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Which spiritual books are people reading?


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#21 Anthony

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Posted 22 June 2007 - 10:14 AM

Vera, thank you for your recommendation also. Please can you tell me where Sergiev Posad is?


Dear Nina,

It is the location of St Sergius of Radonezh's Monastery of the Holy Trinity, a little way from Moscow. On some maps it still has its Soviet name, Zagorsk.

Anthony

#22 Maria Mahoney

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Posted 22 June 2007 - 12:03 PM

Dear Nina,

In 1998-2000 these were the books I read... after that, I stopped keeping track. They are all very excellent! (The numbers that are missing were non-Orthodox books).


1. The Great Collection of Lives of the Saints November Volume 3 from the original compiled by Saint Demetrius of Rostov
2. The Philokalia v1
3. John Climacus: The Ladder of Divine Ascent
4. Pseudo-Dionysius The Complete Works
5. From Glory to Glory by Gregory of Nyssa
7. Introduction to Liturgical Theology by Alexander Schmemann
8. Holy Women of Russian By Brenda Meehan
9. Eternal Mysteries Beyond the Grave Compiled by Archimandrite Panteleimon
10. Marriage As A Path To Holiness: Lives of Married Saints by David and
Mary Ford
11. Symeon The New Theologian: The Discourses
12. Holy Mothers of Orthodoxy by Eva Catafygiotu Topping
17. The Mystical Theology of the Eastern Church by Vladimir Lossky
18. The Communion of Love by Matthew the Poor
19. Penthos: The Doctrine of Compunction in the Christian East by Irenee Hausherr, SJ
21. Gregory Palamas: The Triads
22. The Desert Fathers by Waddell
23. The Luminous Eye The Spiritual World Vision of Saint Ephram the Syrian
24. The Spiritual Life And How to be Attuned to it By St. Thophan the Recluse
26. St. Seraphim of Sarov: A Spiritual Biography by Archmandrite Lazarus
Moore (twice)
27. The Eucharist by Alexander Schmemann
29. Orthodox Dogmatic Theology by Michael Pomanzansky
30. St. Gregory Palamas as a Hagiorite by Metropolitan of Nafpaktos
Hierotheos
32. The Life of Father John of Kronstadt by Bishop Alexander
33. Blessed Paisius Velichkovsky by Schemamonk Metrophanes
34. The Primacy of Peter by John Meyendorff Editor
35. Not of This World: The Life and Teaching of Fr. Seraphim Rose
37. Pilgrimage of the Heart: A Treasury of Eastern Christian Spirituality
Edited, With Introduction and Epilogue, by George A. Maloney, S.J.
38. St. John Chrysostom: On Marriage and the Family Life
40. Letters to a Beginner: On Giving One's Life To God by Abbess Thaisia A
Spiritual Mother of Holy Russia
41. The Way of a Pilgrim and The Pilgrim Continues His Way Annonymous
42. The Explanation by Blessed Theophylact of The Holy Gospel According to
St. Matthew
43. The Explanation by Blessed Theophylact of The Holy Gospel According to
St. Mark
44. The Explanation by Blessed Theophylact of The Holy Gospel According to
St. Luke
45. The Soul After Death by Fr. Seraphim Rose
46. Saint Sergius and Russian Spirituality by Pierre Kovalevsky
47. Counsels For Life From the Life and Teachings of Fr. Epiphanios
Theodoropoulos
49. Blessed Sufferer: The Life and Mystical Revelations of a Russian Eldress: SCHEMANUN MACARIA by Gennady Durasov
50. The Diary of a Russian Priest by Alexander Elchaninov
51. The Spiritual Counsels of Father John of Kronstadt: Selected Passages
from MY LIFE IN CHRIST
52. Elder Leonid of Optina by Fr. Clement Sederholm
59. The Art of Prayer: an Orthodox anthology
60. The Bible And The Holy Fathers For Orthodox by Johanna Manley
68. Orthodox Spirituality An Outline of the Orthodox Ascetical and Mystical Tradition by A Monk of the Eastern Church
70. Being As Communion by John Zizoulas
72. A Commentary on the Divine Liturgy by Nicholas Cabasilas
73. On the Upbringing of Children by Bishop Irenaius
75. At the End of Time The Eschatological Expectations of the Church by Bishop Gerasimos of Abydos
77. The Orthodox Word Nos. 193-4 1997 Martyred Serbia
78. Partakers of Divine Nature by Stavropoulos
79. Youth of the Apocalypse And The Last True Rebellion by Monks John Marler
and Andrew Wermuth
80. Hymns on Paradise by St. Ephrem the Syrian
81. Orthodox Psychotherapy: The science of the Fathers by Bishop of
Nafpaktos Hierotheos
82. Preserve Them, O Lord by Father John Mack
83. A night in the desert of the Holy Mountain: Discussion with a hermit on
Jesus prayer by Bishop of Nafpaktos Hierotheos
84. Animals and Man by Joanne Stefanatos
85. Maximus Confessor Selected Writings
86. One of the Ancients The Life and Struggles of a Russian Man of Prayer:
ELDER GABRIEL of Pskov and Kazan by St. Simeon Kholmogorov
88. Spiritual Direction in the Early Christian East by Irenee Hausherr, SJ
93. Abbess Thaisia: An Autobiography
97. My Life in Christ by St. John of Kronstadt
98. The Philokalia v2 - v5
99. Orthodox Spirituality by Bishop of Nafpaktos Hierotheos
100. Life After Death by Metropolitan of Nafpaktos Hierotheos
101. The illness and cure of the soul in the Orthodox tradition by Archim.
Hierotheos Vlachos
102. The Deification of Man by Georgios I. Mantzaridis
103. Living The Faith The Praxis of Eastern Orthodox Ethics by Stanley Harakas
104. Contemporary Ascetics of Mount Athos Volumes One and Two by Archimandrite Cherubim
105. Selected Essays by Protopresbyter Michael Pomazansky
106. The Meaning of Suffering and Strife and Reconciliation by Archimandrite Seraphim Aleksiev
107. The First-Created Man by St. Symeon the New Theologian
109. In the Image and Likeness of God by Vladimir Lossky
110. On the Holy Spirit by St. Basil the Great
111. The Church Fathers on the Bible by Sadowski
112. The Life of Moses by Gregory of Nyssa
114. St. Gregory Palamas and Orthodox Spirituality by John Meyendorff
115. On The Soul And The Resurrection by St. Gregory of Nyssa
116. Treatise on the Spiritual Life by Saint Gregory Palamas
117. Salt of the Earth St. Paul Florensky
118. Fr. Arseny 1893-1973


