Reading the Bible as an Orthodox Christian

Presvitera Dr Jeannie Constantinou is a beautiful example of an Orthodox Christian teacher. We first had contact some years ago when Dr Constantinou came across MG Michael's thesis at Holy Cross Library on the Apocalypse. See her translation on St Andrew of Caesarea's commentary on the Apocalypse.  She is also featured on Ancient Faith Radio. Here is her podcast and some of her interviews are here. I would highly recommend her.

Abbot Tryphon of the All-Merciful Saviour Monastery, Vashon Island, WA

For those inclined to reading daily spiritual blogposts and listening to podcasts, Abbot Tryphon of the All-Merciful Saviour Monastery on Vashon Island has one called The Morning Offering: https://blogs.ancientfaith.com/morningoffering/

I came across Abbot Typhon in a joint panel he was presenting with Fr. Seraphim Cardoza of St Innocent's Orthodox Church in Oregon.

Below are a selection of the Abbot's reflections. Abbot Tryphon was raised Lutheran, then he became a clinical psychologist (both lecturing and in private practice) getting involved in Zen Buddhism during his undergraduate coursework years. Less than a decade later, from what I can deduce from his talks online, he returned to Christ, converting to Eastern Orthodoxy.

Abbot Tryphon speaks frankly, from experience, and with grace. He speaks authentically and from the heart with a great sense of humour and warmth. I personally appreciate his fundamental message- we need to embrace all people, and to love all people.

Fr Seraphim Cardoza of St Innocent Orthodox Church

I recently contacted Fr Seraphim for an interview on social media. He humbly declined, but I appreciated the few exchanges we had over email. Here he appears on thedove.us which is mainly an evangelical program. The host of the show, and president of KDOV is Perry Atkinson, and I credit this dialogue with much of the grassroots exchange that needs to occur in order for understanding to come between various Christians faiths and denominations. 

It is fair to say, that Fr Seraphim's online discussions with Perry Atkinson have fetched more hits than any other priest in the Eastern Orthodox Church based in the USA. Archpriest Seraphim Cardoza is a member of the Russian Orthodox Church and St Innocent is located in Rogue River, Oregon. Visit the web site here. If I recall correctly, previously Archpriest Cardoza was an evangelical pastor before converting to Eastern Orthodoxy.

Some of Serpahim's talks with Perry Atkinson can be found below.

Fr Seraphim Holland of St Nicholas ROCOR in McKinney, Texas

I was very fortunate to attend St Nicholas Church in 2000, when I worked for Nortel Networks in Texas on secondment. It was a blessing to be there several weekends to participate in the Holy Liturgy, Vespers on the Saturday and much more. One of my colleagues, Efstratios, was generous enough to take me to services which were some way out of Plano, Richardson. I also managed to attend St Sophia in Texas where I met a beautiful community of Greek Orthodox Christians at the Holy Trinity Orthodox Church in Dallas. Holy Trinity also had an Orthodox College connected to it, similar to that of St Spyridon College, where I attended.

I will never forget the welcoming community at St Nicholas, Fr's 5 children, and the very warm Presvitera. At the time Fr worked for a telco also, and had already begun outreach on the Internet with Orthodox.net. For some time during those years inspired by Orthodox.net, I ran a blog called The Orthodox Page on YahooGroups!, which I discontinued once had my first child. I will try to amalgamate some of that early content on my Faith page, but it will take some time to migrate the data which was mostly excerpts of modern Eastern Orthodox books.

What are my memories of St Nicholas Church?

1. The chanting.

2. The humility of the people.

3. The reverence of the people toward God.

4. The welcoming nature toward families and outsiders.

5. The fact that Fr and Presvitera were converts.

6. The many little holy icons that graced the old church.

7. Vespers and confession, and Fr's guidance.

8. The lunch time meal we all shared.

9. The mix of English and Slavonic services.

10. The chanting (did I say this a second time?).

Here are some of Father Seraphim Holland's talks. I love their simplicity and I love their love for God and his children (big and small).

Fr has worked tirelessly to move into a new Church in McKinney. You can support his community's effort by visiting Orthodox.net. He has a great deal of his sermons available on mpg3 on his web site, and now quite a few YouTube clips on the church channel. Unbelievably after 16 years, I still remember many of the faces in these video recordings.