Orthodox Christians Face Modern Mores

GARY STERN THE JOURNAL NEWS (Original publication: June 23, 2004) http://www.thejournalnews.com/newsroom/062304/b04w23marriage.html

(Original publication: June 23, 2004)

The age-old notion of Christian marriage between man and woman is under siege by loosening sexual mores, commonplace divorce and the reality that homosexual relationships will soon be commonly recognized, several Orthodox Christian scholars agreed yesterday.

Speaking at St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary, these scholars wrestled with how to reconcile traditional church teachings with a culture that they say is often well-meaning, but losing touch with basic Christian beliefs.

*[Read more…]


Moving to a new parish

Some of you may have noticed my postings on the main page have been intermittent, I disappear for several days and then reappear, etc. It’s because I’ve been tied up with a lot of extra work closing out my ministry in Atlanta in order to start a new work at another parish.

On July 1, I start serving St. Katherine’s Greek Orthodox Church in Naples, Florida. I am going there next Monday to find a place to live, returning late in the week to serve my final liturgy in my present parish, and then moving my belongings on the Monday following. I will pop in and out as time permits. (All told I will spend 30 hours in the car in a 7 day period. Not as grueling as last summer though, when I travelled 1300 miles in one day. My car broke down in northeast Georgia. I lived in southern Florida. I got a rental while the car was being fixed and when it was ready for pick up I drove the 625 miles up and the 625 miles back in one day. I left at five in the morning and got home at 11:30 that evening. This was 100 miles farther than the distance from Minneapolis to New York City.)

My wife, daughter, andI like sun and water. Heat is better than cold we say, and growing up in Minnesota we know the difference. I served the Fort Myers parish for four years so we know the area well and look forward to returning to it. Palm trees are cool too.


Solzhentisyn tribute to Reagan

In July 1975, I concluded my remarks in the reception room of the U.S. Senate with these words: “Very soon, all too soon, your government will need not just extraordinary men but men of greatness. Find them in your souls. Find them in your hearts. Find them within the breadth and depth of your homeland.” Five years later, I was overjoyed when just such a man came to the White House. May the soft earth be a cushion in his present rest.



No Christianity in new E.U. Constitution


BRUSSELS, June 15 (UPI) — The European Union has rejected the requests of some member nations to recognize Christianity in its new constitution.

Seven nations, including Italy, Poland and the Czech Republic, urged the EU to refer to the “Christian roots of Europe” and explicitly mention Christianity and God in the constitution currently being drafted. The Vatican also made clear it wants a reference to Christianity in the Constitution.
[Read more…]


Patriarchate to lift sanctions

Athens News
04 June 2004

Bartholomeos set to restore communion with Christodoulos and recognise three
northern Greece bishops
By George Gilson

The expanded Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate is meeting to restore
communion with Archbishop Christodoulos of Greece after the full hierarchy
of the Church of Greece backed down and recognised the patriarchate’s rights
over its New Territories dioceses in northern Greece. The patriarchal synod,
comprised of about 40 Metropolitans and Archbishops from Turkey, Europe and
America, was also poised to recognise three new Metropolitans elected to New
Territories dioceses without the patriarchate’s consent in March. A similar
patriarchal synod had declared those elections null and void on April 30.
[Read more…]


Restore Orthodox churches for Kosovo peace – expert says

Reuters AlertNet – London, England,UK
11 Jun 2004 15:37:35 GMT
By Tom Heneghan, Religion Editor

PARIS, June 11 (Reuters) – European states must help rescue dozens of Orthodox churches and monasteries destroyed in Kosovo to show they are serious about fostering better ties between Serbs and Albanians there, a European expert said on Friday.
[Read more…]


A Cold Morning in Vermont

From yesterday’s New York Times

June 13, 2004

IGNAT SOLZHENITSYN understands why so many people have warm thoughts
of Ronald Reagan, but one of his earliest memories is on the frigid side.

In 1980, Ignat was an 8-year-old transplanted to Vermont by his father, the famous chronicler of Siberia’s gulags. As Ignat tells the story, on the morning after the presidential election he got a taste of American political re-education at the progressive private school he and his brothers attended.