In Christ,
Maria

#23 Kornelius

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Posted 23 June 2007 - 02:54 AM

Dear Nina,

Thank you for starting a thread that focuses upon orthodox texts. Your contribution becomes even more significant considering how intellectual and well read you are in many other secular areas, yet your heart dwells and rejoices in orthodoxy. The pressure of the world with its "progressive ideas" does not affect your Orthodox poise. You are familiar with both kinds of wisdoms and while you possess the discretion and open-mindedness to receive benefits from the secular one, you are not intellectually intimidated or embarrassed of your Christ and His fullness of wisdom.

Despite what this world labels us, namely unconformable to the "progressive ideas" of this New Age, we say that we are proud of such label. Many people and their "progressive ideas" have plagued mankind from Nimrod's Ziggurat of Babel up until this Age of Reason where man in his folly exalts his reason above everything else. What does Nimrod, the architect of the Tower of Babel and the New Age man have in common? They both want to place their throne higher than God's. I wonder where they get the idea from. While these are nothing but futile and fleeting ideas carrying grave consequences for one's soul salvation, our Orthodox Church emanates eternal salvific ideas. Please Nina, continue to humble us with our saint's wisdom and remind us that we are nothing without the grace of Christ.

I also admire the spirit of your rhetoric, your genuine straight-forwardness transcending fake formalities and emotional or intellectual fluffiness, yet never lacking at any moment lofty Christian love. Thank you, again for being a champion at Monachos in echoing our saint's wisdom into our discussions, and for re-addressing our quest for the right answers back at them. I look forward to read and learn from your future posts! Let us follow your example and never forget that this forum is indeed about Orthodoxy, and our free and creative thinking/debate - as valuable as it is - ends where Orthodoxy is diminished.

Finally, I would like to say that recently I have been reading some yet to be published dogmatic manuscripts from our dear Fr. Romanides, a champion of God-illumined theology. I hope that soon they will see the light of publication!

#24 M.C. Steenberg

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Posted 23 June 2007 - 09:41 AM

Dear all,

As a side-effect of my work, I am always reading a tremendous number of books. But that which clings to the mind most strongly at the moment is the Life of Saint Anthony, which I am reading for perhaps the twentieth time -- and which I often think is the only book Christians need.

INXC, Matthew

#25 Rick H.

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Posted 23 June 2007 - 10:58 AM

Dear Matthew,

I just did a quick search for this book and found more than one with this title. Could you please give more info for those who would like to order a copy?

Thanks.

