Orthodox Fiction

As the weather grows cold, I start gravitating toward warm blankets and good books. This time of year is perfect for snuggling up on a Saturday morning to be transported to another world… and how lovely if that world has echoes of Orthodoxy woven into its tapestry! I don’t mean books that teach you how great Orthodoxy is, but rather, books with a vague scent of incense and an awareness of our holy God. The Church hasn’t been around very long in America, so most Orthodox literature comes from Russia or Greece or other nations, but we’re beginning to see some literature from Orthodox writers here in the New World too — and it’s a very welcome sight!

A new novel releases today, the first from Cheryl Anne Tuggle: Lights on the Mountain


Tuggle has a beautiful way with language — every sentence is delicately crafted and begs to be read aloud and explored. I love how her characters and their interwoven lives unfold. They feel alive to me — like old friends I’d like to see more often.

The best Orthodox novel isn’t beating you over the head with the faith, but simply allows the faith to be a part of the novel’s world. In this case, the main character, Jess, is slowly awakening spiritually, in the most believable and subtle ways, as his life takes unexpected turns.

I am so grateful to see a novel from such a skilled and talented Orthodox writer, and I’m hoping that this is the first of many for Tuggle.

For more Orthodox fiction to fill these wintry days, check out Melinda Johnson. She’s written a novel for adults, chapter books for kids, and a wonderful young adult novel. I’ve read every one, and recommend them all!

And if you haven’t heard of this bestselling Orthodox novel yet, take a look at the dystopian Icon: A Novel by Georgia Briggs (and see my previous blog post on it.)

I would also point you to a couple of novels recently translated from the Russian. They’re brilliant. Laurus and The Aviator, both by Eugene Vodolazkin.

Happy reading, and stay warm!

About Elissa Bjeletich Davis

Elissa Bjeletich is the mother of five daughters, and serves as the Sunday school director at Transfiguration Greek Orthodox Church in Austin, Texas. Find more information on her website: elissabjeletich.com


  1. Thanks for the recommendations. Just picked up a book by Nicholas Kotar (an Orthodox Christian and contributor to Ancient Faith) called Song of the Sirin. Worth checking out if you enjoy fantasy.

    1. I have Song of the Sirin on my bedstand but haven’t yet read it! I’m glad to hear you enjoyed it and would recommend it. Thank you!

  2. I thank God for your blog. Feeling connected to far away Orthodox people that can help us in our mission to live Orthodoxy is such a great blessing. Thank you for these recommendations and all that you do.

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