Posted by: Fr Chris | December 7, 2009

Book Review from Transcarpathia

My book, Finding a Hidden Church, is selling well. Several priests, especially Father Thomas Loya on his internet and shortwave radio program Light of the East Radio at, have given it good reviews. The best review though, for me, has come from a priest in the Eparchy of Mukachevo. He told me: “Reading your book has been like watching my life unfold in front of me. I did not know just how much you learned about us and how well you listened to us until I read the book. You wrote everything just as it was for us who lived it.”  Now THAT is some compliment to an American writer who, though Byzantine/ Greek Catholic, is not of Slavic ancestry whatsoever. It was a real blessing for me to hear that.

The swine flu, as you may know, hit Ukraine rather hard, since it combined with the regular flu. People panicked, and the government shut down everything possible for three weeks. That meant our seminary was closed also. The worst seems to have passed though. However the World Health Organization predicts another wave will hit Ukraine in January.  Medical resources are tight in Ukraine. And national elections are in January. So let us pray for relief for that country, and for the advance of democracy as well.

In the Byzantine Catholic Church in the USA, we are moving through the 40-day preparation before Christmas, known as Saint Philip’s Fast as it begins after his feast day. In the Western Churches, Advent begins on the Sunday closest to Saint Andrew’s feast (Nov 15).  The  Fast is mild: abstinence on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and there really are not special church services except for a Moleben that was produced in America. But our calendar now is filled with Old Testament prophets like Daniel, Zephaniah, Habbakuk, Nahum – all those who predicted the Messiah’s coming.  Reading these prophets reminds me of just how long Israel waited for Jesus’ Coming, and the great ache Israel felt in the 400 years without a prophet until Saint John the Baptist came out of the desert to proclaim the coming of the Lord. Would that we should ache with hunger for Jesus, our Infant Redeemer! Would that our hearts would burn with desire for Holy Communion, that our minds strive to be converted to radical love in imitation of  God’s self-gift, that like Mary, we would step aside during this period and ponder in our hearts the true meaning of the Infancy narratives of Luke and Matthew. I highly recommend the film The Nativity Story, starring Kesisha-Castle Hughes and Oscar Isaac. One of the benefits of this film for me is an increased appreciation of Saint Joseph and his love for Mary, his self-sacrifice for the Son of God,  what it cost him in not having his own boy to raise but his determination to fulfill God’s wishes. It’s a film that can be watched over and over, and it will do more for your soul than It’s a Wonderful Life (great though that one is).  Thanks for checking in on my page, and may the Infant Jesus, living in Mary, deliver us!


  1. I am happy to hear that you have received such great reviews for your new book!

    God bless

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