PDF version of liturgical calendar available

It was a great joy to hear that this year the folks at St Innocent Press were publishing their 2014 Liturgical Calendar as a downloadable PDF. OK, downloadable is a little more automated than the process commands; you pay and then a REAL HUMAN EMAILS IT TO YOU. Maybe not the speed we expect if you were dashing to a service and couldnt find your copy but a PDF version represents a great leap forward in my book.

To start with, it doesnt cost me as much as the book to get it posted to Australia. Secondly, given the elcetronic nature it is easy to cut and paste reading details etc for further study (I like to at a minimum run through the daily readings with a commentary in my Logos Bible Software) and it is on the iPad at all times ready.

You can order your copy here.

Liturgical_Calendar_Front-Back_2014_Cov-Proof2.indd

11 Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul, 12 having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation. (1 Peter 11,12 NKJV)

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bombarded by futher logos orthodoxy

Booting up my laptop this morning I was pleasantly surprised by a 200+ MB download when I opened Logos Bible Study Software. One of my pre-ordered packs came in with a giant slab of Orthodox Literature. This was one of the more expensive packs I have bought, around $230 USD, however it included 32 books from Ancient Faith Publishing (previously concilliar press).

I probably own close to half of these in paper format already, but having them inside Logos, added to my collections list searchable across key resources, and with links to scriptural references.

Now I have a little bit of fun adding the myriad of new “toys” to the right collections. It is a better problem to have than not having the data in the first place 😉

I am now looking forward to the other pre-orders that I have placed back in time including works of St John of Kronstadt, The Rudder, Octoechos and much more.

As mentioned in a previous post, keep an eye on the twitter feed @LogosOrthodox for more information. I heard on Ancient Faith Radio a few weeks ago that Logos has employed someone specifically to managed the Orthodox requirements for their system so that is great news indeed. This with more and more evangelicals looking into Church History and the Church Fathers gives us greater and more systematic access for research, study and contemplation.

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a (Kindle) Psalter for Prayer

A Psalter for Prayer: David Mitchell James (Translator) – or it’s slightly longer official title – A Psalter for Prayer: An Adaptation of the Classic Miles Coverdale Translation, Augmented by Prayers and Instructional Material Drawn from Church Slavonic and Other Orthodox Christian Sources [Kindle Edition].

I first picked up a copy of this on my visit to Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville late 2011, and sent a box of copies home for our Church Bookstore. I had heard much about the Miles Coverdale Translation that were positive (although not very specific) but the main draw for me was the plethora of additional information included on reading the Psalter as part of a prayer rule, reading the Psalter for the departed and other wisdom from the Fathers.

I accidentally tripped over it searching for a few other books on Amazon (actually via my Kindle which surprises me even more that it came up on the search) and downloaded the sample immediately to check it out. This may seem a little skeptical given my positive thoughts above but a great book isn’t instantly a great eBook. I am not super fussy on this front, but at a minimum their needs to be a table of contents with reasonable granularity. This is fine in the Psalter for Prayer, and I bought it soon after. The TOC has the Kathisma and individual Psalm level including the supplementary material.

One of the reasons I liked the original paper version of this book was the good solid “Altar Sized” (euphemism for Needs A Bookstand) format and well printed interior. This doesn’t help you for travel purposes. The Kindle version solves that. If you have a different eBook Reader you can buy from Holy Trinity Publications electronic distributor in Mobipocket and EPUB format.

Highly Recommended.

new AFR app

Ancient Faith Radio have released an improved mobile app for listening to their radio streams. In April this year when they updated their streams the previous app stopped working and I wrote a note to them asking “Wasssup”. It was a very simple app, but it worked (simple + work = I like).

Their Operations Manager, Bobby Maddex kindly wrote me back “The good news is that we already have a new app in development that will allow you to stream the stations, play
the podcasts, and more. Look for it later this spring”.

Well, here it is!

The app gives the usual access to the “Talk” and “Music” stations, along with access to the podcasts and specials.


Not only listening but the app allows you to share what you have enjoyed via email, Twitter or Facebook. It is up and running on all my iOS devices now and I will follow up with info after a few days of pounding. For those who are Android owners, there is a version there also.

