Author Topic: Question about the book "The Imitation of Christ"  (Read 3709 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline GabrieltheCelt

  • Taxiarches
  • **********
  • Posts: 7,014
  • Faith: Eastern Orthodox OCA
Question about the book "The Imitation of Christ"
« on: May 28, 2007, 02:29:33 AM »

 Hi Everyone,

 Has anyone ever read the book by Thomas A Kempis called "The Imitation of Christ"? I haven't read all of it, yet the parts I have read (mainly the first 4-5 chapters) really impresses me. I asked my priest if it were OK to read it and he said he hadn't ever heard of it so I showed it to him. After reading the back cover (I have the Vintage Spiritual Classics edition), he said he thought there were much better books but that it would be fine if I read it. He also said that because it was post-schism, I should be careful.
 I certainly would not go against my priest, but because he gave me the go-ahead, I wondered if any of y'all have read it and what you thought.
 One caveat before you reply: I don't mean to be disrespectful or exclusivistic but because I am EO, I'm only interested in what other EO's think. Again, I don't mean to come off as disrespectful or hurtful. Please accept my sincerest apology if this request is hurtful. ;)

 In Christ,

 Gabriel
"The Scots-Irish; Brewed in Scotland, bottled in Ireland, uncorked in America."  ~Scots-Irish saying

Offline Anastasios

  • Webdespota
  • Administrator
  • Merarches
  • *******
  • Posts: 10,497
  • Metropolitan Chrysostomos of Florina
    • AnastasiosHudson.com
  • Faith: Orthodox Christian
  • Jurisdiction: Greek Old Calendarist
Re: Question about the book "The Imitation of Christ"
« Reply #1 on: May 28, 2007, 09:41:02 AM »
You're not being disrespectful. It's not a good idea to read too many non Orthodox spiritual writers. Thomas A Kempis lived close enough to the schism though that he probably wasn't that far off. I thought the things I read in the book were good. He's not even a saint in the RCC if I recall correctly though so his work is not really authoritative for anyone. If you want to read it, fine, but make sure you get the majority of your spiritual feeding from standard Orthodox works (we can recommend them if you need them).
Please Buy My Book!

Past posts reflect stages of my life before my baptism and may not be accurate expositions of Orthodox teaching. Also, I served as an Orthodox priest from 2008-2013, before resigning.

Offline Thomas

  • Section Moderator
  • Archon
  • *****
  • Posts: 2,871
Re: Question about the book "The Imitation of Christ"
« Reply #2 on: May 28, 2007, 10:19:51 AM »
A good substitution for an Imitastion of Christ is St John of Kronstadt's "My Life in Christ".

Thomas
Your brother in Christ ,
Thomas

Offline ozgeorge

  • I'll take you for who you are if you take me for everything.
  • Hoplitarches
  • *************
  • Posts: 16,382
  • My plans for retirement.
    • Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia
Re: Question about the book "The Imitation of Christ"
« Reply #3 on: May 28, 2007, 10:58:08 AM »
Gabriel,
I have read the Imitation of Christ, and I agree with what Anastasios has said. However, I would add that a spiritual work is not automatically rejected outright by the Orthodox Church simply because it is a post-Schism Roman Catholic work. One of the well known and well loved Orthodox Spiritual Classics is St. Nikodemos' "Unseen Warfare". However, St. Nikodemos of the Holy Mountain is the editor of the work. The original author was one Lorenzo Scupoli, a 16th century Roman Catholic Priest. St. Nikodemos merely adapted Scupoli's work to reflect Orthodox theology and spirituality.
I'm not sure that anyone has done this with "The Imitation of Christ" yet, so I would echo Anastasios' suggestion to tread carefully.

George
If you're living a happy life as a Christian, you're doing something wrong.

Offline Jakub

  • Archon
  • ********
  • Posts: 2,749
Re: Question about the book "The Imitation of Christ"
« Reply #4 on: May 28, 2007, 11:37:10 AM »
Being one of "those" Latins I do recommend Unseen Warfare, in fact I aquired mine from a Benedictine Abbey...

james
An old timer is a man who's had a lot of interesting experiences -- some of them true.

