Showing posts from 2017

The Question of Trousers

Our attention was recently drawn to a Guide to Confession which listed 'wearing pants' (trousers) as a sin for women. Women should wear skirts and cover their heads in church, but is wearing trousers in itself sinful? Would a female surgeon, police officer or firefighter wearing trousers be considered to be committing a sin? According to the strict interpretation in this Guide they would be, because wearing trousers is sinful for women. Unfortunately, life is not this simple. 
Orthodox Christians should try and dress modestly and with humility at all times. Skirts can themselves be immodest and revealing; wearing designer dresses or skirts costing thousands of pounds could not be considered humble. In addition, the skirt itself is not just woman's garment. The traditional Greek military uniform consists of a skirt-like garment called a foustanélla. Scottish regiments of the British Army also wear kilts although no longer in combat. Scottish soldiers were given the ni…

Bone cancer in children, what’s that about?

The atheism of Stephen Fry and Richard Dawkins

Suffering is everywhere around us in the world, but how can we make sense of it from an Orthodox perspective? Rationalizing our own personal suffering is relatively easy when compared to trying to make sense of the suffering of a family member, or the suffering caused by wars and natural disasters.
Stephen Fry, in his 2015 interview with RTE, raised the issue of the suffering of children, in particular, with the rhetorical question: ‘bone cancer in children, what’s that about?’ The popular evolutionist Richard Dawkins, in his attacks on religion, regularly highlights the problem of suffering.
Both Fry and Dawkins seem to base their objections to religion on their knowledge of Roman Catholicism and Islam. Neither of these religions has a readily acceptable answer to the problem of suffering. The logic on which Roman Catholic theology is modeled might have satisfied people in earlier centuries, but a logical approach to the proble…

The Orthodox Church and Abortion

Abortion is the deliberate killing of a baby whilst in the womb. All forms of abortion are forbidden by the Orthodox Church. This prohibition encompasses medical abortions (however they are carried out). Spontaneous abortions can happen to a mother quite naturally and this sad event is commonly called a miscarriage rather than using the medical term ‘spontaneous abortion.’ 

The Orthodox Church has always believed that life begins at conception (fertilization) and therefore has always considered abortion to be a serious sin. The Orthodox Church does not accept the modern secular idea that a baby only becomes 'real' when a woman wants to continue her pregnancy. Supporters of abortion tend to refer to a baby as a ‘foetus’ when they don’t want to continue with a pregnancy, and a ‘baby’ when they want to have the child. This trickery with words is an attempt to make abortion psychologically acceptable to the mother. It is certainly not scientific because we can’t change t…


This commonly used abbreviation stands for the Latin phrase 'requiescat in pace' which is translated as 'Rest in Peace'. A Protestant pastor recently ruffled a few feathers when he explained why the Protestant Orange Order should not be using this phrase:
From a Protestant point of view, we believe, when death comes, a person either goes to be with Christ for all eternity, or into hell...That's what we believe the gospel to be and in this 500th anniversary year of the Reformation, I think Luther, when the scales fell off his eyes, realised that it was all by faith alone, in Christ alone, the decision is made during life, on this earth, so that when death comes it has been made and no decision has been made after death." The above point, however, is not universally true. It seems that this pastor believes in the doctrine that Christ died only for those who were going to be saved - rather than dying for all …