April 17, 2014

Interview with Bobby Maddex, editor of Salvo

Salvo describes itself as a magazine committed to "deconstructing the damaging cultural myths that have undercut human dignity, all but destroyed the notions of virtue and morality, and slowly eroded the appetite for transcendence." Editor Bobby Maddex says Salvo aims for the type of reader that is "open-minded enough to follow the evidence wherever it leads, and invariably, it leads to Christ and his teachings." Maddex spoke recently with Rev. Johannes L. Jacobse, president of the American Orthodox Institute. Read the entire interview on the AOI site. Here's a quote from Bobby: Our "vibe," as you call it, was selected to counter the lies emanating from some of the hipper, youth-oriented, and hugely popular newsstand magazines-such as Rolling Stone and Wired. We were tired of the monopoly that these publications had on slick, edgy, and highly ironic content, especially since the worldviews that inhere in such content are so nihilistic, materialistic, and immoral. We are trying to … [Read more...]

AOI debuts new website for “The Clarion Review”

Clarion Review launches all-new Web site with new content Turning Cows into IdeasRoger Scruton, philosopher & farmer, tells us how to make farms profitable even if no one buys a thing: Very few farms are profitable, and ours exists more...as a rural consultancy and ideas factory. Our neighbors turn grass into milk and make a loss; we turn grass into ideas and make a profit. We keep horses of our own, which we look after, and allow our neighbors to use the pasture for their cows: cows too, viewed from the window, can easily be made into ideas. We also keep chickens, and occasionally pigs, which we turn into sausages, after their brief time as ideas. Aging, Individualism, and Our Middle-Class DreamsPeter Augustine Lawler, ethicist and critic, tells us how caring for the old competes with our work-a-day society's love of freedom and laboring: Surely there is little worse than to have Alzheimer's and be alone...Yet the currents of our time push us almost inescapably in this … [Read more...]

Kosovo prelude to Georgia?

In yesterday's Washington Times, James George Jatras looks at the unintended irony in Washington's opposition to the expected Russian recognition of an independent Abkhazia and South Ossetia in the wake of the Bush Administration's support for an independent Kosovo. Jatras, an advisor to AOI, asks: If Moscow stepped over the line in its crushing military response to Mr. Saakashvili's offensive, what do we call 78 straight days of NATO's bombing throughout Serbia, destroying most of that country's civilian infrastructure? If Russia is to be faulted for imperfect implementation of the Sarkozy agreement, what can be said about Washington's violation of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1244, which ended the 1999 Kosovo war and reaffirms Serbian sovereignty in the province? The standard reasons cited for making Serbia an exception to the rule we demand in Georgia is that NATO intervened to stop genocide of Kosovo's Albanians and that they will never again accept being part of … [Read more...]

Alexander Solzhenitsyn (1918-2008)

Alexander Solzhenitsyn

"During all the years until 1961, not only was I convinced that I should never see a single line of mine in print in my lifetime, but, also, I scarcely dared allow any of my close acquaintances to read anything I had written because I feared that this would become known. Finally, at the age of 42, this secret authorship began to wear me down. The most difficult thing of all to bear was that I could not get my works judged by people with literary training. In 1961, after the 22nd Congress of the U.S.S.R. Communist Party and Tvardovsky's speech at this, I decided to emerge and to offer One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich." Alexander Solzhenitsyn's momentous decision to publish his slim volume on Gulag life (he feared not only the destruction of his manuscript but "my own life") ended his period of "secret authorship" and put him on the path of a literary career that earned him the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1970. But his work meant so much more than that. Solzhenitsyn, who died … [Read more...]

Orthodox Christian Patriarchs Celebrate Baptism of Russia

Orthodox Churches have long been involved in ecumenical projects, such as the World Council of Churches, and affirm the Lord's mandate "that they all may be one" (John 17:21). Yet, I can't help thinking at times that the Orthodox Churches might work a little harder at unity in their own house. For that reason, it was encouraging to follow the progress of Greek Orthodox Archbishop Demetrios' recent visit to the Moscow Patriarchate and see Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I side by side with Patriarch Alexy II for the celebration of the baptism of Russia. The Greeks and the Russians have had some contentious moments of late, such as the controversy over who shall have jurisdiction for Orthodox Christians in Estonia. Good background here in an AP story on the tensions between the Ukrainians and Russians: Ukrainian officials are determined to use the events to lobby for autonomy for the local church from Russia, while the dominant Moscow Patriarchate will fight to retain … [Read more...]

ACLU Wants to Sink Navy Prayers

The American Civil Liberties Union is threatening legal action against the U.S. Naval Academy unless it discontinues a tradition -- believed to date back to the college's founding in 1845 -- of mealtime prayer, the Baltimore Sun reports. "The government should not be in the business of compelling religious observance, particularly in military academies, where students can feel coerced by senior students and officials and risk the loss of leadership opportunities for following their conscience," Deborah A. Jeon, legal director for the ACLU of Maryland, wrote in a letter to the academy. Over at the Scriptorium, John Mark Reynolds notes in "Let the Navy Pray" that everything that does not fit the ACLU's "Utopian ideology" is viewed as something that must be swept aside: Like all ideologues history does not matter, tradition does not matter, and there is no sense of proportion. Every public act must fit their cherished scheme. They are theocrats in reverse and just like the … [Read more...]

