New Book: Be Yourself: Amim’s Great Discovery by Dcn. Stephen Muse, available from St. Tikhon’s Monastery Press

Waymart, PA, May 29, 2017

St. Tikhon’s Monastery Press is excited to introduce its first children’s book, Be Yourself: Amim’s Great Discovery, written by Dcn. Stephen Muse and illustrated by Dimitra Psychogiou.

Be Yourself: Amim’s Great Discovery is the story of a beloved boy who finds himself in school in a different culture for the first time. When he is teased by the children who discover ways that he is different from them, Amim tries to avoid the pain of loneliness and rejection by an all too familiar pattern. Little by little he eliminates anything and everything about himself that anyone objects too. As he adapts himself in extraordinary ways in order to make friends with the children who tease him, he discovers the most important secret about the nature of love and being the person God created him to be.

Be Yourself: Amim’s Great Discovery is a story which can be read purely for enjoyment. But it also can serve as a springboard for discussion with parents, teachers, and child therapists working with children with anxiety, friendship, the pain of being teased by classmates and multicultural issues.

Be Yourself: Amim’s Great Discovery is currently available for retail and wholesale purchase from St. Tikhon’s Monastery Bookstore.


“A wonderful book that amuses and at the same time helps children accept their own self as it really is: a precious and indispensable gift.”

- Polyxeni T.—Teacher and mother of two


St. Tikhon's Monastery Press has long enjoyed a reputation as a publisher of quality Orthodox texts of theology and spirituality, and especially of liturgical texts, including The Festal Menaion, The Lenten Triodion, and the Lenten Triodion Supplement. Over the years the press has also released several fine CDs of Orthodox Church music as recorded by the St. Tikhon's Seminary choir.


Jakob6/3/2017 7:43 am
Guys, what do you expect? Dcn. Muse does obedience to Patriarch Bartholemew, P. Bartholemew does obedience to President Erdogan! Why should books like Dcn. Stephen's be a shock to you all? See how much praise and respect P. Bartholemew gives to his Muslim audience when he says “We would like to oppose at least one prejudice: Islam does not equal terrorism, because terrorism is a stranger to any religion.” Perfect harmony with the spirit of Deacon Stephen's book! Read the rest here:
Elizabeth6/3/2017 2:14 am
I believe that Deacon Stephen Muse is a Doctor of psychotherapy, which (forgive me for saying) makes it even more embarrassing that he knows nothing about Syrian Orthodox Christian men, women and children. I wonder what our ecumenical and open minded clergy do when they have their "inter-orthodox" meetings?

Also, maybe if a Dr./ Dcn. is "ill-informed" or ignorant about a subject he should not write about it!! Just an idea!
Orthodox Parent6/2/2017 6:25 pm
"Ill-inforomed" would be an understatement, TX.Pete, especially when Dcn. Stephen thinks that a Christian woman from Syria dresses in full Hijab!
Joseph6/2/2017 5:52 pm
Only in these comment sections, was the author pressed to say that the character is Christian, but the book itself does not state such a thing throughout its entirety, but merely states he is a “refugee from his country”. The book does however state in the preface “The one whose name was revealed to Moses as “I AM WHO I AM” is discovered through relationship. Jewish, Christian and MUSLIM readers will all share this starting point.” The author obviously had Muslims and “Muslim readers” in mind when he wrote this book, so please try reading the book, and learning a few things about language before you toss around the word “delusional”. Finally, I will again ask, can you or anyone show me one single Christian FROM SYRIA baptized with the name AMIM? Is there a saint with that name?
Joseph6/2/2017 5:51 pm
If you’re not an expert in Arabic Mr. Pete, maybe you should place a “guard over your mouth” before you accuse people of being delusional. In Arabic there is a difference between the name Amin and AminE (the e is more pronounced). I said that the closest word to Amim, which is the name of the main character in Mr. Muse’s book is Amin. You may also recall another political leader by the name of Idi Amin, who was a Ugandan Muslim leader. I think this would be a better comparison, don’t you? Also, since you seem to be as ignorant of the book as you are of Arabic, maybe you should pay attention to some other parts of my comments which stated that there was absolutely nothing in the book to show that Amim is Christian! AMIM, not Amin is the name of the Character, so lets not deviate from the main point.
TX.Pete6/1/2017 11:43 pm
Now, I'm no expert mind you on Arabic names, but this Joseph character is saying the closest thing to Amim would be Amin, which he says is ONLY a Mulsim name. Now, I reckon I do recollect a President Amine Gemayel of Lebanon a few decades back -- a Maronite Christian. So there's that.

