With the present article we wish Orthodoxy in Dialogue’s readers around the world a most blessed and joyous Feast of the Annunciation.

Annunciation Icon

In her sermon on the Incarnation, the 16th-century Franciscan mystic, Mother Juana de la Cruz (1481-1534), describes the archangel Gabriel as the “matchmaker” of a wedding between God and the Virgin Mary. Greeting her, the archangel announces: “Almighty God told me that he wanted me to be the ambassador and the matchmaker [casamentero] in such an excellent and marvelous wedding.”[1]

In the late 12th-century icon of the Annunciation, housed at St. Catherine’s Monastery at Mount Sinai, the archangel Gabriel assumes a similar stance in the foreground of the icon. Hand upraised and greeting the Virgin, he is clearly the royal messenger of a momentous event. Maximus the Confessor similarly describes Gabriel as “her herald and messenger” having him explain to Mary that “the Holy Spirit will come upon you to prepare and adorn you as a bride…”[2] One commentator on the icon detects a wedding veil drawn back in the window depicted just over the Virgin’s shoulder. This same commentator understands the rooftop garden above the window as the “garden enclosed” of the Song of Songs (4:12) and symbol of her virginity.[3] Maximus will ask us to “consider and examine the glory of the unwedded bride and the dowry of her virginity.”[4] Saturated in gold, the icon evokes a royal wedding already underway. Gabriel successfully negotiates the royal matchmaking.

Maximus’s description of the setting for the Annunciation vividly paints the scene: Read More


Masters, Fathers, Mothers, Brothers, and Sisters in Christ, Readers, Followers, Patrons, Guest Authors, those who love us and those who hate us,
As we enter the season of the Fast with joy, striving with ever greater focus to complete the remaining time of our life in peace and repentance, I ask you to forgive me, a sinner, for any ways in which I have offended or sinned against you, knowingly and unknowingly, intentionally and unintentionally, whether in person, through my work on Orthodoxy in Dialogue, or through my social media interactions. Read More

THE TRUTH ABOUT METROPOLITAN SABA by an Archpriest of the Antiochian Archdiocese

In the 48+ hours since Orthodoxy in Dialogue published Antiochian Archdiocese Has New Metropolitan* to replace Joseph Al-Zehlaoui, voices of dissatisfaction with the election of Metropolitan Saba (Esper) by the Holy Synod of Antioch have echoed around the Archdiocese. In the following brief testimony, a senior priest offers his perspective on the matter. He chooses to write anonymously in order not to be perceived as trying to gain favour with the new Metropolitan.

Metropolitan Saba (Esper)
Archbishop of New York and Metropolitan of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America

I have heard a few complaints about the election of Metropolitan Saba, primarily because he is a “foreign” bishop, not born or having spent much time in the United States. While Metropolitan Saba is indeed foreign, he was an outstanding candidate, I believe, for numerous reasons.

Despite whatever limitations our new Metropolitan may have (I say this only because I don’t know him well, and we all have limitations), he is clearly an authentic Christian. I know this because of how he served his poor and persecuted flock for decades. He was the first bishop in ages to actually reside in/live with the people of his diocese. He built up that diocese (until the persecutions became so severe that many had to flee), and was trusted by the people because of his way of life. He was a true pastor in a Church (the Orthodox Church at large) that has very few of these at the episcopal level. Read More


Holy Trinity Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral

On this, the one-year anniversary of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, we reaffirm Orthodoxy in Dialogue’s full support for the independent statehood of Ukraine and the autocephaly of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine. May the Lord save, have mercy on, and grant unflagging strength and courage to the Ukrainian people, to President Zelensky and all civil authorities of Ukraine, to the armed forces, to Metropolitan Epifaniy I of Kyiv and All Ukraine, and to the leaders of every other faith community on Ukrainian soil.

May He grant eternal memory and the Kingdom of Heaven to the children, women, and men of Ukraine who have lost their lives during the invasion.

May He bind up the injuries of the wounded with divine healing.

Read More