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Dear Metropolitans, Archbishops, and Bishops, Member Hierarchs of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America:

Masters, bless.

At approximately 7:50 a.m. today, January 22, Arthur Hatton of St. Anne Orthodox Church (OCA) in Oak Ridge TN took the above photograph on the Knoxville campus of the University of Tennessee. “The Rock” is available to students as a medium of free expression.

Mr. Hatton has given Orthodoxy in Dialogue permission to publish his photograph and his name. As a new convert to Orthodoxy he has asked the following question: “Why is a symbol of my faith being used alongside Nazi and White Nationalist symbols, and what is American Orthodoxy going to do about it?” Read More


This is the fourth article in our Christian Unity Series.


I’m a marriage and family therapist. Imagine for a moment that my first couple client of the day is the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church. 

These two Churches have a long and complicated history that ended in divorce and estrangement. In recent years there has been a great deal of rapprochement, but there are still many obstacles. Is a remarriage even possible? 

I would begin by asking them to remember the early shared experiences. We could reminisce about the early tumultuous but inspiring first few hundred years of Church history. Remember how we developed into a universal Church? We would reflect on the early mission work, the shared Eucharist and developing liturgies, and the writings of the Eastern and Western church fathers. We were both inspired by the lives of the saints, the wisdom of the desert fathers, and the development of monasticism.  We experienced some anger and confusion when we had to deal with the first christological heresies, but we worked together and united in Councils. We felt joy when we witnessed the birth of Christendom and the transforming of pagan culture. We experienced fear during the persecutions, but we also had courage and often embraced martyrdom. This is our shared heritage. We experienced all of this together.  Read More

SUNDAY OF ZACCHAEUS by Priest Richard René

Seeking the Margins

The Sunday of Zacchaeus occupies an interesting place in the Orthodox liturgical calendar. While not a part of the services leading up to and including Great Lent and Holy Week (known as the Lenten Triodion), the Slavic tradition prescribes Luke 19:1-10 to be read on the Sunday before the Triodion begins. The story of Zacchaeus is thus both “unknown and well known,” both marginal and essential in the journey that ends with Pascha.

zacchsundayLike the placement of Zacchaeus Sunday itself, Jesus’ encounter with the tax collector demonstrates the importance of seeking the margins for theosis, the process by which Christians come to be “partakers of the divine nature” (2 Pt 1:4).

Zacchaeus is a powerful man, contracted and backed by the all-powerful Roman state to collect taxes from the local Jewish populace (Lk 19:2). At the same time, he is generally despised, not only as a Roman collaborator and quisling, but also as a man who has used his power to defraud his own people and enrich himself (Lk 19:8). His short physical stature epitomizes his moral situation: a “big man” on the political and economic scene, he is ultimately of “short stature” in the eyes of his community (Lk 19:3). He is both the centre of (negative) popular attention, and a dweller in the margins.

Zacchaeus’ spiritual struggle unfolds through the account. He seeks to see who Jesus is, from which we can suppose he makes every possible effort to get through the crowd. Since prestigious men like Zacchaeus would not travel anywhere without bodyguards, one imagines that his servants would attempt to physically (and perhaps even violently) clear a path for him through the crowd. When this effort fails, Zacchaeus experiences a crisis. He realizes that his worldly power and privilege count for nothing in this situation. When it comes to “seeing Jesus” (which can be understood both literally and spiritually, as the contemplation of Christ), he really is just a little man, powerless and ineffectual. Read More


Father Cyril Hovorun, interviewed below, recommended this article and the translator to Orthodoxy in Dialogue.

caves (3)The refusal of a priest to conduct the funeral service for a killed child reveals the split of the Churches in Ukraine

The refusal of UOC-MP priests in Zaporizhia to conduct the funeral service for the killed 2-year old boy, who was baptized in the “schismatic” UOC-KP, has shown the depth of the chasm between the Churches in Ukraine. How does society react?

Representatives of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church-Moscow Patriarchate (UOC-MP) from the outset consider the Ukrainian Orthodox Church-Kyiv Patriarchate (UOC-KP) to be “schismatic,” thus they do not recognize sacraments administered by the UOC-KP, including baptism and chrismation. The Churches now demonstrate “mutual understanding” and “peaceful coexistence” outwardly. But the case of  the refusal to conduct a child’s funeral service has proven the deep split between the Churches and their faithful.

