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Pro-Life Liturgy

An icon of the Annunciation appears on the central altar doors of every Orthodox Christian church. The “royal doors” are double doors, so the icon is a diptych, with Gabriel on the left and Mary on the right. As a young child, I found the movement of this icon mesmerizing as the doors opened and . . . . Continue Reading »

From Crete to Romania

In Iași, Romania, in January 2019, some three hundred Orthodox scholars gathered for the inaugural conference of the ­International Orthodox Theological Association (IOTA). Pioneered by IOTA’s president, Paul Gavrilyuk, the gathering overcame forces that have prevented intra-Orthodox dialogue . . . . Continue Reading »

Dispatches from Russia

Some little while ago, I found myself sitting in the grounds of the Danilov Monastery in Moscow, delighting in the spring flowers and being treated to a prodigious display of bell-ringing. I reflected at the time that the Russians have few peers among other nations in their great love for church . . . . Continue Reading »

Spiritual Freedom

On the outskirts of Moscow, there is an Orthodox Christian memorial. The site, known as Butovo, once belonged to a private estate. The Soviets expropriated the land after the revolution and turned it into a firing range. It was there during Stalin’s purges that more than 20,000 “enemies of the . . . . Continue Reading »

A Gentle Orthodoxy

Modern Orthodox Thinkers: From the Philokalia to the Present Dayby andrew louthintervarsity, 383 pages, $28 When I saw Fr. Andrew Louth a couple of years ago and asked him what he was doing, he said he was writing some “little books.” Now that we have one of those books, we can see how modest . . . . Continue Reading »

A Blessedly Unpredictable Council

The Council at Crete turned out to be different from what both optimists and pessimists had expected. It did not resemble any icon of the Ecumenical Councils that we usually imagine. It was a council with a lot of pain and anxiety, before and during the event. But it was a true conciliar event. Continue Reading »

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