And, the most you could argue is that the author and illustrator are ill-informed about Syrian Christians (I don't know if that's true or not), but you CANNOT argue that it's actually about a Muslim! The author has affirmed that he wrote a story about a Christian, NOT a Muslim.

To say you know better than the author what was in the author's mind is, well, delusional, I reckon.
Hannah6/1/2017 7:26 pm
I second Yanni's comment! I doubt that I will ever purchase a book from St. Tikhon's press ever again! I hope that our clergy will learn to get their priorities straight and remember that they are not called to shepherd the goats, but to shepherd Christ's flock, the Orthodox Christians. To share the Gospel with Muslims and invite them to union with the true God is one thing, but to encourage them to continue in their false religion as this book seems to be doing is completely unacceptable for Christ's priesthood as well as His diaconate for that matter! I feel ashamed and embarrassed of our clergy!
Castrese Tipaldi5/31/2017 1:57 pm
"I pray for them: I pray NOT for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine."

Thus says the Lord!

The Lord Who showed mercy to the centurion and the Canaanite woman BECAUSE of their faith in Him.
A faith so great that the Lord stated He had not find in Israel, in the case of the Roman centurion.
A faith so great to consent humbly to be compared to dogs by the Lord, in the case of the Canaanite woman.

Let's pray that reverend clergymen comfortably sitting in the fat belly of Babylon will stop talking about what they do not understand!
Isidora5/31/2017 1:09 pm
I would like to thank Joseph for his comments which are fact-based and informative. The people who are trying to shame him for stating the facts are sounding like emissaries of the ecumenist phanar. Thank you also, Joseph, for pointing out that our Lord Jesus commanded us to be known for our love for EACH OTHER, HIS DISCIPLES. Sad are the "christians" who shrug at Christians' persecution in vain hope that this will buy them peace from the persecutors.
Editor5/31/2017 12:18 pm
Just for the record, does not explicitly endorse a book by publishing news of its release.
Rev. Vasileios Thermos5/31/2017 8:08 am
Without underestimating the pain of persecuted Christians, I am deeply disappointed by the comments I read. Those brothers and sisters seem to forget that all human beings are children of our Father. They also seem to ignore that Christ Himself was merciful to foreigners (Canaanite woman, Roman officer) and that He used images of foreigners (Good Samaritan) in parables to teach us about equality of all and that sometimes Christians betray what they are called for.
I am also concerned about the rise of nationalism throughout the Orthodox Church. This is a betrayal of the Gospel. A narrow-hearted, scared, bitter Christianity is a sign of an insecure faith. Let's pray for our ecclesiastical body which neglect their mission.
Susanna5/31/2017 3:34 am
V. Thermos, I am sorry to disappoint you but the Holy Orthodox Church does not nor has ever taught, "all human beings are children of our Father". Assuming you are claiming that the person of the Father of the Holy and Triune Godhead is the Father of all men I would invite you to read St. Paul’s letters specifically in Galatians 4:4-7, Romans 8:14-16 , and Ephesians 1:4-6 and you will find that according to the Holy Fathers we are “adopted” children and only become adopted through baptism, therefore not all humans are his children, because not all are baptized into Christ within the holy bosom of His bride, the Orthodox Church. St. Paul even speaks of the children of disobedience in Ephesians 2:2 and other places throughout the bible, so please be careful what kind of things you say, since it is far better to know and trust the teachings of the holy fathers and the Holy Church instead of ourselves or modern day “Christian teachers”. Not all humans are children of the Holy Heavenly Father, nor do they want to be!
Joseph5/31/2017 3:00 am
Lastly, I would like to say that if the author; Mr. Muse, Father Innocent Neal, and Abbot Sergius truly and genuinely believe that this book features a Syrian Christian boy and his family, then my heart grieves with pain even further since it simply underscores my earlier points that my brothers and sisters in Christ (esp. in the West) know nothing about the Syrian Christians pain, who we are, what we look like, how we dress, what our culture is all about, and how we have survived for over two thousand years in a country that has almost ALWAYS had some form of severely anti-Christian government in place. I would not grieve if an uninformed professor made such a mistake, but when it comes from those whom my family and I share with in the blessed and Holy Eucharist then I am deeply grieved and saddened, and I now beg you to please get to know us - your suffering brothers and sisters and the pain we have in our hearts and souls. Learn about us and grieve with us as the Holy Apostle St. Paul commands (Romans 12:15). Forgive me a sinner, and may God illumine our darkness.
