Church and Modern Society

The Power of Sexual Purity: An Orthodox Response to the Sexual Revolution of Our Time

by David C. Ford and Mary Ford

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In this modern day and age, when sexual promiscuity – i.e., any sexual relations outside marriage – abounds all around us, why would anyone choose to live in sexual purity? How could refraining from all sexual relations outside of marriage ever be more fulfilling, more satisfying, than having sexual adventures before getting married, and perhaps even after marriage through having affairs?

The Orthodox Church’s answer would begin, we think, with affirming what our Saints through all the centuries have always known from their own life-experience, as shaped by the life of the Church – that virtue, including sexual purity, has power, contributing greatly to the deep inner peace, profound joy, true love, and ineffable satisfaction that come from finding our “true selves” through living in the way our Creator intends for us to live. Continue Reading…

Orthodox Christianity: Offering Material Piety to Twenty-first Century America

by Carrie Frederick Frost

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Material piety was central to the early Church and it flourishes to this day within Orthodox Christianity. That Christians would love the material, created world makes perfect sense—their God took on matter in order to appear in the world of His creation. And early Christians understood that their path to God would be walked in that world; embodied as a human, among the other animals, alongside the trees, over the earth, beneath the sky.

Early Christians expressed this love for matter through their ornamentation of the catacombs of Rome, which were places not just of burial of the dead, but of gathering, of worship, and of praise. The same goes for outside spaces in later centuries, when noble women gathered in cemeteries to care for the graves and their park-like surroundings. The faithful also crafted religious objects: rings, bracelets, and ampullae for oil from holy sites, thus feeding their proclivity for, as Robert Wilken calls it, tactile piety: “worship with the lips and fingertips.” Continue Reading…

Religions and Peace

by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I

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Photo: romfea.gr

With the Permission of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, we print an Address of His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew to Al-Azhar and Muslim Council of Elders’ Global Peace Conference.

Your Beatitudes, Eminences, Excellencies,

Distinguished participants,

Dear friends,

It is an honor to be invited to address this Conference on Global Peace organized by Al-Azhar and the Muslim Council of Elders. We wholeheartedly congratulate His Eminence Mr. Ahmad Al-Tayyeb, Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, for having the courage and vision to organize this crucial initiative in the promotion of peace by religions.

During the last two decades, humanity has experienced continuous terrorist attacks, which are the cause of death and hurt of thousands of people, and which are becoming the greatest threat and source of fear for contemporary societies. Since then, religions have been often suspected or openly accused for inspiring terrorism and violence. Our everyday life has become filled with horrible news about terrorist attacks in the name of religion.

At the same time, we notice the willingness and capacity in our world to promote dialogue instead of conflict. Continue Reading…