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Author Topic: Top 10 Orthodox Christian books  (Read 10237 times) Average Rating: 0
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GabrieltheCelt
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« on: June 26, 2007, 02:11:41 PM »


 I'm really wanting to explore my faith through the writings of other Orthodox Christians. In order to do so, I thought I would ask all of you to recomend the books on Orthodoxy that you found helpful in your own lives. Spirituality, Patristics, etc... If it's Orthodox Christian, please let me know about it.

 Thanks in advance,

 Gabriel
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« Reply #1 on: June 26, 2007, 02:23:53 PM »

Do you mean books by authors who were baptized Orthodox, or by authors who wrote specifically on the subject of Orthodoxy?

If the list can include the former along with the latter, then my list would be like this:

1. Leo Tolstoy, "War and Peace."

2. L.T., "Anna Karenina."

3. Feodor Dostoyevsky, "Brothers Karamazov."

4. F.D., "The Idiot."

5. F.D., "Crime and Punishment."

6. F.D., "The Possessed" ("Besy").

7. Anton Chekhov, all of his short stories and plays.

8. Alexander Schmemann, "Diaries."

9. A.S., "For the Life of the Word" (tied with his "Eucharist: Sacrament of the Kingdom").

10. Sergiy Bulgakov, "Orthodoxy."

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« Reply #2 on: June 26, 2007, 02:34:17 PM »

Hummm...

#1) and #10) do not get my vote.

I'm not sure he's asking for fiction however.
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« Reply #3 on: June 26, 2007, 02:34:57 PM »

Anonymously written: "The Way of a Pilgrim" and " The Pilgrim continues his way" (New Sarov Press isbn # 880364-12-3). The story of a 19th century Russian peasant-pilgrim whose spiritual journey involves praying unceasingly in the Jesus Prayer, "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner."
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« Reply #4 on: June 26, 2007, 02:36:21 PM »

Anonymously written: "The Way of a Pilgrim" and " The Pilgrim continues his way" (New Sarov Press isbn # 880364-12-3). The story of a 19th century Russian peasant-pilgrim whose spiritual journey involves praying unceasingly in the Jesus Prayer, "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner."

Excellent!
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« Reply #5 on: June 26, 2007, 02:45:25 PM »

I'm really wanting to explore my faith through the writings of other Orthodox Christians. In order to do so, I thought I would ask all of you to recomend the books on Orthodoxy that you found helpful in your own lives. Spirituality, Patristics, etc... If it's Orthodox Christian, please let me know about it.

 Thanks in advance,

 Gabriel

Well, this is in no particular order, but here's my favourites:

The Way of a Pilgrim
The Orthodox Church by Bishop Kallistos Ware
On the Incarnation, by St Athanatius
Eternal Mysteries beyond the Grave, by by Archimandrite Panteleimon
The Law of God, by Archpriest Seraphim Slobodskoy
My Life in Christ, by St John of Kronstadt   
The Mountain of Silence: A Search for Orthodox Spirituality by Kyriacos C. Markides
Elder Anthony of Optina, by Fr Clement Sederholm
The Way into the Kingdom of Heaven, St Innocent of Alaska
Christ the Eternal Tao, by Hieromonk Damascene
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« Reply #6 on: June 26, 2007, 02:51:42 PM »

I cannot remember the exact title but my Confessor had advised me to buy a book on the writing of Abba Zosimas when I really needed guidance on love and understanding issues. I also came across a little book on Starets Porphyrios. I am awful with titles and authors´names though.Still, they did have an impact on my understanding and experience of our faith.I do find the biographies of our Saints to be of great help and inspiration because they are real stories of real people like us who overcame difficulties and weaknesses with the Grace of God. The writings of Elder Paisios of Mt Athos are also a great source of understanding, wisdom, and inspiration. Hope you find what you´re looking for. Smiley
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« Reply #7 on: June 26, 2007, 03:09:05 PM »

I just located this web page:

http://www.sainthermanpress.com/catalog/Introductions/catalog_chapter_two_intro.htm

It is an introduction on the writings of Elder Paisios. Thought you might want to have a look.
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« Reply #8 on: June 26, 2007, 03:11:01 PM »


3. Feodor Dostoyevsky, "Brothers Karamazov."

Excellent book and extremely profound!


