Fr. Josiah Trenham: St. John Chrysostom on Marriage and Monasticism

May 6, 2007 Length: 35:40

Steve McMeans talks to Fr. Josiah about St. John Chrysostom and his views on the relationship between marriage and monasticism. This show will suprise you...!





Steve McMeans: Today we will be talking about marriage and monasticism in St. John Chrysostom. And for this topic we’re very proud to welcome to the program Father Josiah Trenham, pastor of St. Andrew Antiochian Church in Riverside, California. Father Josiah, welcome to The Illumined Heart program.

Father Josiah Trenham: Thank you, Steve.

Steve: And by way of introducing you, Father, and the topic of today’s program, I’d like to point out to our audience that you earned your PhD in theology from the University of Durham in England and that you studied under the renowned theologian and Professor of Patristics, Father Andrew Louth. And your dissertation was on this very topic, isn’t that right?

Fr. Josiah: That’s correct.

Steve: And furthermore, and perhaps even more relevant to our topic today, you and your wife Catherine have been married for nineteen years in May and you have eight children.

Fr. Josiah: It’s true, thank God.

Steve: God bless you, that’s wonderful.

Father Josiah, you wrote your doctoral dissertation on St. John Chrysostom and about his views on marriage and family. Before we jump in, can you tell us a bit about him? What he means to the Church; why he’s such an important source on this subject?

Fr. Josiah: I would love to, Steven. The life of St. John Chrysostom is a brilliant shining light to every pious Christian who wants to find out how to love God.

St. John Chrysostom was born in the city of Antioch in 347. He was raised by a pious Christian mother, who in fact has been numbered among the saints by the Church. Her name is Anthusa; St. Anthusa. And as a young boy he was educated brilliantly under the greatest Pagan rhetor of the Roman Empire, Libanius; we have quite a few of his treatises still extant. As a young man, as a teenager, he was baptised and became an Orthodox Christian and spent some of his early years as a monk under the leading monastic fathers in Antioch. Two are of particular significance: Diodorus and Carterios. He retired to a cave on Mount Silpius at the boundaries of the city of Antioch and there spent a number of years in seclusion, essentially, in his own words, “praying and reading”. Praying all night and reading all day. And he did this until he broke his health and nearly died. [Then he] came back to the city of Antioch in his early twenties for medical attention and was quickly grabbed by the then Patriarch of Antioch, whose name was Methodius, and was made a reader, then a deacon and eventually was ordained priest by Methodius’ successor, Flavian. He spent twelve years preaching the Gospel in the great cathedral church, the old church in Antioch.

And then, providentially and surprisingly to him, he was summoned just outside the city gates to meet some imperial officers who had been sent from Constantinople to summon him to a chapel just outside the gates of Antioch. He went there thinking that they had some important message to deliver to him that he was then to deliver to the Bishop of Antioch and he was kidnapped! Literally, captured by these imperial delegates, put into a chariot and driven to Constantinople where he would spend the remaining years of his life, the last ten years of his life, as the Patriarch—or the Archbishop at that time, really—of Constantinople. He ended up dying in exile in the year 407 in the sixtieth year of his life.

And his writings constitute the largest corpus in the Greek language. The only thing comparable would be the writings of St. Augustine of Hippo in the Latin tradition. His writings have been loved, cherished and read by Orthodox Christians and even non-Orthodox Christians for the last fourteen hundred years. And he provides a powerful witness. He was first called ‘Chrysostom’—which was not his surname, ‘chrysostom’ is a word in Greek that means ‘golden-mouth’—he was given this name first in the year 553 by the then Pope of Rome, Vigilius. He’s been known by that name ever since as the greatest preacher in the history of the Christian Church.

Steve: Well, let me follow up with a sort of a strange question, and I’m hoping it will kind of set the tone for the show today. According to St. John Chrysostom, or even the larger Orthodox tradition, if you will, are marriage and monasticism opposites? Or is it better to look at marriage as a different kind of ascetic discipline leading to the same goal?

Fr. Josiah: That’s a fantastic question. And a very important one. According to St. John Chrysostom—and he’s a mouthpiece for the greater Orthodox tradition; he is numbered amongst the universal teachers or ecumenical teachers of the faith, together with St. Gregory the Theologian and St. Basil the Great. His teaching has a particular relevance to us as coming from someone we believe was uniquely gifted to speak to us on these points—he was once asked the difference between a married person and a monk. And he answered very beautifully. He said the difference between a married man and a monk is that the married man has a wife.

