Iconoclasm: The Heresy of Heresies (Part One)

Iconoclasm: The Heresy of Heresies (Part 1)

It’s not surprising that iconoclasm persists in contemporary Christian culture, and especially in America. Without a proper understanding of both the Incarnation and the deeper purpose of creation—throughout which God is ‘everywhere present and filling all things’—we are left with a worldview that is distorted. With no emperor or royal family to honor, we venerate celebrities, pornographers, amoral politicians, and […]

The Road to Rome? Why Orthodoxy Deserves a Look

The Road to Rome?

A few years ago, I came across a series of posts by Jason Liske, a convert to Roman catholicism. In one such post, he laid out a few reasons why he had chosen Rome over the Orthodox Church. (For those interested, the full post can be found here.) Before I respond to some of Jason’s thoughts, I will provide a few disclaimers: […]

The Victory of God

The Victory of God

The victory of God is not a schizophrenic victory over himself; it is a victory over death and its author, the devil. It is a great reconciliation; the warm embrace of the prodigal son. During both Great Lent and Holy Week, Orthodox Christians hear some of the most deeply profound words ever uttered. And through these hymns, readings, […]

Liturgical Hermeneutics and the Meaning of Scripture

Liturgical Hermeneutics and the Meaning of Scripture

Contemporary scholars and certain Christian groups today tend to approach the study of scripture as archaeology. Rather than receiving the scriptures as God-breathed tradition in the life of the Church, the text is abstracted from its incarnate context, subjected to scientific analysis. While much can be learned, of course, from a knowledge of Greek, Aramaic, and […]

The Greek World of the Old Testament

The Greek World of the Old Testament

One of the interesting things about the Septuagint is the ‘world’ in which it was created. Completed over the course of the third, second, and first centuries B.C., the Septuagint (or LXX) is a Greek translation of the Hebrew scriptures. Beginning with Christ and the apostles (in the books of the New Testament), the Septuagint became […]

The World Turned Upside Down: The Service of the Bridegroom

The World Turned Upside Down

Once the forty days of Great Lent are complete, the Orthodox Church enters into Holy Week, a time of intense reflection and joyful sorrow. Beginning with the Saturday of Lazarus, and the triumphal entry of Christ into Jerusalem (Palm Sunday), the next three nights are marked by one of the most beautiful services of the […]

Lazarus, the Friend of God

Saint Lazarus, the Friend of Christ

The Saturday before Palm Sunday is commemorated as the Saturday of Lazarus. In our hymns, we refer to Lazarus as “the friend of Christ” and “the four days dead.” This Saturday is celebrated with a Divine Liturgy in honor of Lazarus and his resurrection, which serves as a type of not only Christ’s resurrection from […]

Building a Wall Around the New Testament

Building a Wall Around the New Testament

As with other dogmatic developments in the life of the Church, the canonization of scripture was largely done in response to heresy. For example, prior to Marcion (mid-second century), there was little activity on the part of the Church in establishing a closed ‘canon’ or rule of scripture. It was not until St. Irenaeus that […]

Accusation and Confession

Accusation and Confession

Accusations are powerful. In the Garden of Eden, the dragon accuses Eve of naivety for following God’s commandments: You certainly will not die; for God knows that in the day you eat from it, your eyes will be opened, and you will be as gods who know good and evil. —Gen. 3:4–5 In John’s apocalypse, […]

Always a Convert, Never a Cradle

Always a Convert, Never a Cradle

Orthodoxy is a liturgical faith. And at the heart of that faith is a calling to be continually converted to Jesus Christ. The Church year begins with the nativity or birth of Mary—the beginning of our salvation story in Christ, and Israel’s return from exile—and continues through the nativity of Jesus. Great Lent is the […]