The first principle of the Ordinariate is then about Christian unity. St. Basil the Great, the Church’s greatest ecumenist, literally expended his life on the work of building bridges between orthodox brethren who shared a common faith, but who had become separated from one another in a Church badly fragmented by heresy and controversy. He taught that the work of Christian unity requires deliberate and ceaseless effort...St. Basil often talked with yearning about the archaia agape, the ancient love of the apostolic community, so rarely seen in the Church of his day. This love, he taught, is a visible sign that the Holy Spirit is indeed present and active, and it is absolutely essential for the health of the Church.

- Msgr. Jeffrey Steenson, Homily on the Occasion of his Formal Institution as Ordinary

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Former Blogger Fr. Al Kimel resumes online writing

Many readers here may remember the blog "Pontifications" in which (then) Episcopal priest Al Kimel hashed out many theological topics, including his own situation in the Episcopal Church. Fr. Kimel eventually moved to the East Coast from Pittsburgh, and was ordained via the Pastoral Provision. And then he, and his blog, went to ground.

Yesterday, his blogging resumed. He writes in his first post:
Why eclectic Orthodoxy? Simply because I find it is impossible for me to be anything but an eclectic Christian believer. This may be a tragic flaw in my character. All I know is that I have been on a spiritual journey–from Anglicanism to Catholicism and finally to Eastern Orthodoxy. Yet not just any form of Eastern Orthodoxy but Western Rite Orthodoxy. Four years ago I thought I was on a purely Eastern trajectory, a trajectory that would probably require me to abandon my priesthood of thirty years, given the absence of either an OCA or Antiochian congregation here in Roanoke, Virginia; but at the last moment a door surprisingly opened...

So I have decided to begin reading the Church Fathers, beginning with St Gregory the Theologian. Why St Gregory? Because if he ain’t Orthodox, nobody is. In the Orthodox Church he is regarded as one of the Three Holy Hierarchs, along with St Basil the Great and St John Chrysostom. He has also been given the privileged title “Theologian,” a title that he shares only with the Apostle John and St Symeon. In the Latin Church St Gregory is acknowledged as one of the four Great Doctors of the Eastern Church. His writings decisively and formatively shaped the Church’s teachings on the doctrine of the Trinity, the divinity of the Holy Spirit, the hypostatic unity of the person of Christ, and theosis. Who better to learn the Orthodox faith from than St Gregory the Theologian?

There is one other reason I have decided to begin blogging again—for the sake of my sanity. On June 15th my second son Aaron died by suicide. His death has shattered my life and the lives of my wife and children. On June 22nd I preached his funeral homily and prayed the committal over his casket. Aaron’s death has changed and traumatized me at the core of my being, in ways that I have not yet begun to fathom. On most days I am overwhelmed by sorrow and grief. Curiously, only two things seem to provide some measure of respite—walking my dog, Tiriel, and theological reading. And so I continue to read St Gregory, for my sake and for the sake of my beloved son, Aaron Edward Kimel. Memory eternal.

And so for what it is worth, I will begin sharing with you my ruminations on the Church Fathers and other theologians. I can only offer my fallible, provisional opinions. I am neither a patristic scholar nor systematic theologian. I welcome discussion, analysis, criticism, scholarly documentation. I only ask one thing from you—civility. I have no interest in violently rehashing the polemical debates of past and present. If apologetics is your burning interest, then there are many internet forums and blogs you can visit. And I certainly have no desire to defend my orthodoxy against self-appointed guardians of doctrinal purity who deem me a heretic. My primary purpose here is to understand and learn from the men and women whose writings I will be discussing on this blog. Perhaps you would like to join in this conversation.

Read the full version of his initial post on his blog Eclectic Orthodoxy

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