Volume 2, Number 2

February 15, 2011

Volume 2, Number 2 of Wonder

Theme: Life in the Fast Lane, Preparing for Great Lent

Articles:

“Chocolat” and the Great Fast

by Harry William Reineke

Fasting from Guilt

By Luke Beecham

A Facebook Lenten Journey

By Dr. Kate Behr

Forgiveness and Fasting

By Metropolitan Anthony (Bloom)

Nourishing our Bodies During Great Lent – How to Navigate the Campus Dining Hall

by Chris Masterjohn

More information about the authors can be found here.


“Chocolat” and The Great Fast

February 15, 2011

By Harry William Reineke

Editor’s Note: The Movie “Chocolat”, which this article examines in detail, is rated PG-13 for some scenes of sensuality and violence.

The movie “Chocolat” is set in a very small village called Lansequenet-sous-Tannes in 1959 France, but the town is not unlike what I’ve always imagined a small American town to look like in the same era. It is a town centered around their small church (which is, in this case, Roman Catholic). The villagers are very traditional, and everyone knows what goes on, who comes in, who leaves, and what is expected of each of them.

The film opens as the Comte de Reynaud, the mayor who we soon learn is a “real Comte” unlike that fictional “Comte de Monte Cristo,” is greeting all the villagers as they enter the village church for Sunday Mass. When Pere Henri, the young village priest, arises to the pulpit for the homily, we learn that it is the holy season of Lent “a time of abstinence….of reflection…not a time to stand alone, because we are not alone, it is a time for Christ. Next we meet Vianne Rocher, and her daughter Anouk/Anoushka (along with the imaginary kangaroo Pontoufle), drifters from a long line of drifters. They rent out a patisserie and and an apartment. When the Rochers meet the Comte de Reynaud, he lays out the expectations of villagers, and the relationship that will form is laid out very quickly, as one of tension, as the Comte de Reynaud is a very pious man, and doesn’t like the idea of opening a shop for sweets during Lent. The interest of all the villagers is piqued by Vianne’s shop, the Chocolaterie Maya, opening up. Reluctantly, the villagers begin to enter her shop, and a few even begin to try and purchase items, but the strength of the Lenten idea causes some to shy away. Slowly, they begin to open up, that is, most of them.

Vianne is our main character, and I’ve already established her as a wanderer. Her specialty is chocolate, and she has a knack for choosing peoples favorites, which is the tool she uses to break down walls with many of the townsfolk. When she first arrives, she is the subject of gossip. The people are even banned from visiting her chocolaterie, which we see causes great tension, with the Comte predicting that she will be out of business by Easter. She begins to make friends with Josephine Muscat, a woman who is in an abusive relationship. Vianne also gets her landlady to begin working with the landlady’s estranged grandson, having them rebuild a relationship that seems to have fallen some years before. Vianne shelters Josephine from her abusive husband, Serge, while Serge confides in the mayor. Slowly, Vianne brings the town together in ways they were never together before, even through the scandal that her chocolaterie begets within the town. Both Vianne and Anouk make friends among the gypsies that live along the riverbank, and slowly the townspeople begin to live in a true harmony, not an imaginary harmony based on fear, that the film describes as “tranquilité”. But we still haven’t examined our other main character.

