top of page

Spirituality: East/West & Ancient/Future Faith

Avi grew up in a typical white Evangelical Christian background.  However, from an early age, he was an explorer of spirituality.  He took the bus to Sunday School and visited churches of various denominations (that's all he was aware of as a child in Beloit, Wisconsin).  Just before high school graduation, Avi found the Pentecostal church where he was "baptized in the Holy Ghost", the quintessential experience in this tradition.

However, given his inquisitive nature, Avi soon found himself bumping up against the fundamentalist dogma in this particular expression of Christianity, as well as having serious doubts about certain theological claims of exclusivity.  Avi ended up doing his undergraduate degree in Religious Studies and Journalism at Beloit College.  There he continued to explore the spiritual landscape of world religions and his journey eventually led him to California where he was introduced to the Eastern Orthodox tradition.  At the same time, a back injury was instrumental in Avi's discovery of yoga.  He found resonance with the teachings of Swami Abhishiktananda (Fr. Henri LeSaux) and Swami Dayananda (Fr. Bede Griffiths), both Catholic monks who spent most of their lives in India.  Avi was ordained in the Syrian Orthodox tradition, receiving his training from the late Metropolitan Archbishop Joseph Mar Koorilose (MISC) and the founding Archbishop of the MTOC, Veron Mar Enoch Ashe.  After returning to the United States from India, Avi resumed his work in teaching and ministry.

Yeshu Mandala is a meditation and music community established by Avi Penhollow in 2003.  There will soon be more information added regarding his work in kirtan and Christ conscious bhakti yoga.  For more information on The Mar Thoma Orthodox Church
click here.

bottom of page