April 19, 2014

Norm of faith as norm of life

This essay is outstanding. It represents the quality of thought that should be coming from all Orthodox Churches; the words that speak to the foundational questions of culture as I wrote yesterday. Frankly, the Orthodox in America are capable of contributions of this depth and importance. I have my doubts however, that Constantinople will ever achieve this level of creative engagement with the culture. I wish it were different but I have not seen any evidence that it is. +++++++++++++++++++ by Kirill I, patriarch of Moscow and all Russia A religious way of life – in our case, a Christian-Orthodox way of life – is distinguished by its foundation in the tradition of the Church. Tradition presents itself to us as a collection of truths that by means of the witness of the holy apostles were accepted by the Church, are preserved by her, and are developed in relation to the challenged posed to the Church in the various historical periods. In short, tradition is the vital flow of the … [Read more...]

Today is VE Day

(Newsreel begins at .20): And a sign of changing times: … [Read more...]

Sergey Prokudin-Gorsky slideshow

The London Telegraph. Russia on the eve of WWI. Fascinating history and photographs. … [Read more...]

Dialogue on Katyn Massacre between the Russian Orthodox and Roman Catholic Churches

This is a compelling interview, although the promise towards reconciliation it offered may be delayed, or worse, cut short, with the terrible airplane crash of Polish dignitaries near Moscow yesterday. They were flying to Russia to commemorate the Katyn Massacre (called "tragedy" below), and, if the interview below is accurate, look for some common ground to heal this grave wound of historical memory. I can't help but think that an event of great promise has been lost. Certainly the crash is catastrophic for Poland, and the lost opportunity may be a grave loss for the rest of Europe. An Orthodox bishop was one of the fatalities. ++++++++++++++++ ‘The task of the Russian Orthodox Church’s dialogue with the Catholic Church in Poland is to rise above political conjuncture’. Interview of DECR vice-chairman Hegumen Philip Riabykh with Blagovest-infor news agency. Father Philip, on April 7 Russia and Poland will mark the sorrowful date, the 70th anniversary of the Katyn tragedy. … [Read more...]

The Stormy Petrel of the Cloth

Petrides

Over at Orthodox History, Matthew Namee recounts the story of a bold, decisive, and courageous priest who obviously knew the full measure of his calling. He got himself into serious trouble on occassion, but only because he refused to compromise to powerful interests who, like today, subvert the faith for their own ends. Some highlights: Like so many of his fellow priests, Petrides traveled throughout his region of the country, ministering to the Orthodox people he found who didn’t have a priest. One time, he went to Ithaca, New York, to do a baptism. After the service, unbeknownst to Petrides, a 16-year-old Greek girl had advertised that she would go into a “spirit trance.” Greeks had traveled from all over to witness the spectacle. Petrides caught wind of what was going on, and he burst into the room, stopped the girl’s trance, and told the people that spiritualism is against the teachings of the Orthodox Church. This was the sort of man he was – completely unafraid to stand … [Read more...]

The Holodomor: Ukraine’s Famine

HT: Isa Almisry Another: Watch Harvest of Despair (Soviet Communism engineered Ukraine Famine Genocide 1933) in Educational  |  View More Free Videos Online at Veoh.com Also: Are you listening The New York Times? … [Read more...]

Religion as the ground of culture?

A pillar at the Gobekli Tepe temple near Sanliurfa, Turkey, the oldest known temple in the world

Looks like religion may have led to civilization. HT: Mystagogy From Newsweek Magazine: History in the Remaking A temple complex in Turkey that predates even the pyramids is rewriting the story of human evolution. They call it potbelly hill, after the soft, round contour of this final lookout in southeastern Turkey. To the north are forested mountains. East of the hill lies the biblical plain of Harran, and to the south is the Syrian border, visible 20 miles away, pointing toward the ancient lands of Mesopotamia and the Fertile Crescent, the region that gave rise to human civilization. And under our feet, according to archeologist Klaus Schmidt, are the stones that mark the spot—the exact spot—where humans began that ascent. Standing on the hill at dawn, overseeing a team of 40 Kurdish diggers, the German-born archeologist waves a hand over his discovery here, a revolution in the story of human origins. Schmidt has uncovered a vast and beautiful temple complex, a … [Read more...]

World’s oldest Christian Bible digitized

A reader examines a page from the Codex Sinaiticus, the earliest surviving Christian Bible.

