Category: Icons

  • The Mystery of Christ’s Baptism

    This week, the Church moves from the feast of Christmas to the feast of Theophany – the celebration of the Baptism of Christ. The intent of this feast is not to celebrate a succession of historical events (the Baptism of Christ is at least 30 years later than His birth). Rather this feast takes us into the depths of…

  • Empty Ritual

    For the first two decades of my life I thought that “empty” always had to be said in front of the word “ritual.” It speaks volumes about a certain understanding of the world in which we live and the nature of its relationship to God. Time and experience have given me a radically different take…

  • The Word within the Word – The Sacrament of Time

    Perhaps the most beautiful passage in all of Scripture is the prologue of St. John’s Gospel: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that…

  • Icons in a Literal World

    The Scripture tells us that the “pure in heart shall see God.” I have always assumed that this describes a present event and not a promise about a distant life after death. We do not see God now, because our hearts are not pure. In the same manner, we do not see the reality of…

  • Looking Like Christmas

    One of the most striking features of the Gospels is the frequent response of the Disciples after the resurrection of Christ: doubt. I have always been sympathetic to the doubts and hesitations that accompanied their ministry during the ministry of Christ. They are almost endearing in their inability to grasp what Christ is all about.…

  • Heaven On Their Minds

    Years ago, I recall hearing someone complain about zealous Christians, “They are so heavenly minded that they are of no earthly good.” The truth of the statement depends entirely on the understanding of heaven and earth. It is possible to pursue a version of “heaven” such that the spiritual life is undermined. It is also…

  • The Hypostatic Nearness of You (A Repost)

    Originally posted in February 2007. I have updated a few things. It is a piece that is quite relevant as my youngest child graduates high school this week. The fullness only grows. Sometimes I sit down to write with an idea and I know that I am either getting ready to write something good, or…

  • Beauty and the Salvation of the World

    Thus the most persuasive philosophic proof of God’s existence is the one the textbooks never mention, conclusion of which can perhaps best express the whole meaning: There exists the icon of the Holy Trinity by St. Andrei Rublev; therefore, God exists. – from Pavel Florensky’s Iconostasis This short quote from St. Pavel Florensky’s Iconostasis is among the most startling…

  • The Sunday of Orthodoxy

    The first Sunday of Great Lent is always observed as the “Sunday of Orthodoxy” in our Churches. It marks both the return of the icons to the Churches following the end of the Iconoclast Controversy, but also as a summation of all the Holy Teachings of the faith which Orthodoxy holds and for which many…

  • Icons and Scripture

    The great summary statement of theology at the Seventh Ecumenical Council is succinct: Icons do with color what Scripture does with words. The first time I read this, I was a graduate student at Duke University, studying Systematic Theology. I wound up writing my thesis on the “Icon as Theology.” What was new for me…


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Latest Comments

  1. Matthew, Generally speaking, in Orthodoxy, when we speak of “obedience” (I don’t anyone who speaks of “submission”), we are speaking…

  2. Matthew, Just to confirm, I’m not suggesting we are self-made. I hope I didn’t make that impression. And yes, I…

  3. Dee, I really like your description of the effects of humility. The description helps me understand humility better. Thank you.

  4. Thank you Michael. Yes … it is not easy making the transition, but it (Orthodoxy) being of the heart makes…


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