Christ the Savior-Holy Spirit Orthodox Church
Archpriest Steven C. Kostoff
4285 Ashland Ave, Cincinnati OH 45212 - (513) 351-0907
Lenten Retreat 2018 Recap and Additional Resources

March 19, 2018


Dear Parish Faithful,
"Sanctify those who love the beauty of Thy house..." (Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom)
"Beauty will save the world." (Fyodor Dostoevsky)
This Past Retreat Weekend - It seems quite apparent that our recently-completed lenten parish retreat was quite a "success." Kh. Krista West proved to be a very engaging, energetic, informative and inspiring speaker. (Did I leave anything out?). Her presentation of the why and how of beauty of the Church captivating and filled with endless insights. Even her presentation Sunday morning of her vocation as an "ecclesiastical tailor" was more than a little interesting. Her explanation of the priest's vestments and their significance/symbolism was eye-opening for many, including our church school students who remained in the church for her talk. All-in-all, a wonderful weekend for those who attended the retreat. Her visit prompted an order to her vestment workshop for some new altar table and analoy covers for our upcoming paschal celebration.
We need to especially extend our warmest gratitude to our retreat organizers and all of our parishioners who set up and cleaned the church hall; and those who prepared or brought the needed food and beverages for our meals and fellowship.
- Fr. Steven
Special Retreat Recap Notes:
  • VIDEO: If you could not attend the retreat, do not despair! Scroll down for a video of a 2016 retreat Kh. Krista gave on the same subject at Holy Virgin Cathedral (ROCOR) in San Francisco.
  • LINKS: Below that are photos of our Lenten Retreat Weekend. Scroll further down for info about Kh. Krista, links to her website, podcast, and YouTube channel, and info on her highly regarded book (which she referred to throughout her presentations), The Garments of Salvation - Orthodox Christian Liturgical Vesture (SVS Press).
  • EMBROIDERY: Kh. Krista also had available for purchase many beautiful examples of traditional Mediterranean folk embroideries (including kits for those who like to learn and do it themselves). She offers these through her online store, Avlea - Mediterranean Folk Embroidery.
VIDEO: Kh. Krista West and the Why and How of Beauty in the Orthodox Church

Photos of our 2018 Lenten Retreat

Kh. Krista delivered a dynamic presentation...

A Weekend of Immersive Beauty & Tactile Theology - 03/17/18


Revisit our delightful and edifying Lenten Retreat weekend through this collection of photos...


Scroll down for links and additional resources.



(8 images)

Kh. Krista delivered a dynamic presentation...
Extensive images helped reinforce main points...
Attendees enjoyed a continental brunch after Liturgy in the morning...
and a savory lunch with a wide variety of tasty lenten dishes.
Detailed handouts covering each session, and unique examples of world-class vestment fabrics made for an engaging exploration of the Retreat's theme.
Kh. Krista delivered a brief talk following Sunday Liturgy too,
engaging the imagination and attention of our church school students as well.
Thank you, Kh. Krista!
Lenten Retreat 2018 - Announcement and Info


Lenten Retreat 2018

with Special Guest Speaker,

Khouria Krista West


Envisioning the Kingdom ~

the Why and How of Beauty in the Orthodox Church

Saturday, March 17, 9am - 4pm



Is beauty simply a trivial pursuit or could it be the means through which we envision the Kingdom of Heaven?


Join us as we welcome noted speaker, author, and ecclesiastical tailor Krista West, as she explores the Orthodox Christian approach to beauty and why beauty is such an important part of the Orthodox tradition. Opening with an explanation of the theological understanding of beauty within the Church, Khouria Krista will provide illuminating information on how beauty has been perceived and valued throughout the centuries and how it is very much a part of our calling as Orthodox Christians today, along with practical advice for bringing more beauty into our lives and our churches.


Kh. Krista is the author of The Garments of Salvation: Orthodox Christian Liturgical Vesture as well as a popular podcaster on Ancient Faith Radio with her 'Opinionated Tailor' series and has worked as an ecclesiastical tailor for over 20 years. Engaging and informative, this presentation guarantees you won’t look at beauty the same way again!


From Fr. Steven:

Save the Date - It has been awhile since our last Lenten Retreat, but one is scheduled this year for Saturday, March 17. Our retreat leader will be Khouria Krista West from Portland, Oregon. Kh. Krista has also been making our liturgical vestments - for priests, deacons  and acolytes - for many years now. She is an experienced retreat leader and comes with strong endorsements from those who have heard her in the past. This will be a day-long retreat, and the following is our working schedule:

Listen to Kh. Krista's Podcast on AFR!
Listen to Kh. Krista's Podcast on AFR!



  9:00am - Divine Liturgy
10:45am - Brunch/Registration
11:30am - Session I w/Q&A
  1:00pm - Lunch
  1:45pm - Session II w/Q&A
  3:30pm - Great Vespers


Additional Info:


• Online Registration (below)

• Gluten free food options

• $15 suggested donation (payable at check-in)

• Download & share our retreat flier in printable PDF format

Scroll down to learn more about our Retreat Leader, Khouria Krista West . . .