The mayor seems to be the most scandalized by the introduction of the new chocolaterie, but we begin to pick up hints that his piety is simply for the surface. He seems to very strictly follow the code of the Lenten fast, but he gives himself over to gossip, and we very quickly begin to wonder if his wife has left him (the villagers reference her being in Switzerland, or Italy, and the stories he tells seem to conflict). The mayor is often seen turning away food all together, clearly abiding in a very extreme to the letter of the law, while missing the point altogether. He sees morality as resisting the winds of change while ignoring the fact that change is inevitable; even further, he sees the protection and teaching of morality as his job, not the priests, even to the point of adding “just a revision, here and there” to a homily which turns out to be a complete rewriting. Toward the end of the film, we see the Comte on his knees before the altar praying to God about his dedication to fasting, but through his emotion the real reason comes out. “I feel lost, I don’t know what to do. Tell me what to do.” FINALLY, we rejoice that he has bowed his will before Christ! Only, not so fast, the Comte looks down and finds in his hand a knife, which he sees and instruction to destroy the chocolate shop, and boy does he! In the midst of chopping up chocolate sculptures, he tastes this delectable treat and begins eating it. He is spotted the next morning in the window by Pere Henri, and awaken by Vianne and Pere Henri, where it is revealed to be Easter Sunday. In the church, we see him sitting near the back, obviously cut into by the words of the impromptu sermon that Pere Henri is preaching. He even begins to see things in a more balanced light, and walks around at the end with a new spring in his step.

Pere Henri’s sermon points out that we “can’t go around measuring our goodness by what we don’t do…and who we exclude… We’ve got to measure [it] by what we embrace, what we create, and who we include.” These are great words to remember during the Fast. Even though we as Orthodox Christians give up much during this holy time, we also give of ourselves, praying, and giving alms, attending services, and most importantly, continuing to love and forgive our neighbor for everything. Just as Vianne brought her town together, the Fast, when done in the right spirit, brings us together. Our spirit of repentance is to put aside that which brings enmity between us and God, and between us and our neighbor, and between us and ourselves. Let us not be like the Comte in the beginning of the film, killing ourselves with an attempt to be holy, but let us love ourselves, our neighbors, and God, enough to know that we get strength not on our own, but from Christ, who died for us, and who feeds us with the Eucharist at every Divine Liturgy Let us take comfort in the Fast, and look to the light of Pascha with great joy.


Fasting From Guilt

February 15, 2011

By Luke Beecham

Great Lent is nearly upon us and as we fast approach [get it…*cough*] one’s mind naturally turns to things that will be “given up” for the Fast.  There are the prescribed things that the Church asks us to fast from, but then there are also the things that each person adds on to that list for his or her individual struggle.  Then there is that one thing that almost always silently creeps its way in – especially during Lent.  Guilt – the gift that keeps on giving. We consider during the Fast the things that we eat, but what about those things that constantly eat at us – those perennial sins that we can never seem to conquer?  We know about the still small voice of the Holy Spirit, but what about that other little voice…the one that condemns and accuses?  That nagging little voice that reminds us of our sins and whispers in the wee hours of the morning that we can never measure up, we can never be free, and God could never love such a sinner as us…what about that voice?  How do we deal with that little voice?  “I know!  I’ll fast like I’ve never fasted before!  I’ll eat next to nothing!  I’ll make it to all the services and I’ll go to confession 3 times a week, and by Pascha , God will see how hard I’ve worked to repent!” Right?  Nothing could be further from the truth.

Of course God sees how hard all of us work to repent of our sins and shortcomings, but His love is no way dependent on how well we’ve fasted, what we’ve given up, how often we make it to confession, or how many services we show up for.  These things are not ends in and of themselves.  Guilt is toxic, and like a cancer can spread and infect nearly every aspect of our lives if left unchecked.  Guilt is often responsible for a multitude of fear-driven, self-centered behaviors, and in the end, when we give into guilt we end up worse off than when we started. Why? Because guilt is still all about us!  Guilt is not from God by a longshot, and guilt is certainly not repentance.  All too often we put ourselves under enormous amounts of pressure to perform for God because of our guilt and because we think that we can somehow earn His love.  The Lord strictly warns us that this is not so, and as we heard this past week in the account of the Publican and Pharisee, we see very plainly that even if we do everything right, when we do it for any other reason than out of love for God, including out of guilt, we are still wrong!

