Taking Council in the Church
This week in Crete many Orthodox bishops have been gathered together for what has been called The Great and Holy Council. And so it seems like a good opportunity to consider the meaning and importance of councils in the Orthodox Church. It may help to begin with the situation in the West, where we live. Catholicism and Protestantism seemingly place an “infallible” guidepost at their center, which determines and defines what is true and false, what is Christian and what is not
The Pentecostal Liturgy
Fifty days after Pascha we come to the feast of Pentecost, the feast of the descent of the Holy Spirit, the feast of the Holy Trinity. When our Lord was preparing His apostles for His Pascha and His going to the Father He told them: “I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also” (John 14.2b-3). The apostles, troubled by this announcement and fearful of losing their
Dogma and Heresy
The Seventh Sunday of Pascha, the Sunday between Ascension and Pentecost, commemorates the Fathers of the First Ecumenical Council which was held in Nicaea in the year 325. If we attend to the hymns of this feast we will notice that the hymns state very clearly that we honor these Fathers because they fought heresy by teaching and upholding the dogmas of the Church. These two terms – heresy and dogma – have fallen on hard times. In the religious and cultural climate of our da
What is Jesus Doing Now?
What is Jesus doing now? That is the question raised by the feast of the Ascension which we celebrate on Thursday of this week, forty days after Pascha. We know from the Gospels and the apostolic tradition of his life in the world, of his birth, baptism, life, miracles and teaching, and especially of his death, burial, and resurrection. But when we think of the ascension, if we think of it at all, we too often think of it only as Jesus going up to Heaven, there to wait until