The Prayer of a Broken Heart: An Orthodox Christian Reflection on African American Spirituality


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Item No. 9781955890069

by Rev. Paul Abernathy

What do African American spirituality and Orthodox Christianity have in common? More than you might think. Drawing on both his own background as a biracial convert to Orthodoxy and historical resources that span St. Athanasius to Frederick Douglass, Fr. Paul Abernathy details the many intersections between these two traditions, including a redemptive understanding of the Cross and a faith shaped by suffering and persecution. In so doing, he points to a new path whereby Orthodox Christianity can uniquely answer the spiritual needs of African Americans.

Praise for The Prayer of a Broken Heart

"The Prayer of a Broken Heart situates itself far beyond the narrow confines of the American moral imagination. Within those confines any descendant of slaves who resurrects narratives of the painful past can only be expected to air 'grievances.' But in Fr. Paul’s hands, these narratives are triumphant, delineating a path heavenward for spiritual ancestors whom we do well to learn from. He interweaves his chapters with history, his own rich pastoral experiences, and a way forward. His reflections throughout use the lens of our timeless Orthodox Christian ethos and its foremost authors. Read and expand your heart." -Nun Katherine Weston, President of the Fellowship of St. Moses the Black and author of Race, Identity, and Reconciliation

"In reading Fr. Paul Abernathy’s The Prayer of a Broken Heart we find ourselves sitting at the feet of the Black Church and, in particular, the African American community located in Pittsburgh’s Hill District. We quickly realize they are our great teachers, and perhaps among the greatest in the Kingdom, given that they have suffered greatly, endured, and yet hope and rejoice. In a most disarming way, Fr. Paul calls us to repent while also highlighting the intersections between African American and Orthodox spirituality. This book is humble, brilliant, beautiful, and instructive. It is a gift. Generously share its riches with others." -Marlena GravesThe Way Up Is Down: Becoming Yourself by Forgetting Yourself (IVP)

About the Author: Fr. Paul Abernathy is an African American Orthodox Christian priest and founding pastor of St. Moses the Black Orthodox Church in the Hill District, a predominantly Black neighborhood of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He is the founder and CEO of the Neighborhood Resilience Project, an Orthodox Christian nonprofit focusing on building resilient, healing, and healthy communities through Trauma Informed Community Development. He is a nationally renowned speaker whose work has been featured on NBC, ABC, CBS, BBC, Ard (German) TV, and NPR. Fr. Paul is a U.S. Army Iraq War veteran and holds master’s degrees from the University of Pittsburgh and St. Tikhon’s Orthodox Theological Seminary. He and his beloved wife Kristina have two beautiful children.

Author: Rev. Paul Abernathy

Paperback: 216 pages

Dimensions: 5.5 x 8.5 inches

Publisher: Ancient Faith Publishing

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