In Christ,
Rick

#26 Vera L.

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Posted 24 June 2007 - 04:11 AM

Dear friends,

Thank you very much for all the recommendations. Some of the books you recommend I have read and some not, so I am compiling a list. I hope you can continue to recommend more as you read. I did not finish my book about the Hermitess Photini yet.

Vera, thank you for your recommendation also. Please can you tell me where Sergiev Posad is?


Sorry about the delayed reply! Though Anthony has already answered your question, just thought I would let you know that if you are ever planning to go to Russia and would like to visit Sergiev Posad there are regular pilgrimmages to the monastery there organised by different Orthodox organisations, such as "Radonezh"
http://www.radonez.ru/angl/pro/pro.HTM
There are also pilgrimmages organised to Russia by Russian Orthodox people in America (I think!). I know some Australians went on pilgrimmages organised from the U.S. And often these trips will include Sergiev Posad.
Hope that helps a bit!
In Christ,
Vera
=)

#27 Nina

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Posted 29 June 2007 - 06:02 PM

Sorry about the delayed reply! Though Anthony has already answered your question, just thought I would let you know that if you are ever planning to go to Russia and would like to visit Sergiev Posad there are regular pilgrimmages to the monastery there organised by different Orthodox organisations, such as "Radonezh"
http://www.radonez.ru/angl/pro/pro.HTM
There are also pilgrimmages organised to Russia by Russian Orthodox people in America (I think!). I know some Australians went on pilgrimmages organised from the U.S. And often these trips will include Sergiev Posad.
Hope that helps a bit!
In Christ,
Vera
=)


Thank you dear Vera! Of course it does help! A lot! :)

Thank you to all who wrote with other book suggestions! I am very happy to hear that many have read what I have also! It makes the bond of Orthodoxy feel so alive, when I see other brothers and sisters reading the same books. I never knew who was the cause for my wish-list spiritual books to be sold out! :) When I see a sold out in the future, for a planned-to-read-book, I know that you all are the responsible ones. :) But thankfully there are libraries also. :)

Also, I agree with Matthew that the Life of Saint Anthony is all a Christian needs to read and follow. I was a teen when I first read that the Saint after hearing the Gospel immediately distributed his property to the poor and went to the desert. I stopped and asked myself: "What am I doing still here?!!! This is what I should also do, follow Saint Anthony's example!" Alas, I can never reach that purity of the soul and degree of repentance and bravery! So I keep reading... Saint Anthony is the closest to the Throne of God, an angel said to someone. So, yes Matthew you are right, that is the Saint we need to read about and emulate always.

I finished the book about Hermitess Photini some days ago. I stand by my first impressions that the book is a treasure and I highly recommend it. I learned so much from it! In addition to the spiritually didactic value, the book fills one's soul with gratitude for God's gifts to us and His love and mercy and gratefulness for His creation.

Also the Hermitess, who stresses very much the importance of manual labor, was a very resourceful person and while giving a detailed description and explanation of her survival in the wilderness she concretizes the daily routine and life of those saintly people who were like her. It is very pleasing and stimulating spiritually because one can easily imagine and visualize what those wonderful human beings do during their days besides praying, worshiping and glorifying God and making the world still revolve through their prayers.

At the moment I am reading... nothing.
Well, if it counts, I am reading 'Monachos' - :) 30,000 messages! More than one large book. Thank you and congratulations to the mastermind and all those who contribute!

But really at the moment I am not reading a spiritual book. Although that can change during the next seconds. :)

However I would like to thank you all because you gave me inspiration and ideas, so I am considering the book "We shall see Him as He Is" recommended by Sandra, and "Living without hypocrisy" recommended by many here. Also there have been some weeks that I feel inclined to reread an awsome book which is recomended by Maria: "Blessed Sufferer: The Life and Mystical Revelations of a Russian Eldress: SCHEMANUN MACARIA" by Gennady Durasov.
Yes Maria, in addition to all the wonderful books you and others have recommended, this is an amazing story of endurance and humility. I should probably start with this for now. :)

Thank you to all and please continue to share information and recommend spiritual gems!

#28 Katrina Delsante

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Posted 29 June 2007 - 10:17 PM

St. Silouan the Athonite - I get through 75% of this book and then find myself in despair that I shall never reach his heights of humility. A simply fantastic book however!

Matericon: Instructions of Abba Isaiah to the Honorable Nun Theodora-
Great bits of advice for everyone.

Meditations on a Theme by Metropolitan Anthony - He's so easy to read and understand and really just cuts to the case. After reading his very "human" biography about a month ago, I was very anxious to read his writings.

