April 24, 2014

Battle for the ‘Soul of Orthodoxy’ in the UK?

Writing for the Independent, a UK newspaper, Paul Vallely looks at a legal battle over control of an Orthodox cathedral. The power struggle, he writes, began with an influx of Russian immigrants to the United Kingdom and their clash with an assimilated, diverse Orthodox community. "Huge numbers arrived," says one of the parishioners, Ruth Nares, a teacher who converted from Anglicanism two decades before because of what she describes as Orthodoxy's extraordinary sense of sacredness. "We were a community of white Russians, Finns, French, Italians and English converts. But the incomers had a different mentality. To many, it was just a place to meet fellow Russians. They would come in halfway through service, talking loudly at the back, and started making lunch there." Karin Greenhead, a musician, says: "There was a lot of unpleasantness and elbowing and pushing. It was noisy and unprayerful. There was even a fight outside the church." But it was not just the congregation that … [Read more...]

Roepke was right

Wilhelm Roepke

In my Winter 2007 article on economic globalization for AGAIN Magazine, I quoted economist Wilhelm Roepke: Economically ignorant moralism is as objectionable as morally callous economism. Ethics and economics are two equally difficult subjects, and while the former needs discerning and expert reason, the latter cannot do without humane values. In light of all that has happened with the U.S. economic meltdown in the last few months, I continue to subscribe to the following statement from the same article: ... there is no real understanding of "social justice" without an understanding of basic economic principles. These principles explain how Orthodox Christians work, earn, invest, and give to philanthropic causes in a market-oriented economy. Economic questions are at the root of many of the problems that on their face seem to be more about something else -- poverty, immigration, the environment, technology, politics, humanitarian assistance. I remain a convinced … [Read more...]

Prayer as education

dostoevsky

"Young man, be not forgetful of prayer. Every time you pray, if your prayer is sincere, there will be new feeling and new meaning in it, which will give you fresh courage, and you will understand that prayer is an education." Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov, Book VI, Chapter 3 - Conversations and Exhortations of Father Zosima HT: RO-THEORIA … [Read more...]

Russia welcomes Patriarch Kirill

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9zbtVDt1NgQ[/youtube] In the Moscow Times, Leonid Sevastyanov and Robert Moynihan write that the new Russian Patriarch Kirill "has deep convictions about the role of the Christian faith in the future of Russia and about Russia's role in the future of Europe and the world." The writers say that the Patriarch is convinced that only a return to "real values" can enable Russia and Europe to confront the current economic crisis. "Moreover," the authors say, Patriarch Kirill "believes that Russia's greatness, eclipsed in recent years, can only be restored by renewing its ancient Orthodox faith." Given his relatively young age, 62, Kirill could be patriarch for the next generation. He will undoubtedly set out to fulfill a double agenda. First, he will want to build on what Alexy II accomplished during the 18 years of his patriarchate, continuing the rebuilding of the church's ruined infrastructure. Thousands of churches have been rebuilt … [Read more...]

Essays on Canon 28

Met. Philip's recently posted essay on Constantinople's misuse of Canon 28 got me hunting for more analysis. I've posted what I found (including one by St. John Maximovitch written in 1938) on the main site. … [Read more...]

“We have to stand up and make our voice heard.”

Met. Jonah of the Orthodox Church of America speaks at the 2009 March for Life. [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y-qzcPBaerg[/youtube] … [Read more...]

Met. Kirill named Patriarch of Russian Orthodox Church

Metropolitan Kirill of Smolensk and Kaliningrad has been elected head of the Russian Orthodox Church. He will become the 16th Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia. The International Herald Tribune described him as "an articulate critic of declining moral values in the modern world who has been actively involved in the ecumenical movement and [has] called for the Russian Orthodox Church to step up its outreach in secular society ... " Novosti said the 62-year-old Metropolitan "received 508 votes, and the second candidate, Metropolitan Kliment of Kaluga and Borovsk - 169 votes. A total of 700 ballots were cast in the vote, with 23 recognized as invalid." He is expected to be enthroned on Sunday and his term of office is lifelong. The Moscow Times highlighted Metropolitan Kirill's ecumenical work, noting that he is "an experienced diplomat who has been the church's point man in often-difficult negotiations with other churches, prompting speculation that he might take steps to improve … [Read more...]

