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Author Topic: book that converted you?  (Read 15287 times) Average Rating: 0
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arjuna3110
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« on: July 07, 2005, 11:41:06 PM »

Is there a book that converted you to Orthodoxy?

For me, if I convert, it will be because of Vladimir Lossky's "The Mystical Theology of the Eastern Church."  It has reworked my mind.  Each chapter has been like a bulldozer and crane that reshaped my entire way of understanding religion, God and the Gospel.  Amazing.  It is so powerful a medium of grace that I actually have to stop reading it after a while, and put it down, and try --over days or longer-- to absorb the reality being conveyed.  Reading that book is like the Holy Spirit touching my mind.
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« Reply #1 on: July 08, 2005, 12:04:40 AM »

I wouldn't say that any one book was the book that converted me, but Orthodox Faith and Life in Christ by St. Justin Popovich probably helped push me over the edge in becoming Orthodox rather than Catholic. St. Justin speaks constantly against Roman Catholics, but it was the positive essays on Orthodoxy that really did it for me. His discussing an Orthodox theory of knowledge (as seen in St. Isaac the Syrian), his discussing how Orthodoxy learns and lives through her saints, his discussing the purpose of our lives and of the Church's existence... it was as though everything I needed to know was right there in that book. For every (seemingly) assured truth, systematically evidenced and proof-texted, that the Catholics gave, Orthodoxy handed me in response mostly vague half-answers and what seemed like chaotic, muddled thoughts.

The above book by St. Justin showed me though that Orthodoxy could give concise and detailed answers when she needed to, but that sometimes the vague answer was the better one. Orthodoxy didn't just pay lip service to apophaticism, mystery, paradox, intellectual honesty, etc... but they took it seriously, and these things manifested themselves when convert-wanna-be's like me asked all sorts of arrogant and presumptuous questions. I think it's sort of an entrance test of sorts... can the inquirer humble themselves and put aside their own intellect for a split second and accept that they won't get all the answers? As St. Justin says in that book, the Church is the greatest mystery of all, and we have to be ready for whatever it offers us. I think that after reading that book, I first realised in my heart that Orthodoxy was always going to be bigger than me (in so many ways), and that that was just the way it should be(though I often forget that now, I have to keep reminding myself! Smiley )
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« Reply #2 on: July 08, 2005, 12:06:18 AM »

No specific book converted me, but For the Life of the World kept me on the path to Orthodoxy.

In IC XC,
Marjorie
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« Reply #3 on: July 08, 2005, 12:11:07 AM »

â€Â  Irini nem ehmot â€Â

I've been Orthodox my entire life, but I haven't been "really" Orthodox (if you know what I mean) until recently.  A couple of books that have helped me were Release of the Spirit by H.H. Pope Shenouda and Being with God also by H.H. Pope Shenouda.  I also read History of the Copts by Iris Habib which helped me greatly appreciate what the early Fathers did and I'm reading (actually re-reading) Early Christian Doctrines by J.N.D. Kelly which is very interesting.

Pray for me.
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« Reply #4 on: July 08, 2005, 12:27:33 AM »

I was all happy singing and dancing sabbatarian going well (this is an oxymoron btw. - Happy sabbatarian, 7th Day Adventist.... more than oxymoron that is... it is impossibility). Anyway, I was all happy, singing and dancing. As usual questioning how can I get saved as I am not able to keep the commandments;
that it was my fault that Christ has not come yet as I am not converting enough people to SDA;
how I was judging everyone else, backstabbing brothers so I could get a place on a church council... the usual...

and then,

Little Dorothy got smashed by a tornado... and everything went down the toilet... spinning the "other way around" because I was Down Under (Australia-Souther Hemysphere), but never-the-less, down the toilet it went.

I woke up one morning and said: Man this is all #$@%@*@&^#((@&#^%@^&#&%@$%#% (I am from the Balkans, we swear a bit longer than you people) @%#$%@%&#&^@^^#^&@&%^#.
And I mean this LITERALLY!

