Notre Dame: Some Thoughts

Yours Truly was unaware of the burning of Notre Dame de Paris until very late in the day. Regardless, I had some time at night to write something however I was still too stunned to do so. Plus, I wanted to get more information. As of yesterday, we were told that this venerable cathedral was completely destroyed. Today, that appears to not be the case.

Thank God.

I remember seeing Notre Dame several decades ago when I was sixteen (I believe). To say that I was enamored would be a gross understatement. To me, Notre Dame –and all the Gothic cathedrals that dot the European landscape–represent the apogee of Christendom. Yes, I realize that I am talking about Christendom in the West but I have no compunction against believing that such edifices are part of my Christian patrimony. Others of course will quibble.

It’s easy today, as we exist in this slough of despond, to take the black pill, to say, well, what does it matter? After all, thanks to secularism we are past the point of no return. As such, Notre Dame going up in flames is a fitting metaphor of what we are experiencing. This may very well be the case.

However, despair is a sin. Thus, I am hopeful perhaps that the tragedy which befell this iconic landmark may be a wake-up call. Not for Crusade but for repentance. And civilizational renewal. Make no mistake, Islam is not the enemy. Islam qua Islam is a valid civilization in its own right. But it is not our civilization. The enemy instead goes by many different names: ennui, rationalism, modernism, and yes, secularism. Take your pick, any or all of the above.

And yes, the photo I chose for this essay was an equestrian statue of King Richard I Coeur-de-Leon the Crusader-king extraordinaire (which stands outside of Parliament).


  1. Nikos stone says

    George I don’t always agree with yr every word,especially about u know who, but what u have said here re Notre Dame is elequent and spot on.
    Like you I recall visiting but on a love lorn unhappy Paris trip, but never mind, the coffee was to die for and the baguettes and omlettes, and all a poor student could afford, delicious and cheap.
    Let us hope a wake up call and yes one thing I have learnt over last few yrs, is to appreciate the Uk great Cathedrals. Winchester, Salisbury, Gloucester. Thank God for them. Beautiful organ music, YES I DID SAY THAT,, why hate greek USA, but don’t side track me!!, beautiful. Acapella polyphony of Tallis, Byrd, etc. and nowadays full of Icons!!
    Sometimes in our own lives as well as nationally, disaster brings a crisis, or ‘ a time to make judgement’ and some good.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Niko, I too, would love to see the great cathedrals of Europe filled with worshipers. I’ve been to Salisbury, Westminster Abbey, Bath Abbey, Canterbury. The difference between these edifices in the great temples of Russia is that in Russia at least, they are filled with worshipers, as well as tourists.

      Perhaps this is a wake-up call to repentance.

      P.S. I have no problem with real organ music. As an Orthodox Christian however, a capella is unmatched in beauty and more conducive to worship.

      • Tim I agree. I used to hate gothic Cathedrals and I much prefere ours ( when built correctly) but I have (uk) come to appreciate them and have great love for Winchester and Salisbury Cathedrals. Re if west remained Orthodox would we have gothic.? Well do not know but my feeling is yes but no quite as they went. But important to remember we only see them, the inside, through 500 yrs of Luther etc changes

      • George thank you for comment and καλή Ανάσταση to you and yours.
        Yes re organs that is the very point that u make. I have a beautiful cd from Canterbury Cathedral I sometimes play. As my great neice attends King’s School there, and know it well. The Bach etc is superb as the Anthems of Purcel and the beautiful polyphony. She is in the King’s choir and much prefers singing sacred and secular, acapella.
        I will leave you with a comment made by choir master ( Anglican) on hearing Tikey Zes liturgy, which is top end of such greek USA stuff. He said, yes has nice bits as art but over all just a copy of western music and a bit flat mostly. But why would you do this with the acapella tradition you have? Then he added a comment. ‘ We worship differently to you. With a bit of music, then speech, reading etc, then more music . The organ should not be going full pelt from start to finish!!
        In alot of yr greek churches it even acconpanies the priest!!
        Any way it’s Palm.Sunday and we had a beautiful liturgy in the village church outside of Veliko Tarnovo. I would even say as beautiful as bulgarian choir music is, the chanters with byzantine chant we also have, are even more so.