The Church of New Martyrs

Metropolitan Vladimir of Kiev and Gallich

The Orthodox Church today commemorates St. Gregory the Theologian, Archbishop of Constantinople, famed for his "lofty eloquence and ... wondrous breadth of learning." In Russia, today is also the feast day of the New Martyrs, the millions of faithful Christians who perished under the Communist terror. Among them was the holy New Martyr Metropolitan Vladimir (Bogoyavlensky) of Kiev and Gallich, the first bishop to be tortured and slain by the Communists at the time of the Russian Revolution. The Church was an immediate target of the Bolsheviks who saw the faithful as "a threat from the opposing political force." On January 23, 1918, during the battle for Kiev, the Bolsheviks seized the Kiev Caves Lavra, and the monks were taken out into the courtyard to be stripped and beaten. A few nights later, according to one account, five armed soldiers and a sailor came looking for Metropolitan Vladimir. The hierarch was tortured and choked in his bedroom with the chain of his cross. They … [Read more...]

Obama’s Theology Problem

John Mark Reynolds observes in the Washington Post that President Obama's liberal Christian theology "represents a last chance for a faith that has been in decline in the West since the 1950s." Reynolds, an Orthodox Christian, blogs at The Scriptorium Daily along with other faculty from the Torrey Honors Institute, a great books program at Biola University for which he is founder and director. Reynolds: President Obama has a chance at greatness, but Tuesday demonstrated that his theology could undermine him. Bush is gone and Obama can no longer simply not be George W. Bush to succeed. He has taken the Oath of Office and now must govern. Of course, Obama could not truly fail on Tuesday. Seeing him take the Oath of Office, the mere image, was a great moment for the nation, but his speech failed to add anything to the greatness. President Obama made history by being elected, but great presidents govern. The picture of the swearing in will make every child's American history … [Read more...]

The Chain of Catastrophe

Fr. Aris Metrakos

Fr. Aris Metrakos, priest at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in San Francisco, California, delivered this address at a memorial service for the victims of abortion held at the St. Mary's Roman Catholic Cathedral on the eve of the West Coast Walk for Life on January 23, 2009. In his talk, Fr. Aris offers reasons why abortion on demand became accepted in the culture, and what Christians must do to restore a culture of life. Listen now:    widget here … [Read more...]

Met. Philip on Canon 28 and Orthodoxy Unity

Posted on the main page is direction to an address delivered by Met. Philip of the Antiochian Archdiocese dealing with Constantinople's interpretation of Canon 28. From the introduction: "Of all the canons dealing with Church authority and jurisdiction, there is probably none more controversial and debated in inter-Orthodox circles today than Canon 28 of the Fourth Ecumenical Council," writes Metropolitan Phillip Saliba, leader of the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese and long-time champion of Orthodoxy unity in America. In "Canon 28 of the 4th Ecumenical Council - Relevant Or Irrelevant Today?," Met. Philip argues that Constantinople's interpretation of the canon is historically untenable, interferes with good order, hobbles efforts at jurisdictional unity and, most important, retards Orthodox missionary work in the United States. … [Read more...]

Obama and Moral Imagination

Newly elected President Obama, writes John Couretas, Executive Director of AOI in his essay "Obama and the Moral Imagination" frequently makes use of the phrase "common story." This phrase "may sound strange to the ears. But it is impossible to understand the new president unless his brilliant use of narrative is first grasped," Couretas says. It's a page taken from the Reagan playbook and masterfully executed. Couretas writes: Reagan biographer Lou Cannon told the Chicago Tribune last year that Obama has "a narrative reach" and a talent for story telling that reminds him of the late president. Reagan "made other people a part of his own narrative, and that's what Obama is doing," Cannon said. "By doing it, it expands his reach because he isn't necessarily just another partisan Democrat." … [Read more...]