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Author Topic: The Mountain of Silence by Kyriacos C. Markides  (Read 5580 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: February 11, 2005, 11:51:28 PM »

I just got done reading the book "The Mountian of Silence; a search for Orthodox spirituality" by Kyriacos Markides. I must say that this is one of the best Orthodox books that I have read so far; it is very juicy, a page turner. It has a perfect blend of stories of experiences of the monks, spiritual fathers, and a great and practical blend of theology and teaching on how to pray and live the christian life.

Such issues he discusses are

-all the stages leading up to theosis
-how to obtain theosis(using practical language)
-Angels and demons
-miracles
-mankind and animals after theosis
-praying for the dead, and praying people out of hell
-the nature of hell, and the difference between the eastern and western definitions of it

there are many more things to be said about this book. It has given me much hope; I have been greatly blessed.

There is more I have to say about the book; however, I wanted to hear what some of you (who have read it) think about it first.

Doamne Milueste-ma

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« Reply #1 on: February 12, 2005, 01:12:16 AM »

I read that book at the beginning of last summer. I really enjoyed it; I especially liked when he recorded what Maximos said and did, and, in turn, when he discussed what Elder Paisos said and did. That's one of the books that really made me understand what living saints the Church has.

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« Reply #2 on: February 12, 2005, 10:31:24 AM »

Anytime I have a chance to recommend this book to someone, I do.  It's great!
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« Reply #3 on: March 13, 2005, 11:02:38 PM »

Just finished reading this book. Wow!!! This was indeed a must read for any serious Orthodox. It was quite interesting on how this book came togethor being written from a dialogue between a somewhat skeptical sociology professor and a charismatic monk named Father Maximos. They cover various aspects of the "mystical" tradition of eastern christianity from it's roots to it's present day.

The book is filled with much inspirational accounts and stories of past and present day saints covering an array of topics that is brought to light by Father Maximos. The main theme running through the book is worshipping God with your "heart" along with the action of the "experience" of God. Enlightenment can not be achieved by cognitive knowledge such as claiming to "know" and have "relationship" with God by merely reading books or understanding theology. The heart of monasticism is the ultimate attainment of unity with God called "theosis".  Theosis can only be achieved through rigorous trials and testing by way of aesthetic practices and putting all wordly pleasures aside. Basically, it's to experience a true "death" in order to accomplish a new birth. This "death" to to the world occurs in three stages as refered to as the "threefold way" in the book.

1. Catharsis - the purification of the sould from egotistal passions.
2. Fotisis - enlightenment of the soul
3. Theosis - destination of the soul, union with God

This is just but a small sample of the nuggets in this book. What I found more profound are the actual stories of all the great works of the saints as relayed by Father Maximos. The "miraculous" is a common present day occurance among the monks on Mount Athos explained in the book... it's a testimony to Christ who is the foundation of this world and meant to enbolded the faithful. The book goes into great detail into such matters of  gifts, charisms, healings, ceaseless prayer, fasting, eldership, spiritual laws, theology etc...  There is really too much to say about this book. The chapter on angels and demons is a real jaw dropper  Grin and I'll leave it at that.
   
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« Reply #4 on: March 13, 2005, 11:21:20 PM »

Let's not forget to venerate the Celtic Saints!!!!!!!
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« Reply #5 on: March 13, 2005, 11:37:34 PM »

I'm about 2/3rds of the way through this book.  What a great book!  Now I'd like to learn more about Cyprus and its history. 

BTW, here's a link to a slideshow of pictures of Mount Athos.  I must confess, after reading this book and looking at these photos, I'm a bit jealous of you menfolk for having the opportunity to visit Mt. Athos.  I'll guess I'll have to settle with 2nd hand accounts of the Holy Mountain. 

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« Reply #6 on: March 16, 2005, 11:46:53 PM »

I LOVE THAT BOOK !!!!!

My preist gave me that book to read before I came into the church . The part about the monks praying to have their hearts crushed into dust to achieve humility and useing lifes` tradigies for spiritual advancement helped me through some very hard things at the time.
I have bought five or six copies , but I always end up giving them away , mainly to non-Orthodox friends.
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« Reply #7 on: March 09, 2006, 07:19:48 AM »

I know this is an old thread, but I thought I'd insert a brief commercial into the now dead discussion:

The dynamic duo from The Mountain of Silence, Kyriakos Markides and the man formerly known as Fr. Maximos (I don't remember his name now that he is a Metropolitan) will be here at Holy Cross for a conference on healing, Mar 31 (I think; although it may start on the 30th) to April 2.  I don't have the flyer on me, but the Metropolitan is the keynote speaker, and Kyriakos will be his translator.  Ask Chris, myself, or Serb1389 to look up the details if you're interested in attending!
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« Reply #8 on: March 09, 2006, 08:46:07 AM »

