July 30, 2014

Fr. Hopko: A Spiritual Springtime for American Orthodoxy

Fr. Thomas Hopko, an advisor to AOI, delivered an address in late September for the 40th Anniversary of the Consecration of the Chapel at the Orthodox Monastery of the Transfiguration, a monastery for women in Ellwood City, Pa. Fr. Tom observes that while a "sprinkling" of Orthodox Christians in academic circles have been known to the wider American public, "hardly any other practicing Orthodox Christian has been publicly recognizable in American society in the past forty years." Among the clergy, the late Archbishop Iakovos is singled out for social witness in the civil rights movement. "Things are not much different today," Fr. Tom says. "But there are some notable exceptions." He opens with a sobering assessment and then explores the accomplishments of the Church in recent decades: A Spiritual Springtime for American Orthodoxy -- Reflections on the last 40 Years Membership in the Orthodox churches in North America in the past forty years has radically decreased. There … [Read more...]

Metropolitan Kirill on Economic Globalization

Metropolitan Kirill of Smolensk and Kaliningrad, the President of the Department of Foreign Religious Affairs of the Moscow Patriarchate, has written a prologue or introduction to “The Ethics of the Common Good in Catholic Social Doctrine” (Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 2008) by Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Vatican’s Secretary of State. The article by Metropolitan Kirill was translated from the Italian and into English for the first time by Paola Fantini, an intern in the Rome office of the Acton Institute. Considering the Orthodox concept of the common good, it must be noted that this concept refers not only to material well-being, not only to peace and harmony on earth, but most of all to the aspirations of man and human society to eternal life, which is the ultimate good of every Christian. For this reason, according to the Orthodox conscience, the debate on the common good will always be incomplete if it considers earthly life exclusively, while the highest good – life in … [Read more...]

New study: The Orthodox Church Today

The Patriarch Athenagoras Orthodox Institute, based in Berkeley, Calif., has released what it is calling "the first national survey based study of the laity, ordinary church members, in the two largest Orthodox Churches in the United States: the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America (GOA) and the Orthodox Church in America (OCA)." To a significant degree, PAOI said, the study reflects the profile of an entire Orthodox community in the United States. "The Orthodox Church Today" study addressed four broad questions: -- What is the "image" of the Orthodox clergy in the eyes of the "people in the pews?" -- To what extent do the social and religious attitudes of the ordinary parishioners reflect those of their parish priests? -- What do church members think about patterns of Church life in their local parishes? -- What do laity think about various issues dealing with "Democracy and Pluralism in the chirch," "Changes and Innovations in the Church," and "religious "Particularism' … [Read more...]

Mattingly on ‘Culture wars 2008′

Terry Mattingly looks at the most recent battles, from the left and the right: If you could erase one moment from Sen. Barack Obama's White House campaign, which would you choose? That's an easy question for evangelicals, Catholics and other religious believers who back Obama. Most would happily erase all evidence of his speech last spring to a circle of insiders behind closed doors in San Francisco. For those who have ignored national news in 2008, Obama talked about meeting voters in rural Pennsylvania, where hard times have crushed hopes and fueled resentments. "So it's not surprising then that they get bitter," he said, that "they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them ... to explain their frustrations." Welcome back to the "culture wars," all you politicos who hoped and prayed that talk about "values voters" and "pew gaps" would disappear. Instead, Republicans have been chanting this mantra -- "bitter," "cling," "God" and "guns" -- … [Read more...]

California Bishops Support Ballot Initiative on Marriage

Orthodox bishops have announced their support for Proposition 8, known as the "California Marriage Protection Act." The measure would amend the state constitution by adding this line: Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California. More on this proposal on the Protect Marriage Web site. Here is the message from Orthodox bishops: A Statement of the Orthodox Christian Bishops of California in Support of Proposition 8: A Constitutional Amendment to Restore the Definition of Marriage The decision of the California Supreme Court on May 15, 2008, unilaterally redefines the sacred institution of marriage in a manner unprecedented in human history — and alien to our Christian tradition. We, the Orthodox Christian bishops of California, were saddened by this decision which constitutes a direct attack upon the longstanding role and freedom of religion in American life. A majority of the justices declared not only that same-sex couplings must be allowed … [Read more...]

Message of the Primates of the Orthodox Churches

Leaders of the world's Orthodox churches released a joint statement that touched on far ranging issues of interest to the Church, including the global economic crisis, the environment and the prospects for further pan-Orthodox consultations and a Holy and Great Council. The primates were gathered for the Oct. 10-12 Synaxis of the Heads of the Orthodox Churches and Pauline Symposium at the Patriarchal Cathedral of Saint George in Istanbul, Turkey. His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I addressed the gathering on Oct. 10, saying that "such a Synaxis is deemed necessary and beneficial, especially in times like ours, when the personal encounter and conversation among responsible leaders in all public domains of human life is rendered increasingly accessible and essential." The Message from the Primates, posted on the Europaica site, also pointedly affirmed the Church's role in the social sphere. "Efforts to distance religion from societal life constitute the common … [Read more...]

