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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Patriarch IGNATIUS IV visits America

As seen here:

"His Beatitude Patriarch IGNATIUS IV arrived in Newark, New Jersey on the evening of October 28th, 2008. He was greeted at the airport by His Eminence Metropolitan PHILIP, Bishop ANTOUN, Bishop THOMAS and area clergy. His Beatitude will stay at the Archdiocese Headquarters until Thursday October 30th when he will depart for Boston, MA, where he will preside over a celebration banquet for the University of Balamand"

To read the rest, please go to the Website


Study finds more U.S. Orthodox Christian converts

This is an article from the USA Today, written by Nicole Neroulias

The article says:

"A new study of Orthodox Christians in America has found a larger-than-expected number of converts, mostly from Roman Catholic and evangelical Protestant backgrounds.
The report, released by the Patriarch Athenagoras Orthodox Institute in Berkeley, Calif., surveyed 1,000 members of Greek Orthodox or Orthodox Church in America congregations, which represent about 60% of America's estimated 1.2 million Orthodox Christians.

Although Orthodox churches were historically immigrant communities, the study found that nine out of 10 parishioners are now American-born. Thousands of members had converted to the faith as adults: 29% of Greek Orthodox are converts, as are 51% of the OCA.

"I would not have expected this many," said Alexei Krindatch, the Orthodox Institute's research director. "My sense was that in Greek Orthodox, it would be around 15%, and OCA maybe one-third."

The study also found unexpectedly high numbers of converts among clergy — 56% in the OCA, 14% in the Greek Orthodox church. In both cases, the higher OCA numbers reflect that group's use of English in its worship services, he added.

These findings could mean that Orthodox churches are growing in America, assuming there aren't equal or greater numbers of Orthodox Christians leaving for other faiths; researchers won't know until they conduct a 2010 membership census. The findings, however, indicate that other Christians are increasingly seeking a more traditional worship experience, Krindatch said.

"In the case of Roman Catholics, those are mainly people who are not quite happy with the reforms of the Second Vatican Council; they are looking for the Catholic Church as it used to be in the past," he said. "In the case of evangelical Christians, those are people who have very strong personal beliefs, they know the Bible very well, they are frequent churchgoers, and eventually they want to join an established church with deep, historical roots."

To read the rest of the article, go to the USA today Website:

They didn't include the jurisdiction I'm in, which is AOA (Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America) if they did the percentage would of been higher. Plus the survey was done on the west coast, the numbers could of been different if they did a national survey. But it's interesting to know what's going on in the west coast.


Early Byzantine Syrian Christian art

I would like to give thanks to Dr. Emma Loosley for suggesting these books to me, they will come in handy as I finish up on my rejoinder with Morey's book. But since I can't read spanish I won't be able to check out one of the books. Eventually, I will be able to check out:

1.) The Christian Art of Byzantine Syria by Father Pena (A Franciscan)

2.) The Architecture and Liturgy of the Bema in Fourth-to Sixth-Century Syrian Churches by Dr. Emma LOOSLEY (her book)

These along with Mike Aquilina's book Signs and Mysteries: Revealing Ancient Christian Symbols. Should give me what I need in talking about the issue of Icons. I'm going to be quoting from these books once I get done with it.

The plan is to start out with the signs and symbols of early christianity into the Icons of early christianity. I will also let people know about the Icons of Judaism in the synagogues as well. At least that's how I plan on making my case.

The only otherthing I have to cover in the rejoinder is the "Calvinist" Patriarch claim. Other Orthodox on the web have already posted stuff about that so I'm just gonna quote what they already said.

This is going to take longer than what I planned. Especially now, since I'm in the St. Stephen's Course in Orthodox Theology program. Which is seen here and here. So it's gonna be awhile, but I'm sure I can always use what I'm learning at Saint Stephen's with what I'm working on I will quote stuff from the books I have to read for the Saint Stephen's program as well. For anything that deals with the topic at hand will help. In my conclusion, I will talk about how Eastern Orthodoxy had many places(regions) of influence. Robert Morey tries to paint the picture that we came from Egypt, but that's purely false. The City of Alexandria was not the only Holy See of Orthodoxy.

He totally ignores (or just doesn't know) about the Holy See of Antioch, plus at that time, the East and West were in full communion, so you would have to include Rome in the picture as well when you talk about Ancient Orthodoxy.