The course of the events

For several days, people have been bringing dolls and toys to the walls of UOC-MP churches to protest the actions of the UOC-MP priest in Zaporizhia, who refused to conduct the funeral service for the tragically killed 2-year old boy because he had been baptized in the UOC-KP. Metropolitan Luka of Zaporizhia and Melitopol of the UOC-MP stated that the priest had acted in accordance with the church canons. Read More



Orthodoxy and Ecology Conference: “A Sacramental Approach to Ecology”
All Saints Monastery/Trinity Western University
October 6-7, 2017

sacamental_ecology_poster-2During the spring and summer of 2017, retired Archbishop Lazar (Puhalo) of the Orthodox Church in America, David Goa (Orthodox), Brad Jersak (Orthodox), Chris Morrissey (Roman Catholic), and Ron Dart (Anglican) met a few times to organize an ecumenical conference on ecotheology, dedicated to the “Green Patriarch,” His All-Holiness Bartholomew I of Constantinople. The planning unfolded well and wisely. The opening session was scheduled for  the evening of Friday, October 6 at All Saints Monastery in Dewdney BC, while a full day was planned for Saturday, October 7 at Trinity Western University in Langley BC. 

A substantive group met at All Saints Monastery to launch the 2-day conference. Archbishop Lazar read “Reflections of the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I on the Christian Vocation of Ecology”—a fine and fit way to begin the conference.

Steve Bynum, an Orthodox Christian who is Senior Producer of Worldview Radio WBEZ in Chicago, moderated the evening. He allotted about 10 minutes to each of the three presenters: Father Nilos Nellis of the Archdiocese of Canada of the Orthodox Church in America, Chris Morrissey, and Ron Dart. Read More



Father Georges Florovsky

The neo-patristic movement in 20th-century Orthodoxy included a group of theologians who advocated the need of Eastern theology to return to the Fathers of the Church in order to renew itself and depart from the influences of Western scholasticism, which had permeated its ecclesiology, ethics, and spirituality for centuries. It is primarily with the name of Georges Florovsky that the neo-patristic movement is associated: in 1936 he became the first theologian to become aware of Orthodoxy’s need to (i) recover its independence from Western scholastic patterns of thought and (ii) embrace a patristic-oriented approach to theology.

For this Russian theologian from the Parisian diaspora, such a restauratio patristica in Orthodox theology was not envisaged as a servile repetition of the Fathers of the Church, but as an organic continuation of the patristic endeavour by a creative incorporation of their spiritual experience into our own lives: “‘To follow’ the Fathers does not mean just ‘to quote’ them. ‘To follow’ the Fathers means to acquire their ‘mind,’ their phronema” (G. Florovsky, “St. Gregory Palamas and the Tradition of the Fathers,” pp. 109 and 113). Florovsky’s plea for the return to the Fathers was coupled with his emphasis on the permanent and eternal value of Hellenic categories for Orthodox theological thought. The call for a “return to the Fathers” has been so widely shared by Florovsky’s colleagues (Vladimir Lossky, Dumitru Stăniloae, etc.) that the search for a Neo-Patristic Synthesis in theology reached the point of dominating the Orthodox scene in the second half of the 20th century and beyond.

It is true that one can hardly deny the significant achievements of the neo-patristic movement for 20th-century Orthodoxy in theological areas such as christology, trinitarian theology, ecclesiology, anthropology, or eschatology. Yet, at the same time, one can also hardly fail to recognize that the neo-patristic movement’s emphasis on Orthodoxy’s need to liberate itself from Latin scholasticism, as well as its insistence on Hellenism as the perennial philosophical category of Christian existence, might—and actually did—induce in some circles a tendency towards ecclesial triumphalism and isolationism, as well as towards suspicion in regard to the West and to everything that could affect the “purity” of Orthodox theology and spirituality. Read More


This is the first in a series of related articles by this author. She writes directly from her experience as a Roman Catholic, yet the topic is no less relevant to the Orthodox Church.

jesus-healing-the-woman-with-a-disabling-spirit-600x620I was wounded at the nexus where the holiness of priests touches the innocence of children. In my case, that involved being sexually and emotionally harmed by a series of Catholic priests for a period lasting over a decade.  One day when I was nineteen years old, I drove away and did not return until many years later, after finally I had accepted the Lord’s indwelling. At the time of my escape, I had grown to hate the Catholic Church; but I nevertheless returned quietly, alone and guarded, to Mass, to Adoration and to praying my rosary. I was a stealth Catholic, until the emotional impact of what had happened drove me into exile. 

Contrary to media caricatures, I had no repressed memories.  Like fellow victims I compartmentalized the experience and, in particular, its traumatic emotions. Unfortunately, the emotions eventually bubble up. As adults, we find so many ways to outrun the past, or bury it. I was self-destructive, but called it “youth” as I just continued the harm started by my abusers. I was “high-functioning,” which only meant I carried a private shame agony that kept me isolated from people who were able to care about me—and for me. Busy with a good career in New York City, I thought it was all working. I thought I had escaped.

Then, it happened. I just hit a wall whose details I’ll spare you. It was awful. Someone suggested I try therapy, which I began with the enthusiasm of a neophyte. My goal was to change my life, start anew, as fast as possible. It never occurred to me that abuse, which was then five years behind me, was still pulling the strings in my emotional and spiritual life.  Read More