The Father John VonHolzhausen Annual Lecture
May 1st 2011, 12:30pm
St Mary Antiochian Orthodox Church
8 Inman St, Central Square
"Hidden Holiness: The holy Life where you least expect
In Hidden Holiness, Michael Plekon challenges us to examine the concept of holiness. He argues that both Orthodox and Catholic churches understand saints to be individuals whose lives and deeds are unusual, extraordinary, or miraculous. Such a requirement for sainthood undermines, in his view, one of the basic messages of Christianity: that all people are called to holiness. Instead of focusing on the ecclesiastical process of recognizing saints, Plekon explores a more ordinary and less noticeable “hidden” holiness, one founded on the calling of all to be prophets and priests and witnesses to the Gospel. As Rowan Williams has insisted, people of faith need to find God’s work in their culture and daily lives. With that in mind, Plekon identifies a fascinatingly diverse group of faithful who exemplify an everyday sanctity, as well as the tools they have used to enact their faith. A generous and expansive treatment of the holy life, accessibly written for all readers, Plekon’s book is sure to inspire us to recognize and celebrate the holiness hidden in the ordinary lives of those around us.
Michael Plekon's areas of specialization include the social history of American religious traditions and communities, social theory and its connections with theology, the social and theological thought of Søren Kierkegaard, contemporary Eastern Orthodox theology and theologians of the Russian emigration and saints, canonized or not, in our time. He received his A.B. from The Catholic University of America and his M.A. and Ph.D from Rutgers University where he was a student of Peter L. Berger. He continues to edit and translate important studies and biographies for publication here and is a reviewer for several other journals. He is a priest of the Orthodox Church in America, assisting at St. Gregory the Theologian Church in Wappingers Falls, NY.