‘Requiem for the Romanovs’

Robert Moynihan, writing for Inside the Vatican, has a moving report on the world premiere of a "Requiem Concert" in Russia's largest church, Christ the Savior, in a commemoration of the 90th anniversary of the execution of Czar Nicholas II and his family on the night of July 17, 1918. The historical texts and music were by Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev of Vienna, Austria, head of the Russian Church representation to the European Institutions. Alfeyev also participated in the performance, reading Scriptural passages in which the sufferings of Christ seemed to foreshadow the sufferings of Christians in communist Russia. In the article "Requiem for the Romanovs," Moynihan wrote: No one can contemplate the bloody murder of four lovely, educated, refined, innocent girls, and their young brother, without a shudder. This sense of horror is multiplied by the sense that the children in some way represented the nation itself. The czar "incarnated" the "essence" of the Russian nation, … [Read more...]

New Leader for Korean Orthodox

Metropolitan Ambrosios Aristotelis Zographos was enthroned on July 20 at St. Nicholas Orthodox Cathedral in Seoul as the Church's second metropolitan, reports the Union of Catholic Asian News. Around 450 clergy and laypeople of the Orthodox Church from South Korea and abroad attended. The Orthodox Metropolis of Korea, which is under the Ecumenical Patriarchate, has about 3,000 members with eight local clergymen, including two deacons, and two nuns, the news site reported. It administers seven churches and one monastery. In his enthronement speech, the new metropolitan spoke of the Orthodox Church's "unknown treasure" of patristic traditions. He called on all members of the Church in South Korea to bear faith witness through its liturgical and spiritual traditions. "Nowadays, many non-Orthodox Christians around the world recognize the uniqueness of Orthodox spirituality and seek to learn it," he said. More on the Orthodox Metropolis of Korea here. HT: The Western Confucian … [Read more...]

Clergy-Laity: ‘a changing of mentality and attitude’

Just back from Washington where I attended the 39th Biennial Clergy-Laity Congress of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. This was my first Clergy-Laity and I am glad I went. His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of America, in his keynote address, went beyond the theoretical to actual application when he developed the theme of the Congress: "Gather My People to My Home." Any effort for a serious application of our theme must begin with a changing of mentality and attitude. We must change from an exclusive and all absorbing focusing on our parish to an awareness of the existence of people outside of our Parishes, Metropolises and Archdiocese. People who have the right to know what we know as the truth of God, to taste the joy of participating in our ecclesial community, and to experience the blessings we experience to be with God as we are by being Greek Orthodox Christians. The area of our focused action should gradually be enlarged by including those who are outside, by … [Read more...]

Egypt’s Copts the ‘New Martyrs’?

Perilous times for Egypt's Christian community. In "Egypt's Coptic Christians Are Choosing Isolation," the Washington Post reports that "the most populous Christian community in the Middle East is seeking safety by turning inward, cutting day-to-day social ties that have bound Muslim to Christian in Egypt for centuries." The story notes a dramatic decline in of the Coptic Christian population in Egypt. Violent confrontations between Muslims and Christians are on the upswing. In May, Arab Bedouins attacked monks reclaiming the 1,700-year-old monastery of Abu Fana. Monks say the attackers fired on them with AK-47 assault rifles and captured some among them to torture. Attackers broke the legs of one monk by pounding them between two rocks. One Muslim man was killed. A few days earlier, gunmen in Cairo killed four Copts at a jewelry store but left without taking anything. Strife over liaisons between Christian and Muslim men and women led to recent clashes between the … [Read more...]

Freedom-Loving Orthodoxy

In the May 2008 issue of The Word,* published by the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America, Gregory Cook looks at the ways Orthodox Christianity may "transfigure" America. "Orthodoxy has always been open to building on what is true and extant in any nation or culture," Cook writes. "America should be no different." *Also republished here (non .pdf). He quotes Metropolitan Antony Bashir: Orthodoxy is a freedom-loving, democratic faith … it is at its best in our free America. If the best of Byzantium has survived, it is in the United States, and if there is an Orthodox political ideal, it is enshrined in the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. Cook's article, "Words We Live By: Orthodox and American Ideals in Foundational Texts" is an excellent reflection on what it means to be Orthodox in America and what America has given the Orthodox. While we're at it on this Fourth of July, read the Declaration of Independence. Can anyone … [Read more...]

A Conversation With Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev

St. Vladimir's Seminary recently held a symposium on the state of ecumenical relations between the different Christian communions throughout the world. In attendance was Bp. Hilarion (Alfeyev) of Vienna, a man highly respected at AOI because of his bold and clear testimony to Christ in Europe (see some of his writings on OrthodoxyToday.org). Fr. Chad Hatfield, Chancellor of St. Vladimir's Seminary, sat down with Bp. Hilarion for a frank discussion on ecumenical relations between Orthodoxy and other Christian communions, as well as tensions between Moscow and Constantinople about the direction some of these discussions are taking. A Conversation With Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev Fr. Patrick Henry Reardon, sharpened his focus on bringing the Gospel of Jesus Christ to America during the conference as well. Listen to him explain how the Orthodox lack in their knowledge of scripture and why a recovery of scripture is sorely needed. Holy Scripture and the Evangelization of … [Read more...]