A Gay Man’s Dormition Story

Through the generosity of the editors of “Orthodoxy in Dialogue,” we are pleased to re-post a wonderfully sincere and poignant piece entitled “A Gay’s Man Dormition Story”, published on their website on August 15, 2023, by an anonymous source. Please read the full article by following the link to “Orthodoxy in Dialogue” below, following the first paragraph of the work.

The lenten period for the feast of the Dormition of the Theotokos was always somewhat unwelcome to me. As a child, it meant the winding down of summer and the return to school which I so hated. As an adult and a teacher, those emotions did not change all that much. This was a time to treasure those precious remaining days of summer. Somehow, eating just the salad at a barbeque or going to church every night for Paraclesis felt like a letdown, or maybe something to blame for all the unfulfilled expectations I had hoped for during the summer break. It wasn’t until much later in life that I was able to appreciate the blessings that this holy time offered.



Continue ReadingA Gay Man’s Dormition Story

A Slow Positive Change or Hypocrisy?

A Slow Positive Change or Hypocrisy?

July 15, 2023

Christ Healing on the Sabbath

A major announcement was made at the end of June 2023 by Hellenic College/Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology (HCHC), the higher education institution of the Greek Orthodox Church of America.[1]  Reverend Dr. John Chryssavgis was chosen to head the Huffington Ecumenical Institute at HCHC. The mission of the schools “is the formation and the education of the person within the life of an Orthodox Christian community… it educates men preparing for the holy priesthood…as well as men and women for leadership roles within the Church.”[2] The vision of the schools is “to be the intellectual, education and spiritual formation center of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, stimulating, developing, and sustaining ordained and lay vocations for service to Church and society, based on faith.”[3] (more…)

Continue ReadingA Slow Positive Change or Hypocrisy?

Do You Hear What I Hear?

Do you hear what I hear?

June 26, 2023

Seminarians, those preparing for the priesthood, frequently speak of having a “calling” to sacred orders. When I was in Seminary, the students often shared the moment, event, or path that led them to the desire to become a priest. Some stories were somewhat dramatic and could be tied to a specific time, others described a process, at times a lengthy one, culminating in them applying to Seminary. Each story was uniquely different and quite personal to each person. And even after years of arduous study, numerous liturgical services, private prayer hours, and participating in hours of conversations with those who would become lifelong friends, some concluded that they were not called to the priesthood. At the culmination of years at the Seminary, some were ordained, and others were never ordained. Each seminarian heard a different voice, a different calling from God, not only to enter Seminary, and “test” their vocation, but also discern when it was time to ask for ordination from the bishops. The same God was speaking differently to each of us, and we each heard different things, and acted in different ways, based on what we heard. (more…)

Continue ReadingDo You Hear What I Hear?

God Doesn’t Know?

God Doesn’t Know

May 31, 2023

“Torch Song Trilogy,” written by Harvey Firestein in the 1970s, is a collection of three one-act plays in which the main character, Arnold Beckoff, wrestles with how to live his life, as a gay man, in a post-Stonewall New York City. Central to the plot of the story, later turned into a movie, are Arnold’s relationships with boyfriends, co-workers, his adopted son, and his mother. Arnold’s mother has a difficult time accepting her son’s homosexuality, and questions why he can’t just settle down and marry a “nice Jewish girl”. Arnold is frequently agitated and unhappy with his mother’s refusal to believe that he was “made this way”, in other words, made gay, by God. In one very funny scene, Mrs. Beckoff, “Ma”, in exasperation that her son thinks he knows more about his life than she does, states, “God, doesn’t know, my son knows.” (more…)

Continue ReadingGod Doesn’t Know?

Praying with Eyes Closed or Open?

