Thursday, August 21, 2014

To have a duplex named after me... gosh.

It's an odd thing to be a celebrated scholar and dean-emeritus a self-described "world-class" seminary and to find yourself to be honored with a duplex in your name. American Orthodoxy is an odd bird. How does Erickson get a sprawling mansion and Hopko get a twofer dormitory?

The Hopko Duplex is named for The Very Rev. Dr. Thomas Hopko, Dean Emeritus. The 3,600 sq ft. building was constructed in 2000, and houses two separate two-bedroom apartments currently occupied by staff. Its basement serves as a maintenance facility, and includes a two-bay garage.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Annual Chicago Synergy conference announced

CHICAGO, IL (OCA-MW) — Chicago’s Orthodox Christian Synergy will hold its annual Symposium at Holy Resurrection Serbian Orthodox Cathedral, 5701 North Redwood Drive, Chicago on Saturday, October 18, 2014 from 9:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m.

The theme of the annual gathering is “Operation Thy Kingdom Come: How Do We Live Our Faith in a Secular Age?” The theme will underscore how the Kingdom of God has power to take back His People from the secular world and fill the empty secular heart.

His Grace, Bishop Anthony of the Antiochian Orthodox Diocese of Toledo and the Midwest will be the keynote speaker. Born and raised in Ironwood, MI, he attended the University of Michigan, where he received his BA in Literature, Science and the Arts, having a double major in History and English literature. He attended Saint Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary, Yonkers, NY.

Registration and payment prior to October 9 is only $35.00. (Husband and wife couples: $50.) From October 10 –18, the cost is $40.00 per person. High School and College Students will receive a discounted rate of $20.00. Registration includes coffee service and lunch.

For more information, please visit Synergy’s website or call 847-647-8880 or 630-230-0079. A flyer in PDF format may be downloaded here.

Orthodox Christian Synergy includes clergy and lay representative of Chicago-area Orthodox Christian parishes who seek to project awareness of Orthodox Christianity to the public at large. Synergy works together with its parent organization, the Orthodox Christian Clergy Association of Greater Chicago, and with the blessings of the Chicago area Orthodox hierarchs.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Enthronement of Met. Onufry, primate of Ukrainian Church

Friday, August 15, 2014

Met. John of Pergamon on the regional assemblies of bishops

Thursday, August 14, 2014

How to spend the Dormition Fast

(Pravmir) - The Dormition Fast is preparation for the Feast of the Dormition of the Mother of God. The Theotokos was immaculate, pure, and led a very temperate way of life. Tradition even tells us that she led a life-long fast. Thus, the meaning of this fast is to participate in the pure and immaculate abstinence of the Mother of God in preparation for the Feast of her Dormition.

According to the Typicon, this fast is considered strict. From Monday to Friday only xerophagy [literally, “dry-eating,” i.e., food prepared without oil] is allowed, and on weekends oil may be added to food (in our case, vegetable oil). Fish is permitted only on the Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord. In terms of strictness, this fast is not inferior to Great Lent, the only difference being that the Dormition Fast is short: two weeks in all. Moreover, it is not spring, when all that is available is melted snow, but August, in which we rejoice in an abundance of vegetables and fruits.

During the Dormition Fast there are three feast days in honor of the Savior: in Russia they are called “Saviors.” On these days the blessing of the fruits of the earth take place. The “first Savior” is the feast in honor of Christ’s Cross, which takes place at the beginning of the fast, on August 14. On this feast there is a blessing of honey. The “second Savior” is the Feast of the Lord’s Transfiguration (August 19), which includes the blessing of grapes (since Russia is not grape country, these fruits are replaced by our fruits and vegetables, such as apples). The “third Savior” is the feast of the translation of the Icon Made-Without-Hands from Edessa to Constantinople (August 29), which is celebrated on the day following the Dormition of the Most-Holy Theotokos. On this day bread of the new harvest is blessed.

The services that take place in churches during the Dormition, Apostles’, and Nativity Fasts, unfortunately, do not differ much from one another. Unfortunately, this external similarity leads to a spiritual devaluation of the fasts, with many people thinking of them only in terms of a limitation of food. Great Lent is, in this sense, a pleasant exception. Even children think of it not just as a time when one cannot eat certain things, but in terms of the new services that go on in church every week.

Strictly speaking, there are in fact some particularities in terms of the divine services, only they are not performed in the average parish, or even in monasteries. These particularities are common to all three fasts. For example, on certain days the Divine Liturgy is not served and one should read the prayer of St. Ephraim the Syrian, “O Lord and Master of my life…” with full prostrations. However, in our minds this prayer is firmly connected with Great Lent, so it seems somehow unusual to perform it during other fasts.

