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Karl’s Interview, Part I: Choosing a Patron

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Written by Basil on 09/19/2003 12:56 AM. Filed under:

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I thought, being an egotistical maniac who likes to hear himself talk, that I’d ask Karl to interview me, too. Actually, I think this is a really great way to get ideas for blog posts. Because most of these questions are looking to be fairly long on answer, I’m going to “think outside of the box” and post each answer separately. Besides, it may be weeks before these things get answered otherwise.

1) Why did you pick St. Basil as your patron saint?
Well, I talk about this elsewhere on my site, but I realized that the full story of being given St. Basil as a patron was not revealed there.

=deep breath= =pause= =Cheshire cat grin= 😀

As you may know, the Evangelical Orthodox Church grew out of evangelicals trying to patch together a truly catholic, orthodox, and apostolic Church. The historical realities of this means that, before submitting ourselves to the Orthodox Church, there were lingering traces of practices that make Orthodox sort of screw up their faces and say, “No, no, no. It just is not done that way.” It reminds me very much of the story of St. Athanasius pretending to be bishop and baptize his friends. Except that, with Athanasius, the real bishop said, “That is, indeed, how it is done, and I see no reason not to accept these baptisms as valid.”

It was common in the EOC for the community to pray extemporaneously over the newly-illumined after they had been baptized and/or chrismated. These prayers ex tempore sometimes included what charismatics would recognize as “prophetic utterances,” in which a new name was given — without warning, mind you — to the newly-illumined. I laugh to think of it now.

Understand that this comes from the belief that the work of the Holy Spirit in the early Church involved a lot of spontaneity, a lot of ecstatic religious experiences. Many charismatics, indeed many Protestants, believe that all of the first century Churches looked pretty much like Corinth — that Corinthian liturgical practices were how the Holy Spirit worked universally. What is more likely the case at Corinth is that the Christianized Jewish liturgies of the early Churches (e.g., the Agape meal and Eucharist which borrowed heavily from Jewish meal liturgies), which inherited a basic order and structure from Judaism, were existing side by side with pagan Corinthian practices. With a compassionate hand, St. Paul worked to eventually establish the order of Christian prayer as preeminent, while allowing the preexisting practices to remain, so long as they did not interfere with the orderly assembly of the Church. A textbook case of missiological compassion with a view toward the eventual supplanting of pagan practices that are not entirely healthy.

So there I stand. I’m being received into the EOC from the Roman Church. No one has spoken to me about taking a new name, and I haven’t known when exactly to talk about it. I’ve been thinking about taking Ignatius, because of a Roman Catholic priest who was influential in my youth, but I haven’t mentioned it to anyone yet. Then Fr. Joseph starts praying over me, and all I remember is that he said — doing that charismatic thing where you are speaking for God — “I give you my friend, Basil, to pray for you. And you may take his name, if you wish.” Whoah. Talk about a bolt from the blue.

Now, I had already been in and out of the charismatic movement, and my psychology of religion had a nice little box for this kind of thing, but it hit me. I mean, it really hit me. Fr. Joseph didn’t really know me all that well yet, did he? How could he know about my deep interest in both theology and liturgy from the few times we had met? The math didn’t add up. It just didn’t all fit down in the box. The Spirit rarely ever fits into our boxes.

So, I accepted St. Basil as patron saint. And I thought about whether to take the name. It just seemed like a good fit. Not because I arrogantly thought of myself as being like Basil — though, arrogantly, I do — but because he seemed to be a good man to ask for prayer. It seemed like he would understand the struggles that I would face in my life. So far, that has seemed on the mark.

Of course, it was immediately pointed out to me that it had not been made clear whether my patron was St. Basil the Great or St. Basil the Blesséd, fool-for-Christ’s-sake.

Future questions to be answered:
2) As a teen you were involved with, as you put it, “the popular format of Pentecostal, charismatic, and ‘non-denominational’ churches” but later realized that they were unable to create authentic unity amongst members. As a former Episcopalian, and Roman Catholic, how has your understanding of the importance of unity changed since becoming Orthodox?
3) How did you get involved with computers and web design?
4) Do you think that God is calling you to the priesthood? Tonsured monastic life?
5) You attend a small Orthodox parish. What are some of the strengths and weaknesses of your parish?


  1. If you want to participate, leave a comment below saying “interview me.”
  2. I will respond by asking you five questions–each person’s will be different.
  3. You will update your journal/blog with the answers to the questions.
  4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview others in the same post.
  5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.
  6. I will answer reasonable follow up questions if you leave a comment.
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2 Responses to “Karl’s Interview, Part I: Choosing a Patron”

  1. Mr. Hibbity Gibbity Says:

    Interview me!


  2. basil Says:

    Oh, I do believe that it is I who should laugh evilly now, Mr. Hib-bit-y Gib-bit-y! Bwahahahaha! Bwahahahaha! Bwahahahahahaha!

    [cut ominous music]