Arimathea
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Religion
The human animal is the worshipping animal. Toward the divine, we have a need to pray, to sacrifice, to offer up, and to praise. From the spirit dances of primitive animism to the rational contemplation of philosophical paganism, from the ethical code of the rabbis to the theological vision of the scholastics, from the sprinkled blood (the origin of blessing) of temple cults to helping the poor in simple Christian charity, men need to relate the immanent and the transcendent -- they see their particular lives in time and space transfigured and transfused with meaning unbounded by human things. Religion is this aspect of human life where the everyday and worldly intersects with the ultimate and divine. Is this an accident of human evolution, or is it a racial neurosis brought upon us as conscious beings who live in the shadow of our own death? Is it a reflection of the divine order, where creatures naturally orient themselves toward their source? Has God revealed himself to us, as the Christians claim? In this realm, I shall try to delve into such questions as an Orthodox Christian who ever pesters God with "Why?"
Thursday, May 12, A.D. 2016
Charles Gibbes

I recently read a short article about the English tutor of the Russian imperial family, Charles Gibbes, in Russia Beyond the Headlines: “From Romanov tutor to Orthodox missionary: The life of Charles Gibbes.” Except for the obnoxious introduction about “Orthodoxy in England,” the story itself is fascinating, and the provided photographs make the visit worth it. These articles are an occasion of sin for me, though. Every time I see an image of the Tsarevitch, I think of the Bolsheviks’ notes about his murder and my heart consequently burns hot with anger (see “Murder of the Imperial Family”). How could anyone do such? Foul wretches. Well, Gibbes was a peculiar witness to those dreadful days, and I was ignorant of his existence until I read this article. May his memory be eternal.

Posted by Joseph on Thursday, May 12, Anno Domini 2016
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Wednesday, May 11, A.D. 2016
For His Friends

“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”

Христос Воскресе!

For today, I offer Vadim Vinogradov’s documentary «За други своя» (from A.D. 2003) about how Russian Orthodox Christians rallied to defend their homeland during the Second World War, despite the Communist state’s persecution of them during the previous decades. Even if you cannot follow Russian at all, the film includes much interesting original footage.

Russia still has many open wounds that need dressed and healed, but its transformation since the fall of the U.S.S.R. has been miraculous.

All those Leonine prayers worked—though not in the way Rome likely intended.

Posted by Joseph on Wednesday, May 11, Anno Domini 2016
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