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Home > Children's Authors > John Chryssavgis

John Chryssavgis
Photo of John Chryssavgis

Father John Chryssavgis is an award-winning author of more than 20 books for children and adults, a translator, an educator, and a Greek Orthodox deacon. Along with co-author Marilyn Rouvelas, he has written the Wisdom Tales book Saint Anthony the Great (available December 2015). This will be Father John’s second children’s book after The World My Church (co-authored with his wife, Sophie Chryssavgis, Holy Cross Orthodox Press, 1998). Saint Antony the Great (available December 2015) is an inspiring biography for children of an important figure (ca. 251–356) in early Christian history.

Father John has always considered his publications for adults as preparation for writing for children. He believes that if authors of religious books cannot articulate a teaching clearly and simply enough for children to grasp, then they have not properly understood the teaching themselves. Refining a message to its essence for a child requires total understanding of a subject and deep empathy with both the subject and with children.

As a child in Australia, Father John Chryssavgis grew up listening to and hearing the lives of the saints. He quickly acquired a passion for writing and a love for words, especially in original source languages such as Greek. He also is fascinated by etymology, the study of how the meanings of words develop and change over time. Fr. John has always enjoyed and practiced the art of translation. He studied in Athens (Greece) and Oxford (England), and taught in Sydney (Australia) and Boston (USA). Then he spent a year practicing silence in a monastery like the one in which St. Antony himself lived for many years. Fr. John Chryssavgis has come to love the desert, as was the case for many of the Desert Fathers and Mothers about whom he has studied and written.

Fr. John Chryssavgis currently serves as theological advisor to His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, the spiritual leader of the world’s 300 million Orthodox Christians. Other recent services to the Church include his involvement, in 2014, in organizing and directing the press office for the meetings of the Pope and the Patriarch in Jerusalem and Istanbul. This experience is documented in his book Dialogue of Love: Breaking the Silence of Centuries.

Fr. John’s award-winning book, In the Heart of the Desert: The Spirituality of the Desert Fathers and Mothers, Revised, was published by World Wisdom in 2008. Additional books and biographical information may be found on his World Wisdom author page (click here to go to the World Wisdom web page on Father John Chryssavgis).

Father John lives in Harpswell, one of the oldest fishing villages in Maine, where he enjoys watching the lobster boats going out before sunrise each morning.

Awards for this Author’s Wisdom Tales Books


  • Saint Anthony the Great (written by John Chryssavgis & Marilyn Rouvelas, and illustrated by Isabelle Brent):
    • Silver Medal in the “Illustration – Graphic” category of the 2015 Midwest Book Awards


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