It all started a couple years ago when I started listening to Ancient Faith Radio.
After burning through a couple of podcast series, I found one called “Search the Scriptures,” by Dr. Eugenia Constantinou. In it, she goes through the books of the Old Testament, and along the way she reads what the Church Fathers had to say about different parts of each book. That podcast was the beginning of my desire to learn more and more about Church history and Patristic interpretations of scripture. You could say my work here is the fruit of Dr. Eugenia’s labor.
I emailed her and asked if she would be interested in joining me. She thought the site is great, but unfortunately she doesn’t have time to dedicate (Though she at least gave me a quote to use for the front page, so that’s appreciated).
The tagline for the site is “Writings of the Ancient Church, updated for a modern world.” This means that my goal is to speak the words of the fathers in the language of the modern man. It means personally updating the former English texts into a more modern vernacular, but it also speaks to the reality of the website itself approaching the modern man visually.
As I grew in my appreciation for Orthodoxy and the Church Fathers, I began to see how every patristic website was old and boring. Most of the sites have intimidating walls of text, a lack of color, and layouts that haven’t been updated since 1998. It is no wonder why people get discouraged from patristic study.
Therefore, I decided I might as well create my own take on what patristic study should be about. The artistic mind in me wanted colors, pictures, and icons everywhere to make learning enjoyable instead of being such a chore. The business mind in me saw a void that needed to be filled, and nobody else was doing anything about it. I knew if I could at least get a basic foundation started with a beautiful layout and a little content, more people would see and understand the vision behind what I am slowly building.
I put a decent amount of money into this project thus far, but I don’t get anything out of it. I’m doing this simply out of love for Christendom.
For the Orthodox, I do this because they are responsible for my illumination, and I am grateful. I am also doing this for Protestants, because I want them to share in my joyous experience of being exposed to the endless wisdom of the ancient Church. May we be humble enough to receive it.
I thought of building this site for a year. In that year, I kept getting more and more ideas on what I could do. I knew from the beginning that I wanted this site to be an all-encompassing Christian resource. I didn’t want just another resource site on the web, I want the resource site. Taking notes from the business strategies of Wikipedia and Reddit, I wanted my site to be the consolidating of all patristic content on the internet, plus more.
So far, this site has been a lot of trial and error. Making little changes over and over, constantly improving on what was before. The site is naturally evolving because of it. I add a title and choose a color. Then I see that a gradient looks better. Then I tweak the font or font weight. I add an image, and decide whether I want it to be circular or square. Then all of a sudden I think it would be really neat if the Church Fathers have visual badges that detail what type of person they are, etc. The visuals aren’t set in stone, they’re constantly getting better and better.
When it comes to what goes on the site, the writings of the fathers are a given. On top of that, I also want biographies for everyone. Eventually I want to somehow incorporate the lives of the saints as well. I want to detail the doctrine of ancient Christendom by having resources about extra-biblical texts like the Didache, ancient concepts like Apostolic Succession, the Ecumenical Councils and heresy.
On top of that, I also want to provide all the ancient Apocryphal texts as well.
The blog portion of the site is there for people who don’t have time to read through volumes and volumes of texts, but want patristic insight about various topics. The unique thing I want to do with these topics is have the reference of each patristic quote be linked to the actual document elsewhere on the site. With the use of <a> tags, it can even be linked to the exact portion of the text. I also added a bible reference script tagger, so all scriptures can be easily seen.
Who knows, maybe one day down the road we will have a podcast, or maybe premium access to recent translations, or perhaps videos of dramatizing scenes from the desert fathers. That would be pretty cool.
As you can see, I have a lot of work to do but not a lot of help. I would encourage those who are interested to help out in whatever way you can. I would especially love if Orthodox clergy and scholars got involved with this. I really don’t want this to be about me, I want it to be about us.
Whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all things to the glory of God (1 Cor 10:31).