Tag: monks

‘He Hasn’t Got Any Underwear on Underneath Those Robes!’: Why Anecdotes Matter


Historians are often taught to begin their analysis by focusing on the big picture, the meta-narrative that spans decades and defines careers. But I think that the more mundane flotsam and jetsam of life have similar worth in explaining epochs, important lives, and the texture of history itself. It’s also still the Christmas season (at least until I have to fly back to England on the 18th) and after facing the terrifying milestone of turning 20, I’m in the mood for nostalgia. So indulge me, in telling a very Christmas-y story. 

My Dad grew up in a devout Baptist family and while he has strayed somewhat in terms of attendance and even denominational loyalty, he did come out of that upbringing with a deep suspicion of Catholicism. This made his choice to marry a Catholic girl from the next town over particularly perplexing. In due time, he had two daughters and allowed his wife, my mother, to raise us as Catholics, if only because he had no feasible alternative (having fallen away from the local Baptist community) and was adamant that we be raised to believe in something.

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Can one know God?  Can one experience God?  Saint Gregory Palamas, an ascetic monk, priest, and later Archbishop of Thessalonica asked these very questions.  His answers, based on centuries of understanding and experience, became the foundation of the final major dogmatic development in Orthodox Theology.  For this, St. Gregory is commemorated on the second Sunday […]

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