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Orthodox Books
Optina Hermitage
Optina Hermitage
Optina Hermitage

On this page, you will find some very fine Orthodox material.  We will offer books and audio to help you in your spiritual walk.

Featured Books - Some 30% OFF!!!
Counsels on the Spiritual Life - Mark the Monk
PPS37

The spiritual counsels of Mark, a fifth century monk in Asia Minor, are equally rich in theological insight and historical interest. His writings were deeply valued by Byzantine ascetics, were circulated during the Reformation, and were read by Lutheran divines and Roman theologians. The general level of interest in his works during the first half of the second millennium is eloquently reported in a fourteenth century manuscript, as a slogan often repeated by monastics and ascetics: “Sell everything and buy Mark.” His words on taking responsibility for one another out of love, his practical advice on the need for repentance, and his strident emphasis on the kind of unity evident in Christ directly relate to modern Christians and may provide a useful point of departure for ecumenical dialogue.

These are important texts … as evidence of the seamless robe of monastic thinking and praying in a formative era for the Christian mind and heart.
- The Rt Revd Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury

THE TRANSLATORS The Revd Dr Tim Vivian is Assistant Professor in Religious Studies at California Sate University, Bakersfield, and the translator of numerous early patristic texts. Dr Augustine Casiday is a Lecturer in Historical Theology and Director of the MA in Monastic Studies, University of Wales, Lampeter.

Excerpt
The conflict between the mind and the soul
1. Listen, rational soul, partner in all my deliberations, I wish to explain to you a certain mysterious and ordinary matter. I have undertaken this without having been cleansed of passions, but I am, by the grace of Christ, nevertheless, devoting myself to it for a short while. I am fully aware, dear soul, that both you and I, naturally influenced by ignorance, are prone to error and on account of this blame others for our sins, saying that the evil lies outside us. Sometimes we lay the blame on Adam, while at other times Satan, and other times other people. In doing so we imagine that we are waging war against others, while we are really waging war against ourselves. Thinking that we are protecting one another, you and I are in reality fighting against each other; believing that we are benefiting one another, we are really harming each other, like a madman with his self-inflicted wounds, rightly enduring useless articulations and reproaches. We appear to love the commandments, but because of error we hate what informs them. Because of this, I clearly see now that we are not drawn wrongfully into either evil or good by some sort of power; on the contrary, from the time we are baptized, when we undertake any kind of endeavor using our free will we serve either God or the Devil, and one or the other quite rightly compels us to take his side.

Paperback 339pgs

pb 339pgs WAS $25:  $17.50
Give Me A Word: The Alphabetical Sayings of the Desert Fathers
PPS52

When Christians first began living as monks in the Egyptian desert at the beginning of the fourth century, they had few books and almost no learning. As they gained experience, they concentrated that experience in the form of an oral tradition of tales and sayings (apophthegmata). Apart from the Scriptures (also learned by heart) this was the only training manual they had. Consequently, when the onslaught of barbarians drove many monks out of Egypt early in the following century, they found it better to preserve their oral tradition in writing.

Thus, towards the end of the fifth century there eventually emerged a codification of this monastic lore. It was in two parts: one in which the items were arranged in alphabetical order by the name of the monk who either authored the saying or was characterized in the tale; the other in which all the remaining “anonymous” material was arranged under various heads. The present volume is an attempt to provide the reader with a readable translation of the first of those parts.

Trans by John Wortley, 5 x 7.25" paperback, 327 pgs.

paperback WAS $26:  $19.50
On Fasting and Feasts - St. Basil the Great
PPS50

Saint Basil of Caesarea (c. 329-378/9 CE) was a monk, bishop, preacher, theologian, and social activist who had very down-to-earth views about eating, drinking, fasting, and feasts in honor  of local martyrs. In this new collection of sermon translations—most offered here in English for the first time— Basil addresses such issues as drunkenness, hesitations over baptism, community benefits of fasting, how to be thankful when facing loss and disaster, and the mystery of the incarnation. Also included are three sermons on local martyrs Julitta, Mamas, and Barlaam. This small volume of elegant translations will be a vital and valued resource for anyone interested in religion and the body, early Christian spiritual disciplines, and their application to the Church today.

Dr Mark DelCogliano teaches at the University of St Thomas in St Paul, Minnesota. In addition to his scholarship on the fourth-century Trinitarian controversies, he has published numerous translations of patristic works, including eleven of Basil’s Moral Homilies in On Christian Doctrine and Practice (PPS 47).

Dr Susan R. Holman is author of over thirty publications, including four books, in the areas of patristic studies, the history of poverty, and medicine. She is Senior Writer at the Harvard Global Health Institute.

