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Featured Speaker


Welcome to another new speaker, Michael Haldas!

Michael is a very busy man, with many contributions that add to the richness of the Church.  From books, articles, podcasts, DVD’s and CD’s to name a few, he has a wealth of resources to help you get to know him better!  Aside from his speaker page, you can also go directly to Sacramental Living for a complete listing of his work.

Take a look at his speaker page here to find out more!



Lea Povozhaev

Lea is available to speak on: Conversion, Intercultural Marriage, Infertility, and more »

Additional Information: Lea’s Blog


Lea PovozhaevLea Povozhaev speaks from a personal and intimately engaged position, but moves through herself and out into social and global considerations. In other words, while personal, she is not solipsistic in her discussion of issues lived and observed and pays close attention to the audience.

Lea speaks passionately and with clear insights from a mixed bag of cultural experiences. She is married to a man from Russia with whom she has three children (newborn to seven). She was raised Protestant in a middle-class American family and converted to Orthodox Christianity with the birth of their first son and Babushka’s insistence that they save their souls without delay. Thus, eight years ago, she and her young family continued a spiritual sojourn that led from Protestantism into Orthodoxy. Family dynamics continue multicultural with Russian in-laws moved to the States, a wealthy host family, and her very American parents—who have tasted the bounty of Orthodoxy and settled into “Western waters” of Roman Catholicism.

In addition to faith, financial, and ethnic diversity, Lea speaks openly and honestly about experiences as a scholar. The birth of each of their three children marked the accomplishment of another academic degree (ranging from Creative Writing to Addiction). She is candid about the struggles in living with one foot in academia and another in family life.

Faith the size of a mustard seed moves mountains, she tells her boys while maneuvering their minivan to another hockey practice. Within she contemplates how each of her children were conceived with such faith, as doctors had given her and her husband a less than one percent chance of conceiving. Faith in God is the backbone of all she has to say—all that is worth listening to.

Lea’s memoir, When Russia Came to Stay, is an easily accessible narrative telling of their young family coming together in and by the love of Christ. She invites discussion on the book and is available for signings.

She has been nominated for the Amy Foundation Award and granted first place in “Spiritual Essays” for work in magazines such as America and Spiritual Life. In addition, Lea has publications in academic works such as Growing Up Transnational, and forthcoming in the journal Rhetoric Review and the anthology Social Expressivism. For a complete list of her publications, links to selected works and academic experiences, please view the resume link on her blog:


The opportunity to speak on any of the topics below, among others, might be approached uniquely, depending on the request. As both a creative writer and academic, Lea is skilled in the art and craft of rhetoric—ancient oratory with attention to audience and effects of speaking. She researches Fathers and Mothers of the Church for her talks and brings together personal, academic, and Orthodox Christian experience in her presentations.

  • Conversion
    A large topic with endless possibilities, Lea would speak on personal experiences and those researched (globally), interviewed locally, and experienced collectively as a Church.
  • Intercultural Marriage
    Working outward from personal experience, she would focus on issues ranging from the core needs of marriage, to individual accountability when marriage is “unfair”, to the path of salvation—via a strong or weak marriage. She would weave together accounts of saints and research.
  • Family Life
    The sky’s the limit. Possible topics include talks on children, motherhood, the Theotokos as a role model for women, reaching out by and through family members (i.e. moms of children’s friends, neighbors, Russian in-laws’ veterinarian).
  • Academia and Being Christian
    Youth today in the university: lacking and whacking of values; addressing college struggles with tools of the Faith; using education for the glory of God, nurturing life-growing seeds that sprout fruits of the spirit throughout adult life, among other topics.
  • Writing / Life Stories
    Writing as a way to work through pain, which opens countless topics. Addictions and writing through related issues, loss and impossible odds (such as with many infertility situations), losing jobs, not getting into schools, failing in any number of ways—all “helped” in writing through pain.
  • Infertility
    God’s plans are mysterious and good. All things work for the good for those who are called according to His purposes. From personal experience and from others’ encounters with current medical possibilities and impossibilities, Lea would speak on the myriad options and the soul’s responsibility in dealing with them.
  • Miracles
    Fr. Arseny said miracles happen in a person’s life for the effect they will render, the spiritual change they will have on that person and others. Lea invites the opportunity to speak on personal miracles and the fine line between coincidence and faith, laying out reasons for why the mind matters.
  • Physical / Spiritual Health
    The relationship between the body, mind, and soul is split in Western culture, but as Orthodox Christians we blur these distinctions (fasting, praying, smelling incense, hearing Church music—embodying the reality of intermingled physical and spiritual consciousness). Lea would speak on a number of related topics from the importance in exercise when pregnant, depressed, anxious, bored, and or spiritually flat, to prayer as exercise.

Lea invites requests to speak and is intellectually flexible. She would listen to any particular concerns, pray and study, and present an engaging, thoughtful response that would draw upon audience interest and spark continued considerations.

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