Audite Omnes: On the Holy Merits of Patrick the Bishop in The Works of St. Patrick

Feast of the Holy Martyred Bishops of Cherson: Basileus, Ephraim, Eugene, Capito, Aetherius, Agathodorus, and Elpidius

AUDITE OMNES [Hear ye all], lovers of God, the holy merits / Of the man blessed in Christ, Patrick the bishop, / How for his good ways he is likened to the angels, / And because of his perfect life is deemed equal to the apostles.” So begins St. Secundinus’ fifth-century abecedarian hymn... Continue Reading

Theosis & Eros, Celibacy & Marriage

Feast of St Euthymius the Great

Dr. Adam G. Cooper recently corresponded with Carl E. Olson, editor of Catholic World Report, about his newest books—Naturally Human, Supernaturally God: Deification in Pre-conciliar Catholicism and Holy Eros: A Liturgical Theology of the Body—and his research into salvation, liturgy, theosis, the meaning of the body, and the crucial relationship between celibacy and marriage.

CWR: At first glance, these two books might appear to... Continue Reading

Christianity & Eros Revisited: Making Love as Sacramental Act

Feast of St Athanasius & Cyril, Patriarchs of Alexandria

FIRST THINGS recently published a piece I wrote titled “Eight Theses on Sex.” In the first thesis, I suggested that sexual union is a sacrament of union with Christ. I took my cue from Saint Paul’s statement in Ephesians 5 that the one-flesh relationship between husband and wife is a profound mystery that refers to Christ and the Church (Eph.... Continue Reading

God With Us: Rediscovering the Meaning of Christmas

Feast of St Daniel the Stylite of Constantinople
God With Us: Rediscovering the Meaning of Christmas edited by Greg Pennoyer and Gregory Wolfe

PART DEVOTION, part art, and part prayer, God With Us is a spiritual summons. Christmas coming ‘round year after year forces us, in the words of Eugene Peterson, to “deal with all the mess of our humanity in the context of God who has already... Continue Reading

Port and Nuts with the Eliots: A Review of Notes towards the Definition of Culture

Feast of St Andrew the First-Called Apostle

LIKE MOST important writers, Mr. T. S. Eliot is not a single figure but a household. This household has, I think, at least three permanent residents. First, there is the archdeacon, who believes in and practices order, discipline, and good manners, social and intellectual, with a thoroughly Anglican distaste for evangelical excess:

… his conversation, so nicely
Restricted to What Precisely
And... Continue Reading

Lives of the Mind: The Uses and Abuses of Intelligence from Hegel to Wodehouse

Feast of the Martyrs Marcian and Martyrius
Lives of the Mind: The Uses and Abuses of Intelligence from Hegel to Wodehouse by Roger Kimball

ADDRESSING intellectual hubris, critic Roger Kimball counters with a definition of intellectual humility: “Till we can become divine we must be content to be human, lest in our hurry for a change we sink to something lower” (Anthony Trollope). Kimball’s approach in Lives of... Continue Reading

Orthodoxy and The Everlasting Man

Feast of Our Righteous Father Theophilus the Confessor
Orthodoxy and The Everlasting Man by G. K. Chesterton

ORTHODOXY is surely one of the most famous apologies for Christian orthodoxy of the modern age. Chesterton's dazzling use of metaphor and paradox fits comfortably with his conviction that the world is neither unreasonable nor reasonable, but nearly reasonable, "a trap for logicians." This silent "swerving from accuracy by an inch" is... Continue Reading

The Hero Is a Hobbit: A Review of The Fellowship of the Ring

Feast of St. Methodia the Righteous of Kimolos
The Fellowship of the Ring: Being the First Part of the Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien

IN 1937 there appeared, without any fanfare, a book called The Hobbit which, in my opinion, is one of the best children’s stories of this century. In The Fellowship of the Ring, which is the first volume of a trilogy,... Continue Reading

Christianity & Culture

Feast of the Elevation of the Venerable & Live-Giving Cross
Christianity & Culture by T. S. Eliot

ELIOT'S point of departure is clear enough. He names it “the suspicion that the current terms in which we discuss international affairs and political theory may only tend to conceal from us the real issues of contemporary civilization” As poet, Eliot practices his craft in accord with that question –... Continue Reading

The God Who Believes: Faith, Doubt, and the Vicarious Humanity of Christ

Feast of the Holy Apostle Thaddaeus
The God Who Believes: Faith, Doubt, and the Vicarious Humanity of Christ by Christian D. Kettler

ST GREGORY of Nazianzus’ dictum ‘the unassumed is the unhealed’, insisting that the Son of God assumed our humanity in every single aspect except for sin, has been a plumb-line for sound theological thinking for sixteen centuries. Yet it has usually remained just that – a... Continue Reading