Steve: Wow!

Fr. Josiah: It’s a very beautiful witness. He viewed both the monastery and the Christian home as arenas, literal ‘arenas’ is what he called them; hippodromes for the working out of Christian salvation. And while they were certainly different and had different aspects, he viewed them as having the same law, the same Lord, the same Church, the same sacraments, the same ethics [but] with some uniqueness appropriate to their conditions in life. So they definitely had the same goal. Absolutely.

Steve: Well, so what are some of the similarities between the path of marriage and the monastic path?

Fr. Josiah: Well, the Gospel is not [just] given to monks or to married people but to every human person. And so everything that our Saviour calls us to, he calls both monks and married persons to. The difference is that the monastic has offered to God something that is not required, something that the married person has not offered to God, and that is he has offered or consecrated his sexual life to God freely as a gift, refusing even the lawful blessing and gift of conjugal union in marriage. And this is a free gift; this is not something that our Saviour ever commanded.

St. John Chrysostom points out that our Saviour encouraged this thought amongst his disciples: you’ll remember with me, if you will, the time that our Saviour was teaching about marriage and divorce to his disciples and he was explaining very clearly the low view of marriage, the permission to divorce that was the case under Mosaic law in the Old Testament has been abolished by him. That no longer were Christians allowed to divorce and simply write a writ of divorce and move on. It was a scandal to many of our Saviour’s listeners that he was teaching us that divorce is forbidden and that divorce and remarriage is adultery—except in one case, St. Matthew is the only of the Gospel writers who records the fact that our Saviour actually put exceptions on that statement—but this was quite shocking to our Saviour’s disciples and they responded to him and they said if this is the case, if marriage has become so serious that you can’t divorce your wife, maybe it’s better not to get married at all. And our Saviour didn’t say, “No, you’re misunderstanding me.” He looked at them and said, “To some it is given. For this reason some become eunuchs for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven. So if you can accept it, accept it.” And he modelled, in his own life—and his Mother’s life and St. John the Baptist’s life—he modelled what a life of complete consecration can be. But this is not something that’s required. And God… he put his blessing upon married people, of course, that’s when he attended the wedding at Cana in Galilee, but he also modelled and encouraged the monastic life.

And this is what sets monasticism apart from married life: the monk has reached higher and has offered a great free will offering that married people have not.

Steve: Given all of that—maybe you can speak to this—to what degree can, or even should, the family look like a monastery? It’s a strange question, I know, but…

Fr. Josiah: Steven, I don’t think that’s a strange question, I think that’s a beautiful question and a normal question. I do give to you that many Orthodox Christians today would consider that a strange question. As a matter of fact it’s a fairly dangerous question for a priest to be answering on the air… (laughter) to tell you the truth, honestly. Only because as monasteries have begun to grow in our culture, and there have been interactions between parish life and monastic life, it hasn’t always been a smooth interaction. Sometimes that interaction has been tense. And the married Christians in general sometimes have a great difficulty accepting the witness of monastics, and vice versa, sometimes monastics have a problem accepting the lives of married persons who work out their salvation in ways that aren’t necessarily acceptable to monks. So this is a sensitive question that I’ll try to answer according to St. John Chrysostom.

You know, there’s an incident in the life of St. John Chrysostom that shows his mind on this subject. It took place when he was a priest in Antioch. There was a tremendous riot over a tax that the then Emperor, St. Theodosius the Great, had instituted. It was a pretty serious increase in income tax, what was comparable to an income tax at that time. And the imperial statues which were erected in the city square in Antioch, which are very important in the life of the Roman Empire at that time—you know, when you didn’t have television and you didn’t have fax-machines and you didn’t have e-mail, the way that people who lived outside the capital knew that the Emperor was ruling was that they saw his image erected in the centre of the city, of their town, and when they went by they offered proskynesis: they made a bow toward that image and remembered to themselves that they were being governed by the Emperor. To touch the imperial image was, in fact, to touch the Emperor himself—and on this occasion, after the tax had been announced, there was a riot in the city and a number of hoodlums knocked down the imperial statues of Theodosius, his wife and children, tied ropes around their legs, attached them to the backs of horses and dragged them through the city.

Steve: Wow!

