Remembering Sion

living the Christian tradition in the modern world

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The Signs of the Times

As we continue to celebrate Paschaltide, our enemy’s rage at his cosmic defeat and his hatred for Christians continue to become ever more palpable. The signs of the times are becoming ever more obvious. In California, a bill has been introduced in the state legislature that would ban books advocating the traditional Christian teachings on marriage, gender, and sexuality, as well criminalize...

The Voice of Joy

Among the most rich and beautiful of all the hymns of the church year are the exapostilaria of Paschaltide. The Znamenny special melody used for the exapostilaria on these Sundays is both sweet and poignant, drawing our attention to the inner depths and the spiritual significance of these hymns. And the exapostilarion sung today, on the Sunday of the Holy Myrrh-bearers, is also the model for all...

Truth and Lies in Syria

During the past several weeks I withdrew from secular affairs in general, and the news and politics in particular, in order to focus on my duties at the monastery and especially on the observance of Holy Week, Pascha, and Bright Week. The joy and peace of those sacred weeks was, however, somewhat marred upon learning that on Bright Friday, the Feast of the Life-Giving Spring of the Mother of God...

Clinging to My God

Today is the fifth and final Sunday of Great Lent. In a few short days Holy Week will begin. There is one more week remaining in the Great Fast, one more week in which to prepare ourselves to meet the awesome and saving events of the Lord’s Passion and Resurrection. All throughout Lent, the Church has provided us with a roadmap for our spiritual journey. We began the Fast with Forgiveness Sunday;...

The Reason For School Shootings

The nearly unquestioned assumption about school shootings is that they are usually perpetrated by the mentally ill. This psychiatrist disagrees: The reason the mental health system fails to prevent mass shootings is that mental illness is rarely the cause of such violence. Even if all potential mass shooters did get psychiatric care, there is no reliable cure for angry young men who harbor...

Casting Out Demons

I recently finished reading Demons by Dostoevsky [warning: there are some significant spoilers ahead]. It is perhaps the darkest of all the novels of a writer who, in any of his writings, could certainly never be accused of shirking from the depravity of which the human heart is capable. Nearly everyone in the story comes to a bad end in one way or another, except for two of the least sympathetic...

The Problem with Battles

Yesterday I suggested that the increased political activism we see around us is fundamentally religious in nature. As Paul Krugman pointed out, there is an intense longing welling up in our society for an end to injustice and atrocity. And to be absolutely clear, I believe that this longing is deep, sincere, and praiseworthy. The problem isn’t at all that so many people have a moral objection to...

Caesaropapism in the New York Times

Several days ago, I wrote briefly about the increasingly prevalent attitude that meaningful action is a synonym for political action. I was thinking that it would be worth reflecting on this subject further, and then conveniently Paul Krugman decided yesterday to illustrate my point for me: A funny thing is happening on the American scene: a powerful upwelling of decency. Suddenly, it seems as if...

On Doing Nothing

People all across the country are demanding action in response to the latest school shooting. And although there have been exceptions, generally action is implicitly assumed to mean political action. This is one of the defining characteristics of modern life — we are far more politicized now than at perhaps any other time in human history. So much so that even to call for a moment of silence is...

The Unity of the Faith

We are gathered here together on the first Sunday of Great Lent to celebrate the Triumph of Orthodoxy. This feast was originally established to commemorate the victory of the venerators of icons over the iconoclasts, but more generally we also commemorate on this day the victory of the true Orthodox faith over all the heresies that have challenged it throughout history. There is an interesting...

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