This Lent, plan to fast from guilt as well as from food, and remember that God shines on the just and the unjust alike and that nothing you or I can say or do will ever change that.  We don’t fast to “get in good with God.”  Fasting is a tool that the Church gives to us to help us rid ourselves of all those things that keep us from God, and also to remind us of His unconditional love and His abundant provision for us.  This is why, in his Paschal sermon, St. John exhorts us that:

The Master is gracious and receives the last, even as the first; he gives rest to him that comes at the eleventh hour, just as to him who has labored from the first. He has mercy upon the last and cares for the first; to the one he gives, and to the other he is gracious. He both honors the work and praises the intention.

God is concerned with our heart, not with how many juicy steaks and creamy cheese cubes we give up.  We could leave meat and dairy behind for the rest of our lives, but if our hearts are full of pride, jealousy, lust, greed, and all other types of rot, it would make no difference.  I’m not, of course, suggesting that we don’t fast at all, or that we intend to fast and then do not, nor am I suggesting that we should not be remorseful and repent for our sins – far from it!  What I am suggesting is that God accepts us as we are right now, and when we fast we do so because we need to draw closer to Him, not the other way around!  As C.S. Lewis once said:

The Christian is in a different position from other people who are trying to be good. They hope, by being good, to please God if there is one; or — if they think there is not — at least they hope to deserve approval from good men. But the Christian thinks any good he does comes from the Christ-life inside him. He does not think God will love us because we are good, but that God will make us good because He loves us; just as the roof of a greenhouse does not attract the sun because it is bright, but becomes bright because the sun shines on it.

When guilt becomes a part of our fasting, either us feeling guilty for not keeping the Fast, or us causing someone else to feel guilty about their fasting, we have missed the point entirely.  Food nourishes us physically, but there is more to our well-being than just food, and while repentance and contrition restore us to God, guilt poisons and divides us from Him.  So, fast from guilt this Great Lent, and learn to rely wholly on God.  Trust in Him in all your ways and He will make your paths straight.  Learn to fast from all of those things that keep you from God as well as from food this Lent, and go to the services as often as you are able – not because you have to, but because you can.  Sit in silence and let the cares of the busy world melt away and let the psalms and the hymns soak into your soul, and begin to be healed.  Confess your sins and let your guilt go.  Leave the past in the past, and remember that you are beloved by God – YOU, the individual reader, not some abstract person – you – sinful, decadent, and rebellious you.  God removes your sins as far as the East is from the West, and He remembers them no more.

I’ll leave you with a little story passed along to me that is a good reminder of why we fast and why it matters what we put into ourselves.  May God grants us strength, endurance, and wisdom as we begin the Fast with joy, but most of all, may He grant us love and wonder!

A Native American Elder was telling his granddaughter about a fight that was going on inside him.  He said it was between two wolves. “One is evil: anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority and ego. The other is good: joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith.” The granddaughter thought about it for a minute and then asked her grandfather, “Which wolf wins?” The elder simply replied, “The one that I feed.” [Native American proverb]


A Facebook Lenten Journey

February 15, 2011

“For what doth it profit if we abstain from birds and fishes; and yet bite and devour our brethren?” ~John Chrysostom

Keen New Orthodox

Really excited about my first Lent!!! Orthodox Colleague has got me all excited about the Lenten Journey. Not so sure about the fasting rules – but I do need to lose weight. Where to find tasty recipes?

February 2 at 8:51pm. Like

Perpetual Dieter Likes this.

Meat Lover Prepare to be hungry! LOL <growling stomach!>.

February 2 at 9pm Like

Orthodox Perfectionist The fasting rules are simple. No meat. No fish. No dairy. No oil –except at weekends. If you’re going to fast, you should do it properly. It can be hard!

February 2 at 11:30pm Like

Keen New Orthodox What do you mean??

February 3 at 9:00am Like

Orthodox Perfectionist I had lunch with Non-Orthodox Friend and Orthodox Colleague yesterday. Non-Orthodox Friend knew we were fasting and made us cheese quiche, followed by fruit and milk chocolate to go with our coffee. Orthodox Colleague ate everything, and so I had to explain why I couldn’t eat any of it. It was soooo embarrassing.

