We have no right to humble and victimize the image of God

April 2, 2015


Metropolitan John of Pergamon

Metropolitan John of Pergamon

“We have no right to humble and victimize the image of God.”[1] Do you find those words offensive or un-Christian or un-Orthodox? Surprisingly, many bishops of the Orthodox Church do. These words were spoken, according to sources, by the Metropolitan of Pergamon, John Zizioulas, a representative of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, at a February 2015 meeting at the Patriarchal Center of Chambesy, Geneva, Switzerland. The meeting was a gathering of the Inter-Orthodox Special Committee established to prepare for the Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Church. The Great Council, according to the Synaxis of Primates, will take place in Istanbul in 2016.

In his speech, His Eminence Metropolitan John spoke of the need for sexual minorities to “be protected from any kind of discrimination and injustice.” In his remarks to the group of bishops, the Metropolitan is quoted as further elaborating upon his views on a much neglected topic, homosexuals in the Orthodox Church: “Let us ask ourselves if we need to consider homosexuals scapegoats who deserve to suffer persecution. And if we don’t want to establish that these people must be protected, it means that we want to be punish and imprison them.”[2] Read the rest of this entry »



What does the voice tell you?

March 1, 2015

If you tell someone that you hear voices, they will probably want to call the nearest mental health facility in order to have you medically evaluated, admitted and treated. While it may be a favorite symptom of those pleading insanity in a defense trial featured on the TV series “Law and Order”, hearing voices, possibly telling someone to commit a crime or harm oneself, should never be taken lightly. This particular psychiatric disorder, auditory hallucination, is one of the most common mental disorders. With the care of medical professionals, medicine, therapy and support, many people suffering from the hearing of voices can live fairly normal, productive lives. Disregard the medical advice and the person, others, and even society, might suffer the consequences. Read the rest of this entry »

Holy Trinity Cathedral Boston

Holy Trinity Cathedral Boston

A priest who gets it, but as a voice crying in the wilderness

February 8, 2015

Rainer Maria Rilke, the early twentieth century Bohemian-Austrian author, captured the age of intense anxiety in many of his works. Perhaps most famous is a collection of letters, Letters to a Young Poet, published posthumously in 1929, some three years after Rilke’s death. The letters were written to a 19 year old military cadet, Franz Xaver Kappus, who wanted the more famous Rilke’s opinion on his own poetry. The young man was contemplating his future and deciding if to pursue a career as a writer or begin training for the officer corp. In one of the most famous and often quoted letters, written in 1903, Rilke writes the following words to young Franz:

Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given to you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.[1] Read the rest of this entry »

Finding Love, how lucky and blessed

January 25, 2015

In Nikos & Andre Wedding 2008 028the PBS television series “Call the Midwife,” there is a wonderful line spoken by one of the characters, Jenny: “If we are lucky, we find love. If we are blessed, we understand its meaning.” This line struck me on many levels. Many of us have been lucky in life to have or have had parents who loved us. Perhaps only later in life are we blessed enough to understand the hardships they endured and the sacrifices that they made for us, because they loved us. An even greater blessing is if our parents loved us unconditionally, and if we returned that same level of love. Read the rest of this entry »

Hidden Gifts and Hidden Talents

August 25, 2014

My mother has been a resident in a nursing home for some 10 years now. She has dementia as well as the disease of Alzheimer’s. One of the consequences of living apart from my very demonstrative and expressive father, is that my mother’s humorous side has emerged. No longer living in the shadow of her husband, who was always very jovial and quite boisterous, my mother has felt freer to express herself, crack jokes, and be playful with the staff and those who come to visit her. As her son, it has been wonderful to be a witness to my mom’s wit, to be able to tease her, and to see a very different side of her. Perhaps this funny side was always part of my mother’s character, but it had to lay dormant and in the shadows. It took a safe environment and a supportive community for my mother’s gift of humor to reveal itself. I am just grateful, that although she has significant cognitive problems, I am able to see and participate in this incredible gift my mother has been given.