For at first the Holy Sees were

1. Rome

2. Alexandria

3. Antioch

And Later two more Holy sees were added in Constantinople and Jerusalem:

1. Rome

2. Constantinople

3. Alexandria

4. Antioch

5. Jerusalem

Morey only focuses on Alexandria Egypt, but Antioch was important as well, for after all, we were first called Christians in the city of Antioch. And to ignore the influence of Antioch is to distort the whole picture. So I'm going to include the influence of Antioch in my rejoinder.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Jewish Iconography in Ancient Synagogues

In reading "Signs and Mysteries" by Mike Aquilina & Lea Marie Ravotti, I came across a statement that said:

"The Early Christians kept, more or less, within these limits. Yet, even with these constraints, they found an abundance of images at hand. Their first resource was the Bible, with its rich history and metaphor. The biblical images had for generations been stereotyped in the iconography of the synagogues of the Jews. Though later Judaism came to reject most religious artwork, the synagogues of late antiquity were lavishly decorated." page 15 [1]

They didn't have any pictures of this claim, but I didn't doubt it because I once saw something on TV in where they found evidence of something similar. I also heard a Conservative Jewish Rabbi mention the samething about some synagogues that still have icons in them. But I never really saw any pictures of what he was talking about. I heard the conservative Jewish Rabbi say it on this podcast. Play Online (It's about 40 minutes long and it was said in passing, when asked a question about it)

The pictures shown on this blog came from this Website: I agree with the general drift/ethos of what was said, but I don't agree with every statement said on that site for the issue was a bit more complex than that. There were christians in the church that rejected it, and it took a while for the Church to take a stand on the issue, but I 100%ly agree that images in some form were always present. We can see this with the Fish, the cross, the Shepard and the lamb, along with a host of others......... With that said, here are the Jewish pics.

Judean Synagogue in Dura Europos. According to the website it dates back to about 235 A.D.

This is a close up picture of one of the icons dipicted above.

Now, what I would like to know is when did the Jews start to change their mind about iconography in their Synagogues? Well wait, I heard that even some synagogues today have icons. But I would still like to know when they changed their mind. general.

You can also find this icon at this Site.


[1] page 15, from the book "Signs & Mysteries: Revealing Ancient Christian Symbols" by Mike Aquilina, illustrations by Lea Marie Ravotti, Copyright 2008 by Our Sunday Visitor publishing.

The School of Antioch

From the podcast Search the Scriptures. Dr. Jeannie Constantinou talks about the school of Antioch and Saint John Chrysostom.

Part 1
Play Online

Direct Play

The School of Antioch Part 2

Related Links:

The School of Alexandria

Saturday, October 18, 2008

The Cappadocian Fathers & the rise of the school of Antioch

This is Lesson 20 from the podcast, Search the Scriptures. Last week Dr. Jeannie Constantinou finished her discussion about the school of Alexandria. This week her focus is on the Cappadocian Fathers.

As seen from the Website:
"Today, Jeannie looks at 2 of the Cappadocian Fathers - Basil the Great and Gregory of Nyssa."

Play Online

Direct Link

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Chrysostom Bible Commentary Series

As seen from the Website:

"The present Bible Commentary Series is not so much in honor
of John Chrysostom as it is to continue and promote his legacy as an interpreter
of the biblical texts for preaching and teaching God’s congregation, in order to
prod its members to proceed on the way they started when they accepted God’s
calling. Chrysostom’s virtual uniqueness is that he did not subscribe to any
hermeneutic or methodology, since this would amount to introducing an
extra-textual authority over the biblical texts. For him, scripture is its own
interpreter. Listening to the texts time and again allowed him to realize that
“call” and “read (aloud)” are not interconnected realities; rather, they are one
reality since they both are renditions of the same Hebrew verb qara’. Given that
words read aloud are words of instruction for one “to do them,” the only valid
reaction would be to hear, listen, obey, and abide by these words. All these
connotations are subsumed in the same Hebrew verb šama‘. On the other hand,
these scriptural “words of life” are presented as readily understandable
utterances of a father to his children (Isaiah 1:2-3). The recipients are never
asked to engage in an intellectual debate with their divine instructor, or even
among themselves, to fathom what he is saying. The Apostle to the Gentiles
followed in the footsteps of the Prophets to Israel by handing down to them the
Gospel, that is, the Law of God’s Spirit through his Christ (Romans 8:2;
Galatians 6:2) as fatherly instruction (1 Corinthians 4:15). He in turn wrote
readily understandable letters to be read aloud. It is in these same footsteps
that Chrysostom followed, having learned from both the Prophets and Paul that
the same “words of life” carry also the sentence of death at the hand of the
scriptural God, Judge of all (Deuteronomy 28; Joshua 8:32-35; Psalm 82; Matthew
3:4-12; Romans 2:12-16; 1 Corinthians 10:1-11; Revelation 20:11-15).
theological debates and hermeneutical theories come and go after having fed
their proponents and their fans with passing human glory, the Golden Mouth’s
expository homilies, through the centuries, fed and still feed myriads of
believers in so many traditions and countries. Virtually banned from dogmatic
treatises, he survives in the hearts of “those who have ears to hear.” His
success is due to his commitment to exegesis rather than to futile hermeneutics.
The latter behaves as someone who dictates on a living organism what it is
supposed to be, whereas exegesis submits to that organism and endeavors to
decipher it through trial and error."