February 3 at 10:00am Like

Keen New Orthodox You mean I can’t eat milk chocolate? Wow. This is harder than I thought! <Grins>

February 3 at 11:30am Like

Orthodox Perfectionist Not just milk chocolate. Other kinds of chocolate too – all sorts of foods have milk whey in them and you just don’t know – so check the ingredients really carefully. You don’t want to break the Fast, do you?  Didn’t Orthodox Colleague tell you about this. She is not setting you a very good example. Anyway, aren’t you fasting on Wednesdays and Fridays already?

February 3 at 1:00pm Like

Keen New Orthodox I would never have known. Thanks! I really want to get this right. Maybe I shouldn’t listen to her. Is she doing anything else wrong?

February 3 at 1:30pm Like

RECENT ACTIVITY

Keen New Orthodox is now friends with Gossip

Keen New Orthodox

Had another disagreement with Orthodox Colleague about fasting. Now I’m confused. Rules are meant to be kept – right?

February 3 at 7:00pm. Like

Orthodox Perfectionist and Gossip like this.

Keen New Orthodox

Don’t think I can associate with some people anymore. Orthodoxy means “the right way” and she is going off the tracks. Jokes about steak and desire are not funny! And someone should tell her. That’s why we fast, isn’t it – to get our minds OFF meat. BTW I am really enjoying the Vegan recipes you sent me – I spend hours each day planning menus, and I think about fasting all the time. You should taste my flourless chocolate cake. Drool!

February 4 at 6:30pm. Like

Orthodox Perfectionist Don’t let it get you down. She doesn’t know what she’s doing – and she’s the one who’ll suffer for it in the end.

February 4 at 7:08pm Like

Orthodox Colleague I didn’t say fasting was unimportant. I said it wasn’t the whole point. It’s not as though we are kids “giving something up” for Lent. Anyway, I thought we were friends….

February 4 at 11:00pm Like

Keen New Orthodox No! What is your problem? You’re deliberately spoiling MY Lenten Journey to Pascha. That’s not being a friend! I don’t want to be cruel and let you just find out, so I am telling you now that I am going to defriend you.

February 5 at 9:03am Like

Orthodox Perfectionist likes this.

RECENT ACTIVITY

Keen New Orthodox is now friends with Hypocrisy, Anger and Gluttony

Keen New Orthodox

Really excited about my first Lent!!! Orthodox Colleague has got me all excited about the Lenten Journey. Not so sure about the fasting rules – but I do need to lose weight. Where to find tasty recipes?

February 2 at 8:51pm. Like

Perpetual Dieter Likes this.

Meat Lover Prepare to be hungry! LOL <growling stomach!>.

February 2 at 9pm Like

Orthodox Perfectionist The fasting rules are simple. No meat. No fish. No dairy. No oil –except at weekends. If you’re going to fast, you should do it properly. It can be hard!

February 2 at 11:30pm Like

Keen New Orthodox What do you mean??

February 3 at 9:00am Like

Orthodox Perfectionist I had lunch with Non-Orthodox Friend and Orthodox Colleague yesterday. Non-Orthodox Friend knew we were fasting and made us cheese quiche, followed by fruit and milk chocolate to go with our coffee. Orthodox Colleague ate everything, and so I had to explain why I couldn’t eat any of it. It was soooo embarrassing.

February 3 at 10:00am Like

Keen New Orthodox You mean I can’t eat milk chocolate? Wow. This is harder than I thought! <Grins>

February 3 at 11:30am Like

Orthodox Perfectionist Not just milk chocolate. Other kinds of chocolate too – all sorts of foods have milk whey in them and you just don’t know – so check the ingredients really carefully. You don’t want to break the Fast, do you?  Didn’t Orthodox Colleague tell you about this. She is not setting you a very good example. Anyway, aren’t you fasting on Wednesdays and Fridays already?

