April 17, 2014

Orthodox Christian Faithful Meet at Unity Conference

Get info on the OCL Conference here: www.ocl.org/roadtounity Contact: George Matsoukas, Executive Director, Orthodox Christian Laity, 877-585-0245, ocladmin@ocl.org LIGONIER, Penn., Sept. 11 /Christian Newswire/ -- Orthodox Christianity in America stands at the threshold of a new era of renewal. As the ancient faith lays down new and dynamic roots in America, new and indigenous leadership is emerging as the Church engages American culture. Meeting in Ligonier, Pennsylvania on October 20-31, 2009 for "The Road to Unity: From Vision to Action" conference, leaders and participants will develop ideas on how the American Orthodox Church can achieve unity in America. The meeting takes on greater significance as world church leaders challenge the American Orthodox jurisdictions to work together to present a nuts and bolts plan for a unified North American Church. The process toward unity was established at the Fourth Pre-Conciliar Pan-Orthodox Conference of Orthodox … [Read more...]

Swine Flu in the Chalice?

Byzantine Chalice

Greek Orthodox Metropolitan Alexios on the H1N1 Virus As we look forward to the blessings of New Ecclesiastical Year, I greet you with joy and love in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, with prayers and good wishes for a healthy and joyous year. As I was traveling this summer, both in our Metropolis and Greece, I heard some talk from our brothers and sisters that we should question the way that we receive the Body and Blood of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, due to concerns about the H1N1 virus. They were concerned that this would transmit the virus to the Faithful and of course they have a point. If we were receiving only bread and wine there would be some, though not a lot, of cause for concern. Aside from the scientific facts showing that there is no difference in rates of illness between people who receive Holy Communion and the general population, aside from the fact that there have always been infectious and communicable disease, aside from the fact that … [Read more...]

Asceticism — The Cure for Consumerism

A report from Wells Fargo Securities shows a "record drop" in consumer credit this summer. "Despite the cash-for-clunkers program starting in the last week of July, nonrevolving credit fell at a staggering 11.7 percent annualized pace," analyst Yasmine Kamaruddin wrote. Indeed, much of the decline was attributed to a spike in charge offs, which points to the ongoing, widespread distress in economic life. But here's the thing, and it's very simple. The reason that major sectors of the economy such as autos and housing have suffered historic declines -- indeed in some cases been on the verge of collapse -- is that consumers suddenly stopped buying what companies were selling. Certainly, much of this pull back can be explained by growing joblessness and fear about the future. But I suspect that there's also a cultural shift going on, which may continue long after the economy bounces back. In the future, we may see less consumption, especially for things like the McMansions and … [Read more...]

Unity in Christ

From "Catholic Consciousness: The Anthropological Implications of the Dogma of the Church" by Vladimir Lossky. English translation (from the French original) in St. Vladimir's Seminary Quarterly, Volume 14, No. 4, 1970. No differences of created nature -- sex, race, social status, language, or culture -- can affect the unity of the Church; no divisive reality can enter into the bosom of the Catholica. Therefore one should consider that the expression "national Church" -- which is so often used in our day -- is erroneous and even heretical, according to the definitions condemning phyletism that were pronounced by the Council of Constantinople in 1872. There is no Church of the Jews or of the Greeks, of the Barbarians or the Scythians, just as there is no Church of slaves or of free men, of male or of female. There is only the unique and total Christ, the celestial Head of the new creation which is being realized here; the Head to which the members of the one Body are … [Read more...]

On Orthodox Christian Theological Education in America

From St. Vladimir's Seminary: Teaching for the Future: Frs John and Chad reflect on a stormy summer Theological reflection and education is essential for the life and future of the Church. Where there is no vision, the people perish (Proverbs 29:18). The vision of Christ himself, and how we are his body, enables us to pass through the storms of this world and move into the future. Theological education in the US has recently become the subject of controversy, division, and manipulation. However, turbulence can also signify new possibilities and new life. As we learn to discern the times, we must consider: * Diversity in Unity * A Comprehensive Plan * Responsible Stewardship Diversity in Unity One of the glories of Orthodoxy in the western world is the richness of the diversity of its lived expressions. Orthodox Christians live together, work together, and learn to see each other as members of the one Body of Christ in a specific geographical region. … [Read more...]

