by government budgets and delivered by government agents." From my point of view, the faith-based initiative has always been problematical because it surrenders the autonomy of the Church, and its ancient ethic of freely given charity, to federal bureaucrats. The danger here is the secularization of social ministries and a dependence on federal funding. Just say no. Witness the bizarre debate that erupted in 2001, recently revived by Obama, about the right of religious organizations to make faith commitment a criterion for employment. Earlier this week, the New York Times demanded that … [Read more...]

Pope: Catholic politicians must protect life

Ed. GOA leaders could learn from the moral courage of Pope Benedict. They remained silent when Orthodox Senators Olympia Snowe and Paul Sarbanes voted against a ban on partial birth abortion. See: Senators Sarbanes and Snowe Betray the Moral Heritage of the Orthodox Christian Faith. VATICAN CITY (AP) - Pope Benedict XVI on Wednesday told U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, a Catholic who supports abortion rights, that Catholic politicians have a duty to protect life "at all stages of its development," the Vatican said. Pelosi is the first top Democrat to meet with Benedict since the election of Barack Obama, who won a majority of the Catholic vote despite differences with the Vatican on abortion. The Vatican released remarks by the pope to Pelosi, saying Benedict spoke of the church's teaching "on the dignity of human life from conception to natural death." That is an expression often used by the pope when expressing opposition to abortion. Benedict said all … [Read more...]

Srdja Trifkovic on Patriarch Aleksy

Cultural commentator Srdja Trifkovic writes on Patriarch Akeksy in the latest issue of Chronicles Magazine: Aleksy II, Patriarch of Moscow and head of the Russian Orthodox Church, died of heart failure on December 5, 2008, at the age of 79... Aleksy II came to the throne just as the Soviet state was beginning to disintegrate. The early years of his tenure were dominated by the tremendous task of restoring the moral authority of the Church in a nation devastated by seven decades of lethal anti-Christian rule. The scale of that devastation defies imagination. Persecution of the Russian Orthodox Church and other denominations under the communists is one of the greatest crimes in history. Its death toll was several times greater than that of the holocaust. It had killed more Christians than all other persecutions in all ages put together, with Islam a distant second. In 20 interwar years (1918-38), the number of churches that remained open in Russia was reduced from 54,000 to … [Read more...]

Fr. Hopko at Hope College, Feb. 23-24

Fr. Thomas Hopko, an advisor to AOI, will be speaking at an event titled "Encountering Eastern Orthodoxy: An Introduction to the Faith and Life of the Eastern Orthodox Christian Church" at Hope College in Holland, Mich. The two-day program (Feb. 23-24) "will examine the Orthodox Christian faith as a way of life." The event is hosted by the college's Orthodox Christian Fellowship student organization in partnership with the Religious Life Committee at Hope, and co-sponsored by the departments of philosophy and religion, the general education program, and the offices of student development and campus ministries. The public is invited and welcome, the school says. Admission is free to all events, although a free-will offering to benefit Orthodox Christian Fellowship at Hope College will be taken after the lecture on Monday evening. For more on the lectures, and a schedule of worship services, read the release on the Hope College site. … [Read more...]

Sts. Cyril and Methodius

Sts. Cyril and Methodius

In "Bulgaria Commemorates 1140 Years since Death of Saint Cyril," the Sofia News Agency reminds us of the great work of Saints Cyril and Methodius. Saint Cyril died in Rome in 869. The two brothers had some early missions, but in 862, they were to enter upon the work which gives them their historical importance. That year the Prince Rastislav of Great Moravia, who sought to assert his independence from the Franks, expelled missionaries of the Roman Church and instead turned to Constantinople for ecclesiastical assistance and political support. Rastislav requested that the Emperor Michael III and the Patriarch Photius send missionaries to evangelize his Slavic subjects. The task was entrusted to Cyril and Methodius, who began translating the Bible into the language now known as Old Church Slavonic and travelled to Great Moravia to promote it. OrthodoxWiki: While events only a few decades after the death of Methodius seemed to destroy their work in Moravia, their work … [Read more...]

Glad we got that one solved

money

HT: The Economist … [Read more...]

All-Orthodox Council on the way?

Interfax reports that planning for a council of Orthodox Churches is actively underway. “We expect that preparatory process for the great and holy All-Orthodox Council of the Eastern Church will be revived,” Inter-Orthodox Secretary of the Moscow Patriarchate Department for External Church Relations Archpriest Nikolay Balashov said on Friday. He reminded that preparations for the Council started in 1960 and after 30 years “unfortunately, they were suspended, but not through the Russian Church fault.” The Preparatory Commission last met about fifteen years ago. Fr. Nikolay reminded that last autumn at the Istanbul meeting between primates of all Orthodox Churches Patriarch Kirill (then Metropolitan of Smolensk and Kaliningrad - IF) “actively and largely contributed” in taking decisions to lead preparatory work out of the deadlock. … [Read more...]