        Can i just give a plug to Bernard Sheeham and the St Tikhon monastery ( yrs in Pensylvania) choir. They have two cds, morning has broken which includes Pascha music, and the Panikidha of Smolensky, all in english. Stunning, gives hope for American Orthodoxy liturgically. And a reminder that not all is the Phanar and dodgy dealing in barbarians lands, but real work is being done to promote a vigorous english worshipping church in USA, connected to it’s roots but grounded in USA. Listening gave me much Joy

  2. George Michalopulos says
    • Papouli Theodore says


      The Church, while a beautiful structure, has been used for heretical services for nearly a millennium. You can’t have it both ways, George. You decry the EP from being a papist, and then go soft on a papist cathedral, that has been teaching all manner of heresy.

      The martyrs of old weren’t deceived by beautiful pagan temples. In many cases they participated in their destruction.

      And now the Lord, whose body has been defiled by the papists appears in flames as guardian of the place? Or, is did he appear as it’s judge?

      • Beryl Wells Hamilton says

        I thought heresy is false teaching coming from inside, not outside, the Orthodox Church.

        • Weren’t the Roman Catholics inside the Orthodox Church when they started going off?

        • Michael Bauman says

          Not the case. A heresy is any teaching or body of teaching that a council declares false. The last official such proclamation was against Calvinism because a false teaching was having an effect on the Church.

          Many ideas can be heretical in nature. A heretic is only a person of the Church who has turned aside and propagated false teaching, been confronted with the error and refused to repent.

          Thus, if one accepts that Nestorius repented of the Nestorian heresy, he is not a heretic despite the fact that the heresy bears his name.

          It can be of great profit to search one’s own heart to both guard it against heretical ideas and root out any that might have take root. To do that requires knowing heresies and the false teaching they embody.

          There is no profit in hunting down heretics and purifying the Church.

          • Beryl Wells Hamilton says

            An Orthodox priest who teaches Calvinism would be a heretic. A Baptist or Catholic or Hindu or Muslim or atheist or Buddhist religious leader is not a heretic because he is not teaching Orthodox Christians and he is not Orthodox. That’s why we are instructed to judge not lest we be judged. Many Christians condemn to hell all who do not believe what they believe. It’s bothersome when people who call themselves Orthodox Christian’s pass judgment and call “heretic” those who are not Orthodox. Seems like it has its own taint.

            • Michael Bauman says

              Ms. Hamilton, Calvinism is nonetheless a heresy. Anyone who teaches or believes its tenets is risking their own souls and the souls of those who listen. It actually takes a lot of knowledge to be a heretic and a lot of intent and a refusal to repent. Heretics are those outside the Church who continue to knowingly teach doctrines that are not true. . I would say it is impossible to be a heretic if one is within the Church. Being really in the Church precludes being a heretic even in the midst of believing, unknowingly, heretical ideas.

              We Orthodox have done such a poor job communicating the truth lately it is questionable to me whether there are any actual heretics left. Even if there are, that is not my concern because we all have heretical ideas and beliefs running around in our heads and hearts. None of us is free of them, especially me. I cannot call any particular person a heretic on my own authority. Such a declaration can come only from the Church. I can certainly not speculate on the final state of someone’s soul as my own is saved only by the mercy of Christ, our God.

              Clearly though it is quite easy to say that the teachings of the RCC or any body outside the Orthodox Church is heretical in nature without personally judging anyone. We have the 1848 Encyclical of the Eastern Patriarchs for one as well as innumerable other writings and our own personal discernment. Thus the only valid basis for so called ecumenical dialog is to bring the others to repentance and restore them to the Church. I agree with Fr. Thomas Hopko in his critique of the Branch Theory that there is only one tree and the others are the nuts who fell off the tree (and that is the best of them).

              Years ago my boss, a staunch Roman Catholic. asked me what we Orthodox thought about the Pope and I told him flat out we hold the office of the Papacy to be heretical. He understood that what I said held no personal judgment against him at all. Still, he paid me back by announcing to his mother one evening in my presence that I did not believe in the authority of the Pope. She was shocked and dressed me down a bit. Still we remained friends and colleagues.

              Forgive me but I missed anyone saying that Notre Dame burned down because the RCC are heretical. In fact every statement I have read and heard has been one of sorrow. If Notre Dame and been burned because of Roman heresy, it would not have been the first building to go. In fact there would be no RCC churches anywhere.

              It is silly to even listen to such nonsense much less to become upset over it.

          • Matthew Panchisin says

            Dear in Christ Michael,

            “Not the case. A heresy is any teaching or body of teaching that a council declares false.”