I just woke up one day and said: Man this is all #$@%@*@&^#((@&#^%@^&#&%@$%#% @%#$%@%&#&^@^^#^&@&%^#. What am I doing? From that moment I just knew that Orthodoxy is the way. Soon after I went to Saudi Arabia (wow.. such a cool place... seriously - there are no Jehowas Witnesses and Mormons raping people on the street and other "Bible believing Christians").

I had myself, God and books. I accepted everything before I even understood it. And since that day.. I have not come across anything that the Church teaches that I would consider wrong or shady.


As one father said: If I find something that doesn't look good it is either me not reading right or me not thinking right. (this is not a quote-as I can not remember who said it and where and how, but it is as I remember it).

So, which book converted me to Orthodoxy... probably all bunch of mental-raping books that "great prophet of SDA, Ellen G. White wrote"...

I just love God. His ways are really really really strange.... Lord have mercy on us, and glory to YOU forever.
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« Reply #5 on: July 08, 2005, 12:35:21 AM »

From that moment I just knew that Orthodoxy is the way. Soon after I went to Saudi Arabia (wow.. such a cool place... seriously - there are no Jehowas Witnesses and Mormons raping people on the street and other "Bible believing Christians").

I realize that this probably isn't the place for it, but this part really piqued my curiosity.  Where in Saudi did you live, and secondly... did you actually enjoy living there?
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Cephas 

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« Reply #6 on: July 08, 2005, 12:43:10 AM »

OFF THE TOPIC:

I realize that this probably isn't the place for it, but this part really piqued my curiosity.  Where in Saudi did you live, and secondly... did you actually enjoy living there?

I lived in Dhahran and Tabook and last couple of months in Riyad. It was weird... the pleace has a strange pressure about it... people would laugh with you and then suddenly they would not... like somebody was using some all-present mind control... Arabs are good but can be very hard to deal with.. they are like English Weather... As far as westerners are concerned well... they are story for themselves... all in all it wasn't a bad place to live... but at the same time it was a bad place to live in... very hard to explain...  By the end I couldn't wait to get out....

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« Reply #7 on: July 08, 2005, 12:50:10 AM »

OFF THE TOPIC:

I lived in Dhahran and Tabook and last couple of months in Riyad. It was weird... the pleace has a strange pressure about it... people would laugh with you and then suddenly they would not... like somebody was using some all-present mind control... Arabs are good but can be very hard to deal with.. they are like English Weather... As far as westerners are concerned well... they are story for themselves... all in all it wasn't a bad place to live... but at the same time it was a bad place to live in... very hard to explain...  By the end I couldn't wait to get out....

OFF TOPIC AGAIN (sorry all, I promise, this will be the last time)

Oh okay.  I lived in Taif for 14 years and I hated it.  Actually, hate doesn't really convey the emotion well enough.  Perhaps loath would be a better choice.  The people there are so backwards, ignorant, uneducated and just all around stupid.  Sorry, had to rant.  It's just that it's not often you meet anyone else who's lived in Saudi.  And now my tirade is done.  Grin

BACK TO THE TOPIC.
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Cephas 

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« Reply #8 on: July 08, 2005, 01:47:43 AM »

Is there a book that converted you to Orthodoxy?

The Minutes and Decrees of Vatican II.
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« Reply #9 on: July 08, 2005, 02:07:22 AM »

Well not so much as in 'converted' because I was babtised Greek Orthodox and both parents are Greek.

The book that opened my eyes to what was happening around me and why these things happened would have to be ''Orthodoxy and the Religion of the future'' by Fr Seraphim Rose.....I was into UFO'S And Seances and all the new age stuff .
This was the first book about Orthodoxy that I bought......

Fr Seraphim Rose please pray for us.

Lord have mercy.

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« Reply #10 on: July 08, 2005, 04:10:54 PM »

Is there a book that converted you to Orthodoxy?

For me, if I convert, it will be because of Vladimir Lossky's "The Mystical Theology of the Eastern Church."ÂÂ  It has reworked my mind.ÂÂ  Each chapter has been like a bulldozer and crane that reshaped my entire way of understanding religion, God and the Gospel.ÂÂ  Amazing.ÂÂ  It is so powerful a medium of grace that I actually have to stop reading it after a while, and put it down, and try --over days or longer-- to absorb the reality being conveyed.ÂÂ  Reading that book is like the Holy Spirit touching my mind.


