Wednesday, September 26, 2012

New Book Wednesdays: Journey to the Kingdom

Dear Students and Friends,

Do you want to know more about our Liturgy and how it relates to heaven? Our new book this week is "Journey to the Kingdom" by Fr Vassilios Papavassiliou and published by Paraclete Press.

Here's what Paraclete has to say about this September offering:

The Orthodox Liturgy is not just an act of worship, but a potentially life-changing journey. Fr Papavassiliou takes you through this journey with clarity and passion, exploring the Liturgy as a reflection of heavenly worship, and an invitation to enter the Kingdom of God. The hymns, prayers, creed and actions of the Liturgy are explained, covering subjects such as Communion, Trinity, baptism, sainthood, Resurrection, and much more. The book includes a map to guide you on your journey and 20 illustrations.

You can earn 2 credits for reading this book. Read the book, complete the General Worksheet for Books (from the Lessons tab, above) and email your work to else10(at) Your credit will then be awarded.

You can buy the book on Paraclete here or on Amazon here.

Journey to the Kingdom by Fr Vassilios Papavassiliou, ISBN 978-1612611648, 164 pages, Paraclete Press: 2012.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Read-Along Begins: "Words of Fire"

Dear Students and Friends,

Our Read-Along resumes Wednesday, September 26, with the book, "Words of Fire: The Early Epistles of St Paul to the Thessalonians and Galatians" by Fr Lawrence Farley.

Publisher Conciliar Press describes the book:

The early epistles of St. Paul come down to us from antiquity like a flame kindled from within his great apostolic heart--a flame of indignation that the people he loved were being led astray from the path of Christ. These are not words of disinterested philosophy nor of cold catechetical teaching. They are words of fire, and they come from one who was himself on fire with the love of God and His people. These early epistles have burned their way down through the centuries, and are given to us now as God's gift through His apostle to burn in our hearts as well. 

About the Orthodox Bible Study Companion Series This commentary series was written for the average layperson. Working from a literal translation of the original Greek, the commentary examines the text section by section, explaining its meaning in everyday language. Written from an Orthodox and patristic perspective, it maintains a balance between the devotional and the exegetical, feeding both the heart and the mind. 

About the Author Archpriest Lawrence Farley currently pastors St. Herman of Alaska Orthodox Mission (OCA) in Langley, B.C., Canada. He received his B.A. from Trinity College, Toronto, and his M.Div. from Wycliffe College, Toronto. A former Anglican priest, he converted to Orthodoxy in 1985 and studied for two years at St. Tikhon’s Orthodox Seminary in Pennsylvania. He has also published A Daily Calendar of Saints.

We call this a "read-along" because we are following the adult Bible study class at St Luke Church, the sponsor of this school. Each week, we'll post the study guide for each chapter as prepared by the class teacher, Lee K. Get the book and read along with us, completing the lesson and submitting it for credit. You can earn 1 credit for each lesson packet completed!

View and download each lesson by clicking on the Read-Along tab at the top of this website. One lesson will be posted each week and also announced on this website.

You can purchase the book from Conciliar Press here or from Amazon here.

Questions about the Read-Along? Please email me at else10(at)gmail(dot)com. May your reading be blessed!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Bible Story Infographic

Dear Students and Friends,

I found this infographic on Facebook this morning and thought it would be apt to post it as so many of our activities are about the Bible. I think its message is crystal-clear and a wonderful focus to remember!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Podcasts on the Bible

The Book of Kells, an illuminated version of the Gospels

Dear Students and Friends,

Here are some excellent short podcasts on the Bible.

On OCN's "Get Wisdom" podcast, Jason Barker discusses why you should study the Bible.

Listen now.

 On "On Special Moments in Orthodoxy," we’ll hear  Fr. Thomas Hopko discuss Scripture: The Sword of the Spirit. Father Hopko is a dynamic and convicting speaker!

Listen now.

You can receive 1 credit for each podcast you listen to. Simply listen, fill out the Podcast worksheet (available from the Lessons tab at the top of this website) and send it to else10(at)gmail(d0t)com.

Need on-the-go sources for the Scriptures? Check out There you can read the Bible in hundreds of different languages and versions.

And every day, you can read the Orthodox Study Bible version of the church's Scriptures for the Day  here.

May your listening be blessed!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

New Book Wednesdays: Icons Speak

Dear Students and Friends,

Our new book this week is Icons Speak: Their Message--Introducing the Twelve Great Feasts of the Orthodox Church published this past April by Conciliar Press and written by Anthony Coniaris.

