Category: Dostoevsky

  • Grace and “the Inverted Pyramid”

    Fr. Sophrony [Sakharov], in his book on St. Silouan, presents this theory of the “inverted pyramid.” He says that the empirical cosmic being is like a pyramid: at the top sit the powerful of the earth, who exercise dominion over the nations (cf. Matt. 20:25), and at the bottom stand the masses. But the spirit…

  • The Passion to Consume

    I have mentioned the role that the passions play in our consumer culture. I would like to write in greater depth about that phenomenon. It permeates our culture – and yet, strangely, I do not find it to be a dominant concern of people when they think about their sins or when they think of…

  • The Cross of Conversion

    I grew up in a culture where religious conversion was frequent as well as often short-lived. Religiously, the only remedy to many of the ills of life was conversion. On the face of things I could hardly argue with that now. However, the deeper problem within that particular religious culture was a very truncated view…

  • The Depth of Crime and Punishment

    I took on myself to re-read Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment for Great Lent, and have made far greater speed than I would have thought. (Little or no television and bedtime reading can sometimes take you far.) It is a book I have loved for years – being the first Dostoevsky I ever read as a…

  • Forgiveness and Paradise – Dostoevsky

    This small passage from Dostoevsky’s Brothers Karamazov, has always been among my favorites within literature. It is the story of the death of Markel, the brother of Zossima, who will later become a great monastic elder. The words of his brother Markel serve as something of a summary of the elder’s theology and among the…

  • The Pity of God in Dostoevsky

    The following passage is scandalous in the extent of its mercy. It is not in the canons – but in Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment. Perhaps I love it because many of the men I knew in my early life were more likeMarmaladov (the old drunk) than like others. But this passage has always been a favorite. Forgive…

  • Why I Believe in God – Part 2

    In my earlier posting I wrote primarily about my personal journey as a Christian and why I am a believer rather than an atheist. In the course of my life I do not think atheism would have ever been a possible way to live – the questions of my life and heart would have been…

  • The God Who Is Beautiful

    Everything is beautiful in a person when he turns toward God, and everything is ugly when is is turned away from God. Fr. Pavel Florensky I come to the end of a day that has been filled with other activity and little time for writing. But in my reading at bedtime I came across the…

  • Small Things, Great Hopes

    On the surface it was not a world-shaking event. A friend of the parish loaned me a DVD last week. The DVD was a Russian DVD – with English subtitles. Again, not a world-shaking event. Thus, let me take a few minutes to explain why I felt the earth move. The movie in question is…

  • Of One Substance

    We are used to confessing that the Son of God is of “one substance” with the Father – meaning that the persons of the Holy Trinity are of one “essence” or “being.” It is also true, however, the all human beings are of “one substance” with all other human beings. That is to say there…


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  1. Matthew, You asked how I would feel. I just glanced at my previous comments. I’m not sure I have presented…


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