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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Is Orthodoxy a Stagnant Faith?

Is Orthodoxy a Stagnant Faith?

At the conclusion of a recent synaxis of Orthodox hierarchs in Istanbul (March 6–9, 2014), an announcement was made that the local Orthodox churches would gather for a pan-Orthodox synod in the Spring of 2016. At this synod, a number of issues facing the global Orthodox Church will be addressed, and many of them long-coming. […]

The Triumph of Jesus Christ in the Triumph of Orthodoxy

The Triumph of Jesus Christ

The first Sunday of Great Lent is celebrated as the Triumph of Orthodoxy. This is connected with the victory of the iconodules (those who supported the veneration of sacred images) over the iconoclasts (those who opposed their veneration). The heart of the victory of Orthodoxy in the restoration of iconography—as well as our veneration of […]

The Filioque and Arianism: Was It Really Necessary?

The Filioque and Arianism: Was It Really Necessary?

Was the addition of Filioque to the Nicene Creed necessary to combat Arianism in the West? This is an assertion often made in its defense, but is this really true? Filioque—”and the Son” in Latin—is a phrase later added to the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed in Western churches. This Creed or Symbol of Faith has been recited […]

The Western Critiques of Christian Iconoclasm

The Western Critiques of Christian Iconoclasm

Introduction As most historians recognize, the central events related to Byzantine iconoclasm in both the eighth and ninth centuries unfolded in and around the imperial city of Constantinople. Nevertheless, the churches of the West—and especially in the city of old Rome—were intimately involved in combatting this new, imperially-sanctioned heresy. In a piece last May on […]