            During these times, (see the recent robber council in Crete) I think it is good to keep in mind that even before the first ecumenical council of Nicea the Orthodox Church (guided by the Holy Spirit ) is cognizant of all such matters and at peace within the unity of the faith. Consider the works of Saint Irenaeus and the rather large (and difficult to read for me) corpus refuting the heretics. I think that there is a Christocentric language of the heart (which you have mentioned and embrace) that Saint Irenaeus draws from in his refutations.

            “In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”

            I’m sure that the reason for our hope now and historically is always the grace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, the love of God the Father and the communion of the Holy Spirit.

            • Michael Bauman says

              Matthew, thank you. Clearly the nature of heresy is far beyond the mere legal recognition of its untruth by the Church.

              • Michael Bauman says

                Ms Hamilton, clearly I had missed the comment by Papouli Theodore. I will not make too fine a distinction. He is wrong. May God forgive him. There is a major distinction between the demon inspired pagan temples destroyed by the Apostles and a Christian, even a heretical Christian, temple. It is the Cross that shone forth in the midst of the destruction.

                Christ is in the midst of all those who gather in His name and honestly seek Him. He continues to draw all men to Himself in the midst of our sin and error. If that were not so, I would not be in the Church and many I know would not be in the Church.

                • Papouli Theodore says


                  What do I need to be forgiven for? Please enlighten me.

                  • Michael Bauman says

                    If God destroyed heretical houses of worship there would be none. In fact God is at work in those places too. Your failure to realize that is an unrighteous judgement and condemnation that should not be made. It can be overcome by God’s mercy and so I entreat His forgiveness as much for myself as for you since I am a selfish man.

      • Beryl Wells Hamilton says

        So, the Lord Jesus was so angry at those evil Roman Catholic heretics, that He not only caused the fire but appeared in the flames? Did He burn down the churches in Louisiana, too? Did He convince the madman to attack Michelangelo’s Pieta because the greatest artist who ever lived was an evil heretic, too? Your thinking goes spiralling down into a rabbit hole. The fire was caused by a spark. Sheesh.

  3. Fr. George Washburn says

    Not for publication. The French write it Notre Dame de Paris.

  4. What's too soon? For French Guv to declare fire an accident, or we to hint terrorism? says

    Woman were sentenced for 2016 attempted fire bombing of Notre Dame Church last week.

    Countless acts of terrorism, arson, and vandalism upon churches in France this year.

    Holy week for Catholics.

    Yet in the first hours of the fire, French authorities proclaimed all was a terrible accident.

    Where’s my tin foil hat?

    • Beryl Wells Hamilton says

      One spark from a welding torch on that ancient tinderbox wood structure and no tinfoil hat is necessary.

      • Johann Sebastian says

        Who needs a welding torch for wood? Or lead, for that matter?

        I did read that electrical wires were put up there in the 1960s to keep pigeons off the roof.

        • Beryl Wells Hamilton says

          I did find an article saying the fire started when a welding torch was used on lead. There were no workers there at the time the fire started, but it could have smouldered and then caught fire. As a (former) sculptor/welder, the first thing that came to mind was that a welding torch being used for repairs caused it.

  5. Matthew Panchisin says

    Dear George,

    I found the comments by Bishop Peter of ROCOR agreeable and well balanced.

  6. It is spelled Coeur de Lion. No offense meant, George.

  7. Since the French who own the burnt out Notre Dame are going to rebuild it, would now be a good time for the Greeks to restore the long neglected Orthodox church ruin on the Acropolis? What reaction can we predict if the Church wants it back? There are even liturgical texts on some of the columns, no argument that it was a church longer than it was a pagan temple. I’d send a dollar to that effort long before I’d help fund the bizarre thing (a ruin before its completion) at the world trade center. I predict the Athenians want rubble that brings in tourists much more than a working church.

    • George Michalopulos says

      As a Greek-American I am more than a little perturbed by the fact that within 24 hrs of Notre Dame’s near-destruction, one billion dollars was raised. Yet we in the GOA can’t raise the $40 million (at least) necessary to rebuild St Nicholas, the only Christian temple which was destroyed on 9/11 some 2 decades ago.

      For shame.

      • Michael Bauman says

        George, St. Nicholas was an actual parish. Notre Dame is a cultural artifact and a symbol of man’s artistic endeavor, a world treasure, not really a church anymore.

        BTW it can be argued that the whole point of Gothic architecture was that God was not present but had to be reached for far above us. Gothic architecture despite its beauty can be looked upon as symbols of God’s abandonment. The beginning of the secular mind that we are in control. Still it is sad.

