Author Archives: Public Orthodoxy

Late Modernity, Time, and Orthodoxy

by Efstathios Kessareas

The rhythm of the contemporary world is frenetic. The escalator, once a symbol of progress, cannot anymore serve the needs of modern humans, who are always in a hurry. Not only work but also personal life is structured according to the new tenet: “speed is everything.” “In a world where everything is moving so rapidly, simply being fast isn’t enough; you have to be faster than anyone and everyone. Accelerate until you’re at the front and move fast to stay there”—in the words of an entrepreneur in digital marketing. But high speed is not merely a means for accomplishing the goals of productivity and personal happiness, both evaluated in terms of success and innovation; it has become the ultimate “objective” reality: you “really” exist as long as you fully experience the worldly culture of acceleration (see Hartmut Rosa, Social Acceleration: A New Theory of Modernity).

This intense rhythm continues despite the COVID-19 pandemic, greatly affecting even existential conditions such as love and death. Crisis itself ceases to constitute a sudden rupture of a fixed way of life; rather, it emerges as the “new normal,” as people become adjusted to a variety of continuous crises that happen very quickly.

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On Throwing Stones in Houses of Glass
Moscow, Constantinople, and Autocephaly

by Fr. Bohdan Hladio | българскиΕλληνικά | Русский  |  Српски

Much breath and ink continues to be spent castigating the Patriarchate of Constantinople for its “uncanonical” bestowal of autocephaly upon the Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU).  Characteristic are the words of newly-elected Patriarch Porfirije of Serbia:

“The actions of Constantinople in Ukraine are not in accordance with the tradition of the Church. We are on the side of order and canon,” . . . He also added that “Many are going to say that we [the Serbian Orthodox Church] are on the Russian side. But we are on the side of orders and canons.”

Such all-too-common statements ignore the fact “that concerning. . .the manner of establishing the autocephaly of any part of the Church, none of the sacred canons provides direction or inkling.”[1] Statements such as those of the Patriarch beg the questions “Which canons? Whose order?”

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Theology and Pseudo-Theology in the Digital Age

by John A. Monaco | български | ქართული | Ελληνικά | Русский | Српски

There is little doubt that we are living in a “digital age,” an age characterized by a move to the virtual and the electronic. The COVID-19 pandemic simply accelerated this trajectory to the point of no return. From an ecclesial perspective, parishes are equipped to live-stream their liturgies, and the need for a functioning and updated website has never been greater. From an academic perspective, virtual learning has become mainstream, along with conferences and webinars that scholars can participate in from the comfort of their home. Amidst the flurry of these innovations, one shift has remained under the radar: the role of theological education in the Digital Age.

Since its genesis, Christianity has embraced the media necessary for effective communication. This is why, for example, St. Paul wrote letters to various church communities to convey his message as opposed to painting pictures on the walls of a cave. From writing letters to composing dense theological treatises, to radio and television, to our days of the Internet, Christian leaders have found it necessary to utilize the best forms of communication in order to spread the Good News. But the democratization of the Internet—the fact that anyone can publish a blog or upload a video—has had unfortunate consequences for theological education. While there have always been false teachers, never before have such teachers been able to reach millions of souls in seconds.

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Why Do Theological Pluralism and Dialogical Ethos Matter for Orthodoxy?
The Volos Academy for Theological Studies Blog “In Many and Various Ways”

by Pantelis Kalaitzidis | български | ქართული | Русский | Српски

This post was originally published in Greek on the new blog of the Volos Academy for Theological Studies, πολυμερώς και πολυτρόπως (“In Many and Various Ways”). Read the Greek original.

Because, as the Letter to the Hebrews reminds us, in many and various ways God spoke to our ancestors in faith (cf. Heb. 1: 1), just as in these last days, as evidenced by the Pauline and the Catholic letters, the Gospel was preached and embodied in a diverse, pluralistic and ecumenical environment.

Because, today’s orthodoxism seems to have largely lost the wonderful balance of the Council of Chalcedon, a balance that is expressed in the “Chalcedonian adverbs” “unconfusedly, unchangeably, indivisibly, inseparably,” and has slipped more and more into one-sided and gnosiomachical practices, as well as into a theological monophysitism. It suffices to visit an Orthodox religious bookstore in Greece. One will find there that the Bible and the Fathers have been completely sidelined by all sorts of contemporary elders and their followers, who have occupied a privileged position for years!…

Because, modern Orthodoxy often tends to replace theological pluralism with all kinds of monophonic versions, and, moreover, to further the ecclesiastical/ecclesiological, as well as the juridical, fragmentation of the national churches and the Orthodox diaspora. Orthodoxy’s legitimate (and traditional) theological pluralism, its unity in diversity, has thus been replaced in many cases by spiritual uniformity and a theological entrapment in a single trend, in a homogeneous expression.

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