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Reading group: St Theophan, 'The path to salvation'


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#1 Rick H.

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Posted 22 October 2007 - 06:28 PM

Dear All,

On her blog, Celinda has highly recommended: The Path to Salvation: A Manual of Spiritual Transformation, by St. Theophan the Recluse translated by Fr. Seraphim Rose and the St. Herman of Alaska Brotherhood

http://www.archangelsbooks.com/proddetail.asp?prod=HERTHEOPH%2D03

I am hoping to find my copy in the mailbox today or tomorrow. I am wondering if there are any here who have any comments about the contents of this work. Also, if there are any that would be interested, I am wondering about the possibility of a reading group approach on this one?

Thanks for any helps here.

In Christ,
Rick

#2 Andrew

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Posted 22 October 2007 - 06:57 PM

Dear All,

On her blog, Celinda has highly recommended: The Path to Salvation: A Manual of Spiritual Transformation, by St. Theophan the Recluse translated by Fr. Seraphim Rose and the St. Herman of Alaska Brotherhood

http://www.archangelsbooks.com/proddetail.asp?prod=HERTHEOPH%2D03

I am hoping to find my copy in the mailbox today or tomorrow. I am wondering if there are any here who have any comments about the contents of this work. Also, if there are any that would be interested, I am wondering about the possibility of a reading group approach on this one?

Thanks for any helps here.

In Christ,
Rick



Saint Theophan wrote extremely helpful books on the spiritual life. Very simple, direct, and true. Path to Salvation is one of his works that I need to buy.

#3 Rick H.

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Posted 22 October 2007 - 07:04 PM

Saint Theophan wrote extremely helpful books on the spiritual life. Very simple, direct, and true. Path to Salvation is one of his works that I need to buy.


Andrew, just want to mention that when I initially looked for a copy of this book at places like Amazon and Abe.com, they are selling copies from $50 to over $100:

Amazon.com: The Path to Salvation: A Manual of Spiritual Transformation: Books: St. the Recluse Theophan,Seraphim Rose,St., o.


But, the link provided above for Archangels will allow a new copy to be purchased for $17.95.

In Christ,
Rick

#4 Father David Moser

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Posted 22 October 2007 - 10:49 PM

Dear All,

On her blog, Celinda has highly recommended: The Path to Salvation: A Manual of Spiritual Transformation, by St. Theophan the Recluse translated by Fr. Seraphim Rose and the St. Herman of Alaska Brotherhood
... I am wondering if there are any here who have any comments about the contents of this work.


This is a primary source for me. I replaced my worn paperback volume with a hardbound edition.

Fr David Moser

#5 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 23 October 2007 - 01:01 AM

We are blessed to be able to read this classic book in the English translation - apparently, the original Russian is tough reading because of its high-flown literary style!

#6 Antonios

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Posted 23 October 2007 - 05:00 AM

It was on my list to read. Count me as in.

#7 Michael Stickles

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Posted 24 October 2007 - 12:28 PM

I've just started reading it - a reading group approach sounds good to me too.

Mike

#8 Rick H.

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Posted 24 October 2007 - 12:43 PM

Antonios and Mike, that sounds great. Based on the comments of the others above, we might have something good here. Now if my copy will only arrive, I can get started reading too :)

#9 Rick H.

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Posted 25 October 2007 - 11:48 PM

Just want to mention that I received my copy of this book from Archangels today. For starters it is a hard back with very heavy boards, thick pages, dark printing, and it is cut and sewn. It only has 352 pages, but it is a heavy little book--all for $17.95. Okay, I'll admit that I am a bibliophile; but, just to let any interested know this is a pretty good deal. I don't see a publisher's name in the book, but the St. Herman of Alaska Brotherhood and St. Paisius Orthodox Monastery (Stafford, AZ) are listed in the front, so hats off to all involved in the publishing here. Now for the preface . . .

#10 Father David Moser

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Posted 26 October 2007 - 12:46 AM

the St. Herman of Alaska Brotherhood and St. Paisius Orthodox Monastery (Stafford, AZ) are listed in the front, so hats off to all involved in the publishing here. Now for the preface . . .