Read the rest of this entry »

Purging the Faithful

July 14, 2014

Rollkartei_hgDo people use Rolodexes anymore? How many people under the age of 30 even know what a Rolodex is? Pictured here, it is, according to Wikipedia, “a rotating file device used to store business contact information.” The word was created from the words “rolling” and “index”. I imagine that most people, these days, store contacts on their smart phones, eliminating the need for rolodexes and “telephone books”. As a parish priest, my Rolodex was perhaps the most important thing in my office. Each and every parishioner had a separate card with their name, address, phone number and other important information relevant to their relationship to the parish. Read the rest of this entry »

How Do I Know God Made Me Gay?

June 22, 2014,


My mothimages017R4VMJer kept a scrapbook for each one of her children. Perhaps because I am the oldest, mine is the fullest. Lovingly glued to each page is a host of memories. First year birthday cards, are next to an envelope with locks of my hair from a first haircut, congratulatory telegrams from relatives in England when I was born, are pasted next to some of the first “art” that I created.

One of the more telling pieces in the scrapbook is an “essay” that I wrote in third grade. The assignment was to write about “what do you want be when you grow up?” At the age of eight, I wrote that I wanted to be a priest. Read the rest of this entry »

Christ Is Risen! 

April 19, 2014

Great-and-Holy-PaschaOn this glorious day, and in this triumphant season, we greet all of our readers with the exuberant words of “Christ is Risen!” Many of us will be able to answer just as exuberantly “Indeed He is Risen!” The feast of feast is as glorious, in the words of St. John Chrysostom, for those who have fasted and those who have not; for those who have been vigilant from the 1st hour, as well as for those who have come at the 11th hour. The Lord is merciful to all and receives us all in our richness and in our poverty. That poverty includes our poverty of faith and the dearth of our compassion. On this Pascha Day we sing the very moving words attributed to St. John of Damascus: “This is the day of resurrection. Let us be illuminated by the feast. Let us embrace each other. Let us call ‘brothers’ even those who hate us, and forgive all by the resurrection.”

On this holy day, we hope you are able to embrace your loved ones as well as forgive those who hate you. For gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered Christians, these actions of embracing and forgiveness are of vital importance. So much of the world despises us for who God made us to be and who we are called to love. We are among those who experience abandonment, loneliness, and isolation. And yet, we must never forget that the Risen Lord does not abandon, or isolate, or shun us. In the words of the Psalmist: “Therefore my heart is glad, and my tongue rejoices, my body will also rest secure, because you will not abandon me…” (Psalm 16) As we are not abandoned by God, let us not abandon anyone, especially those who hate us; embrace and forgive them. 

On this holy day we especially pray for those unable to fully celebrate the feast, either due to religious persecution, societal, family or ecclesiastical expulsion, or the poverty of their faith. No one is truly alone, no one is ever abandoned. Christ is Risen for all of us!


Love During a Revolution

March 26, 2014



Ukraine has the world’s attention. The largest country within the borders of Europe, with a population of some 44 million, recently went through a significant revolution. The protesters forced a change of government following a particularly volatile protest staged by civilians against a pro-Russian government. The world’s leading powers are still trading threats and punitive actions over the forceful Russian annexation of the Crimean peninsula. Certainly this battle for Ukraine is not over as it has become the center in a struggle between the power and values of West vs. East. A new Cold War era might be upon us. Read the rest of this entry »

Acceptance Comes Before Revelation

February 9, 2014

What would it take for the Orthodox Church to officially recognize that God created some people with same-sex attractions?

What would it take for the Orthodox Church to officially recognize that gay people fall in love and desire to live in loving, sanctified relationships?

What would it take for the Orthodox Church to officially recognize that gay people in life-long relationships sincerely believe that God led them to be with their particular spouse?

What would it take for the Orthodox Church to officially accept same-sex relationships and celebrate the commitments made by the couple with the mystery of crowning, in the midst of a church community? Read the rest of this entry »