Sunday, February 26, 2017

Weekly Lent Book Discussion: Precious Vessels of the Holy Spirit: The Lives & Counsels of Contemporary Elders of Greece

Orthodox Book Discussion

Precious Vessels of the Holy Spirit: The Lives & Counsels of Contemporary Elders of Greece

Weekly Lent Book Discussions Beginning March 1, 2017

In an age obsessed with psychology, medicine, and human solutions to spiritual problems, the ancient ministry of the god-bearing elder is a divine gift to contemporary man. Termed the "golden chain" by St. Symeon the New Theologian, this life-giving ministry of the Church is a precious inheritance passed down from Christ, through the Apostles, from one generation to the next, to our own day. The lives and counsels contained in this volume attest to the continued vitality of this ancient ministry and to the importance of its preservation for the life of the Church today. -from the back cover

From the Bookseller:
This volume presents the lives and counsels of eight contemporary Elders of Greece: Amphilochios of Patmos, Epiphanios of Athens, Iakovos of Evia, Joseph the Hesychast, Paisios the Athonite, Philotheos of Paros, Porphyrios of Kavsokalyvia, and George of Drama. The text includes extensive commentaries on the lives and counsels, detailed maps, and a glossary of theological terms, making it an invaluable source of spiritual orientation and enlightenment for every seeker of Christian Orthodoxy.
Each Wednesday during Lent the church community will meet after the 6 P.M. Liturgy of Presantified gifts for a Lenten pot-luck dinner in the taverna. Following dinner, we will discuss a few chapters of Precious Vessels of the Holy Spirit, available in both the bookstore and church library.
Our first meeting will be March 1. Join us for evenings that are sure to deepen your Lenten experience!

Please note: discussions of spiritual material with your father confessor, spiritual father or mother are strongly encouraged.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

January 17, 2017 Losing Susan --Author Presentation and Book Signing

Orthodox Book Discussion
January 24, 2017 7:00 P.M. Church Parlor
Losing Susan --Author Presentation
The Annunciation Library Book Discussion Group is pleased to  announce that it is hosting author Rev. Victor Lee Austin  for a presentation and book signing for his memoir, Losing Susan.

From the bookseller:
The Story of Brain Disease and the Priest's Wife

This is the story of Susan--a wife, mother, Christian believer, lover of children, writer of stories, and woman of extraordinary intellect. Susan was diagnosed with a brain tumor in her late thirties. Although it was successfully treated, the process led to her slow, unending decline.

In this personal story of love and loss, Rev. Victor Lee Austin shares how caring for his wife during her painful struggle with brain cancer and its aftereffects brought him face-to-face with his God and with his faith in unsettling ways. God gave Rev. Austin what his heart most desired--marriage to Susan--then God took away what he had given. Yet God never withdrew his presence. Weaving together autobiographical details and profound theological insights, this powerful narrative shows that we are called to turn to God in the face of suffering.

The Rev. Dr. Victor Austin is serving the Episcopal Diocese of Dallas as Theologian-in-Residence. Rev. Austin is a priest-scholar with background in both the parish ministry and the academic world. As a priest in the diocese of New York, Austin has served since 2005 as Theologian-in-residence at Saint Thomas Church Fifth Avenue. Prior to that, from 1989 to 2003 he was rector of the Church of the Resurrection, Hopewell Junction; and before that, he was curate of Zion Church in Wappingers Falls--all in New York. He is a graduate of St. John’s College in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and the General Theological Seminary, New York City, and he earned his Ph.D. in theology from Fordham University in 2002. 

In the academic world, Austin was assistant professor of religious studies, philosophy, and theology at Mount Aloysius College in Cresson, Pennsylvania. He has also taught on the adjunct faculty of Marist College in Poughkeepsie, New York; Mount St. Mary College in Newburgh, New York; and Fordham University and the General Theological Seminary.
His theological interests are wide-ranging, but his particular focus is in Christian ethics. 
Losing Susan is now available in the church bookstore and library. 

