John of Antioch lives in an imperfect world. Caught up in clashes of church and state, he experiences wars, beheadings, political infighting and corruption while seeking to serve both God and conscience. The Roman Empire's final half-century plays out on a Byzantine stage as John evolves from loyal son to hermit, deacon, priest and finally bishop in Constantiple. Syria in A.D. 352 to 407 is as tumultuous as in our own time. Religious and political factions compete for dominance, while the chasm between rich and poor grows wider and deeper. Into that cultural morass strides John, a feisty and vocal champion of the downtrodden, who manages to infuriate the rich and powerful by his sermons and actions. Though opposed by other priests, bishops and also Gainas, a general of the Goths, one is more infuriated with John than the empress Eudoxia. Seductive and manipulative, the Empress at first champions John's selection as leader of the most important See in the eastern part of the empire, but repeatedly turns against him when confronted, with dire consequences. Tarnished as any human, John still comes across as 'golden' when compared to the times in which he lived. Experience the 4th century Middle East on its own terms, or view this vel as a prelude to the current turmoil of that region. Either way, APPLE OF GOLD, SETTINGS OF SILVER is a fascinating read.
ARLON K. STUBBE has been enchanted by reading and writing since grade school. That love of words morphed into a career of producing and delivering sermons for 41 years, stints as an op-ed writer for two local newspapers, the crafting of poems, membership in a creative writing group at Penn State and the publication of three non-fiction books and three other novels in addition to this one. In APPLE OF GOLD, SETTINGS OF SILVER the author focuses his creative energies on church history and theology, bringing to life Syria and Turkey in the last half of the fourth century. STUBBE has bachelor degrees in philosophy and parish ministry and a Doctor of Ministry degree from the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago. He served three different ELCA churches over a period of 41 years, and now does occasional supply work in Florida and Pennsylvania. Retired in 2007, he and his wife Jozette divide their time between homes in Florida and western Pennsylvania.