Monday, January 15, 2018

Eminent clergy & theologians voice concern over deaconesses

I've kept the numbered footnote references in the post. What they reference is available at the end of the lengthy document.

(Orthodox Ethos) - The Patriarchate of Alexandria’s appointment of six “deaconesses” in the Congo in February 2017 has prompted calls in some corners for other local churches to follow suit. In particular, a group of Orthodox liturgical scholars has issued an open statement of support for Alexandria, declaring that the “restoration of the female diaconate is such that neither doctrinal issues nor authoritative precedents are at stake.”1

We, the undersigned clergy and laity, beg to differ and are writing now with three purposes: to question what was accomplished in the Congo, to clarify the historical record on the place of deaconesses in Orthodox tradition, and to point out the serious doctrinal issues raised by the appointment of deaconesses.

First, as to what was accomplished in the Congo, we note that the Patriarch of Alexandria did not use the Byzantine rite of ordination for deaconesses.2 He laid hands [cheirothetise] on one woman making her “Deaconess of the Mission” and then prayed over five other women using a “prayer for one entering ecclesiastical ministry,” a generic blessing in the Greek-language archieratikon for a layman starting church work. He did not bestow an orarion upon any of the women yet had the five women assist in washing his hands, as subdeacons would. All this was done not during the Divine Liturgy, as with an ordination, but at its end. These facts, plus anecdotal reports from Africa that these new deaconesses have been assigned the duties of readers, call into question the claim that what happened in the Congo was truly a “restoration of the female diaconate,” for their manner of making and assigned duties bear only partial resemblance to those of ancient deaconesses.

Second, what can be said with certainty about the historical presence, role, and status of deaconesses in the Orthodox Church is that setting apart women as deaconesses was just one of several ways the early Church sought to protect the modesty of women by entrusting certain women with certain duties such as assisting in baptizing and anointing adult women and visiting women in their homes where and when men were not permitted, strictly within the limits specified for women by the Holy Apostles in Holy Scripture. The duties and status of deaconesses varied with time and place, as did the way deaconesses were appointed. The same duties were also assigned to widows, laywomen, male clergy, or nuns, so the need for deaconesses did not exist universally. Much of the ancient Church never had deaconesses. Outside Syria, Anatolia, Greece, and Palestine, deaconesses were rare to nonexistent.3

N.T. Wright on DB Hart: “Scripture made strange.”

If you hadn't already heard, David Bentley Hart recently came out with his own pro-apocatastatic rendering of the New Testament. So far the review have not been kind. The very popular N.T. Wright has joined their number. I find Wright's comment "... dogma supersedes the text" to be insightful. It's a rather stinging criticism of the Hart New Testament that some may want to read.

(The Christian Century) - When a theologian of the stature of David Bentley Hart offers a “pitilessly literal translation” of the New Testament that is “not shaped by later theological and doctrinal history” and aims to make “the familiar strange, novel, and perhaps newly compelling,” we are eager to see the result. He promises to bring out the “wildly indiscriminate polyphony” of the writers’ styles and emphases, converging on their “vibrant certainty that history has been invaded by God in Christ in such a way that nothing can stay as it was.”

But his two main claims (to be “literal” and “undogmatic”) are not borne out, and the promise of displaying the strangeness of early Christian life disappears behind different kinds of strangeness. There are indeed some striking passages: we read that Saul had “wreaked such carnage” among the early believers, but was now “marshalling arguments that this man is the Anointed” (Acts 9:21–23). His opponents are people “whose God is their guts” (Phil. 3:19). And so on. But what does literal mean?

Greek and English, as Hart knows well, do not work the same way. Pretending that they do produces not literal translation but the kind of thing you get in an interlinear version, as with “the one making me well, that one told me” (John 5:11), or “going and washing, I saw” (John 9:11). Hart frequently translates houtos and ekeinos as “this one” and “that one,” as in “having received the morsel, that one [i.e., Judas] immediately departed” (John 13:30). The strange English here has nothing to do with a cultural clash between the first Chris­tians and ourselves...
Complete article here.