Yes "Becoming Orthodox" by Peter Quilquist, and Sola Scriptura, by Fr. John Whiteford, were the first two biggies that got the process roling.  ÃƒÆ’‚ and of course the stories from "Coming Home", as well as various other convert stories on the web and in magazines and other publications also made a big difference.


But I really thought the Sola Scriptura book was really a knock out blow.  ÃƒÆ’‚ It really put its finger on the pulse of things I occasionally worried or thought about as a Protestant when it came to interpretting the Bible, and getting a doctrinal consensus on various issues.  ÃƒÆ’‚  It made it very, very clear why the whole notion was completely unworkable, unrealistic, besides being completely ahistorical, and in many ways "unbiblical".
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« Reply #11 on: July 08, 2005, 04:42:06 PM »

But I really thought the Sola Scriptura book was really a knock out blow.  ÃƒÆ’‚ It really put its finger on the pulse of things I occasionally worried or thought about as a Protestant when it came to interpretting the Bible, and getting a doctrinal consensus on various issues.  ÃƒÆ’‚  It made it very, very clear why the whole notion was completely unworkable, unrealistic, besides being completely ahistorical, and in many ways "unbiblical".


oh yeah this one is available online!

http://www.holytrinity.ok.goarch.org/Interesting%20Stuff/sola_scriptura_john_whiteford.htm
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« Reply #12 on: July 08, 2005, 11:24:07 PM »

The Resurrection Letters of St Athanasius translated by Father Jack Sparks got me out of the Mormon Church.

It is a powerful renunciation of Mormon Doctrine that was printed centuries before the Mormon Church was a twinkle in Joseph Smith's Eye.

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« Reply #13 on: July 17, 2005, 01:24:08 AM »

Harry Potter and the Yellow Monkey
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« Reply #14 on: July 17, 2005, 09:54:38 AM »

On the Divine Images by Saint John of Damascus and The Life in Christ by Saint Nicholas Cabasilas did it for me. None of those books by angry converts to the Orthodox Church have ever done a thing for me.
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« Reply #15 on: July 20, 2005, 09:46:22 AM »

Harry Potter and the Yellow Monkey

Aw, I love that one!   Grin

Seriously --

The Orthodox Way by Bp. KALLISTOS Ware.
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« Reply #16 on: July 20, 2005, 10:55:50 AM »

Oh!  There were many books and authors who influenced in becoming Orthodox.  Certainly the books and witness of Bishop +Kallistos and especially the books and truly all-encompassing and loving witness of Father Lev Gillet of blessed memory (A Monk of the Eastern Church)  Although she never wrote a book per se, St Maria Skobtsova helped me in becoming Orthodox and also more then any book, the witness of Orthodox Christians such as a babushka in her 70's whose loving spirit and true Orthodox piety brought me into the Church more then any polemics.  May Nina'a memory be Eternal!  Vyechnaya Pamyat!!!
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« Reply #17 on: July 22, 2005, 12:20:35 AM »

Well, I am not converted, yet...  What led me down this road were a few different things.  I was a Philosophy Minor in College and read some of the Church Fathers there.  That did not have an impact until years later.  At risk of hijacking this thread, I got into the LaHaye/Jenkins "Left Behind" series.  I was into the books with a religious ferver that would make Jerry Falwell blush.  Then, out of the blue, that book caught my eye.  Yes, that book which had been sitting there for over 5 years.  And that book was St Augustine's City of God.  I have read a good chunk of it (it's over 1000 pages long).  But the most life changing part for me was his commentary on the end times.  Obviously, the two (St Augustine and LaHaye)  don't "jive".  Picture this.  LaHaye is in his corner babbling on and on about a Pre-Tribulation Rapture.  I can imagine St Augustine standing there with a blank stare on his face only replying when we can get a word in edge wise- the Church has never taught or believed this and this nonsense is not worthy of a response.  Whatever is said about Augustine, there can be no denying his passion in pursuit of God.  Looking back, it was as if St Augustine had carried me by the hand and taught me to question, search- all with the passion and aim of pursuing God that he has(d).  I brought City of God to work one day to do some reading if I had the time.  It was on that day, I was befriended by a great friend and mentor, who is Orthodox, who also shares an appreciation for St Augustine.  From there I rediscovered my love for St Justin and dived into the Didache and St Polycarp.
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« Reply #18 on: July 22, 2005, 03:38:06 PM »