Archbishop Demetrios’ Encyclical for the Beginning of the Ecclesiastical New Year

Aug 24, 2009 | Protocol 63/09 | September 1, 2009 Day for the Protection of our Natural Environment To the Most Reverend Hierarchs, the Reverend Priests and Deacons, the Monks and Nuns, the Presidents and Members of the Parish Councils of the Greek Orthodox Communities, the Distinguished Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the Day, Afternoon, and Church Schools, the Philoptochos Sisterhoods, the Youth, the Hellenic Organizations, and the entire Greek Orthodox Family in America. Beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ, We give thanks to God for the beginning of this Ecclesiastical New Year and for His abundant blessings, which fill our hearts with gratitude, deepen our faith, and strengthen our souls. The date of September 1 on our calendars marks the beginning of many things in our lives. For some, it presents the beginning of another academic year filled with worthy goals and challenges. For others, it is the return from summer vacation with refreshed bodies and … [Read more...]

Met. Jonah on Spiritual Maturity

Delivered in Atlanta, Georgia recently. … [Read more...]

What is the first responsibility of a Bishop? To preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

The Apostolic Mission of Bishops: A Short Reflection By Bradley Nassif, Ph.D. The purpose of this brief, and incomplete, reflection is to focus on the centrality of the gospel in the ministry of a bishop. It is not intended to promote a partisan perspective on any issue facing the contemporary Orthodox Church – Antiochian, Greek or O.C.A. It simply spotlights what the calling of a bishop is to be. I want to be clear that this article is not a response to the recent discussions of the Antiochian bishops or the Holy Synod. It is a timeless reflection -- a positive statement -- of what the primary work of a bishop should be, regardless of his geographical location or the time of history in which he lives. It is vitally important that we understand the bishop’s calling because the gospel of Jesus Christ lies at the very center of his ministry among us. The Bishop’s Apostolic Mission The apostolic mission of a bishop in the Eastern Orthodox Church can be summarized in five … [Read more...]

Postcards from Greece: Phyletism

PostcardsFromGreece

On a new Postcards from Greece, Fr. Peter Alban Heers explains the heresy of Phyletism, which means placing one’s ethnic identity above the Orthodox faith. Fr. Peter shares with us his ten years of experience of living the Faith and serving the Church in Greece, and in particular the ancient Church of the Thessalonians. On visits to parishes and monasteries, and in interviews with clergy and laymen, Fr. Peter, as an American convert, introduces us to the ancient practice of the Church in Greece in terms and ways we can readily understand and apply to our contemporary way of life. Listen here: … [Read more...]

A Word for Parents

peckbook

The Anti-Gnostic reports on a lecture given by Metropolitan Jonah of the Orthodox Church in America last night at Atlanta's Greek Orthodox Cathedral of the Annunciation. Asked what advice [Metropolitan Jonah] would give parish priests, he again quoted a Russian father who told parents to pray for their children ten times as much as they speak to them. This prayer will become contagious through the community. His former abbot has prescribed a rule of two hours daily private prayer for the brothers in addition to their four to six hours of public prayer and worship. He recommended all Orthodox study the Divine Liturgy of St. Basil, as in really read it, take notes, get a commentary and track down the Scripture references, etc. He called it the sum of all Orthodox dogma. … [Read more...]

The Constitution of the Eastern Church

In 1942, Russian emigre and lay theologian Nicholas Zernov published a little book on the Orthodox Church under the auspices of the Fellowship of St. Alban and St. Sergius. Much of Zernov's "The Church of the Eastern Christians" is aimed -- no surprise -- at educating the British public about the Orthodox Church and advancing the cause of unity between Anglicans and Eastern Orthodox. He also has some things to say about how the Church governs itself that we would do well to reflect upon today. "The Eastern Church rejects altogether the attempts of the West to locate Church authority in one or another ecclesiastical institution," Zernov wrote. "It is the Holy Spirit speaking and acting through the whole body of believers who is the teacher and guardian of truth for them." In his introduction, written against the backdrop of WWII, he identified two major problems facing Christians: the lack of unity and the rise of totalitarianism, first in Russia following the revolution and then … [Read more...]

Freedom and the Church’s American Exile

Both on the AOI blog and my own my post, “Pentecost, Lincoln and the American Experiment,” brought some very interesting and thought provoking comments. Your thoughts have helped me think a bit more deeply about the relationship between the Tradition of the Orthodox Church and the American Experiment. For this I thank you all. And even more importantly, your words were very much in mind as I read Michael Baxter recent review of American Babylon: Notes of A Christian in Exile, by the late Fr Richard John Neuhaus. As is no doubt clear from what I wrote, I do not see Orthodoxy and the American Experiment as necessarily in opposition to each other. Or maybe it might be more accurate to say, that the differences between Orthodoxy and America are certainly no wider or deeper than what one would expect between that between God and Caesar, between the City of God which is to come and the City of Man which is here and now. Be that as it may, however, my interest in political … [Read more...]