Here are some of the books that may be of interest to you as you study:
1) The Law of God
by Fr. Seraphim Sloboskoy. Perhaps my favorite book about Orthodox Life and the only comprehensive treatment of the Orthodox Faith for the layman in English, Fr. Seraphim's work begins with Creation, Church History, and ranges through many of the predicaments of modern life in the Faith. It is a useful tool for catechesis, for family reading, for individual pondering, and should certainly be found in every Orthodox home. It is written by a Russian Orthodox Christian and thus leans more to Slavic practice and not the Byzantine practices of the Antiochian or Greek Orthodox Church, still it is an excellent book I used with my family.
2) Frederica Mathews-GreenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s books (The Illumined Heart
and At the Corner of East and Now
), are light reading but present journey to Orthodoxy and its practice from a popular lay writer.
3) Orthodox Christian Beliefs
by Stanley Samuel Harakas. This book is based upon his highly popular question and answer column in the Orthodox Observer of teh GOA. The answers he provides is to the most commonly asked questions of Greek Orthodox Laity.
4) I particularly liked Father Abramtsov's book The Orthodox Companion
as a tool to learning the "how tos" of the faith and practices---it for example illustrates how to do a metania.
5) A Catechetical Handbook of the Eastern Orthodox Church
by Dr. Diomidis H. Stamatis. This comprehensive Catechism by a noted Orthodox Scholar comes highly recommended. The first part covers: What to Believe; The Existence of God; Incarnation; Redemption; Resurrection; Ascension; Judgment; The Holy Spirit; The Church and the Fathers; Remission of Sins; The End of Man. Part two covers: What To Do for Our Salvation; How To Be Sanctified; Daily Prayers; Spiritual Helps; Prayer and Worship; Divine Liturgy; Miscellaneous Topics. Part three focuses on: The Veneration of Icons; St. Isaac on Fasting; St. Chrysostom on Homosexuality; The Panagia; Women in the Church; Deaconess in the Early Church; Life After Death; Memorials; Monasticism; Ecumenism etc. Includes a Synaxarion of Selected Saints, the Celebration Dates of Selected Saints Throughout the Year, a Glossary and Bibliography. 592 pages.
6) St. Gregory Palamas and Orthodox Spirituality
by John Meyendorff. A highly regarded discussion of Orthodox spirituality-the Desert Fathers, Byzantine hesychasm, the Russian Startzy, and above all Gregory Palamas, the fourteenth century Byzantine saint. This book addresses the basics of personal spirituality and enlightenment in the words of the Church Fathers.4. Participate in the services of the Church on a regular basis. This of course is without need to explain, attend Church services when you are able to, and participate to your best ability singing, praying, and supporting others in prayer.
7) The Way of the Fathers: Exploring the Patristic Mind
, by Fr. John Chryssavgis. Too often we try to read the Church Fathers with our modern mindset, the book helps the you to understand and begin to think like the Patristic fathers, an important skill needed as one reads them. This is an impressive introduction to the "way of the Fathers," using an approach that goes beyond knowledge to silence and love in the understanding of God. Archimandrite Vasileios of Mt. Athos writes in the Foreword, "The great Fathers are not intellectual giants of human theories, but inspirational mystagogues (inviting) us all into the kingdom of God." Chapters include: A Vision of History; The Age of the Fathers; The Making of Patristic Theology; Methodology of the Fathers; The Church Fathers: Yesterday and Today; Reading the Fathers etc. 218 pages.Christ in His Saints
By Patrick Henry Reardon. This is a good Orthodox book on the Saints and their witness of the Christ. Father Patrick Henry Reardon examines the lives of almost one hundred and fifty saints and heroes from the ScripturesÃ¢â‚¬â€ everyone from Abigail to Zephaniah, Adam to St. John the Theologian. This well-researched work includes many Bible personalities: Old Testament saints, New Testament saints, Ã¢â‚¬Å“Repentant saints,Ã¢â‚¬Â Ã¢â‚¬Å“Zealous saints,Ã¢â‚¬Â Ã¢â‚¬Å“Saints under pressureÃ¢â‚¬Â Christ in His Saints is far more than just a biblical whoÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s who. These men and women represent that ancient family into which, by baptism, all believers have been incorporated. Together they compose that great Ã¢â‚¬Å“cloud of witnessesÃ¢â‚¬Â cheering us on and inspiring us through word and deed. This may be a good introduction to their role as witness and window to heaven
9) A Beginner Guide to Prayer
by Michael Keiser. This is a book for those struggling to establish an effective life of prayer. It speaks to the average man or woman on the street who desires a deeper relationship with God but is unsure how or where to begin. Drawing from nearly 2000 years of Orthodox spiritual wisdom, the author offers warm, practical, pastoral advice whose genius is to be found in its homespun simplicity and straightforwardness of style. This book may be helpful in enriching your prayer life by giving you spritual direction in making prayer a meaningful and regular part of your life.
If you are married or contemplating marriage you may wish to read a little on the Orthodox Christian view of Marriage as a Ã¢â‚¬Å“green martyrdomÃ¢â‚¬Â and the meaning of the Christian marriage:
1) The Meaning of Christian Marriage
Bp. Mitrophan Znosko-Borovsky, trans. Matushka Maria Naumenko. Perhaps no single aspect of the Christian life is under such concerted assault in our days as is the holy state of matrimony. Bp. Mitrophan, in a few words, outlines the nature of Christian marriage and encourages those who enter therein.
2) Marriage as a Path to Holiness
byDavid & Mary Ford. Lives of over 130 married saints of the Orthodox Church, with an introduction summarizing the Orthodox Tradition concerning marriage.
Now that you have about three years of reading, between my recommendations and the others. I look forward to hearing from you soon.