Nicholas Denysenko

Shared Ministry and Divine Grace: Restoring the Diaconate in Orthodoxy

by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Denysenko

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The Orthodox world is buzzing with the recent news report on the ordination of deaconesses in the Patriarchate of Alexandria. To the best of our knowledge, the ordination occurred after the Divine Liturgy in the nave of the temple, and appears to resemble the rite used to ordain subdeacons. This rite includes the presentation of the orarion, handlaying, a prayer, and the washing of the bishop’s hands. The reports do not offer details on the prayer said by the Patriarch. It seems that the Patriarch did not use the Byzantine Rite for the ordination of a deaconess, which takes place at the end of the anaphora (before the deacon intones the litany before the Lord’s Prayer, “Having remembered all the saints”), in the altar, and includes the deaconesses receiving Communion with the other clergy in the altar, according to order. While Patriarch Theodoros II appeared to use the rite for the ordination of subdeacons, the Patriarchate of Alexandria is referring to these newly-ordained women as deaconesses, and has appointed them to perform crucial sacramental and catechetical ministries as part of the Patriarchate’s missionary work. Continue Reading…

The Appeal of the Ukrainian Parliament and the Ecumenical Patriarchate

by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Denysenko

On the eve of the Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Churches, Ukraine’s Parliament approved and issued an urgent appeal to Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew. The Ukrainian Parliament asked Patriarch Bartholomew to nullify the transfer of jurisdiction of the Kyivan Metropolia from Constantinople to Moscow in 1686, to convene an All-Ukrainian unification council to occur with the presidency of the ecumenical patriarch, and to grant a Tomos of autocephaly to the Orthodox Church in Ukraine. The lengthy text justifying the Ukrainian Parliament’s appeal can be summed up by one key passage from the appeal: “Ukraine will never be either a political or a church colony of Russia.” The Parliament’s appeal was followed swiftly by a petition from Orthodox clergy and laity in Ukraine to Patriarch Bartholomew, expressing solidarity with the state’s position and asking the Patriarch to facilitate Eucharistic communion between all Orthodox Ukrainians, and establish an autocephalous Church in Ukraine without alienating those who desire to remain in the Moscow Patriarchate. Continue Reading…

Reflection on “The Importance of Fasting and Its Observance Today”

by Rev. Dr. Stelyios Muksuris, Rev. Dr. Alkiviadis Calivas, Rev. Dr. Nicholas Denysenko, John Klentos, Paul Meyendorff, Lewis Patsavos, Teva Regule, and Rev. Dr. Philip Zymaris.

In accordance with Orthodox Christian scriptural and patristic tradition, fasting finds its origins in the divine commandment given in paradise (Gen 2.16-17; St. Basil, On Fasting 1.3; PG 31.168A), where man is invited to honor his relationship with God by obedience. One sees God thereby as the benevolent Source of all goodness (Mt 4.4) and humanity as the beneficiary of His benevolence. While typically referenced within the context of partial or complete abstinence from food and drink, its interior principle focuses on a dynamic interface between harnessing instinctive behavior and living the precepts of the Gospel. In other words, fasting seeks to assist us in reprioritizing our allegiances from an addictive dependence upon worldly goods to an intimate relationship with God and neighbor.    Continue Reading…