In the Orthodox Christian faith the elements of liturgy, scripture, hymnody, and iconography are the instruments or "voices" of a melody of faith. Here Vigen Guroian presents the fundamental beliefs of Orthodox Christianity through the metaphor of music. Often drawing on his personal religious experience, Guroian weaves together the themes of creation and new creation, beginning and end, sin and holiness, Incarnation and deification, sacrifice and salvation.
Guroian explores the dogmatic foundation of this rich faith in six chapters, or "movements." Through discussing Syrian, Armenian, Byzantine, and Russian iconography and Gospel illuminations -- illustrated by icons and Armenian miniatures -- he further reveals how Orthodox Christianity expresses theology as much in art as through language. As a whole, Guroian's Melody of Faith
beautifully captures the spirit of Orthodox Christianity and takes readers to the theological heart of the Orthodox faith.Interviews
— Duke University
"No one should presume that The Melody of Faith simply provides a better understanding of Orthodox theology, because it does much more. In this book Vigen Guroian helps the reader understand, see, and sing the Christian mysteries, for Creation is a Trinitarian love song that envelops us all."
— author of Facing East: A Pilgrim's Journey into the Mysteries of Orthodoxy
"In this lovely book Vigen Guroian sets forth the compelling beauty of Orthodox faith in its own right, on its own terms, as someone who loves the faith and lives it. At the end, the reader will have not just an idea of what Orthodoxy is but also a sense of what it is to participate in it. In the words of the Apostle John, come and see. Come and listen."
"Guroian (Incarnate Love: Essays in Orthodox Ethics), professor of religious studies at the University of Virginia, sets out with a bold mission — to write a series of theological 'tone poems,' each reading more like music than prose. This, he asserts, will not produce a 'rational' or 'linear' organization, but rather create an aesthetic reading experience in which literary themes will develop into melodic variations and fugues. Hymnody, he asserts, existed before any Christian art and architecture because it integrated the feeling of doctrine along with the thought of theology, creating a richer spiritual understanding. Consequently, the book divides itself into six hymnlike chapters that 'sing' the Orthodox theologies of creation, the apocalypse, redemption, the Virgin Mary, the crucifixion, and resurrection. To a large extent, the execution of the book's mission is successful, particularly the author's method of separating each chapter into verse-like subsections. Yet the reader may feel lost at times in the complexity of the author's intent. To fully appreciate the musical style of the prose, one may at times be required to pay less attention to the beauty of the very theologies Guroian wishes to convey."