Joseph5/31/2017 12:49 am
Secondly, I would like to say as a Christian from the Middle East, that to point out how the book is about a Muslim family is most certainly not hateful! The reality is that today’s narrative in the mainstream media is 100% favorable of the Muslim refugees and seems to completely ignore the pain and suffering of the Christians! The Islamic world has a very loud and powerful platform, and they do NOT need the aid of any Orthodox Christian clergymen, but we the Christians desperately need the voices of our BROTHERS AND SISTERS IN CHRIST here in America and the West to speak for us! We are being slaughtered, kidnapped, raped and systematically annihilated from our Christian countries, and our homes. We have been in these lands thousands of years before Islam’s existence. For all those who would like to quote the teachings of our blessed Savior, I too will quote these Holy words from His pure mouth:
“By this shall all men know that YOU ARE MY DISCIPLES, if you HAVE LOVE ONE FOR ANOTHER.”- John 13:35. We must love our fellow Christians and although Christ commands us to love our enemies, he does not command us to be gullible and naive people, but to be “wise as serpents and loving as doves”- Matthew 10:19.
Joseph5/31/2017 12:48 am
You may not know that in the Middle East a person’s religion can be determined by their dress and their names! This has always been the case and I would encourage our Greek readers to study their history and learn how the Turks demanded that they change their dress code as they were not permitted to wear certain clothing that the Muslims said were not suitable for the infidel Christians! Furthermore, the clothing of the characters is most certainly that of Afghani Muslims, since Muslim men in Syria do not dress the way Amim and his father are dressed. I humbly ask you to do your research into this subject, contact Orthodox Christians from Syria, and ask them to comment on this subject. Also, if Amim is an Orthodox Christian boy from Syria what in the world identifies him as such? No cross on his neck, no icons in his home, no crosses on the buildings in his country and most certainly not his name. Nothing! The name Amim is not a Christian name, nor is it EVEN an Arab name! The closest thing to Amim in Arabic would be Amin, which is 100% a Muslim name. The name Amim is actually common in places like India, Afghanistan and other far Eastern countries, and never used by Christians.
Joseph5/31/2017 12:47 am
Dear Editor, firstly I would just like to thank you for caring so much about this issue that you did your due diligence and contacted the author and the monastery, but with all due respect to you, Abbot Sergius and the author I completely disagree that earlier comments made were based on “uninformed assumptions”. You should know that my family and I are Syrian Orthodox Christians and I can assure you with the utmost certainty that no Orthodox Christian woman wears the head covering that Amim’s mother is wearing, which is typical only of Islamic women and Muslim dress. Today it is rare for an Orthodox Christian women in Syria to wear a head covering even when she is in the Church let alone at home, like Amims mother is doing throughout the entire book, and this is due to the fact that in the middle east head covering (for better or for worse) is highly connected with Islamic dress code for women. Amim’s parents are both dressed like Muslims from Afghanistan and the “cap” that Amim is wearing is most certainly not Christian. I humbly ask you to show me one single Christian women, boy or man from Syria who dresses even remotely like the characters in Mr. Muses book. I can attest that none of my family members nor ancestors would dress like the characters in the book since it is simply NOT Christian clothing.

Editor5/30/2017 10:04 pm
We have heard from Abbot Sergius (Bowyer) of St. Tikhon's Monastery, and the author, Dcn. Stephen Muse, both of whom have confirmed that, as Fr. Innocent Neal has commented, the character Amin is in fact illustrated as a Syrian Christian.

The book explicilty states neither Amin's ethnicity nor religion, and thus the idea that he is an Afghan Muslim is simply the uninformed assumption of certain readers, irresponsibly broadcasted here.

It is a shame that the work of a good and reputable monastery and its press has been calumniated here. We encourage and expect our readers to be more responsible with their comments on our site, making sure not to bear false witness. Thank you.

Anthony5/30/2017 8:38 pm
Sorry to add to the bitter comments but I have read Stephen Muse's other books, and like so many other western konvertsies' writings, Mr Muse's books were really lacking. Can't therefore say I'm really surprised this is another one for the bonfire. No offence.
Fr. Innocent Neal5/30/2017 4:32 pm
Be Yourself: Amim's Great Discovery was first published in Greece and illustrated by an Orthodox Christian illustrator. The boy, Amim, was illustrated as a Syrian Christian. There is no mention in the story of his ethnicity or of him being a Muslim.

