Christ the Savior-Holy Spirit Orthodox Church
Archpriest Steven C. Kostoff
4285 Ashland Ave, Cincinnati OH 45212 - (513) 351-0907
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About Orthodoxy ~ Especially for Inquirers

Books for Inquirers
Books for Inquirers

Welcome to a very special section of our parish website,

especially for seekers and inquirers new to the Orthodox Christian Faith. 

This page continues to grow in its variety of offerings.  Scroll down for a new online catechism on Orthodoxy by one of our most respected modern hierarchs, links to articles, online books, and now a rich assortment of audio podcasts, all intended to help you learn a little more about our ancient, yet fresh and dynamically relevant faith.
 
For more in-depth reading, contact our pastor, Fr Steven Kostoff. You may also wish to explore the titles listed below, as well as the Conciliar Press Intro To Orthodoxy collection.
 
Of course, reading can only take us so far. That is why we invite you to "come and see!"  Join us on Saturday evenings at 6 o'clock for the holy stillness of Great Vespers (which, per the ancient custom, begins the Lord's Day with sundown), and on Sunday mornings at 9:30am for the Divine Liturgy, preceded by the Hours of Prayer at 9:10am.

Are you a first time visitor to an Orthodox Church?

 

We encourage you to read "12 Things I Wish I'd Known..." a wonderful introduction to Orthodox Christian worship, by author and speaker Frederica Mathewes-Green. In her own words:

 

Orthodoxy seems startlingly different at first, but as the weeks go by it gets to be less so. It will begin to feel more and more like home, and will gradually draw you into your true home, the Kingdom of God. I hope that your first visit to an Orthodox church will be enjoyable, and that it won’t be your last.

~ ~ ~
 
Also of interest is this interview with Deacon Michael Hyatt on Ancient Faith Radio: In a recent catechism class, Dn. Michael reflected on 10 things he wishes he had known before his first visit to an Orthodox Church. 

~ ~ ~

The following links and articles are a fairly comprehensive introduction to the spirituality, history and teachings of Orthodox Christianity. However, Orthodoxy is not so much something that can be described or "summed up" in some neat and tidy intellectual package. Orthodoxy is life itself, and is therefore above all of the heart.

 

We invite you to come and join us in worship of the One True God in Three Persons: Father without beginning, together with His Only Begotten Son, and His All-Holy, Good and Life-Creating Spirit.


Amen, Amen, AMEN!

 
An Online Orthodox Catechism

Posted Nov 8, 2012

NEW FOR THE NATIVITY FAST 2012


Metropolitan Hilarion (Alfeyev) of Volokalamsk
is one of the Russian Orthodox Church's most respected figures. His book, The Mystery of Faith, presents the Orthodox Christian Faith in a straightforward, topical format, and has been adapted for online ease of use. Whether you are a seeker or a longstanding Orthodox Christian (including cradle Orthodox!), we think you'll profit from this clear teaching on 'the faith once delivered to the saints'. 

An Online Orthodox Catechism, by Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev

Order the book, The Mystery of Faith, from Amazon.com.


Suggested Titles on Prayer and Faith


Believing in the Resurrection: The Meaning and Promise of the Risen Jesus, by Gerald O'Collins, SJ - A meaningful defense of the historicity of the bodily Resurrection of Christ, with insights into what the Resurrection means for our human destiny. Fr Steven has recommended this book in his Pascha meditations for 2012. Available from amazon.com for $14.97.

Praying with Icons, by Jim Forest - Easy to read & helps one understand the importance of prayer & contemplation. Highly recommended for anyone looking to increase his prayer life and most especially to converts. Available new from amazon.com starting at $10.99.

Praying with the Orthodox Tradition, by Bishop Kallistos Ware - For anyone looking to develop discipline in prayer throughout the day. Bishop Kallistos' introduction is a classic text. Only $10 at amazon.com.

The Jesus We Missed ~ The Surprising Truth About the Humanity of Christ, by Fr Patrick Henry Reardon - Fr Patrick takes us on a journey "through the Gospel narratives to discover the real Jesus." Profound insights into Jesus as he "grew in wisdom and understanding" and what it means that he "came to redeem and sanctify every aspect of every human life."  Available new from amazon.con starting at $8.30. Available for Kindle and iPad.

The Twelve Great Feasts for Children (preschool age & up) by Sister Elayne (now Mother Melania) - About $7 per book or special prices if you buy a few all together. "We ordered the Nativity of our Lord & it was awesome. The kids enjoyed it." There is a special Three Day Pascha series covering Great and Holy Friday, Great and Holy Saturday, and Pascha Sunday, for $17.95.

Featured Book Selection ~ For Seekers of 'The Way' . . .

 

For those who may be approaching Orthodoxy from the East...
 