Fr. Josiah: This was treason. This was treason. And immediately, in fact, a number of the leading Senators of the city were thrown in prison, trials began immediately, a number of executions were made summarily. And the then Patriarch of Antioch, the Bishop of Antioch, Flavian, immediately left and took the journey to Constantinople by horse to beg the clemency of the Emperor. Those who were landed and wealthy [who were] living in Antioch at this time fled for their lives. And they went and began to live in the caves of the monks out on the mountains and the monks, who were living and populating—hundreds of them—in the mountains outside of Antioch all left their monastic establishments and came into the city so that they could offer themselves in place of the Christians who were fleeing.

St. John Chrysostom, who stayed in the city as a priest at this time, was often walking to the law courts and examining what was going on and delivering sermons every day in his church [and he] described images where he would see the monks grab the knees of the judges as they were walking to the courts and beg that they be tried instead of the innocent people. It was a very beautiful witness of the collaboration between monastic Christians and married Christians.

And he describes in his homilies that he gave—we have twenty-one homilies called The Homilies on the Statues from this period that he delivered in the church—he describes the transformation of the city of Antioch by the presence of the monks. The hippodrome was shut down, the public baths were shut down, the theatre was shut down. And he declared, “The city has become a monastery, bless God.” And this was his wish; this was his vision: that, in fact, the cities, which he dearly loved, would embrace the call of the Gospel like monks had, and would live in the love of God and avoid the temptations of the world.

Now, this was his vision. And he laid out a very articulate vision for just how that can be expressed in the Christian home. He gave very practical counsels. Everything: from the design of your home architecturally to the typikon of your day, the rule of your day, to the place of the Bible in the home. He gave very specific articulate guidance for how Christian families can work out their salvation in a beautiful way. And much of that guidance came from the monks. You know, in general, our monks are looking towards the angels as their example and married Christians are looking to the monastics as their example. So there’s what we would call in Greek a taxis, an order: angels, monks, married Christians. And all of course are looking towards Christ, but there’s a particular order where we can find direction.

Steve: So in what sense can we say that marriage itself resembles the Kingdom of God? Can we say that it’s an archetype of Christ’s marriage to the Church? Is that the basis?

Fr. Josiah: Absolutely. St. Paul, the great Apostle, you’ll remember in his fifth chapter in his letter to the Ephesians called marriage a mysterion. It is a great mystery that manifests the relationship between Jesus and the Church. So absolutely. Christian marriage is not Jewish marriage. There’s a tremendous difference between Old Testament marriage and New Testament marriage.

This is one of the great contributions of the teaching of St. John Chrysostom: he points out, for instance, that at the Fall of Man, when Adam and Eve fell into sin and the whole cosmos went through a great deformation and a negative transfiguration [and] at that time we see the union of Adam and Eve laid in the dust, immediately, in the first chapters of Genesis, you see the appearance of fratricide, you see the appearance of rape. Genesis is a catalogue of all sorts of immoralities: homosexuality appears, terrible things. And God began to take fallen human nature and men and women who had fallen into darkness and to slowly bring them back to their dignity.

And he did this treating the believers of the Old Testament very much like children, which is the language of St. Paul, that those in the Old Covenant were children. And, you know, when you try to entice a child to move forwards and to learn something you do it by offering them favours. When your child is perhaps contemplating sticking his finger in the electrical socket you don’t correct the child by saying, “No, honey, let me explain to you how electricity works,” and give them some sort of physiological explanation. Instead you offer them a Snicker bar and you say, “Hey! Look at the Snicker bar, sweetheart, come away from the socket and follow me over here.” That’s very much what God did in the Old Testament. He made promises, all sorts of promises, to his people that were Earthly. If you follow me, if you hold to my Covenant, if you don’t sleep with your wife’s sister, then you’ll have good health. Your enemies will run away from you. You’ll multiply fruitfully, your fields will be productive, the wild beasts won’t eat you. This was very much the emphasis, an Earthly emphasis, in the Old Testament. He permitted certain things in marriage that are simply banned under the Christian law. He permitted easy divorce, he permitted polygamy. Polygamy and divorce are not acceptable to the Christian church.