The Orthodox has many rules and directives for priests. One that I frequently violated was serving the Divine Liturgy from memory and not reading from the service book. The sacred services of the Church are quite beautiful and deeply rooted in Scripture as well as the writings of the Holy Fathers. The words and symbolic gestures used in the Divine Liturgy in particular recall for us the life of Christ and his salvific work for those who believe in Him. From the prothesis (proskomedia or offering preparation) which embodies the place (the cave) and time (Christmas) of the birth of Christ, through the Lord’s ascension and His promise to return represented by the blessing the faithful with the chalice after receiving the Eucharist – we are invited to participate in the truth that is Jesus Christ and the beauty that is the Orthodox Church. (more…)

Continue ReadingPraying with Eyes Closed or Open?

The Wrong Question?

The Wrong Question?

October 30, 2022

One of the things that good teachers know is that there is no such thing as a stupid or wrong question from their students. To suggest to a student otherwise is to immediately shut down the possibility of further learning by the student. Every teacher has encountered numerous instances in class when a student raises their hand and begins with one of these phrases “I know this is a stupid question… OR… I am probably wrong but…” It takes a lot of courage for many students to raise their hand, risking judgment by their teacher as well as their peers, to ask a question that might be perceived by others as a stupid one or the wrong one. To dismiss that student’s question is the complete opposite of what teaching is all about. The Socratic method of teaching, based on asking and answering questions, promotes critical thinking and draws out new ways of thinking and understanding. (more…)

Continue ReadingThe Wrong Question?

Killing Birds

Killing Birds

September 12, 2022

St. Demetrius of Basarbovo

In Florida, where I live, there are many insects and reptiles. We find some of these “intruders” in our house a few times a week. Various spiders, palmetto bugs, which is just a fancy name for cockroaches, anoles, which are small, slender lizards, frogs, and even very tiny baby snakes find their way into our home. I cannot blame them since their ancestors occupied the land before we did. Unfortunately, I have a deep fear of snakes and my husband detests spiders, therefore, we have an agreement in our marriage, I get rid of the spiders and palmetto bugs, and he carefully coaxes the lizards and small snakes outside. I am not as kind to the small interlopers as he is. It works wonderfully. However, if the snakes get bigger and ever come into the house, we are moving to Alaska! (more…)

Continue ReadingKilling Birds

Mystery Of Love

Mystery Of Love

August 21, 2022

In preparation to be ordained a priest, I spent four years studying in a seminary. They were some of my life’s best, yet most challenging years. I met those who would become lifelong friends. During those years I tested and questioned myself more than almost any other time in my life. While discerning a calling to the priesthood is demanding, it is even more so for a gay man. I knew that a calling to serve God in His Church was a blessing, I just had to figure out what that meant exactly and how to carry my calling out. In other words, it was a considerable mystery to me. It was a blessing that was also a mystery. (more…)

Continue ReadingMystery Of Love

My Friend

My Friend

August 7, 2022

In high school, I had only one good, best friend. The reason for this was probably the way I saw myself and the fact that I frequently tried to hide, not wanting to call attention to myself. When you were a fat, gay teenage boy, in the late 1970s living in the suburbs there were not many opportunities to be proud of who you were. Of course, I knew that my parents loved me, although my father constantly commented on my weight, but it was not the same as having a true friend, one in whom I could confide, sharing my thoughts and dreams. Finally, late in my junior year, I told my best friend that I was gay. Although not attracted to him at all, I did hope that there was a slight possibility, that he was gay as well. The reaction that I got from him was utterly devastating. He told me that homosexuals were horrible people, and then he threatened to tell my parents my deepest secret, which I thought would be safe with my best friend. I was instantly terrified. The idea of my parents finding out my secret was devastating to me. (more…)

Continue ReadingMy Friend

Opening and Closing Doors

Opening and Closing Doors

July 14, 2022

Before I was ordained a priest, I wanted to make certain that the Orthodox Church, and in particular, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, in which I was raised, was the right place for me to carry out my calling to the ordained ministry. Chicago, my home and where I was living at the time while in graduate school, is a wonderful city, replete with numerous ethnic communities that boast a plethora of religious communities. For almost one year I was privileged to visit numerous churches and temples and witness the religious services of prayerful worshippers. For me, I was quite sure that I wanted to be part of Christ’s family, and so it was early in my search that I decided that a non-Christian group was not for me. (more…)

Continue ReadingOpening and Closing Doors