We share Archbishop Elpidophoros’ 2020 Economos Orthodoxy in America Lecture, delivered September 21 at Fordham University, with Orthodoxy in Dialogue’s readers without editorial comment for the purpose of encouraging fraternal debate within the entire body of the Orthodox Church—hierarchy, clergy, monastics, and laity alike. Orthodox ecclesiology grants no bishop the authority to speak on behalf of the Church or to impose his personal understanding of the Faith on the Church. Rather—as the ill-fated Council of Florence ever reminds us in every succeeding generation—our bishops are answerable individually and synodally to the whole Church for the proper exercise of their episcopal charism to “rightly define the word of truth.”

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Clockwise from left: St. Nikolai Velimirović, Father Pavel Florensky, Father Seraphim Rose 

I happened to be already at work on this article when John Stamps’ Tell the Truth: We Must Have No Bogus History appeared at Public Orthodoxy to mark the Feast of the Elevation of the Cross. I have somewhat modified my original text in an attempt to address the tensions and ambiguities raised—but left entirely unresolved—in the Stamps article.

The Orthodox Church’s formal glorification of modern-day individuals as saints presents difficulties to a certain kind of piety characterized by a reluctance—or refusal, in the case of some believers—to accept as factual the inconvenient truths of a revered person’s biography. Our wilful blindness to the realities of a saintly person’s life, documented in his or her published writings, diaries, letters, photographs, the diaries and letters of friends and acquaintances, etc., in favour of a sanitized and partly fictitious narrative, appears to spring from two interrelated motives. First, we sometimes expect doctrinal infallibility and moral purity at every stage of a saint’s life—notwithstanding St. Augustine of Hippo’s illegitimate son and St. Mary of Egypt’s insatiable lust, to cite two examples among many from our earlier saints. Second, each of us individually seems to trace a line in the sand that we simply will not or cannot cross when faced with the unvarnished evidence from a saint’s or prospective saint’s biography. Read More


Happy 3rd Anniversary SVG Files for Cricut Leather Wedding image 0

Today Orthodoxy in Dialogue turns three years old, with 867 articles and close to 610,000 views from virtually every country on the planet. Arguably we have become the world’s most popular independent Orthodox blog and main facilitator of Orthodox dialogue on sexuality and gender. This would not have been possible without our faithful readers, writers, patrons, and supporters among the laity, clergy, and hierarchy of the Orthodox Church and our countless friends from other Christian and religious traditions. Our most sincere thanks to all of you!

We share with you some of the highlights of the past year: Read More