Updated Orthodox Faith series honors Protopresbyter Thomas Hopko’s memory


Saint Vladimir’s Seminary Press (SVS Press) is pleased to announce an updated and expanded edition of The Orthodox Faith series, popularly known as “The Rainbow series,” originally authored by Protopresbyter Thomas Hopko in 1971.

Father Thomas, who reposed in the Lord one year ago today—March 18, 2015—was Dean Emeritus of Saint Vladimir’s Seminary.

The new edition, published as a memorial to Father Thomas, was made possible in part through a grant from the Ganister Orthodox Foundation Fund at the First Community Foundation Partnership of Pennsylvania.

“It is difficult to overestimate the importance of the series ‘The Orthodox Faith,’” writes His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon, in his Preface to the new edition.  “This deceptively labeled ‘elementary handbook’ on the Orthodox Church has been used by thousands, from casual enquirers to catechumens to lifelong Church members, as both a catechesis and a basic reference tool on Orthodox Christianity.”

Originally consisting of four volumes—Doctrine, Worship, Bible and Church History, and Spirituality—The Orthodox Faith series was written to provide comprehensive information on the Orthodox Christian Church and practical instruction in how to live the faith.  The updated series includes cover redesign; new illustrations by seminary alumnus, Archpriest Andrew Tregubov; updated and expanded content to the Church history volume; and the placement of scriptural content from Volume Three on Church History to Volume One on Church doctrine, in order to accommodate the expanded historical content.

“The reformatted Volume One now includes Father Thomas’s original content on Church doctrine and Scripture, and treats them as a unified body of knowledge,” said Michael Soroka, Associate Editor at SVS Press.  “In the original series, the scriptural content appeared in Volume Three and was combined with content on Church history,” he explained.  “But, because we significantly expanded our Church history content, and because Father Thomas himself always insisted upon the unity of doctrine and Scripture, we reorganized the series in this manner.”

Dr. David C. Ford, professor of Church History at Saint Tikhon’s Orthodox Theological Seminary, South Canaan, PA, authored the new material in Volume Three, now simply titled Church History.  Designing it as an introductory textbook on a high school reading level, he devotes each chapter to one century of Church history and thus provides concise, essential bases for understanding the broad contours of Orthodox Christian history.

“Father Thomas was a gifted theologian who had a way with words,” remembers the Archpriest Dr. John Behr, Dean of Saint Vladimir’s.  “The number of people he inspired and formed, influenced and touched, both as priest and teacher at Saint Vladimir’s and throughout the world, is incalculable.  I can think of no greater way to honor his legacy than to share his words with a new generation.”

SVS Press Marketing Director, Deacon Gregory Hatrak, further remarked, “We are humbled to be part of helping Father Tom’s words live on and, to reach a wider audience, we’ve made all four volumes available for download in digital format.  Additionally, the OCA’s Department of Christian Education has developed materials for discussion and reflection on The Orthodox Series, accessible on the OCA’s website.  These study aids can be used by book clubs, catechesis classes, and individual readers alike, and we hope that the by using the series in this manner, many people and parishes will reignite their Orthodox Christian faith, a hope shared by Father Thomas when he wrote the original series.”

Father Thomas, who began teaching Doctrine and Pastoral Theology at Saint Vladimir’s Seminary in 1968, eventually became a full Professor of Dogmatic Theology in 1991–1992.  He rose to the position of Dean in 1992—a post that he held until his retirement one decade later.  He was a beloved pastor, preeminent preacher, outstanding teacher, sought-after speaker, and prolific writer.  The Orthodox Faith was his best-known publication.  It may be purchased as a complete set for $55.00 or purchased individually.  Orders can be placed by contacting the Saint Vladimir’s Seminary Bookstore online or by calling 1-800-204-BOOK.