Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Christian Unity, Cultural Decline, and Trinitarian Hope

On his Blog, Second Terrace, Father Jonathan Tobias offers a profoundly moving reflection on Christian unity, cultural decline, and Trinitarian hope.

Here's an excerpt:

We have come full circle, in the history of the Church, back to the experience of the Apostolic generation. They, too, were faced by a society in decadence and decline. They, too, had to demonstrate, by the sign of spirituality and unity, that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.

Here is where Eastern Christianity has its profound vocation and opportunity. This is probably the reason why Eastern Christians have intermingled with Western culture in such significant numbers. It is also the reason why Eastern Christianity has garnered such an appeal for many in the West, to the extent that many Protestants, even, are magnetically attracted to icons, and flock to presentations at Evangelical campuses on Eastern Christianity.

This is happening because Eastern Christianity offers a life of spirituality, where eternity may be experienced, even on this world. It is a life where passions may be successfully conquered, where the vision – or theoria -- of reality and universals may be gained, and where communion with the Holy Trinity may be known existentially...

Read it all here.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Pray for something similar in Louisiana...

Russian Orthodox Church quadrupled her parishes during two decades

Moscow, September 14, Interfax - Today there are four times as many parishes and almost four times as many monasteries as it was twenty years ago in the Russian Orthodox Church.According to the figures, announced by Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow and All Russia during his meeting with members of Valday Discussion Club held in Moscow on Thursday, in 1987 the Russian Orthodox Church had 6800 parishes, 19 monasteries, and three theological colleges, while by January 1, 2007 the church had 27300 parishes, 716 monastic houses, and 70 theological colleges and universities.

Many parishes on the Moscow Patriarchate have been established abroad, the primate said, yet ‘it should not scare or surprise anybody.’

The recent two decades made Russia experience fundamental changes in all spheres including spirituality, he noted.

‘Those who were in the Soviet Union twenty years ago and come here again can hardly recognize the country. There are a new country and new possibilities, the people have new rights and new freedoms,’ the patriarch said.

Spiritual life ‘miraculously’ revives in Russia, he said, and this proves that ‘the faith survived in people’s hearts and passed on from generation to generation even under the godless regime.’

The patriarch called the Cathedral of Christ the Savior, where he met the club’s members, a symbol not only of religious revival ‘but also of a new Russia.’
The number of younger people coming to church today has also substantially raised, Alexy II noted.

‘When we traveled abroad in 1960s or 1970s we could often hear, ‘Who comes to your churches but old ladies?’ Now everything has changed. We have many children, youth, and middle-aged people,’ the primate said.

‘Yet we gratefully remember those old ladies who bought up their grandchildren as believers in Christ. It is due to them that the faith survived in our people,’ he noted.

- from the Interfax Religion site