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Evangelistic Outreach in Poulsbo - 07/18/15

With global warming and the western drought dominating many public discussions these days, Saint Elizabeth Orthodox Church in Poulsbo, Washington recently decided to host a talk entitled “Faith and Ecology in the Shadow of Climate Change.” The visiting speaker invited to deliver this presentation was Fr. Kaleeg John Hainsworth from the OCA Archdiocese of Canada, who recently published a book entitled Altar in the Wilderness on a variety of important environmental issues from an Orthodox Christian point of view. Father Kaleeg was asked to speak about his insights into what he calls “spiritual ecology” for the gathering, which specifically targeted non-Orthodox and even non-Christian members of the Puget Sound public.

Bishop Daniel at Diaconal Practicum - 07/16/15

Twenty-three deacons and students in the Diaconal Vocations Program of the Orthodox Church in America gathered on the campus of Saint Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary for worship, theological reflection, and focused liturgical training.  For the ninth year in a row, this gathering has been an important opportunity for deacons and candidates to connect with faculty and each other as they seek to expand their ministries at the altar.  Several men from the Diocese of the West are currently enrolled in the diaconal Vocations Program and participated in the Practicum held from July 12-15, 2015.

Celebration in Los Angeles of New American Saints - 07/09/15

LOS ANGELES – A recent decision of the Holy Assembly of Bishops, the Serbian Orthodox Church added Archimandrite Sebastian (Dabovich) of San Francisco and Jackson, and Bishop Mardarije (Uskokovic) of Chicago and Libertyville, clergymen and preachers of the Gospel who inspired many missionaries, to calendar of Saints. Once again, through the lives of these two saints, we see a faith that produces holy persons, enriches the world with saints and insists on an ethos of holiness.

Orthodox Christian leaders and faithful from the United States and abroad will celebrate this event on Saturday, September 5 at Saint Steven’s Cathedral, 1621 West Garvey Avenue in Alhambra, Los Angeles County, California. The Patriarch of the Serbian Orthodox Church, His Holiness Irinej, will lead the festivities. The Church has recognized the holiness of these two missionaries, and as this event will celebrate their lives, it will also be an opportunity to learn from their example of holiness in America.

Diocesan Faithful Celebrate Fourth at Fort Ross - 07/05/15

His Eminence, Benjamin, Archbishop of San Francisco and the West, led the annual pilgrimage of clergy and faithful from the Diocese of the West to Fort Ross State Historic Park on Saturday, July 4, 2015. Faithful have been gathering at Fort Ross every year since July 4, 1925 for the celebration of the Divine Liturgy and fellowship at the first Orthodox chapel of prayer in the lower forty-eight.

REFLECTION: Some Thoughts on Marriage - 07/04/15

by Archpriest Andrew Morbey
Printed with permission

Marriage in some form or another has existed in most places. It has taken many forms. Even the Hebrew scriptures themselves, for example, make mention of polygamy, concubinage, levirate marriage, fruitful and unfruitful marriages, adulterous ones, arranged ones, romantic ones, those according to the law of Moses and those not according the law....  Just imagine the varieties of marriage to be found globally in the innumerable cultures and sub-cultures that have made up human society from its beginnings!

Many people, among them church fathers, have thought it tremendously significant that given this great variety, just about all known societies nonetheless identify and privilege committed heterosexual unions, surrounding them with taboos and proscriptions, limits and rules and regulations, rites and ceremonies. It seems likely that societies shape and enforce their cultural expectations of heterosexual marriage in light of the obvious importance of reproduction, nurture, and the transmission of family property and identity. Whether or not God designed us this way, which is the traditional understanding embraced by the Church, simply on a descriptive level, I think we can say this: most societies in most places have valued, privileged and enforced some sort of heterosexual relationship capable of supporting reproduction, nurture, the transmission of family or tribal or cultural identity and, of course, property. The marriage could be polygamous, it might permit sexual expression outside of marriage (especially for men, and even in some cultures permitting same sex activity), it might burden and demean women, but I don't know of any culture that didn't and doesn't place this sort of heterosexual relationship at the very center of society, of law, of public sentiment and personal identity. Tampering with this very human, natural moral ecology is, I think, a very risky business.


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