The Way of a Pilgrim
The Orthodox Church by Bishop Kallistos Ware
On the Incarnation, by St Athanatius
Eternal Mysteries beyond the Grave, by by Archimandrite Panteleimon
The Law of God, by Archpriest Seraphim Slobodskoy
My Life in Christ, by St John of Kronstadt   
The Mountain of Silence: A Search for Orthodox Spirituality by Kyriacos C. Markides
Elder Anthony of Optina, by Fr Clement Sederholm
The Way into the Kingdom of Heaven, St Innocent of Alaska
Christ the Eternal Tao, by Hieromonk Damascene

I can only speak for the first three since I have read those.  They are all excellent reads.

Other recommendations from myself.

1)  Mystical Theology of the Eastern Church by Lossky
2)  Prologue of Ochrid
3) Confessions by St. Augustine
4)  De Fide Orthodoxa by St. John of Damascus
5)  Unseen Warfare compiled by Nicodemus of the Holy Mountain and revised by St. Theophan the Recluse
6)  Byzantine Theology by John Meyendorff
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« Reply #9 on: June 26, 2007, 03:12:43 PM »

Thank you all for your lists (especially Dantxny, and Scamandrius, many thanks, so comprehensive!)

Aristokles, - why wouldn't Fr. Bulgakov get your vote?   
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« Reply #10 on: June 26, 2007, 03:21:44 PM »

Thank you all for your lists (especially Dantxny, and Scamandrius, many thanks, so comprehensive!)

Aristokles, - why wouldn't Fr. Bulgakov get your vote?   


Ask Sophia Wink
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« Reply #11 on: June 26, 2007, 05:29:19 PM »

 
 A HUGE thank you to all who's participated thus far. Cheesy
 Quick clarification. Although I'm not ruling out fiction, necesarily, I really meant non-fiction. And it doesn't matter to me whether or not the authors are converts or cradles.
 I hope to hear from the rest of you!!!! 
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« Reply #12 on: June 26, 2007, 05:44:18 PM »

Gabriel,

Whatever these connoisseurs say (and whatever Sophia says:)), here's a link to the Bulgakov's book that I mentioned:

https://www.questia.com/library/book/the-orthodox-church-by-sergius-bulgakov-elizabeth-s-cram-donald-a-lowrie.jsp

(Sorry, it only shows you parts of the text, the full text is "members-only")

I read it in its original Russian, and enjoyed it a lot. There is only one chapter in it that reflects Father Sergius's rather leftist views on economics, but a reader who has a more conservative take on those matters can simply skip that chapter altogether - it does not interfere with your understanding of the book as a whole.

If I find a link to the book's full text in English, I'll be most happy to post.

George
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« Reply #13 on: June 26, 2007, 06:03:29 PM »

Living Prayer by Metropolitan Anthony (Bloom)
Beginning to Pray by Metropolitan Anthony (Bloom)
The Wisdom of the Desert Fathers  Translated by Benedicta Ward
Saint Gregory of Palamas as a Hagiorite  by Metropolitan of Nafpaktos Hierotheos
Saint Nektarios a Saint for Our Times  by Sotos Chondropoulos
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« Reply #14 on: June 26, 2007, 06:32:33 PM »

Gabriel,

Whatever these connoisseurs say (and whatever Sophia says:)), here's a link to the Bulgakov's book that I mentioned:

https://www.questia.com/library/book/the-orthodox-church-by-sergius-bulgakov-elizabeth-s-cram-donald-a-lowrie.jsp

(Sorry, it only shows you parts of the text, the full text is "members-only")

I read it in its original Russian, and enjoyed it a lot. There is only one chapter in it that reflects Father Sergius's rather leftist views on economics, but a reader who has a more conservative take on those matters can simply skip that chapter altogether - it does not interfere with your understanding of the book as a whole.

If I find a link to the book's full text in English, I'll be most happy to post.

