Wednesday, May 25, 2011

A Much Needed Update and My Last Post

Hello Lonely Blog and Neglected Readers,

The Spring semester was extraordinarily busy. Thus my lack of attention to this blog. I had twenty-two credit hours, the classes were slightly more difficult than the previous semester and Lent was settled in the midst of it all. Lent was a difficult but rewarding experience. I fasted harder and prayed more than I ever have. I am thankful for the immersion into the full cycle of Lent and Holy Week. Pascha (Easter) was fabulous, even though it rained for the procession around the Church.

I think my favorite class was Greek. It was a small group of students (five of us) and we sat around reading Greek texts for two hours. Sounds like fun to me! We completed 1st John, a series of various excerpts from the Church Fathers, and learned many Byzantine hymns in Greek. I wrote two research papers this semester. One on the theological dialogues between the Eastern Orthodox and the Oriential Orthodox and another on St. Dionysius the Areopagite. I hope to post the papers on this blog as I have previous ones. Next semester I will be researching St. Cyril of Alexandria and the Christological conflict he was involved in.

The family has survived the school year. Elizabeth was wonderful as a mother and wife. She was supportive and hung in there at time when I was often away from home studying or in church services. God has blessed me with a faithful and devoted partner. Our YMCA memberships was a lifesaver. Elias and Genevieve loved the pool. We found ourselves there often. Elias is making great strides in his development. He is able to pedal on his tricycle, jump, and has greatly improved in using scissors - all those skills of great importance for pre-schoolers. Elias' school is going a bit longer this summer due to the 11 snow days this winter! I have never seen so many snow days in my life. Genevieve running around and starting to talk. She can say everyone's name in the family as well as 'ball', 'bus', and 'apple', which comes out 'apee'. She is also fond of waving to any car which happens to drive by. Her and Elias love to play together, unless Elias is playing with blocks or his cars and then Genevieve turns into baby-zilla. Now that the weather has improved they have both been playing out side and Gennie has discovered the little play house. She loves it.

Right now I am up in Maine working. Elizabeth and the kids will join me in a few weeks, once Elias' school lets out. She will be working as a waitress for the Ebb Tide, a small diner with big character. I am working at the Newagen Inn as the front desk clerk. So far I love it. There are plenty of interesting people to meet. There is a small Orthodox Church in Richmond a town about a half hour away. That is where we will probably be attending this summer. My parents will be visiting us this summer in Maine as will my sister and her family. It will be their first time back to Maine since our wedding (8 years ago this July).

God has been very good to us this year and has provided for us financially. Unfortunatley I did not get the other scholarship from FTE (Fund for Theological Education), but I did get a scholarship from Sts. Peter and Paul Orthodox Church in Chicago as well as some support from my bishop, His Grace, Mathias of the Chicago. Our families have also been very supportive. My in-laws (or outlaws as I like to call them) are graciously letting us stay with them for the summer while we work. Though I get the feeling that they are more interested in the grandkids coming for the summer than anything else.

This will be my last post for the summer. Perhaps I will pick the blog back up again at the beginning of the next school year.  But probably not. I still plan on posting my papers for anyone who is interested.

Christ is Risen!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Orthodoxy and Monasticism

"The worship of the modern Eastern Orthodox Church is fundamentally monastic, and the near hegemony of “philokalic” theological reflection in modern Orthodox thought—that is, an approach to theology inspired by the collection of fundamentally monastic ascetic and mystical texts published in 1782 as the Philokalia—only reinforces a sense of the centrality of monastic experience in modern Orthodoxy." - Andrew Louth in The Reception of Dionysius in the Byzantine World; Maximus to Palamas

What are your thoughts on this quote? Is Louth correct in his generalization? Is t here something essentially monastic in Orthodoxy that is lacking in other Christian traditions?

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Books This Semester

Below is a selection of some of the books I will be reading this semester.

The Sacred Gift of Life, John Breck
This book is part of the readings for my class in Ethics. In it Breck addresses many bio-ethical issues such as assisted suicide, cloning, surrogate motherhood, abortion, ect. 

Explanation of the Holy Gospels, Blessed Theophylact
Theophylact lived in Bulgaria in the 11th century. This is probably one of the most accessible and readable commentaries available from the Fathers of the Church. It covers all four Gospels. In short it is an ancient and timeless bible study.

Commentary on the Gospel of Luke, St. Cyril of Alexandria
St. Cyril is another father of the 4th century. he wrote many works including biblical commentaries, theological treatises, and pastoral letters. 

Homilies on the Acts of the Apostles, St. John Chrysostom
St. John Chrysostom (Goldenmouth) is perhaps the greatest preacher the Church has ever had. There are literally volumes of his writings, almost all are homilies about Scripture. It is believed that the homilies we have were not edited or written by John but were transcribed by others who heard him preach. It is very likely that what we have in writing is what was heard centuries ago (5th century).

Man and the Environment, Anestis Keselopoulos
This text draws from the writings of St. Symeon the New Theologian who is one of the greatest mystical writers of the Church. St. Symeon had a very high regard for plants and animals displays a profound love and compasion for all of creation. This book focuses on man's relationship with the rest of the material realm of creation. 

Hexaemeron, St. Basil the Great
Hexaemeron literally means six days. This ancient text (4th century) is a biblical commentary on the first few chapters of Genesis and focuses on the meaning of the creation narrative. 

The Expereince of God, Volume 2, The World: Creation and Deification, Dumitru Staniloae
The main text for my class in cosmology (the study of creation). Dumitru is a Romanian theologian and this book is one volume of a comprehensive Dogmatics (think doctrines or beliefs) book written by him. It comes everything from the nature and origins of evil to angels and the end times (in theological terms called eschatology). he future redemption of

The Orthodox Liturgy, Hugh Wybrew
A historical survey of the development of the liturgy in the Orthodox Church.
Orthodox Liturgy, The

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Next Semester's Schedule and Christmas Break

Christ is Born!

Thankfully I have a month off after a full fall semester. I've been told that the Spring semester of your freshman year is the most difficult. Not only will the schedule be more packed than the Fall's but the Great Fast (Lent) rests nicely in the middle of the semester.

Next Semester is packed with 24 hours of classes. My classes are as follows: Slavonic, Greek, Liturgics, Synoptic Gospels, Ethics, Byzantine Church History, Sacred Music, Choir, and Cosmology. I have already been assigned a Church Father for Cosmology. Over the break I will be doing some light reading from St. Dionysios the Areopagite.

For the break my family will be traveling. We will spend time in Massachusetts, Maine, and Michigan. We have a baptism to attend in Michigan; Elizabeth will be the godmother. We will also be catching up with old friends from Holy Ascension and spending time at the Dormition Monastery.

I will be posting more of my papers from the fall semester in January. Until then I will be enjoying all twelve days of Christmas.

Joyous Feast!