February 3 at 1:00pm Like

Keen New Orthodox I would never have known. Thanks! I really want to get this right. Maybe I shouldn’t listen to her. Is she doing anything else wrong?

February 3 at 1:30pm Like

RECENT ACTIVITY

Keen New Orthodox is now friends with Gossip

Keen New Orthodox

Had another disagreement with Orthodox Colleague about fasting. Now I’m confused. Rules are meant to be kept – right?

February 3 at 7:00pm. Like

Orthodox Perfectionist and Gossip like this.

Keen New Orthodox

Don’t think I can associate with some people anymore. Orthodoxy means “the right way” and she is going off the tracks. Jokes about steak and desire are not funny! And someone should tell her. That’s why we fast, isn’t it – to get our minds OFF meat. BTW I am really enjoying the Vegan recipes you sent me – I spend hours each day planning menus, and I think about fasting all the time. You should taste my flourless chocolate cake. Drool!

February 4 at 6:30pm. Like

Orthodox Perfectionist Don’t let it get you down. She doesn’t know what she’s doing – and she’s the one who’ll suffer for it in the end.

February 4 at 7:08pm Like

Orthodox Colleague I didn’t say fasting was unimportant. I said it wasn’t the whole point. It’s not as though we are kids “giving something up” for Lent. Anyway, I thought we were friends….

February 4 at 11:00pm Like

Keen New Orthodox No! What is your problem? You’re deliberately spoiling MY Lenten Journey to Pascha. That’s not being a friend! I don’t want to be cruel and let you just find out, so I am telling you now that I am going to defriend you.

February 5 at 9:03am Like

Orthodox Perfectionist likes this.

RECENT ACTIVITY

Keen New Orthodox is now friends with Hypocrisy, Anger and Gluttony


Forgiveness and Fasting

February 15, 2011

By Metropolitan Anthony (Bloom)

Sermon preached on Forgiveness Sunday, February 25, 1996.

Today two themes dominate the readings of the Holy Scriptures; St Paul speaks to us about fasting and the Lord about forgiveness, and St Paul insists on the fact that fasting does not consist simply of depriving oneself of one form of food or another, neither does it, if it is kept strictly, obediently, worshipfully, give us any ground to be proud of ourselves, satisfied and secure, because the aim of fasting is not to deprive our body of the one form of food rather than the other, the aim of fasting is to acquire mastery over our body and make it a perfect instrument of the spirit. Most of the time we are slaves of our bodies, we are attracted by all our senses to one form or another of enjoyment, but of an enjoyment which goes far beyond the purity which God expects of us.

And so, the period of fasting offers us a time during which we can say not that I will torment my body, limit myself in things material, but a time when I will re-acquire mastery of my body, make it a perfect instrument. The comparison that comes to my mind is that of tuning a musical instrument; this is what fasting is, to acquire the power not only to command our body, but also to give our body the possibility to respond to all the promptings of the spirit.

Let us therefore go into fasting with this understanding, not measuring our fasting by what we eat and how much, but of the effect it has on us, whether our fasting makes us free or whether we become slaves of fasting itself.

If we fast let us not be proud of it, because it proves simply that we need more perhaps than another person to conquer something in our nature. And if around us other people are not fasting let us not judge them, because God has received the ones as He receives the others, because it is into the heart of men that He looks.

And then there is the theme of forgiveness, of which I will say only one short thing. We think always of forgiveness as a way in which we would say to a person who has offended, hurt, humiliated us, that the past is past and that we do not any more hold a grudge against this person. But what forgiveness means more deeply than this is that if we can say to a person: let us no longer make the past into a destructive present, let me trust you, make an act of faith in you, if I forgive you it means in my eyes you are not lost, in my eyes there is a future of beauty and truth in you.

