April 18, 2014

Fr. Alexander Schmemann on Primacy in the Orthodox Church

Many of the current jurisdictional controversies within the Orthodox Church involving the Ecumenical Patriarch, relations between Constantinople and Moscow, the status of the "autocephalies" -- even the future of the American Orthodox Church -- hinge on the question of primacy. While Orthodox Christians have rejected the Roman model of primacy as "supreme power" over the Bishop and local Church, the question of primacy within the Orthodox Church is a complete muddle. In "The Idea of Primacy in Orthodox Ecclesiology," an essay written in 1960 and now available on the AOI main site, Fr. Alexander Schmemann examines various aspects of the primacy question, an issue he describes as "on the agenda for our time." As he reminds us, the ecclesiological interpretation of primacy -- regional, autocephalous, and "universal" -- is "virtually absent" from from Orthodox theology. "We badly need a clarification of the nature and functions of all these primacies and, first of all, of the very concept … [Read more...]

Clarion Review: A Quick Apology for the Interview

It used to be that I would skip printed interviews in magazines and journals, and especially in newspapers. They seemed like rehashings of what the interviewee had already said--perhaps better--in print. As an editor, interviews also struck me as filler for slow issues. And so it went for years that I did not read a single interview even while enjoying interviews on television and especially on the radio. What you could call my prejudice against print interviews was only broken by that maker and breaker of prejudices: experience. I read a couple of deft interviews, which appeared, strangely enough, in leftist publications like Village Voice, Rolling Stone, and Slate (I have not seen many interviews, and especially many notable ones, in what could be called conservative or right-wing publications. If you know of some, please post them as a response). I say strangely enough since I had never thought that certain genres or print formats were more or less preferred by one side or … [Read more...]

Ecumenical Patriarchate: American ‘Diaspora’ must submit to Mother Church

Arch. Elpidophoros Lamprianidis

The battle is joined. Highlight: With regards to the United States, the submission to the First Throne of the Church, that is, to the Ecumenical Patriarchate is not only fitting with the American society and mentality but also it opens up the horizons of possibilities for this much-promising region, which is capable of becoming an example of Pan-Orthodox unity and witness. The Mother Church of Constantinople safeguards for the Orthodox Church in America those provisions that are needed for further progress and maturity in Christ. Full text follows: Challenges of Orthodoxy in America And the Role of the Ecumenical Patriarchate By Very Reverend Archimandrite Dr. Elpidophoros Lambriniadis Chief Secretary of the Holy and Sacred Synod (Chapel of the Holy Cross, March 16, 2009) Reverend Protopresbyter Nicholas Triantafyllou, President, Reverend Protopresbyter Thomas Fitzgerald, Dean of the School of Theology, Reverend and Esteemed Members of the Faculty and … [Read more...]

St. Tikhon: Shine the Light

St. Tikhon of Moscow

Monachos.net, a great resource, has published a new translation by St. Tikhon, Metropolitan of Moscow, delivered in 1907 at the New York cathedral on the Sunday of the Triumph of Orthodoxy. Monachos.net describes this as "the saint's 'farewell homily' to his flock, before departing the United States, and contains important reflections on missionary zeal as well as touching reflections by St. Tikhon on his work in North America." Isn't it interesting that St. Tikhon was calling for the Orthodox to evangelize America in a serious way more than 100 years ago? He closes the sermon by recognizing that some of his flock found "shelter, work, and well-being" in America and all "received the freedom to profess the right Faith in your liberal land." St. Tikhon exhorts us: But it is not enough, brethren, only to celebrate “The Triumph of Orthodoxy.” It is necessary for us personally to promote and contribute to this triumph. And for this we must reverently preserve the Orthodox … [Read more...]

Mor Gabriel, Halki and Obama

A very timely story yesterday in the Wall Street Journal by Andrew Higgins about a land dispute between Syriac Orthodox monastery Mor Gabriel and Turkish authorities. Also yesterday, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, during a stop in Ankara, announced that President Obama will be visiting Turkey "in a month or so." She said this toward the end of her public remarks: I reiterate the Obama Administration’s support for Turkey’s membership in the European Union. The United States believes it will strengthen Turkey, Europe, and our transatlantic partnership. The United States continues to support the UN-sponsored talks now taking place to achieve a settlement of the Cyprus conflict based on reunification of the island as a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation. We talked about Turkey’s democracy, its multiethnic heritage, and in that context, I raised the importance that we place on reopening the Halki Seminary and efforts to reach out to all of Turkey’s communities. For … [Read more...]

A Prayer for Guidance and Peace

In all humility we pray to You and we entreat You, Who are the source of wisdom, bless and grant perfect health of mind and body to our President and all leaders of our nation. Direct, O Lord, their thoughts to the way of truth, so that they may enact, order and enforce whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are just, tending toward all excellence and virtue. Enlighten them to govern our country with justice and to lead our people in the ways of Your righteousness. Send to us and to the whole world a just and lasting peace to the glory of Your holy name. Amen. … [Read more...]

