August 20, 2014

Essays on Canon 28

Met. Philip's recently posted essay on Constantinople's misuse of Canon 28 got me hunting for more analysis. I've posted what I found (including one by St. John Maximovitch written in 1938) on the main site. … [Read more...]

The Church of New Martyrs

Metropolitan Vladimir of Kiev and Gallich

The Orthodox Church today commemorates St. Gregory the Theologian, Archbishop of Constantinople, famed for his "lofty eloquence and ... wondrous breadth of learning." In Russia, today is also the feast day of the New Martyrs, the millions of faithful Christians who perished under the Communist terror. Among them was the holy New Martyr Metropolitan Vladimir (Bogoyavlensky) of Kiev and Gallich, the first bishop to be tortured and slain by the Communists at the time of the Russian Revolution. The Church was an immediate target of the Bolsheviks who saw the faithful as "a threat from the opposing political force." On January 23, 1918, during the battle for Kiev, the Bolsheviks seized the Kiev Caves Lavra, and the monks were taken out into the courtyard to be stripped and beaten. A few nights later, according to one account, five armed soldiers and a sailor came looking for Metropolitan Vladimir. The hierarch was tortured and choked in his bedroom with the chain of his cross. They … [Read more...]

Met. Philip on Canon 28 and Orthodoxy Unity

Posted on the main page is direction to an address delivered by Met. Philip of the Antiochian Archdiocese dealing with Constantinople's interpretation of Canon 28. From the introduction: "Of all the canons dealing with Church authority and jurisdiction, there is probably none more controversial and debated in inter-Orthodox circles today than Canon 28 of the Fourth Ecumenical Council," writes Metropolitan Phillip Saliba, leader of the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese and long-time champion of Orthodoxy unity in America. In "Canon 28 of the 4th Ecumenical Council - Relevant Or Irrelevant Today?," Met. Philip argues that Constantinople's interpretation of the canon is historically untenable, interferes with good order, hobbles efforts at jurisdictional unity and, most important, retards Orthodox missionary work in the United States. … [Read more...]

Spiritual counsel from St. John Maximovitch

The Blessed Archbishop John Maximovitch, striving to awaken his flock to a more conscious participation in the Church, published the following appeal in his weekly diocesan bulletin (Shanghai, November 24, 1941, no. 503): Perhaps it will happen that you will die without having once in your life read in full the Psalter of David... You will die, and only then will good people read over your lifeless body this holy Psalter, which you had no time even, to open while you lived on earth! Only then, at your burial, will they sing over you the wondrously instructive, sweetly-wise-but alas, to you completely unknown-words of David: "Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the Lord... Blessed are they who search His testimonies. who keep His revelations, and seek Him with their whole heart." Do you hear: "Blessed are they who search His testimonies, seek out the revelations of the Lord;" and you had no time even to think of them! What will your poor soul feel then, your … [Read more...]

Disarray, Disunity and the Metropolitans

AOI has published an article by George C Michalopulos titled "The Role of Metropolitan and Its Relationship within the Episcopate: A Reappraisal." This original work looks at the historical antecedents of the office of the Metropolitan from early Christianity to today. Along the way, we discover that although the office arose out of the episkopos (overseer) in the first centuries and lasted a millennium, the fall of Constantinople and the Ottoman oppression changed that early practice. The Patriarch and his bishops, while still holding some authority over the Orthodox Christians under the Ottomans, lost their episcopal sees and the office took on bureaucratic functions along with the petty intrigues, corruptions, and loss of prestige that followed the historic catastrophe. We've inherited that model today, Michalopulos argues, and it explains in some measure why the American Orthodox are afflicted with jurisdictional confusion. He also suggests how the episcopal hierarchy might … [Read more...]

Theophany of Our Lord

The Theophany

From the OCA site: Troparion - Tone 1 When You, O Lord were baptized in the Jordan The worship of the Trinity was made manifest For the voice of the Father bore witness to You And called You His beloved Son. And the Spirit, in the form of a dove, Confirmed the truthfulness of His word. O Christ, our God, You have revealed Yourself And have enlightened the world, glory to You! Kontakion - Tone 4 Today You have shown forth to the world, O Lord, and the light of Your countenance has been marked on us. Knowing You, we sing Your praises. You have come and revealed Yourself, O unapproachable Light. Christmas Message of the Locum Tenens of the Patriarchal Throne Metropolitan Kirill of Smolensk and Kaliningrad to the Archpastors, Pastors, Monastics and All Faithful Children of the Russian Orthodox Church: Beloved in the Lord my brethren archpastors, honourable presbyters, pious deacons, God-loving monks and nuns and all faithful children of the Russian Orthodox Church. … [Read more...]