Paperback 141 pgs.

pb 141pgs WAS $16:  $11.20
Poems on Scripture - St Gregory Nazianzus
PPS46

In recent years the poetry of St Gregory has gained admirers for its verbal artistry, rich theology, and psychological insight. Moreover, the Theologian uses verse to engage in extensive biblical exegesis, a project that can seem absent from his more famous orations and letters.

This volume translates selections from Gregory’s biblical verse, much of which is appearing in English for the first time, facing the original Greek The heart of the collection is a group of poems that distill the central teachings of the four Gospels in order to train beginners in an approach to the sacred text according to the model of Gregory himself: as an encounter with the living Word of God, who speaks directly to the Christian audience. Other poems included here, while not explicitly exegetical, witness to Gregory’s personalizing approach to meeting Christ in scripture.

Brian Dunkle, S.J., is pursuing a doctorate in historical theology at the University of Notre Dame.

Paperback 160 pgs

pb 160pgs WAS $22:  $15.40
The Lenten Spring

"The Church welcomes the Lenten spring with a spirit of exultation...with the enthusiasm of a child... The tone of the church services is one of brightness and light."

Thus the author begins the first of forty meditation on Great Lent, casting out the gloom and darkness with which many Christians approach this holy season and revealing, in a simple, clear and beautiful manner, its true meaning.

In his meditations, Fr Hopko draws on his long experience as a pastor and teacher, working with young and old throughout the country, to present to the modern reader the relevance of the Church's two-thousand-year-old tradition of preparing to greet our Lord's Resurrection. In his work he also makes extensive use of all facets of the church tradition: inspiring scriptural and liturgical passages from the Lenten services, the spiritual wisdom of the ancient saints and fathers, as well as the teachings of modern guides to the Christian life.

All Christians who undertake the yearly journey to the blessed Pascha of our Lord will find inspiration and guidance in these meditations. All can enjoy reading and rereading them and share in the profound thoughts of the author as they make their own spiritual way through this holy season.

The Author:Fr Thomas Hopko is the former dean of St Vladimir's Seminary and professor emeritus of dogmatic theology. He has authored numerous works on all aspects of the Orthodox Church's faith and practice.

paperback, 324 pgs.

pb 324pgs WAS $17:  $11.90
The Watchful Mind: Teachings on the Prayer of the Heart

1 left in stock

Written by an anonymous priest-monk living in asceticism on the Holy Mountain of Athos, The Watchful Mind is the fruit of a life of deep prayer. The unknown writer was a hesychast—a practitioner of stillness and the Jesus Prayer—and in these pages he shares with readers his hidden life, a life filled with spiritual struggles, ecstatic experiences, and mystical revelations. Moved by a burning love for Christ, the author does not give us a neatly composed reflection on the spiritual life, but rather an account of his own passionate search. This deeply personal book is an account of one holy man’s unique journey in the life of contemplation. It touches on many aspects of the spiritual and ascetic life, particularly the hesychastic themes of watchfulness, spiritual warfare, and the prayer of the heart.

8.5" x 5.5" 237 pgs, paperback

This profound book written in 1851 and preserved in the library of our Sacred Monastery of Saint Xenophon represents the fruit of holy and spiritual revelations, painful struggles, and divine experiences and ascents of this humble, unknown ascetic of the Holy Mountain.

paperback WAS $22:  $17.60
The Winter Pascha

By Fr. Thomas Hopko

When the winter begins to make way into the Northern World, the Church of Christ begins to celebrate a "splendid three-day Pascha."

Thus Father Thomas Hopko begins the first of forty meditations for the season of Advent, Christmas and Epiphany, ending with the feast of the Meeting of the Lord in the Temple on the fortieth day after Christ's birth. In the style of his popular book for the paschal fasting season, The Lenten Spring, the author again draws on the biblical readings and liturgical hymns and verses of the season to illumine the way for believers to follow the Church's days of preparation and celebration for the Coming of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, in human flesh. Many references are made to the writings of the saints and Church Fathers, as well as to contemporary Christian teachers and spiritual guides. All those who love the Lord's Coming will find comfort and strength, as well as enlightenment and instruction, for having passed through the Winter Pascha with this book as their companion.

5.5 x 8.5", Paperback, 183 pgs.

paperback WAS $18:  $12.60
Blessed Fr. Seraphim Rose
God's Revelation to the Human Heart

“When conversion takes place, the process of revelation occurs in a very simple way—a person is in need, he suffers, and then somehow the other world opens up. The more you are in suffering and difficulties and are ‘desperate’ for God, the more He is going to come to your aid, reveal Who He is and show you the way out.…”

—Fr. Seraphim Rose

What does man seek in religion, and what should he seek in it? How does God reveal Himself in order to bring man to a knowledge of the Truth? How does suffering help this revelation to occur? Fr. Seraphim Rose addressed these and other issues during a lecture at the University of California, Santa Cruz, in 1981. GOD’S REVELATION TO THE HUMAN HEART is a transcription of that lecture, together with the question-and-answer session that followed between Fr. Seraphim and the university students.

