The End is Where We Start From
by Fr. John Shimchick
What we call the beginning is often the end
And to make an end is to make a beginning.
The end is where we start from.
(T.S. Eliot, "Little Gidding," Section V, Four Quartets)
As we approach the end of this century and millenium, what can we as Orthodox
Christians learn from the past that might serve as the starting point for our engagement
with the future? Can we identify useful decisions and patterns of behavior? Can we
acknowledge our mistakes? Have there been certain witnesses to the reality of the
Christian Faith whose lives are worth examining? What does it mean to be an Orthodox
Christian at this moment in history? These are some of the themes we wish to explore
throughout the issues of Jacob's Well produced during this year.
Fr. Leonid Kishkovsky, in editorials written for The
Orthodox Church newspaper, in his commencement address at St. Vladimir's Seminary, and in
a recent interview we are pleased to present, suggests that the current time provides many
opportunities for Orthodox responses and involvement. Fr. Alexander Garklavs writes about
the critical dimensions of nationalism. Fr. Michael Meerson explores issues experienced by
the new immigrants coming to America, particularly those in the latest Russian
"wave." Matushka Deborah Belonick studies the subject of "women's
issues" in the context of Orthodox Tradition and traditionalism.
We will begin two new series of articles. Fr. Michael Plekon
will examine images of holiness found throughout the twentieth century. The first
installment features the first translation of Fr. Alexander Schmemann's
remarkable account of the "Three Metropolitans" who
served a formative role in his experience of the Church. While his descriptions of
Metropolitans Evlogy and Vladimir of Paris will no doubt be of interest, his presentation
of Metropolitan Leonty is of particular value as we consider those who gave their lives on
behalf of our Church in America. Fr. Schmemann observed that Metropolitan Leonty was
"firmly upholding the whole Metropolia [the name of the OCA before autocephaly] under
his prayerful gaze." The second series, written by Fr. Joseph Woodill, will develop
an Orthodox understanding of "Ethics."
We will review Diocesan and parish events: the 85th anniversary of St. John the Baptist
Church, Spring Valley, NJ; a project of Holy Trinity Church, Yonkers, NY which will
benefit Russian orphans; the wonderful restoration of iconography taking place at St.
Vladimir's Church, Trenton, NJ; parish retreats, and activities for youth and choirs. Fr.
Stephen Siniari offers a new article in his series, "Good and Faithful Servant."
Finally, we are happy to announce the launching of our new Diocesan Webpage:
Besides making available articles from current and back issues of Jacob's Well,
this site will allow us to present and regularly update a Calendar of Diocesan Life. Information on how to do
that will be available on the webpage.