Feast of the Precious Chains of Peter

This has always been an interesting feast for me. It has an interesting history and the Church has developed some very rich imagery in the hymnody for the feast. Festal celebrations often began locally and then expanded either through constant expansion or through conciliar decree. This process continues today as you will see the occasional post here when a Church joins in the glorification of a local saint from another patriarchate.

Bound to the Lord * and imprisoned in a dungeon, * thou didst bind falsehood, O apostle. * Wherefore, we honor thee lovingly, * and with faith we kiss thy chains, * whence drawing forth health of body * and salvation of soul, * we praise thee as is meet, O thou who hast beheld God, * converser with the incorporeal ones.

O most blessed Peter, chief among the apostles, loose me, who am bound by the chains of the passions, wretch that I am, as once the angel of God loosed thy chains, leading thee forth most gloriously from the dungeon wherein thou wast imprisoned, O blessed one.
The feast was originally kept in Rome, Italy to commemorate the dedication of the Church of Saint Peter on the Esquiline Hill built by Eudoxia Licinia in 442 and rebuilt by Adrian I in the 8th century. When the chains which Saint Peter had worn in prison and from which he was freed by angelic intervention, Acts 12:1-19, were later venerated there, the feast received its present name. The date when these chains were brought from Jerusalem is disputed; some claim they were brought in 116 by travellers sent in search of them by Saint Balbina and her father Saint Quirinus, while others think Saint Eudoxia brought them in 439. Pope Saint Leo the Great united them to the chains with which Saint Peter had been fettered in the Mamertine Prison, forming a chain about two yards long which is preserved in a bronze safe.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Sanctity of Life prayer service in Chicago

March for Life - Chicago

Maybe don't do this? Anyone? Anyone?

Friday, January 12, 2018

Second volume of OCA Hieratikon now released!

Already ordered mine. Happy to see they upped the font a tad for easier reading.

(OCA) - Saint Tikhon’s Monastery Press is pleased to announce the publication of the Hieratikon (Volume 2]: Liturgy Book for Priest and Deacon, edited by Hieromonk Herman [Majkrzak] and Dr. Vitaly Permiakov.

The volume includes the full texts of the Divine Liturgies of Saint John Chrysostom and Saint Basil the Great and the Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts, together with several explanatory introductions regarding hierarchical, vesperal, and paschal Liturgies; the order of censing; and priestly and diaconal concelebration. Appendices include hymns and verses of the liturgical year, various blessings (palms, artos, fruit, herbs, etc.), and more.

With the blessing of His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon, the 1967 text has been carefully compared to the standard Greek and Slavonic editions, and revised in consultation with the Orthodox Church in America’s Holy Synod of Bishops and Department of Liturgical Music and Translations. Dr. Permiakov explains that the editors’ goal was “for the text of the prayers and litanies to be accurate and understandable, that is, to be both in continuity with the original Greek (and Slavonic) text of the Liturgy and with the accepted style of English-language translations of sacred texts. The editors also sought to make liturgical rubrics both descriptive and prescriptive, so as to reflect the actual liturgical practice of the Orthodox Church in America, while ensuring that the established liturgical use conforms to the broader tradition and practice of the Church.” Hieromonk Herman adds that “the wide expertise of hierarchs, experienced pastors, liturgiologists, and linguists was consulted throughout the editorial process.”

2nd Annual Orthodox Bioethics Conference event in Bay Area

Second Annual Orthodox Bioethics Conference
Saturday Feb 10, 2018

Hosted by
Saint Lawrence Orthodox Christian Church
6192 Highway 9, Felton, CA 95018

Do You Not Know That Your Body Is The Temple Of The Holy Spirit?
Drug Abuse and the Nature of Addiction

  • 8:30-9:00 AM: Akathist to the Theotokos of the Inexhaustible Cup
  • 9:00-9:30 AM: Registration & Refreshments.
  • 9:30-10:30 AM 1st Session (Arabic with English translation)

"Addiction: Αn Expedited Progression To Psychological Crisis” – Very Rev. Archimandrite of the Ecumenical Throne Damaskinos Alazrai, PhD. (Psychology).