“Why is the truth, it would seem, revealed to some and not to others? Is there a special organ for receiving revelation from God? Yes, though usually we close it and do not let it open up: God’s revelation is given to something called a loving heart.”

—excerpt from GOD’S REVELATION TO THE HUMAN HEART

Drawing upon a wealth of sources—the Holy Scriptures, patristic writings, the Lives of ancient and modern saints, and accounts of persecuted Christians in today’s world—Fr. Seraphim leads the audience to the core of all Christian life: the conversion of the heart of man, which begins to burn with love for Christ and transforms one into a new being.

48 pages, illustrated, full-color cover, paperback

paperback:  $6.00
Orthodoxy and the Religion of the Future

   The psychic phenomena of today are symptoms of the emergence of a new spirituality that is molding the world religion of the future—phenomena such as Yoga, Zen, Tantra, Transcendental Meditation, Guru Maharaj-ji, Hare Krishna, UFO’s, the Charismatic Movement, and Jonestown.

    “None of these by itself … has a crucial significance in the spiritual makeup of contemporary man; but each one in its own way typifies the striving of men today to find a new spiritual path, distinct from the Christianity of yesterday, and the sum of them together reveals a frightening unity of purpose whose final end seems just now to be looming above the horizon.”

–Fr. Seraphim Rose

    This work is a concise and unequivocal Orthodox statement on contemporary trends; its urgent message rings loud and clear. Viewed from the foundation of patristic teaching, many of the spiritual movements of today are seen to be spiritual deceptions which have existed since the beginning of the Church—and not achievements of a “new religious consciousness.” Addressing soberly and directly the trends of pseudo-spirituality which appear enticing today, ORTHODOXY AND THE RELIGION OF THE FUTURE provides a beacon of discernment in these times of widespread deception.

    ORTHODOXY AND THE RELIGION OF THE FUTURE examines a broad spectrum of issues facing modern Christians—each from the perspective of the early Church Fathers. As the “New Age” is becoming a household concept and is moving into wider acceptance by mainstream society, the “new religious consciousness” can be seen progressing precisely along the lines described by the late Fr. Seraphim. Included in this edition is an epilogue that chronicles the signs of the religion of the future that have made their appearance since this book was first published.

252 pages, full-color cover, paperback

Paperback :  $10.00
The First-Created Man

THE FIRST-CREATED MAN is a collection of seven homilies which deal with Adam’s fall and our redemption by Jesus Christ.

    A knowledge of the beginning and end of all things is essential for us to understand the purpose of our existence here on this earth, and what lies beyond it. For a true interpretation of the first and last things, we must turn to those teachers who beheld the beginning and end in a state of divine vision. Among these great seers was St. Symeon the New Theologian (949–1022): he speaks of the mysteries of the beginning and end precisely because he has seen them.

    St. Symeon’s profound homilies on Adam and the future age give the theological foundation for the Christian life of struggle. The original state of man from which Adam fell tells of our deepest nature, of which our present fallen nature is a corruption that is to be overcome; and the future state of blessedness is the goal to which our Christian struggle is aimed, and to which we can attain, by God’s grace, despite our fallen state.

    “Adam did not wish to say, ‘I sinned,’ but said rather the contrary of this and placed the blame for transgression upon God Who created everything ‘very good,’ saying to Him, ‘The woman whom Thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree and I ate.’ And after him, she placed the blame on the serpent, and they did not wish at all to repent and beg forgiveness of Him.”

—St. Symeon, Homily 45

    These homilies of St. Symeon have been selected, translated, and introduced by Fr. Seraphim Rose with the aim of reconnecting modern man with the ancient understanding of the true purpose of life.

124 pages, illustrated, full-color cover, paperback

124 pgs. paperback :  $8.00
The Place of Blessed Augustine in the Orthodox Church

When Fr. Seraphim learned that the early Western Father, Blessed Augustine of Hippo, was being attacked in contemporary Eastern Orthodox circles, then he—himself a Western convert to Orthodoxy—rose in his defense. This book is the outcome. Fr. Seraphim said he wrote it in the hope that it would help remove Augustine as a scapegoat for today’s academic theologians, and thus “help free us all to see his and our own weaknesses in a little closer light—for his weaknesses, to a surprising degree, are indeed close to our own.”

