- Paperback: 240 pages
- Publisher: University of Notre Dame Press; 1st Edition edition (March 31, 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0268038937
- ISBN-13: 978-0268038939
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #520,594 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Hidden Holiness 1st Edition Edition
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“The author, both a college professor and a priest in the Orthodox Church in America, suggests here that it’s too limiting to think of saints as just those halo-bearing people whose deeds no one can hope to match. Rather, he suggests we look to lesser-known people who offer us models for particular types of behavior that is both admirable and, in the end, holy. He introduces us to such people in a way that suggest we might do similar things in our own lives.” —“Faith Matters” Weblog by Bill Tammeus
“Hidden Holiness, drawing . . . on Orthodox spirituality, but with an ecumenical sweep, discusses the holiness that can be attained by doing ordinary things. In seven meaty chapters, including an ecumenical cast of characters, Plekon searches for the strategies and resources that bring people close to God, for, as he rightly understands, holiness is a fundamental characteristic of God, and everyone else is holy to the degree that he or she is drawn closer to God. . . . This book is especially recommended to those who are interested in solid work on spirituality but who have little knowledge of the Christian East in general or Russian thought in particular.” —Commonweal
"Plekon's book is a 200-page look at who else should be regarded as an important saint today . . . even if their lives are somewhat controversial—and even if their lives are all but hidden in the pages of history. . . . Plekon doesn't explore the canonization process in detail. He recommends other good books on that topic. But he does argue that the basic connection between sainthood and popularity may be eliminating some important saintly figures from our spiritual radar." —readthespirit.com
“This very readable book amounts to a verbal symphony on the theme of holiness: a holiness hidden and non-spectacular, contemporary and accessible, yet still beguiling and mysterious. . . . Hidden Holiness is an important contribution to the current literature on Christian holiness. In particular, it merits the attention of anyone interested in the growth of the calendar of saints in various branches of the church.” —The Living Church
About the Author
Michael Plekon is a professor in the department of sociology/anthropology and the Program in Religion and Culture at Baruch College, City University of New York. He is also an ordained priest in the Orthodox Church in America.
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Plekon had laid good foundation for the ordinariness of holiness in his 2002 text 'Living Icons: Persons of Faith in the Eastern Church.' Building on a similar foundation, Plekon draws the title for his latest release from widespread perception that holiness can be identified only in extraordinary feats. To the contrary, Plekon argues, holiness remains hidden from the eyes of miracle seekers who define the miraculous in narrow terms.
For Plekon, holiness is in itself a miracle of ordinary people who cling to the roots of the saints, "...growing up from the ground."
Whereas Plekon had focused on the Eastern Church in "living Icons,' this latter text reaches across Christian communions to illustrate holiness among ordinary saints. Indeed, the sacred among human beings is wider spread as Plekon opens his lens of holiness to all of Abraham's children, including, for example, Simone Weil and the Pakistani child Iqbal Mahsi.
A Foreword by +Rowan, the current Archbishop of Canterbury and Primate of the worldwide Anglican Communion, anchors readers in a common ground of the sacred, which refutes dilettantes who might arrest the holy as territorial. By the same token, Plekon adheres to authentic Orthodoxy, for he is equally unwilling to distill the Gospel of Christ by homogenizing scared histories.
Sixteen pages midway through the text illustrate ordinary holiness in photographs and icons. Many of these pages are full color, while others are seldom seen images. A section of icons that spans two parallel pages of text is one part of a mural icon from the Church of St. Gregory of Nyssa (Episcopal) in San Francisco.
Original elements to this text have become grafts to familiar vines that the same author has pruned before. However, the author moves from vine to grafts without crease or interruption, which makes his ventures into saints as models of holiness a poignant interchange with readers. It is not necessary to know anything of what went before to comprehend this exciting text.