...that is, from spiritual traditions such as Zen Buddhism, Hinduism, Chinese philosophy, or even from one of today's modern meditation disciplines, we believe you will find The Way in Jesus Christ through the Eastern Orthodox Church. Here are some select book titles which are unique in presenting the more esoteric, mystical side of Orthodoxy.

 

Christ the Eternal Tao - The ancient wisdom of Lao Tzu presented alongside the otherworldly revelation of Jesus Christ in a way that encompasses the full significance of both. CHRIST THE ETERNAL TAO shows Lao Tzu’s Tao Teh Ching as a foreshadowing of what would be revealed by Christ, and Lao Tzu himself as a Far-Eastern “prophet” of the Incarnate God.  Much more than a mere study in comparative religion, CHRIST THE ETERNAL TAO uses Lao Tzu’s intuitive realizations as a springboard by which to catapult the spiritual seekers of our day all the way into the mystical depths of Eastern Orthodox Christianity.   552 pages, illustrated, full-color cover, paperback, $19.00 - St Herman Press.

 

The Gurus, The Young Man, and Elder Paisios - This powerful memoir tells the story of a Greek youth who, out of a desire to know the truth empirically, began to experiment in yoga, hypnotism, and various occult techniques. Eventually drawn back to the Faith of his forefathers—Orthodox Christianity—he visited the ancient monastic republic of Mount Athos in his native Greece, where he was brought to a knowledge of the Truth of Jesus Christ by the saintly Elder Paisios (1924–1994).  Popular in Greece since its first publication there in 2001, this is a page-turning narrative of both outward adventures and inward struggles. What stands out most in this book, however, is the radiant image of Elder Paisios, possessed of divine gifts, laboring in prayer for his fellow man, and overflowing with unconditional love. Through this, one sees the uncreated Source of the elder’s love and of the author’s spiritual transformation: the true God-man Jesus Christ, Who honors man’s personal freedom while drawing him, through love, into everlasting union with Himself.  Softcover, 320 pages, $17.00 - St Herman Press.

 

The Desert Fathers: Sayings of the Early Christian Monks - The Desert Fathers (and Mothers!) were the first Christian monastics, living in solitude in the deserts of Egypt, Palestine, and Syria. Fleeing the cities, they were ordinary Christians who chose to renounce the world and live lives of celibacy, fasting, vigil, prayer, and poverty in direct and simple response to the gospel. These brief sayings and stories are imbued with spiritual power, and are startling in their insights and applicability to our complex modern lives. Translated, edited, and with an introduction by Benedicta Ward. Available from Amazon.com, Kindle Edition available.

The Way of a Pilgrim - This classic of Russian spirituality charms the reader into following along with an earnest pilgrim, as he seeks to learn how to "pray without ceasing," and grows in his practice of the Jesus Prayer. Simple, yet profound, this little book points the way to the Philokalia (the classic collection of Orthodox spiritual direction) and the way of humbly inviting Christ into one's heart. Amazon.com - Kindle Edition available.

Way of the Ascetics - This thin volume is a modern classic on the Orthodox spiritual and ascetical life. Distilled from the Philokalia and other much larger and more daunting compilations, Way of the Ascetics clarifies the path of theosis for the seeker after Christ. This should be in every Orthodox Christian's library, and is the ideal practical companion to any of the four books listed above. Paperback, 110 pages. $14.00 - St Vladimir's Seminary Press. iBooks (epub) and Kindle (mobi) editions available.




Special Article: Essence of a Spiritual Community

Essence of a Spiritual Community
Orthodox Way of Life Blog

When we decide to join the Church we are joining a community of believers in the Trinitarian God who promises us eternal life.  As we come together in worship, we come as equals of all differing backgrounds, occupations, and ages. There are no earthly status parameters in this gathering.  We are all equal in our quest to be united with God in eternal life.  We realize that it does not matter what worldly success we achieve, but that our relationship with God is what is most important. The place of worship is beautiful with many icons and symbols of our community’s long history. We see images of martyrs who gave their lives for God over a thousand years ago. There are images of Jesus Christ and the Mother of God. We see the Crucifix and numerous icons about different aspects of the life of Christ.  This space is quite different that our normal worldly space, lifting us up to the reality that we are gathering together to enter into a heavenly realm, a place where earth and heaven are one.  This is the nature of the Divine Liturgy.  It takes us from our daily lives of worldly care to a heavenly realm where we are joined with the saints and angels to have a direct communion with God.

In this egalitarian and beautiful environment with its 2000 year history and traditions we are humbled and are able to let go of our egotistical nature and seek mercy from God.  We praise and glory Him with prayers and hymns. We are surrounded with others who share our belief and quest to become united with Him and supported in His teaching that to love God we must love all those gathered with us as well as our enemies.  In this gathering we feel connected and one with each other as well as God.  We feel nourished, secure, and peaceful in our hearts. We experience a true sense of community that cannot be found in any other way except through our common relationship with God.

