January 30, 2019

The email came in the middle of Reader’s Vigil, right before the Matins Canon. Classes having been canceled because of the deep freeze that is coming over the Midwest, I decided to take a few days at home to write, which means that I am also cooking and praying. The prayer, which has been surprisingly regular on the hours in the past few days (I am, like most Christians across all of the communions by which we are divided, terrible… Read more

January 29, 2019

There is a dimension to scholarship that is often left undiscussed in the present milieu of quit lit and the woes of academia, and that is pleasure. Certainly, the problem of overwork and the exploitation of labour is an ever-present reality in the academy, the most famous example being a tweet from a professor somewhere in New England saying that a 60-hour work week is short for an academic, and most are logging more. Even I have experienced it, along… Read more

January 24, 2019

About a month ago, I finally got around to watching the classic Hitchcock film North by Northwest. It was late one night after finishing some work here where I am employed at Northwestern University, where of course the daily news magazine is titled North by Northwestern. After seeing it, I suppose I understood why I always felt it was a film that I should see. It is in some quarters regarded informally as the first Bond film, just as From Russia… Read more

January 22, 2019

As this postfeast of Theophany this year continues apace, I recall my first Theophany celebration, which took place in Richmond on the evening of January 5, 2016. I still remember it. It was at the beginning of my catechumenate, which my records indicate began on December 5 the year before. The truth is that I don’t recall being very serious about the catechumenate at that point. It was more of a let’s see how this goes approach. I definitely didn’t want… Read more

January 21, 2019

I wore this shirt for this year’s secular Feast of our Brother among the Saints Martin Luther King, Jr. My father and I acquired this shirt while visiting the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis the summer before I started grad school. On the night he was assassinated, King was in Memphis organizing sanitation workers. His work had developed from his nonviolent work on desegregation in the South to a radical call for ‘revolution of values’ linking the Vietnam War… Read more

January 20, 2019

The Tomos of autocephaly for the Orthodox Church in Ukraine came out from the Ecumenical Patriarchate on the Feast of Theophany this year; on the Old Calendar celebration of that same feast yesterday, my brother Julian and I met one of its architects. It was, I suppose, a long time in coming. Julian tells me that he and Bishop Daniel of Chicago keep missing each other when their travels coincide throughout the world, say, in Kyiv, in Lviv, and in… Read more

January 16, 2019

My wife’s name day falls on the commemoration of the Venerable Genevieve of Paris. My spiritual father and I discovered this fact while researching patron saints for my chrismation. I was thrilled to learn that my wife continues to be cooler than me. I have Holy Justin the Philosopher and Martyr, which fits my academic persona, but she has Genevieve of Paris. I mean, the Parisian thing is cool enough — its status as the romantic city in the world… Read more

January 15, 2019

To me, the theology of the Latin Church is encapsulated by the dictum, Ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est – where there is charity (agape) and desiring-love (eros), God is there. The rest of the song, usually sung by the Latins on Great and Holy Thursday, is, for lack of better words, about church politics – that is, about the church as a unique kind of polis, a civitas. Indeed, the next line gives it away – congregavit nos in unum Christi amor (gathered we in… Read more

January 14, 2019

Last night, I decided on a whim, though it was late, to have a Reader’s Vespers for the Feast of the Circumcision of our Lord and our Father among the Saints Basil the Great. I don’t have much by way of reflection in a formal sense, but I did want to address why I do these services and record them as part of the work of our mission in Chicago. Someone, for example, asked me why I don’t bother to… Read more

January 12, 2019

One of the pleasures of being on two calendars at the same time — the New in Richmond, the Old in Chicago — is that there are some points in the church year where I get celebrations twice. The time around Nativity and Theophany is one such point. I go home for the holidays when my fall quarter ends in early December, and I’m back in early January when my winter term begins. As it was, I got two celebrations… Read more

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