Macrina Walker has tagged me in a meme called “Fifteen Authors.” One lists fifteen authors within fifteen minutes, authors who’ll “always stick with you.” Here is my list, in roughly the chronological order of my encountering them:
1.) God the Holy Spirit “who spoke through the Prophets” as author of the Bible, the single most important book in my life and on my shelves and in my heart.
2.) Rabbis of the past: I was trained in classical Hebrew, and gained a deep appreciation for their methods of interpretation, which methods were reflected in our Lord’s sayings in the Gospels, and here and there in later Christian tradition. I thus came to understand my own tradition better only through the help of Rabbinic Judaism’s legacy.
3.) Soeur Marie Keyrouz — a musician, of course, but her “Ya Sakbin” on her CD Cantiques de l’Orient had two important effects on me: 1.) I was amazed to hear the faith in her voice, and, through the gentle nudging of the Holy Spirit, considered that if someone could have such faith, so could I; 2.) led me to think of the East as a possible home, away from what was for me a desert in the West.
4.) St Basil the Great: Particularly his”On the Holy Spirit” is responsible for my looking to the Greek Fathers, and Eastern Orthodoxy as my soul’s home.
5.) Metropolitan Kallistos: in the middle of reading The Orthodox Church, I called to speak to a priest about converting.
6.) Metropolitan John Zizioulas: an Archimandrite friend, one of the first Orthodox priests I got to know in my area, shared with me an article by Zizioulas that he’d translated.
7.) St John of the Ladder: The Ladder of Divine Ascent was my introduction to Orthodox monastic literature.
8.) St Nikodemos the Hagiorite: although The Philokalia was my introduction to, among others, St Maximus the Confessor, I recall an instruction from the Archimandrite I mentioned above: “Well, stop reading about prayer and pray!” That’s something we all need to keep in mind and in heart and in practice!
9.) St Dionysius the Areopagite: Easier to feel than to describe, and that’s the point, isn’t it?
10.) St Ephrem the Syrian: my training in Hebrew led me to a great love of St Ephrem’s form of expression, which is so resonant of the Hebrew psalms.
11.) Fr John Romanides: provided helpful training on understanding the history of the Church, a subject much of which I had to unlearn.
12.) Fr Andrew Louth: someone recommended Discerning the Mystery, and it is an astounding book. I now keep an extra copy of it to give away as the need arises.
13.) Fr Georges Florovsky: the clear-sighted Father of modern times, whose instruction is like refined gold. What skill as a teacher in such difficult times!
14.) St Isaac the Syrian: such a treasury of Orthodoxy and purity of vision toward application in our lives (monastic and not) that I wish I’d run across him much earlier.
15.) Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos: he describes living Orthodoxy in the modern world, right this minute.
I will decline to tag others, as even the appearance of such a chain letter mentality rubs me the wrong way. But that was fun!