Saturday, September 10, 2016

October 13, 2016 Book Discussion: An Inner Step Toward God: Writings and Teachings on Prayer

An Inner Step Toward God: Writings and Teachings on Prayer by Father Alexander Men
From the book seller:

This book is for any Christian who desires a more regular prayer practice and a deeper connection with God. Available for the first time in English, this collection of Father Alexander Men's prayers and teachings and writings on prayer center on the theme of taking "an inner step of faith" toward God. Many topics are covered including prayer as loving response to God, the body and prayer, prayer as sacramental encounter, meditation in prayer, and exercises that may enhance prayer.
Father Alexander Men (1935-1990_ was a popular Russian Orthodox priest, author of Son of Man, and spiritual teacher in the former USSR. After his high profile murder in 1990, his legacy has continued to grow in Russia and around the world. For many years, translator Christa Belyaeva lived in Moscow, where she converted to Orthodoxy and worshipped at the Church of the Dormition with people who knew Fr. Alexander personally.
Those new to Orthodoxy as well as cradle Orthodox can find joy from this book as it is a helpful guide to a more meaningful prayer life. An Inner Step Toward God is now available in the church bookstore and library.  The Book Discussion will be held at 7:00, October 13, 2016 in the church parlor

Please note: Discussions of spiritual material with your father confessor, spiritual father or mother are always strongly encouraged.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

August 10 Book Discussion: The Global War on Christians

For the third consecutive year, the book discussion group has committed to selecting a book that focuses on the plight of the most persecuted group in the world, Christians. The selection this year is The Global War on Christians. This book is timely for many reasons, the newest reason being the introduction of Ramadan prayers in Hagia Sophia.

From the bookseller:
One of the most respected journalists in the United States and the bestselling author of The Future Church uses his unparalleled knowledge of world affairs and religious insight to investigate the troubling worldwide persecution of Christians.
From Iraq and Egypt to Sudan and Nigeria, from Indonesia to the Indian subcontinent, Christians in the early 21st century are the world's most persecuted religious group. According to the secular International Society for Human Rights, 80 percent of violations of religious freedom in the world today are directed against Christians. In effect, our era is witnessing the rise of a new generation of martyrs. Underlying the global war on Christians is the demographic reality that more than two-thirds of the world's 2.3 billion Christians now live outside the West, often as a beleaguered minority up against a hostile majority-- whether it's Islamic fundamentalism in the Middle East and parts of Africa and Asia, Hindu radicalism in India, or state-imposed atheism in China and North Korea. In Europe and North America, Christians face political and legal challenges to religious freedom. Allen exposes the deadly threats and offers investigative insight into what is and can be done to stop these atrocities.
“This book is about the most dramatic religion story of the early 21st …century,: The global war on Christians,” writes John Allen. “We’re not talking about a metaphorical ‘war on religion’ in Europe and the United States, fought on symbolic terrain such as whether it’s okay to erect a nativity set on the courthouse steps, but a rising tide of legal oppression, social harassment and direct physical violence, with Christians as its leading victims.”

Join us for a discussion of this very important book. The discussion will be held Wednesday, August 10 after the 6:00 P.M. Paraklesis Service to the Theotokos. 

Please note: In accordance with the wisdom of the Church mothers and fathers, we strongly encourage discussions of spiritual material with your father confessor or spiritual father or mother.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Weekly Lenten Book Discussion Beginning March 16, 2016

