A Tribute to a Maestro: Fr. Robert F. Taft, S.J.

by Ines Angeli Murzaku

I was probably in the last generation of orientalists that had the opportunity to be trained at the Pontifical Oriental Institute of Rome and taught by figures of the stature of Robert F. Taft, S.J.; Cardinal Tomas Spidlik, S.J.; John Long, S.J.; Vincenzo Poggi, S.J.; Carmelo Capizzi, S.J.; and others who by now have entered eternity. When one of your beloved professors, mentors, and friends departs, a void is left behind—an empty space—that probably will never be filled. Sharing pictures and messages with Fr. Taft’s other disciples, former students, and friends over the Internet has helped me and generated more memories and special moments. One wonders how many lives he touched and transformed.

Much has been written about Fr. Taft since his death, focusing on his life and pioneering scholarship on Byzantine liturgy and the Byzantine Church in general.

Let me look at my beloved maestro from another angle: his utmost care for the Church of the peripheries, including his gentle and gentlemanly attitude toward women and especially his women students. Continue reading

IOCC and the Ecumenical Patriarchate’s Lifeline to Russia

by Theodore Theophilos

Over the course of the last few years, the relationship between the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Moscow Patriarchate has been severely strained. Disputes involving Ukraine; the Great and Holy Council of 2016; the opening of ROCOR churches in Korea, France and Italy; claims of “Third Rome” status and allegations of Caesaro-Papism—the list of controversies and recriminations seems to be growing ever longer. It is easy to despair of these events.

But I take comfort in the thought that it was not always this way. In 1992, I was asked by representatives of the Ecumenical Patriarch and Archbishop Iakovos of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese (GOA) to incorporate a new charitable organization, which would operate under the authority of the Standing Conference of Orthodox Bishops of America. The new organization was named International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC). Continue reading

The Mythology of the “Historical Present”

by David Bentley Hart

I should not take exception, I suppose, if critics occasionally question my choice to render all Greek present tense verbs as English present tense verbs in my recent translation of the New Testament. The same choice was made, as it happens, by Tyndale and by his successors on the committee of scholars who produced the King James Version, but most modern readers are so distracted by the older, non-sibilant form of third person singular constructions that they generally fail to notice that when “Jesus saith” something or “goeth” somewhere he is doing so in a kind of temporally abstract narrative now. As far as I am concerned, this is the only way in which the texts should be rendered. Even so, while I am convinced that those who think otherwise are quite mistaken, I have to admit that they have at least come by their prejudice honestly, since they have been systematically misinformed on the issue all through the years of their theological education. For better than half a century, seminarians and divinity school students and teachers of the New Testament, all of whom typically began their study of Greek some time in their twenties (and then only the Greek of the New Testament texts, as filtered through defective traditions of translation and interpretation), have been indoctrinated with a remarkable quantity of nonsense regarding the use of tenses in Greek historical narratives from late antiquity. Continue reading

In Ukraine, Is Constantinople Rushing in “Where Angels Fear to Tread”?

by Nicolai N. Petro  |  ру́сский

On the eve of national elections in 2019, the President of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko, has set
himself the ambitious task of dismantling the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church, an
autonomous and self-administered part of the Russian Orthodox Church, and creating a new,
single national church out of the many Christian denominations in his country. His controversial
initiative has re-opened old confessional wounds in Ukraine and threatens to divide the Christian
world.

It is no secret that the cardinal sin of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, in the eyes of the
government, has been its refusal to support the war in Eastern Ukraine. Its head, Metropolitan
Onufry, calls it a “fratricidal conflict” and a “civil war.” To critics who complain of his lack of
patriotism, Onufry replies: “If I serve God and fulfill his commandments, then I am in fact a true
patriot. But if a person disdains the word of God, then no matter how much he may beat his
breast, he is no patriot . . . Our church is and has always been patriotic. Its patriotism consists in
calling upon people to live with God.”

With the establishment of a new national Orthodox church around the self-proclaimed Kyivan
Patriarchate, however, Ukraine will have a de facto state church. Continue Reading…