06 Jan 2020

On Hierarchy

Away from my family on study retreat, I went to St. Isidore’s for the Sunday English language mass. While looking up toward the dome before the service, I caught sight of the four Evangelists, in Baroque attitudes of dramatic inspiration, pages under their poised fingers, living creatures over their shoulders. I prayed something like the following: Lord, you pour forth power and wisdom and goodness without cease According to your own mode, which is limitless,

22 Jul 2015

Liturgy Versus Lecture PART 1: Could the Earliest Churches Have Seriously Been So Fancy and Formal?

Much of contemporary Christianity has developed a newly inflamed affection for what they believe to be a first century pattern of Christianity: abandoning all formal or structural ecclesiology for simple house churches, which is allegedly where Christianity was supposed to remain without the hierarchical clergy getting their ugly paws on it.  It is assumed that these congregations must have been similar to the informal evangelical low churches today that gather together in someone’s living room,

23 Jan 2015

Seminal Christian Theologians: Pseudo-Dionysius on Hierarchy

Definition and Misunderstandings The concept of hierarchy is the singular motif through which the extant Pseudo-Dionysian corpus must be understood. Denys defines hierarchy as “a sacred order, a state of understanding, and an activity approximating as closely as possible the divine.”1 This article will explore his tripartite formulation by focusing on the following questions: “What is sacred about hierarchy?”, “In what way is hierarchy a state of understanding?”, and “How does hierarchic activity approximate as