St. Cyril of Alexandria (ca. 376-444) writes the following about the reason we all come together in this place of worship:

 

The Savior Himself declares, “Whoever eats My Flesh and drinks My Blood abides in Me and I in him.” By this statement it is to be seen that Christ does not say He will be in us only after the fashion of some relation that is solely intellectual, but also through a participation truly according to nature. Just as if someone were to entwine two pieces of wax together and melt them with a fire, so that both are made one, so too through participation in the Body of Christ and in His Precious Blood, He is united in us and we too in Him. In no other way can that corruptible nature be vivified except by being united bodily to the Body of Him who is, by His very nature, life: that is, the Only-begotten. (Commentary on John, on 15:1)

 

Through our partaking of the true Blood and Body of Christ we are in a real sense united as one Body in Him. This is the essence of an Orthodox Christian community based on 2000 years of Christian Tradition.


Source

Suggested Beginnings ~ Books for Every Seeker . . .

New Edition of a Bestseller!
New Edition of a Bestseller!

Depending on where we are coming from, Orthodoxy can seem difficult to approach and understand. Thankfully, we're not alone, and we're not the first to inquire into this ancient yet living faith. Seekers from all walks of life, from every spiritual background, have found Jesus Christ in the Orthodox Church. Listed below are some special books by authors from a wide range of backgrounds. Perhaps you'll find something here that speaks directly to where you are coming from.

These titles can also greatly help Orthodox Christians find words and examples to share our faith, and our conviction that the Orthodox Christian Church is the fullness of the Christian Faith, and the True Church founded by the Lord Jesus Christ.


For Anglicans
For Anglicans
For Baptists
For Baptists
By a Jewish Convert
By a Jewish Convert
From Protestant Clergy
From Protestant Clergy

Great Introduction
Great Introduction
A Spiritual Odyssey
A Spiritual Odyssey
For Catholics
For Catholics
A Modern Classic
A Modern Classic

General Catechism
General Catechism
Especially for Protestants
Especially for Protestants
Especially for Catholics
Especially for Catholics
What is Salvation?
What is Salvation?




JOURNEY to ORTHODOXY ~ a website for those on the path...

From the JOURNEY TO ORTHODOXY site:

The Mission of “Journey To Orthodoxy” is to provide a place for inquirers, converts and others to explore, share information and fellowship, in preparation for entrance into the Orthodox Christian faith.

If you are a non-Orthodox lay person interested in the Orthodox faith, our Network of current inquires and past converts will help you answer those pesky questions, and deprogram from the very issues that have troubled you.

If you are a non-Orthodox clergyman, professional, chaplain, missionary or person in a leadership position whose spiritual journey has led you to contemplate the Orthodox faith, JTO exists because we’ve been there! It is a well worn path to the Orthodox Church, and it requires reflection, fellowship, and a gut-wrenching search for the Truth.

No matter where you are on your spiritual journey, whether you are retracing the steps of the Ole’ Schism Trail, or newly introduced to the Orthodox faith, you can be sure that multitudes just like you have been on the same journey – with the same result.

Rejoice! You aren’t alone now, and you won’t be alone then.


 
Exploring Orthodoxy? Audio Podcasts about the Ancient Faith


For many, Orthodoxy is a new and foreign brand of Christianity. Yet, Orthodox Christianity is the oldest expression of the Christian faith and has unbroken ties to the Apostles themselves.  Ancient Faith Radio has established this special collection of podcasts to help you get a first audio glimpse of the Orthodox faith and will be adding more helpful files for you to listen to in the days and weeks ahead.


Orthodox Christian Information Center


OCIC is one of the largest and oldest sites on Orthodox Christianity. Think of it as a vast online article repository, with over 700 articles and 6,000 printed pages. This site has been online since 1996 and receives over 36,000 unique visitors per month.

Numerous topical sections especially suited for newcomers to Orthodoxy, including:
The Orthodox Faith - A Four-Part Series

A solid introduction to the Orthodox Way...

 

Now in a new edition, this four volume classic, The Orthodox Faith, is intended to provide basic, comprehensive information on the faith and the life of the Orthodox Church for the average reader.
 
Protopresbyter Thomas Hopko (1939–2015) was professor of dogmatic theology and served as dean of Saint Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary. Alongside his numerous books and articles, Father Thomas was also renowned as a gifted speaker and homilist.

Often used for Orthodox catechism classes, the series covers Doctrine, Worship, Bible and Church History, and Spirituality. The online version features easy to follow links to navigate by topic or read straight through. Printer-friendly format available. Order the books from SVS Press here.

If you have questions or are seeking further reading, please contact our pastor, Fr. Steven Kostoff.


 

About Orthodoxy - Rich, Topical Articles on Faith and Practices.