Big in Heaven: A Collection of Short Stories
by Stephen Siniari
"[These] stories begin to paint a new kind of Icon, that of a truly American Orthodox Christian, of regular people simply trying to be or tragically rejecting being regular human beings, the kind of people perhaps never even imagined by most American readers. . . . The stories break the mold of what a religious or non-religious story ought to be. They are not moralistic, nor are they irreverent in their honest portrayal of the realities of life in the Church. Rather they are just good, honest stories, and in being this they are sacramental, conveying and holding together elements of life that are seemingly disparate." (from the Foreword)
Sometimes poignant, sometimes funny, sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes convicting, these stories of life in an inner-city immigrant Orthodox parish are guaranteed to shake your assumptions and make you see your life and faith in a new way. They are not for the faint of heart—but they are very much for all who want to embrace the truth more fully. (Fiction for adults.)
About the Author: Father Stephen N. Siniari is a priest of the OCA Diocese of the South. During almost forty years in ministry, Fr. Stephen served parishes in New England and the Philadelphia/South Jersey area while working full time for an international agency as a street outreach worker, serving homeless, at-risk, and trafficked teens. Born and raised in Philadelphia, Fr. Stephen currently lives on the Florida Gulf Coast with Margot, his wife of more than forty years.
Podcast - Ex Libris Author Interview
LOOK INSIDE... Big in Heaven: A Collection of Short Stories
Posted by Dr K. Fleming on Sep 7th 2020
I highly recommend this book to everyone. It lifted me up and I'll read it many times over. One of the best books that takes you right into the hearts of every person's story. I promise you'll find a piece of yourself in many stories. Guaranteed!
Outstanding book, I very highly recommend it!
Posted by Kevyn Schneider on Jul 30th 2020
I'm a geek, a nerd. I normally never "waste money" purchasing books like this (I'm also frugal to a fault, a sole provider with a lot of kids that can suck down my paycheck like sand does to a light rain). I was actually a bit hesitant before making this (let's face it, insignificant $10) purchase of the e-book, as at first fictional short stories seemed too trivial to waste either time or money on.
Boy, was I wrong. This is some of the best money I have spent on reading material in a long time.
The author, Father Stephen, is not an ivory tower kind of Orthodox Priest. If you read his background, you will find he is an "in the trenches" kind of mud-and-blood field medic in Christ's Army. His writing is at times pure poetry, often times gritty, occasionally raw and shocking, gradually revealing a glimpse of the fear and beauty and sorrow and grace surrounding human life. He presents to us, not idealized Eastern Orthodox life as it should be lived, but real life as it too often confronts us. Through all of his story telling is a barely perceptible undercurrent of gentleness, a slight scent of hidden humility, even in the most brutally honest unveiling of the sometimes ugliness and discomfort of living in a world bruised by Adam's sin.
Personally, any of my rushing to judgement of each flawed character is slowed by my gradual seeing in myself my own humanity and weaknesses which I would rather not discuss, or look at. By seeing their warts I am reminded of my own zits. This is not because I see myself reflected in the various characters as much as I recognize my humanity when exposed to their humanity. I became sensitized by the honesty of the story telling to the unfiltered truth and reality I see in these fictional characters.
The unrelated stories all, one thread at a time, weave together gradually into a tapestry depicting an American blue-collar inner-city neighborhood, where sits a small poor Orthodox parish with an unfortunate name, just North of the Delaware River, across the street from the Synagogue, and catty-corner from Schmidt's Bakery and Shooky's Taproom.
It's an older neighborhood with some history, worth visiting. Stay a while, get to know the folks there. Father Naum can introduce you to some of 'em. You might be surprised. One or two of them might change your life a little, or at least the way you used to look at it.
That's worth ten bucks, even to the type of blue collar guy that lives in Father Naum's neck of the woods. Yeah. I figure it's worth the price of a few cold ones at Shooky's.
Customers also viewed