        Of course it may be that the powers that be simply do not like the Greeks. As the essay of Mr. Salakeris shows, there has never been any support for the Greeks since the fall of Constantinople. The Greeks and the Jews are no longer relevant.

        • Tim R. Mortiss says

          I think these sorts of criticisms of Gothic cathedrals as somehow reflective of Western heterodoxy are rather overwrought.

          Like other, analogous observations, they can never be proven. The West was different from the East, even when still Orthodox. West: law; East: philosophy; a distinction from ancient times that still played its role in the pre-schism church.

          I see little reason to doubt that the West would have developed Gothic churches even if it had remained Orthodox. Of course, I can’t prove that, either. But, as a lawyer, I assert that I don’t have the burden of proof….!

          And I would add that the dome of Hagia Sophia is ‘far above us’….

          • Tim R. Mortiss: “Of course, I can’t prove that, either. But, as a lawyer, I assert that I don’t have the burden of proof….!”

            History and theory of art, is a very different discipline than the law. Yet not less valid.

          • Michael Bauman says

            Timor, back when I was reading all sorts of history, etc, the form of Gothic Catherals was frequently mentioned and related to the content of the faith. All “western” sources and long before I was even dimly aware of the Orthodox Church BTW

            As to the domes far above, Our Lord Jesus Christ is there blessing us. And all of the icons are arranged to emphasize the fact that He came down from heaven and became man. There is a vast difference.

            Sorry I cannot give footnotes as to the sources. In any case there is little of what is important in life that can be proven empirically. That does not lessen it’s value or it’s truthfulness.

            What ever the specifics, architecture, especially religious architecture will always be reflective of the theology and the nature and of worship.

            But I think you are right, once Rome went into schism and her theology became less and less incarnational, something like the Gothic style was inevitable.

            • Tim R. Mortiss says

              Durham Cathedral, a Norman cathedral often thought of as proto-Gothic, was begun in 1093, a mere forty years from the formal schism. If one goes there (I have been twice), one will see that it is early gothic, with certain ‘heavy’ elements, as in the piers, that became lighter and more beautiful in subsequent Gothic churches. Here’s Durham:

              It obviously reflects Western architectural trends that were in place well before the breach.

              I am not ‘right’: I don’t think Gothic has anything at all to do with ‘incarnational’ theology. But I do think that many Orthodox seek in every way to make contrasts with the Western Christian churches, whether or not they can marshall any particular evidence for it. It’s part of a larger failure to engage Western Christianity, but rather to be content to in some ways always to stay on the margins, in the restricted enclaves we still cling to.

              We are apart, we are better, nobody knows who we are….

              I do not mean this all applies to you, Mr. Bauman. But this sort of world-weary dismissal of all aspects of the Faith in the West, right down to architecture, I believe to be the wrong path.

              Where are the Orthodox in the public square? Where are they found at the forefront of the battles we face? Where is the promise of Orthodoxy that we thought might be there– we who as young men 40 years ago first came upon the Church?

              I love Gothic cathedrals. In England I have been to Salisbury, Durham, Lincoln, Ely, Winchester, Carlisle, Chester, Chichester, Canterbury, Gloucester, Bath & Wells, Exeter, York, and Ripon. Then there are the great Abbeys, such as Westminster, and incredible non-Cathedral Gothic churches, way too numerous to mention. This is not a compendium merely of my travels. I have felt the presence of God in all of these churches.

              • Tim so true without being less Orthodox I have come to same understanding and love as Russian friends. We have to be open, does not mean we accept all but open to genuine difference just as would be wonderful if there was a genuine western rite. Well to Copts and syrian christians, we are western.
                Winchester Cathedral, uk was started in 7th c but even the one we see was started in 1070.

              • Michael Bauman says

                Brother Timor,

                The Gothic Cathedrals are beautiful and all beauty is of God. They are the artistic and religious flowering of a substantial Christian tradition. Just not an Orthodox Tradition.

                However, everything that is a dominant expression of any Christian faith has a foundation in the Incarnational theology of that Christian expression. It is unavoidable.

                God is present in lots of places, that does not validate the entire theology and practice of a certain tradition nor does that presence make the place holy. It is quite possible you carried that presence with you into the place and the beauty and the stillness brought it out of you–who knows.