Echoes of a Native Land by Serge Schmemann- A pleasurable read thus far.

In Christ,
Katrina

#29 Anthony

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Posted 01 July 2007 - 01:48 PM

Are there any good Orthodox bookstores where you can order books on-line? Otherwise I can see amazon.com having to start paying Matthew Steenberg commission...

(PS - in my case sites in Europe or Britain would be better.)

#30 Herman Blaydoe

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Posted 01 July 2007 - 06:49 PM

You might want to start here:
Logos (Netherlands)
Orthodox Christian Books (UK)

#31 Nina

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Posted 01 July 2007 - 09:14 PM

Dear Anthony,

Whenever I can, I try also to order books from monasteries and churches which have an online bookstore. Not only it supports them, but also it makes me feel almost like I visited the place myself.

For instance, on the feast of Saint Anthony the Great I could not go to Arizona for a pilgrimage to the monastery that is dedicated to the Saint. Therefore I ordered something online, since I would have bought things if I went there anyway. What is even more special: when I called to give the card number/confirm purchase, the monk I spoke with, and whom I do not know, asked me if I wished to give them names for prayer :) I thought that was so wonderful and caring. :)

#32 Vera L.

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Posted 02 July 2007 - 11:19 AM

Thankyou Nina and Herman for these ideas and websites, and of course Anthony for asking the question. Living in Australia, where there are limited Orthodox bookshops and monasteries, it is great to know where I can find such a huge range of Orthodox books!
In Christ,
Vera

#33 Anthony

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Posted 05 July 2007 - 05:18 PM

Thank you, Herman, Nina and Vera. Buying from monasteries would be ideal, those that have the facilities for online purchasing. (They don't really have to be this side of the Atlantic, that was just my laziness and impatience coming through.)

#34 Nina

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Posted 06 July 2007 - 01:04 AM

Buying from monasteries would be ideal, those that have the facilities for online purchasing. (They don't really have to be this side of the Atlantic, that was just my laziness and impatience coming through.)


I gave that example since I live here. But there are many wonderful monasteries in your continent also with online bookstores and wonderful spiritual publications in various languages. :)

And I did not see anyone being lazy, or impatient. :) You were not asking for monasteries, but for sites like A.

#35 John E.

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Posted 08 July 2007 - 11:39 PM

I was glad to have found this thread addressing a great question. I am a convert to Orthodoxy(4 years now) and am looking to go into a deeper understanding of the faith. I want to learn everything about the Church, but don't know where to start. My spiritual father has agreed to discuss with me a book of my choosing to help me understand it and to guide me through it. I just don't know where to start. Does anyone have any suggestions? Looking forward to any responses.

B.T.E.

#36 M.C. Steenberg

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Posted 09 July 2007 - 10:18 AM

Dear Brian, you wrote:

I was glad to have found this thread addressing a great question. I am a convert to Orthodoxy(4 years now) and am looking to go into a deeper understanding of the faith. I want to learn everything about the Church, but don't know where to start. My spiritual father has agreed to discuss with me a book of my choosing to help me understand it and to guide me through it. I just don't know where to start. Does anyone have any suggestions? Looking forward to any responses.


I would recommend the two as 'starter books' for the kind of study you seem to be talking about - one ancient and one modern:
  • Nicholas Cabasilas' Commentary on the Divine Liturgy
  • Tito Coliander's Way of the Ascetics
The former is the most remarkable document on the mystical nature of the Church's Liturgy and its place in the spiritual life of the parish-going Christian. The second is an extraordinary redaction of authenticascetical thought for the modern world.

INXC, Matthew

#37 Andrew

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Posted 10 July 2007 - 02:29 AM

I was glad to have found this thread addressing a great question. I am a convert to Orthodoxy(4 years now) and am looking to go into a deeper understanding of the faith. I want to learn everything about the Church, but don't know where to start. My spiritual father has agreed to discuss with me a book of my choosing to help me understand it and to guide me through it. I just don't know where to start. Does anyone have any suggestions? Looking forward to any responses.

B.T.E.


Saint Silouan the Athonite, or if you don't have the means or time to track it down, you can get the more readily available books printed by Saint Vladimir's Press of The Monk from Mount Athos and Wisdom from Mount Athos, both by Elder Sophrony.

Read all the books printed in English by Elder Sophrony! The books on St. Silouan are life changing. The books more focused on the Elder personally are important works too... On Prayer is a good one to start with. Then maybe go to His Life is Mine, and finally his magnum opus, We Shall See Him As He Is.