Here here to all. I read the book over a year ago and raved about it.
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« Reply #9 on: March 09, 2006, 11:52:12 AM »

3 thumbs up for this book  Grin
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« Reply #10 on: March 09, 2006, 11:57:13 AM »

I forgot to pick up a brochure to see if the Metropolitan formerly known as Fr. Maximos is going to be serving Liturgy here that weekend or not... I would see if chris has any info (I doubt the school website -  www.hchc.edu - has anything, since they are doing a major overhaul to the site and thus haven't updated it in awhile).
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« Reply #11 on: March 09, 2006, 01:23:23 PM »

That's exciting!  Let us know of more info!

I lent this book out to someone and never got it back Sad  I always like to re-read these types of books because I miss things while trying to know "what happens" the first go around.

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« Reply #12 on: March 11, 2006, 02:41:17 AM »

Well, someone should present a negative review of this book and though I've only read a hand full of chapters that were assigned for a course I guess it will have to be me. It's a typical pietistic monastic writting that is long on so-called 'spirituality' but short both research and common sense. In the first four of five chapters, which are the ones I read, a lack of the history and dynamics of the Church and Theology are made most manifest when the author gives opinions and interpretations of historical events that have no basis in reality...history seems to be shaped around the priest-monk's ideals rather than the other way around. What I found most problematic was the attempt to dismiss the philosophy of the Greeks and its centrality to the development of Christian theology, both objectivity and a basic knowledge of Church history are missing in many statements, making the book, for me at least, impossible to take seriously as it seems to be little more than the ramblings of an uneducated man who pontificates on issues of which he has no understanding.
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« Reply #13 on: March 11, 2006, 03:41:36 AM »

Well, someone should present a negative review of this book and though I've only read a hand full of chapters that were assigned for a course I guess it will have to be me. It's a typical pietistic monastic writting that is long on so-called 'spirituality' but short both research and common sense. In the first four of five chapters, which are the ones I read, a lack of the history and dynamics of the Church and Theology are made most manifest when the author gives opinions and interpretations of historical events that have no basis in reality...history seems to be shaped around the priest-monk's ideals rather than the other way around. What I found most problematic was the attempt to dismiss the philosophy of the Greeks and its centrality to the development of Christian theology, both objectivity and a basic knowledge of Church history are missing in many statements, making the book, for me at least, impossible to take seriously as it seems to be little more than the ramblings of an uneducated man who pontificates on issues of which he has no understanding.

....and given your admittance for only having read five chapters and not considering the context of the writer, I'd have to give your review very little credibility.
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« Reply #14 on: March 11, 2006, 11:23:00 AM »

....and given your admittance for only having read five chapters and not considering the context of the writer, I'd have to give your review very little credibility.

Well, do as you wish, but the chapters (first five or so, I believe) I did read were utter non-sense, so I'm not going to waste my time reading the rest of the book, which didn't seem to be getting any better, though perhaps it was getting a bit worse, just to write a more full review...just thought I'd throw a warning out there to make anyone who was considering wasting their time to read the book think twice, but of course it's their time and they can spend it as they please.
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« Reply #15 on: March 11, 2006, 11:16:11 PM »

An excellent and highly recommended book. Not perfect, but a good reflection of real Orthodoxy.
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« Reply #16 on: May 15, 2006, 07:36:03 AM »

Well, I finished this book just a couple of months ago...I have to say it's one of my favorite books on Orthodoxy...deep, and committed to mystic union through prayer, but still accessible to most everyone, from seminarians to blue-collar workers.

And now, to address the wet blanket lone objector:  Wink

Quote
What I found most problematic was the attempt to dismiss the philosophy of the Greeks and its centrality to the development of Christian theology, both objectivity and a basic knowledge of Church history are missing in many statements...

Well, since this is your main objection, I guess I'll ask for examples specifically about it.  Where is this supposed ignorance and dismissiveness?

Quote
, making the book, for me at least, impossible to take seriously as it seems to be little more than the ramblings of an uneducated man who pontificates on issues of which he has no understanding.

Mmm...when did they start making rambling, uneducated men metropolitans?
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« Reply #17 on: May 15, 2006, 10:00:46 AM »

What I found most problematic was the attempt to dismiss the philosophy of the Greeks and its centrality to the development of Christian theology, both objectivity and a basic knowledge of Church history are missing in many statements, making the book, for me at least, impossible to take seriously as it seems to be little more than the ramblings of an uneducated man who pontificates on issues of which he has no understanding.

