Allegri and Original Sin

I’ll never forget the first time I heard a performance of the setting of Psalm 50 (51), the Miserere mei, Deus, composed in the seventeenth century by Gregorio Allegri, a member of the papal choir and sung thereafter in the Capella Sistina. I was listening in another chapel, a dark one, and the soaring top line was sung by one of those boy sopranos […]

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Theophany

The streams of the Jordan received Thee who art the fountain, and the Comforter descended in the form of a dove. He who bowed the heavens bowed his head, and the clay cried aloud to Him who formed him: ‘Why dost Thou command of me what lays beyond my power? For I have need to be baptized of Thee.’ O […]

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Christmas Greetings

Make ready, Oh Bethlehem: let the manger be prepared, let the cave show its welcome. The truth has come, the shadow has passed away; born of a Virgin, God has appeared to men, formed as we are and making Godlike the garment he put on. Therefore Adam is renewed with Eve, and they call out: ‘Thy good pleasure has appeared on […]

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Bishop Maxim Vasiljevic on Tradition

Orthodox Tradition is a custom-dominated (cultural) rather than reason-dominated tradition, which means that it addresses the whole person (and not just their intellect) at the level of morals and daily life.  There are other cultures, on the other hand, such as the Western, which require intellectual explanations, a continual catechesis. How did the Orthodox people survive under the rule of […]

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Sergius Bulgakov on Adam

What were the possibilities and limits for Adam’s human nature, particularly in relation to death? Man was created perfect, but this perfection even in Adam was not a final and definitive one. Spirituality of the flesh was given to him only as a natural harmony by virtue of God’s creative act, but this spirituality was not assimilated by him. Man […]

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Sergius Bulgakov on Christ’s Miracles

Christ’s miracles were worked by the Son of Man, and they were worked by Him in His humanity; consequently, they have a human character, are accessible to man, are included in the possibilities of this world, headed by man. This means, furthermore, that Christ’s miracles were natural, not unnatural and not supernatural. They disclosed the possibilities of implanted in man’s […]

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Sergius Bulgakov on Sainthhood

There are two poles of human-divinity: self-deification to which are applicable St Augustine’s words that  man without God is a diabolical being; and the gracious deification of man, helping him to become holy. Sainthood is human-divinity actualized by human exploit on the basis of God’s grace. Outside of the divine incarnation and the action of God’s grace, sainthood in actu […]

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Lent

The beginning of Lent and the disciplines associated with it prompt thoughts on what the point of them is. It’s not that we give up things that are morally murky or positively wrong, for these categories do not apply to the things we are called to cut down on. It is certainly not the case that we seek to earn divine favour by our efforts, for […]

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Gilles Dorival on continuities and ruptures between Hellenism and Christianity

In his contribution to a volume of studies edited by Arnaud Perrot (Les Chretiens et l’Hellenisme, Editions rue d’Ulm, 2012), Gilles Dorival turns to territory long familiar in academic discourse, the interface between early Christian thought and that of the surrounding Greek Hellenistic world. He is particularly interested in what he calls continuity and persistence, opposed to discontinuity, rupture and  novelty. […]

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