This sounds like an intriguing and helpful book, both for our own spiritual enjoyment and for learning more about the icons we see seasonally throughout the year. Conciliar Press describes the book thus:

Here is a fascinating study of the Twelve Great Feast Days of Orthodox Christianity through the written and visual Gospels (the Bible and the Icon), emphasizing their meaning for us today. This book is a treasure trove of inspiration that flows to us from the Twelve Great Events in the life of our Lord. Includes 24 icons in full-color. 

You can receive 2 credits for reading this book. Simply read the book, fill out the General Worksheet for Books (available from the Lessons tab at the top of this website) and return it to else10(at)gmail(d0t)com.

If you love icons, this could be a great book for you.

Purchase the book on the Conciliar Press website here.

You can also purchase a Kindle version from Amazon here.

Icons Speak: Their Message--Introducing the Twelve Great Feasts of the Orthodox Church by Anthony Coniaris, 312 pages, Conciliar Press: 2012.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Biblical Basis of Theosis

Dear Students and Friends,

Let's continue our study of theosis with two great podcasts.

Biblical Basis of Theosis: On Come Receive the Light, we’ll be diving into the Holy Scriptures, beginning with a conversation on how the early Fathers of the Church understood them. From there, we’ll look at the scriptural basis for Theosis with Prof. Edith Humphrey, the William F. Orr Professor of New Testament at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary.

Listen here and earn one credit for doing so! Simply listen, fill out the podcast worksheet (available from the homework and lessons tab above) and email it to else10(at)gmail(d0t)com.

Jesus: On OCN's Get Wisdom, Jason Barker discusses how Jesus is both fully human and fully God.

Listen here and earn one credit for doing so! Simply listen, fill out the podcast worksheet (available from the homework and lessons tab above) and email it to else10(at)gmail(d0t)com.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Become a Specialist

Dear Students and Friends,

One of the credit activities you can do in the School of the Seventy is to become a specialist in a particular area of church life. If you click on the Book Lists tab (above), you'll go to a page that lists the "Specialist" you can become:

  • Apologist: Someone who defends the Faith
  • Ascetic: Someone who wants to pursue a more monastic style of life, or learn about it
  • Catechist: Someone who wants to learn more about the doctrines of the church
  • Evangelist: Someone who spreads the Faith
  • Liturgist: Someone who wants to participate in the liturgical practices of the church, or learn about them
  • Missionary: Someone who wants to spread the Faith to foreign lands
  • Philanthropist: Someone who wants to learn about alms-giving practices
  • Seeker: Someone who wants to learn about the basics of the Orthodox Faith

To become a Specialist, you must read all the books on the list for that specialty and complete the homework described (usually, fill out the General Worksheet for Books available on the Lessons tab) and submit the homework to else10(at)gmail(d0t)com. When you complete all the work on a Specialist book list, you will receive a special certificate from the School. In addition, each book you read has credits associated with it and counts for your total credits for the school term.

Would you like to become a Specialist? Let me know and I'll help you get started and keep track of your work. Contact me at else10(at)gmail(d0t)com if you have questions or need more information.

Your Director

Friday, September 14, 2012

The Confession of St Patrick

An ancient statue of St Patrick, St Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin, Ireland.
Dear Students and Friends,

You might consider St Patrick to be a Catholic saint, but his life during the years of 390-461 AD puts him squarely in the Orthodox age! So we can also claim him as our own.

His Confession makes wonderful and encouraging reading, for Patrick reveals his own faith and his mission to the Irish. His missionary heart and deep humility beam from every page. What is remarkable is that he came to serve and love the people--the Irish--who had enslaved him during his youth.

Reading the Confession is a must for every Christian.

You can now earn credit for reading St Patrick's Confession. Simply read, fill out the General Worksheet for books (available from the Lessons tab at the top of this website), and email it to else10(at)gmail(d0t)com.

Read the Confession for FREE here.

Amazon also carries a short video on St Patrick's life. I recently watched it and it is a beautiful film. The narrator reads part of the Confession as scenes of Ireland are shown. Several speakers on the film explain Patrick's life and impact on Christianity. If you would like 1 credit for watching this film, you can watch, fill out the worksheet for TV/movies (available from the Lessons tab at the top of this website), and email it to else10(at)gmail(d0t)com.

