Faith at Altitude

Religion and spirituality in the shadow of Pikes Peak

Wednesday, January 10, 2007


In the midst of catching up following a couple days off, I ran across this article about the growth of Christian Orthodoxy -- that ancient brand of faith associated with icons, incense and long beards.

According to the story, Orthodoxy is booming in America, with younger believers attracted to the sect's tradition and mystique. That seems to be holding true locally, where the biggest Orthodox church (Saints Constantine and Helen Orthodox Church, located on the city's west side) is thriving, and lifetime adherents rub elbows with 20-something converts.

I've spoken with the Rev. Anthony Karbo, the senior pastor over at Constantine and Helen, and he believes the secret to their success is their unwavering commitment to two millennia of tradition.

The church traces its roots back to Christianity's earliest days, and the faith split with Roman Catholicism a few hundred years before Martin Luther got around to nailing his Theses to a Wittenberg church door. The church has no worship band, no big screen. Services -- which can sometimes last three hours -- are much the same as they were 800 years ago, and Karbo says they'll hopefully be the same 800 years from now. The theology is much the same, too. Even artists who create Orthodoxy's renowned icons adhere to the same time-honored style. If the church is now hip, it's because it consciously avoids being so.

If you're ever looking for a cultural field trip but don't want to leave town, check out a service at Constantine and Helen.


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