I am an Orthodox Christian because I believe that the Gospels are reliable eyewitness accounts of the life of Jesus Christ. The modern view which held that the Gospels were all written well after the time of any who had known Christ is now widely discredited. Indeed even those who are willing to pull the Gospels apart realise that it is not possible to ignore the role of eyewitnesses in the creation of the Gospels. In this podcast I explain why I believe that the Gospels are credible and reliable, and why I think it is entirely reasonable to trust their authors.
Monthly Archives: January 2012
St Jacob of Serugh is a Syrian Orthodox writer of the 5th and 6th centuries who is especially famous for his poetic homilies, many of which remain untranslated into Western language. There are portions of his work which deal with the Eucharist and this podcast studies them to discover how we should understand the Eucharist, and how we can best participate in it for our salvation.
This is a sermon preached by Father Peter Farrington on the passage from the Epistle of St James which says, 'Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you'.
It may surprise many Orthodox to discover that Christianity in the British Isles is as ancient as in many other nations. Certainly the early Fathers of the East noted that even in the distant British Isles there were Christians worshipping according to the same faith. In this lecture which was presented at St Mark's Coptic Orthodox Church, Kensington, Father Peter describes the origins and development of Christanity in the British Isles. To those who are willing to dig a little below the surface it becomes clear that in fact there are traces of the holy people and holy places of these first centuries throughout the countryside. Much has survived to connect us to the Christian community of the past which had the same faith as that professed in Alexandria. In a very real sense Britain has been part of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, and mission in the 21st century is seeking to restore that which has been lost, rather than to introduce that which has never been known.
The influence of modern Evangelical Protestantism in the lives of many Orthodox, and even in some congregations, is a feature of 21st century Orthodox development which is often criticised. Many of those who find greater value in Evangelical practices and spirituality rather than in the Orthodox Tradition do not have an adequate appreciation of either Protestantism or Orthodoxy. As a convert to Orthodoxy from Evangelical Protestantism, Father Peter Farrington is ideally placed to be able to question the fascination among some Orthodox with heterodox Christianity.
A recent discussion on the Tasbeha forum discussed whether or not the teaching that the soul after death is conscious and has a continuing existence apart from the body could be considered a corruption of the Christian Faith. This is a remarkable claim, since there is almost a universal tradition, found in the writings of a great many Fathers and in the hymns and prayers of the Church, that the soul has an existence of its own after death. Indeed the Scriptural teaching that Christ descended in his own human soul to preach to the souls in prison, and that the souls of the saints cry out to God for justice, have all inspired the Tradition which has been taught by the Church since the beginning.
This study of some of the earliest Fathers, those who were closest in time and connection to the Apostles, shows that the teaching that the human soul after death is both conscious and in a state of continuing existence was universal in the first centuries. It particularly addresses the writings of St Justin Martyr, St Irenaeus of Lyons and Athenagoras the Athenian. It also refers to the correspondence of St Cyprian while he was expecting martyrdom.