I don't think I could credit a single source, but a trilogy of books; The Way, The Faith, and The Life (in that order) by Clark Carlton convinced me I was doing the right thing.


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« Reply #19 on: July 27, 2005, 03:27:31 PM »

"The Orthodox Church" by Timothy (now Bishop Kallistos) Ware got me interested, and also "Mere Christianity" by C.S. Lewis made me think of Christianity in a new way.

"Facing East" by Frederica Matthews-Green made my wife convert!
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« Reply #20 on: July 29, 2005, 01:44:33 PM »

"Beginning to Pray" by Anthony Bloom was another important book for me. It's small, but deep. I keep re-reading and I always find something new to think about in this book!
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« Reply #21 on: August 03, 2005, 07:18:58 PM »

The book that was probably the biggest catalyst for me was Nihilism by Fr.Seraphim of Platina.
http://www.columbia.edu/cu/augustine/arch/nihilism.html
Well, I am not converted, yet... What led me down this road were a few different things. I was a Philosophy Minor in College and read some of the Church Fathers there. That did not have an impact until years later. At risk of hijacking this thread, I got into the LaHaye/Jenkins "Left Behind" series. I was into the books with a religious ferver that would make Jerry Falwell blush. Then, out of the blue, that book caught my eye. Yes, that book which had been sitting there for over 5 years. And that book was St Augustine's City of God. I have read a good chunk of it (it's over 1000 pages long). But the most life changing part for me was his commentary on the end times. Obviously, the two (St Augustine and LaHaye) don't "jive". Picture this. LaHaye is in his corner babbling on and on about a Pre-Tribulation Rapture. I can imagine St Augustine standing there with a blank stare on his face only replying when we can get a word in edge wise- the Church has never taught or believed this and this nonsense is not worthy of a response. Whatever is said about Augustine, there can be no denying his passion in pursuit of God. Looking back, it was as if St Augustine had carried me by the hand and taught me to question, search- all with the passion and aim of pursuing God that he has(d). I brought City of God to work one day to do some reading if I had the time. It was on that day, I was befriended by a great friend and mentor, who is Orthodox, who also shares an appreciation for St Augustine. From there I rediscovered my love for St Justin and dived into the Didache and St Polycarp.

While Fr.Romanides has pointed out the serious faults of St.Augustine I am convinced anyone who considers his humility and reads him knowing his deficiencies will be lead to Orthodox. How could you be Orthodox and not love his Confession and homilies?
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« Reply #22 on: August 03, 2005, 08:32:09 PM »

Tikhon:

You mention angry converts to the Orthodox church, most notably Farankie Schaeffer "Dancing AloneAngry. I enjoyed them in the beginning when I was an angry convert, but they have no lasting effect, I agree. No one book did it for me; however, Eusebius The History of the Church started the ball rolling. Embarrassed
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« Reply #23 on: August 03, 2005, 09:39:43 PM »

The book that was probably the biggest catalyst for me was Nihilism by Fr.Seraphim of Platina.
http://www.columbia.edu/cu/augustine/arch/nihilism.html
I have it and it is good, but it's hard for me to concentrate and understand.  I really have a hard time with things philosophical in nature, as I get bored almost instantly unless I fed the Cliff Notes version.


