I have been "converted" for some time now, but I will finally be made a visible part of the Holy Orthodox Church in November. The books that intitiated this journey were
found "accidentally" on a shelf of Powell's Books in Portland, Oregon. They were a hardcover edition of the Catacomb Saints, the life of Staretz Silouan by Archimandrite
Sophrony and Father Herman, Alaska's Saint by F. A. Golder.
The Catacomb Saints astonished me with my first glimpse of the total commitment the New Martyrs made to their faith. The story of priests and faithful in the Solovkii
prison who quietly celebrated Pascha in the woods, hanging paper, homemade icons on the trees & saying the service from memory under the terrible fear of discovery
made any of my own experience pale. It was from this kind of book that I learned how deeply felt Orthodoxy could be and also how disciplined and transforming.
Father Herman, Alaska's Saint took me back to my own childhood in the forest; but more than that it revealed to me the path of ascetic endeavor. All of this to bring the
faith to others. His patience was as monumental as the obstacles he faced, but long after his death it continues to proclaim itself in that same place.
The Monk of Mount Athos by Archimandrite Sophrony was almost like a textbook. I had to return to it numerous times because the lessons and example of his struggle
were so powerful. It was here that I first learned of the concept of Theosis, because the original title of this work was The Undistorted Image. Suddenly my hopes left
a simple page describing past events and opened to a huge landscape, the extent of which I am only beginning to explore. This is a book I will continue to read.
This topic seems to have reposed peacefully on August 8, but, working my way patiently along the path, I discovered the remains and delcared them valuable. We all have
signposts, not always books, to urge us on; but it is really the working of the Holy Spirit. I thank God that I not only looked over the horizon but realized I could also make
the journey myself with His help.