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Elder Joseph the Hesychast (Elder Joseph of Vatopaidi)


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#1 Paul Cowan

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Posted 05 June 2010 - 06:28 PM

Title: Elder Joseph the Hesychast
Author(s): Elder Joseph of Vatopaidi
Publisher: Great and Holy Monastery of Vatopaidi; 4th edition (1999)
ISBN: 960-7735-12-9
ISBN-13: 978-9607735126
Pages: 237
Sub-Genre: Spiritual Counsels; Orthodox Life
Price: $12.95 currently unavailable 6 June 2010
Links: Amazon.com; Saint Anthony's Greek Orthodox Monastery
Description: From Saint Anthony's Greek Orthodox Monastery: Elder Joseph the Hesychast (+1959) was one of the most important figures in Athonite monasticism in the twentieth century. The first part of the book presents Elder Joseph's life: his childhood and youth and later his life on the Holy Mountain--his extreme ascetical struggles and hesychastic lifestyle, his difficult trials and lengthy battles with the demons, his profound visions and inspired spiritual guidance, his martyric endurance in illnesses, and finally his holy repose. The second part presents Elder Joseph's teachings on different aspects of spiritual life.

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#2 Paul Cowan

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Posted 05 June 2010 - 06:38 PM

This book is a very easy read. The author, Elder Joseph, the holy fathers spiritual son writes in a very humble and easy way. The translation by Elizabeth Theokritoff is very well done from Greek to English IMO. Not that I know Greek, but I can visualize what is going on through the text without having to decipher "formal" language.

I am really struggling with this book on its content. The spiritual life of the holy elder is one of incredibility. I read the lives of the saints all the time and though I believe thme, they are "of another world". This elder is from our century making this a whole different reality for me.

I understand the necessity of privation, but maybe it is just my soft life that does not allow me to understand him forcing himeself to stay awake for a week only to pass out, hit his head and be chastised by God for not being willing to endure all things for Him. He then received comfort from God and praised Him with tears. Or eating so little to emaciate his body to the point of not being able to move due to weakness. Only 3 ounces of flour with water a day and only after 6 o'clock.

If we don't care for the body, how do we care for the soul? I don't understand. But then how can I? I am not in that arena.

Paul




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