The works of Hierotheos Vlachos are very good too. Orthodox Spirituality is a good starter, very basic but very deep. My favorite work of his is A Night in the Desert of the Holy Mountain, which is an extended talk between the Metropolitan and a hesychast hermit on the Holy Mountain (who was really his spiritual father, Elder Sophrony). His books on "Orthodox Psychotherapy" are enlightening... my own spiritual father once characterized him as the pedagogical equivalent to Father Alexander Schmemann, only instead of conveying the depths of the liturgy to modern man, Metropolitan Hierotheos conveys the traditional ascetical life of the Church and it's relation to all aspects of human existence... of life within God. This sounds like very heavy stuff; it is, but his works are written in a very clear style, and with the guidance of your spiritual father I'm sure you will find his works quite enlightening.

The Life of St. Sava is very good too... it is by St. Nikolai the Serbian. Very inspiring, and full of action and adventure.

The works of Saint Theophan the Recluse are extremely helpful.

Speaking of books, please keep me and a group I am going to be a part of in prayer. I have been invited to be a boardmember of a group that will be compiling the life of Father Lazarus Moore of blessed memory, along with his unpublished diaries, and maybe some critical revisions of some of his texts. My priest's matushka is friends with the woman who was the caretaker for Father Lazarus in Alaska, who now lives in Colorado. As things develop I will hopefully be able to give you more information. I hope I can be more than deadweight in this endeavor!

#38 John Charmley

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Posted 10 July 2007 - 06:37 AM

Dear Matthew,

Dear Brian, you wrote:



I would recommend the two as 'starter books' for the kind of study you seem to be talking about - one ancient and one modern:

  • Nicholas Cabasilas' Commentary on the Divine Liturgy
  • Tito Coliander's Way of the Ascetics
The former is the most remarkable document on the mystical nature of the Church's Liturgy and its place in the spiritual life of the parish-going Christian. The second is an extraordinary redaction of authenticascetical thought for the modern world.

INXC, Matthew


I am much in your debt for recommending the Cabasilas book, which is, indeed, a remarkable volume.

I am finding the Catechetical Lectures of St. Cyril of Jerusalem a renewed blessing; I read them many years ago, but had quite forgotten how extraordinarily good they are are; if one wanted an example of living Tradition, they would certainly serve that purpose.

To those of us familiar with the use of the St. James Liturgy it was interesting to note what he has to say about receiving the Body at the Eucharistic feast: Lecture 23:21:

21. In approaching therefore, come not with thy wrists extended, or thy fingers spread; but make thy left hand a throne for the fight, as for that
which is to receive a King. And having hollowed thy palm, receive the Body of Christ, saying over it, Amen. So then after having carefully hollowed thine eyes by the touch of the Holy Body, partake of it; giving heed lest thou lose any portion thereof; for whatever thou losest, is evidently a loss to thee as it were from one of thine own members.


I don't know when this practice ceased to be common, but if you, or if one of our members can enlighten me, I would be interested to know more.

In Christ,

John

#39 Nina

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Posted 10 July 2007 - 01:15 PM

Dear Brian,

In addition to the wonderful book recommendations from Matthew and Andrew, please consider also the book "Wounded by Love" of Elder Porphyrios.

Dear Andrew,

I am so delighted to hear about the endeavor you are embarking on! May God direct you in this significant mission!

Dear John,

I am interested also to hear the response you asked about; however I have seen the practice, the Saint urges us to follow, very often in the parishes I have attended, or visited. Although, as you say, it is not prevalent.

#40 Fr Raphael Vereshack

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Posted 10 July 2007 - 01:23 PM

Dear Matthew,


I am much in your debt for recommending the Cabasilas book, which is, indeed, a remarkable volume.

I am finding the Catechetical Lectures of St. Cyril of Jerusalem a renewed blessing; I read them many years ago, but had quite forgotten how extraordinarily good they are are; if one wanted an example of living Tradition, they would certainly serve that purpose.

To those of us familiar with the use of the St. James Liturgy it was interesting to note what he has to say about receiving the Body at the Eucharistic feast: Lecture 23:21:


I don't know when this practice ceased to be common, but if you, or if one of our members can enlighten me, I would be interested to know more.

In Christ,

John



Dear John,

Among us the clergy still do receive in this fashion.

This practice ceased for the faithful however due to concern over dropping particles of the Eucharist onto the ground.

If one were to question the difference the practical explanation is that the clergy receive holding their cupped hands over the Altar. So if any particles fall they do so safely onto the Altar & into the antimins which should then be cleaned afterwards.

In Christ- Fr Raphael




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