Fr. James Bernstein, New York, USA: Surprised By Christ – Priest’s Conversion from Judaism to Christianity Documented in New Memoir



Fr. James Bernstein, New York, USA:

Surprised By Christ


Priest’s Conversion from Judaism to

Christianity Documented in New Memoir


Surprised By Christ


Conciliar Press Ministries is pleased to announce the release of a new spiritual memoir of a man’s conversion from Judaism to Eastern Orthodox Christianity. Raised in Queens, New York by formerly Orthodox Jewish parents whose faith had been undermined by the Holocaust, Arnold Bernstein went on a quest for the God he instinctively felt was there. He was ready to accept God in whatever form He chose to reveal Himself—and that form turned out to be Christ.

But Bernstein soon perceived discrepancies in the various forms of Protestant belief that surrounded him, and so his quest continued—this time for the true Church. With his Jewish heritage as a foundation, he came to the conclusion that the faith of his forefathers was fully honored and brought to completion only in the Orthodox Christian Church.

Surprised by Christ combines an engrossing memoir of one man’s life in historic situations—from the Six-Day War to the Jesus Movement in Berkeley—with a deeply felt examination of the distinctives of Orthodox theology that make the Orthodox Church the true home not only for Christian Jews, but for all who seek to know God as fully as He may be known.

The Rev. A. James Bernstein was a teenage chess champion whose dramatic conversion experience at the age of 16 led him to Christianity. His spiritual journey has included a number of twists and turn: he was chapter president of Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship at Queens College, helped found the Jews for Jesus ministry in San Francisco, was a staff member of the Christian World Liberation Front in Berkeley, served as a pastor of an Evangelical Orthodox Church near Silicon Valley, and later became an Eastern Orthodox convert and then priest. He lives with his wife Bonnie outside of Seattle, Washington, where he serves as pastor of St. Paul Antiochian Orthodox Church. Father James is the author of the booklets Orthodoxy: Jewish and Christian (Conciliar Press, 1990); Which Came First: The Church or the New Testament (CP, 1994); and Communion: A Family Affair (CP, 1999). He was also a contributor to the Orthodox Study Bible: New Testament and Psalms (Thomas Nelson, 1993).


π. James Bernstein, ΗΠΑ – Ο γιος του Ραβίνου που από Προτεστάντης έγινε Ιερέας της Ορθόδοξης Εκκλησίας


π. James Bernstein, ΗΠΑ – Ο γιος του Ραβίνου που από Προτεστάντης έγινε Ιερέας της Ορθόδοξης Εκκλησίας

Η συγκλονιστική ιστορία της ζωής του Εβραίου π. James Bernstein, που έπειτα από πολλές αναζητήσεις βρήκε τον δρόμο του Θεού και σήμερα είναι Κληρικός στην Ενορία του Αγίου Παύλου, κοντά στο Seattle της Washington των ΗΠΑ.

H ζωή του π. James Bernstein, ενός Ορθόδοξου Κληρικού της Μητρόπολης Βορείου Αμερικής, του Πατριαρχείου Αντιοχείας, θα μπορούσε να αποτελεί χωρίς κανέναν ενδοιασμό ιδανικό σενάριο κινηματογραφικής ταινίας.

Ο ίδιος, μεγαλωμένος στην Αμερική και γαλουχημένος με τις Εβραϊκές παραδόσεις, πέρασε από ατέλειωτα σκαμπανεβάσματα και πολλές διακυμάνσεις, ώστε, τελικά, βρήκε τις απαντήσειςσε όλα τα υπαρξιακά ερωτήματά του στην Ορθόδοξη Πίστη.

Ο πατέρας του, ο Ισαάκ, γεννήθηκε στις αρχές του 20ού αιώνα, συγκεκριμένα το 1909, στην Αγία Γη, στην παλιά πόλη της Ιερουσαλήμ, όπου και ανδρώθηκε ακολουθώντας την Ιουδαϊκή θρησκεία. Μάλιστα, θέλησε να αφιερωθεί και να γίνει Ραβίνος.

Το 1941 και ενώ ήταν σε εξέλιξη ο Β΄ Παγκόσμιος Πόλεμος ο ραβίνος και η σύζυγός του, μαζί με τα παιδιά τους, αποφάσισαν να πάρουν τον δρόμο της προσφυγιάς. Διάλεξαν το τελευταίο πλοίο, που είχε προορισμό την Αμερική, και ταξίδεψαν μέσω της Αιγύπτου και της νότιας οδού της Αφρικής, καθώς στη Μεσόγειο και στον Continue reading “π. James Bernstein, ΗΠΑ – Ο γιος του Ραβίνου που από Προτεστάντης έγινε Ιερέας της Ορθόδοξης Εκκλησίας”

Digital Natives Embrace Ancient Church – Twentysomethings captivated by Orthodoxy


Digital Natives Embrace Ancient Church


Twentysomethings captivated by Orthodoxy


Andrea Goodell



Tim Flinders will graduate from Grand Valley State University next month. Raised Lutheran, he also explored fundamentalist Baptism, Roman Catholicism and even Messianic Judaism before converting to Orthodox Christianity this year.

