Spiritual Experiences in Italy Series: St. Marina the Monk and Her Incorrupt Body


When my wife and I decided to travel to Italy, I did not realize the extent to which we would encounter profound and deeply moving spiritual experiences. Certainly, much of my focus in planning the trip was on how to connect with the early Church, but what I didn’t realize was how much of an impact some of these places would have. The journey began well in advance of the trip, as I poured over several books and other sources, including soliciting recommendations of friends, to map out where I could find plausibly authentic* relics of saints, and visit sites significant to early Christian history. I am excited to share a series of posts on our Spiritual Experiences in Italy, beginning with this one about what for me may have been the most moving moment of the whole trip: seeing the incorrupt body of St. Marina the monk, an early Church saint who I grew up hearing about in the reading of the Synaxarion at Church, and who I have always greatly admired as an example for her resilience in humbly, and silently, accepting false accusations, pursuing Christ’s example as the innocent lamb silently led to the slaughter (Isaiah 53:7). Continue reading

The Early Church Tradition of Separate Seating: Ancient Practice, Not a Cultural Anomaly

Separate Seating

I will let St. Cyril of Jerusalem (c. AD 313–386) start this blog post off with what he taught people who were considering joining the Church:

Let men be with men, and women with women. For now I need the example of Noah’s ark, in which were Noah and his sons, and his wife and his sons’ wives. For though the ark was one, and the door was shut, yet things had been suitably arranged. If the Church is shut, and you are all inside, yet let there be a separation, men with men, and women with women, lest the pretext of salvation become an occasion of destruction. Even if there be a fair pretext for sitting near each other, let passions be put away. (Protocatechesis, 14, NPNF 2:7)

Continue reading

Looks & Lustful Eyes: How Ladies Can Hurt & Help The Guys

Suzy Guest Post


Hello all! I’m John’s wifey, A.K.A. Suzy! And of course the wifey thing to do would be to raid the husband’s blog 😛 haha.


A little background info about me before I start my rant: Egyptian, born and raised Coptic Orthodox in Columbus, Ohio. Graduated from THE Ohio State University. Psychology major. Been married to Mr. Habib for three years now. We have a furry child (doggy) named Bella. I love Jesus, family and friends, food, music, artsy stuff, a good read, the beach, and of course shopping. Yeah! 🙂

SuzyandJohn Bella

Now, let’s get down to business! I was trying to sleep around 6AM the other day when out of nowhere Continue reading