Geek Orthodox Unite!
Where can you see a Greek Metropolitan speaking with a former atheist science-fiction writer who converted to Roman Catholicism while an American matushka wearing a Rose (Rosie) Cotton flowered crown and a Canadian matushka fantasy writer stand by and a young man in a flowing cape watches with rapt attention from the audience? Where can you go and drink Dragon’s Milk Ale at the Fellowship of the Geeks Dinner? Where can you buy black t-shirts emblazoned with the words “Geek Orthodox”? Where do 11-year-old girls who do a perfect Gollum impression mingle with a Hugo Award finalist? Where do women going overseas as missionaries talk to a former missionary priest and receive advice couched in language drawn from the Ender’s Game series? Why at Doxacon, of course!
Doxacon is the wonderful child of the fertile imagination of St. Mary’s Orthodox Church (OCA — Romanian Diocese) in Falls Church, Virginia, USA. Fr. David Subu, Protodeacon Peter Danilchick, their matushkas, and a rather wonderfully creative congregation realized that what they all had in common was a high number of people who are self-professed geeks. And as geeks, they saw that there really was no place in Orthodoxy where Orthodox geeks could gather, enjoy each other’s company, cosplay, and talk about their favorite geek subjects in the setting of the Church. So, they decided to create such a place.
Doxacon was the place they created. This past weekend was the first Doxacon, but hopefully not the last. Workshops focused on geek subjects and geek science fiction / fantasy books, all in the context of the faith. Also present was the only geek hierarch I have ever met, Metropolitan Savas (Zembillas) of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Pittsburgh. His Eminence delivered one of the keynote addresses, as well as the sermon at the Hierarchical Liturgy at the end of Doxacon.
The Liturgy sent its own message. A Greek Orthodox hierarch together with a Romanian priest, a Cuban Antiochian priest, and a Slavic Protodeacon, all geeks, celebrated the ancient Liturgy, a Liturgy that by symbol, by icon, by non-current representative dress, and by ancient words repeated over and over through the years, entered into heavenly places and worshiped God.
Finally, it should be noted that, yes, the Klingon language was mentioned, as well as the Quenya and Sindarin Elvish languages.
But, the most important part of Doxacon was the networking that happened between authors and attendees. Many questions were asked. What does it mean to be a Christian author? How does one build one’s faith into the books one is trying to write? How does one sell a book to a publisher? What resources are available to Christian authors? Can one be an Orthodox Christian and cosplay? Is there a place in the Christian life for creative fiction that may not explicitly reference Our Lord Jesus Christ? It was key that one of our hierarchs was present, as this provided a stability and anchor for the questions that were asked.
I am already looking forward to the next geek Orthodox convention. But, first, I think what needs to happen next is for there to be a convention of this type west of the Mississippi River. I hope that some of the OCF chapters will become involved. We need more “Geek” Orthodox among us.