July 25, 2014

Orthodox Churches Object to National Identity Cards

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First of all, let's dispense with the pejoratives: Conservative and nationalist wings within the churches have held demonstrations in Athens and Moscow and claim that the cards will compromise national and religious identity. Many have gone so far as to say that identity numbers such as 666 are the "mark of the beast" from the Book of Revelation, the final book of the New Testament. Archimandrite Iannuarii Ivliev, a professor of biblical studies at the St. Petersburg Theological Academy told the May edition of Neskuchny Sad, a Russian Orthodox magazine, that the obsession with symbols such as 666 are the result of a primitive interpretation of the Book of Revelation. All that might be true, but it is beside the point. Let's examine instead the salient point: Patriarch Kirill II of the Russian Orthodox Church told a meeting of the Bishop's Council of the Russian Orthodox in February that "the church understands the position of people who do not wish to be subject to control … [Read more...]

Finding the Balance: Privacy and the Civil Society

Fr. Gregory Jensen, contributing editor to AOI blog and editor of Koinonia blog recently published this essay on the Acton Institute website. Privacy in our culture has come to serve not a deepening of community life but an ever deeper sense of social isolation.  Even otherwise laudable behavior is increasingly justified not by the goodness of what is done but by the modern sense of privacy.  Even among those who ought to know better, the Gospel is presented in terms that are almost wholly personal without any sense of its public character and demands.   Our sense of isolation from each other has become so profound that even to suggest that there is a human nature and that true happiness is only possible when we live in conformity to our nature, is seen a provocation and an assault on the radical autonomy of the individual.   Paradoxically, when privacy is in the service of isolation it is also the source of what Peggy Noonan (The Eyes … [Read more...]