Category Archives: Theology

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

Father Pavel Florensky, Philia, and Same-Sex Love

by Paul Ladouceur and Fr. Richard Rene | български | Ελληνικά | Русский | Српски

No longer do I call you servants, but I have called you friends.
-John 15:15 (RSV)

Father Pavel Florensky (1882-1937) is one of modern Orthodoxy’s intellectual giants. The scope of his erudition was breathtaking, covering not only philosophy and theology, but also mathematics, physics, linguistics, art, cultural history…—he is sometimes called “the Russian Leonardo.” A leading figure of the Russian religious renaissance of the early twentieth century, unlike most prominent theologians and Christian philosophers caught up in the Bolshevik revolution and civil war, he did not go into exile, preferring to stay in Russia as a witness to Christ in the harshest persecution in Christian history.

After the communists closed the Moscow Theological Academy, Florensky spent most of the 1920s and early 1930s working for the State Electrification Commission. During these dismal times, he continued both his theological research and scientific investigations and publications. Florensky had powerful protectors in the Soviet establishment, initially Leon Trotsky, impressed with Florensky’s abilities. Florensky made no attempts to conceal his faith or his priesthood; he worked and gave scientific papers in his cassock, much to the dismay of hard-line communists. He was arrested a first time in 1928, but quickly released, thanks to the intervention of Ekaterina Peshkova, wife of writer Maxim Gorky.

Continue reading

How Origen Exposes Our Ecclesiastical Delusions

by Ambrose Andreano | български | ქართული | Ελληνικά | Русский | Српски

Origen teaching the saints
Icon: “Origen Teaching the Saints,” Eileen McGuckin

If one were to put all my essays having to do with Origen in a single document, it would be about two hundred pages of material. I also did multiple (AFR) podcast episodes on Sts. Basil and Gregory the Theologian’s Philocalia of Origen, which totals almost five hours. On July 14, 2020, I was interviewed for an hour on Fr. Tom Soroka’s AFR podcast Ancient Faith Today Live to discuss the life of Origen. Surely some will be asking themselves, “Why would anyone dedicate so much time  and effort talking about a condemned heretic?” This question reveals an ecclesiastical philosophy among a portion of the Eastern Orthodox Church. This philosophy  of pious ignorance presupposes that to be truly Orthodox is to be zealously hostile and excessively uncharitable concerning pretty much any controversial figure of antiquity. However, it takes two to create controversy. Too often do we label the other as “controversial,” ignoring how such actions are designed to fulfill the very accusation.

Continue reading