Tag: Christian History

Icon, Part 14: The Transfiguration


by Theophanes the Greek

Now after six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, led them up on a high mountain by themselves; and He was transfigured before them.  His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light.  And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him.  Then Peter answered and said to Jesus, “Lord it is good for us to be here; if You wish, let us make here three tabernacles: one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”  While he was still speaking, behold a bright cloud overshadowed them; and suddenly a voice came out of the cloud, saying “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.  Hear Him!” And when the disciples hear it, they fell on their faces and were greatly afraid.  But Jesus came and touched them and said, “Arise, and do not be afraid.”  When they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no one but Jesus only.  Matthew 17: 1-8, Orthodox Study Bible (OSB), 2008.

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I write a weekly book review for the Daily News of Galveston County. (It is not the biggest daily newspaper in Texas, but it is the oldest.) After my review appears on Sunday, I post the previous week’s review here on Sunday. Book Review Eastern Orthodox Christianity Explained By MARK LARDAS Preview Open

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Book Review: The Age of Paradise


It should be readily apparent to most that Christianity no longer has the popular cultural sway it had even a generation ago. Moreover, the faith is not even united within itself, with dozens of larger denominations and thousands of independent churches, a variety of creeds, and even entirely different and incompatible understandings of faith, salvation, sin, and repentance.

Saint Vincent of Lérins, writing in the early 5th century, in qualifying both what the core of Christianity is, and what it is not, gave his maxim: “Moreover, in the Catholic Church itself, all possible care must be taken, that we hold that faith which has been believed everywhere, always, by all.” What then was it that Christians of that time believed? What did Christianity look like in its first thousand years, and might an understanding of that early ethos inform increasingly embattled Christians today?

John Strickland, in The Age of Paradise: Christendom from Pentecost to the First Millenium, presents both a history of the first millennium of Christianity and what those first Christians believed, and an argument that the loss of that early vision says much about the culture wars of today. The first significant divergences in Christian belief and practice (which would culminate in the Great Schism of 1054) need to be understood both in the context of the preceding centuries, and in their implications for the further fracturings that would ripple from the Reformation through the cultural crisis of the collapse of Christian faith and cultural influence of today.