    “Narrow is the mansion of my soul; enlarge Thou it, that Thou mayest enter in … for without Thee what am I to myself except a guide to my own downfall?”

—Blessed Augustine of Hippo

    After discussing Blessed Augustine’s strengths and weaknesses, Fr. Seraphim examines the views of other Holy Fathers concerning him. “His main benefit to us today,” he writes, “is probably precisely as a Father of Orthodox piety—something with which he was filled to overflowing.… Here he is one with the simple Orthodox faithful, as well as with all the Holy Fathers of East and West who, whatever their various failings and differences in theoretical points of doctrine, had a single deeply Christian heart and soul. It is this that makes him unquestionably an Orthodox Father.”

    This new edition of THE PLACE OF BLESSED AUGUSTINE IN THE ORTHODOX CHURCH contains letters written by Fr. Seraphim concerning Augustine, passages from Augustine’s Confessions which Fr. Seraphim found especially moving, and an Orthodox service to Blessed Augustine, commissioned by St. John Maximovitch.

144 pages, illustrated, full-color cover, paperback

143 pgs paperback :  $10.00
Orthodox Books
Christ: The Alpha and Omega

ONLY 1 LEFT

Bishop Athanasius Yevtich The Serbian Orthodox Diocese of Western America is pleased to announce the publication of an outstanding book by Bishop Athanasius Yevtich, a disciple of the great twentieth-century theologian Archimandrite Justin Popovich. Bishop Athanasius' thought combines adherence to the teachings of the Church Fathers with a vibrant faith and a profound experience of Christ in the Church.

Christ, The Alpha and Omega is the first of a planned collection of works of contemporary Serbian theologians. It is an anthology of Bishop Athanasius' articles which have appeared in Serbian, Greek, French, English and Russian. Focusing on themes central to Christian patristic Triadology, Ecclesiology and Anthropology, the book reveals the ultimate purpose of man and the universe, and speaks of how each of us can realize this purpose within the divine-human community of the Orthodox Church. Bishop Athanasius reminds us that the God-man Jesus Christ is the Beginning and the End of all things, and that we must seek our own end, goal, and fulfillment in Him.

The book is adorned with striking illustrations by Fr. Stamatis Skliris, a parish priest in Athens who is renowned as an iconographer and as a writer and lecturer on Byzantine iconography.

Softcover 256 pgs

softcover:  $20.00
Father Herman - Alaska's Saint

By F.A. Golder  (Papercut illistrations by Nikki McClure)

In 1794 a group of Russian missionaries from Valaam Monastery arrived in Kodiak, Alaska. For the next forty years one member of their party would remain, enduring hunger, cold, and mockery. Today he is universally recognized as a Saint of the Orthodox Church: St. Herman of Alaska.

 

St. Herman's love for the Kodiak natives manifested itself in his service to them throughout his life. He was the protector of the persecuted, a nurse to the sick, and a father to orphans. As a hermit on Spruce Island, he was a friend of God and of angels. Even today the natives of Alaska refer to him as their father, a connection that has never been broken.

 

In 1914, F.A. Golder, a leading scholar on the American Northwest at the turn of the century, spent two weeks at Valaam Monastery located on Lake Ladoga (between present-day Russia and Finland). Golder went to Valaam to learn of this missionary monk who was sent to America to bring the Orthodox Faith to the natives of the land.

 

The present volume contains Golder's Life of St. Herman and a collection of the Saint's miracles, spanning from the time of his repose to our own times. Included is a contemporary pilgrim's description of Spruce Island, the site of St. Herman's labors, miracles, and repose.

 

72 pages, illustrated with paper-cut illustrations, paperback, St Herman’s Press
72 pgs paperback, illustrated :  $8.00
Guidance Toward Spiritual Life
By Saints Barsanuphius and John

Translated by Fr. Seraphim Rose of Platina.

With the practical aim of guiding the brothers at his monastery in the wilderness of northern California, Fr. Seraphim Rose set out to select and translate these counsels of Saints Barsanuphius the Great and John the Prophet, Desert Fathers of 6th-century Palestine. He found that many of the questions posed to Saints Barsanuphius and John were not unlike those asked by Christian strugglers of today. The answers of the saints expose the nature of the vices, and show how to overcome them and acquire virtue.

GUIDANCE TOWARD SPIRITUAL LIFE includes the Life of Saints Barsanuphius and John by Saint Nicodemus of Mount Athos, as well as selected passages from the Spiritual Homilies of St. Macarius the Great of Egypt.

182 pages,illustrated, full-color cover, paperback.
Paperback :  $12.00
 

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