But this applies also to us perversely, we think very often of forgiving others, but we do not think sufficiently of the need in which we are, each of us personally, of being forgiven by others. We have a few hours left between the Liturgy and the Service of Forgiveness tonight, let us reflect and try to remember, not the offenses which we have suffered, but the hurts which we have caused; and if we have hurt anyone in one way or another, in things small or great, let us make haste before we enter into Lent tomorrow morning, let us make haste to ask to be forgiven, to hear someone say to us: in spite of all that has happened I believe in you, I trust you, I hope for you and I will expect everything from you, and then we can go together through Lent helping one another to become what we are called to be — the disciples of Christ, following Him step by step to Calvary, and beyond Calvary to the Resurrection. Amen.

For more semons and writings by Metropolitan Anthony (Bloom) please visit here. We thank the Metropolitan Anthony Archive for use of this sermon.

Potrait of Metropolitan Anthony


Nourishing Our Bodies During Lent – How to Navigate the Campus Dining Hall

February 15, 2011

by Chris Masterjohn

The body makes a good servant, but a poor master.  When we fast from certain foods during Lent, we assert our control over our body as well as our obedience to God.  This does not mean, however, that we neglect our bodily health during this time, any more than we would want God to neglect our needs when we offer ourselves to Him as servants.  Our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, and we must therefore treat them with honor and respect, providing them with what is nourishing and healthful.

Eating healthfully in today’s world is a challenge.  We are often crammed for time, and turn out of necessity to pre-packaged, processed convenience foods rather than home-cooked meals.  Because of our affluence, we have an abundance of refined foods right at our fingertips, foods that pack in the taste but not necessarily the nutrients.  Eating in college campus dining halls adds another layer of difficulty, as our choices are limited to whatever is served.  As a result, we Orthodox Christians have a continuous tradition spanning many centuries about what we don’t eat during Lent, but we have lost much of our traditions about what we do eat during Lent.  Eating healthfully during this season therefore requires special attention and care.

If we keep the fast strictly and eliminate meat, fish, dairy, and eggs, we cut out important sources of nutrients such as zinc, vitamin B12, vitamin B6, choline, calcium, and the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, and K.  We therefore cannot just continue eating the same foods we always do without making up for these nutrients somehow – eating the hamburger bun and pickle sans beef just isn’t going to cut it.  Here, then, are a few tips for how to eat a well-rounded, nutritious diet during the Lenten season:

  • Shellfish. Shellfish are among the few animal foods allowed during Lent, and are jam-packed with valuable nutrients.  It would take just over a quarter pound of beef per day to meet the RDA for zinc, yet only a single serving of oysters per week.  Similarly, one would have to eat two servings of salmon per week to obtain the RDA for vitamin B12, but only one serving of clams per month.  Choosing from a wide variety of shellfish several times per week would help ensure a sufficient intake of nutrients that are otherwise difficult to obtain in abundance without eating meat and fish on a daily basis.
  • Bananas. Bananas are best known for their rich content of potassium, but bananas are also a great source of vitamin B6.  Eating a wide variety of unrefined plant foods will indeed provide a decent amount of B6, but plant foods generally contain less than animal foods and what they do contain is less absorbable.  Bananas, however, contain lots of B6 in a highly absorbable form.
  • Spinach. Spinach is an abundant source of betaine, a nutrient that can substitute for choline.  Choline is especially important for brain and liver function, and our best sources are liver and egg yolks.  Since these are not allowed during the fast, spinach is an excellent replacement.
  • Cruciferous Vegetables. These include broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, collard greens, kale, kohlrabi, mustard, rutabaga, turnip, and bok choy.  Crucifers are rich in calcium, and unlike other leafy greens such as spinach, the calcium is highly absorbable.  Crucifers therefore represent an excellent substitute for milk.  They are also a great source of vitamin K.  Vitamin K comes in two forms: vitamin K1, found in dark greens, and vitamin K2, found in animal products and fermented foods like sauerkraut, kimchi, and traditional Asian forms of fermented soy.  Ideally we would consume a mix of both forms, but crucifers and other dark greens are by far the Lenten sources of vitamin K most easily obtained in the dining hall.
  • Colorful Fruits and Vegetables. Animal products are the only true source of vitamin A, but many plant foods contain beta-carotene and other similar compounds that our bodies can convert into vitamin A.  The carotenes in most plant foods are poorly absorbable and the best plant-based source of vitamin A would actually be red palm oil.  However, your best bet in a college dining hall would be that beautiful spectrum of reds, yellows, oranges, and greens.  Fruits and veggies bearing these colors will provide plenty of carotenes that our bodies can use to make vitamin A.  They also contain vitamin C and many other nutrients too long to list.
  • Avoid Refined Foods. Refined foods like white sugar and white flour are low in nutrients and displace the nutrient-dense foods we should be eating instead.  Opt for whole grains instead of white flour.  Even still, whole grains are very nutritious but also contain some anti-nutrients that could increase our need for calcium and zinc.  We should therefore eat a broad-based diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and non-grain starches without relying excessively on any one food group.
  • Cut Out the Fake Foods. Soy may provide some valuable nutrients, but it is also rich in plant-based hormones called phytoestrogens. Eat traditional soy foods – miso, soy sauce, tempeh, and tofu – in moderation, and beware of loading up on the fake meats, which isn’t really consistent with the spirit of the fast anyway.
  • Get Plenty of Sunshine. Vitamin D is often called the “sunshine vitamin.”  Getting plenty of vitamin D will reduce our need for calcium, and may have many other benefits as well.  Spending time outside and getting plenty of fresh air and sunshine will help boost our vitamin D status.