George

George,

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sergei_Bulgakov
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« Reply #15 on: June 26, 2007, 06:42:03 PM »

Dear Aristokles, thanks! But the book I recommended to Gabriel ("Pravoslavie" in original Russian, "The Orthodox Church" in its Eng. translation) does not have anything about this controversial "sophiology" - not that I recall anyway. Smiley
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« Reply #16 on: June 26, 2007, 06:48:49 PM »

I would have to agree with Heorhij. The book specified is used in university courses on Eastern Orthodoxy.  It is a good introduction to the subject.

Let us look or Origen.  Some of Origen's writings are accepted and some not.  The distiction is made clear.
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« Reply #17 on: June 26, 2007, 07:36:16 PM »

In no particular order...
1   The Faith We Hold, Archbishop Paul of Finland
2   For the Life of the World, Fr Alexander Schmemann
3   The Eucharist,  Fr Alexander Schmemann
4   My Life in Christ, St John of Kronstadt
5   The Life in Christ, Nicholas Cabasilas
6   The Orthodox Church, Bishop Kallistos Ware
7   The Diary of a Russian Priest, Fr Alexander Elchaninov
8      The Journals of Father Alexander Schmemann
9   In the Spirit of Happiness, Monks of New Skete
10     Journey to Heaven, St Tikhon of Zadonsk
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« Reply #18 on: June 27, 2007, 05:56:55 AM »

Hmm, so far as I can remember, here are the ones that I got the most out of when I was Orthodox...

The Works of Gregory the Theologian, by Gregory the Theologian - IMO the best theologian Christianity has produced.

The Sayings of the Desert Fathers, by Anthony and Ward - Gives you lots of things to think about concerning humility, judgmentalism, etc.

Deification in Christ: Orthodox Perspectives on the Nature of the Human Person, by Panayiotis Nellas - Best book I've read on anthropology from an Orthodox Christian perspective.

Orthodox Faith and Life in Christ, by Justin Popovich - Engaging collection of essays, outlining a traditionalist view of the world.

Orthodoxy and Ecumenism, by Justin Popovich - The best work on Orthodox ecclesiology that I know of.

The Life in Christ, by Nicholas Cabasilas - Lots of good thoughts from an Orthodox perspective on the sacraments, salvation, free-will, and other subjects.

Women and Men in the Early Church: The Full Views of St. John Chrysostom, by David Ford - Good book on sexuality, and the role of men and women in various contexts.

Scripture and Tradition, by Chrysostomos and Auxentios - One of the best summations of the Orthodox position on scripture and tradition.

In the Image and Likeness of God, by Vladimir Lossky - Has a lot of interesting things to think about if you are Orthodox.

The Works of John Cassian, by John Cassian (and others) - Great look at early Christian monasticism, and also a synergetic view of salvation.

St Gregory of Nazianzus: An Intellectual Biography, by John Anthony McGuckin - Since I consider Gregory the greatest Christian theologian, it only stands to reason that I'd consider an exhaustive and engaging biography of his to be a great book.

Way of the Ascetics: The Ancient Tradition of Discipline and Inner Growth, Tito Colliander - Lots of good practical thoughts if you're Orthodox.

How Are We Saved?: The Understanding of Salvation in the Orthodox Tradition, Bishop Kallistos - Good introduction to the Orthodox view of salvation.

The Collected Works of Georges Florovsky; Volume One: Bible, Church, Tradition: An Eastern Orthodox View, by Georges Florovsky - Good stuff on the Scripture and Tradition, and the intertwining of the two.

The Desert a City: An Introduction to the Study of Egyptian and Palestian Monasticism Under the Christian Empire, by Derwas Chitty - Good, short history of the early Christian monastic movement(s).
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« Reply #19 on: June 27, 2007, 06:46:10 AM »

The Inner Kingdom by Bishop Kallistos Ware
New Seeds of Contemplation by Fr Thomas Merton
The Sayings of the Desert Fathers
The Paradise of the Desert Fathers Vols I and II
The Institutes and Conferences of St John Cassian
For the Life of the World by Fr Alexander Schmemann
Of Water and Spirit by Fr Alexander Schmemann
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« Reply #20 on: June 27, 2007, 06:51:30 AM »

I'm really wanting to explore my faith through the writings of other Orthodox Christians. In order to do so, I thought I would ask all of you to recomend the books on Orthodoxy that you found helpful in your own lives. Spirituality, Patristics, etc... If it's Orthodox Christian, please let me know about it.
 Thanks in advance,
 Gabriel


Well, I'm not Orthodox yet, but here is a list of ten books which have helped me greatly in my journey towards Orthodoxy.

