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UPDATE: Chapter 25: Culture Wars (1960 – Present) – Part II: Doctrine of Hell in 20th century and the Orthodox Church after the Soviet Union

Russian church

Russian Orthodox Church has enjoyed a resurgence since the end of atheist Soviet Communist rule in 1991. (Reuters)

This will be our next to last submissions on MacCulloch’s Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years: two essays on the relevancy of the doctrine of hell in churches today and how the Orthodox Church has changed after the collapse of communism in Russia after 1991.

In our last entry for this series, coming next month, we will reflect on how a knowledge of Church history has impacted our understanding of the Christian faith.

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Chapter 25: Culture Wars (1960 – Present) – Part II

Pope John Paul II (1920 - 2005)

Pope John Paul II (1920 – 2005)

It has been a long journey that dated back almost two years ago in April of 2013 when we first started reading Diarmaid MacCulloch’s Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years.  And now we have come to its conclusion.

Please read the remainder of Chapter 25, the last chapter of the book, where we will cover: A Cultural Revolution from the Sixties, Old-Time Affirmations, and Freedom: Prospects and Fears.

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Chapter 24: Not Peace but a Sword (1913-60) – Part I

Happy New Year!

For our first meeting of 2015 for next week, please read the first three sections of Chapter 24: A War That Killed Christendom (1914-18); Great Britain: The Last Years of Christian Empire; Catholics and Christ the King: The Second Age of Catholic Missions.

 

American soldier dies during a German gas attack during WWI.  May, 1918.

American soldier dies during a German gas attack during WWI. May, 1918.

 

 

Please answer one of the following questions:

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New Update: Chapter 15: Russia the Third Rome – Part II: The Rise of Moscow and Ivan the Terrible

Church of St. George

Fourteen Orthodox Church patriarchs and archbishops gather in Church of St. George upon the invitation of Greek Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew in Istanbul, Turkey, on March 6, 2014. (Photo by Erhan Elaldi/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images) | Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

 

Sorry for the delay, but here are the new entries.

 

This concludes our studies into the Orthodox Church for now, but through this I think we all gained tremendous insight into the history of the Orthodox faith as a whole.

 

In relation to the history of the Orthodox faith, we are living in interesting times right now as “the Twelve heads of autonomous Orthodox churches, the second-largest family of Christian churches, agreed to hold a summit of bishops, or ecumenical council, in 2016, which will be the first in over 1,200 years” recently.

 

It will be interesting how the Orthodox Church will respond to what is happening in Russia and the Ukraine right now as well.

 

In regards to reading MacCulloch, what I personally want to investigate is to see “God’s hand” in the major events of history.  Of course, this isn’t MacCulloch’s main concern in this book, however, it’s just a personal spiritual question I have as I study Church history.  So far, I’m a bit conflicted as to it being so clear that God is in a sense “micro-managing” everything that happens in history.  We can so easily say “The Lord is the Lord of history!” in sermons and books, but I believe that it’s such a naive statement.  History is rich and complex, with so many variables and moving parts, that it’s kind of hard to pinpoint and say, “Aha!  You see, God was working here” etc.

 

 

“The 160-Year Christian History Behind What’s Happening in Ukraine” – Christianity Today

 

The 160-Year Christian History Behind What's Happening in Ukraine

 

Here is a great article in christianitytoday.com about the history of Crimea and the Crimean War (1853 – 56) – great background to what is happening in that region and the Ukraine today.

After reading about the history of the Orthodox faith in Russia for the past couple of months, when you read this article, things will seem more familiar even though we haven’t delved into this later part of Russian Orthodox Church history yet.

 

 

 

Chapter 15: Russia: The Third Rome (900 – 1800) – Part II (1448 – 1800)

 

Next Wednesday, March 12, 2014, we will finish up Chapter 15 and our journey into the history of the Orthodox Church and specifically the Russian Orthodox Church by covering the sections: Muscovy Triumphant (1448 – 1547), Ivan the Terrible and the New Patriarchate (1547 – 98), and From Muscovy to Russia (1598 – 1800).  

 

Ivan IV, aka ‘Ivan the Terrible’

 

With these readings, and with all the tensions that has been going on in Kiev, Ukraine currently, I hope we’ve gained a better understanding of its complex history and geopolitical importance throughout Russian history.

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New Updates – Chapter 15: Russia: The Third Rome (900 – 1448) – Part 1

Russian Orthodox Ice Church

Hi everyone, here is the update for Chapter 15 that you can read here.

Topics on the Tartars, Mongols, Kiev, Vikings, and how the Rus’ adopted and accommodated Byzantine culture and the Orthodox faith into their own.

Chap. 15: Russia – The Third Rome (900 – 1800) – Part I

 

Hi folks, next Wednesday (Feb. 26)  we will begin our journey of Orthodoxy in Russia by focusing on the first two sections of Chapter 15: “A New Threat to Christendom: Norsemen, Rus’ and Kiev (900 – 1240)” and “Tartars, Lithuania and Muscovy (1240 – 1448)”.

 

Cathedral of the Dormition, Kiev, Ukraine

 

Studying Russia’s Orthodox Church history seems appropriate with all that is happening in Russia currently with the Sochi Winter Olympics and the political unrest that is happening in Kiev, the capital of Ukraine.

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Engineering an Empire – The Byzantines

We just concluded our readings about the rise and fall of the Byzantine Empire.

One of my favorite programs that aired on the History Channel was a series titled “Engineering an Empire” hosted by Peter Weller, lecturer of ancient history at Syracuse University – yes, that Peter Weller who starred in “Robocop”, “The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai”, and most recently in last year’s “Startrek: Into Darkness”.

Chapter 14: Orthodoxy – More Than an Empire (900 – 1700)

 

Next Wednesday, we will discuss Chapter 14 which deals with the Orthodox Church during the time of the Crusades, up until its fall by the Ottomans in 1453, and the Orthodox Church’s struggle under Ottoman control afterwards.

 

The Fall of Constantinople to the Ottomans in 1453

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