These recommendations should be seen as loose guidelines rather than hard and fast rules.  If you are allergic to some of these foods, don’t digest them well, or feel better without them, you should listen to your body.  But let us eat in a spirit of mindful respect for our body, and in a spirit of thanksgiving and joy.


Volume 2, Number 2-Authors and Contributors

February 15, 2011

Harry W. Reineke IV was born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana and gave up his residency there shortly after Hurricane Katrina. He moved to the Midwest where he now attends St Joseph Church in Wheaton, Illinois, teaching Sunday School to the Senior High students in addition to using his role as an amateur photographer to catch some of the parishes important moments. He came to the Orthodox faith in college while studying the roots of Christianity as a Lutheran, and has found a home that he will never leave and many of his best friends have been made at St. Joseph’s.

Luke Beecham is the newly appointed Director of the Department of Youth, Young Adult, and Campus Ministries of the Orthodox Church in America. He runs St. John Camp in Indiana. He is a member and subdeacon at Stephen the First Martyr Church in Crawfordsville, IN. He has been married to his wife, Janna, for nine years.

Kate Behr is Professor of English at Concordia College, Bronxville, and Adjunct Professor of Literature at St Vladimir’s Seminary, which has been her home for the last sixteen years. She is acquainted (though perhaps not friends) with Gluttony and Sloth. She is actively trying to make friends with Abstinence and Diligence. It’s not easy.

His Eminence Metropolitan Anthony (Bloom) was the leader of the Russian Orthodox Church in Great Britain from 1957 until his death in 2003. He held honorary doctorates from the Moscow and Kiev Theological Academies, Aberdeen University and Cambridge University. He was a well-know theologian and writer, a powerful preacher, and an effective and saintly pastor. More writings by him are available here. We thank the Metropolitan Anthony Archives for use of this sermon.

Chris Masterjohn is originally from West Brookfield, Massachusetts, where he and his family attended St. Nicholas Romanian Orthodox Church in nearby Shrewsbury.  He holds a Bachelor’s degree in History from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and is currently a doctoral candidate in Nutritional Sciences at the University of Connecticut.  He created and maintains Cholesterol-And-Health.Com, which hosts his blog, The Daily Lipid.  He also writes frequently for Wise Traditions, the quarterly journal of the Weston A. Price Foundation.


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