Mary the Queen of Heaven

Mary the Queen of Heaven

Before God became man, an important sign of God’s presence was the Ark of the Covenant. In the wilderness, Moses placed it in the Holy of Holies. The Israelites crossed the Jordan River with it, and they marched around Jericho with it. King David danced before it. And after King Solomon built the temple in […]

Ripe for Metamorphosis: The Great Feast of Transfiguration

Ripe for Metamorphosis

Transfiguration is one of the twelve Great Feasts of the Orthodox Church. It comes forty days before the Elevation of the Holy Cross, and is the next-to-last feast of the ecclesiastical year. In this feast we are reminded of our calling as Christians: to be transfigured, to mature into ripened fruit, and to be glorified […]

Christian Iconography and the Art of Rewriting History

Iconoclasm and the Art of Rewriting History

Iconoclasm has always been an integral part of revolution. In revolution, a previous paradigm is eliminated, making way for the new. Statues are torn down, buildings and works of art are destroyed, people are slaughtered through riots and the resulting famine, and religious revival—or dissolution—is inevitable. History books reflect the triumph of the victors, while the […]

Liturgy and Icon

Liturgy and Icon

There is an important connection between our liturgical services and holy icons. In many ways, it’s difficult to imagine how our Liturgy could subsist without icons. They are an irrevocable part of the life of the Church. Ouspensky notes (Theology of the Icon, vol. 1, p. 8): It is absolutely impossible to imagine the smallest liturgical rite in the Orthodox Church without icons. […]

Remember Us In Your Kingdom

Remember Us In Your Kingdom

To be “remembered” by God is vitally important in Orthodox spiritual life. But what does this mean? Before receiving the holy Eucharist at a Divine Liturgy, we confess: I will not reveal Your mystery to Your adversaries. Nor will I give You a kiss as did Judas. But as the thief I confess to You: “Lord, remember me in Your […]

Gregory Palamas on the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul

Gregory Palamas on the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul

The commemoration of each of the saints on the appointed feast day is an occasion for town and country, citizens and their rulers to share in rejoicing, and brings great benefit to all who celebrate. “The memory of the just is praised,” says the wise Solomon (Prov. 10:7), “When the righteous is praised the people […]

Augustine on the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul

Augustine's Homily on the Feast of Ss. Peter and Paul

Today the Holy Church piously remembers the sufferings of the Holy Glorious and All-Praised Apostles Peter and Paul. St. Peter, the fervent follower of Jesus Christ, for the profound confession of His Divinity: “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God,” was deemed worthy by the Savior to hear in answer, “Blessed art […]

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, […]

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 […]