Who cares about crap like that? The book isn't a manual in Church history or doctrine; it's an accessible, first-hand account of a personal journey in the Faith. (We have to pay a little attention to genre: One can't fault a book of poetry for its lack scholarly footnotes!) And, even if there were some misstatements, they were certainly no worse than what one finds in even the most respectable survey, e.g. "The Orthodox Church" by Ware or Pelikan's history of doctrine. Academic acumen ain't gonna save anyone, nor is knowledge of God a matter of realizing that St. Basil's fourth work against Eunomius is actually pseudonymous.

I was fortunate enough to hear His Eminence (the former Fr. Maximos) speak at Holy Cross. He's a true Hierarch, a faithful Christian and his example continues to bring many people to faith in Christ and life in His Church. What more does one need?

Mountain of Silence is an excellent introductory book on Orthodox spirituality for many different kinds of people. Just FYI: Markides has recently published a sequel called Gifts of the Desert: The Forgotten Path of Christian Spirituality, which I hope to read this summer. Check out the link/summary here:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0385506635/qid=1147701013/sr=1-2/ref=sr_1_2/104-6069431-3782302?s=books&v=glance&n=283155

Also, there's a very interesting and quite similar book written by Jacob Needleman called Lost Christianity. It's less "Orthodox" per se, but it's even better at asking tough questions from a modern perspective. Check it out: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1585422533/qid=1147701264/sr=2-1/ref=pd_bbs_b_2_1/104-6069431-3782302?s=books&v=glance&n=283155
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« Reply #18 on: May 15, 2006, 04:18:19 PM »

Who cares about crap like that?...Academic acumen ain't gonna save anyone, nor is knowledge of God a matter of realizing that St. Basil's fourth work against Eunomius is actually pseudonymous.ÂÂ  [The former Fr. Maximos is] a true Hierarch, a faithful Christian and his example continues to bring many people to faith in Christ and life in His Church. What more does one need?

Heh...and then there's the "I'm not a moderator, so I can just come right out and say THIS!"ÂÂ  version.   Grin
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« Reply #19 on: May 17, 2006, 04:51:31 AM »

How can you not like the mountain of silence.... Huh Orthodoxy should be about the 'experience' of God rather just a knowledge based faith that is constantly scrutinized through worldly educational standards. Afterall, isn't the Apostle Paul the perfect example of this dichotomy?
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« Reply #20 on: May 19, 2006, 05:25:34 AM »

Orthodoxy should be about the 'experience' of God rather just a knowledge based faith that is constantly scrutinized through worldly educational standards.

Exactly. 1 Corinthians 3:18-20

"Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness. And again, The Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain."

Worldly wisdom more often leads away from the Truth than to it. It is sad to see so many put it above faith, and eventually leave Orthodoxy.
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« Reply #21 on: May 26, 2006, 01:27:02 AM »

While I view this book as a nominal and faith-neutral introduction to the tradition of mystic, experiential spirituality in the Orthodox Church, it is hailed by many of those in the church as a definitive reference to Orthodox spirituality. Both Antiochian and Greek Orthodox Church affiliated websites conferred upon it many accolades. Has anyone ever read this book and come away with disappointment even utter confusion? The chapter 11 of this book deals with hell, which according to a holy monk in Mount Athos named Maximos is only a temporal state souls go through. The monk contends that the prayer of the church can set the souls in hell free. It is ironic that he supports this heresy with certainty while the Church teaches that after death there is no repentance. Furthermore, the author asserts that the abysmally low level of education and saintliness of the church hierarchy impedes the correction of church's false teachings on hell. Why is it that no one in the Orthodox Church speaks against this book?
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« Reply #22 on: May 26, 2006, 09:38:01 AM »

The chapter 11 of this book deals with hell, which according to a holy monk in Mount Athos named Maximos is only a temporal state souls go through. The monk contends that the prayer of the church can set the souls in hell free.

Right.  CAN.  Not "definitely will in all cases."  God will do what God will do, and it was seen that, in this case, this happened.  We're not talking universalism here.

Quote
It is ironic that he supports this heresy with certainty while the Church teaches that after death there is no repentance.

The Church teaches no such thing definitively.  There were (and still are) many schools of thought within the Church re: the afterlife.  All we know is that we are to pray for all who have reposed in the hope that God will show them mercy and heal their soul with His Presence.  We have precious little knowledge of how that all's going to pan out--Fr. Maximos apparently reported on a rare exception made known to the elder--but we're simply commanded to do so for the welfare of the departed brethren.