“Orthodoxy has completely transformed me already,” he said. “I feel like the first time in my life I’m growing spiritually.”

Flinders, 22, like many other young people converting to Eastern Orthodoxy, was looking for authenticity and historical accuracy in his Christian faith.

“I had so many different questions that needed to be answered,” said Flinders, who added he wrestled with the many divisions of the Christian church over the years.

He became Eastern Orthodox Christian at St. George Orthodox Church in Grand Rapids.

Recently he attended the second annual Encountering Orthodoxy Conference at Hope College.

The Rev. Deacon Nicholas Belcher, dean of students at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology in Boston, gave the opening keynote address, using the themes of holy week to introduce Orthodoxy to the more than 50 who attended.

Eastern Orthodox Easter, Pascha in Greek — the language favored by Orthodox everywhere — fell on the same day as Western Easter this year.

Belcher described the nailing of Jesus to the cross as “one of the most cruel things human beings have ever thought of to do to other human beings.”

Eastern Orthodox Christians, he explained, experience the crucifixion and resurrection in the now during liturgy.

“There is no sense that we are just talking about something that happened a long time ago. It is today,” he said.

Dustin Miller, a Hope senior, attended the conference for extra credit in his history of Christianity class, but said,

“I’ve always been curious about Orthodoxy.”

He, too, said he was looking for the apostolic, historical roots of the Christian church. Miller considers himself non-denominational and said he didn’t know the Hope campus had Orthodox students.

“I’ve been trying to figure it out, trying to find what best fits me,” Miller said.

The Orthodox Christian Fellowship campus club, which sponsored this month’s conference, meets Thursday nights for Small Compline (a short Psalm and evening prayer service). Then the handful of Orthodox students, one seminary student and Fr. Steven VanBronkhorst discuss topics such as biblical foundations for Orthodox worship.

He would like to see more inquirers at the OCF meetings and more students at the second annual Encountering Orthodoxy Conference.

VanBronkhorst was a Reformed Church of America minister for almost two decades before coming to the Orthodox church 14 years ago. Still, VanBronkhorst said, he sees many more today looking for the historical church than when he was doing his own searching.

“I always felt that ideally there should be just one church,” he said. “The Orthodox church is by far the most historically faithful body. … Who is going to deny that the greater part of the evangelical world has the faith? They have faith. What they don’t have is the worship.”

Tyler Dykstra of Holland became Orthodox Christian this month.

He grew up Christian Reformed, but says he “wanted more.”

“Over time I started to realize there was so much history I had not known about even though I had gone to Christian schools all my life,” Dykstra, 24, said.

Η μεταστροφή του Αμερικανού φωτογράφου Douglas Lyttle από τον Προτεσταντισμό στην Ορθοδοξία


Η μεταστροφή του Αμερικανού φωτογράφου

Douglas Lyttle από τον Προτεσταντισμό στην Ορθοδοξία

Γράφει η Γιώτα Μυρτσιώτη στην Εφημερίδα “Η Καθημερινή”, 15/11/2017:

Το Αγιον Ορος για τον διακεκριμένο Αμερικανό φωτογράφο Ντάγκλας Λιτλ (Douglas Alfred Δημήτριος Lyttle) δεν ήταν μόνον ο τόπος έμπνευσης της καλλιτεχνικής δημιουργίας του. Ηταν η κιβωτός της Oρθοδοξίας όπου εμβάθυνε στις πνευματικές του αναζητήσεις επί 45 χρόνια. Η μεταστροφή του στην Ορθοδοξία, η βάφτισή του με το όνομα Δημήτριος, οι 50.000 φωτογραφίες τις οποίες κληροδότησε στην Αγιορείτικη Φωτοθήκη της Μονής Σιμωνόπετρας και ο μνημειώδης τόμος του «Miracle on the Monastery Mountain» (2002) μαρτυρούν τη βαθιά και πολυετή σχέση του με την Αθωνική Πολιτεία.

Ο «μάστερ της φωτογραφίας» –τίτλος που έλαβε από το Σωματείο Επαγγελματιών Φωτογράφων της Αμερικής το 1966– απεβίωσε πριν από λίγες ημέρες στο Rotchester. Ηταν 98 χρονών.

Γεννημένος στην πόλη Three Rivers του Michigan το 1919, αποφοίτησε από το Πανεπιστήμιο του Michigan ως χημικός με διακρίσεις αλλά εγκατέλειψε τη σταδιοδρομία του στη φαρμακευτική έρευνα το 1961 για να ασχοληθεί με τη φωτογραφία. Ανοιξε δικό του στούντιο ειδικευόμενος στη φωτογραφία πορτρέτου και αρχιτεκτονικών έργων. Το 1969 αποδέχθηκε μια θέση στο Ινστιτούτο Τεχνολογίας του Rotchester (στο Κολέγιο Γραφικών Τεχνών και Φωτογραφίας), από το οποίο στη συνέχεια έλαβε τον τίτλο του ομότιμου καθηγητή.

