August 30, 2014

Archbishop Hilarion: The Church has been granted the Primate required by our troubled time

Compare the vision expressed below with recurring missteps like Orphangate, the uncritical embrace of global warming activism, assertions of ethnic supremacy (Hellenism uber alles?), the flattering of politicians, and the like and ask yourself: --Who really gets it? --Who has the better grasp of the crisis in Western culture? --Who really comprehends that any resolution to that crisis is moral and religious? “The Church has been granted the Primate required by our troubled time.” An interview of Archbishop Hilarion of Volokolamsk to “Interfax-Religion” – What changes in the Russian Orthodox Church since 1 February 2010 have been most obvious and impressive? – The election and enthronement of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill have, undoubtedly, been the most important events in the life of the Russian Orthodox Church last year. By the will of the Holy Spirit and through the election by the Local Council, the Church has been granted the Primate required by our troubled time, … [Read more...]

Russian Orthodox Church opens seminary in France

Logo of the Russian Orthodox Seminary in France

H/T: Byzantine, TX The Russian Orthodox Church has opened its first seminary outside the former Soviet Union - in a small French town outside Paris. The institution is starting modestly but has big ambitions: to serve Russia's growing diaspora and foster closer ties between Eastern and Western Christian churches. It is a bitterly cold afternoon, but the large stone building in the heart of Epinay-Sous-Senart is warm and welcoming, with smells of cooking and a Christmas tree in the front hall. Upstairs, half a dozen black-robed students are studying theology. The building is an old convent. But the nuns are gone and their Roman Catholic crosses have been traded for Russian icons and incense. The students are on the front lines of a bold experiment launched by the Russian Orthodox church, the first pupils of the church's first seminary in the West. "The Russian Orthodox church needs more than ever good specialists who know not only the life of Christian churches in western … [Read more...]

‘Europe, spiritual homeland’

Pope Benedict and Abp. Hilarion

In "For Rome and Moscow, It's Spring Again," Sandro Magister on Chiesa looks at the book, in Italian and Russian, presented to Pope Benedict recently by Archbishop Hilarion of Volokolamsk. It is a collection of the main speeches of Benedict, as cardinal and pope, on European culture made over the past ten years. The title of the book is taken from an expression that Benedict used in Prague: "Europa, patria spirituale [Europe, spiritual homeland]." Magister translated the archbishop's introduction (excerpts reprinted below). But listen to his amazement: Those who expect an Orthodox Church removed from time, made up only of remote traditions and archaic liturgies, will come away shaken from reading the introduction to this book. [ ... ] The image that emerges from it is that of a Russian Orthodox Church that refuses to let itself be locked up in a ghetto, but on the contrary hurls itself against the secularist onslaught with all the peaceful weapons at its disposal, not … [Read more...]

A Catholic-Orthodox Union?

We should all be extremely cautious about the recent comments about a Catholic-Orthodox union (Fr. Peter-Michael Preble has already raised important questions about these reports). Outside of the obvious and thorny theological questions – on both sides – that would arise, is there any way such a union could take place without first convening an all-Orthodox Council? And if such a council would move in that direction, would the whole Church accept that council as Orthodox? In "Needed: Both Lungs," the editors of the National Catholic Register quote Archbishop Paolo Pezzi of Moscow who told an Italian newspaper that unity between the Catholic and Orthodox Churches could be accomplished in the very near future. In fact, the paper reported, the archbishop predicted that it could be a reality “within a few months.” At the same time, we read that "Moscow Patriarchate believes Uniate expansion in Ukraine the most complicated problem in relations with Vatican," according to an Interfax … [Read more...]

The god Called Earth

stevethebuilder

Couples who refuse to have children in order to protect the environment, says Steve Robinson, "reject religion and dogma, (yet) their devotion to the earth is indeed a religious devotion very similar to the ancient pagans." In fact, the "eco-fundamentalists has a version of the prosperity gospel… we 'serve the earth god,' name it and don’t claim it, and you get nice stuff and exotic vacations." Robinson continues, "The ecologist and Orthodox Christian agree that the human being is indeed taken from the dirt of the earth and thus shares in the nature of the earth itself. But Christianity says he also is given the breath of God who created the very dirt from whence he came, and so he shares in the nature of the spiritual and is given dominion over the dirt, but not for gluttonous consumption but as a means of expressing love in the image of the one who created all things out of love." Listen to the podcast: " … [Read more...]

Bishop Savas to head GOA Office of Church and Society

Greek Orthodox Archbishop Demetrios announced yesterday that Bishop Savas of Troas, most recently the chancellor of the archdiocese, has been named director of the Office of Church and Society. The bishop will be charged with developing "programs and ministries that promote a creative Orthodox Christian engagement with contemporary societal and cultural realities." Readers of this blog will recall the effusive praise with which Bishop Savas greeted the election of Barack Obama, rejoicing that "this is the day that the Lord has made!" Yesterday, the Obama administration moved to rescind a Bush administration regulation, put in place in December, that cuts off federal funding for medical facilities that would force doctors, nurses and other health care workers to participate in practices, such as abortion, that "they feel violates their personal, moral or religious beliefs." The move to lift the so-called "conscience rule," which is subject to a 30 day public comment period, was … [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...]

“On the Advantages of Dying Young”

Jonathan David Price, editor of "The Clarion Review" (published by AOI) wrote the essay "On the Advantages of Dying Young ", that was recently published in First Principles ("the home of American intellectual conservatism"). Price writes: There is so much talk about the advantages of long life nowadays that when confronted with "tragic" young deaths our only response is pity. Obsession with longevity is no longer merely an existential anxiety; lifespan has even become a key measure of the health of nations. We are concerned with it collectively. And since quantity of life is what we value, death is the enemy. There is no such thing as a good death at any age, much less in youth. . . . Read the essay in the First Principles Journal. This essay was also blogged by Benjamin MacConchie: http://benjaminmacconchie.wordpress.com/. … [Read more...]

Obama’s “Evangelical” Appeal

The appeal of Barak Obama, who, as far as I can tell, has no discernible ideas, puzzles some culture watchers and worries some even more (see Spengler over at the Asia Times for example). Fr. John Chagnon offers "One Possible Clue" on his blog "The Traveling Priest Chronicles." Obama's appeal, Fr. John suggests, might be that he taps into the desire for salvation that inevitably takes a political shape when secularism rules the day. … [Read more...]