Archive for August, 2005

The main thing I came away with from George Gapen’s article is that the (Orthodox) Church is a real thing, it’s not a philosophical association like all the other religious / philosophical associations and societies out there. It’s the Body of Christ, and as he (Gapen) said, it can’t be re-concocted out of “ingredients.” To extend the analogy, it’s a mixture in its final state; it can’t be ‘unmixed’ successfully.


…especially for Westerners. Just remember, there are many different “schools” of iconography from many different places and times. Acquainting yourself with them will broaden your ‘palate,’ and help you see how they all depict the Glory of God in different ways.

As they used to say, “Try it, you’ll like it!”

Everybody needs to be Baptized and/or Chrismated. As someone once said, “We’re all converts!”

See here for an example of how recognition of many Orthodox Saints begins with grassroots devotion and memory-keeping: Blessed Olga of Alaska.

Timely enough, after death she is being associated with the problem of sexual abuse and the healing of memories thereof.

(“Blessed” is a title not officially conferred by the Orthodox as by the Catholics. For us it sometimes just grows up around certain Saints. So does “Venerable.”)

On Monday August 1, we entered the Transfiguration / Dormition Fast, which continues through 8/14. (It’s usually just called the Dormition Fast.) And it occurred to me that Orthodox commemorate Mary’s falling asleep on the 15th, but the West, her Assumption, which we say took place within three days of her burial. That is, the Assumption may have taken place right after she was buried; all we know for sure is that her tomb was empty on the third day when St. Thomas, in God’s Providence, arrived from India and found it so.

Considering that the West is agnostic concerning her death, who is more credible?

Near as I can tell, “unto ages of ages,” the phrase which concludes many Orthodox prayers, is a literal translation of the Greek, expressing the same thing some Western churches say in “forever and ever.” (Which in turn usually translates the Latin “in saeculum saeculorum,” or, “unto ages of ages”!)

It reminds me of the expression “a month of Sundays.” Literally it suggests more than half a year; in reality it is merely used to express “a long while.” Think of an age, a long period of time, consisting of many long periods of time. Then think of many ages…of ages. It seems redundant, in exactly the same way as “forever and ever.” It’s poetic. My priest tells me the Divine Liturgy is poetry in the original Koine Greek; thus so would individual prayers often be, since many come from or are inspired by the Liturgy.

At least one American jurisdiction at least sometimes says, instead of “ages of ages,” “now and ever and forever.” Why do most translate it “ages of ages”? As far as I know, we haven’t really let English-speaking poets loose on the Koine text of the Liturgy yet, so we have cautious, careful translations, which differ from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. One thing some Orthodox Unity proponents push for is a multi-jurisdictional committee to produce a common (ie, shared) English translation. Maybe at that time they’ll examine whether “ages of ages” is retained.

are the subject(s) of an almost 30-year-old “meditation” by George Gapen. Read it slowly.