Aristotle Papanikolaou

Being Christian During A Trump Presidency

by Aristotle Papanikolaou

When it comes to voting, I had always thought that there was never a way for Christians to vote with clean hands. Regardless of party or candidate, a Christian could not vote without being implicated in supporting principles that are counter to Christian faith. And that’s how it should be: Christian witness points to that which is more than the political. Put another way, the political is something but it is not everything.

If Christian witness is to point to what is more than the political, then Christian responsibility is not done after we vote; it only intensifies after an election. No matter who is elected, Christians must always exercise a prophetic voice.

If Hillary Clinton had been elected, Christians would have had to exercise this prophetic voice—some would have focused on her failure to promote a consistent ethic of life, while others might have targeted her collusion with special interests.

The reality is, however, that we have a Trump presidency: so what should the Christian prophetic voice look like now?  Continue Reading…

Putin’s Unorthodox Orthodoxy

by Aristotle Papanikolaou and George Demacopoulos

Yesterday, the New York Times published an essay exposing and critiquing the ways that Vladimir Putin is exploiting Orthodox Christianity in order to project international significance.  In the summer of 2014, we raised these issues in an op-ed piece we wrote for a blog hosted by the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese and examined why both Orthodox and Western audiences readily consume a flawed understanding of Orthodox teaching. We have reposted our original piece below.

Pundits from both America and Europe have recently ascribed religious motivations to the actions of Vladimir Putin. Is Orthodox Christianity to blame for his militant incursions, reactionary policies, or anti-Western rhetoric?

Absolutely not.

The notion that the Ukrainian crisis has religious causes is both factually wrong and religiously offensive. What’s worse, it is politically foolish, playing directly into Putin’s preferred narrative of a culture war. Continue Reading…

Orthodoxy, Human Rights & Secularization

by Davor Džalto, Effie Fokas, Brandon Gallaher, Perry Hamalis, Aristotle Papanikolaou, and Gregory Tucker

“The Mission of the Orthodox Church in Today’s World” offers a clear reaffirmation of the “dignity and majesty of the human person” (1.1) in Christian doctrine. Moreover, the exalted status of the human person is here grounded in its ultimate vocation to deification. While the human being is brought to perfection beyond this life in God, sanctification begins now, in this world, in relation to others. To this end, the Church recognizes that she must speak with her “prophetic and pastoral voice” and act in the contemporary world to foster that “peace, justice, freedom, fraternity, and love” which characterizes the Kingdom of God.

In order to do full justice to the profound witness to the Gospel offered by this document, further serious reflection and dialogue is required on some of its key ideas. For, while this text contains moments of deep insight into the condition of the contemporary world, it also shows the effects of a long period in which the Church has failed to practice her synodality and lost the art of addressing the most important issues of the day with reason and clarity. Continue Reading…