Fr Innocent Neal
STM Press
V. Thermos5/30/2017 3:34 pm
Without underestimating the pain of persecuted Christians, I am deeply disappointed by the comments I read. Those brothers and sisters seem to forget that all human beings are children of our Father. They also seem to ignore that Christ Himself was merciful to foreigners (Canaanite woman, Roman officer) and that He used images of foreigners (Good Samaritan) in parables to teach us about equality of all and that sometimes Christians betray what they are called for.
I am also concerned about the rise of nationalism throughout the Orthodox Church. This is a betrayal of the Gospel. Let's pray for our ecclesiastical body which neglects their mission.
Anthony5/30/2017 2:26 pm
It is a beautiful book! I am an Orthodox from Greece. I believe that we should never forget that every human is an image of God; and that the Good Samaritan was a heretic of that time. Muslims are also humans, and not everyone of them is evil.
Yanni5/30/2017 7:17 am
I don't think I'll ever buy a book from St. Tikhons press again! Shocking!
Elizabeth5/29/2017 10:13 pm
This book should of been written about a Russian immigrant that comes to the west and not an Afghan since the Russian people are far more hated and despised in the west than any Afghan. Its perfectly acceptable to call Russian people "scum" on national television by a mainstream media "journalist", but imagine what would of happened if the same thing were said about the Afghans?
Susanna5/29/2017 8:48 pm
Who in the world wrote this review? Who is Polyxeni,and what makes her an authority? This book is a disgrace to Orthodox Christianity, to Orthodox Psychotherapy and to the call to preach the Gospel to all men, women and children especially those who are caught in the satanic net of Islam. Shame on Pravoslavie!
Orthodox Parent5/29/2017 8:02 pm
The reality of the situation is that the Western countries are bending over backwards to make certain that the Muslim people are being "embraced" and "tolerated" in the West, to the point that Muslim rapists from Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria are given a free pass when in the German judicial system simply because they are Muslim, and have "different cultures". One man was actually able to be exonerated from all charges after raping a Serbian (Orthodox) boy in Germany (whose family were also refugees!) because he claimed he was having a "sexual emergency" and did not understand the meaning of the word "no", nor did he know that the boy did not want to be raped! The act took place in the changing rooms of a public swimming pool! As a deacon of the Orthodox Church maybe Stephen should know that the title "I AM WHO I AM" is only to be used when describing the Holy Triune God, and not a Muslim family that follows a false prophet whom St. Gregory Palamas called the "forerunner of the antichrist". Maybe he should also know that Christ actually commands us to conform, but not to our own image nor the image of others but to His own Holy, pure and blameless image (Romans 12:2). As a Christian Orthodox parent I am disgusted with this book, and its author! God forgive you Stehen Muse! It would wise and prudent for Pravoslavie to read the book, and do some of their own research before they promote it on their website.
Joseph5/29/2017 7:48 pm
The author of this books who likes to inform us that he is a "pastoral counselor" used to be a Presbyterian pastor for 11 years, and it appears he has yet to unlearn many of the liberal teachings that permeate the Presbyterian community. The author of this book could easily of conveyed his message through a number of different ethnic groups who also have suffered severe acceptance issues when they arrived to the new lands from the lands of their ancestors. For example he could of chosen to present this book from the perspective of his suffering Orthodox Christian brothers and sisters from Syria who are being forced to flee Islamic intolerance and persecution of Christians, or he could of presented it through the eyes of the first Greeks that arrived in the USA and the difficulty they faced to be accepted into the "new world". Armenians, Coptics, Assyrians, Serbians, Ethiopians, Christian Palestinian Arabs etc..are all of Christian backgrounds and faced great difficulties adapting to their new homes in the West, why did the author choose a Muslim family as the heroes of his book? A family he shamefully dares to compare to the Holy Prophet Abraham and Sarah!
Joseph5/29/2017 7:27 pm
We read this book, and I have to say that I am so disappointed and shocked to see it promoted on An orthodox website such as this one. The book follows the life of a MUSLIM boy who appears to be of Afghan descent, and he try's to change physical characteristics about himself that the fellow school children disapprove of. The boy finally learns to just embrace himself as a Muslim and as an Afghan in a foreign land. At the end of the book the reader is geared to feel sorry for the Afghan boy and the Muslim people. The introduction of the book itself states that the book will be enjoyed by " Jewish, Christian and MUSLIM readers"!
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