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Issue 1: To Our Readers

The Wheel is a journal for the intelligent and constructive articulation of the Christian Gospel in the 21st century. We live in an era of pluralism, when the social identity of Christian faith and its role in public discourse present new and unique challenges. By embracing contributions on Orthodox theology, spirituality, and liturgical arts alongside serious engagements with the challenges of contemporary political ideologies, empirical science, and cultural modernism, this publication aims to move beyond the polarizations of much current debate in the Orthodox Church.

Our editorial mission is inspired by the early believers who transformed the pagan symbol of the wheel into the Christian acronym ΙΧΘΥΣ (ICHTHYS). Today, the wheel serves as a metaphor for a tradition that both grounds us and moves us forward. Such an understanding of Church tradition is consonant with the description given by one of the great Orthodox thinkers of the last century, Vladimir Lossky:

“If the Scriptures and all that the Church can produce in words written or pronounced, in images or in symbols liturgical or otherwise, represent the differing modes of expression of the truth, tradition is the unique mode of receiving it. We say specifically unique mode and not uniform mode, for to Tradition in its pure notion there belongs nothing formal. It does not impose on human consciousness formal guarantees of the truths of faith, but gives access to the discovery of their inner evidence. It is not the content of Revelation, but the light that reveals it; it is not the word, but the living breath which makes the words heard at the same time as the silence from which it came; it is not the truth, but a communication of the Spirit of Truth, outside which the truth cannot be received. […] It is the life of the Holy Spirit in the Church.”

The thorniest problems of our time cry out for guidance from the Church’s tradition, approached with the awareness that truth is revealed over time through a process of prayer, creative reflection, and debate. Likewise, although the perspective of the editors is firmly rooted in the Orthodox Church, we welcome contributions from those outside its formal boundaries that challenge us to realize more fully the Gospel of Christ.

Our first issue considers the question of Orthodox identity. The following articles reflect on what it means to be a modern Orthodox Christian as revealed through works of art and the lives of the saints, how the contemporary Church has come to understand itself, and the realities of Christian participation in public dialogue. We do not promise that the perspectives offered here will satisfy everyone, but we hope our readers will never fear prayerful, respectful efforts to discern God's hand in contemporary life. Indeed, our one editorial certainty is that the still-unfolding truth of Cross and Empty Tomb will continue to provoke the most radical and challenging of ideas.

This article first appeared in The Wheel, Issue 1 (Spring 2015). To view a PDF of the original print article, please click here.