Met. Jonah’s 2009 Lenten message

On Feb. 28, Metropolitan Jonah, the head of the Orthodox Church in America, posted the following message: Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand! To the Very Reverend and Reverend Clergy, Monastics and Faithful of the Orthodox Church in America Dearly Beloved in the Lord: Christ is in our midst! Our Church has gone through a tragic and bitter episode in her history. Many souls suffered shipwreck, demoralized by the sins of a few. That is over. But the lingering bitterness and mistrust, resentment and desire for retribution, hang over us. We must heal this, both on an individual as well as corporate level. The only way to do this is repentance, using this season of repentance to make changes in our lives, cleanse our hearts and minds, and embrace the hope that can only be grasped by forgiveness. Unless we forgive others from our hearts, we cannot accept God's forgiveness for our own sins. Every time we criticize, judge, condemn or despise another person, no … [Read more...]

Met. Philip offers background on new Archpastoral Directive

Metropolitan Philip, the head of the Antiochian Orthodox Church in North America, issued a statement today explaining some of the background to the Archpastoral Directive of March 3. The letter follows: Beloved Hierarchs and Clergy, Members of the Board of Trustees of the Archdiocese, Parish Councils and Faithful of this God-Protected Archdiocese: Greetings and blessings during this Holy Lenten Season! There have been some questions raised regarding the February 24th decision of the Holy Synod of Antioch which addressed the status of bishops across the entire See of Antioch. The purpose of this letter is to try to answer these questions so that confusion may be avoided. The first question deals with whether or not I am supportive of the decision of the Holy Synod of Antioch which was taken on February 24, 2009. I am supportive of this decision, for a simple reason. I am convinced that the institutional structure of our Archdiocese here requires it at this time. One of the … [Read more...]

Repentence and Renewal

From the encyclical of Greek Orthodox Archbishop Demetrios on the beginning of Great and Holy Lent, which begins March 2. Like the children of Israel, we too are called to have faith as we set out on a journey that we know is not easy. The days and sacred services of this holy season lead us to the Holy Week, to the Cross of our Lord whereupon we venerate His crucifixion, the supreme act of sacrifice and love by God for us. At the same time, we enter this Lenten journey today with hearts filled with faith, hope, and love; because we know that the destination of this journey, after the spiritual intensity of the Holy Week, culminates with the glorious Resurrection of Christ and His complete triumph over sin, evil, and death. Today, as we embark upon this great Lenten journey, these forty days of the Great Fast, let us be mindful of all of those before us who also wandered in the wilderness. Let us not squander this beautiful opportunity for repentance and renewal; but … [Read more...]

Fr. Peter Guilquist interviews Met. Philip Saliba

Met. Philip

In this historic interview on Ancient Faith Radio, Metropolitan Philip talks candidly about such things as Orthodox unity, music, our witness to the world, his most memorable accomplishments as well as his biggest disappointments. This two part interview was conducted by Fr. Peter Gillquist, Chairman of the Department of Missions and Evangelism in the Antiochian Archdiocese. Source: Ancient Faith Radio. Listen now: Part 1  widget here (36:33) In part one, Fr. Peter asks His Eminence about health, family, his most significant accomplishments and his biggest disappointments. Part 2  widget here (30:33) In part 2, we hear the thoughts of Metropolitan Philip on the recent OCA crisis, his meeting with Metropolitan Jonah, Orthodox Administrative unity, evangelizing in today's culture, SCOBA and much more. Editor's note. I met Met. Philip for the first time this Sunday. He is a man of prayer. … [Read more...]

Fr. Hopko at Hope College, Feb. 23-24

Fr. Thomas Hopko, an advisor to AOI, will be speaking at an event titled "Encountering Eastern Orthodoxy: An Introduction to the Faith and Life of the Eastern Orthodox Christian Church" at Hope College in Holland, Mich. The two-day program (Feb. 23-24) "will examine the Orthodox Christian faith as a way of life." The event is hosted by the college's Orthodox Christian Fellowship student organization in partnership with the Religious Life Committee at Hope, and co-sponsored by the departments of philosophy and religion, the general education program, and the offices of student development and campus ministries. The public is invited and welcome, the school says. Admission is free to all events, although a free-will offering to benefit Orthodox Christian Fellowship at Hope College will be taken after the lecture on Monday evening. For more on the lectures, and a schedule of worship services, read the release on the Hope College site. … [Read more...]

All-Orthodox Council on the way?

Interfax reports that planning for a council of Orthodox Churches is actively underway. “We expect that preparatory process for the great and holy All-Orthodox Council of the Eastern Church will be revived,” Inter-Orthodox Secretary of the Moscow Patriarchate Department for External Church Relations Archpriest Nikolay Balashov said on Friday. He reminded that preparations for the Council started in 1960 and after 30 years “unfortunately, they were suspended, but not through the Russian Church fault.” The Preparatory Commission last met about fifteen years ago. Fr. Nikolay reminded that last autumn at the Istanbul meeting between primates of all Orthodox Churches Patriarch Kirill (then Metropolitan of Smolensk and Kaliningrad - IF) “actively and largely contributed” in taking decisions to lead preparatory work out of the deadlock. … [Read more...]