July 23, 2014

New Year’s doesn’t do much for me but this is cool…

Fireworks over St. Basil's Cathedral and the Kremlin

H/T Byzantine Tx (an excellent blog, BTW) I'm not much of a New Year's fan (just can't get my head around celebrating a new year) but it sure makes for some nice pictures. Oh yes, Happy New Year (that part I get)! … [Read more...]

We’ve moved!

Easier than we thought too!

Many thanks to Fr. John Schroedel of Orthodox Internet Services (the man behind the wheel) who loaded the truck and moved us into our new home -- all the way from Hawaii! What will you see? In addition to the great commentary and timely news you have come to expect from the AOI Observer, you should see faster load times, the elimination of time-outs (the dreaded "internal server errors") and a smoother operation overall. Looking for a good and reliable host for you website? Truck on over to Orthodox Internet Services. Great prices and most of all great service. Again, many thanks to Fr. John Schroedel and Orthodox Internet Services for a job well done. … [Read more...]

Fr. Peter-Michael Preble interviews Fr. Hans Jacobse about the Ecumenical Patriarchate

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Fr. Peter-Michael Preble, host of the Shepherd of Souls radio program on Ancient Faith radio, Pastor of St. Michael's Orthodox Christian Church, and occasional contributor to the AOI blog, recently interviewed Fr. Hans Jacobse on the subject of the Ecumenical Patriarch. Listen to the interview: Fr. Peter blogs at the Fr. Peter-Michael Preble blog. … [Read more...]

Help us help you strengthen Orthodoxy in America!

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Last chance to donate for 2009! December 18, 2009 Dear Friend: Thank you for joining the rapidly growing number of people in the United States and abroad who have made the Web site and blog of the American Orthodox Institute a “must read” for news and analysis on Orthodox Christianity. One grateful contributer writes: "AOI is providing the kind of in depth analysis and commentary that is unparalleled in the English speaking world. We stand at a time of competing ideologies in the world, in America, and in the Orthodox Church. AOI has been a beacon of clarity, reason and faithfulness to Gospel principles in the midst of an age of sloppy sentimentality and murky darkness." Fr. JR The American Orthodox Institute has become the go-to site for some of the best and most timely analysis of events in the Orthodox world today. Where else do you find: Critical reflection on the Ecumenical Patriarch’s collaboration with the global warming environmentalists? Reporting on the … [Read more...]

Fr. Chad Hatfield: Introductory Remarks at Manhattan Declaration unveiling

Fr. Chad Hatfield, Chancellor of St. Vladimir's Seminary, was an original co-signer of the Manhattan Declaration. Below are his introductory remarks at the unveiling of the document at the National Press Club on November, 20, 2009. … [Read more...]

Orthodoxy and Obama’s conscience clause

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A friend sent me an email earlier today. Search Google, he said, with the terms conscience rule obama catholic bishops and conscience rule obama orthodox bishops and then compare the two. Not very impressive. (Actually, the AOI blog article on Abp. Demetrios' awkward praise of Pres. Obama ranks first in Google, but that's beside the point.) It got me to thinking. If there is ever a need for Orthodox unity, the time is now. The authority of the Orthodox moral tradition far exceeds our numbers, but that authority has to be exercised. As long as we remain disunited our voice is muted and the culture does not receive the direction it needs. The Catholic Bishops understand this, just as they understand that the life issues are a matter of not only personal life and death, but cultural life and death. That is why they are ready to use their authority to clarify these issues and, if necessary, offer moral resistance. It is time for us to step up too. Apart from the GOA, the … [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...]

Mattingly: What do the Converts Want?

In light of the recent exchanges on The Observer about converts, cradle Orthodox and the future of American Orthodoxy, we are republishing Terry Mattingly's essay that touches on these important issues. This article was adapted from an address titled "So What Do the Converts Want, Anyway?" given at the 2006 Orthodox Christian Laity conference in Baltimore. Terry Mattingly, an advisor to AOI, is director of the Washington Journalism Center, editor of the www.GetReligion.org website, and a weekly syndicated columnist for the Scripps Howard News Service. What Do the Converts Want? By Terry Mattingly It doesn't take a Ph.D. in Liturgical Studies to tell the difference between a Southern Baptist church and an Orthodox church. You can get some pretty good clues just by walking in the door and looking around. But there are some similarities between the two that might be a little trickier to spot. For instance, let me tell you about what life is like on Sunday nights in a Southern … [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...]

Orthodoxy: A Fertile Faith

When a recent coffee hour conversation turned, unexpectedly, to politics and what if anything the Church has to say about public issues and then all of the "God talk" in the current presidential contest, a friend said, "Oh, that's politics. The Orthodox Church shouldn't get involved in politics. Nothing good can come of it." Well, yes and no. If we're talking about partisan politics then yes, of course, the Church must stay out of it. The Church was not founded to endorse candidates for office or advance a political ideology. But if we're talking about the political dimensions of important moral issues, then yes, of course, the Church may quite properly speak to these. Did we notice that there is something going on in California about marriage? Were political institutions involved? Do we recall the 2003 Statement on Moral Crisis on Our Nation issued by SCOBA? I wonder if some Orthodox Christians wish that the faith could somehow remain removed from politics and other worldly … [Read more...]