Why Angels Fall, by Victoria Clark

Victoria Clark takes her readers not so much on a geographical trek as on a journey from the past to the pres­ent, with stopovers in several European countries in which Orthodoxy is the dominant faith. She pulls no punches as she presents both the ugliness and the beauty she finds in contemporary Orthodoxy.

An English journalist who lived for nearly a decade in the region--and a lapsed Roman Catholic--Clark was repulsed by the xenophobic nationalism Orthodoxy has spawned, but she was attracted to the deep piety it evoked in many of those with whom she spoke. "They made me wish I could believe as they did," she confessed.

Clark begins her journey at Mount Athos--which she passes in a boat but where she, as a woman, could not set foot. She initially resents not being able to visit this center of Orthodoxy, but she refuses to let her disappointment derail her determination to explore the heritage of the sacred mountain in the rest of Orthodox Europe.


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