You can read the rest at the Website:

According to the webpage, Some of the volumes should be ready by 2009 & 2010.


Polio, HIV, the Green Monkey, & Chimpanzees

The main view of the Origin of Aids is the Hunter theory. As seen from this website:

"The most commonly accepted theory is that of the 'hunter'.
In this scenario, SIVcpz was transferred to humans as a result of chimps being
killed and eaten or their blood getting into cuts or wounds on the hunter.
Normally the hunter's body would have fought off SIV, but on a few occasions it
adapted itself within its new human host and become HIV-1. The fact that there
were several different early strains of HIV, each with a slightly different
genetic make-up (the most common of which was HIV-1 group M), would support this
theory: every time it passed from a chimpanzee to a man, it would have developed
in a slightly different way within his body, and thus produced a slightly
different strain.

An article published in The Lancet in 20043, also
shows how retroviral transfer from primates to hunters is still occurring even
today. In a sample of 1099 individuals in Cameroon , they discovered ten (1%)
were infected with SFV (Simian Foamy Virus), an illness which, like SIV, was
previously thought only to infect primates. All these infections were believed
to have been acquired through the butchering and consumption of monkey and ape
meat. Discoveries such as this have led to calls for an outright ban on bushmeat
hunting to prevent simian viruses being passed to humans."

I embraced this view until I started to think about the fact that the green monkey lived next to Central Africans for centuries, if not for thousands of years. Yet this outbreak was a 20nth century outbreak. Why was the green monkey only a problem now? But then again, if mad cow desease can spread that way, then why can't SIV/HIV? So I still feel that the hunter theory has some merit, so I can't give it up completely.

I found this website to be balanced, and helpful, although it tends to lean toward the hunter theory.

But what I found more interesting, was not the mainstream theory, but another view, this idea talks about the possible link of a Central African Polio vaccine to HIV(1). (HIV 1 is the form of HIV that caused the Worldwide outbreak. There is another form called HIV 2, which is not that common).


Or Watch it Here

I don't want to be a pusher of "Conspiracy Theories", but I thought this documentary was interesting. Maybe the modern outbreak of HIV has a multiple source. Maybe through both monkey hunters, as well as the hunt for new Polio vaccines, along with Contaminated/unclean needles to help vaccinate Polio in 3rd World countries.

But this is only a guess, for I really don't have a clue.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Church And State

This is from the podcast of Ft. Thomas Hopko, called Speaking the Truth in Love,

As seen from the website
"What does it mean to be a Christian and to live in this world? To answer that question, Fr. Tom examines the ancient New Testament Church." and part 2 deals with "the Roman-Byzantine empire of the 4th century." Part 3 talks about "the fifth through fifteenth centuries." Part 4 examines "the four centuries of Muslim rule over Eastern Orthodox Christians." Part 5 discusses "how the Orthodox Church fared in Russia before the revolution." Part 6 "looks at the Church in the 20th century, especially in Communist countries." Part 7 outlines "how the Church fared in the 20th century in lands that were not traditionally Orthodox." And Part 8 concludes "his series by reflecting on what it means to be a Christian in America today."

Part 1:
Play Online

Direct Link

Part 2:
Play Online

Direct Link

Part 3:
Play Online

Direct Link

Part 4:
Play Online

Direct Link

Part 5:
Play Online

Direct Link

Part 6:
Play Online

Direct Link

Part 7:
Play Online

Direct Link

Part 8:
Play Online

Direct Link

Spiritual Springtime: Reflection on 40 Years:
As seen from the webpage:
"Fr. Tom spoke at the 40th Anniversary of the consecration of the chapel at the Orthodox Monastery of the Transfiguration in Ellwood City, PA on September 27, 2008. In this lecture he reflects on 40 years of Orthodoxy in North America."