And our Saviour, when he assumed human nature, he greatly elevated it. He raised the potential of a human being and consequently of marriage and fashioned marriage to become a co-operative with him in the propagation of the Gospel and a tangible witness to that Gospel. And so Christians no longer are to be focused upon the things of the Earth and our Saviour didn’t motivate us by promising us all of those things that he had promised the Jews in the Old Testament. He promised us instead the Kingdom of Heaven. And he taught us, in fact, to disdain the things of the Earth and to look for a heavenly rewards and to set our minds on the things above. And that focus, that Gospel focus, has greatly transformed what marriage is.

And so, Christian marriages, according to St. John Chrysostom, are now very interested in the refinement of the soul and the progress of virtue and the training up of Godly children who will advance the Kingdom of God. And not on things like houses and property and health and those things that we have rarely seen ever exist in the life of a saint.

Steve: Okay. But on the other hand, celibacy resembles the Kingdom of God: for example, in God’s Kingdom Christ says that we are neither married nor given in marriage. Tell us about how celibacy relates to the resurrection, for example?

Fr. Josiah: St. Athanasius the Great, the great Father of Alexandria and really of the whole Christian church, when he died his eulogy was given by St. Gregory the Theologian. We have a copy of this text. In that eulogy St. Gregory the Theologian called St. Athanasius the patron both of the married and of the monastic. He was a model patron for both states. He not only encouraged and taught married families how to live but he taught us a paradigm for understanding the witness to the Kingdom of God of celibacy and monastic life.

It’s not just celibacy that witnesses to the Kingdom of God, it is consecrated celibacy. Christian celibacy, not bachelorhood, but a life of complete dedication to God where even the lawful outlets of conjugal union in marriage are laid aside in order that all energies might be consecrated to God. One time St. Athanasius was asked, “How is it that we Christians can prove that the resurrection has taken place? How can we prove that Jesus himself has actually risen from the dead and conquered death?” His answer was very simple. He said, “Look at the virgins.”

The virgins, consecrated monks and nuns, are a witness that human nature has been dramatically transformed. As soon as God the Son assumed human nature we were transformed; baptism has given us wings to fly to heaven. The Eucharist has sustained that heavenly commitment, so much so that we see the unheard of reality of lifelong consecrated celibacy. You know, many religious movements, even in the ancient world, had forms of celibacy, but they were temporary. Temple virgins existed in Greek and Roman religion, but they were often temporary realities and when the person became thirty years old they got married. This exists very much today in Buddhist monasticism; many people in Buddhist countries enter monasteries to have character formation and to learn to pray and to do things like this, but then they leave the monastery and get married. The shocker for Christian monastics is that they make a lifelong commitment and they rise above the passions of the body and of the flesh forever. And St. Athanasius said this has never been done and could never be done except by those who are joined to the risen Jesus Christ, both God and Man.

In that sense, the presence of monastics is a witness to the other world and to the invasion of the Kingdom of God in this life. Every time we see a monastic, that’s what we’re to think: the Kingdom of God is here.

Steve: So, going back to this idea of “neither marrying, nor being given in marriage”, why then does the Church discourage, or even forbid, marriage after a spouse dies? I mean, if in the end, we’re not married at all, what difference would it make? If I can be so blunt about it.

Fr. Josiah: There are several questions I discern in your general statement there: why is it that the Church encourages, amongst married Christians, only one marriage? And we discourage—which is absolutely true—we discourage remarriage in general.

I should say, just off the top, we do not forbid remarriage for those who have lost a spouse to death. Widows and widowers are allowed to remarry in the Church. Now, we make a distinction, however: St. Paul wrote to Timothy, in the fifth chapter of his first epistle, that he wanted younger widows to marry. In general it is the younger widows that we have much sympathy for, for remarrying; they may have children that need a father or a mother, it’s understandable to us. St. Paul was concerned that if young widows made a commitment to celibate life, that through the sensual desire that was still raging in their young bodies they would break that commitment and end up being spiritual adulterers. He was trying to avoid that happening, so he encouraged them to get married, bear children, keep house and give the Enemy no occasion for reproach. These are his words. However older widows we don’t encourage, in fact, to get married. And, in general, when someone loses a spouse, we encourage them to interpret that as a mercy from the Lord.