  • 10:30-11:30 AM 2nd Session (English)

“Addiction As Idolatry: Looking For Salvation Apart From God" – Very Rev. Father Thaddaeus Hardenbrook (MA: Literature, MDiv: Community Studies), St. Lawrence Orthodox Church, Felton, CA.

  • 11:30-12:30 PM Lunch
  • 12:30-01:30 PM 3rd Session (English)

“The Epidemic Of Our Era: The Root Cause And Pyschosomatic Effects Of A Modern Day Plague” – Rev. Father Doctor Spyridon Jajeh (Doctor of Pharmacy, Clinical Pharmacist, Adjunct Professor: University of the Pacific’s School of Pharmacy), Sts. Peter & Paul Orthodox Church, Walnut Creek, CA.

  • 01:30-02:00 PM A realistic story about drug abuse- Mrs. Christina Fahel Ennabe (Director of Andrew Ennabe Foundation).
  • 02:00-02:15 PM Final Remarks

Very Rev. Archimandrite of the Ecumenical Throne Damaskinos Alazrai

Conference Events Broadcast Live by Saint Andrew Orthodox TV
Instant English Translation Available

Blessing of Waters at St. Tikhon's Monastery

Bulgarian delegation at Phanar

Do I think they will be discussing the Macedonian issue? Yes, yes I do.

(EP) - On Sunday, January 7, 2018, His All-Holiness received His Beatitude Patriarch Neophyte of Bulgaria together with the members of his entourage—various metropolitans and clergy of the Church of Bulgaria—at the Ecumenical Patriarchate, during His Beatitude’s visit for the reopening of the newly renovated Church of St. Stephen in the Phanar District.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

ZOE for Life! Supplication Service for Unborn in Cleveland

OLMSTED FALLS, OH (OCA-DMW) — ZOE for Life! will sponsor a Supplication Service for the Unborn at Saint Innocent Church [OCA], 8526 Usher Road, Olmsted Falls, OH on Sunday, January 21, 2018 at 6:00 p.m.

Priest Alessandro Margheritino, Rector of Saint Innocent’s and President of the Greater Cleveland Council of Orthodox Clergy, will lead the service. The Spiritual Father of ZOE for Life!, Priest Nicholas Mihaly, Pastor of Saint Nicholas Church, Erie, PA [American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese] also will serve.

Archmandrite Demetri [Carellas] of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Pittsburgh will give a presentation, “Love Saves Lives,” following the service, which is open to the public. Light refreshments will be served. For further information, call ZOE for Life! at 440-893-9990.

ZOE for Life! is a non-profit Christ-centered support organization with three major goals: to help women who need confidential emotional and spiritual support during crisis pregnancies, to assist Orthodox Christians seeking to adopt, and to provide an education for pure living and other resources. ZOE is endorsed by the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America.

Theophany in Albania

The Furnace Rite of Matins

( - Only a handful of specialists now know about a liturgical rite called “the Furnace Act” practiced in Russia from the sixteenth to eighteenth centuries, and mentioned as early as the tenth century in Byzantium. It was a rite that was celebrated on the great feasts. With this rite also began the forefeast of the Nativity of Christ. One of the musical-folklore specialists who has researched the “Furnace Act” is Andrei Kotov, creator and conductor of the Siren Choir—a marvelous Russian choir that performs ancient Russian religious music.

“We searched a long time for it. At first we found a description of it in the Book of Rites of the Dormition Cathedral in the Moscow Kremlin (there are only two descriptions extant—in the Dormition Cathedrals of Moscow and Novgorod), and having found a detailed description, we started our search for the music,” recalls A. Kotov.

