Beginnings: Ancient Christian Readings of the Biblical Creation Narratives

Feast of St Kalliope the Martyr
Beginnings: Ancient Christian Readings of the Biblical Creation Narratives by Peter C. Bouteneff

Bouteneff__Beginnings.jpgTHE DEBATE about human origins has all but overtaken discussions of “faith issues” in mainstream media. Each side wishes to present the other as a laughable absurdity, and we are led to believe that historic Christianity is singularly proved or undone by the amassing of scientific research. In this scenario,... Continue Reading


The Arena: An Offering to Contemporary Monasticism

Feast of Sts Carpos and Alphaeus, Apostles of the 70
The Arena: An Offering to Contemporary Monasticism by St. Ignatius Brianchaninov; translated by Archimandrite Lazarus

Brianchaninov__The_Arena_book_Square.jpegBISHOP IGNATIUS Brianchaninov (1807-1867, glorified 1988) composed this manual in two parts, the first on the inner life, the second on outer conduct, of a monk. It is rooted firmly in Scripture, the Fathers (especially John Climacus and Isaac the Syrian) and the author’s... Continue Reading


Orthodox Spirituality

Feast of St Euphrasia the Martyr of Nicea and Stephen I, Patriarch of Constantinople
Orthodox Spirituality: A Practical Guide for the Faithful and a Definitive Manual for the Scholar by Fr. Dumitru Staniloae

Staniloae__Orthodox_Spirituality_Cover.jpgSOMETIMES it is best to stand aside and let the author speak for himself: “Orthodox spirituality has as its goal the deification of man and his union with God, without being merged with Him. It has... Continue Reading


Maximus the Confessor

Feast of St Hilary the Wonderworker
Maximus the Confessor (Routledge Early Church Fathers) by Andrew Louth

Louth_Maximus_square.jpegST MAXIMUS was a seventh-century Byzantine aristocrat—he was at one time Secretary to the Emperor—who became a monk and one of the most celebrated Byzantine theologians. A prolific writer, he was famous for, among other things, his important contributions to the Christological debate (he opposed Monothelitism) that led up to the decisions of... Continue Reading


Jesus and the Eyewitnesses

Feast of St Mark, Bishop of Arethusa
Jesus and the Eyewitnesses: The Gospels As Eyewitness Testimony by Richard Bauckham

Christ_Teaching_Square.jpegTHE ROLE of eyewitnesses in transmitting true information about Jesus and his ministry is affirmed in many crucial passages of the New Testament, epitomized in the First Epistle of John: “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have... Continue Reading


The Desert Fathers: Sayings of the Early Christian Monks

Feast of St. Patrick
The Desert Fathers: Sayings of the Early Christian Monks translated by Benedicta Ward

Ward_desert_frs_square.jpgTHIS TRANSLATION of the Vitae Patrum has it all: comical stories, thwarted demons, sagacious aphorisms, and hard truths. Open the book at random and you’ll find a pearl some fourth century monk sold all for and spent a lifetime seeking. Take Bessarion, who on his deathbed said, “A monk ought to be... Continue Reading


The Disenchantment of Secular Discourse

Feast of St Procopius the Confessor and St Raphael of Brooklyn
The Disenchantment of Secular Discourse by Steven D. Smith

Disenchantment_of_Secular_Discourse_Square.jpegTHOSE WHO bemoan (or tune out) that American tower of Babel known as “public discourse” should certainly tune in to these reflections on why such conversations are either deplorably shallow, degraded, or at best inconclusive. Smith dismisses the usual suspects (technology, education, religion in the public square) to focus... Continue Reading


A Secular Age

Feast of Theophany and St. Theophane the Recluse
A Secular Age by Charles Taylor

Taylors_Secular_Age_Square.jpgWE MODERNS tend to believe in God reflectively rather than reflexively. Such a reduction is useful in navigating one of the most important contributions to the definition of the secular. Having described the nature of the person in Sources of the Self, Taylor seeks to understand the person-in-the-world: “How did we move from a condition... Continue Reading


Beauty for Truth's Sake

Feast of the Great Martyr Anastasia of Rome
Beauty for Truth's Sake: On the Re-enchantment of Education by Stratford Caldecott

Caldecott_Beauty_square.jpegG. K. CHESTERTON nicely frames the problems of modern culture, and as a result, modern education: “People are inundated, blinded, deafened, and mentally paralysed by a flood of vulgar and tasteless externals, leaving them no time for leisure, thought, or creation from within themselves.” Unapologetically, Stratford Caldecott (editor of... Continue Reading


St. Ambrose: Seven Exegetical Works

Feast of the Holy Martyrs Menas, Hermogenes, and Eugraphus
St. Ambrose: Seven Exegetical Works Fathers of the Church, Volume 65

Ambrose_Square.jpgCHURCH historians tell us that Ambrose considered preaching a sacred duty. He addressed his flock on all Sundays and feast days, and every day during the season of Lent. The seven sermons presented in this work were prepared (and likely delivered) between 386 and 394. Included are Isaac, or... Continue Reading