I'll Come Speak

    I write and speak on all sorts of topics: ancient Christian spirituality and the Eastern Orthodox faith, the Jesus Prayer, marriage and family, the pro-life cause, cultural issues, and more. You can contact Cynthia Damaskos of the Orthodox Speakers Bureau if you’d like to bring me to an event. This Calendar will let you know when I’m in your neighborhood.


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Entries in Podcast (60)


The World and the Grail

[Ancient Faith Radio; October 17, 2007]

Last year, for Christmas, I gave each of my children a copy of a big, fat, almost 550-page book by Bill Bryson, titled A Short History of Nearly Everything. I had begun reading this book and was so fascinated that I wanted each of my children to have a copy so we could talk about it. Bill Bryson talks about in childhood being so interested in science, and disappointed to find out how boring it was in the classroom. He described looking at the cover of his science text, that showed a quarter of the Earth cut away so that you cold see the layers. And he thought, ‘How do they know that? How do they discover things like that?’ And not finding that answer in the book.

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Thrift Shops

[Ancient Faith Radio; October 10, 2007]


I’m a big fan of thrift shops. I started going decades ago when somebody told me you can get books there; you can get hardback books for just a couple of dollars. So I went in, I checked it out and it was true. And I found that there were books that I could only afford in paperback, but here were these nice hardback copies with dust jackets, and so I started going regularly. And then my eye wandered a bit and I saw, well, there’s some interesting furniture and even some semi-antique pieces. I discovered in a bin of drapes there was something sticking out and it looked like embroidery. And in fact, it was. It was this giant three-foot by four-foot embroidered piece of folk art that I’ve got framed right here in my office.

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Conversation with Doug LeBlanc

[Ancient Faith Radio; October 4, 2007]

Frederica: There goes the bell on the door of the Virginia Barbeque, I guess that’s the name, the simple name of this place. We’re sitting here, my friend Doug LeBlanc and I, on the main street leading into Ashland, Virginia where Randolph-Macon College is, really a gorgeous little town. And Virginia Barbeque is set in a house that looks to me like from about 1900; it’s a charming little house with a front porch and an American flag waving out there, and what’s unusual is they don’t do just one kind of barbeque. You can get Texas, North Carolina, or Virginia style. They did not have South Carolina style, which I was deeply disappointed about, because that’s the best. I’m sitting here talking to my friend Doug, whom I’ve known since, I think it was 1991 when we met for the first time, wasn’t it?

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Problematic Honor

[Ancient Faith Radio, September 27, 2007]

Last May, Father Thomas Hopko gave the commencement speech at St. Vladimir’s Seminary.  Somebody forwarded me the text of this, and it’s so terrific.  I sent it on to the members of my family, and the subject line I used was, ‘A Hopko scorcher!’ because he can really be pretty scorching, when he gets going. 


One thing that particularly interested me toward the end of this speech was he started talking about a book by CS Lewis.  He says, ‘I think all thinking Christians, surely all seminary students and graduates, should be required to read it, the most incisive analysis of what has happened to humanity in the last fifty years.’  CS Lewis’ book, The Abolition of Man, 1944.  It is rather a short book; I think it’s a series of three or four lectures that Lewis gave. 

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Franchise Row

[Ancient Faith Radio; September 19, 2007]

It’s a hot Tuesday afternoon.  I’m here at – I’m embarrassed to say where I am – I’m in the parking lot at Taco Bell; I’m just about to go through the drive through and get some lunch.  But I just pulled over for a minute to look around this corner.  You have this corner where *you* live.  At this stoplight I can see there’s Panera Bread, Office Depot, Lowes Home Supply, Walgreens, Kmart, Target, Toys R Us, Best Buy.  That just scratches the surface, you know?  It’s everything that clusters together, like birds of a feather: these big box stores and these very big standard franchise outlets, all over the country.  It doesn’t matter where I go, you know, if I’m east coast, west coast, north or south, this same stuff, this is the landscape everywhere you go. 

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A Capella Music

[Ancient Faith Radio; September 13, 2007]

In early June I went to Los Angeles to speak at a conference at Pepperdine University that was on a fascinating topic; it was about a capella church music. I didn’t know this, but Pepperdine was established as a Church of Christ school—Church of Christ being a flavor of Christianity that is extremely Bible-based, very conservative in many senses, and in fact, they say the three things that make them different from most protestant churches is that they have weekly communion, they baptize by full immersion, and that everything in their worship is sung without instruments, it’s all a capella. They say they do these three things because that’s the way the early church did it, and of course as an Orthodox visitor to the campus, I was delighted to say, ‘Yeah, that’s the reason we do it too.’ We certainly agree that that’s what the early church did.

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Heather Kochamma, Iconographer

[Ancient Faith Radio; September 5, 2007]

Frederica: Hello, I’m in Spokane Washington at the conclusion of the ‘To the Ends of the Earth’ Conference sponsored by St. Gregorios Malankar Syrian Orthodox Church, and I’m sitting here with, I would say Khouria Heather Durka.  We have all these names for clergy wives: presbytera, and preoteasa, and Pani Matka, and matushka and all these things, and here’s another one: Kochamma.  And your tradition is in stead of saying Kochamma Heather, you say Heather Kochamma. 

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A Visit with a Coptic Monk

[Ancient Faith Radio; August 29, 2007]

Frederica:  I’m in Spokane, Washington, with a conference titled ‘To the Ends of the Earth,’ sponsored by St. Gregorios Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church here in Spokane, and they’ve brought people from all backgrounds and traditions here.  I’m delighted to be talking to Fr. Anastasi St. Anthony, who is the abbot of the St. Anthony monastery in, what is it, Newberry Springs, California? Where is that located in California?

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[Ancient Faith Radio; August 23, 2007]

Voiceover: We have a recording today of Frederica Mathewes-Green addressing the audience at the Parish Life conference that was recently held at Holy Cross Orthodox Church in Maryland, where Fr. Gregory Mathewes-Green and Frederica serve.  And she’s reminiscing about their early days of Orthodoxy and how thankful she is for the welcome they received. 


Frederica: It’s amazing to me that Holy Cross is hosting the Parish Life conference this year.  We started just 14 years ago, a handful of people, 19 people, meeting in rental space in Catonsville.  And that we have gotten to this point where we can actually host a Parish Life Conference—I’m extraordinarily grateful to God that we have the capability to do this.  And as my husband is now 60 years old, I’m extraordinarily grateful that we’ll probably never have to do it again.  [Laughter] Once is enough in a lifetime! If you haven’t done it, you don’t know how much work it is.  I don’t know how much work it is; I have to give a lot of the credit to someone who would be an unsung hero otherwise: our brilliantly creative, our brilliant Shamassy, Ina, who just has an imagination and an ability to accomplish the things that she imagines that are going to set this Parish Life Conference apart.  I’m eager to take part in it. 

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The Western Rite

[Ancient Faith Radio; August 16, 2007]

Hello, I’m at the Parish Life Conference of my diocese, the Diocese of Charleston-Oakland and the Midatlantic, and my parish, Holy Cross, is the host.  We’re at a hotel just north of Baltimore in Towson, and getting close to wrapping up, on a Saturday morning after breakfast.  I’m sitting here with Nancy Waggener, that is, Khouria Helen Waggener, and Rebecca Alfred, Khouria Becky Alfred, and we’re going to talk a little bit about the Western Rite, which is something many Orthodox are not familiar with—they don’t even know that there is a Western Rite.  Khouria Becky is the wife of Fr. Gregory Alford, and—sorry?

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