The Strength of Oral Tradition

The Strength of Oral Tradition

In a world characterized by the rationalism of the Enlightenment and the instant knowledge of Google, it’s hard to believe things have not always been so. In the ancient world, ideas, customs, stories, and even history were committed primarily not to books, but rather memorized through both poetry and song. They were preserved through oral tradition. And of […]

A Journey through Romans 9 (Part Two)

A Journey through Romans 9 (Part Two)

This is the second part of a four part series on interpreting Romans 9. Read part one. – – – The story is then told in great detail in Romans 4–8, which is constructed around the shape the Old Testament narrative. Romans 4 deals with Abraham, Romans 5 deals with bondage “in Adam” just as Israel was in […]

Ecumenism as Dialogue or Monologue? (Part Two: The Witness of Scripture)

Ecumenism as Dialogue or Monologue? (Part Two: The Witness of Scripture)

In the first part of this series, I offered an overview of the traditional Orthodox method for addressing non-Orthodox communities, highlighting two notable events in Church history. In this essay, I’ll discuss the ecumenical method—that method of God’s covenant people interacting with those outside the covenantal body—as found in the Holy Scriptures. Examples from the Old Testament […]

A Journey through Romans 9 (Part One)

A Journey through Romans 9 (Part One)

The ninth chapter of Romans is often referenced as ‘the’ text convincing Christians to become ‘Calvinists.’ Many would go so far as to argue that it is impossible to read this section of Romans in any other way. For me, the ‘Calvinist reading’ seems to ignore Paul’s use of the Old Testament. Furthermore, it fails to situate the argument of Romans 9 […]

Symeon the New Theologian on Predestination

St. Symeon the New Theologian on Predestination

In the history of the Orthodox Church, the honorary title ‘Theologian’ has been granted only three times. First to the beloved disciple and apostle Saint John, then centuries later to Saint Gregory of Nazianzen, and finally to the eleventh century Saint, Symeon ‘the New.’ Born in Galatia (A.D. 949), St. Symeon was educated in Constantinople, […]

A Note from the Vatican on the Expression ‘Sister Churches’

A Note from the Vatican on the Expression ‘Sister Churches’

This is the official, Vatican perspective on not only ecumenical efforts in general, but also the relationship between the Vatican See and the Orthodox Church. Written under the oversight of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (now Pope emeritus Benedict XVI), Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, this document was approved by Pope John Paul II (June 9, […]

Ecumenism as Dialogue or Monologue? (Part One: An Overview)

Ecumenism as Dialogue or Monologue? (Part One: Overview)

On the eve of the highly-promoted meeting in Jerusalem between the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and Pope Francis of the Roman Catholic Church1, this ‘Apostolic Pilgrimage’2 has produced a fair amount of press. Largely positive, media coverage lauds the potential for “a new era”3 in Rome-Constantinople relations, which the 1964 meeting between Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras and Pope […]

Orthodox Saints and the Ecumenical Movement

Orthodox Saints and the Ecumenical Movement

For Christians, the criterion of truth is fidelity to Christ and the faith that was “once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3). The Saints, being wholly united to Christ by the Spirit in his holy Church, in turn become the empirical datum par excellence by which truth is measured. This is why, for Orthodox Christians, […]

Triumphalism and the Church Triumphant

Triumphalism and the Church Triumphant

Every student of Church history knows that history is messy. There was never a ‘Golden Age’ of the Church, nor will there ever be one before the Last Day. And yet, as Orthodox Christians, we believe that the Church is the one, true Body of Christ. We believe that she is the pleroma or ‘fullness’ of God (Eph. […]

Reveal Your Saints and You Reveal Your Church

Reveal Your Saints and You Reveal Your Church

Understandably, there have been several articles, podcasts, press releases, videos, and other media in recent weeks for the meeting between the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and Pope Francis, the present archbishop of the city of Old Rome. The Patriarchate of Constantinople has spared no expense in promoting this event, which commemorates the fiftieth anniversary of a similar meeting in Jerusalem […]