Quote
Furthermore, the author asserts that the abysmally low level of education and saintliness of the church hierarchy impedes the correction of church's false teachings on hell.

To be sure, Markides makes it clear that his personal stance is different from that of the Church at large, but the difference lies in the fact that Markides, iirc, does not believe in a permanent hell for some, whereas the monastics do.  I may have to re-read Chapter 11, but it seems he was voicing an opinion against the monastics for being too strict in their views on hell.  He did, however, make it known that he recognized his own western, intellectual bias that was motivating his opinion, and showed respect often enough for the mystical, contemplative tradition of the Church that he can hardly be said to be slamming them for being "backwards and superstitious," or something like that.
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« Reply #23 on: May 26, 2006, 09:41:14 AM »

Ah. I see Pedro has beaten me to it. I was going to suggest that Philotheos read this thread.

As far as the nature of hell goes, perhaps you (Philotheos) should check out this recent thread:

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php?topic=8657.0
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« Reply #24 on: May 26, 2006, 09:55:58 AM »

While I view this book as a nominal and faith-neutral introduction to the tradition of mystic, experiential spirituality in the Orthodox Church, it is hailed by many of those in the church as a definitive reference to Orthodox spirituality.

Definitive!? I'd like to see where anyone calls it "definitive"!

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Both Antiochian and Greek Orthodox Church affiliated websites conferred upon it many accolades.

No doubt. As I said earlier on this thread, we have to remember the book's genre. It is an accessible, first-hand account of a spiritual journey. It is not a textbook in dogmatics, spirituality or theology. It is personal and narrative. That's why many people like it and certain clergymen recommend it. It speaks to people and begins to engage them in the spiritual tradition of the Church.

Quote
Has anyone ever read this book and come away with disappointment even utter confusion? The chapter 11 of this book deals with hell, which according to a holy monk in Mount Athos named Maximos is only a temporal state souls go through.

That holy monk is now a Metropolitan of the Church of Cyprus.
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« Reply #25 on: May 26, 2006, 09:12:25 PM »

I may have to re-read Chapter 11, but it seems he was voicing an opinion against the monastics for being too strict in their views on hell.

Monks writing for monks will always tend towards the stricter view. If a monk takes the view that he might eventually be released from hell, he may become lax in his spiritual endevours and lose his salvation. Much has been given to them and much will be required of them. Much about eastern monasticism is to remind themselves constantly that they will die and face God's judgement. I know a monk who has all his clocks and his watch set to quarter to eleven so that he is constantly reminded of how little time he has left to work out his salvation.

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« Reply #26 on: May 26, 2006, 10:12:17 PM »

The Church teaches no such thing definitively.ÂÂ  There were (and still are) many schools of thought within the Church re: the afterlife.ÂÂ  All we know is that we are to pray for all who have reposed in the hope that God will show them mercy and heal their soul with His Presence.ÂÂ  We have precious little knowledge of how that all's going to pan out

The church doesn't teach as Metropolitan Maximos does that souls in Hell are sure to exit hell through her prayers.ÂÂ  Since we are painfully limited in knowledge of divine providence, we must be careful not to make any assumptions about it.

That holy monk is now a Metropolitan of the Church of Cyprus.

I would care less if he is a Metropolitan or Patriarch so long as he confers some claim for veracity on some controversial teachings solely based on his own experience.
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« Reply #27 on: May 27, 2006, 02:16:05 PM »

The monk contends that the prayer of the church can set the souls in hell free. It is ironic that he supports this heresy with certainty while the Church teaches that after death there is no repentance.

Since we are painfully limited in knowledge of divine providence, we must be careful not to make any assumptions about it.

Should we also be careful about labeling as an outright heretic a Hierarch who does not share our assumption that God simply CANNOT decide to save someone after death? Who is being presumptuous about Divine Providence?
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« Reply #28 on: May 27, 2006, 02:24:03 PM »

(...)
That holy monk is now a Metropolitan of the Church of Cyprus.
... and has a [University] Degree in Theology.
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« Reply #29 on: May 27, 2006, 02:52:51 PM »

The church doesn't teach as Metropolitan Maximos does that souls in Hell are sure to exit hell through her prayers.

Please read what I said again:  I said he said that he said that God can do such a thing, but then I emphasized the word...

CAN.  Not "definitely will in all cases."  God will do what God will do, and it was seen that, in this case, this happened.  We're not talking universalism here.