London -- The surviving pages of the world's oldest Christian Bible have been reunited - digitally. The early work known as the Codex Sinaiticus has been housed in four separate locations across the world for more than 150 years. But starting Monday, it became available for perusal on the Web at http://www.codexsinaiticus.org so scholars and other readers can get a closer look at what the British Library calls a "unique treasure." "(The book) offers a window into the development of early Christianity and firsthand evidence of how the text of the Bible was transmitted from generation to generation," said Scot McKendrick, head of Western manuscripts at the British Library. As it survives today, Codex Sinaiticus comprises just over 400 large leaves of prepared animal skin, each of which measures 15 inches by 13.5 inches (380 millimeters by 345 millimeters). It is the oldest book that contains a complete New Testament and is only missing parts of the Old Testament and the Apocrypha. … [Read more...]

St. Tikhon: Sunday of Orthodoxy Sermon

Tikhon, Bishop of the Aleutian Islands and Alaska

H/T: Orthodox History St. Tikhon delivered the following address on the Sunday of Orthodoxy, February 23, 1903, in San Francisco. It was reprinted in Holy Trinity Cathedral LIFE (the newsletter of the San Francisco OCA cathedral) in March 1995, and may be found in the fantastic Holy Trinity Cathedral online archives. We are reprinting it below in its entirety: This Sunday, Brethren, begins the week of Orthodoxy, or the week of the Triumph of Orthodoxy, because it is today that the Holy Orthodox Church solemnly recalls its victory over the Iconoclast heresy and other heresies and gratefully remembers all who fought for the Orthodox faith in word, writing, teaching, suffering, or godly living. Keeping the day of Orthodoxy, Orthodox people ought to remember it is their sacred duty to stand firm in their Orthodox faith and carefully to keep it. For us it is a precious treasure: in it we were born and raised; all the important events of our life are related to it, and it is ever … [Read more...]

Father Arseny: Fact or Fiction?

Sweeter than Honey

Some of you may be aware that there is a discussion occurring asking whether Fr. Arseny actually existed as a real person or is he a literary creation. Dr. Peter Bouteneff in his podcast "Sweeter than Honey" examines this question in light of recent Soviet history, particularly how history was often erased in the Soviet period; personal testimonies of people still alive; the nature of literary narratives, and so forth. It's worth a listen. Listen here: … [Read more...]

Russian Orthodox Church Sets Out To Be ‘First Among Equals’

Pat. Kirill

Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty H/T: St. Andrew House Discussion Forum Is the Russian Orthodox Church set to launch a "new crusade" -- at home and abroad? Father Daniel Sysoyev, a prominent Russian missionary, recently urged the opening of an Orthodox "base" in Kyrgyzstan from which to launch a proselytizing "offensive" across mostly Muslim Central Asia. Speaking at a forum in Moscow on February 17, Sysoyev said the church should open theological faculties in Bishkek universities and "use Kyrgyzstan as a base for all of Central Asia, Afghanistan, Tibet, and China." Central Asia, he said, could prove fertile ground. After all, since 1992, a half-million Central Asians have become Protestant converts. And Catholic missionaries, the priest added, successfully set up a Kyrgyz diocese in just a few years. Bakyt Murzubraimov, chairman of the theology department at Osh State University in Kyrgyzstan, dismisses Sysoyev's … [Read more...]

Catholic Herald: In Russia, the path to unity is defrosting

the-catholic-herald

Roman Catholic reporting about union between Rome and Orthodoxy tends to be over optimistic. The Catholics seem to want union much more than the Orthodox do. A clearer assessment might be that Moscow sees cooperation with Rome as necessary to re-Christianize Europe, to help Europe rediscover its moral and religious moorings. Nevertheless, a significant thaw is occurring. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Neville Kyrke-Smith has visited Eastern Europe for the past 25 years. Now, he believes the end of the schism with the Orthodox is in sight "The Lefebvrists, the Anglicans... will it be the Orthodox next?" asked one slightly bewildered Catholic priest recently. Pope Benedict XVI is turning out to be ecumenically audacious. For this he has faced criticism, misunderstanding and accusations of insensitivity. But Pope Benedict and Patriarch Kirill of the Russian Orthodox Church seem now to be making progress in preparing the ground to overcome the Great Schism of 1054. When I … [Read more...]