November 19, 2018

In preparation for the meeting of the Holy and Sacred Synod from November 27-29, 2018, the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople reiterates its sacred decision to grant the Tomos of Autocephaly to the Orthodox Church of Ukraine.
While the preparation process for the Holy Council (Sobor) of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine is underway, a concrete date will be presented within December 2018 for the confirmation and announcement by the Holy and Sacred Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
At the Ecumenical Patriarchate the 19th of November, 2018.
From the Chief Secretariat 
of the Holy and Sacred Synod

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With this article Orthodoxy in Dialogue proposes to broaden the scope of the discussion surrounding Ukrainian autocephaly, namely, by asking the following question: To what extent is Western-style freedom of religion and separation of church and state applicable, or not, in historically majoritarian Orthodox countries in the 21st century? It seems disingenuous in the extreme to condemn the involvement of the Ukrainian government in the ecclesiastical affairs of that country when virtually every Orthodox nation in the world—including Russia most of all—practices some form of church-state “symphonia.”

St. Alexander Nevsky Patriarchal Cathedral. Sofia, Bulgaria.

Bulgaria Considers Controversial Restrictions on Church Activity

New amendments could halt training, foreign funding, and missionary outreach by evangelicals.

Kate Shellnutt

A controversial new law before the Bulgarian Parliament would keep Protestants and other minority faiths from freely worshiping, teaching, evangelizing, and tithing in the southeastern European nation.

Today’s [November 16, 2018] vote marks the legislature’s second hearing for amendments to Bulgaria’s religious denominations act, which were initially approved October 4.

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Archimandrite Robert Taft, SJ
January 9, 1932 – November 2, 2018
Memory Eternal ~ Вічная Пам’ять

It was at a break during the intensive session of my course on pastoral rites at St. Vladimir’s Seminary that I learned of Archimandrite Robert Taft’s repose earlier that morning. Although it was common knowledge that the great scholar and teacher was near death, the news still arrived with a force borne of the recognition that an era had passed. Not a little of the reading for my different courses at St. Vladimir’s was written either by Taft or by his students, and I can say that his work was one of the major inspirations for me to study liturgy. Indeed, in some sense I stood in that classroom that day teaching the subject I was teaching because of him and his work.

I did not have the privilege of being mentored by him as one of his doctoral students; I was merely a student in his doctoral courses offered during my studies at Notre Dame in the mid to late 1980s. Even with that limited experience of his teaching, I feel a great sense of loss. I can only imagine the loss felt by those for whom he was their Doktorvater.

Of course, it is an impossible task to do justice to Fr. Taft’s life and work in a blog post of some 1000 words. Rather than pretending to completeness, I hope that my reflections will contribute in a small way to the more comprehensive tributes already published, and those still to appear. My comments here will focus on three areas: his contributions to the field of liturgiology, his impact as a teacher, and the significance of his work for Eastern Orthodox Christians. Read More



Father James Martin, SJ

Some weeks ago Life Site News launched a petition named Bishops, Please Stop Fr. Martin’s LGBT Advocacy. The URL itself contains the ominous message, “Silence Fr. Martin.”

Orthodoxy in Dialogue wishes to go on record as fully supporting Father Martin’s efforts in the Roman Catholic Church and beyond. Like Orthodoxy in Dialogue, Father Martin wishes only to encourage dialogue among Christians of good will on the meaning of sexuality and gender in human life, and more importantly, to welcome Christians who identify as LGBTQ as full participants in the conversation.

We consider it an honour to have interviewed Father Martin twice (here and here), to have reprinted an article of his from America: The Jesuit Review (here), and to have distributed to our tens of thousands of readers around the planet his Facebook post of June 16, 2018 (here). We appreciate deeply Father Martin’s friendship for us and reassure him publicly of ours for him. At Orthodoxy in Dialogue we know for a fact that he has a great many more supporters among the hierarchy, clergy, and laity of the Orthodox Church than he can possibly realize. Read More



When the Virgin gave birth to the Transcendent One,
And the earth offered a cave to the Unapproachable One;
When angels with shepherds glorified Him,
And wise men journeyed with a star;
When for our sake the eternal God was born as a little Child,
He said to those who love and worship Him,
“I was hungry and you fed me, thirsty and you gave me to drink.”

We greet you with spiritual joy on this, the first day of the Nativity Fast, as we begin our ascent through prayer, fasting, and almsgiving to the heavenly Bethlehem, there to become one with His deified flesh and blood who became one with our mortal flesh and blood in the earthly Bethlehem. Pray for us during this holy season of repentance, as we offer our unworthy prayers for each and every one of you whose name, place, and needs are known to our compassionate God.

On the Eve or the Day of our Lord, God, and Saviour’s Birth, a small group of us—adults and children—will set out to deliver cash into the hands of the homeless men and women we meet up and down the streets of downtown Toronto. Many of them will be spending our frigid, late December nights out of doors. The money we give them will allow them not only to fill their bellies and bring joy to their souls, but also to come in out of the cold for a while. 

Can you help us?

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In Flanders fields the poppies blow
    Between the crosses, row on row,
  That mark our place; and in the sky
  The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
  Loved and were loved, and now we lie
      In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
  The torch; be yours to hold it high.
  If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
      In Flanders fields.

Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae (May 3, 1915)

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Orthodoxy Today, that bastion of theological internet civility, recently published an excerpt of a presentation Fr. John Parker gave at a conference on pastoral care in a digital age. In it he accused the editors and writers of Public Orthodoxy, Orthodoxy in Dialogueand The Wheel of prowling around like wolves in sheep’s clothing, preying on an unsuspecting catechumenate to sow division, discord, and confusion. They pretend to promote dialog, when really they have diabolical motives, mostly having to do with making the church more welcoming to LGBTQ people. It is a tired and thus boring accusation, a thesis plagiarized from a myriad of internet blog comments and coffee hour conversations with like-minded people. More importantly, it is a hypocritical thesis. Fr. Parker accuses the above sites of trying to sow confusion, when in fact he seems to do precisely the same thing.

I know in some way the editors of Orthodoxy in Dialogue, The Wheeland Public Orthodoxy. I myself have contributed a couple of articles to the latter. The blanket accusation of a general, almost conspiratorial intent to sow confusion is both offensive and false. It is offensive because, speaking for myself at least, that is not the case. It is false because there are contributors to those sites who share his same views on gender and sexuality and because the active solicitation and publication of authors who share those views bellies the any supposedly nefarious intent on the part of those who run the sites. Read More