Monday, July 26, 2021


Western culture did not grow out of nothing. It grew out of post Schismatic Roman Catholicism, its rejection by the Protestants, followed by the Enlightenment. Which in turn was founded on the synthesis of Old Testament Judaism, Greek philosophy and Roman law. 

Jan. 27, 2021 Orthodox iconographer Jonathan Pageau talks to Fr. John Strickland about the history of the West in view of the East.

UPDATE: Our own quest is rooted in the question what went wrong in Western culture that it could bring about the insanity and destruction of Postmodernism (pomo)? Pageau and Strickland both feel there is something momentous in Charlemagne, who basically highjacked the early Roman Catholic Church to enable him to establish the Holy Roman Empire with himself at the head as Emperor. In fact there was nothing holy or even Roman about this Germanic Frankish Empire.

Some conservatives are pointing to the Enlightenment and Liberalism as the culprit. But our own research has indicated that this conclusion is wrong. The Enlightenment proper must historically be situated much earlier, during the 16th and 17th centuries when modern science was discovered, rather than the 18th and 19th centuries, the epoch of Romanticism with its emphasis on passions and anti-reason, as Professor of Philosophy Stephen Hicks has pointed out in Explaining Postmodernism.

Fr. John Strickland it seems, is on the same quest. But first we will have to read his book, The Age of Paradise: Christendom from Pentecost to the First Millennium.

Oct, 7, 2020


Orthodox Deacon Fr. Ezra of St. Elijah Church in Oklahoma explains the history of Western and Eastern culture in a unique way, comprehensible by most lay people with some basic historical knowledge. Shock alert: some of this may blow your mind!

Orthodox Christianity 101 by Fr. Ezra: Finding The Church Jesus Built - Seminar 1 : History of the Church.

In the West we have no idea of the actual continuation of history. Of the ancients we know nothing, of the classics we know some. After the hiatus we call the Dark Ages, there's the medieval period followed by the Renaissance topped up by the Enlightenment. And that's about it. Fr. Ezra is filling the gaps for us. 

By design or by ignorance (Church) historians in the West have ignored the entire existence of the Eastern Roman Empire, cryptically referred to as Byzantium instead of Eastern Rome. It is here where high culture and progress lived during these so called Dark Ages, until well into the 16th Century when Contantinople finally succumbed to the Turkish aggression.

A case can be made that the Greek Roman Empire of Byzantium has never been able to restore itself to its former glory after the Venetian sacking of Constantinople during the 4th Crusade in 1204 when the city's works of art were carried off to Venice. 

Those who yearn for original Christianity (or even a denomination that is taking itself seriously) are well advised to watch all of Fr. Ezra's videos instead of dabbling in nonsense like the Gnostics, the Kabalah or Islam. Save yourself some time and effort.

Even for Anti Deists the series contain interesting nuggets from the historical or philosophical perspective.

So what are the essential differences between Western and Eastern thought? For the fundamentals see our page on Plato versus Aristotle. But there's more.

Ezra explains:

➤ Western thought is empirical

➤ Eastern thought is ontological*

*More on this subject in a later posting.

  • Old Roman Catholicism is Plato + Christ + Augustine
  • New Roman Catholicism (post Aquinas) is Christ + Aristotle + Augustine
  • Protestantism is Christ + Plato + Augustine
  • Orthodoxy is Aristotle + Christ

The order is on purpose; it goes to hierarchy.

Once you start to get an inkling of the real history it becomes clear where, starting with Roman Catholicism and after it, the Protestant denominations, the West began to stray from the original sources, often out of political considerations. But mostly because the Germanic mind is more attracted to Platonic dualism instead of Aristotle's integration. 

The disgust of the Protestants against Rome was mostly rooted in the influence of Aristotelian thinker Thomas of Aquinas on the Roman Catholic Church. This is how much the West dislikes the greatest philosopher the world has ever known. 

The Orthodox (including Fr. Ezra) for their part are often not even aware their world view is rooted in Aristotle. This must have been the case from the pre Christian era, at least the time of Alexander the Great, who was tutored by Aristotle. 

Orthodox Christians, given the choice are also more attracted to Plato's other-worldlyness because it seems to refer to a realm called 'heaven'. On the other hand even the Orthodox mostly reason from Aristotle's universal unity, just making a distinction between the visible and the invisible. 

Here's another sampling from the series Fr. Ezra's series, "Paradise has Two Trees."

Fr. Ezra: Paradise Has Two Trees - Week 12 (excerpt).|

Deacon Ezra's playlists (often loaded upside down; please re-arrange manually 😜):