While Fr.Romanides has pointed out the serious faults of St.Augustine I am convinced anyone who considers his humility and reads him knowing his deficiencies will be lead to Orthodox. How could you be Orthodox and not love his Confession and homilies?
I thank Fr. Seraphim Rose for his nice book on Augustine (which I have as well).
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« Reply #24 on: August 04, 2005, 01:44:18 PM »

The was no book that helped me to convert to Orthodoxy.  While I was a Franciscan studying for the priesthood at St. John's Seminary in Boston, it was the courses on Church History and Dogma that did it.  There was mention of "us" changing the creed even tho the Ecumencial Councils forbade that. 
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« Reply #25 on: August 04, 2005, 11:58:41 PM »

Well, the book that shoved me to take the actual step and contact an Orthodox priest would have to be The Way of a Pilgrim.  After, that I fell in love with the Fathers.  The book that then convinced me intellectually was the Famous book by Timothy [Bp. Kalistos] Ware, The Orthodox Church.  However, the book that convinced me spirtually to start living l(or more like trying and failling, but getting better at trying) is St. Innocent's The Way into the Kingdom of Heaven
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« Reply #26 on: August 05, 2005, 01:24:56 PM »

Although, now that I think about it, technically the book that converted me would be Summa Theologiae.  As a former Traditionalist Catholic, I just couldn't buy his philosophy.
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« Reply #27 on: August 08, 2005, 01:25:23 PM »

At The Corner of East and Now, by Frederica Mathewes-Green

I knew at the second page of the first chapter that I wanted to be Orthodox, even though my total prior experience had been a Greek weddiing at age 12
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« Reply #28 on: August 08, 2005, 09:03:49 PM »

Not converted yet, but the books that grabbed me were the two books about Father Arseny, and the "Law of God".
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« Reply #29 on: August 24, 2005, 12:05:51 AM »

I have been "converted" for some time now, but I will finally be made a visible part of the Holy Orthodox Church in November. The books that intitiated this journey were
found "accidentally" on a shelf of Powell's Books in Portland, Oregon. They were a hardcover edition of the Catacomb Saints, the life of Staretz Silouan by Archimandrite
Sophrony and Father Herman, Alaska's Saint by F. A. Golder.

The Catacomb Saints astonished me with my first glimpse of the total commitment the New Martyrs made to their faith. The story of priests and faithful in the Solovkii
prison who quietly celebrated Pascha in the woods, hanging paper, homemade icons on the trees & saying the service from memory under the terrible fear of discovery
made any of my own experience pale. It was from this kind of book that I learned how deeply felt Orthodoxy could be and also how disciplined and transforming.

Father Herman, Alaska's Saint took me back to my own childhood in the forest; but more than that it revealed to me the path of ascetic endeavor. All of this to bring the
faith to others. His patience was as monumental as the obstacles he faced, but long after his death it continues to proclaim itself in that same place.

The Monk of Mount Athos by Archimandrite Sophrony was almost like a textbook. I had to return to it numerous times because the lessons and example of his struggle
were so powerful. It was here that I first learned of the concept of Theosis, because the original title of this work was The Undistorted Image. Suddenly my hopes left
a simple page describing past events and opened to a huge landscape, the extent of which I am only beginning to explore. This is a book I will continue to read.

This topic seems to have reposed peacefully on August 8, but, working my way patiently along the path, I discovered the remains and delcared them valuable. We all have
signposts, not always books, to urge us on; but it is really the working of the Holy Spirit. I thank God that I not only looked over the horizon but realized I could also make
the journey myself with His help.

Philoxenia
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« Reply #30 on: August 31, 2005, 06:29:02 AM »

Is there a book that converted you to Orthodoxy?
"The Faith We Hold" by Archibishop Paul and also books by Tito Colliander.
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« Reply #31 on: August 31, 2005, 10:19:17 AM »

Three books and in the following order:

- Pilgrim to the Russian Church by Jim Forest
- Introducing the Orthodox Churcy by Fr Anthony Coniaris
- Becoming Orthodox by Peter Gillquist
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« Reply #32 on: September 01, 2005, 04:16:20 AM »

The books that did it for me (and still do) are:

1. The Way of a Pilgrim

2. Christ The Eternal Tao by Hieromonk Damascene

3. Father Arseny

4. The Orthodox Church by Bishop Kalistos

5. The Orthodox Way by Bisop Kalistos
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« Reply #33 on: February 16, 2006, 06:57:55 PM »

A book that saved my faith during a difficult period:
"We shall see God as he is" by Elder Sophrony.