St Macarius the Spiritbearer: Coptic Texts Relating to Saint Macarius the Great

Feast of the Dormition of St Anna, Mother of the Theotokos
St Macarius the Spiritbearer: Coptic Texts Relating to Saint Macarius the Great translated with introduction by Tim Vivian

THIS VOLUME, paired with Four Desert Fathers, brings the lives and teachings of four Coptic monks to a wider audience than Gabriel Bunge and Adalbert de Vogue’s original, largely academic, French translations from the Coptic Palladiana. Dr. Tim Vivian, a... Continue Reading

Cosmic Liturgy: The Universe According to Maximus the Confessor

Feast of St Euphemia the Great Martyr

AN EXTRAORDINARILY bold statement: “Von Balthasar developed his view of the importance of the Confessor within the horizon of patristic thought but also in the broadest possible context of the history of thought. He considers this possible, because he begins with the assumption that there is, in the final analysis, one single question for human thought at every time and in every... Continue Reading

The Philokalia

Feast of St Macrina, Grandmother of St Basil the Great
The Philokalia – 4 volumes (of projected 5) compiled by St. Nikodimos of the Holy Mountain and St. Makarios of Corinth; translated from the Greek and edited by G. E. H. Palmer, Philip Sherrard, and Kallistos Ware

THE PHILOKALIA is a collection of texts written between the fourth and fifteenth centuries by thirty-six spiritual masters of the Orthodox... Continue Reading

God's Plagiarist

Feast of St Eulogios the Innkeeper of Constantinople
God’s Plagiarist: Being an Account of the Fabulous Industry and Irregular Commerce of the Abbé Migne by R. Howard Bloch

IN HIS REVIEW in the New Republic, Anthony Grafton describes God’s Plagiarist as “An unforgettable, Daumier-like portrait” of an “enterprising, austere and somewhat crazed merchandiser of sacred learning.” Grafton is right on the mark. This is the story of a... Continue Reading

Discerning the Mystery

Feast of Hieromartyr Januarius
Discerning the Mystery: An Essay on the Nature of Theology

PUBLISHED over twenty-five years ago, this book is still the finest critique of the Enlightenment’s ways of knowing, coupled with a winsome description of a distinctly Christian alternative. Responding to what he sees as a “division and fragmentation” both in theology and the larger culture due to “the one-sided way we have come to seek... Continue Reading

Egeria's Travels

Bright Wednesday and Feast of Pharmuthios the Anchorite
Egeria’s Travels (Third Edition) translated with notes by John Wilkinson

SOMEWHERE around the year 400, a devout Spanish nun traveled on a Lenten pilgrimage to the Holy Land, keeping a diary of her journey. That diary has become a priceless witness to us of the fourth century Church’s liturgical practices during Lent and Holy Week. The churches Constantine had built... Continue Reading

The Burning Bush

Feast of St John Climacus; Holy Friday (West)
The Burning Bush: On the Orthodox Veneration of the Mother of God by Sergius Bulgakov; translated by Thomas Allan Smith

THE FIRST component of Bulgakov’s “minor theological trilogy” develops a Mariology deeply rooted in patristics, liturgical devotion, and Old Testament prefiguration. The great twentieth-century Russian theologian engages the Catholic dogma of the Immaculate Conception as he considers the sinlessness and... Continue Reading

The Spirit of Early Christian Thought

Feast of the Finding of the Precious Cross by St. Helen
The Spirit of Early Christian Thought: Seeking the Face of God by Robert Louis Wilken

ROBERT Wilken is one of our finest contemporary writers on early Christianity, one who can communicate with a general readership without condescension (the real test of genuine scholarship). He began this book intending to write a history of early Christian apologetics but... Continue Reading

The Fellowship

Feast of the Synaxis of the Holy and Righteous Symeon the God-Receiver and the Holy Prophetess Anna
The Fellowship: The Literary Lives of the Inklings: J. R. R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, Owen Barfield, Charles Williams by Philip Zaleski and Carol Zaleski

Zalesky__Fellowship_Square.jpegPROBABLY the most comprehensive examination of the Inklings to date. The Zaleskis accomplish the formidable task of creating substantial portraits of Tolkien, Lewis, Barfield, and Williams,... Continue Reading

Being As Communion

Feast of St Anthony the Great
Being As Communion: Studies in Personhood and the Church by John Zizioulas

Being_as_Communion_Square.jpegFOR TWENTIETH-century Christians, the application of the slogan “No pain, no gain” is appropriate to the painstaking absorption of this sometimes difficult, but immensely rewarding work. Written by the contemporary Orthodox theologian John Zizioulas, these studies represent ground-breaking developments over the past three decades in what has come to be... Continue Reading