“Let us take refuge in the Lord, and ascend a little to the place where thoughts dry up, and stirrings vanish. Where memories fade away and the passions die, where human nature becomes serene, and is transformed as it stands in the other world.”
-St Isaac the Syrian.
Like many of you, I am an undergraduate student preparing for essays, examinations, and that senior thesis which I could have sworn was off just looming beyond the horizon, but has very much suddenly arrived. I am also a sinner with the humble hope of renewal and transformation through faith in the Theanthropos, the God-Man Jesus Christ. I am an Orthodox Christian, and in this, I strive to remember the words of the Jesus Prayer- “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner”.
In this I am nothing, but may, through Christ, transcend everything and become what St. Peter describes as a “partaker of the divine nature”. I hold fast to the words of St. Irenaeus, that, having received the life-changing blessing of the promise of eternal life through Christ, I may cooperate in synergy with the Holy Spirit to allow the grace of God to guide me in all that I do and transform my soul in unity with the divine energies. This is the unique challenge which the Orthodox Church offers her faithful, the challenge to surrender our will, the societal constructs of autonomy and extreme individualism, to allow the Holy Spirit to work in us and transform us in union with the divine energies. This is nothing less than the process of theosis, of divinization by which we may realize the fullness of our life in Christ.
On Sunday, December 4, 2011, the Feast of the Entrance of the Theotokos into the Temple (Julian calendar) I was received by chrismation into the Orthodox Church by His Beatitude Metropolitan Jonah, then primate of the Orthodox Church in America (OCA) at St. Nicholas Cathedral in Washington, D.C. I received the name Silouan after the beloved elder or staretz who spent the last decades of his life in ceaseless prayer on the Holy Mountain. In all humility, I consider having received this beautiful, challenging, and historic faith to be the most important and transforming event in my life. Entering into the fullness of the Orthodox Church, in my prayer life, in the Liturgy, in all that I am, is a blessing beyond compare.
My goal in creating and updating this blog is to share with you various articles, podcasts, essays and lectures on the Orthodox Church throughout history and in the world today. I also will be sharing different musings, stories and moments from my life with you that relate to the Orthodox faith, especially with regard to the Liturgy, Great Lent and other fasts, matters of theological doctrine and theosis, and Church history. Please feel free to comment and share your thoughts as you read my entries, whether you are Orthodox, of another faith, or of no faith at all.
St. Nicholas Cathedral in Washington, D.C, the OCA primatial cathedral, was my parish and spiritual home from November 2010 to August 2012. I love the Cathedral, and I very much admire Fr. Valery, Deacon Blagoje, and so many others there, but as a matter of conscience find it difficult to continue there considering how everything has been handled with regard to Church politics. I do not know Metropolitan Tikhon, but he seems kind, and I sincerely pray for his primatial ministry, wishing him well as Primate of the OCA. I encourage anyone who is able to visit St Nicholas to do so; the parishioners are delightful and warm-hearted people who love God, the choir chants beautifully, and the Cathedral is a historic Washington landmark with magnificent Russian iconography!
My spiritual father serves most often at DC’s beautiful and historic St John the Baptist Cathedral, the Russian Orthodox (ROCOR) church founded by St John of Shanghai and San Francisco, “the Wonderworker” of blessed memory. This is where I now most often attend Liturgy and Vigil along with many friends, young and old. Metropolitan Jonah has started a wonderful teaching ministry and Bible study program there, and often serves at Liturgy at the invitation of the very kind Rector, Fr. Victor Potapov, with the blessing of His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion, First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad. You are most welcome to visit both St John’s and St Nicholas!
I am in my fourth year of undergraduate studies at American University’s School of Public Affairs and College of Arts and Sciences pursuing a BA in History with a minor in Law and Society. During the Spring 2012 term I studied on exchange at the University of Edinburgh.
While I am a full-time student, my most recent paid position was during the Fall 2012 semester as a conference planning assistant to Anita McBride, former Chief of Staff to First Lady Laura Bush and Executive-in-Residence at American University’s Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies. In Summer 2011 I worked as an undergraduate research assistant with an American University professor of British history, and as a research intern at Georgetown University’s Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs.
Striving for non-partiality and objectivity, I have hosted American TV (ATV)’s political news show “Capitol Politics” with co-hosts Paul Bencivenga and Anna Kark since Fall 2011. The previous year I hosted the political news show “The Body Politic” in which I gave international and U.S. political news broadcasts. I have enjoyed interviewing former ambassadors, members of Congress, high-profile DC attorneys, and many DC political personalities.
Any errors, misquotations or other mistakes that appear on this site are my own, and, of course, I appreciate any readers alerting me to any such inconsistencies.
All my entries can be found by clicking above on “Posts”. Wherever you are, may the Lord always bless you and give you peace.
Washington, D.C., January 2013.