Ταξίδεψε για πρώτη φορά στην Ελλάδα το 1972. Τότε ξεκίνησε η σχέση του με την ελληνική μοναστική κοινότητα. Κατά τη διάρκεια πολλών ταξιδιών του στη χερσόνησο του Αθω, από το 1972 ώς το 1998, αποτύπωσε σε 50.000 εικόνες την πρόσφατη ιστορία του ιερού τόπου, απαθανατίζοντας, μεταξύ άλλων, ως κορυφαίος στην τέχνη του πορτρέτου, τους Αγιορείτες γέροντες που σημάδεψαν με τη ζωή και το έργο τους την ανανέωση του μοναχισμού στο δεύτερο μισό του 20ού αιώνα. «Ο Λιτλ δεν φωτογράφιζε για να κάνει τέχνη για την τέχνη», επισημαίνουν οι Αγιορείτες. «Τα έργα του αποπνέουν το πνευματικό υπόβαθρο της μοναστικής ζωής και από τα πορτρέτα του αναβλύζει το αληθινό πρόσωπο του Ορους».

Από τη μεταστροφή του στην Ορθοδοξία το 1997 (ανήκε στη Μεταρρυθμιστική Λουθηρανική Εκκλησία), υπήρξε πιστό μέλος της ορθόδοξης ενορίας του Αγίου Πνεύματος στο Rotchester, όπου έψαλλε στις ακολουθίες έως και δύο εβδομάδες πριν από την κοίμησή του.

Η δωρεά του αρχείου του στην Αγιορείτικη Φωτοθήκη ένα χρόνο πριν από τον θάνατό του αποτελεί το επιστέγασμα της πίστης και της αγάπης του για την Αγιώνυμη Πολιτεία.



Which Came First: New Testament or the Church? – Fr. James Bernstein, WA, USA




Which Came First: New Testament or the Church?

by Fr. James Bernstein, WA, USA



A convert to Christianity from Judaism, Fr. James was a teenage chess champion whose dramatic conversion experience at the age of 16 led him to Christianity, and is also one of the founders of Jews For Jesus. His journey led him directly to the Orthodox Christian faith, and his journey is recounted in his book “Surprised By Christ,” the story of a man searching for the truth and unable to rest until he finds it. He is the priest at St. Paul Church in Brier, WA.


As a Jewish convert to Christ via evangelical Protestantism, I naturally wanted to know God better through the reading of the Scriptures. In fact, it had been through reading the Gospels in the “forbidden book” called the New Testament, at age sixteen, that I had come to believe in Jesus Christ as the Son of God and our promised Messiah. In my early years as a Christian, much of my religious education came from private Bible reading.

By the time I entered college, I had a pocket-sized version of the whole Bible that was my constant companion. I would commit favorite passages from the Scriptures to memory, and often quote them to myself in times of temptation-or to others as I sought to convince them of Christ. The Bible became for me-as it is to this day-the most important book in print. I can say from my heart with Saint Paul the Apostle,

“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16).

That’s the good news!

The bad news is that often I would decide for myself what the Scriptures meant. For example, I became so enthusiastic about knowing Jesus as my close and personal friend that I thought my own awareness of Him was all I needed. So I would mark verses about Continue reading “Which Came First: New Testament or the Church? – Fr. James Bernstein, WA, USA”

Sherie Mercier, USA: Called To Orthodoxy ╰⊰¸¸.•¨* A former Pentecostal minister and Independent Old Catholic Priest’s conversion story to the Orthodox faith


mitchigan usa ss.jpg

Michigan, USA


Called To Orthodoxy


A former Pentecostal minister and Independent Old Catholic Priest’s conversion story to the Orthodox faith


Sherie Mercier, Michigan, USA

Where do I begin? I was born and raised in St. Joseph, Michigan, on the shores of SW Lake Michigan – across the lake from Chicago, 61 years ago. My parents were not very religious, in fact, they attended a Methodist church in my hometown. The pastor was a medical doctor and eventually left the active ministry and set up shop as a General Family practitioner. My parents stopped attending church and after that I never remember them ever stepping into a church at all, even to this day. My mother is deceased but my father is still alive and I have never seen him enter a church.

So, eventually, around the age of 7 or so, I went to a Baptist church with my neighbors and continued to do so until my teenage years. I then set out to check different denominations, usually joining them, then leaving because something didn’t “feel right”. Of course, our home town had a huge Roman Catholic following, plus my maternal grandmother had been Roman Catholic herself.

I remember seeing statues of Mary and crucifixes. Our public school in that day followed the Roman Catholic system of meatless Fridays, usually fish sticks or mac and cheese. So, I became interested in the Roman Catholic faith. But it was not to be at all until years later.

I graduated high school, enlisted in the US Army, did a short stint and then married my first husband in Scotland. We settled back in Michigan but only for the summer of 1974, then moved to Arizona. I again, searched and Continue reading “Sherie Mercier, USA: Called To Orthodoxy ╰⊰¸¸.•¨* A former Pentecostal minister and Independent Old Catholic Priest’s conversion story to the Orthodox faith”

Holy Icon of All Saints of Canada & USA




Orthodox Saints of Canada & USA