Taking the “Long View” on Russia

Queried about the Holy See’s less-than-vigorous response to Russian aggression in Ukraine, senior Vatican officials are given to saying (often with a dismissive tone, as if the question came from a dim-wit), “We take the long view.”

“Does the Council Matter to my Mother?”

This question was posed at the Orthodox Theological Society of America’s (OTSA) conference held last month. It was asked in reference to the anticipated Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Church planned for Pentecost 2016. It was offered tongue-in-cheek and was directed at the speculation about whether anything of substance will come out of the Council, but it expressed well the hopes and concerns held by the scholars of the Orthodox Church. Continue Reading »

At Last, A Council for the Ages?

A Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Church has been scheduled for 2016. In March of 2014, the leaders of all the autocephalous (independent) Orthodox Churches met in Istanbul, the sacred see of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, which historically (since at least the fifth century) coordinates such . . . . Continue Reading »

Are You Greek?

“Are you Greek?” This is the question I get asked the most when I tell someone that I am an Orthodox Christian. At first, this question rankled, because I am not Greek. (I am, among other things, Lithuanian.) Mind you, I would have no problem being Greek. It’s a wonderful, ancient culture with much to recommend it. But what rankled was the sense that being Orthodox means being Greek. Continue Reading »

The Joy of Orthodox Pascha

One spring, a few years before I converted to Eastern Orthodoxy, my wife and I vacationed in Greece. On the plane we became friendly with a happy elderly Greek-American gentleman who told us excitedly that he was on a pilgrimage to the Holy Mountain (the monastic polity of Mount Athos) for Pascha. “Pascha?” I asked. “What’s Pascha?” . . . Continue Reading »

The President and the Patriarch

Vladimir Putin, who after a sham “referendum” completed his aggressive seizure of Crimea, denies he has plans to invade Eastern Ukraine. Meanwhile, he is increasing the number of troops on the Russian-Ukrainian border and sending provocateurs and criminals to incite ethnic tensions in . . . . Continue Reading »

The Dumb Ox and the Orthodox

Orthodox Readings of Aquinas by Marcus Plested Oxford, 272 pages, $99 The Greeks never had any interest in Latin culture: This was true in the classical period and was inherited by the Church Fathers (the interest of the Greeks in St. Gregory the Great is the exception that proves the rule). It . . . . Continue Reading »

Letter from Moscow

Visitors from the West are often surprised to learn how many historic Catholic churches are scattered about the Russian heartland. Today’s ultra-nationalists cultivate the myth of a purely Russian-speaking, purely Orthodox czarist Russia with Catholics only in far-western possessions like Poland . . . . Continue Reading »