What book will we use?
We are using the four-volume set entitled, Orthodox Christianity, by Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev.
The volumes cover many important aspects of Orthodoxy. We are working through the books in the following order:
- Volume II—Doctrine and Teaching of the Orthodox Church
- Volume III—The Architecture, Icons, and Music of the Orthodox Church
- Volume IV—The Worship and Liturgical Life of the Orthodox Church
- Volume I—The History and Canonical Structure of the Orthodox Church
A fifth volume entitled Sacraments and Christian Morality has been announced, but a publication date has not been released. Once published, we will include it in our schedule.
The books are available for purchase at the Christ the Lightgiver Bookstore or at an online store. (Remember, if you use Amazon, use Amazon Smile and Amazon will donate a small percentage to our parish.)
Why these books?
Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev has set down an overarching exposition of Orthodoxy. Most texts cover a part of the faith handed down to us. In these volumes, the author attempts to explain all of Orthodoxy, at least that which can be explained in writing. As we work through the set, we begin to see Orthodoxy in whole rather than in parts. You will find his writing very accessible; these are not written for academics but for those of us who make up the vast majority of the Church.
Why this order of the books?
It seems good to begin with the dogma and teaching of the Church. Orthodoxy is mostly unknown in the US among our Protestant and Catholic Christian brothers and sisters. Even if they have heard of Orthodoxy, they likely have never met an Orthodox Christian. Perhaps you, too, have had the experience of being treated like a Unicorn; “I have heard of Orthodoxy, but I have never met one!” It is good for us to know our own faith well enough to be able to tell our friends and family about the distinctives of our ancient faith.
And, as a teaser, one thing we will learn early in this volume is that dogma and teaching are not synonymous in Orthodoxy.