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Know the Faith: A Handbook for Orthodox Christians and Inquirers

Fr. Michael Shanbour
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by Fr. Michael Shanbour

Over the centuries since the Great Schism between the Eastern and Western Churches, the two groups have diverged to the point that they often no longer understand each other’s vocabulary, let alone the fundamental concepts on which each faith is built. Know the Faith is an attempt to present Orthodox Christianity in a way Western Christians can understand, grounding each point in Scripture and patristic theology, with comparisons to what Catholics and Protestants believe. Whether you are an Orthodox Christian seeking to explain your faith to others or an inquirer into this ancient faith, Know the Faith will help you understand and communicate the Orthodox faith as never before.

About the author: The Rev. Fr. Michael Shanbour is a lifelong Orthodox Christian and pastor of Three Hierarchs Orthodox Mission in Wenatchee, Washington. He received his M.Div. at St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary in 1989. He has been active in youth, camp, music, and Christian education ministries. Fr. Michael was ordained to the holy priesthood in 2001 and pastored mission parishes in Topeka, Kansas, and Spokane, Washington, before being assigned to Three Hierarchs. He is blessed to live in Wenatchee with his wife, Makrina, and son, Simeon.


"Know Your Faith presents the Orthodox faith in a clear and easy-to-understand way, and goes a step further by dealing with the objections other Christians might lodge; yet perhaps it's greatest value comes from the extensive collections of quotations from the Scriptures and the Fathers supporting Orthodox faith and practice. This is the toolkit any Orthodox could use to respond to the questions and critiques of other Christians."  

–Frederica Mathewes Green

Also available in paperback.

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Author interview




Chapter 1: The Church


The Holy Scriptures on the Church

The Church Fathers on the Church


Chapter 2: Grace

The Holy Scriptures on Grace

The Church Fathers on Grace


Chapter 3: Salvation


The Holy Scriptures on Salvation

Questions and Answers on Salvation


Chapter 4: Justification by Faith

The Holy Scriptures on Justification by Faith

The Church Fathers on Justification


Chapter 5: Tradition & Scripture


The Holy Scriptures on Scripture & Tradition

The Church Fathers on Scripture & Tradition


Chapter 6: The Eucharist & Liturgical Worship

The Holy Scriptures on the Eucharist

The Church Fathers on the Eucharist

Martin Luther on the Eucharist


Chapter 7: Ordination & the Priesthood

The Holy Scriptures on Ordination & the Priesthood

The Church Fathers on Ordination & the Priesthood 


Chapter 8: Confession & Repentance

The Holy Scriptures on Confession

The Church Fathers on Confession & Repentance


Chapter 9: Icons, Veneration & Worship

The Holy Scriptures on Holy Images

The Church Fathers on Holy Images


Chapter 10: The Intercessions of the Saints


The Holy Scriptures on the Intercessions of the Saints

The Church Fathers on the Intercessions of Saints & Angels

Objections and Responses


Chapter 11: Veneration of the Virgin Mary

The Holy Scriptures on the Veneration of the Virgin Mary

The Church Fathers on the Veneration of the Virgin Mary

The Protestant Reformers on Mary

Objections and Responses





Fr. Michael Shanbour
MOBI (for Kindle), EPUB (for Nook, iBooks, Kobo), and PDF files

Product Reviews

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  1. Helping to bridge the gap between East and West 5 Star Review

    Posted by on Feb 23rd 2019

    I have not yet finished reading this book (I am up to Chapter 9), but even so I wanted to compose this review because it has already been a very positive read. I heartily recommend anyone from a Protestant background curious about Orthodoxy to examine this book.

    Speaking as a Lutheran enquirer into Orthodoxy, I have often found it hard to navigate the (at times enormous) differences in theological worldview between East and West, especially when it comes to certain loaded terms likes 'sanctification,' 'repentance,' and 'faith.'

    This book does a great job of explaining the Orthodox understanding of various topics, while being sensitive to the cultural assumptions, history, and spiritual issues borne from and found within the Reformation, Protestantism and (by extension) the Roman Catholic church.

    For me in particular, its explanation of God's grace in the Orthodox Tradition was very illuminating. In the past few years of haphazardly investigating Orthodoxy, I had often seen this (very different - to a Protestant) understanding of grace alluded to in various writings, but never truly presented in an approachable way as it is here. Or, at least, not in a way that made it 'click' for me as this book does.

    I look forward to finishing it!