THE ISRAELI-PALESTINIAN CONFLICT: A PREFACE TO AN ARTICLE

Dr. Lyndall Herman, who holds a PhD in Middle Eastern and North African studies from the University of Arizona, is preparing an article for Orthodoxy in Dialogue on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. She hopes to have it ready some time this weekend. As a preface to her article she suggests that we draw our readers’ attention back to Murray Watson’s Jerusalem: A Helpful Decision? (12/7/17), Benjamin Amis’ The Promised Land? An Orthodox Response to Christian Zionism (1/12/18), and Giacomo Sanfilippo’s article below which appeared as an op ed in The Milwaukee Independent (12/13/17). 

American Evangelicals do not represent Christianity in America​. Much less do they represent Christianity in Israel. 

holycitydomegeneric_01For 2,000 years, Christianity has had an uninterrupted presence in what is now Israel. The Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem traces its roots to the New Testament book of Acts. It has functioned as a patriarchate in fact from the 5th century, and in name from the 6th century until the present. Theophilus III serves as the current Patriarch of Jerusalem, and his Christian flock consists mainly of Palestinian Arabs.

Several decades before the birth of Christ, the Jews lost control of what we now call the Holy Land to the Romans. From the time that the Roman Empire officially adopted Christianity as the state religion in the 4th century, the region remained under Christian control until the Islamic conquest of the 7th century. Beginning in the 11th century, the Roman Catholic West launched a series of Crusades in a protracted attempt not only to wrest control of the Holy Land from Muslim hands, but even Constantinople from Orthodox Christian hands.

Muslim control of the Holy Land ended definitively with the defeat of the Ottoman Empire in World War I and the establishment of the British Mandate. Yet the Orthodox Church, and later other Christian Churches, had a continuous if uneasy existence in the Holy Land through 1,300 years of Islam. Only in 1948, a full 2,000 years after the Roman conquest, did Jews regain control of the Holy Land and name it the State of Israel. Read More


IN RESPONSE TO LGBT DAY THE CHURCH OF GEORGIA ORGANIZES 400 WEDDINGS AND A PROCESSION IN TBILISI by Yannick Provost

The following report is remarkable for the Georgian Patriarchate’s protection of a gay activist despite its rather stunning politicization of mass marriages to coincide with the International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia. This article also attests to the pressing need, not only in the West but also in historically Orthodox societies, to come to terms theologically with the fact of sexual and gender diversity in human nature and the possibilities for its sanctification in the life of the Church. 

Mariage-géorgie-2On Thursday, May 17, while numerous organizations around the world celebrate the International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia (IDAHOTB), launched in 2005, the Orthodox Church of Georgia is going to sanctify the day with a procession in the streets of Tbilisi in order to defend the sanctity of the family, and will celebrate a great number of weddings throughout the city.

This is also the Thursday when the Orthodox Church celebrates the great feast of the Ascension of the Lord. After the Divine Liturgy in the morning, members of the clergy of numerous parishes in Tbilisi gathered with their faithful at noon in Rose Revolution Square, from which the religious procession will depart.

The Orthodox Church forcefully affirms that marriage is the sacramental union of one man and one woman, that every other type of “marriage” is a sin, and that all sexual relations outside of the sacramental bonds of marriage are wrong.

(The Orthodox Church of Moldova recently asked the government to forbid an LGBT march in the capital, Chișinău.) Read More


THE MAKING OF A NEW ICON: “CHRIST BREAKING THE BONDS OF ANIMAL SUFFERING” by Aidan Hart

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Christ Breaking the Bonds of Animal Suffering (Aidan Hart)

Sometimes I am commissioned to paint an icon of a saint for whom nothing yet exists, or at least no satisfactory icon. This is usually a pre-schism Western saint. But more rarely, the subject is a new theme, a new emphasis or combination. This was the case when Dr Christine Nellist approached me to create an icon that embodied some of the Orthodox Church’s teaching about our relationship with animals. The icon was to be used as flagship for her newly founded organisation “Pan-Orthodox Concern for Animals” and to illustrate her pending book on the subject. This article tells the story of its genesis and explains its design.

The brief was for the icon to affirm the need to love all creation, but especially to treat our fellow animals with the respect and kindness due to all God’s creatures. It had to show that Christ came not just to redeem humankind from the fall, but also, through our repentance, to deliver the animal kingdom from our oppressive and cruel treatment of them. As Saint Paul wrote to the Romans:

For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God . . . because the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and obtain the glorious liberty of the children of God’.   (Romans 8: 19, 21)

The icon you see illustrated is what we eventually created. It required both theological enquiry and research into past iconography, so I would like outline how these two came together. Read More


12 RULES FOR LIFE: AN ANTIDOTE TO CHAOS reviewed by Adam A.J. DeVille

Even though Jordan Peterson lives and works in my own back yard, and my ecumenical colleagues in theological studies at the University of Toronto debated his merits and demerits endlessly for a season, I had other things on my mind and did not follow the kerfuffle any more closely than to be vaguely aware of it. This is to say that I have no opinion of the man or his book, other than perhaps to envy his overnight ascendancy to cultural superstardom.