Are you sure it was St Paisius Monastery (Stafford, AZ) ? My hardbound copy on the reverse of the Title page states that the copyright is by St Herman of Alaska Brotherhood (1996) and then directs all correspondence to either St Herman of Alaska Brotherhood in Platina CA or St Paisius Abbey in Forestville, CA.

Fr David Moser

#11 Michael Stickles

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Posted 26 October 2007 - 12:51 PM

Are you sure it was St Paisius Monastery (Stafford, AZ) ? My hardbound copy on the reverse of the Title page states that the copyright is by St Herman of Alaska Brotherhood (1996) and then directs all correspondence to either St Herman of Alaska Brotherhood in Platina CA or St Paisius Abbey in Forestville, CA.


In my copy, the actual page says that, but over top of the address for St. Paisius Abbey is a sticker with the address for St. Paisius Orthodox Monastery.

Mike

#12 Rick H.

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Posted 26 October 2007 - 05:33 PM

I have the same Copyright [1996] as you Father David. It sounds like I might have the same book as you Mike (ISBN: 1-887904-51-4). I have a sticker on page 3 with the Monastery in Safford, AZ over the name of the Abbey in CA, and I have another sticker on page 4 that makes the same change. I notice Amazon cites the publisher as St. Herman Press, so I guess this is how I will cite the book also--does anyone know if they actually have a press/publishing company? Now if I can just carve out some reading time!

#13 Fr Raphael Vereshack

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Posted 26 October 2007 - 09:52 PM

I have the same Copyright [1996] as you Father David. It sounds like I might have the same book as you Mike (ISBN: 1-887904-51-4). I have a sticker on page 3 with the Monastery in Safford, AZ over the name of the Abbey in CA, and I have another sticker on page 4 that makes the same change. I notice Amazon cites the publisher as St. Herman Press, so I guess this is how I will cite the book also--does anyone know if they actually have a press/publishing company? Now if I can just carve out some reading time!


You can find their press by following this link St Herman's Press

Then scroll down to the bottom of the page and follow the link marked Catalogue of Publications.

In Christ- Fr Raphael

#14 Rick H.

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Posted 26 October 2007 - 10:25 PM

You can find their press by following this link St Herman's Press

Then scroll down to the bottom of the page and follow the link marked Catalogue of Publications.

In Christ- Fr Raphael



Thanks Father, I just glanced at some of their titles and bookmarked St. Herman's Press for future use.

In Christ,
Rick

#15 Rick H.

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Posted 27 October 2007 - 02:27 PM

Well, I have read the first 100 pages of this book so far. I was a little surprised at the amount of space devoted towards the training up and raising of children/youth. I think there is much value, and accuracy, in what St. Theophan writes; however, it wasn't what I was expecting. Hopefully, I can finish this book this weekend and then on my second trip through it, next week, possibly, we can see if any are ready to begin discussing this book beginning with the introduction by the author. If any want to start with the preface, that is more than fine; but,after reading Abbot Herman's comments and based on my knowledge of monachos, this might not be the best way to try to get our discussion off the ground here.

In Christ,
Rick

#16 Nicolaj

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Posted 27 October 2007 - 03:24 PM

Well, I have read the first 100 pages of this book so far.


Dear Rick you are a fast reader, I have a copy in German tongue and the language used is a bit 'old-fashioned' and much I have to read twice or more just to get it in.
But it is fascinating, and I am learning. As my father said it is a good book, teaching the ABC for such a sinner as I am.

Lord Jesus Christ, thank you for sending the sinner I am, so much wisdom to enlighten my soul in the darkness of the heart. Father Theophan pray for us!

Christos voskrese! Nicolaj

#17 Father David Moser

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Posted 27 October 2007 - 03:44 PM

Well, I have read the first 100 pages of this book so far. I was a little surprised at the amount of space devoted towards the training up and raising of children/youth.


In the world this book might be called a book about "developmental psychology" or something. St Theophan starts with the assumption that the newly baptized Christian is an infant and so works through the stages of spiritual development as the child grows. We all go through these stages, no matter when we are baptized and so even as adults these first chapters about the raising of children are important because it describes to us the necessity of shaping our souls in a particular way in the very first months and years following our baptism. When you read this - consider that you are the child and that you were born at your baptism and this is what you must accomplish in the early part of your Orthodox life.