                In general, given the mass of non-Orthodox understanding of the faith in our culture, it is difficult to approach any topic of substance without referring in some way to the prevalent understanding–usually in a way that is not supportive. There is so much real junk out there even in the Church that the good stuff is hard to find. Coupled with the prevalence of egalitarian thought (everybody worships the same God anyway so what does it matter), leading folks to the water (come and see) is perhaps the best way. Even then, people are prone to experience what they see through their own preexisting lens.

                I will never forget the RC lady I had in a temple tour one time. After everything I said and the non-RC explanation I gave, she would nod her head and say “That is just what we believe” even though it was not especially the explanation I give regarding Confession. By the end of the tour, I believe that I could have said “The Pope is a Heretic” and the same response would have come from her.

                I am a stubborn man, for Jesus to get me to His Church, He had to break me down pretty good. Fortunately, He is patient. He is patient with all of us and His order and Will prevails no matter what we try to do to thwart it, even with good intentions.

                The typical RCC and the mainline and evangelical traditions do not offer much positive. I have found pockets of gold in the Native American approach and the Society of Friends.

                I have said it before, what I lived through prior to coming to the Church taught me that heresy is not just a simple matter of opinion that can be ignored. Heresy has deep and lasting consequences for the souls of men. Even when believed and practiced unknowingly, heresy leaves spiritual scars. All converts carry them, a great many so-called cradle Orthodox carry similar scars too. They are battle scars inflicted most of the time on folks who think they are non-combatants. Every heresy has elements of truth in it so that it will attract folks.

                It really is not about East and West though. It is about knowing the Truth and doing our best to proclaim it.

                One thing I am sure of is that Jesus Christ is our Incarnate Lord, God and Savior, fully God and fully man everywhere present. Yet still I sin, and promote ugliness in my own heart and in the hearts of others.

                Pray for me a sinner.

              • Hi Tim

                What you’ve said here – or in certain places at least – lends itself to an idea that’s occurred to me, and which I like. If we take for granted that one, big divine test forms a huge part of our lives, it follows that the test will be big and divine – i.e most complex.

                If the most complex life test is interprered in the context of Orthodox Christian tradition, it tells us that although we’re God’s chosen people, we’re in no way meant to be smug about it; and although we’ll often be persecuted or whatever, we’re in no way to look for anything spiritual from anyone else but Christ and the Church.

                Given the human condition, this truly seems to me to be a divine test. Imagine being “it” but not being proud; not being proud, but not forming alliances with others, even though they go by the name of Christian as well, and at a time like now when the whole world seems ready to snap them and ourselves in half. Yes, this really seems like a divine test – the essence of which is humility before God – and how extremely difficult that is for us all.

                For this reason, I’m quite inclined to say that Orthodoxy should continue to rigourously protect its borders; and all the more because, from one perspective, it seems like the last thing that it should do.

                Almost everything says “no” to it, except for little old humility, and taking for granted that we have one, big divine test in our life, I’m inclined to think that it’s humility’s voice that should be heeded.

                Following on from that, and with regard to your concerns for where the Orthodoxy is that was promised to us, I’m thinking right now that what’s provoked this in you is perhaps the very thing that makes Orthodoxy and its promise true and amazing.

                I note for instance the Jews of old – subject no less than we to the divine test of humility – who asked a similar question about the messiah they were promised and the ‘scraggly’ one they were given.

                Today, on Great Friday, it’s more than appropriate to bring up how Christ’s passion and crucifixion says, among other things, that what seems good to the world is bad, and what’s bad to the world is good. Not looking for more than just an out-and-out world beater can hide from us a store of hidden and deeper treasures.

                Yes, I agree that Orthodoxy can sometimes feel like there’s something or other missing, but then what a con this is when it’s remembered a). everything it’s preserved. b). just what exactly it’s preserved.

                I think I understand well enough that traces of God’s goodness and truth can be found in many places outside the Eastern Orthodox Church, as well as how we orthodox can and even should rejoice in the good things of others; but then using this (or perhaps being used by this) to find a greater common cause than what there is, amounts I think to wanting a new or another Christianity.

                If I’m not mistaken, the Jews, as I said, basically fell for this one, and by-jo are we up against it to not do the same, by failing the divine test.

                I myself often feel swayed by a sense of kinship with Roman Catholicism. For me it’s the history, devoutness, charm, quaintness and nostalgia of places like France, Italy and Spain, particularly rural areas, that stir up a desire for more of a relationship between Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism, but a more sober me doesn’t think this is enough reason.

