Fascination with wickedness obscures what is good, and roving desire perverts the innocent mind.
Wisdom of Solomon 4:12

Thursday, November 24, 2011


From the vespers service of Thanksgiving (Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese):

Everyone capable of thanksgiving is capable of salvation and eternal joy.  Wherefore we Thine unworthy servants offer praise to Thee our Savior, for Thou hast given all things to us, even our very lives.
Thou hast poured blessings upon us though we are ungrateful and disobedient. Showing mercy rather than righteous vengeance; Thou didst even give Thyself as a sacrifice to save us.
Accept our hymns as a thank offering, and through them enable us with our whole heart; to eternally praise Thee the Creator, Benefactor and Savior of our souls.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Orthodoxy For Anglicans

  Until the eleventh century, the English Church shared more than a love of icons with the whole body of the Orthodox Church: they shared a communion of beliefs, moral practice, and liturgical life with the Church throughout the world. This lasted for centuries, but it was not to last forever.

   Even after the Schism of 1054 – the division between Rome and the rest of the Christian world – England remained in communion with the Eastern Orthodox. In 1066, the Norman Invasion, with backing from the pope of Rome, forced the submission to Frankish Rome of all English churchmen. Rome had already broken communion with the Orthodox East, and changed the Creed and the Conciliar tradition of the Church by elevating one bishop – the Bishop of Rome – above all others.

   Why did the English remain in communion with the Orthodox East? Not because the English (and the Irish, Scots, and Welsh, as we would call them today) disliked Rome. The English church was part of the Orthodox church, from its beginnings, until the purge of Orthodox bishops following the Battle of Hastings.  The English were Orthodox...  More

Time, Space, Matter, and The Eyes - Iconography

I have heard the Anglican Bishop, N. T. Wright tell a story of his experience as the chaplain in one of the ivey league schools in the UK. In that story he recounts a common event during his chaplaincy; it was his job to interview every student that came under his care when they enterd the school. Inevitably he would ask the question, "do you believe in God?"  The great majority of the students answered this way: 'Oh no, I don't believe in some angry old man, who sits in the clouds, and sends down misfortune upon anyone who doesn't please him."  To that the Bishop would answer, "Thank God, I don't believe in that God either."  After this response, most students would go into temporary shock, after all he was a bishop, he was expected to believe, and this was the only god they knew.  They knew only of a non material god, outside of time and space, who had no real inter-connection with his creation. They had no idea which god it is that Christians have claimed throughout the ages to be the God of creation.

I dont' know what bishop Wright said after that, I hope he said: "I belieive in the God of Israel, who was present with them, the God of the apostles who took on flesh in the person of Jesus of Nazareth, the God of the church fathers who was present with them while they were being tortured and burned at the stake, the God we find revealed in the bible and experienced within ourselves by way of His Spirit, the God who is first and foremost love, mercy, and compassion, and who made that love known in the peson of Jesus Christ."

Whatever else might be noted in the two different views here is that we believe in God that is both beyond us, and yet with us, & even in us. Moreover, we believe that God is forever connected to our matter.  It is for this reason that the church from its earliest days determined to employ icons as visual presentations of both the bible, and the life of the church.  Since God took on matter, He has forever sanctified it, and made  holy.

Nevertheless, as a visual representation, iconography is not static, it too has been translated into forms more understandable by the cultures where the icon seeks to materially present God.  Below are some contemporary translations of ancient iconography.

   If one views and meditates on these Americanized icons, it is very difficult  not to expereince God's presence, it is very difficult not learn something of God, and even more importantly, not expereince something of God.

More to come......