FALL-WINTER, 1999-2000:

THE BLOSSOMING OF ORTHODOXY IN AMERICA 

by Fr. John Shimchick

  This issue initially began with the theme of re-examining Fr. Alexander Schmemannís three article series, published between 1964-1965, on the Canonical, Liturgical, and Spiritual "problems" facing Orthodoxy in America. The basic questions that Archbishop Peter (Canonical), Fr. Alexis Vinogradov (Liturgical), and Fr. Robert Arida (Spiritual) considered in their responses were whether and to what extent Fr. Alexanderís analyses of these problems are still relevant today.

   But as a careful reading will show, Fr. Alexander was not primarily interested in problems, but with their consequences. He stresses this in the last paragraph of the last article (Spiritual): "It is clear to every one who wants to see that there are today around us thousands of ears ready to listen, thousands of hearts ready to open themselves not to our human words and human explanations, not to the `splendors' of Byzantium or Russia, but to that alone which makes us sing at the end of each Liturgy: `We have seen the true Light, we have received the heavenly Spirit, we have found the true Faith...' And if only we could understand this and take it to our hearts and our will, day after day, there would be no problem of Orthodoxy, but only a mission of Orthodoxy in America."

   These articles are not a cynical look at "problems," but proposals for the triumph over all that inhibits the mission of Orthodoxy in America Ė all that prevents it from growing and blossoming here in America.

   We are pleased in this issue of Jacobís Well to present not only the responses, but to make available the complete text of Fr. Alexanderís articles. The location, entitled "Supplements," will allow us to make available longer supplementary texts that would not be possible in a printed form. Some texts, among others, currently available that relate to articles in this issue include:

   In addition, there are reviews of educational and liturgical music workshops and retreats, youth events, and parish celebrations. Fr. Michael Plekon expands his series on the "living icons" of the 20th century with the life of Mother Maria Skobtsova. Fr. Thomas Edwards shares personal reflections of the departed hierarch, Bishop Basil Rodzianko. Robert Flanagan examines the "holiness of place" as experienced in a recent trip to Ireland. In our poetry section, Water from the Well, we are pleased to include Denise Levertov's poem, Annunciation.  Kim Piotrowski reviews an interesting series of lectures delivered by Lazarus James Reid on art and its connection to spirituality. Fr. Joseph Woodill further develops his presentation on Orthodox Ethics.  Fr. Stephen Siniari continues his series on "servanthood."

   As the first in 2000, this issue offers a reflection on the signs of growth within our Diocese and a hopefulness, amidst the tensions of modern life within and outside of our Church, for the blossoming of Orthodoxy in America.

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