1.  Light for Life, Part Three:  The Mystery Lived, by an anonymous author, published by God With Us publications.  I'm Catholic, and my first intellectual exposure to Orthodoxy came through the Eastern Catholic (Uniate) Churches.  This book is part of a three part catechism for Eastern Catholics.  This particlar volume is a slim but very good introduction to the idea of theosis.  It was the idea that I had been groping for but which I had not been able to find in Catholicism.

2.  The Orthodox Church by Bishop Timothy / Kallistos Ware.  This is a very good introduction to the history and beliefs of the Orthodox Church.

3.  The Orthodox Way by Bishop Timothy / Kallistos Ware.  This is a very good introduction to the spirituality of the Orthodox Church.

4.  Seven Forms of Bodily Discipline by St. Peter of Damascus, published in volume 3 of the English translation of The Philokalia.  This is a short but useful and practical essay on how to actually cultivate the virtues: through disciplining our drives and passions.

5.  The Way of a Pilgrim, by an anonymous author, the New Sarov edition.  This is a brilliant and pragmatic introduction to unceasing prayer of the heart through the Jesus Prayer ("Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me,a sinner.")

6.  Orthodox Dogmatic Theology by Fr. Michael Pomazansky.  Not exactly bedtime reading, but it is a very readable and informative text book on the subject.

7.  The Illness and Cure of the Soul in the Orthodox Tradition by Hierotheos Vlacchos.  A very good dialogue on theosis.  What is the problem with Man, and how to fix it.

8.  The Mystical Theology of the Eastern Church by Vladimir Lossky.  The title says it all. 

9.  The Life in Christ by St. Nicholas Cabasilas.  Again, the title says it all.

10.  The Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom.  It's true: the liturgy really is didactic.

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« Reply #21 on: June 27, 2007, 07:18:17 AM »

Asteriktos's posted recommendations woke me up. Don't forget this source of the Nicaean Fathers' works.

http://www.ccel.org/fathers.html

I am so glad Calvin College changed the format of their site; these are available for pdf download.
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« Reply #22 on: June 27, 2007, 07:47:26 AM »

This is a challenging essay by Mother Maria Skobtsova written about 1938; she was later martyred in the Nazi Ravensbruck camp on Good Friday 1945. "Types of Religious Lives" http://www.tuirgin.com/orthodoxy/articles/types_of_religious_lives.html.
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« Reply #23 on: June 27, 2007, 09:13:28 AM »

How could I forget Frederica Mathewes-Green's "The Illumined Heart." I liked it so much - it's a short and simple book, written by a contemporary American woman-convert.

I am very glad people are mentioning Fr. Schmemann's "Journals" (or "Diaries"). Have they been translated into English? I read them in the original Russian (here's the link to their full text in Russian, http://www.krotov.info/libr_min/25_sh/shme/man_41.htm). This is the reading that very much turned my whole life upside down.
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« Reply #24 on: June 27, 2007, 11:14:50 AM »

This is a challenging essay by Mother Maria Skobtsova written about 1938; she was later martyred in the Nazi Ravensbruck camp on Good Friday 1945. "Types of Religious Lives" http://www.tuirgin.com/orthodoxy/articles/types_of_religious_lives.html.

