My Spirituality

I am a Byzantine Catholic Christian, an iconographer and a hagiographer.  That is, I paint icons and I tell sacred stories from Scripture and the Lives of Holy Men and Holy Women.  I also tell folktales and practice traditional folk crafts from from Eastern Europe, my ancestral home. 

My father was Hungarian, my mother Slovak.  They were both Roman Catholics.  My godmother and godfather were Hungarian Byzantine Catholics -- “Gorogkatolikus” or “Greek Catholics” as we said in Hungarian. 

When I was handed from my mother to my godmother at the baptismal font, I began my long journey of living in two religious worlds.  Today I continue to worship in both Roman and Byzantine Catholic communities, though I am now canonically a Byzantine Catholic. My wfife, Mary Jo Kelly is a Roman Catholic, or as she prefers to say, “I’m Irish Catholic.”

My M.A. is in religious education from the Catholic University of America (1971), and my Th.D. in religion and the arts is from the ecumenical Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley, California (1976).  My doctoral dissertation was on the art of storytelling in ministry.  Over the years, I have taught pre-school, elementary school, youth ministry, college theology, parish catechesis, major seminary, and continuing education for clergy.

Over the years we put bread on our table through our mom-and-pop company, Storyfest Journeys. Our storytelling and cultural tours included over one-hundred separate trips to Europe.

I am particularly grateful to my three teachers and spiritual guides:  Wayne Rood, a Seventh-Day Baptist, religious educator, and dramatist, and my doctoral advisor at the Graduate Theological Union. Jorge Rosner, a Secular Jew and my trainer in Gestalt Therapy at the Gestalt Institute of Toronto, Canada, And finally Metropolitan Anthony Bloom, a physician and Russian Orthodox Bishop while I was a graduate rearch scholar at Cambridge University in England.

© Robert Bela Wilhelm 2018