St. John Chrysostom said this to a young widow, he said that—and this woman was twenty years old, she had lost a beautiful husband who was a very virtuous young man and an upstanding civil servant—St. John Chrysostom wrote her a letter, we still have this in his collected works. It’s called A Letter to a Young Widow. In that letter he encouraged her not to remarry and he gave her several practical guidelines. He said: have a painting made of your husband and keep it in a prominent place in your house so that you can see it every day. He said: meditate on his virtues and forget his vices, which is always a good practice at a funeral. When you go to someone’s funeral choose right then and there never to remember anything bad about them and instead to enthrone their virtues in your mind and try to imitate them. And this is what he told the widow to do. He said: guard your bed vigilantly from every other man. He said: if you do these things I’m confident that you will both see the form of your departed husband and hear those words that you so desperately want to hear. Now, he didn’t supply what those words were, but I think the reader can imply that it is hearing the husband say, “I love you,” and express affection to his wife.

Such was the vision of the Kingdom on God that St. John Chrysostom had: he viewed the state of widowhood as a movement where Jesus has taken one of the married to himself and is bowing down and putting his hand out to that person that remains on the Earth, saying, “Take my hand, dear one, and come up higher. Make the next step of consecration to me, now that I have taken your spouse, spend the remaining part of your days consecrated to me.” Much like the prophetess Anna, as recorded in St. Luke’s Gospel, who had been married for seven years after her virginity and then had lived to the age of eighty-four as a consecrated widow, spending her time in prayer and fasting in the Temple.

Steve: So in that way it’s almost, I don’t want to overstate myself here, but it’s almost as if this is another way that Christ turns even death into, almost something sacramental. A grace can come to the remaining spouse through this advice that Chrysostom gives. Is that…?

Fr. Josiah: Absolutely. I think that’s a beautiful description, Steven.

Steve: Let’s get into celibacy or married priests. Wasn’t it at the First Council of Nicaea in 325 that they allowed for priests to be married? And tell us what the reasoning was behind celibate bishops; bishops remaining celibate?

Fr. Josiah: This issue of clerical celibacy is one that has been before the eyes of the Western world very much in the last ten years, sadly due to the crisis in the Roman Catholic Church of abuse, of sexual abuse, by some of their clergy. I think we have about fourteen hundred clergymen who have been accused of such in the Roman Catholic Church just in America. To an Orthodox that sounds like a lot of priests – that’s probably half our clergy in the entire country. Of course to the Latins that’s not that large. There are that many priests just in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles under Cardinal Mahony, and that’s the largest Archdiocese in America in the Roman Catholic Church.

So, many people have been thinking about this question in a unique way. I must say, I think a lot of the discussion about it has been quite unfair, especially from our perspective, from the Orthodox perspective, where we have tended, I think, to criticize the policy of mandatory clerical celibacy amongst the Latins and use that as an explanation for why this is happening. I’m not sure, Steven, that that is legitimate. Mandatory clerical celibacy has been going on in the West for a long time. The outbreak of this type of abuse, which is not totally unique in the history of the Latin West, but certainly in its numbers is, I would suggest, unique today, has a lot to do also with the breakdown of, simply, the spiritual life; the utter destruction of Latin monasticism that has gone on since Vatican II in the West. Many of the priests have found themselves without the normal spiritual disciplines and support of the monastic orders in living out their lives and they have found themselves not able to be guided and to be able to conquer their passions in an unusual way.

So I think the answer to the problem that’s going on right now in the Latin Church is not just to say that they need to let their priests marry. And I think that’s doubly true when you look at the scandals in our own Church amongst the married clergy. We don’t publicize them as much, but, I’ll tell you, just this last year I can’t tell you how many married priests have fallen. This is not something that we ourselves are free from. If ever you are living a life, in a culture such as ours that’s absolutely saturated with sensuality, we must be that much more careful of course to be guarding our souls and living the Christian life.

Steve: What is the origin of clerical celibacy?

Fr. Josiah: Well, at the First Ecumenical Council at Nicaea in the year 325, in fact, there was a proposition presented to the floor of the council to require priests… not not to be married, but that once a married priest was married that as long as he was actively celebrating the Liturgy that he would not have relations with his wife. This was propagated on the floor of the Council and came to discussion. And our tradition says that one of the great Egyptian elders, Paphnutius, stood up and said, this is going beyond the Scriptures, this is asking for too much, it’s unreasonable; and that his witness was able to quell this movement on the floor of the Ecumenical Council.