In order that the external similarity of the divine services of these fasts be not devalued, the priest must disclose the uniqueness of each fast during his sermon. During the Apostles’ Fast, he can tell of the Apostolic preaching; during the Nativity Fast, he can create an atmosphere of expectation for the coming into the world of Christ, such as reigned during Old Testament times. And during the Dormition Fast, he can appeal to the purity, immaculateness chastity, and continence exemplified by the Virgin Mary.

The prosperity gospel meets real Christianity
From Syria even unto Rome I fight with beasts, both by land and sea, both by night and day, being bound to ten leopards, I mean a band of soldiers, who, even when they receive benefits, show themselves all the worse. But I am the more instructed by their injuries [to act as a disciple of Christ]; "yet am I not thereby justified." May I enjoy the wild beasts that are prepared for me; and I pray that they may be found eager to rush upon me, which also I will entice to devour me speedily, and not deal with me as with some, whom, out of fear, they have not touched. But if they be unwilling to assail me, I will compel them to do so. Pardon me [in this] I know what is for my benefit. Now I begin to be a disciple, and have no desire after anything visible or invisible, that I may attain to Jesus Christ. Let fire and the cross; let the crowds of wild beasts; let breakings, tearings, and separations of bones; let cutting off of members; let bruising to pieces of the whole body; and let the very torment of the devil come upon me: only let me attain to Jesus Christ.

All the ends of the world, and all the kingdoms of this earth, shall profit me nothing. It is better for me to die for the sake of Jesus Christ, than to reign over all the ends of the earth. "For what is a man profited, if he gain the whole world, but lose his own soul? "I long after the Lord, the Son of the true God and Father, even Jesus Christ. Him I seek, who died for us and rose again. Pardon me, brethren: do not hinder me in attaining to life; for Jesus is the life of believers. Do not wish to keep me in a state of death, for life without Christ is death. While I desire to belong to God, do not ye give me over to the world. Suffer me to obtain pure light: when I have gone thither, I shall indeed be a man of God. Permit me to be an imitator of the passion of Christ, my God. If any one has Him within himself, let him consider what I desire, and let him have sympathy with me, as knowing how I am straitened.

- St. Ignatius of Antioch
Letter to the Romans, Chapters 5 & 6

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

An odd choice for a church supply company

I have made known some of my pet peeves in the past (e.g. trends in Orthodox photography), so here is another one. There seems to be no end of photos or paintings serving as the background for quotations from the Fathers or Scripture posted on the Internet daily. When someone quotes St. Basil the Great and puts an icon of him above a quotation it makes sense. Heck, it is not uncommon to put the quote IN the icon by use of a long scroll or the like. That sort of thing seems to be the minority these days though. What is more common is some quite egregious dissonance between photo and caption. If A is pretty and B is poignant, then A and B should go together goes the logic.

I found the photo below to be more amusing than unsettling. I would have expected maybe something like Psalm 25:8 (26:8) "O Lord, I have loved the beauty of thy house, and the place of the tabernacle of thy glory." or maybe Alexandr Solzhenitsyn's reference to Dostoevsky saying "Beauty will save the world." They capture the idea that beauty is important and that someone in a position to do so might think about donating something to beautify his church. The below quote might well give a priest pause in buying that new chalice set or replacing a sun-faded icon. Certainly not the intended effect.

A new primate for the Ukrainian Church - Met. Onufry

(RISU) - Council of Bishops of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church elected its Primate. Present Locum Tenens of the Kyiv Cathedra Metropolitan of Chernivtsi and Bukovina Onufry will lead this Church.

The results of the elections of Metropolitan of Kyiv and All Ukraine was announced on August 13, the same day the elections started. 48 Bishops of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church out of 78 voted for this candidate.

There were two rounds. After the 1st round vote leaders were Metropolitan of Chernivtsi and Bukovynskiy Onufry - 36 votes , Metropolitan Anthony of Boryspil and Brovary - 24 votes, and Metropolitan of Vinnitsa and Mohyliv-Podilsky Simeon.

And also...

I also thought it might be interesting to see what the voting process looked liked.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Lamentaciones de la Dormición de la Madre de Dios

Monday, August 11, 2014

New podcast from St. John the Compassionate Mission
Stories of the lives of the people who come to St. John the Compassionate Mission, an apostolate of the Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese located in Toronto, Ontario.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Canada and the murdered children who aren't

(Life News) - On July 25th, a car reversed into a Costco store in Ontario, Canada and struck a pregnant mother, Dana McKinnon-Bozek, and her other children, Addision Hall and Miah Bozek. Because of the crash, McKinnon-Bozek immediately underwent an emergency caesarean section a month before her due date.

However, her infant died a week later from her injuries. The tragic accident injured six other people including the newborns older sister, Addison Hall who died at the hospital. Their mother, Dana McKinnon-Bozek and her younger daughter, Miah Bozek survived the crash and are in fair condition.