Lenten Orthodox Book Discussion
Wednesdays during Lent after the Presantified
Beginning March 16, 2016
When one thinks of St. Isaac the Syrian, one thinks of God’s love. In The Spiritual World of Isaac the Syrian, we will become acquainted with the spirituality of this amazing saint. His emphasis on “luminous” love is so timely in this world that is so torn by tragedy and sadness.
In the foreword, written by Metropolitan Kallistos Ware, we are given a hint of the treasures that lie ahead. Here are a few excerpts:
Isaac the Syrian, also called Isaac of Nineveh, lived and wrote during "the golden age of Syriac Christian literature" in the seventh century. Cut off by language and politics from the Churches of the Roman Empire and branded "Nestorian," the Church of the East produced in isolation a rich theological literature which is only now becoming known to outsiders. Yet over the centuries and in all parts of Christendom, Isaac's works have been read and recommended as unquestionably orthodox.
Now, at last, to my great delight, we have at our disposal a single book in English, offering us a balanced and comprehensive overview of Isaac's life, background and teaching. Wisely, Fr. Hilarion Alfeyev has allowed Isaac to speak for himself. The book is full of well-chosen quotations, in which Isaac's true voice can be heard.
Saint Isaac of Syria was an ascetic, a mountain solitary, but his writings are universal in scope. They are addressed not just to the desert but to the city, not just to monastics but to all the baptized. With sharp vividness he speaks about themes relevant to every Christian: about repentance and humility, about prayer in its many forms, both outer and inner, about solitude and community, about silence, wonder, and ecstasy. Along with the emphasis that he places upon "luminous love"—to use his own phrase—two things above all mark his spiritual theology: his sense of God as living mystery; and his warm devotion to the Savior Christ.

 Each Wednesday during Lent the church community will meet after the Liturgy of Presantified Gifts for a Lenten pot-luck dinner in the taverna. Following dinner, Father Christos will lead a discussion of a few chapters of The Spiritual World of Isaac the Syrian. The Spiritual World of Isaac the Syrian is available in the church bookstore and library.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

January 21, 2016 Book Discussion: How Dante Can Save Your Life

One way to break up the monotony of cold weather is to encounter a book that takes one on a journey. The book selection for January, 2016 is one such book; however, the journey has a destination that is not in this physical world! How Dante Can Save Your Life takes the reader on a unique spiritual journey of a contemporary Orthodox Christian man. His travel itinerary was inspired by Dante's Divine Comedy. No, it is not necessary to have read The Divine Comedy to find enjoyment and meaning from this book!

Here is how the book is described from the book cover:

'Dante Alighieri had done all the right things, according to the story of his culture. He had written beautiful poems that won him fame and respect. He married and had children, and he was a man of the church, faithful to his God. Later he took up political leadership in his city and tried to govern justly, even when it meant sending his trouble-making best friend into exile. And what had this gotten him? He lost everything: his wealth, his power, and his family. If he hadn't fled into exile, Dante would have lost his life.
       Few of us will suffer a fall from grace quite like Dante's, but our day will assuredly come. Loss of a loved one, betrayal, divorce, bankruptcy, addiction, personal or professional failures, depression, a health crisis--whatever loss or tragedy befalls you-- it will provoke a crisis from which you may feel you will never recover.
        Rod Dreher was in the midst of such a personal crisis  when he came across The Divine Comedy while wandering through a bookstore. Finding himself "in a dark wood," he read the 700-year-old poem. The life-changing wisdom of this medieval masterpiece launched Dreher on a spiritual and intellectual journey that helped him see the mistakes that had devastated him, and showed him that he had the power to change his life. (He eventually converted to Orthodoxy.)
           History's greatest poem provides an inspired road map for the journey of the soul toward goodness and describes the recognition and rejection of sin... Dante told his patron that he wrote  The Divine Comedy to bring readers from misery to happiness. "

        Join us to discuss Orthodox perspectives on  How Dante Can Save Your Life.  How Dante Can Save Your Life  is now available in the church bookstore and library. It makes a great Christmas gift!

        The book discussion will be held January 21, 2016 at 7:00 p.m. in the church parlor. Check your email for cancellations in the event of a snow storm.

Please note: If you cannot attend the book discussion, in accordance with the wisdom of the Church mothers and fathers, we strongly encourage discussions of spiritual material with your father confessor or spiritual father or mother.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Metropolitan Kallistos Ware, Author, Scholar,and Theologian to Give a Series of Talks

Don't miss this once in a lifetime opportunity to attend lectures by one of the most prominent theologians of the Eastern Church in our times, Metropolitan Kallistos Ware.

Visit the church's website for a schedule of his Eminence's talks beginning September 17, 2015 (Click the following link):

Videos of his lectures may be found at: