Monday, 31 December 2012

A Christian must live the life of offering to please God


"On this occasion, each of us should ask ourselves, what will I offer? A Christian must live the life of offering to please God, first offering his own heart, honesty, sincerity and love for others."
- His Holiness Pope Tawadros II, Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria.

Friday, 28 December 2012

Sola Scriptura isn't Sola at all...

If you believe in Sola Scriptura yet reject the Apostolic Church you are not living a purer faith but a life of hypocrisy.
The Biblical Canon was formed within Church tradition with one condition being that the text conformed with the teachings of the Apostles and their successors (as found in the Didache and Didascalia Apostolurum, as well as other early church writings.) It cannot be interpreted apart from this since this is the context in which it was formulated.
If someone is truely ‘sola Scriptura’ they have no Bible in book form, simply around 45 conflicting Gospels (many heretical and lated developments which the church rejected), hundreds of Epistles and just as many heretical gnostic, Apollonarian and Monist apocalyptic texts on their floor. If you pick up a Bible you are already conforming to the Church’s choice of Canon and their exegesis of scripture.
Sorry Sola Scriptura followers. By walking around with your leather bound KJVs you are already sinking into Tradition and accepting that big T ‘Tradition’ that your late-medieval founders claim to have rejected..

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Suffer anything for her sake, but never disgrace her.


A servant can be taught submission through fear; but even he, if provoked too much, will soon seek his escape. But one's partner for life, the mother of one's children, the source of one's every joy, should never be fettered with fear and threats, but with love and patience. What kind of marriage can there be when the wife is afraid of her husband? What sort of satisfaction could a husband himself have, if he lives with his wife as if she were a slave, and not with a woman by her own free will? Suffer anything for her sake, but never disgrace her, for Christ never did this with the Church.

 - Saint John Chrysostom 'on Marriage'

Friday, 14 December 2012

John Meyendorff "Marriage: An Orthodox Perspective" review.

I have always been a fan of Meyendorff's writing style. As a historian, he will always use comparison in his explanations, which is a great benefit for converts in the west such as myself. In his historical writings, he deals constantly with the comparison of East and West. This book on the Orthodox view of marriage continues to fit into this tradition.

The book is split into various sections covering various aspects of church history, practice, doctrinal development and aspects of married life. This is followed by an appendix containing quotes from scripture, the fathers and the Canons.

In his usual pragmatic style, Meyendorff does not make sweeping judgements on 'how to be a good Orthodox husband/wife' but simply explains the Church's approach to various issues which couples will encounter such as preparation for marriage, mixed relationships and family planning. Each of these areas are again supported with historical referencing and comparison of views, to help the reader understand things in context.
Another interesting detail on this book is that it covers many aspects of intimacy, such as the use of birth control, family planning and abortion, drawing some stark comparisons to the Roman views on these matters. Meyendorff does not skirt around these issues or tiptoe the differences but is able to explain the viewof the Orthodox Church in a way which is both accessible and easily understandable for any curious Orthodox Christian. 

The writing style of this book is also very fluid, with only 74 pages of explanation before you reach the vast appendix. The book can easily be read in a matter of hours, making it a useful short piece to read when travelling or as a quick read when you have a bit of free time.

Altogether, I would recommend it to any young Orthodox considering marriage or beginning. Serious relationship. Its easy reading style and depth of historical referencing make it easy to read. For the more Theologically minded it may seems light but is still worth the time.

Friday, 7 December 2012

Thus is the perfect Soul...


"Just as animals die if they are plunged into water, since they are of the substance of earth. And again, just as fish die if they are brought up onto the earth, because they are of the nature of water. So also birds, which find their rest in the sky, fear being hunted on the land of the earth. Thus is the perfect soul, which remains in its own nature. If it renounces its own nature, it dies immediately."

- St Isaiah of Scetis
(Another Non-Chalcedonian Saint recognised by the Eastern Orthodox)

Meyendorff on Mixed Marriages

It should be clear... that an Orthodox Priest can never bless a marriage between and Orthodox and a non-Christian. It would be obviously improper to invoke the name of Jesus Christ in the marriage service for a person who does not recognise Him as his or her Lord. Such an invocation would actually be disrespectful not only towards the Lord but towards his or her convictions (Or lack of convictions.)
- John Meyendorff