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 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, […]

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 […]

The Beauty of Logos: Towards an Orthodox Aesthetic

The Beauty of Logos: Towards an Orthodox Aesthetic

What is the purpose of ‘beauty’ in the Eastern Orthodox faith? Are these mere externals, or is there something deeper behind our colors, shapes, and forms? We could start by considering Dostoevsky’s famous line (from The Idiot): Beauty shall save the world. “This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?” (John 6:60) Struggling with this very task, […]

How to Live a Simple, Christian Life

Simple Christianity

Christianity is a calling to become like Jesus Christ. It is a calling to live up to our namesake as ‘Christians.’ As St. Ignatius of Antioch, a disciple of the apostle John, writes: It is fitting, then, not only to be called ‘Christians,’ but to be so in reality. Our faith has been reduced by many today to ‘Christ plus […]

Strangers in a Foreign Land: Nationalism and the Orthodox Church

Strangers in a Foreign Land: Nationalism and the Orthodox Church

In calling the Church ‘catholic,’ Orthodox Christians confess belief in a Church for all ages, nations, and races. The Catholic Church is whole, complete, and lacking nothing—for this is what ‘catholic’ truly means. It is a calling for all, and Christ our God is sacrificed ‘on behalf of all, and for all.’ There is often confusion—especially for […]

Interview with Timothy Michael Law, author of ‘When God Spoke Greek’

An Interview with Timothy Michael Law, author of 'When God Spoke Greek'

When God Spoke Greek (Oxford, 2013) is an outstanding and accessible introduction to the Septuagint (or ‘LXX’), the ancient Greek translation of the Hebrew scriptures. Dr. Law is an Alexander von Humboldt Fellow at the Georg-August-Universität Göttingen (Germany) and a Junior Research Fellow at the Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies. Law also serves as editor-in-chief […]

St. Theodore the Studite against the Iconoclasts

St. Theodore the Studite against the Iconoclasts

During the iconoclastic disputes of the ninth century, a priest-monk named Theodore was instrumental in the orthodox defense of icons. Like St. John of Damascus a century earlier, Theodore was a ‘voice in the wilderness,’ fighting against the unorthodox views of the corrupt, Imperial leadership. A leading monk at the Studious monastery in Constantinople, Theodore wrote three different […]

Iconoclasm: The Heresy of Heresies (Part Two)

Iconoclasm: The Heresy of Heresies (Part 2)

In Franks, Romans, Feudalism, and Doctrine, Fr. John S. Romanides suggests: The schism between Eastern and Western Christianity was not between East and West Romans. In actuality, it was a split between East Romans and the conquerors of the West Romans. By the end of the seventh century, whole areas of the western part of the Roman Empire were […]