The Nativity of Our Lord — 2008

The Nativity of Our Lord

Now then I pray you accept His Conception, and leap before Him; if not like John from the womb, yet like David, because of the resting of the Ark. Revere the enrolment on account of which thou wast written in heaven, and adore the Birth by which thou wast loosed from the chains of thy birth, and honour little Bethlehem, which hath led thee back to Paradise; and worship the manger through which thou, being without sense, wast fed by the Word. Know as Isaiah bids thee, thine Owner, like the ox, and like the ass thy Master’s crib; if thou be one of those who are pure and lawful food, and who chew the cud of the word and are fit for sacrifice. Or if thou art one of those who are as yet unclean and uneatable and unfit for sacrifice, and of the gentile portion, run with the Star, and bear thy Gifts with the Magi, gold and frankincense and myrrh as to a King, and to God, and to One Who is dead for thee. With Shepherds glorify Him with Angels join in chorus; with Archangels sing hymns. Let … [Read more...]

Catholic-Orthodox: The Trent Agreed Statement on the Family

The Trent Agreed Statement on the Family of the First European Catholic-Orthodox Forum on the theme: ‘The Family: A Good for Humanity,’ Trent, Italy, on December 10-14, 2008. Preamble By the grace of the Holy Spirit, we, thirty representatives of the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Churches in Europe, from countries stretching from the Urals to the Atlantic, have gathered together for the First European Catholic-Orthodox Forum. We express our gratitude to all who have worked for the success of this meeting, especially to the Archbishop of Trent who warmly received us and offered hospitality. The meeting has been organised by the Council of European Bishops Conferences (CCEE), in close collaboration with various Orthodox Churches and some of the dicasteries of the Holy See. We have expressed our deep sorrow at the sudden death of His Holiness, Patriarch Alexis II of Moscow and All Russia, who had warmly extended his blessing upon the project of this Forum. What is the … [Read more...]

Met. Jonah: Episcopacy, Primacy, and the Mother Churches

In June, Metropolitan Jonah of the Orthodox Church in America delivered a talk on "Episcopacy, Primacy, and the Mother Churches: A Monastic Perspective" at the Conference of the Fellowship of St. Alban and St. Sergius at St. Vladimir’s Theological Seminary. The audio of the talk is available on Ancient Faith Radio along with the other presentations from the conference. The PDF version of Metropolitan Jonah's presentation is available on the OCA site, where the Church is also archiving his articles and speeches. On the subject of the Mother Churches and the “Diaspora,” Metropolitan Jonah has this to say: ... almost all national Churches have extended their jurisdictions beyond their geographic and political boundaries to the so-called diaspora. But Orthodox Christians who are faithful to the Gospel and the Fathers cannot admit of any such thing as a diaspora of Christians. Only ethnic groups can be dispersed among other ethnic groups. Yet the essential principle of geographic … [Read more...]

Peace or Truth?

In "What is important and what is not," Fr. Alexander Schmemann looked at controversies in the Church and how these may have led to "more true love" for the Body of Christ. Reprinted here in full: When controversies are ignited and flare up in the Church, which happens and has happened often, alas, we inevitably hear appeals from Church circles to cease these controversies in the name of peace and love. Now, this would be cause for great joy, if only in these appeals there were no unmistakably different overtones: "Your controversy is not important. It is of interest to no one: only ‘specialists’ and ‘scholars’ can understand it, so all this argument leads only to seduction and harm." And here we must point out to these accusers something very important which they have apparently forgotten. They have forgotten that peace and concord in the Church are inseparable from the Truth. An outsider who does not believe and is not part of the Church would smile and shrug his shoulders, … [Read more...]

Metropolitan Jonah to lead OCA

Metropolitan Jonah

The Orthodox Church in America announced that Bishop Jonah of Fort Worth was elected Archbishop of Washington and New York and Metropolitan of All America and Canada today at the 15th All-American Council of the OCA. Ancient Faith Radio has Metropolitan Jonah's address to the council, where he offers insights about the nature of leadership in the Church. "Power corrupts and that power needs to be renounced," he says. Listen here. The Pittsburgh-Post Gazette said the 49-year-old Metropolitan "was chosen after two ballots and a vote by the synod of bishops." The following is the official statement from the OCA: PITTSBURGH, PA -- On Wednesday, November 12, 2008, His Grace, Bishop Jonah of Fort Worth was elected Archbishop of Washington and New York and Metropolitan of All America and Canada at the 15th All-American Council of the Orthodox Church in America. His Beatitude, Metropolitan Jonah was born James Paffhausen in Chicago, IL, and was baptized into the Episcopal Church. … [Read more...]

A Conversation With Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev

St. Vladimir's Seminary recently held a symposium on the state of ecumenical relations between the different Christian communions throughout the world. In attendance was Bp. Hilarion (Alfeyev) of Vienna, a man highly respected at AOI because of his bold and clear testimony to Christ in Europe (see some of his writings on OrthodoxyToday.org). Fr. Chad Hatfield, Chancellor of St. Vladimir's Seminary, sat down with Bp. Hilarion for a frank discussion on ecumenical relations between Orthodoxy and other Christian communions, as well as tensions between Moscow and Constantinople about the direction some of these discussions are taking. A Conversation With Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev Fr. Patrick Henry Reardon, sharpened his focus on bringing the Gospel of Jesus Christ to America during the conference as well. Listen to him explain how the Orthodox lack in their knowledge of scripture and why a recovery of scripture is sorely needed. Holy Scripture and the Evangelization of … [Read more...]