Carrie Frederick Frost is the new Chair of Saint Phoebe Center for the Deaconess, and a well-regarded scholar of modern Orthodox Christianity who teaches at Western Washington University and Saint Sophia Ukrainian Orthodox Seminary. Her organizational skills are legendary, such that she was not only a founding board member of the International Orthodox Theological Association and just stepped down as its secretary, but was also one of the key organizers of its January 2023 mega-conference.
Dr. Frost’s areas of special focus are women and mothers in the church, sacraments and practice, Christian material culture, and contemplative prayer. In the aftermath of Holy and Great Council in Crete, she was invited by the Greek Archdiocese to edit a book of reactions from women as part of the reception of the Council, which came out as The Reception of the Holy and Great Council: Reflections of Orthodox Christian Women (GOARCH, 2018). She has written two books about women that combine a deep pastoral sensibility with sound theology, clear-eyed realism, and a profound love of the Church. Maternal Body: A Theology of Incarnation from the Christian East (Paulist Press, 2019) has been called an uplifting look into Orthodoxy and the body that sets the body, sexuality, and universal embodied experiences in their rightful, holy order. Church of Our Granddaughters (Cascade Books, 2023) writes plainly about the practices in the Orthodox Church that are already divisive and are causing a silent schism driving away women (and men) from the chalice–and suggesting practical, pastoral, and theologically sound solutions to each issue. Here is one example of her thought:
“There is a large tendency within the Orthodox Church today to resist all change–whether healthy or unhealthy–only for the sake of creating a bulwark against the fragmentation of culture around us. I am sympathetic; I am unnerved by the swift and dehumanizing changes that affect every quarter of contemporary life, much of which is actively hostile to the church’s incarnational anthropology. Walking into a church and singing the same hymns I sang as a child and that my father and his parents, on back through the generations, sang makes me grateful for the Orthodox Church as a sanctuary of continuity and steadfastness. It is reassuring to know that the Orthodox Church has no record of rash response to pressures from the world, that safeguards are organically in place that prevent hasty change of any sort, and Orthodoxy has a very different and sturdy ecclesiology that lacks the same weaknesses or fracture points as other communities. But these are not reasons for stagnation. Just as change is not good for its own sake, stasis is not good for its own sake.”
(from Church of Our Granddaughters)
We asked Dr. Frost if she would share a photo of the place where she prays most often. You see here the prayer corner in her office.