This is not an environment in which fraternal reconciliation can flourish.Read More
Three years ago or so I received a Facebook message from a thoughtful young friend-of-a-friend. After studying Christian history, she concluded that she knew too little about the Orthodox Church, so I answered her questions as best I could.
I also admonished her to discover the Church through its liturgical and communal life, not the abundant resources available about Orthodoxy online. In North America, where Orthodoxy is a tiny minority, it is often easier to learn about the faith through the Internet than from the nearest Orthodox priest, who may be a long drive away, speak poor English, or be baffled by the very existence of a “regular American” interested in the Church.Read More
October was not a month of especial cooperation in the global Eastern Orthodox communion. Protesting the appointment in March of an archbishop for Qatar by the Church of Jerusalem, the Church of Antioch withdrew its participation from “all the Assemblies of Canonical Orthodox Bishops abroad.” The Antiochian Patriarchate claims sole authority over the small Gulf state though at present it has no parishes of its own there. The assemblies affected by this decision include the canonical episcopal council in North America, which counts several Antiochian bishops among its officers.Read More
There is a popular idea among Orthodox Christians that the Church benefits from special recognition by the state. This follows from the assumptions that godly emperors ruled Byzantium and Russia before being overthrown by interlopers and that the Church lost its power and influence thereafter. American Orthodox Christians, who are forced to inhabit a scattered and irregular ecclesial reality, often find this narrative especially appealing. A state that recognizes a united Orthodox populace would seem to be a sign of strength and vitality. Surely, the idea goes, Greeks and Russians were holier, purer, and freer from sin before the encroachment of Muslims and Communists.
But in the Arab world, where Christians have been a minority for centuries, the Church tells different stories about itself.Read More