Wednesday, July 12, 2006

some random updates

Regarding my earlier post, "confess your faults to one another," I finally got to meet with the chair about my dissertation. The meeting went pretty well, and I'm finally getting back into making some real progress. We talked about ways to make the job a bit more manageable, and one unforeseen blessing, he thinks he can get back some of the money I spent last year on dissertation guidance that I never actually used. I had no idea that would even be an option.

Regarding "prayer and fasting," the Apostles' Fast ends today for Old Calendar churches with the Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul. I'm visiting the ROCOR parish tonight for Synaxis of the Apostles Vigil. A friend who has never been to an Orthodox service--one of the elders at our Evangelical church, actually--is supposed to be joining me. There's supposed to be a myrrh-streaming icon present, which is something I've never seen in real life. I'm not sure how to feel about it right now. I tend to be kind of skeptical about miraculous manifestations. I'm not saying I have any good reason to be--just stating the truth about myself. So I really don't know how I'll react to it. I don't know how my friend will react either, but it should make for some good conversation at least. I brought it up with my wife (who's not going) as something that's decidedly not intellectual. She's convinced that such things don't happen (not in Orthodoxy at least), so I guess it's not just being too intellectual that's a problem for her. (I didn't figure she'd go for it, but I did think it would be interesting to get the contrast.) On a side-note, another less intellectual resource that I've recommended to her, which I just discovered a few days ago, is Road to Emmaus, an Orthodox publication that focuses on personal experiences of believers around the world. They have a selection of articles online, including some family- and missions-oriented interviews that I thought she might like. I don't know if she's read any of them yet.

Regarding "leading toward unity," the Joint Commissions of ROCOR and the MP met a couple of weeks ago in Moscow. As a follow-up, ROCOR has just published on its site an epistle from Bishop Evtikhii to his jurisdiction (ROCOR churches inside Russia) about the reunification. I've been wondering about the logistics involved, particularly for ROCOR parishes inside Russia and MP parishes abroad. (Otherwise, it should be a relatively simple process--ROCOR will care for Russian Orthodox outside Russia, and those inside Russia will keep doing what they've been doing.) This is the first time I can recall seeing anything in the way of an actual (if approximate) timetable. They expect to finalize the act of communion in a year or less (Lord, speed the day!), and from that point there will be about a five-year transition period for the ROCOR parishes inside Russia to place themselves under their local dioceses. It doesn't say anything about what will happen outside Russia. A similar process? Who knows. It may be a more delicate situation since, as we've seen recently with Sourozh, they have options to abandon Russia altogether.

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