Holy Elder Sophrony pray for us!
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« Reply #34 on: February 16, 2006, 08:18:02 PM »

Great thread!

 For me, 4 books were influential:
1. The Orthodox Church by Kallistos Ware
2. The Orthodox Way by the same
3. The Way of the Ascetics by Tito Kolliander
4. Sayings of the Desert Fathers by Benedicta Ward


I might also add the books that have both humbled and challenged me the most SINCE becoming Orthodox are the Evergetinos series published by C.T.O.S.

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Rd. David
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« Reply #35 on: February 16, 2006, 08:20:19 PM »

It didn't really convert me, but I wasn't that serious about orthdooxy until I read it:

"The Mountain of Silence" by Kyriacos C. Markides
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« Reply #36 on: February 16, 2006, 11:55:43 PM »

I've been Orthodox my entire life and I really didn't become it until I went to seminary.  There it wasn't 1 book that did it for me, it was actually a class we took.  We went through 7 different types of spirituality.  The order isn't exact, and some of these guys got piled together. 
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« Reply #37 on: February 17, 2006, 01:23:56 AM »

Several people have mentioned to me The Orthodox Church by Bishop Kallistos Ware as such a book. I would say that book definitely strengthened my faith.
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« Reply #38 on: February 17, 2006, 08:14:58 AM »

The Minutes and Decrees of Vatican II.


Yes, those. Wink
Add to that the text of the Novus Ordo Missae of Pope Paul VI (and committee).

I then read Commentary on the Divine Liturgy by Nicolas Cabasillas. I was then running to find an Orthodox Church!
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« Reply #39 on: February 17, 2006, 08:11:13 PM »

I made the decision to convert after reading At the Corner of East and Now by Frederica Matthewes-Green.

The real nail in the coffin (to use a rich phrase Smiley ) had come a little earlier from reading the letters of Sts. Ignatius of Antioch, Clement of Rome, and Polycarp, and the Didache- realizing that the Orthodox were serious when they said theirs was the fullness of apostolic faith.  You just can't ignore that in the early fathers.

But I needed to see what it meant to be Orthodox day to day, and Kh. Frederica helped there.
« Last Edit: February 17, 2006, 08:11:52 PM by StBrigid » Logged
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« Reply #40 on: February 24, 2006, 05:53:57 PM »


Yes, those. Wink
Add to that the text of the Novus Ordo Missae of Pope Paul VI (and committee).

I then read Commentary on the Divine Liturgy by Nicolas Cabasillas. I was then running to find an Orthodox Church!

Grace and Peace be with you all,

But seriously if there was a book that would serve to convert me it would be the Philokalia. Although many of the early Fathers are both Catholic and Orthodox it was the Orthodox who kept these Father in the forefront of their Tradition. Very respectable.

Peace and God Bless.
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« Reply #41 on: February 24, 2006, 05:56:02 PM »

sorry error...
« Last Edit: February 24, 2006, 05:56:37 PM by chrisb » Logged

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« Reply #42 on: March 10, 2006, 03:15:58 PM »

The Orthodox Church by Timothy Ware (Bishop Kallistos)
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« Reply #43 on: March 10, 2006, 03:50:32 PM »

The New Testament, "converted" me from apathy to Orthodoxy!  Smiley
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« Reply #44 on: March 11, 2006, 02:48:12 AM »

Is there a book that converted you to Orthodoxy?

For me, if I convert, it will be because of Vladimir Lossky's "The Mystical Theology of the Eastern Church."ÂÂ  It has reworked my mind.ÂÂ  Each chapter has been like a bulldozer and crane that reshaped my entire way of understanding religion, God and the Gospel.ÂÂ  Amazing.ÂÂ  It is so powerful a medium of grace that I actually have to stop reading it after a while, and put it down, and try --over days or longer-- to absorb the reality being conveyed.ÂÂ  Reading that book is like the Holy Spirit touching my mind.

Several books for me, by (Timothy) Kallistos Ware. I also like several books by Michael Whelton and Carlton Clark
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