About our Retreat Leader, Kh. Krista West

Krista West was born in Portland, Oregon and began sewing at the age of 4. Her love of handcrafts and her conversion to Orthodox Christianity in 1993 led into an interest in Orthodox ecclesiastical vesture. She apprenticed with Leslie Schaill from 1994 to 1997 and began Krista West Vestments in 1997. She has sewn for the clergy of numerous jurisdictions and her work can be found in 48 US states as well as Canada, South Africa, New Zealand, Greece, and Australia.

In 2002, Krista began to research the origins of Orthodox Christian vestments and has made several trips to Greece as well as a trip to Italy to research original Byzantine art and architecture. Her research and field work led to her podcast “The Opinionated Tailor” which began airing on Ancient Faith Radio in 2008. In 2013, her book, “The Garments of Salvation: Orthodox Christian Liturgical Vesture” was published by SVS Press and is the first comprehensive book on the topic in English. She lectures at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology and St Vladimir’s School of Theology as well to parishes and communities across the country.

Kh. Krista is married to Fr. Alban West and is mother to three beautiful daughters.


Official Website: Krista West Vestments 

Kh. Krista’s lectures and workshops

Kh. Krista's online store: Avlea - Mediterranean Folk Embroidery

AFR Podcast: The Opinionated Tailor

NEW! Visit Kh. Krista West's YouTube Channel


The Garments of Salvation: Orthodox Christian Liturgical Vesture


Is beauty within the Church optional or essential? What is the origin of Orthodox Christian liturgical vestments and what is their significance? What meaning is contained in the textiles, colors and designs used in Orthodox Christian liturgical practice? Answering these and many other questions, master vestment maker, Khouria Krista West, invites us to explore the fascinating and colorful world of Orthodox Christian vesture and church adornment. The first comprehensive book on this topic in the English language, The Garments of Salvation is an engaging and compelling presentation of the nearly 2000-year tradition of liturgical garments within the Eastern Orthodox Church.


Order The Garments of Salvation


“The Garments of Salvation” will fascinate anyone who loves “the beauty of Thy house” with its insight into the meaning and making of liturgical vestments and fabrics. Most importantly, it returns to us our own holy tradition, a tradition of great beauty, which threatens to be lost to the temptations of cheap materials and hasty production. Beauty matters, and The Garments of Salvation will make you hungry to see it in your own church.                ~ Kh Frederica Mathewes-Green


Book Foreword 

Khouria Krista West’s book on the origins, history, and theological meaning of Liturgical vestments is both an intellectual and spiritual achievement covering many academic disciplines at once: it is engaging history that traces the civil lineaments of what finally became sacred vestments; it is systematic theology true to holy tradition, teaching you can touch; it is evangelical in that it proclaims the faith in fabrics; it is pastoral, showing how we as members of the clergy are chosen to “put on glorious apparel” as a reflection of Christ Who sits at the right hand of His Father. 

She has structured the text of her book so that the theological outline for vestments in the first chapter permeates and legitimizes the other chapters, grounding her discussion of how clothing developed into garments exclusive to worship in a startlingly spiritual framework. So the reader gains a pious experience from reading these words. We can reverence the beauty of the aesthetics of liturgical clothing and ornamentation and realize, through that reverence, an ascetical dimension to the practice of our own faith. I thought that the external and sanctified clothing we put on our bodies must somehow co-ordinate with the inner man of the soul that St Paul talks about in his letters to the churches. The tempered passions of the soul match the luster of textiles. The luminous things I put on to serve the services are rays of the light that shine out from my heart. Kh. Krista writes: “some of the most ornate and elaborate vestments in use today can be seen in the churches of what is, paradoxically, one of the most austere settings in the world: the monasteries of the Holy Mountain. Such devotion to material beauty by those who have found their calling in a life of liturgy and prayer is surely a further witness to the understanding within Orthodox Christianity that physical matter is not only redeemed, but also has a vital role to play in the salvation of mankind.” Asceticism diminishes carnal needs to embellish heavenly goals. The material makes palpable the ethereal. 

The craftsman who makes vestments is like the artist who writes or paints icons, as she lyrically describes here. The iconic nature of both tailor and painter displays the picture of His presence everywhere in the Church. After reading this book my perception of priestly ministry expanded. Kh. Krista helped me see offerings everywhere. Now I know that “prosphora,” the bringing out or bringing forth, is giving my gifts to Christ to use as He wants, and that “anaphora,” the lifting up of myself as an offering of my life to Life Himself, is an essentially priestly vocation that everyone has, since everyone is made in the Image and Likeness of God. All material things, once transformed into both functional use and sacramental meaning by us, have a transcendent destiny, liberating them through art and skill and training, from their earthly settings and giving them wings for an ascent to heavenly places.

Khouria Krista has been my teacher. It is an honor for me to introduce this essential book.

—The Rt. Rev. Bishop Anthony (Michaels), Diocese of Toledo and the Midwest, Antiochian Archdiocese