Religion Booknotes

Hidden Holiness
Michael Plekon
University of Notre Dame Press, $25, 224 pp.


Michael Plekon’s 2002 book Living Icons was a wonderful survey of saintly men and women—some too little known in the Western Church—who exemplified the deep spirituality of the Eastern Church. Hidden Holiness, drawing again on Orthodox spirituality, but with an ecumenical sweep, discusses the holiness that can be attained by doing ordinary things. In seven meaty chapters, including an ecumenical cast of characters, Plekon searches for the strategies and resources that bring people close to God, for, as he rightly understands, holiness is a fundamental characteristic of God, and everyone else is holy to the degree that he or she is drawn closer to God. Plekon is particularly interested in how this holiness is most frequently hidden, even if he must use sources that are quite well known.

The persons and stories on which he meditates are varied. He writes about the outstanding Orthodox theologians Sergius Bulgakov and Elisabeth Behr-Sigel; about a Dutch victim of the Holocaust, Etty Hillesum; about the Episcopal servant of the poor Sara Miles in San Francisco; and about the wife of an Inuit Orthodox...

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About the Author

Lawrence Cunningham is John O'Brien professor of Theology (Emeritus) at the University of Notre Dame.