Michalopulos responds to Katopodis on ‘Orthodox Dominionists’

George C. Michalopulos has submitted the following in response to Harry Katopodis' article on Orthodox Dominionists. Michalopulos is co-author, with Herb Ham, of "The American Orthodox Church -- A History of its Beginnings" (Regina Orthodox Press). Michalopulos: It never ceases to amaze me how certain benighted and theologically inept individuals take upon themselves the task of speaking for Christ’s Church as it traverses on its voyage through history. One such individual fears that the so-called religious right has made inroads into the Orthodox Church in North America, and that it is only because of noble souls such as himself that tolerance can only be found in one remaining bastion, i.e. the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. And of what is Katapodis afraid? In no particular order: converts, “theocons,” non-GOAA bishops, and the rising tide of pro-lifers within American Orthodoxy. The ridiculousness does … [Read more...]

Mattingly on Fr. John Peck

Update (10/13/08): The complete, unedited column is now available on Terry Mattingly's site under the title, "Beyond Orthodox folk dancing." (10/11/08): Religion writer Terry Mattingly has a column in today's Boulder (Colo.) Daily Camera newspaper that is a must read. He looks at the controversy surrounding the publication of Fr. John Peck's "The Orthodox Church of Tomorrow" here on the Web site of the American Orthodox Institute. Mattingly is a blogger at the GetReligion site, a syndicated columnist, and directs the Washington Journalism Center at the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities. He recently joined AOI as an adviser. About Fr. Peck, Mattingly said that "the 46-year-old priest wrote an article about the positive Orthodox trends in America, as well as offering candid talk about the problems faced by some of his friends. He finished 'The Orthodox Church of Tomorrow' soon after arriving at the Greek Orthodox mission in Prescott, Ariz., and sent it to the American … [Read more...]

Katopodis Responds to ‘Orthodox Dominionists’

Mr. Harry Katopodis has sent AOI an article to further elaborate on the thinking behind his article in the Hellenic Voice, "Religious Right Must Not Set Agenda for Orthodox Church." Which led to my post, "Where are the Orthodox Dominionists?" The Katopodis response is published here unedited: Dominionists or Pro-Life? By Harry Katopodis Several bloggers have criticized my article because I called called pro-life Orthodox dominionists, however the difference in reality is very small. The point is that whether I call them dominionists or religious right their stands are very similar, put Christian values and doctrine in the government of the United States. I was raised in the Orthodox Church, and I left the Greek Church and went to the OCA so I could hear English services. A few years later I returned home to the Greek Church when I felt I wasn’t welcome in the OCA because I am a Democrat and a proud union member that votes for Democrats because it is in my economic interest … [Read more...]

Where are the Orthodox Dominionists?

A friend sent me an article from the Hellenic Voice titled, “Religious Right must not set agenda for Orthodox Church.” Well, reasonable enough. But the article got so many other things wrong that I was tempted to simply quit reading half way through. The author, Harry Katopodis, seemed not to understand the difference between religious doctrine and political activism (which was one of the main faults of the Religious Right). Amazingly, his article was aimed at those Orthodox brothers and sisters who have been received into the Church from other traditions. You know, converts. Their conversion, the author suggested, has been a Trojan horse that has allowed the Religious Right to stealthily creep into the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. The Katopodis article begins with the assertion that “the Orthodox Churches in America are heading down two different paths over political involvement.” The article is much too long and repetitive to reprint so I’ll touch on just a few points … [Read more...]

Why Should the Islamic World Feel Besieged?

James G. Jatras, foreign affairs policy expert and advisor to AOI, faced challenges by Muslim scholars who contend that Americans are "Islamophobic" among other charges on Press TV. View the video: Why Should the Islamic World Feel Besieged? … [Read more...]

Invocation Prayer

The following prayer was offered by Fr. John A. Peck (see his Orthodox Church of Tomorrow below) at the Prescott (Ariz.) City Council meeting on Sept. 9. Fr. John is pastor of Prescott Orthodox Church, The "Mile High" Mission. Invocation Prayer O God, the God of principalities and powers, authorities and dominions, we ask You to send Your Most Holy, Good and Life-Creating Spirit upon this noble assembly, that You may bless what we do, and that we may do what You bless. Strengthen us to labor without partiality or favor for the increase of prosperity to the benefit of all Your people, to establish Your peace and Your justice among men. Guide us by Your Holy Spirit that we may not tolerate in our midst those who would lie, cheat or steal, who would circumvent justice for the righteous, or reward the transgressor. For You are the benefactor of our souls and bodies, O Christ our God, and to You we ascribe glory, together with Your Father, Who is from everlasting, and Your Most … [Read more...]