You can access the download page for iOS and Android here.

bringing Jesus to the desert

Bringing Jesus to the Desert (Ancient Context, Ancient Faith) by Brad Nassif & Gary M. Burge. 

I must admit I was a little apprehensive when it came to dropping this one on the Kindle. I have listened to Dr Nassif on AFR and was happy from that perspective but it was included in an Evangelical Protestant book series put out by Zondervan Publishing. The apprehension came from feeling that some things would be held back in editing to dull the message for an audience less accustomed to the ascetic life.

Whether or not there was any chopping for the audience I was quite impressed at the result. This is by no means and exhaustive treatise on the Desert Fathers, it is an introductory text; but a better one than many I have in my bookshelf. While introductory and high level it walks through sharing with us the existence of these prayerful men and women of the early church and gives an understanding of their times, their struggles and their faith.

There are short extracts from the lives of these holy people, such as one of my old favourites where a Monk teaches another Monk humility by asking him to praise and chastise the dead and consider their response. Although hearing this quoted by many I did not know until this review that it should be attributed to St Marcarius.

Throughout the book the Authors also include hints and expansions on how we can take lessons from the desert, even without a leaning towards the monastic life, such as –

“To be sure, without spiritual purpose, work can make us despondent. Our routines can turn into cruel drudgery. But if we add Christlike purpose to our work, we can transform our daily routines into a spiritual cause. The salesperson will view their customer’s problems as a spiritual opportunity to cultivate a servant’s heart; a nurse’s obedience to a doctor’s request will become an exercise in meekness; writing “thank you” notes to former customers can create a deeper level of humility; correcting an error at work can foster the spiritual quality of repentance. If we contemplate the spiritual side of labor, we will come to understand that our work is not just a place where we till the soil; it is also where the soil tills us!”

For the audience not familiar with the ascetic life, there is a recurrent theme throughout the book fuelled by Dr Nassif’s life, of how the experience of the eastern family structure and everyday life affected how these early Christians lived and worshipped.

In conclusion, this book is a great introduction to the ascetic life and a number of significant examples of desert holiness. Brining Jesus is not difficult to read and I would even consider it as a present for non-Orthodox friends to share the monastic qualities with them. Now added to my eBook list here.

electronic prayer book (english)

Following on from my look at a Slavonic Prayer Book for phones I went searching for some others with English as a native tongue. I found just under ten candidates that seemed to meet my main criteria: Cover most used Orthodox Prayers, Simple user interface, well built (OK am a bit of a software snob) and free (as a tool for evangelism or constant self conversion). The best one I have found so far “Pray Always“.

In addition to a good handful of standard prayers there is a section that explains some of the basics of the Orthodox faith, quite useful for enquirers. The settings section is quite basic with some font changing and the rest filled out with informational sections.

It has the obvious prayers along with some interesting intercessions and the user interface is neat and tidy and can push pages in both directions making navigation good.

On the down side the translation does not inspire me as someone who has grown up in orthodoxy in front of a Jordanville Prayer Book and am more used to & prefer the english is used there. Also there are no canons or akathists included although an in-app purchase allows you to get the full version for another $3.

You can get this App for free,  for iOS devices from iTunes.

some hours of scriptural overview

I have been a long time listener and fan of Ancient Faith Radio, both from listening to the streams at home and packing the phone full of podcasts for travel. Often I don’t check out their website regularly enough, relying on the internet radio to play the streams and the pc to download the podcasts already subscribed. One area that I then particularly miss are the specials; AFR will periodically post recordings of lectures and conferences from talented speakers. Rarely do we have (or have publicised / recorded) these items down under and they make great travel fodder.

One more recent pickup of mine was this set of scriptural overviews done by Fr Thomas Hopko who I find very easy to listen to and quite entertaining (as well as informative). This particular special hosted by the Orthodox Institute 2011 was entitled “Scripture Through the Lens of the Holy Land”.

Around five hours of lectures on the Gospel’s and Epistles plus a keynote and a homily. Recommended.