Biblical Archaeology Review 33:6, November/December 2007

An American Monk in Sinai

HERSHEL SHANKS: Tell me a little about your background.

FR. JUSTIN: My parents were Baptist missionaries. I was born in Texas, but when I was two, we moved to Chile. I lived there until I was nine. That’s why my accent is not a Texas accent.

I grew up in El Paso and went to school at the University of Texas at Austin. Three years after I graduated, I entered a Greek monastery in Boston.

HS: How did that happen?

FR. JUSTIN: I became Orthodox and when I became Orthodox, the Church became the most important thing. When you become a monk, the Church becomes your life.

HS: What led you to the Orthodox Church?

FR. JUSTIN: Since I was brought up Protestant, I knew a lot about the New Testament and a lot about the Reformation but nothing about what happened in between. So I began to read medieval history and later Byzantine history. After I read a great deal of Byzantine history, I began to study the early church, and from that I began to attend Orthodox services.

HS: How did you happen to become a monk at Mt. Sinai?

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