“It took us nine years to gather a unified Furnace Act—we had to find all the music that went into it. Of course, many music theorists helped us… Our own Polina Terentieva, who sings in our group (she is our remarkable theoretician and singer) began an intense search, and found the “demestvo four-tones” and some amazing music for the Furnace Act.

“The Furnace Act was part of the Matins service. It was part of the canon; the canon was read until the sixth ode, and then instead of the seventh and eighth odes of the canon came the Furnace Act.” The canon in Orthodox Church music has nine odes, or sections of song verses, which begin with an “irmos”—generally sung—and continues with the verses, which are usually chanted. In almost all canons, the seventh and eight irmoses mention the themes of the three holy youths in Babylon, Ananias, Azarias. And Misael, who refused to worship the idols of Nebuchadnezzar and were therefore cast into the “burning fiery furnace”. But the youths sang praises to the Lord and were not consumed by the flames. This is a liturgical theme that appears repeatedly, as a prefiguration of New Testament themes. A. Kotov continues, “Nine “dew verses” (that is, nine stichera) were sung, and then came the seventh and eighth “Three Youth verses” (they can be found in the Psalter separately). They were sung in the demestvo tones.” The verses of the Three Holy Youths in the furnace are part of the Biblical Odes, which at one time were sung throughout the year, but are now generally used only during Great Lent. The seventh Ode is annotated in the Psalter as “A Prayer of the Holy Three Children (Dan. 3:26–56)—the praise of the three Youths doth quench the flame. O our God and the God of our fathers, blessed art Thou.” And the eighth Ode is the annotation, “The Hymn of the Holy Three Children (Dan. 3:57–88), O praise the Lord, ye creatures which He hath made. O praise ye the Lord, ye works of His, and supremely exalt Him unto all the ages.”

A. Kotov describes how this would have looked in the cathedrals of ancient Russia...
Complete article here.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Bishop Mark (Forsberg) of Boston has reposed in the Lord

(OCA) - Funeral services for His Grace, Bishop Mark [Forsberg], 83, Former Bishop of Boston, will be celebrated at Christ the Saviour Cathedral, 16601 NW 77 Court, Miami Lakes, FL on Thursday and Friday, January 11-12, 2018.

Bishop Mark fell asleep in the Lord on Monday, January 8.

Visitation at the cathedral will begin at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, January 11. The Funeral Service will follow at 6:30 p.m. On Friday, January 12, the Divine Liturgy will be celebrated at 10:00 a.m., followed by interment at Vista Memorial Gardens, Miami Lakes, FL. His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon will preside. A repast will follow at the cathedral.

Born in Detroit, MI on April 2, 1934, Bishop Mark was ordained as a Melkite Greek Catholic deacon and priest in 1964. The following year, he was received into the Orthodox Church. While pursuing studies at Saint Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary, Yonkers, NY, he served Saint George Antiochian Orthodox Church, Albany, NY and later Saint George Antiochian Orthodox Church, Wichita, KS. After his reception into the Romanian Episcopate of the Orthodox Church in America, he served Saint Thomas Church, St. Louis, MO and Saint George Albanian Orthodox Cathedral, Boston, MA. He was elected to the episcopacy in June 1979 and consecrated on November 10, 1979 to succeed His Grace, Bishop Stephen [Lasko] as Bishop of the OCA’s Albanian Archdiocese. In 1984, he was named Titular Bishop of Bethesda. In March 1985, he was elected Bishop of Fort Lauderdale and Auxiliary to His Grace, Bishop [later Archbishop] Dmitri of Dallas and the South, a position he held until he again was named Titular Bishop of Bethesda in March 1991. He had also served as Administrator of the Diocese of the Midwest for a brief period in the late 1980s. He was granted retirement on March 21, 2001 with the title of Former Bishop of Boston.

May Bishop Mark’s memory be eternal!

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

In the Big Apple? Consider going to Orthodoxy on Tap!

For more information, go check out the Facebook event here!