Inaccurate Conception: Orthodoxy, Autocephaly, and the Nation-State

It’s time for another guest post! Today we’ve got a piece by freelance writer and Harvard Divinity School student Hannah Gais on the recent schism between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople over the latter’s decision to give Ukrainian church leaders permission to form an autocephalous Ukrainian Orthodox Church. Hannah argues… Continue reading Inaccurate Conception: Orthodoxy, Autocephaly, and the Nation-State

Ashura and Yom Kippur greetings

For the second year in a row, the Jewish (Rosh Hashanah) and Islamic (Ras al-Sana) new years fell on the same date on the Gregorian calendar, September 20. Which means that the tenth day of those respective years, Yom Kippur for Jews and Ashura for Muslims, also fall on the same Gregorian date, which is… Continue reading Ashura and Yom Kippur greetings

Conflict update: January 24 2017

Syria With everybody’s eyes on the peace conference in Kazakhstan, Jabhat Fatah al-Sham has made a big move to consolidate its control of the rebellion in Idlib: Heavy fighting erupted in northwestern Syria on Tuesday between a powerful jihadist organization and more moderate rebel groups, threatening to further weaken the opposition to President Bashar al-Assad… Continue reading Conflict update: January 24 2017

Muhammad’s birthday mob

Today (actually beginning at sundown yesterday) is, on the Islamic calendar, the date traditionally identified as Muhammad’s birthday, or Mawlid al-Nabi. While your immediate assumption might be to equate Mawlid with Christmas, they’re really not analogous (just as Muhammad’s role in Islam is not analogous to Jesus’s role in Christianity), and Mawlid is not a… Continue reading Muhammad’s birthday mob

Arbaʿeen: bigger than ever

Arbaʿeen, for those who aren’t familiar, is the second Shiʿa holy day that is centered on the Battle of Karbala, and thus the death of the early Shiʿa leader Husayn b. Ali, in 680. The first, Ashura, is commemorated on the day (per the Islamic calendar) of the battle, while Arbaʿeen (Arabic for “forty”) occurs… Continue reading Arbaʿeen: bigger than ever

Too many Lamas

Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th and current Dalai Lama, is 81 years old. Even for somebody living well, as he seems to be, that’s a long time to be alive, and when any major religious or political figure makes it into old age it’s natural to talk about succession. But the question of whether there will… Continue reading Too many Lamas