Pussy Riot in Trouble

Early in the year the members of a feminist punk group, Pussy Riot, entered the sanctuary of the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in Moscow where they ‘prayed’ to the Virgin for the end of the government of Vladimir Putin and uttered a number of profanities.  They have been detained in harsh conditions and charged with hooliganism. Their behaviour was […]

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Christos Yannaras’ Variations on the Song of Songs (2005)

The long tradition of commentary on this most steamy book of the Bible continues, although what the contemporary Greek thinker Christos Yannaras offers is not so much commentary as a series of reflections, almost responses to the text, which are introduced in musical terms. They describe territory familiar to many people. Hence, the words My beloved is mine and I am his. He […]

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Differences between the Christian East and West

Two scholars dealing with different issues suggest differences in the ways in which the Eastern and Western Christian traditions operate. Discussing the ways in which the Orthodox and Roman Catholic traditions approach the problem of divorce, Cl. Gallagher quotes the words of another author: ‘The crucial difference between the two disciplines lies not in the fact that one accepts divorce and […]

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Anestis Keselopoulos on St Gregory Palamas: Repentance and Purification (continued)

In his presentation of the thought of St Gregory Palamas, Anestis Keselopoulos observes: ‘Summoning up all the characteristic traits of a believer who lives his repentance, Palamas describes him as mild and calm, full of mercy and compassion for others.’ How do we get there? ‘Spiritual mourning is the basic precondition for man’s exodus from bondage to the passions and […]

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Notes on Genesis (xxxiv) Abram in dialogue with God

‘The word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision.’ (Gen 15:1) The Orthodox Study Bible suggests a Christological interpretation of this phrase by the use of a capital letter (Word), but this may be a case of over-interpretation, for the Septuagint uses the Greek word rhema, not logos; note that the Vulgate goes for ‘sermo’, not ‘verbum’. Interestingly, the ‘word of […]

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Notes on Genesis (xxxii) Abram leaves home

‘Get out from your country, from your kindred and from your father’s house, to a land I will show you.’ (Gen 12:1) Abram’s departure from Haran to Canaan stands at the beginning of the patriarchal narratives. His father Terah had led the family from Ur of the Chaldeans to the northwest along Mesopotamia; now, following the death of Terah, God commands Abram to continue to […]

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Anestis Keselopoulos on St Gregory Palamas: Repentance and Purification

In the third chapter of his book Passions and Virtues, Anestis Keselopoulos expresses the teaching of St Gregory Palamas on repentance. ‘Repentance is not a short-lived contrition arising from the awareness that some sin has been committed. It is a permanent spiritual state…the new frame of mind and correct spiritual course that must accompany man until the moment of his […]

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Christ’s Paschal Eucharist

Building on a few words in St Mark (16:12f), St Luke tells how the resurrected Christ appeared to two disciples who were walking to Emmaus. Finding them confused after the crucifixion and reports that he was alive, Christ expounded things in the Scriptures concerning himself, and then, sitting at a table, performed actions over bread which he gave to them. They realised who […]

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