Cover of Russian Nuclear Orthodoxy by Dmitry AdamskyA nuclear priesthood has arisen in Russia. From portable churches to the consecration of weapons systems, the Russian Orthodox Church has been integrated into every facet of the armed forces to become a vital part of Russian national security, politics, and identity. This extraordinary intertwining of church and military is nowhere more visible than in the nuclear weapons community, where the priesthood has penetrated all levels of command and the Church has positioned itself as a guardian of the state’s nuclear potential. Russian Nuclear Orthodoxy considers how, since the Soviet collapse in 1991, the Church has worked its way into the nuclear forces, the most significant wing of one of the world’s most powerful military organizations.

Dmitry Adamsky describes how the Orthodox faith has merged with Russian national identity as the Church continues to expand its influence on foreign and domestic politics. The Church both legitimizes and influences Moscow’s assertive national security strategy in the twenty-first century. This book sheds light on the role of faith in modern militaries and highlights the implications of this phenomenon for international security. Ultimately, Russian Nuclear Orthodoxy interrogates the implications of the confluence of religion and security for other members of the nuclear club, beyond Russia.

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Orthodoxy in Dialogue has published the following articles related to a greater or lesser degree to intersex or intersexuality, the condition formally known as “hermaphroditism”: Greek Prayer for Transgender Name Change: Urging Caution,  Intersex vs. Transgender: Addendum to Greek Prayer for Name Changes, and On “Gender Change” and the History and Use of a Related Prayer. Please take the time to read these.
We know personally of at least one transgender individual who, during abdominal surgery at age 35, was found to have internal sex organs inconsistent with the external organs at birth.
In framing the title of the present article as a question, we do not mean to suggest that the scriptural account of human origins is somehow “wrong.”  Rather, we wish to push again and again for what Holy Tradition itself demands of us: that we never cease plumbing the theological, spiritual, and pastoral depths of that Tradition when it seems to collide with our ever-growing body of empirical knowledge—the operative word here being “seems.” For starters, see the list of questions at the bottom of Sexuality, Gender, and Christian Tradition: A Course Outline.
A world renowned colleague has stated in a private note to us that, while we cannot allow science to dictate our theology, we cannot do good theology without good science. 

Rosie Lohman, left, poses with her brother in 2017. Rosie has been raised as a girl, but her parents refer to her as intersex and encourage gender fluidity.

Rosie Lohman, left, poses with her brother in 2017. Rosie has been raised as a girl, but her parents refer to her as intersex and encourage gender fluidity. (Photo credit: CNN)

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Orthodoxy in Dialogue’s readers will recall the World Congress of Families and its designation as a hate group in our Father Josiah Trenham and the Southern Poverty Law Center. (See also the related St. Tikhon’s Seminary Appoints Internationally Known Homophobe as Dean.)

Patriarch Kirill of Moscow

As we wait to learn exactly what’s in the Mueller report, there’s another Russia story that deserves our attention. It’s about collusion between the Christian right in America and the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC), and it will be on display this coming weekend in Verona, Italy, at the World Congress of Families.

The WCF, in case you haven’t heard of it, is an annual event sponsored by the International Organization for the Family (IOF), a Washington-based NGO dedicated to furthering the Christian right’s agenda by opposing abortion, same-sex marriage, legal protections on the basis of sexual orientation, and pornography around the globe.

It was established in 1997 by Allan Carlson, a history professor at Hillsdale College, who had the clever idea of turning the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights into a charter for traditional family values.

He did this by seizing on Article 16, Section 3, which reads, “The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.” A decade later, then Metropolitan Kirill of the ROC upped the ante, justifying traditionalist policies by way of Article 29, Section 1: “Everyone has duties to the community in which alone the free and full development of his personality is possible.”

In other words, if you’re at odds with the community’s traditional family values, too bad for you. Read More



So Great a Cloud: A Celtic Litany
(Hebrews 11:4-12:1)
Ye sons and ye daughters! Come gather around!
Find drink for your thirst at the wells of thin places;
Turn homeward your hearts to God’s verdant oasis,
Where grace glints like dewdrops on this sacred ground.
And tho’ time should fail us, and evening draw nigh,
Our fathers and mothers in faith let us ponder;
Tho’ humble and meek, theirs to labour and wander,
In glory they shine now with angels on high.
These Isles were not worthy by such to be bless’d,
Yet while we lay lifeless, the heavens were gracious;
From isles of deep darkness a Paradise spacious
They wrought on these shores by their heavenward quest.

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The late Margaret O’Gara of the University of Toronto was fond of using a phrase that the late Bishop of Rome, John Paul II, also employed regularly: an “ecumenical gift exchange.” O’Gara published a book in 1998 under that title, while three years earlier the Pope used it in his landmark encyclical, Ut Unum Sint, on Christian unity. I also use the phrase in my new book, Everything Hidden Shall Be Revealed: Ridding the Church of Abuses of Sex and Power (Angelico Press, 2019, 154pp).


Readers of the book will quickly see that many of my proposed reforms are gifts from the East, starting with Nicholas Afanasiev, especially his book The Church of the Holy Spirit. It was from him that I developed my argument for a three-fold ordering of the Catholic Church: the laics (to use Afanasiev’s somewhat ungainly term), the clerics, and the hierarchs, all existing together, each with voice and vote in the councils of governance of the church—from the lowly parish council through to diocesan, regional, and international synods. All three orders are necessary for the Church to flourish; each of the three acts as a check on the others, ensuring that none can run totally roughshod over the others.

I am equally indebted to examples drawn from the current structures of various Eastern Orthodox Churches—the Russian, the Antiochian, the OCA, and also—and above all—the Armenian Apostolic Church, whose singular and admirable structures I first highlighted in my earlier book Orthodoxy and the Roman Papacy (University of Notre Dame Press, 2011). Read More