This is what the former Fr. Maximos taught, as I understood it. Again, like I said, "Fr. Maximos apparently reported on a rare exception made known to the elder," so he wasn't saying that all souls will have this happen to them.
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« Reply #30 on: May 27, 2006, 05:40:53 PM »

Should we also be careful about labeling as an outright heretic a Hierarch who does not share our assumption that God simply CANNOT decide to save someone after death? Who is being presumptuous about Divine Providence?
Never in my post did I write that God cannot decide to save someone after death. After all, God is omnipotent not limited by our approval or disapproval. He certrainly has ability to save not only believers but unbelievers as well. As Prophet David wrote, "Salvation belongs to the Lord." However, one must exercise extreme caution not to equate His ability with His willingness. There are two crucial questions involved here. Can He save those souls in hell? YES. Will He save them? I propose that we leave this to God. He damns them. Glory to God. He saves them. Glory to God. My position is not based on direct message or vision from God. It is in accordance with the teachings of the church. The Metropolitan, however, answers the latter question affirmatively. He may not argue that all souls in hell in the end will be liberated. Nonetheless, he makes specific reference to the incident in which "a rare exception" of transmigration is substantiated. Will somebody please quote for me a passage in the Bible or in the book of catechism that supports the theory of transmigration souls from hell to heaven on a rare exception? See for yourself who is being presumptuous about divine providence. Enough of these polemics. Summing up my point, I do not recommend The Mountain of Silence to any mature Orthodox Christian audience. If you are hungry for a Christocentric, sound guide to Orthodoxy, read The Orthodox Church by Apostolos Makrakis instead. 
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« Reply #31 on: May 27, 2006, 08:45:13 PM »

The Metropolitan...may not argue that all souls in hell in the end will be liberated. Nonetheless, he makes specific reference to the incident in which "a rare exception" of transmigration is substantiated.

...as reported by a pious, God-filled monastic of the Holy Mountain who did not seek out or trumpet this vision to anyone but Fr. Maximos.  What does this say about God?  It says that He is merciful, and that in this instance He has shown mercy to the awful elder.  This does not mean that He will do such a thing to any other person in the history of the cosmos, and we should not presume such a thing unless it is shown to us in a vision, as it was in this case.
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« Reply #32 on: June 01, 2006, 12:02:46 AM »

Will somebody please quote for me a passage in the Bible or in the book of catechism that supports the theory of transmigration souls from hell to heaven on a rare exception?
  If ... "With God,all things are possible"...then it is certainly possible regardless of Scripture or Holy Tradition.
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« Reply #33 on: December 01, 2012, 07:47:03 PM »

I just got done reading the book "The Mountian of Silence; a search for Orthodox spirituality" by Kyriacos Markides. I must say that this is one of the best Orthodox books that I have read so far; it is very juicy, a page turner. It has a perfect blend of stories of experiences of the monks, spiritual fathers, and a great and practical blend of theology and teaching on how to pray and live the christian life.

Such issues he discusses are

-all the stages leading up to theosis
-how to obtain theosis(using practical language)
-Angels and demons
-miracles
-mankind and animals after theosis
-praying for the dead, and praying people out of hell
-the nature of hell, and the difference between the eastern and western definitions of it

there are many more things to be said about this book. It has given me much hope; I have been greatly blessed.

There is more I have to say about the book; however, I wanted to hear what some of you (who have read it) think about it first.

Doamne Milueste-ma

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Oh My God. I loved this book. I wish I had brought with me from Greece.
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« Reply #34 on: December 01, 2012, 09:47:59 PM »

I just got done reading the book "The Mountian of Silence; a search for Orthodox spirituality" by Kyriacos Markides. I must say that this is one of the best Orthodox books that I have read so far; it is very juicy, a page turner. It has a perfect blend of stories of experiences of the monks, spiritual fathers, and a great and practical blend of theology and teaching on how to pray and live the christian life.

Such issues he discusses are

-all the stages leading up to theosis
-how to obtain theosis(using practical language)
-Angels and demons
-miracles
-mankind and animals after theosis
-praying for the dead, and praying people out of hell
-the nature of hell, and the difference between the eastern and western definitions of it

there are many more things to be said about this book. It has given me much hope; I have been greatly blessed.

There is more I have to say about the book; however, I wanted to hear what some of you (who have read it) think about it first.

Doamne Milueste-ma

Bagpiper

Oh My God. I loved this book. I wish I had brought with me from Greece.
You should read his Inner River.
« Last Edit: December 01, 2012, 09:49:10 PM by Jetavan » Logged

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