The last in our series of reflections on the book on which our upcoming webinar is based, by Axia board member Tenbit Mitiku:
“Repentance makes room for joy within us” –Phoebe Farag Mikhail
Nearly half-way into Phoebe Farag Mikhail’s gentle guidebook, “Putting Joy into Practice: Seven Ways to Lift your Spirit from the Early Church” is a chapter on repentance. And about half-way into that chapter I set down the book. Something was snagging at the corner of my mind, flapping in the wind of introspection her words had provoked.
Phoebe Farag Mikhail offers us a book, Putting Joy into Practice, that is like a warm blanket to hold onto as we journey through Lent. During those moments when I feel myself turning to anxiety or fear, her words comfort and redirect me so that I stay in touch with joy, love, compassion, and–the true meaning of Lent for me–connecting to God.
Revoula Venizelou was born in Athens, then part of the Ottoman Empire, on November 21, 1522, the only child of an illustrious and well-off Byzantine family. At 14, her parents married her to a fellow aristocrat, Andrea Chila, who turned out to be an abusive husband. She was only 17 when he died. Although her parents wanted her to remarry, she insisted on remaining at home, where she could spend her time in prayer and works of charity. As a result, she earned the respect and love of her community. Her parents died when she was 27, and she inherited extensive property. Around a year later, she founded a women’s monastery dedicated to St. Andrew and took the name Philothei.
The first in a series of four blog posts reacting--in advance of our upcoming webinar--to Phoebe Farag Mikhail's book Putting Joy Into Practice. Tasoni Phoebe herself will be leading the webinar on March 19 at 7:30 Eastern, with a focus especially on the practices of fasting and hospitality. Here's Judith's take on reading the book in a dark time:
Lord, Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.
When I fall on my knees with my face to the rising sun,
Oh Lord, have mercy on me.
This post is not about St. Mariamne, whom we commemorate today on the New Calendar, but it could have been. She was the sister of the apostle Philip, and she took a vow not to marry so that she could help him and Bartholomew in their apostolic work. As a result, she herself is one of the rare saints considered Equal to the Apostles. Where would be be if they hadn't--to paraphrase Metropolitan Savas in a post from October 2019--accepted her ministry as a blessing to their individual selves and our Holy Mother Church?
First in our series of Celebrated Women is Frederica Mathewes-Green. She is a well-known American convert to Eastern Orthodoxy and has been a prominent voice since the 1990s. For her the Church as a true and authentic expression of Christianity that has remained unchanged for over two thousand years means that it has preserved the teachings and traditions of the early Church, and has remained faithful to Jesus and the apostles. Mathewes-Green also sees the Orthodox Church as a beacon of hope in a world that is often troubled and divided. She believes that the Church offers a way of life that is rooted in love, compassion, and forgiveness, and that it has the power to transform the world through its witness and teachings.