Watch the film here.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

New Book Wednesdays: Inner River by Kyriacos Markides

Dear Students and Friends,

I have student Emma to thank for bringing Mr Markides new book to my attention. Titled "Inner River: A Pilgrimage to the Heart of Christian Spirituality," the book is described thus:

In Inner River, Kyriacos Markides—scholar, researcher, author, and pilgrim—takes us on a thrilling quest into the heart of Christian spirituality and mankind’s desire for a transcendent experience of God. From Maine’s rugged shores to a Cypriot monastery to Greece’s remote Mt. Athos and, ultimately, to an Egyptian desert, Markides encounters a diverse cast of characters that allows him to explore the worlds of the natural and the supernatural, of religion and spirit, and of the seen and the unseen.
Inner River will appeal to a wide range of readers, from Christians seeking insights into their religion and its various expressions to scholars interested in learning more about the mystical way of life and wisdom that have been preserved in the heart of Orthodox spirituality. Perhaps most important, however, is the bridge it offers contemporary readers to a Christian life that is balanced between the worldly and the spiritual.

Some of you may have read his earlier book, "The Mountain of Silence: A Search for Orthodox Spirituality." Markides' books are especially helpful to those new to Orthodoxy, as he writes in plain language and his manner is empathic and engaging.

You can earn 2 credits for reading this book. Simply read the book, fill out the General Worksheet for books (available from the "Lessons" tab at the top of this website) and email it back to else10(gmail)d0t(com).

You can buy Mr Markides book on Amazon. A Kindle version is also available. I've already downloaded mine and can't wait to begin reading this book. Blessings!

 Inner River: A Pilgrimage to the Heart of Christian Spirituality, Kyriacos C. Markides, 978-0307885876, Image: 2012.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

New Book Wednesdays: Becoming Icons of Christ

Dear Students and Friends,

Each Wednesday, I'll try to introduce a relatively new book to you that you can read for credit. This week's book is "Becoming Icons of Christ" by Mother Raphaela and published by St Vladimir Seminary Press.

The book is described by SVSPress this way:

When we find ourselves in our times of passion, or when we are faced with the passion of others, we have only one way open to us to respond appropriately...we ask Christ to enter our lives, to teach us to pray, and Himself to come, live, and pray within us. This way of entering into the life and Passion of Christ is the only way to His Resurrection?our own personal transfiguration by the life of God. And only as we are thus transfigured will we become icons?Not icons of our righteousness and suffering, nor of our own strength, truth and courage, but icons of the love, the power, and the peace of God.

Mother Raphaela is abbess of Holy Myrrhbearers Monastery in Otego, New York. 

My church, St Luke Orthodox Church, gave each woman in the congregation a copy of this book on Mother's Day 2012. It became my bedtime reading and I was able to complete a chapter a day. It's a fairly short work and the chapters are short and readable. I was so encouraged and blessed by Mother's calm teachings on suffering, going through everyday life, evangelism, and more. I think it will be a blessing to you all, too.

You can receive 2 credits for reading this book. Simply read the book, fill out the General Worksheet for books, and email your work to me at else10(at)gmail(d0t)com.

Purchase the book at SVSPress or from Amazon.

Becoming Icons of Christ, Mother Raphaela, ISBN 978-0-88141-391-5, 112 pp, St Vladimir Seminary Press, 2012. 

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Start the new School Year Right!

Dear Students and Friends,

Our new school year has begun! And will run through June 1, 2013.

Here's a great way to start the year: think about THEOSIS. What is theosis? defines it as

Theosis ("deification," "divinization") is the process of a worshiper becoming free of hamartía ("missing the mark"), being united with God, beginning in this life and later consummated in bodily resurrection. For Orthodox Christians, Théōsis (see 2 Pet. 1:4) is salvation. Théōsis assumes that humans from the beginning are made to share in the Life or Nature of the all-Holy Trinity. Therefore, an infant or an adult worshiper is saved from the state of unholiness (hamartía — which is not to be confused with hamártēma “sin”) for participation in the Life (zōé, not simply bíos) of the Trinity — which is everlasting.

To those outside the faith, it may be misinterpreted as meaning that we Orthodox believe we will be gods. The Special Moments in Orthodoxy Podcast talks all about it here.

You can earn one credit for listening to this podcast and filling out the podcast worksheet available from the homework tab. Email your homework to else10(at)gmail(d0t)com for credit.

Listen to the Theosis Podcast now >