Grant me the senility to forget the people I never liked anyway, the good fortune to run into the ones I do, and the eyesight to tell the difference.

Offline lubeltri

  • Latin Catholic layman
  • Protokentarchos
  • *********
  • Posts: 3,795
Re: Question about the book "The Imitation of Christ"
« Reply #5 on: May 28, 2007, 08:20:47 PM »
He's not even a saint in the RCC if I recall correctly though so his work is not really authoritative for anyone.

It certainly has been a hugely influential book over the last 600 years, being published in at least 1,000 editions. John Paul II was said to have had it in his hands when he died. It's part of the Ignatian Spiritual Exercises and is one of those Catholic books that Protestants often read.

It is true that he has not been canonized. I read somewhere that his cause was opened, but when he was exhumed, they discovered scratches all over the roof of the coffin and clumps of his hair in his hands. I guess he had been buried alive accidentally, and the powers that be assumed that he despaired, something saints aren't supposed to do.

It sounds awfully apocryphal to me, and I doubt we need a fantastic story to explain it. It took 400 years for St. Thomas More to be canonized, after all.

I think the book is worth reading.
« Last Edit: May 28, 2007, 08:21:12 PM by lubeltri »

Offline GabrieltheCelt

  • Taxiarches
  • **********
  • Posts: 7,014
  • Faith: Eastern Orthodox OCA
Re: Question about the book "The Imitation of Christ"
« Reply #6 on: May 28, 2007, 08:31:47 PM »

 Thanks to all who replied; even you Latins  ;)

If you want to read it, fine, but make sure you get the majority of your spiritual feeding from standard Orthodox works (we can recommend them if you need them).

 Thank you Anastasios, I would like some recommendations. I'm wanting to read "The Path to Salvation" by St. Theophan the Recluse.

 Gabriel
"The Scots-Irish; Brewed in Scotland, bottled in Ireland, uncorked in America."  ~Scots-Irish saying

Offline GabrieltheCelt

  • Taxiarches
  • **********
  • Posts: 7,014
  • Faith: Eastern Orthodox OCA
Re: Question about the book "The Imitation of Christ"
« Reply #7 on: October 15, 2013, 09:56:44 PM »
FWIW, I've recently discovered that in her book The Ascetic of Love, Gerontissa Gabriela recommended The Imitation of Christ for Orthodox Christians.  I believe it was the only non-Orthodox book on her short list of edifying books to read.  I've read a few chapters and haven't found anything 'questionable'.  But of course, if there's question, ask your priest/spiritual father.
"The Scots-Irish; Brewed in Scotland, bottled in Ireland, uncorked in America."  ~Scots-Irish saying

Offline Mor Ephrem

  • The Fourteenth Apostle and Judge of the Interwebs
  • Section Moderator
  • Stratopedarches
  • *****
  • Posts: 21,866
  • Believed on in the world, received up in glory.
    • OrthodoxChristianity.net
Re: Question about the book "The Imitation of Christ"
« Reply #8 on: October 15, 2013, 10:23:10 PM »
I remember a parish retreat during which my priest read significant portions of The Imitation, fwiw. 
"Do not tempt the Mor thy Mod."

Mor no longer posts on OCNet.  He follows threads, posts his responses daily, occasionally starts threads, and responds to private messages when and as he wants.  But he really isn't around anymore.


Offline TheTrisagion

  • The cat is back and its better than ever!
  • Toumarches
  • ************
  • Posts: 11,652
  • Faith: Orthodox
  • Jurisdiction: Antiochian
Re: Question about the book "The Imitation of Christ"
« Reply #9 on: October 15, 2013, 11:03:14 PM »
I love The Imitation of Christ.  It is probably the most Orthodox writing written by a Roman Catholic ever written.
Will we all have to prove our Orthodoxy by adopting St Nicholas avatars now?

Offline GabrieltheCelt

  • Taxiarches
  • **********
  • Posts: 7,014
  • Faith: Eastern Orthodox OCA
Re: Question about the book "The Imitation of Christ"
« Reply #10 on: October 15, 2013, 11:07:20 PM »
Found it online .  If y'all have time, give it a look.
"The Scots-Irish; Brewed in Scotland, bottled in Ireland, uncorked in America."  ~Scots-Irish saying