Dr. DeVille’s review need not be the final word in Orthodoxy in Dialogue by any means. If you are Orthodox (preferably) and would like to contribute a contrasting perspective to this discussion, reach out to us at our editorial email address.

Giacomo Sanfilippo, Editor

12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos
Jordan B. Peterson
Toronto: Random House Canada, 2018

12rulesJordan Peterson’s Jungian best-seller is banal, superficial, and insidious

The real danger in 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos is its apologia for social Darwinism and bourgeois individualism covered over with a theological patina.

I was a high-school student in 1990 when Robert Bly’s Iron John: A Book About Men came out. I ordered a copy and read it in a couple of evenings confined after foot surgery. It was a runaway bestseller then, just as Jordan Peterson’s book 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos is today.

Shortly thereafter, in 1991, Sam Keen’s Fire in the Belly: On Being a Man came out, and I read that as well. It was very similar in content and approach to Bly. The two of them, over a quarter-century ago now, claimed to have discovered that “today’s” young men were lacking direction and wondering about their identity, much as Peterson claims now.

Then as now it all seemed so gimmicky and cleverly packaged, lacking substance and having only one purpose: to sell books. But that’s not quite fair. What I found in all three are attempts at theologizing in a Jungian fashion. And none has done that more than Peterson, whose many Christian fans seem blithely unaware that what Peterson advocates today is merely third-rate recycled gnostic paganism rejected by the Church in the fourth century.

To cite perhaps the most egregious example: Jung thought we all have a “shadow” side where evil resides, and none was exempt from this, including Christ. Peterson wholly accepts this when he claims that “Christ is always he who is willing to confront evil—consciously, fully, and voluntarily—in the form that dwelt simultaneously within him and in the world (180; my emphasis).

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UKRAINE: ATTACK ON LGBTI EVENT HIGHLIGHTS POLICE FAILURE TO CONFRONT FAR-RIGHT VIOLENCE by Amnesty International

Orthodoxy in Dialogue has published a number of articles supportive of Ukraine’s political and ecclesiastical independence from Moscow. Yet Ukrainian society demonstrates the same lack of political will as Russian society to ensure the safety, well-being, and civil rights of sexual and other minorities.

Whatever Orthodox hierarchs, clergy, and laity may think of sexual and gender diversity in human nature, we worship a God-man who outspokenly halted the stoning of an adulterous woman. We turn a blind eye to this kind of violence to our own condemnation.

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“LGBTQI RIGHTS = HUMAN RIGHTS”

Responding to the disruption by far-right groups of an LGBTI rights meeting organized by Amnesty International in Kyiv on Thursday evening, Denis Krivosheev, Deputy Director of Amnesty International’s Eastern Europe and Central Asia Regional Office, said:

Given the police’s repeated inaction over such attacks, it is no surprise that members of Ukrainian far-right groups take full advantage of their impunity—repeatedly attacking individuals and groups whose views or identity they dislike. 

For the authorities in Ukraine to tolerate such incidents—many of which have been violent and resulted in injuries—and fail to prosecute the perpetrators shows a shameful disregard for the rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly.

Background

An open public event, ‘The Offensive against LGBTI Rights as a Form of Censorship: The Russian experience”, was due to be held at the privately hired Underhub venue in Kyiv on 10 May, with representatives from Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and KyivPride participating as speakers. Read More



MOSCOW PATRIARCHATE HIERARCH IN FAVOUR OF UKRAINIAN AUTOCEPHALY

“I’D LIKE TO PUBLICLY SUPPORT THE IDEA OF UKRAINIAN CHURCH AUTOCEPHALY” 

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Metropolitan Oleksandr (Drabinko)

Metropolitan Oleksandr (Drabinko) of Pereyaslav-Khmelnitsky and Vyshneve of the UOC-MP [Ukrainian Orthodox Church-Moscow Patriarchate] declared support for the Ukrainian Church autocephaly [in] his article, which he wrote for the lb.ua.

Metropolitan notes: “The onset of the current ‘autocephalous campaign’ took me working at my desk. In particular, I was working on the final version of my book Ukrainian Church on the Path to Autocephaly. The texts included in this book were prepared throughout years, and in the end there are documents relating to the history of self-proclamation of autocephaly in 1919-1925. Decrees of the Ukrainian People’s Republic, the decisions of the assemblies and councils that proclaimed or spoke for autocephaly, etc. The book is likely to come out before we know the end of the chapter ‘2018: Waiting for [the] Tomos’ that I have not yet written.

Will it be the bestowal of canonical autocephaly on the Ukrainian Church by Constantinople? Or there will be another historical pause in solving the Ukrainian church issue? But regardless of the results of the decision of the Ecumenical Patriarch, I would like today to publicly support the idea of autocephaly of the Ukrainian Church. Read More