Play Audio

Direct Link

Related links:
"The Virtue of War: Reclaiming the Classic Christian Traditions East & West "


"The Pacifist Option"

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Videos has alot of videos about various Saints on their website. You can buy them at their Store, or you can view them online by subscribing to a monthly fee of either $2.99 which is the "plus subscription" (you won't be able to see all the videos with this), or for $4.99(every month) which is the premium subscription.....Which is what I have.
It's been months since I visited this website, but I enjoyed the videos they have about the Saints.

So far I have seen "St. Haralambos"

As seen from the website:

"Ellinas Multimedia presents the life of St. Haralambos. In
this 30 minute video, Orthodox priests and iconographers discuss the life and
significance of this incredible Saint. Find out:

1.) Why St. Haralambos
is known as "The Man Who Wouldn't Die"

2.) How St. Haralambos endured
tremendous suffering when he was 113 years old

3.) How the Emporer tried
to humiliate St. Haralambos into renouncing his faith

4.) What happened
at the exact moment St. Haralambos was about to be beheaded

5.) What
happened to the Emporer when he tried to strike St. Haralambos and spit on

The video
(you have to be a member in order to see it)

St. Athanasios

As seen from the website:

"Ellinas Multimedia presents the life of St. Athanasios. In
this 30 minute video, Orthodox priests and iconographers discuss the life and
significance of this incredible Saint. Find out:

1.) Why St. Athanasios
has been described as "God's Hammer"

2.) How St. Athanasios, while only
a Deacon, attended the First Ecumenical Council and dramatically changed the
future of Orthododxy

3.) Why St. Athanasios was banished 5 times during
his 45 years as an Archbishop

4.) What happened when 5,000 troops were
given the order to find St. Athanasios and kill him

5.) Who St.
Athanasios would go to for counsel when he was exiled"

The Video (you have to be a member in order to view it)

I also seen the videos for Saints John Chrysostom, Anthony, and The Emperor Constantine.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

The role of the layperson in the Orthodox Church

As seen from the podcast The Illumined Heart.

As seen from the website:
"In this edition of the Illumined Heart, pioneering radio host of "Our Life In Christ" Steve Robinson talks with Kevin about the role, opportunity and challenges of lay (person) "ministry" within the Orthodox Church. Is the Orthodox Church so clerically oriented that there isn't room for lay ministry? Listen and find out in this frank interview!"

Play online

Direct Link


From Hare Krishna to Christ

This is the journy of Patrick Lansdowne. This is from the podcast called The Illumined Heart.

As seen from the website:
"Hear the fascinating story of Patrick Lansdowne, a 7-year Hare Krishna Temple devotee, about his journey to Christ and the Orthodox Church. In Part One of the interview, Patrick and host Kevin Allen discuss the Hare Krishna sect's unique metaphysics and practices (within Hindusim) and how and why Patrick adopted them! Do any of them "prefigure" Christ?"

Part 1
Play online

Direct link

Part 2
Play Online

Direct link


The School of Alexandria

This is lesson 18 of the introduction to the Bible series by Dr. Jeannie Constantinou, from her podcast "Search the Scriptures".

As seen from the website:
"As Jeannie continues her intro to the Bible lessons, she helps us understand biblical interpretation and the school of Alexandria."

Play online


This episode is a real classic. I enjoyed it. She did a really great job with this.

Related Links:

The School of Antioch


From Baptist to Bosnia to Byzantium

This is Ft. James Early's Journy. He should be coming out with a book soon.

As seen from the website:
"Fr. James tells his story of how he found the Orthodox Church. Fr. James served as a missionary for the Baptist Church in Bosnia. In Bosnia he discovered the Orthodox Church. Fr. James is an Author of a forth coming book from Regina Orthodox Press entitled From Baptist to Bosnia to Byzantium. Fr. James serves as the second Priest at St. Joseph Antiochian Orthodox Church in Houston. Fr. James and his family were received into the Orthodox Church in 2001."

Play online


I edited the bookstore

I just finished editing the Eastern Orthodox section in the Bookstore. There were some books there that just didn't belong, so I had to hand pick which books I wanted in that section.


The Virtue of War: Reclaiming the Classic Christian Traditions East & West

By Alexander F. C. Webster, & Darrell Cole

As seen from the website:

This gives the opposite view of the other book "The Pacifist Option".

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