Here is a genuinely different and practical book for the inquirer and potential convert to Orthodox Christianity. It is different in a number of ways, all of which commend this volume to wide use by pastors whose task it is to introduce the members of their inquirers classes to an Orthodox way of life which will touch their lives in a full and complete way.
Anyone familiar with Fr. Coniaris’ previous writings knows that whatever the subject he writes about, he does it in a lively and interesting way. He has the knack of taking even the most difficult topic and presenting it in varying ways so that even the reader who is familiar with the topic is fascinated by the many different approaches to it. This book is interesting.
It would fail in its purpose, however, if the information that it contained was not a reliable introduction to the Orthodox Church. Yet, in spite of the fact that it avoids the pitfall of being ponderous and heavy – so characteristic of other introductions to the Orthodox faith – it is not shallow. This book is a full and authentic introductory guide to the Orthodox Church.
One of the unique features of this introduction is the way in which the witness of Scripture and the holy Fathers of the Church, especially the Greek Fathers is presented in conjunction with the contributions of modern and contemporary figures, thus serving to relate the inquirer to ancient truths which are witnessed to as well by more familiar contemporary voices. This book speaks the ancient truths in a modern voice.
So often, Orthodoxy has been presented as an exotic faith, strange and unrelated to the daily lives of contemporary people. Yet, if Orthodoxy is what it claims to be, this cannot represent the correct approach. If Orthodoxy is held to be “the true faith” of necessity it has its application to the lives of all people of every status, class, education and culture. This book presents Orthodox Christianity as a contemporary and livable faith.
Unlike other introductions for the potential convert, this volume is written so that it appeals to the whole person, not just the intellect. It is written to inspire as well as to inform, a special charisma of the author, Fr. Anthony Coniaris. It speaks concretely about what people are to do, how they are to share inline concrete and practical aspects of the Orthodox Christian way of life. This book is a practical guide for learning to share practically in the life of the Orthodox Church.
In all, the reader will find this volume a refreshing, interesting, authentic, contemporary, down to earth and practical introduction to the Orthodox Christian faith. It has been written primarily to introduce Orthodoxy to the potential convert. It has fulfilled its purpose.
Rev. Stanley S. Harakas, Professor (Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology Brookline, Mass.)