Dear Students and Friends,
Christ is Risen!
In this Bright time after Pascha, let us begin anew our spiritual journeys, refreshed by the promise of the Resurrection. Begin living eternity now! Here are some books that can help. Both are new to the School of the 70.
by Philip LeMasters
Here's what Amazon says: "There's more to Eastern Christianity than ethnic food bazaars, enclaves
of immigrants, and clergy with beards. The mystical theology, spiritual
disciplines, and rich liturgical worship of the Orthodox Church provide
sustenance for anyone seeking resources for growth in the Christian
life. Ancient teachings and practices persist in Eastern Christianity
that hold together much of what Catholics and Protestants have
separated. Believers of all stripes increasingly resonate with
Orthodoxy's healthy synthesis of prayer, doctrine, liturgy, asceticism,
and call to holiness in all areas of life. This ancient faith speaks
with refreshing clarity to contemporary Christians who want to learn
from a living tradition that is too little known in Western culture.
This volume presents profound insights that will enrich, challenge, and
inspire readers of all backgrounds. It invites everyone to encounter a
spiritual tradition that is ancient, contemporary, and fascinatingly
Sounds like a great book for newcomers to the faith, those curious about Orthodoxy, or even established Orthodox who want to connect more with tradition.
And you can also listen to an interview with Philip LeMasters about his book here!
By David Smith
Here's what Amazon says: "Do you ever find yourself feeling bored in church? Don't despair you're
not alone, and there is hope! Fr. David Smith offers four compelling
reasons for going to church regardless of how we feel. He then explores
six reasons people sometimes feel bored in church, five ways to think
about your priest, four ways you can participate more fully in services,
three kinds of waiting, two kinds of prayer, and the one thing truly
needful in our relationship with God. This book will help you see church
as the best place you could possibly be and the place you most want to
Is this you? Don't despair. This book talks about church boredom and gives suggestions for re-energizing your participation in Liturgy.
You can earn two credits each for reading the books, and one credit for listening to the Philip LeMasters interview. For the books, read, then fill out the General Worksheet for Books. For the interview, fill out the Podcast Worksheet. Then email your work to else10(at)gmail(d0t)com for credit. It's easy!
May your Spring reading and listening be especially blessed.
Monday, April 28, 2014
Sunday, April 20, 2014
Wednesday, April 16, 2014
At last, we have come to this Holy Week. Our thoughts turn toward the Cross and what will happen there to our Beloved Lord. Here are some activities that can help keep us spiritually centered on the most important event in history and what it can mean to us.
- The Lord's Entry into Jerusalem by Anthony Bloom: Who are you and where do you stand?
- The Barren Fig Tree by Met Tikhon
- The Bridegroom of Our Church by Met Eustathios
- God's Unconditional Love by Fr Stavros
May your learning and your Holy Week be blessed!
Sunday, April 6, 2014
Ascend, brothers! Ascend eagerly to the mountain of the Lord!
St John Climacus is best-known for his famous book, "The Ladder of Divine Ascent," a description of how to reach heaven. Aimed at monks, lay Orthodox have found it helpful through the centuries for it describes how to grow in the spiritual life and much is applicable to the ordinary person. We celebrate St John on the fourth Sunday of Lent, as we all strive to reach higher spiritual goals. The divine ascent has been put in icon form, as well.
Learn more about St John by reading:
- St John on Wikipedia
- St John on OrthodoxWiki
- St John on OCA.org
- The Ladder of Divine Ascent (free, downloadable pdf)
- The Ladder of Divine Ascent (read online)
- Excerpts from The Ladder of Divine Ascent (read online)
- Guide to The Ladder on OrthodoxWiki
- Many articles about St John on Mystagogy
Kontakion — Tone 4
Prayer: O Holy Desert Dweller and Angel in the body, You received heavenly gifts through fasting, vigils and prayer. On this day when we commemorate your life and works, we ask you to pray to Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ that he will guide us up the ladder of divine ascent, reaching the last rung which will open to us the kingdom of heaven. Amen.
Bible Verse: Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, For they shall be filled. Matt 5:6.
Bible Question: How is one "filled" through fasting, vigils, and prayer?
Friday, April 4, 2014
The Orthodox Christian Network has four wonderful podcasts (with transcripts, so you can read AND listen) on important Lenten topics, given by beloved Metropolitan Kallistos Ware, author of The Orthodox Church and many other writings for contemporary Orthodox Christians.
Here are the podcasts:
These will be a blessing to you and give you new food for thought on these basic Orthodox spiritual practices.
You can earn 1 credit for each podcast. Simply listen, fill out the Podcast worksheet (one for each podcast) and return to else10(at)gmail(d0t)com for credit.
May your listening be blessed!