Worth Taking Time to Read

I confess I do not read near as much as I once did. Writing takes time – and is a way of slowly digesting a lot of years of reading – and, I hope, to some benefit. Today, however, I came across an article of Frederica Mathewes-Green, written last June, that was deeply moving. I was looking for material on Fr. Roman Braga, the Romanian priest who is a survivor of the Communist prisons. Khouria Frederica offers an article that includes some interview material with Fr. Roman, as well as reflections of her own spiritual father, Fr. George Calciu, who reposed last November. He was a survivor of the prisons as well. It is a well-written piece (as always) with deeply moving insight of these modern-day confessors. The entire article may be read here. I heartily commend it to you.

About Fr. Stephen Freeman

Fr. Stephen is a retired Archpriest of the Orthodox Church in America, Pastor Emeritus of St. Anne Orthodox Church in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. He is also author of Everywhere Present: Christianity in a One-Storey Universe, and Face to Face: Knowing God Beyond Our Shame, as well as the Glory to God podcast series on Ancient Faith Radio.



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9 responses to “Worth Taking Time to Read”

  1. Theodora Elizabeth Avatar
    Theodora Elizabeth

    Fr. Stephen,

    As Dormition Monastery, where Fr. Roman is the spiritual father, is the closest monastery to my city (with mostly English services), I’ve had the honor of listening to Fr. Roman speak several times (our women’s group retreats). The last time I was there was several years ago, but I watched, fascinated, as Fr. Roman was transformed during the Divine Liturgy. He is ill, and coughs much. But vested, and praying the Akathist to the Sweetest Lord Jesus, as well as the Divine Liturgy, the coughing is gone and he walks easier and freer.

  2. Fatherstephen Avatar
    Fatherstephen

    A parishioner and his son recently made retreat there. I was looking for a podcast by Fr. Roman today when I ran across Khouria Frederica’s article. I couldn’t resist posting the link. Our nation has been privileged to have priests such as Fr. Roman and Fr. George among us. Both have been too far away for me to get to know them but others have been greatly touched by their ministries and by an authenticity of Orthodoxy forged in battles none of us would want to undertake.

  3. Sophocles Avatar

    Father bless,

    since you don’t have too much time anymore to read, I thought you might enjoy this visual and listening experience:

    http://molonlabe70.blogspot.com/2007/08/kyrie-eleison.html

  4. […] an interesting post on the wordpress news department and I ended up in a priest’s blog called Glory to God in All Things. I found his post with a link to an article by Fredrica Mathewes-Green. The article, The Wounded […]

  5. mongoose1 Avatar
    mongoose1

    Fr. Stephen,
    Thank you for posting Ms. Mathewes-Green’s thought provoking essay.

    C.

  6. fatherstephen Avatar

    Sophocles,

    (By the way, one of the neat things about being Greek is being able to be named Sophocles)! Thanks for the experience… I note that you live in Henderson. Please give my greetings to Fr. Eric in Las Vegas. A very good man.

  7. Sophocles Avatar

    Father bless,

    I will pass on your greetings. Glad you enjoyed it.

  8. Jason Avatar
    Jason

    Fr. George went on, “When you were tortured, after one or two hours of suffering, the pain would not be so strong. But after denying God and knowing yourself to be a blasphemer—that was the pain that lasted … We forgive the torturers. But it is very difficult to forgive ourselves.” At night a wash of tears would come, and with it, returning prayer. “You knew very well that the next day you would again say something against God. But a few moments in the night, when you started to cry and to pray to God to forgive you and help you, was very good.”

    Very sobering. We would like to believe that we would confess Christ until the end—regardless the situation or circumstances, but the reality is we can in no way begin to imagine the pain, suffering, and horrors such people, like Fr. George, went through. And to speak with such boldness about our potential profession of faith during such circumstances only heightens our need for God’s mercy.

    I’m reminded of that famous passage in Shusaku Endo’s work, Silence, where Rodriguez, in order to save other people’s lives, must simply renounce his faith by stepping on the face of Jesus. As Rodriguez contemplates those being tortured, Jesus himself calls out to him and breaks the silence:

    “Trample! Trample! I more than anyone know of the pain in your foot. Trample! It was to be trampled on by men that I was born into this world. It was to share men’s pain that I carried my cross.”

    God have mercy on us all. God have mercy on me, a sinner.

  9. Alan Hartwick Avatar
    Alan Hartwick

    Recently, I had the great honor of producing a documentary about the Pitesti prison experience. This documentary features Fathers Roman Braga and George Calciu. The DVD also includes a one-hour interview with Father Roman. You can find this documentary, “Beyond ” at http://www.visionvideo.com

    In Jesus,
    Alan Hartwick

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