Public Orthodoxy

by Aristotle Papanikolaou

When it comes to voting, I had always thought that there was never a way for Christians to vote with clean hands. Regardless of party or candidate, a Christian could not vote without being implicated in supporting principles that are counter to Christian faith. And that’s how it should be: Christian witness points to that which is more than the political. Put another way, the political is something but it is not everything.

If Christian witness is to point to what is more than the political, then Christian responsibility is not done after we vote; it only intensifies after an election. No matter who is elected, Christians must always exercise a prophetic voice.

If Hillary Clinton had been elected, Christians would have had to exercise this prophetic voice—some would have focused on her failure to promote a consistent ethic of life, while others might have targeted her…

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The election has not been decided yet, although it looks as though Donald Trump will win.  I offer the following thoughts, which I hope will not become reality. Some might say that this is the time for more caution and self-protection.  I believe this moment demands the opposite.

Muslim Americans, Latino/as, Jewish Americans, African-Americans, my fellow LGBT folk: I have your back no matter what happens tonight. A Trump presidency can’t keep us from loving each other and fighting for one another. I won’t let those who hate us, want us to go away, or simply don’t care about us keep us from having each other’s backs.

Rudy Giuliani compares Trump’s potential win to Andrew Jackson’s, the guy who violently conquered the Seminole Indians, orchestrated the Trail of Tears, and was a super fan of slavery. Yep, sounds about right.

Mainstream Republicans decrying Trump as the end of the Republican…

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I have not written here in a while. In part, this is because I have been busily pursuing a master’s degree in social work. Now that my formal academic studies are behind me, I should have more time to write (and quite shamelessly re-blog). I am planning to revisit a number of topics that I had wanted to write about previously. One area that I am planning to explore is the relationship and dialogue between the Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox.I also want to look at the topic of liturgical renewal, as well as topics related to the Western Rite. Anyway, stay tuned.

Video: A rendition of the Sanctus in Hebrew.

Dissenters, Depart!

Authoritarianism and the silencing of dissent in the church is an issue that has been of concern to me, especially in light of the alliance that certain national churches have made with the political regimes under which the live and serve.


Recently, I have been told that as a now former Orthodox Christian, I should no longer address Orthodox issues. Sometimes this is through a relatively polite comment, and sometimes via nasty personal messages in which I am accused of being “at best dishonest” and at worst “remarkably disingenuous.”

Such outrage at my commentary is hardly new, but as not a few Orthodox friends predicted, leaving Orthodoxy simply gives critics one more weapon in the battle to silence disagreement. I think it is worth more extended comments on just how problematic are the assumptions which underlie this form of silencing.

Contemporary Orthodoxy appears to have very little capacity to handle disagreement. Declaring tout court that non-Orthodox have nothing to contribute to Orthodoxy only underscores the insistence on conformity and the silencing of disagreement which is currently commonplace within Orthodoxy. The current silencing of priests who disagree on issues of pastoral…

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Maria McDowell writes about the issue of the policing of the chalice, which has long been on my mind as well.


This last week I have been ensconced in comparative Anglican Eucharistic prayers, those prayers said in relation to the sharing of bread and wine that is common to all Christians. Colin Buchanan argues that Thomas Cranmer, the ‘teflon bishop’ (well, until the teflon wore off as it did for so many…) who is responsible for the first Books of Common Prayer used successive revisions (from 1549 to 1552) to implement an intentionally ‘stepped’ plan of change.1 Cranmer was shifting away from a more Catholic/Lutheran understanding2 of a ‘moment’ of consecration (which implies at the very least an understanding of ‘real presence,’) in which the bread and wine are themselves vehicles of Christ’s body and blood. He was shifting towards the belief that it is only in proper reception that one encounters the presence of Christ, or in other words, only the one who receives the bread and…

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Gregory Pappas: I was denied communion because I am gay

Gregory C. Pappas is a film producer, publisher of The Pappas Post and CEO of the Pappas Media Group, a Chicago-based public relations firm.

(via The Washington Post, June, 12, 2014)