Russia, rock, riots and religion

It wasn't easy being a rebel in the Soviet Union, back in the 1970s when Sergy Ribko was a rock drummer who cherished whatever scraps of music and media made it through the Iron Curtain.Most of all, the self-proclaimed hippy who would later become a Russian Orthodox priest loved The Beatles.The band taught "us to think about the meaning of life, good and evil, even about God and eternity, taught us to understand and love freedom in all its manifestations," wrote Ribko, in an open letter … [Read more...]

Now that’s a tough Lent

It was a decade ago during Lent that author Lauren Winner was visited by an angel, unawares."Actually, it was my priest," said Winner, who teaches Christian spirituality at Duke Divinity School. "I have learned that people in my life often tell me what I need to do during Lent. ... It's kind of like hearing from angels."Although the voice wasn't miraculous, Winner thought it would take a miracle to follow her spiritual guide's advice. The challenge was deceptively simple: Could she give up … [Read more...]

Orthodox bishop on hot spot

When an Orthodox bishop enters a sanctuary, he is traditionally greeted with the following words chanted in Greek -- "eis polla eti, despota."In English this means, "Many years to you, Master." Witty bishops in the Orthodox Church in America have started using this sentiment as the punch line in a joke about the impact the episcopate can have on their egos."What happens to a guy?", said Bishop Jonah, during the church's All American Council in Pittsburgh. "You put him on a stand in the middle of … [Read more...]

Lutherans in non-Roman Lent

Eric Phillips really likes soup at lunch.One of his favorites is baked-potato soup, a filling option that, at first glance, appears to be meat-free. That's important because Phillips isn't eating meat during the 40 days of Lent preceding Easter. Alas, baked-potato soup almost always contains chicken fat, as do many vegetable or pasta soups."I gave up meat for Lent last year, which was a pain in the neck," said Phillips, who has a Catholic University of America doctorate in Patristics, the study … [Read more...]

Good news for Orthodox in Turkey?

ISTANBUL -- There are two front gates into the walled compound that protects the home of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, the spiritual leader of the world's 300 million Eastern Orthodox Christians.Visitors enter through a door secured by a guardhouse, locks and a metal-screening device. They cannot enter the Phanar's main gate because it was welded shut in 1821 after the Ottoman Turks hanged Patriarch Gregory V from its lintel. The black doors have remained sealed ever since.A decade ago, … [Read more...]

Episcopal actions, orthodox reactions

Few would fault the clarity of the Orthodox response to the September marriage of Denis Gogolyev and Mikhail Morozev in the Vladimir Icon of the Mother of God Chapel in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia.The bishops defrocked the priest, bulldozed the church and burned the wreckage."Father Vladimir Enert, who married the gay couple, committed a sin in doing so," a church spokesman told the Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper. "He desecrated the place. We therefore needed to destroy the chapel."They call it the … [Read more...]


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