Friday, July 18, 2014

Recollections of Jerusalem (Holy Trinity Publications)

Recollections of Jerusalem is the autobiography/memoir of Anya Berezina Derrick. Anya Derrick was born in Yugoslavia in the 1930s. She was named after her grandmothers, both named Anna, and her birthday was close to the feast day of St. Anna. Her mother was a nurse and her dad was stationed at a military base near Belgrade. Unfortunately, he took ill with tuberculosis. Anya and her mother were on a pilgrimage in Palestine when World War II broke out, and Anya's mother was hoping to bring back a garment for Anya's father to wear which had been blessed on Christ's burial place. Unfortunately, they were never able to see him again. They were unable to return to Yugoslavia, and were forced to seek asylum in Palestine in 1939. Her father died in 1944, and her mother died without ever finding out what happened to him or where he was buried.

The book isn't all heartache and tragedy, though there is a bit of it in this book. This book also is the coming of age of a young girl. We see and get to read her interactions with great spiritual fathers and mothers, like Fr. Lazarus Moore, St. John of Shanghai and San Francisco, Mother Mary and Archbishop Antony. We also get introduced to her husband Wayne and her children. She tells a cute story about giving birth to twins, her 13 month old son hearing the birth sounds, and climbing out of his crib to come see what all the noise was. I can't imagine having that many children that young, but she was blessed. Other stories in this book include her visit to the Holy Land with her oldest son, and her family's eventual return to the Holy Land during President Carter's tenure in office.

I'm not really sure how to review this book in all honesty. It's like reviewing someone's life, and how do you do that? In this book I learned a bit about Serbia, the Russian Orthodox Church, the Holy Land in the time of World War II and afterwards. It was an interesting read, and one you should check out if you are interested in any of the subjects I just mentioned.

This book was provided to me for free by Holy Trinity Publications in exchange for an honest review.