Sorry to be negative, but I really disliked that work.
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« Reply #25 on: June 27, 2007, 12:22:32 PM »

Sorry to be negative, but I really disliked that work.
No major disagreement intended and in fact it seems the blessed nun may have spread her net too far in the article. The crux of it seems to be that her critique of superficial religiosity went to almost negate sincere religiosity that any faithful individual may have short of martyrdom. Considering the time and circumstance she lived in and her eventual fate, she may have been writing prophetically (memory eternal to her). Personally, I found the article to be a challenge and its flaw may be that it may unintentionally hamper devotion because of an unintended pervasive fatalism (similar sentiments seem to be expressed in the writings of the Lutheran anti Nazi martyr Dietrich Bonhoeffer). On a personal positive side this gloom has actually added more vigor to the Trisagion prayers and the Jesus prayer in devotion. Sorry to interrupt thread with this digression. Reply: "so why didja?" Huh
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« Reply #26 on: June 27, 2007, 01:44:55 PM »

Do you mean books by authors who were baptized Orthodox, or by authors who wrote specifically on the subject of Orthodoxy?

If the list can include the former along with the latter, then my list would be like this:

1. Leo Tolstoy, "War and Peace."

2. L.T., "Anna Karenina."

3. Feodor Dostoyevsky, "Brothers Karamazov."

4. F.D., "The Idiot."

5. F.D., "Crime and Punishment."

6. F.D., "The Possessed" ("Besy").

7. Anton Chekhov, all of his short stories and plays.

8. Alexander Schmemann, "Diaries."

9. A.S., "For the Life of the Word" (tied with his "Eucharist: Sacrament of the Kingdom").

10. Sergiy Bulgakov, "Orthodoxy."


Heorhij,  you write some of the most thoughtful posts.  Thank you for including works of fiction in your list.  Man is, among other things, a story telling animal; and a good story is appealing to far more people than theological works. 

Works of fiction didn't lead me to Orthodoxy, but one did help me to Christ:  A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter Miller Jr.  It's a very good tale of what happens to Mankind when he grows in material knowledge but not in faith, humility and love in Christ.   Non habemus regem nisi caesarem...  (We have no king but Ceasar...)
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« Reply #27 on: June 27, 2007, 03:36:56 PM »

Thank you, Jonas. Gabriel has, however, explained specifically that he is looking for non-fiction.
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« Reply #28 on: June 27, 2007, 05:47:39 PM »

Answering my own question re. Fr. Schmemann's Journals - I haven't found them on the Internet in English translation, only in the original Russian... Here are a few links though where an inquiring mind might get some idea about these diaries:

http://www.leithart.com/archives/000294.php

http://prochoros.blogspot.com/search/label/Schmemann

http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1252/is_16_127/ai_66191288

http://www.orthodoxresearchinstitute.org/resources/reviews/flanagan_journals_schmemann.htm

http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_go2513/is_200206/ai_n6432362

http://www.ecampus.com/book/0881412007
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« Reply #29 on: June 27, 2007, 11:08:30 PM »

Sorry to be negative, but I really disliked that work.
I just read St. Marie's work after seeing the link posted here.  I have to agree with you somewhat.  In "dividing" the pious Orthodox into categories, she appears to have fallen prey to the biggest logical failure of most such attempts to categorize.  She presented only the extreme portraits of the traits that seem to characterize each group.  One could conclude from reading her essay that she sets the first four categories of religious life in opposition to the fifth, which very often just isn't the case for most of the faithful, who see themselves in multiple categories simultaneously.
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« Reply #30 on: June 28, 2007, 02:15:24 AM »

The Patericon(s)
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Asemănându-te obiceiurilor râvnitorului Ilie şi urmând Botezătorului pe drepte cărări, Părinte Antonie, te-ai făcut locuitor pustiului şi ai întărit lumea cu rugăciunile tale. Pentru aceasta, roagă-te lui Hristos Dumnezeu, să mântuiască sufletele noastre.
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« Reply #31 on: June 28, 2007, 10:32:49 AM »

The Voyage of St Brendan (6th century Irish saint) online at:  http://www.lamp.ac.uk.uk/celtic/Nsb.htm   
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Chasin' down a Hoodoo...


« Reply #32 on: July 01, 2007, 01:45:10 AM »


 A *huge* thanks to all who shared their titles with me! Looks like I've got some work cut out trying to decide which one to start with... Wink Again, thanks a whole big bunch!

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