In response to the Reagan victory, the school’s flag was lowered to half-staff, and the morning assembly was devoted to what today would be called grief counseling. The headmaster mourned “what America would become once the dark night of fascism descended under the B-movie actor,” recalled Mr. Solzhenitsyn, who is now the music director of the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia. “At one point he interrupted himself to inquire if anyone present did not share his gloomy view of the Reagan victory.”

The only students to raise their hands were Ignat and his two brothers, Yermolai and Stephan. After a stony silence, he recalled, they were sent outside, without their coats, to meditate on the error of their ways underneath the lowered flag. Vermont in November was hardly Siberia, but there was frost on the ground, and they spent an hour shivering and exercising to stay warm. Still, Ignat said, their political exile was a relief from sitting in the auditorium listening to the party line.


The Reagan Restoration

Article available seven days only

June 7, 2004
A striking fact about Ronald Reagan is that nearly a generation after he left the Presidency so many people still don’t comprehend the reasons for his success. The eulogies over this past weekend have stressed his many personal virtues: his fundamental good nature, his humor and optimism, his courage in coping with Alzheimer’s, and his skills as the “great communicator.”

These were all essential to the man and to his achievement, but they were not sufficient. Mr. Reagan was the most consequential President since FDR because of his ideas. His Presidency was at root about returning a country that was heading toward decline back to its founding principles of individual liberty and responsibility. At the time it was called a “revolution” but his era is better understood as a restoration.

Read the entire article on the Wall Street Journal Online website.


A Life and Death Document from Britain

Bishops’ Text Takes On Bioethical and Family Issues

LONDON, JUNE 12, 2004 (Zenit.org).- The Catholic bishops of England and Wales recently published a lengthy document on bioethical and family issues, called “Cherishing Life.” At the May 26 press conference that launched the document, Bishop Christopher Budd of Plymouth, one of the text’s writers, said: “The multiplicity of issues underlines the complexity of living in our present world.”

He noted: “The clear articulation of principles and values seeks to show the importance of a principled approach to moral questions.”
[Read more…]


Letter from a military chaplain in Iraq

A military vet and good friend passed this along. I am not including the author’s name because I don’t have his permission yet. Note his comments in the final paragraphs on the cultural legacy of the anti-war movement.

30 May 2004

Dear Friends,

This is my third letter from Iraq. I have been working myself into the right mood to do this. Today is the day. In my last two letters I have leaned toward being as upbeat as possible. This time will be different; today I want to talk about Memorial Day, but I will start off by giving my perspective on the Abu Ghraib prison problem.*[Read more…]


The Great Liberator is laid to rest.

President Ronald Reagan was laid to rest in the California mountains yesterday evening. He will be remembered as one of America’s great presidents. Former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s eulogy, which I posted below, captured some of his qualities.

Baroness Thatcher said part of Reagan’s greatness was his magnanimity. She called it an American characteristic, which indeed it is. Americans by and large are generous of spirit and heart; it’s one of the reasons that no matter where in the world you come from, you can always be an American.

Baroness Thatcher also called Reagan "the Great Liberator," a term that will probably come to describe our former President. He ended the slavery of tyranny for millions, and when the partianship of the present time fades and people see more clearly, it will be seen as his greatest accomplishment.

May his memory be eternal.

God bless America.


I’m not the only one who thought the Rev. was a windbag

I haven’t seen any of former Pres. Reagan’s procession to the Capital Rotunda or the funeral today on television yet (hoping C-Span replays it tonight). I heard both on the radio in my car though.

Reading Dr. Reynold’s blog on the Rev. Daniel P. Coughlin’s speech (sermon? prayer?) at the rotunda echoed my impressions. It was a convoluted, nonsensical display of, what? — I’m not really sure. I got the sense Coughlin was drafted into the duty so he approached as a political exercise. He seemed not to like Ronald Reagan and did not really believe that Reagan’s accomplishments were great. There was no heart in his words. It was a loose weaving of disconected themes that were not anchored to anything. What an opportunity wasted.


Text of Margaret Thatcher’s Eulogy at Pres. Reagan’s Funeral

We have lost a great president, a great American, and a great man. And I have lost a dear friend.

In his lifetime Ronald Reagan (news – web sites) was such a cheerful and invigorating presence that it was easy to forget what daunting historic tasks he set himself. He sought to mend America’s wounded spirit, to restore the strength of the free world, and to free the slaves of communism. These were causes hard to accomplish and heavy with risk. [Read more…]