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Facing East


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About the Author

Frederica Mathewes-Green is the author of numerous books about early and Eastern Christian spirituality and the Orthdox Church. She is a columnist for, a commentator on National Public Radio, and writes movie reviews for National Review Online.


In this enlightening work, the author (Real Choices, Questar, 1994), a syndicated columnist with the Religious News Service and an occasional commentator for National Public Radio, explores the forms of worship and devotion in Orthodoxy. She takes the reader through a year of liturgical worship and social activity in the small, highly motivated congregation of Holy Cross Antiochian Orthodox Church in Catonsville, Maryland, where her husband, a former Episcopal priest, is the founding pastor. Holy Cross is not a typical Orthodox parish, for most of its members (like the pastor and his family) are converts from Protestantism. The author's spiritual inclination, as the reader quickly learns, is toward charismatic and spirit-filled devotion. Enthusiastic and fervent, she often concerns herself with justifying her choice of Orthodoxy, and its devotional practices (e.g., the reverencing of icons), to the Protestants who constitute her main audience. Accessible and informative for casual readers and beginning students in religion, this work is suitable for both public and academic libraries.‘James F. DeRoche, Alexandria, Va.

"An insider's view of Orthodox life and practice."--Commonweal
"I predict Facing East will inspire many to investigate Orthodoxy."--The Baltimore Sun
"An illuminating glimpse of this piece of the contemporary American religious landscape...Writing with charm and humor..."--Publishers Weekly
"A mine of information about the customs and spiritual life of the Orthodox church..."--Kirkus Reviews
An illuminating glimpse of this piece of the contemporary American religious landscape...Writing with charm and humor... --Publishers Weekly"
A mine of information about the customs and spiritual life of the Orthodox church... --Kirkus Reviews"
An insider s view of Orthodox life and practice. --Commonweal"
I predict Facing East will inspire many to investigate Orthodoxy. --The Baltimore Sun"
Mathewes-Green introduces the reader to the world of the Orthodox in the best possible way."--Charleston Post and Courier

The homespun mingles with the majestic in this affectionate account of a family's romance with an ancient form of Christianity. The author, a columnist for the Religion News Service, was a lapsed Roman Catholic who tried Hinduism before becoming a charismatic Episcopalian; her husband, Fr. Gregory, pastor of the Holy Cross Mission in Baltimore, is a former Episcopal priest. Homeschoolers who believed the Episcopal Church was "repealing the creed and condoning immorality," the couple has joined a contingent of evangelical Christians who have, in recent years, been converting to Eastern Orthodoxy. Mathewes-Green offers an intimate glimpse of this piece of the contemporary American religious landscape. Writing with charm and humor and a convert's zeal, she weaves reflections on family life, friendship and personal spirituality with descriptions of Orthodox worship and fellowship. However, she glosses over Orthodoxy's theology and ecclesiastical structure, focusing mainly on externals. As a result, lifelong Orthodox may feel this chatty depiction trivializes their faith, while outsiders may be frustrated by the lack of explanatory content. (Jan.)

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