Welcome to the Orthodox Church—its history, theology, worship, spirituality, and daily life. This friendly guide provides a comprehensive introduction to Orthodoxy, but with a twist: readers learn by making a series of visits to a fictitious church, and get to know the faith as new Christians did for most of history, by immersion. Mathews-Green provides commentary and explanations on everything from how to “venerate” an icon, the Orthodox understanding of the atonement, to the Lenten significance of tofu. It’s the perfect book for inquirers and newcomers, but even readers who have been Orthodox all their lives say they learned things they never knew before. Enjoyable, easy-to-read, and leavened with humor, Welcome to the Orthodox Church is a gracious guide to the ancient faith of the Christian East.
Frederica Mathewes-Green is a widely published author of 10 books and hundreds of essays in such diverse publications as the Washington Post, Christianity Today, Smithsonian, and the Wall Street Journal. She has been a regular commentator for National Public Radio (NPR), a columnist for the Religion News Service, Beliefnet.com, and Christianity Today, and a podcaster for Ancient Faith Radio. She is in high demand as a speaker. She lives with her husband, the Rev. Gregory Mathewes-Green, in Johnson City, TN. Their three children are grown and married, and they have fourteen grandchildren.
“In her own warm, engaging way, Frederica takes us on a journey that is strange and exotic for those previously unfamiliar, and a spiritual refuge and oasis for those who have embraced it. This just may be the Church you have been looking for and didn’t even know it existed.” —John Maddex, CEO, Ancient Faith Ministries
“How do you introduce (Eastern) Orthodoxy? Frederica Mathewes-Green suggests we treat it as a large, and much-loved, family house. She takes us round it, showing us all the rooms and what goes on in them. Her conversational style is completely accessible, but utterly honest; there is lots of information, and she deals directly with problems to be encountered. It feels a bit like Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition. This is a wonderful book.” —The Very Revd. Archpriest Andrew Louth, Professor Emeritus of Patristic and Byzantine Studies, Durham University, author of Introducing Eastern Orthodox Theology
“Frederica Mathewes-Green, author of Facing East: A Pilgrim’s Journey into the Mysteries of Orthodoxy...has written a new book about getting to know the Orthodox Church. In it she walks the reader through a semi-fictional, representative American parish of the Orthodox Church, stopping to chat along the way...Mathewes-Green is a good companion, colloquial and easy, clear even when she dives into knotty theological controversies. What other book will you read this year that gives a quick summary of the controversy over the double procession of the Holy Spirit? But one of the great things about Mathewes-Green’s writing is that, unlike so much from the C.S. Lewis school of Christianity, she does not live entirely in the world of arguments. She writes with ‘the mind in the heart,’ as the Orthodox say. Christianity is not primarily a philosophy or assent to a set of propositions; it’s a way of life. Mathewes-Green never loses sight of that...The reader gets what the book’s title promises. But the best reason to read this book is that the author is wise. Wisdom springs from deep roots within a well-ordered soul, and is quite different from the things we mistake it for: intelligence, charm, wit, sympathy, openness, or empathy. Wisdom is rare in public discourse; when you see it, you recognize it.” —J. Mulrooney, New Oxford Review
“Plenty of books deal with Christian theology in weighty and abstruse ways, but precious few apply the theology so wholly to the everyday lived realities of life, and in such easily accessible prose, as does Welcome to the Orthodox Church. This book follows exactly Frederica Mathewes-Green's tried and true recipe, of lucid writing marked by a strong sense of humor, but never escaping from the deepest spiritual realities. Do take warning, though. If you do read this thoughtful and passionate book, you will run the risk of having to take the claims of Orthodox Christianity very seriously indeed.” —Philip Jenkins
“Frederica Mathewes-Green, through her writing, has become the ‘Greeter’ for every person who begins to seek out and explore the “other Christianity” which is the Eastern Orthodox Church. Few authors can take the mystery, beauty and often daunting complexities of Orthodoxy and transform them in such an inviting path of spiritual journey as this author has done with this book.” —The Very Rev Dr Chad Hatfield, Chancellor, St. Vladimir’s Orthodoxy Seminary, New York