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Is It Proper to Refer to Christians as Enlightened?

This is the first in a sporadic series on the Catechetical Lectures of St. Cyril of Jerusalem. When we think of people becoming Christians, what term do we associate with this? Traditionally, Evangelicals would think in terms of “born again” or “saved.” It's hard to know sometimes what others call it, because in other cases …

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The Gift of Faith: Cyril of Jerusalem

From his Catechetical Lectures, around 347-8: But there is a second kind of faith, which is bestowed by Christ as a gift of grace. For to one is given through the Spirit the word of wisdom, and to another the word of knowledge according to the same Spirit: to another faith, by the same Spirit, …

John Chrysostom on the Sacrifice of the Mass

As a follow-up to this, from his Homilies on Hebrews: What then? do not we offer every day? We offer indeed, but making a remembrance of His death, and this remembrance is one and not many. How is it one, and not many? Inasmuch as that Sacrifice was once for all offered, and carried into …

Easter Greetings, Russian (and Technical) Style

Over the years, I've come to associate Easter with the Russians.  It's an odd thing; it started with the discovery of the traditional Russian Easter greeting (which I duly exchanged with a Muscovite friend this weekend.)  That was accentuated by the discovery of Christianity's comeback during the "Great Patriotic War" (Visit to Zagorsk) and the …

Blast From the Past for Maundy Thursday: Reflections on an Orthodox View of the Eucharist

For this Maundy Thursday, I'm going back to the obvious topic (obvious to me, at least): the institution of the Eucharist, which I went on at length about in 2008 with this series.  You can access it as follows: Part I Part II Part III Part IV Those of you who are advocates of the …

The Discipline and Reform of the Church

Fr. Greg's response to my diatribes has been there for a while, but with current exigencies here and some technical issues to resolve re this blog (when you're self-hosted, you have to deal with these things) has delayed a response. Some of the items he brings up--especially concerning the authority and nature of the church--we've …

Why I Don’t Agree With the Concept of the “Sacrifice of the Mass”

Kim Dwyer took strong exception to my statement in "Think Before You Convert" that "(t)he Catholic view of the Mass as a sacrifice–which is tied up with their view of the church–is unbiblical."  Given that this is an important subject (Abu Daoud also dealt with it recently) I think some elucidation is in order. Side …

The Life of the Archpriest Avvakum by Himself

Preface In the spring of 2005, our city received a visit from Frederica Matthewes-Green, the once-Episcopalian now-Orthodox Christian writer. I went to hear her in a not very impressive Orthodox church (after Russia, I'm spoilt, I suppose.) In the wake of this I sent her an inquiry as follows: I find your position on the …

Rising From the Pool

On my first trip to the then Soviet Union in 1988, I noted the following: After this, we were given tour of the seminary (at the Monastery of Trinity-St. Sergius, outside of Moscow)museum by a seminarian. This contains historical articles of the Orthodox church of all kinds and a special section on the life and …

Pure Men and Women Too: A Lenten Poem

Pure men, and women too, all of the world unspotted, That they might reach the heights to holy saints allotted, That they might fortify the heart against life's stress, Composed such prayers as still comfort us and bless. But none has ever stirred in me such deep emotions As that the priest recites at Lententide …

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