However, that marks a beginning point of tension between the East and the West over this issue. In the early 400s, that’s the beginning of the fifth century, a number of North African Councils in fact did pass canonical legislation just according to what had been proposed on the First Ecumenical Council’s floor. So in North Africa in the fifth century, legislation became passed that said that priests should not sleep with their wives as long as they’re celebrating the Liturgy. This took a long time to enforce, and you could make an argument that it was never successfully enforced in the West. And we resisted it as a group: it’s most articulately seen in the Thirteenth Canon of the Sixth Ecumenical Council. There the bishops of that Council, a great number of which were from the East—it is a Council accepted by the West but the predominance of participants were from the East—in the Thirteenth Canon we made an official ruling about clerical celibacy. And it’s interesting to note the language there. We didn’t say that it was ridiculous idea. We called the West ‘rigorous’. We said, the ‘rigorism’ of the West is beyond the Apostolic injunction. So it’s a rigorism that was beyond the Apostles; it’s admirable where it is successfully performed. We have always loved celibacy, we Orthodox, even in our clergy. We honour it, we adore it, but we don’t require it. This isn’t the language of that Thirteenth Canon, to go beyond, in fact, the Apostles themselves and to become… creating systems that are more rigorous than the Apostles.

Steve: Okay. We have time for maybe two more questions, and there’s something I really want to get at, but before I do—maybe we can be brief on this—is there room for change today? Can we have married bishops today? After all, even our own Metropolitan Philip has said that he favours married bishops, hasn’t he said that?

Fr. Josiah: He’s said that and written that. There are, in fact, statements that are in books of his essays. You know, Steven, the bishops govern the Church and this is a very long tradition in the history of the Church. On principle I don’t think we could say that we couldn’t have married bishops, on principle, but that would have to be a decision made by the bishops governing the Church. And I would simply say this, from my perspective: marriage, even marriage amongst the clergy, is so far stained by secularism today. This is an area that we have done very little thinking about as Orthodox Christians in America, what the Church says, what’s the phronema of the Church about marriage. Even clergy marriages, many of them, are very far from the standards of what have traditionally been expected by priests, that to think that just opening the door for election of bishops to married clergy is not going to solve our problem at all.  I would feel much more comfortable for a discussion about that if, in fact, we had a strong witness to traditional Orthodox Christian marriage and traditional Orthodox Christian clerical marriage. We don’t. These are hard times, Steven.

Steve: Well, for my last question I want to shift gears on you a little bit and say that—and this will have to be our last word on this subject, but I did want to close with this—I would be willing to bet you lunch today that the majority of converts out there, and maybe cradle Orthodox, are of the opinion that Orthodox tradition, even contrary to the Roman Catholics, doesn’t have a lot to say about the subject of sex. Do we expect the Church, that is, do we expect our clergy to stay out of the bedroom? And if so what does that say about us?

Fr. Josiah: Well, you’re really trying to get me in trouble, aren’t you Steven! (laughter)

Steve: A little! But I was merciful, there’s only about two minutes left, so….

Fr. Josiah: Okay. Good, I’ll try to be brief. If in fact it’s true, as you hear often today, that the clergy don’t have anything to say about sexuality and about the bedroom, so to speak, then in fact we’re going to have to do something with two thousand years of teachings from the saints and Church Fathers and two thousand years of canonical legislation. Because, frankly, if you had to choose one subject that was the most addressed in canonical legislation, the issue would be sex. There is no subject that has been given more attention in the canonical legislation of the Church than that.

Now it’s convenient that this theory today, in a culture addicted to sensuality and to sex, would want the Church to keep its nose out of their business. But that’s a very sad thought because, if you really examine that idea, if the Church has nothing to say to people, married or unmarried, about their sexual life [then] what that’s really saying is that the light of Jesus cannot enter into the bedroom. And our Saviour has come to redeem every aspect of human life, including a very important issue, which is sexuality, and to elevate it and to make it Christian. So absolutely: marriage is not a cloak for all fashion of sexual desire and practices. There is a modest Christian sexuality and we, as Orthodox Christians, should be very interested in regulating our lives according to the counsel of the Church on this subject.

Steve: Well, thank you, Father Josiah of St. Andrew Antiochian Church in Riverside, California. Really, thanks so much for being on the program; it’s just been a very enlightening time. Thank you very much.

Fr. Josiah: Steven, forgive me for any misstatements I said and thank you for having me on the show.

Steve: And if you’d like to contact Kevin or me about any of the topics on our program, feel free to write us. And if you’d like to have some of the guests who appear on the program speak at your own church event, contact The Orthodox Speakers Bureau at