                In summary then, the divine test as I see it is for Eastern Orthodoxy to be “it”; for Eastern Orthodox to not be proud of this, and at the same time not be promiscuous. A spirit like this seems most antithetical to the one of this world, therefore being the most trustworthy.

              • In response to my response: I said something like “if I’m not mistaken, the Jews basically did the same thing [didn’t recognise the great treasure]..”. The “if I’m not mistaken” part was a poor choice of words at that moment.

                The jews, unfortunately, did in fact not recognise the Christ

            • I have been reading around the Notre Dame disaster and French situation. I am not a conspiracy freak inspite of my greek blood, but more and more i am feeling we are not being told facts. A fireman here who i spoke to feels the intensity of fire and how spread,even allowing for other factors, would show at as he said, at very least, a ‘Prior Preparation’
              The way French government rushed to deny any arson even before it could have verifier that, has form.

  8. Michael Bauman says

    Nikos, real conspiracies do not stay hidden forever. The more people who know the truth of the matter, the more likely it will leak out to others. That reality is one of the best supports for the Resurrection. How could a couple hundred powerless men and women hide the body of someone that all the powers of the earth wanted found? That is why so many folks work so hard to convince that Jesus did not really exist.

    • Michael. Yes. I have been, and am, reading the Gospels in fairly modern Greek, during Lent and am strangely enough as not planned, am now at the story of Holy Week in Mark.
      I have of course heard read in church over the years in Greek and english and slavonic and now bulgarian. But reading a verses last thing at night has been a revelation.
      I am thinking of something the late bishop Anthony Bloom said about how he become as a teenager a believer when reading the Gospels. As if Christ was sitting next to him.
      Reading I have had this strong impression of a Person, a strong person. So forcefully. And the Gospels are so totally unlike myth etc. Totally. U see this if one looks at the gnostic etc texts.
      And the simple matter of fact description.of of the Passion. And the honestly in showing the fear and lack of faith in disciples and denial of Christ by Peter. If Stalin was organizing the Gospels, they would have been a lot different. .
      But those who do not have eyes and ears will not see or hear if Christ were to knock on their door with DNA evidence!!!.

      • Tim R. Mortiss says

        I came to the Christian faith because of the testimony of the witnesses. That is to say, I returned to Christianity at about 31 years old, when I felt I should have my children baptized. Turned out that I had to make a public profession of faith in order to do so. Though I had been brought up in the church (Presbys), I’d been away in my college and early married years. I wasn’t yet ready to make the profession without further study and reflection.
        So I read a lot and I agree completely that one of the manay powers in the testimony is that it preserves things that do not reflect well on the disciples. This, together with the inconsistencies and the outright conflicts (as between Paul and Peter at Antioch) are markers of truthful testimony.
        Many have pointed this out; C.S. Lewis for example. As he has said, the rational mind needs reasons to believe; i.e., evidence. Testimony is evidence. If it is entirely consistent and ‘smooth’, then it has been the product of collusion.
        I found the testimony to be persuasive. Prayer sealed the decision.

  9. Michael Bauman says

    Tim, the key I think is that you wanted to know the truth. Jesus uses that. It makes it much easier for Him to reveal Himself in the testimony, even imperfect testimony of other human beings. In my case, my parents planted a seed in both my brother and in me that the did not know they were planting. It was watered and nurtured along the way by many people and circumstances but for both of us it only came to fruition in the Orthodox Church.

    Along the way were excursions into some dark alleys but even those were not the dead ends they could have been, because we sought the truth, even when it meant difficulty and changes.

    I have not lost that since I was received into the Church in 1987. I am a sinner in may ways, but in my inmost heart I want nothing less than to know the Truth. He has rescued me many times in circumstances where I would have otherwise sunk and drowned. Thus my favorite icon is of Jesus saving Peter as Peter begins to sink on the stormy waters.

    The Church seems to be in stormy waters right now, if we focus our attention on the storms and the disruption, we risk sinking ourselves. However, if we can focus on Jesus Christ in the midst of the storms, we have nothing to fear.

    • Tim R. Mortiss says

      Yes, the Truth. “Spirit of Truth, who art everywhere present and fillest all things, treasury of blessings and giver of Life, come dwell in us and cleanse us of all impurity, O Good One.”

      This is the part of my morning prayer that I love the best.

      • Tim R. Mortiss says

        “and save our souls”…I had to close my eyes and recite it…..

        Blessed Holy Friday and Pascha to all.