For those of us who have been baptized a while and for better or worse are no longer spiritual infants, it is still important to reflect on our spiritual upbringing and note the areas where we developed correctly or where we dropped the ball and so have to go back and either regain that part of our development or compensate for it in the present.

You do read fast and so I will have to raise my re-reading of this book up on the priority list in order to refresh my memory.

Fr David Moser

#18 Rick H.

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Posted 29 October 2007 - 01:21 PM

Glad to hear you are reading The Path too Nicolaj.

Thanks for the help/insight Father David. As we consider spiritual development/formation, regardless of age, I appreciate this work as it brings to light, very plainly, healthy transitions between stages as opposed to possibly a more dysfunctional development and growth. As you say, these are general principles, laid down if the first part of this book, for spiritual transformation and living in the Orthodox Way.

For any who do not know, the author of this book provides an introduction plus twenty chapters divided into three parts:

Part I
How Does the Christian Life Begin in Us?



Part II
On Repentance and the Sinner's Turning Toward God



Part III
How the Christian Life Is Lived, Ripened and Fortified and about the Order of a God-Pleasing Life


Over the weekend, I moved through the first two parts of this book; however, this third section has stopped me in my tracks. This third section is really speaking to me, and has caused me to abandon my usual method of moving straight through a book, cover-to-cover, and then on a second run through breaking out the colored highliters and pens and pencils, and ruler.

So, I still have about 84 pages left to go with this work; but, I am wondering today about the voice(s) in this book, so to say.

I am personally benefiting from this book very much, and for what little it is worth, this book has already made my top ten list. This book is bringing me in touch, with Orthodoxy, like no other vehicle ever has. But, what I am wondering about is . . . while this book does speak to me, and I feel like I am "in touch" with the author (as with some books, you can almost feel like you are getting to know the author or get a feel for him or her), it occurs to me that this is a collective effort here.

Or, more to the point, The Path is a translation by Fr. Seraphim Rose and the St. Herman of Alaska Brotherhood. Above, Andreas has commented of the loftiness or the "high-flown" style of St. Theophan of the original in his hand.

So, I am wondering about this. Are we English readers getting to know the spirit of St. Theophan here in these works? Or, is this English version that we hold more of an example of the symphony that Herman the Pooh writes of so well, and what I have concluded is the Spirit of Life? It would be easy to say that these three persons/groups are one in the same; however, I am wondering if any have an insight about this. We all have different personalities, and for example, just as I think we can see glimpses of the individual personalities of the disciples of Christ come through in the Holy Writ . . . I am wondering if any more informed than I can enlighten me here--how much of St. Theophan's style are we seeing here? As Andrew has said, I agree this work is "Very simple, direct, and true;" but, if the original is "high-flown" . . . I guess I am wondering how much we are really getting to know St. Theophan here?

This question is not important in light of the big picture, the general principles that are being presented in The Path, but as it relates to St. Theophan the man, it is one that I have an interest in.

Now back to Part III.

In Christ,
Rick

PS To any who haven't read this book, along with Celinda, I 'highly recommend' this work also. I can already see that this is a book that will be a 'primary source' as Father David has said--some books are read through and become something that you only see when you dust it, this is not one of those.

#19 Fr Raphael Vereshack

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Posted 29 October 2007 - 01:35 PM

Rick Henry wrote:

how much of St. Theophan's style are we seeing here? As Andrew has said, I agree this work is "Very simple, direct, and true;" but, if the original is "high-flown" . . . I guess I am wondering how much we are really getting to know St. Theophan here?


On the one hand I think the description of The Path as, "Very simple, direct, and true", comes from the way in which his book presents the spiritual life in a way that we in the west are more able to apply to our daily life. A large part of this must come from St Theophan's being closer to our time & culture.

On the other hand St Theophan's Russian is more difficult than that of many other Russian religious writers. I'm not sure but in his Russian one senses an educated and perhaps poetic mind also.

In Christ- Fr Raphael

#20 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 29 October 2007 - 02:36 PM

Andreas has commented of the loftiness or the "high-flown" style of St. Theophan of the original in his hand.


Not in my hand - remember, I can't read Russian!




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