Well, my new book will be out next week -- "First Fruits: A Forty-Day Journey Through the Canon of St. Andrew." It got an amazingly positive review in Publishers' Weekly (see below). "Magisterial" -- Huh!
I took the Great Canon of St. Andrew of Crete, a lengthy liturgical hymn chanted by Orthodox Christians every Lent, and divided it into 40 readings. then I wrote a commentary and devotional guide, with questions, so that people can get into it a little more knowlegeably. The Canon is packed with so many Scripture references that it's hard to catch them all, even for people who have read the Bible many times. that's evidence of how much the scriptures had soaked into the mind of St. Andrew. He was born in Damascus about the year 660, and went as a teenager to join a monastery outside Jerusalem. He died about sixty years later as the Bishop of Crete.
My goal was to give readers a chance to encounter the prayer life of the early Christians. There are many books to introduce people to the world of Eastern Christianity, the early church, or Christian Orthodoxy, but there is so much you can't grasp from outside observation. You have to step into the prayer life to "get it" -- its an immersion experience. So I wanted to begin offering opportunities for readers to experience the prayers of the Eastern Church, first-hand.
The launch party will be on Sat Nov 19, during teh AAR (American Academy of Religion) conference in Philadelphia, and I'll be signing books at the Paraclete booth the next day (Sunday Nov 20) from 11:00 to 12:30. If you're at the convention, stop by!
There will also be a long excerpt in the upcoming issue of Sacred History Magazine, which hits the stands Dec 1.
Here's the Amazon link:
And here's the PW review.

First Fruits of Prayer:

A Forty-Day Journey Through the Ancient Canon of Saint



Frederica Mathewes-Green. Paraclete, $19.95 (128p) ISBN 1-55725-469-9


In this fascinating and sometimes magisterial guided exploration of an eighth-century hymn that is central to Lenten religious practice for the Eastern Orthodox, Mathewes-Green encourages her readers not only to examine but also to personally apply fundamental Christian concepts like repenting, understanding the nature of sin and experiencing God in prayer. A skilled interpreter of the theology and history of the Orthodox tradition, Mathewes-Green arranges the Great Canon of St. Andrew, bishop of Crete, into 40 readings accompanied by scriptural references, commentary, theological reflection and questions. Mathewes-Green, who has clearly done her scholarly homework, sets the stage by giving a brief overview of Andrew's life and an abbreviated paraphrase of the life of St. Mary of Egypt. (This account of a female hermit's meeting with a monk on a Lenten retreat is also read during the service of the Great Canon. This gem from the early church is alone worth the price of the book.) While some readers may be put off by Mathewes-Green's apparent conviction that her denomination has preserved the soul of the early church while Western Christians have strayed, others will find her insights both evocative and provocative.

Frederica Mathewes-Green
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