Traditionalism vs. Tradition

Traditionalism vs. Tradition

The late great scholar Jaroslav Pelikan once observed: “Tradition is the living faith of the dead, traditionalism is the dead faith of the living. And, I suppose I should add, it is traditionalism that gives tradition such a bad name.” In Orthodox Christianity, to which the former Lutheran scholar Pelikan...

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Secret Agents for Byzantium

Secret Agents for Byzantium

Party like it’s 7523. That’s Etos Kosmou, time of the cosmos, on the Byzantine New Year, Sept. 1, also the start of the ecclesiastical year for the Orthodox Church (and if you missed it on the new calendar, it is coming up soon again on the old calendar). Not coincidentally,...

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Orthodox Time and the Last Weeks of the Old Year

Orthodox Time and the Last Weeks of the Old Year

Time seems to move slower for many in America in early to mid-August, traditionally a time of vacation or of a “re-set” before the start of the academic year. It is also, in our region of Central Pennsylvania, often a time for fairs and festivals, such as the West End...

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Persecution and Thanksgiving

Persecution and Thanksgiving

The Orthodox writer Rod Dreher has popularized the Law of Merited Impossibility, as applied to Christians: “It’s absurd to say Christians are persecuted, and boy do they deserve it.” But then there is this from Britain’s Independent today: According to the International Society for Human Rights, a secular group with...

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Secular Privilege and Natural Law

Secular Privilege and Natural Law

Two of the best Orthodox Christian commentators on current events today are (in my view) John Kass, the main columnist for the Chicago Tribune, and Rod Dreher, columnist for the online American Conservative. Both are friends (John I have known in person from when I worked as a reporter for...

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Orthodoxy and the Environment

Orthodoxy and the Environment

The recent meeting between the Ecumenical Patriarch and the Pope in Jerusalem culminated in a joint declaration that in one significant section, less noted than it should have been, addressed the environment from Christian perspectives: “It is our profound conviction that the future of the human family depends also on...

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Liberty and Technocracy: JRR Tolkien, CS Lewis, and an Orthodox Fourth of July

Liberty and Technocracy: JRR Tolkien, CS Lewis, and an Orthodox Fourth of July

July 4 on the Old Calendar would mark the feast of the Royal Martyrs of Russia, the last Orthodox emperor and his family, slain on the Fourth of July. That coincidence brings up the meaning of Orthodox ideas of government in relation to what C.S. Lewis decried as modern technocracy,...

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SCOTUS Decision on Religious Freedom: An Orthodox Perspective

SCOTUS Decision on Religious Freedom: An Orthodox Perspective

It was hard yesterday, on a quiet summer Sunday in rural central Pennsylvania, to imagine that the small factory across from the lot where we’re building our Orthodox mission temple would have its fate decided by the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, DC today. But it did. Conestoga Wood Specialties,...

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