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The Life of the Cosmos

By Fr. Stephen Freeman, January 15, 2016  What does it mean to be alive? This is a question whose answer would seem so obvious that it is hardly worth asking. And yet. A recent comment drew attention to a different way of thinking about what is “alive.” I will offer some quotes from the comment and then some observations of my own. I give special thanks to Justin. Everything is alive. Everything. We encounter the

Pentecost: The Descent of the Holy Spirit

In the Old Testament Pentecost was the feast which occurred fifty days after Passover. As the Passover feast celebrated the exodus of the Israelites from the slavery of Egypt, so Pentecost celebrated God’s gift of the ten commandments to Moses on Mount Sinai. In the new covenant of the Messiah, the Passover event takes on its new meaning as the celebration of Christ’s death and resurrection, the “exodus” of men from this sinful world to

Saint Gregory the Theologian, Archbishop of Constantinople

This great Father and Teacher of the Church was born in 329 in Arianzus, a village of the second district of Cappadocia, not far from Nazianzus. His father, who later became Bishop of Nazianzus, was named Gregory (commemorated Jan. 1), and his mother was named Nonna (Aug. 5); both are among the Saints, and so are his brother Caesarius (Mar. 9) and his sister Gorgona (Feb. 23). At first he studied in Caesarea of Palestine,

Eastern Christianity: Theosis

The Orthodox teaching of divinization, or theosis, according to Pope John Paul II, is perhaps the greatest gift of the Eastern Church to the West, but one that has largely been ignored or even denied. [1] The Eastern fathers of the Church believed that we could experience real and transformative union with God. This is in fact the supreme goal of human life and the very meaning of salvation—not only later, but now, too. Theosis refers to the shared deification

Eastern Christianity: Trinity

Just as some Eastern fathers saw Christ’s human/divine nature as one dynamic unity, they also saw the Trinity as an Infinite Dynamic Flow. The Western Church tended to have a more static view of both Christ and the Trinity—more a mathematical conundrum than an invitation to new consciousness. In our attempts to explain the Trinitarian mystery, the Western Church overemphasized the individual names—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—but not so much the quality of the relationships

Eastern Christianity: The Patristic Period

As I [have] shared …the desert fathers and mothers focused more on the how than the what. Their spirituality was very practical: virtue and prayer-based. Now we turn to its parallel, the Patristic Period, which emphasized the what—the rational, philosophical, and theological foundations for the young Christian religion. This period stretches from around 100 CE (the end of the Apostolic Age) to either 451 CE (with the Council of Chalcedon) or as late as the eighth century (Second Council of Nicaea

Reality Is Communion

In the beginning God says, “Let us make humanity in our own image, in the likeness of ourselves” (Genesis 1:26). The use of the plural pronoun here seems to be an amazing, deep time intuition of what Christians would later call the Trinity—the revelation of the nature of God as community, as relationship itself, a Mystery of perfect giving and perfect receiving, both within God and outside of God. The Body of Christ is another metaphor for

God and the Box

By Fr. Stephen Freeman, August 24, 2015  It is a commonplace that you “cannot put God in a box.” It is an affirmation of the transcendence of God and of the limits of human understanding. It is also a common rhetorical ploy to shut down a theological discussion. But, let’s think a little more about the box. I am deeply averse to statements that begin: “God cannot.” They are often little more than bad theological

Image and Likeness: We Were Made by Love to Love

God said, “Let us make humans in our image, according to our likeness.” —Genesis 1:26 My dear people, we are already children of God; what we will be in the future has not yet been fully revealed, and all I do know is that we shall be like God. —1 John 3:2 The Judeo-Christian creation story says that we were created in the very “image and likeness” of God—who is Infinite Love flowing between Three, making unity out of clear diversity. (Picture

Begotten of the Father

By Fr. Stephen Freeman, July 27, 2015  No revelation is more central to the Christian faith than God as Father. Some might immediately respond that the Trinity should be seen as the central revelation. But, in Orthodox understanding, the Trinity has its source (πηγή) in the Father.  We should understand this not only as a matter of Trinitarian thought, but as the proper grounding of the spiritual life as well. To be a Christian in the proper sense, to