The driver, a woman in her 60′s, suffered injuries as well, but has been released from the hospital. Currently, an investigation is underway to uncover the reason for the crash. So far, intoxication has been ruled out, but the authorities are looking into other factors such as a mechanical or driver error.

While this case of fetal death should be considered vehicular manslaughter, unborn babies die in Canada from homicides without justice ever being served. For example, in 2007 a 25-year-old pregnant woman, Charlene Knapp, was attacked by her boyfriend, Alan Bryan, and stabbed with a sword. Later her baby was delivered as a stillborn. Bryan was charged with attempted murder and aggravated assault, but was not charged in any way for the death of Knapp’s child.

In Canadian law, under section 223 of the Criminal Code of Canada, a unborn baby is a “human being … when it has completely proceeded, in a living state, from the body of its mother whether or not it has completely breathed, it has an independent circulation or the navel string is severed.” This differs from the law in the United States that protects the unborn in cases of fetal homicide.

In April of 2004, George W. Bush signed into lawThe Unborn Victims of Violence Act, which makes it a crime to harm an embryo or fetus at any stage of pregnancy during an assault on a pregnant woman. While 31 states already had similar laws in place, the 2004 bill states “Whoever engages in conduct that violates any of the provisions of law… and thereby causes the death of, or bodily injury to, a child, who is in utero at the time the conduct takes place, is guilty of a separate offense under this section.”

This law passed after the highly publicized murder case of Laci Peterson, who was seven and a half months pregnant when she went missing and was killed by her husband. Her unborn son Conner was also killed in the attack. Now in the United States the legislation is referred to as Laci and Conner’s Law. The legislation also clarifies that it is still considered a separate offense even if the perpetrator had no knowledge of the woman’s pregnancy.

It is critical that Canada passes a law like The Unborn Victims of Violence Act to protect unborn babies who die in homicides. In the death of a pregnant woman there are always two victims that deserve justice, the mother and her unborn child.

U.S. Govt. repeats request to reopen Halki Seminary

(Foreign Policy Association) - In an annual report released by the Department of State this week, the Obama administration has yet again pressed Turkey to live up to its commitment as a democracy to ensure religious freedom, citing the need to reopen an Eastern Orthodox seminary that’s been closed for decades.

Turkey is a “tier 2″ country according to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), meaning it’s not a “country of particular concern” (i.e., a country, according to the Department of State, “engaged in or tolerated particularly severe violations of religious freedom” that are “systematic, ongoing and egregious”) but there are certain worrisome tendencies. According to USCIRF, these include: listing one’s religion on ID cards, the troubled religious freedom climate in Turkish-occupied Cyprus, a failure to officially recognize certain minority groups such as the Alevis, rising anti-Semitism, and an overall deterioration of both online and off-line privacies and freedoms throughout the past year.

In other words, Turkey is no Burma, but it’s not behaving well either...
Complete article here.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Loeb Classical Library going digital!

Syrian Orthodox hierarch on genocide in Mosul

Mosul Archbishop Nikodimos Daoud: ISIS Perpetrates Genocide against Iraq's Christians.

Oriental hierarchs demand fatwa against continued violence

(Naharnet) - The bishops of Oriental Churches on Thursday demanded Muslim religious authorities to issue fatwas banning attacks against Christians and “other innocents” in the East, urging also parties financing terrorist organizations “to immediately stop arming” these extremist groups.

“We call on Muslim religious authorities, Sunnis and Shiites, to issue fatwas banning attacks against Christians and other innocents,” Beirut Maronite Bishop Boulos Matar said after a congregation of the bishops of Oriental Churches at Diman, Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi's summer seat.

The conferees discussed the situation of Christians in Iraq and Syria, amid the rising threat of extremist jihadists who are occupying large parts of these neighboring countries and persecuting Christian minorities there, giving them a choice between converting to Islam or leaving their lands.

“The conferees discussed the rise of takfiri groups that are violating the sanctity of churches and attacking citizens,” Matar said.

He continued: “The situation reached a stage in which Christians were wrongly exiled from the lands of their ancestors without any justification. The expulsion of Christians from Mosul and Nineveh Province in Iraq is not an accident or a forced migration out of fear, but it is a decision taken by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant and which is contrary to international charters.”

“We strongly deplore the expulsion of our sons from Mosul and Nineveh, regions that were known for religious coexistence,” the bishops said.

Commenting also on the suffering of Christians in Syria, the clerics slammed as a “violation of human rights” the “assassinations and the attacks against religious minorities in the village of Maaloula.”

"ISIL's decision is shocking and it is considered discrimination,” the bishops' statement declared.

They then called on the international community and Muslim and Arab leaders to deplore the treatment of Christians in Iraq and Syria, adding that “it is a shame that the Islamic and Arab stance is still weak in this regard and that it does not reflect the religious diversity of the region.”