Posted by: anna | December 1, 2008

Facing East – Frederica Mathewes-Green

Liked this book! Chronicles the first couple of years of the M-Gs’ life as an Orthodox priest’s family. Frederica’s voice is thoughtful but not ponderous, helpful but not didactic, warm but not folksy. Well, a little folksy. I liked that. Orthodoxy can look rather stern and remote from the outside – forbidding icons, bearded and cassocked priests, a lot of glittering ceremony, smoke and mirrors. And on the inside it can look a little folksy. But underneath is a great deal of real warmth and humanity, uniquely (I think) coupled with great dignity and an uncompromising search for truth.

Many of the Protestant or Episcopal to Orthodox conversion stories I’ve come across so far have been those of ministers/priests of those denominations, who convert because of deeply held, principled reservations about certain decisions and directions their churches choose to take. That’s fine, but it’s definitely not my story. Frederica’s isn’t either, but hers is much more (literally) familiar, concerned with family, friends, community, worship, music, prayer, saints and food. In every possible order. And she makes me laugh a lot.

I’m now reading her book The Open Door – Entering the Sanctuary of Icons and Prayer.


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