Book Club

The Way of a Pilgrim and The Pilgrim Continues His Way
The Way of a Pilgrim

This classic of world spiritual literature is the firsthand account of a pilgrim’s journey as he endeavors to live out Saint Paul’s instruction to “pray without ceasing.” The narrator, an unnamed nineteenth-century peasant, sets out on his pilgrimage with nothing but a Bible, a rosary, and some dried bread. As he walks, he recites the Jesus prayer (“Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me”)—a prayer that is said to quiet anxiety and fill the heart with love for all creation. With this prayer constantly on his lips, the pilgrim undergoes a profound spiritual education. This edition includes the sequel to The Way of a Pilgrim, entitled A Pilgrim Continues His Way, which contains a lengthy appendix reviewing the teachings of the Holy Fathers on the Jesus prayer.
 

Five Steps To Spiritual Growth: A Journey
Five Steps To Spiritual Growth A Journey

Focuses on the dynamics of the spiritual journey that begins with a conscious decision to listen to God’s presence in our lives and in our world, and on the continual process of developing a deeper relationship with God, which consequently will help us become better people. Original.
 
 
God’s Power Within You: Attitudes for Living

This book explores our potential offered by Christ in His Sermon on the Mount commonly known as the Beatitudes. Within the nine Beatitudes, Christ summarizes his teachings about our life, how to be as children of God. In briefGod's Power Within You Attitudes for Living statements, He introduces qualities that we need to develop in order to become members of the kingdom of heaven. This desired state of happiness in the kingdom of heaven is not an abstract or indefinite promise. It is a reality that starts in our present life and provides inner joy and peace while we are still in this world.

Most people pursue physical pleasures or various forms of self-gratification. When I obtain this or am free of that then I will be okay. Invariably, any satisfaction that we obtain accumulation of material wealth or physical pleasure is short-lived and usually is projected into the future. This mindset creates the illusion of salvation in the future. True salvation happens today, it is at this moment, and shall continue after life to become complete in the presence of God.

As our world is going through critical times, people began to realize that there is no satisfactory answer in whatever options society offers. And since nothing seems to be working effectively, people find comfort in returning to God who is the source of life and the provider of all good things. Like a glass of cool water in hot summer day, this book promises to quench the soul s thirst for spiritual relief.


A Novel, By: Melinda Johnson
Letters to Saint Lydia

Lydia’s life is turning upside down. Her family has converted to Orthodox Christianity without her, she’s just about to leave home for college, one of her friends is pregnant, and soon she’ll be facing all the trials and temptations encountered by every young adult who is on her own for the first time. Lydia needs a friend badly and she finds one in the most unexpected place: an icon of St. Lydia. Young Lydia pours out her troubles in letters to St. Lydia, who (invisibly to Lydia) answers, guiding her through her time of troubles with deep love and compassion

 

Path to Sanity, By: Dee PennockPath to Sanity

God’s Path to Sanity, is a brilliant summary of the patristic method of overcoming the ancestral sin ad attaining sanity in the love of Christ. It is a virtual guide to human restoration in Christ, both in the psychological sense and in the spiritual sense. This is a wonderful book, filled with wisdom and resplendent hope, a proverbial “must read.” – Archbishop Chrysostomos, (PH.D. Princeton), former professor of psychology, theological writer, author of A Patristic Reader

 

The Mountain of Silence: A Search for Orthodox Spirituality, By: Kyriacos Markides51craDNvAZL._SL500_SR210,210_

An acclaimed expert in Christian mysticism travels to a monastery high in the Trodos Mountains of Cyprus and offers a fascinating look at the Greek Orthodox approach to spirituality that will appeal to readers of Carlos Castaneda.In an engaging combination of dialogues, reflections, conversations, history, and travel information, Kyriacos C. Markides continues the exploration of a spiritual tradition and practice little known in the West he began in Riding with the Lion. His earlier book took readers to the isolated peninsula of Mount Athos in northern Greece and into the group of ancient monasteries. There, in what might be called a “Christian Tibet,” two thousand monks and hermits practice the spiritual arts to attain a oneness with God. In his new book, Markides follows Father Maximos, one of Mount Athos’s monks, to the troubled island of Cyprus. As Father Maximos establishes churches, convents, and monasteries in this deeply divided land, Markides is awakened anew to the magnificent spirituality of the Greek Orthodox Church.Images of the land an
d the people of Cyprus and details of its tragic history enrich the Mountain of Silence. Like the writings of Castaneda, the book brilliantly evokes the confluence of an inner and outer journey. The depth and richness of its spiritual message echo the thoughts and writings of Saint Francis of Assisi and other great saints of the Church as well. The result is a remarkable work–a moving, profoundly human examination of the role and the power of spirituality in a complex and confusing world.

The Gurus, the Young Man and Elder Paisios, By: Dionysios Farasiotis Gurus

This powerful memoir tells the story of a Greek youth who, out of a desire to know the truth empirically, began to experiment in yoga, hypnotism, and various occulttechniques. Eventually drawn back to the Faith of his forefathers Orthodox Christianity he visited the ancient monastic republic of Mount Athos in his native Greece, where he was brought to a knowledge of the Truth of Jesus Christ by the saintly Elder Paisios (1924 1994). Nevertheless, believing he had only found part of the truth on the Holy Mountain, he chose to give the same opportunity to Hindu yogis that he had given to Elder Paisios and other Orthodox monks. Thus, at the age of twenty-five, he embarked on a trip to India, where he undertook his search in the ashrams of three famous gurus, one of whom was worshipped as a god. His experiences in India, along with his subsequent encounters with Elder Paisios on Mount Athos, are recounted in the present book in vivid detail. Popular in Greece since its first publication there in 2001, The Gurus, the Young Man, and Elder Paisios is a page-turning narrative of both outward adventures and inward struggles. What stands out most in this book, however, is the radiant image of Elder Paisios, possessed of divine gifts, laboring in prayer for his fellow man, and overflowing with unconditional love. Through this, one sees the uncreated Source of the elder s love and of the author s spiritual transformation: the true God-man Jesus Christ, Who honors man s personal freedom while drawing him, through love, into everlasting union with Himself.

Father Arseny 1893-1973 “Priest Prisoner Spiritual Father”

Priest, Prisoner, Spiritual Father

It is one of the great mysteries of life that in atmospheres of the harshest cruelty, a certain few not only survive but emerge as beacons of light and life. Father Arseny, former scholar of church art, became Prisoner No. 18736 in the brutal “special sector” of the Soviet prison camp system. In the darkness of systematic degradation of body and soul, he shone with the light of Christ’s peace and compassion. His sights set on God and his life grounded in the Church, Father Arseny lived by injunction to “bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2).

This narrative, compiled from accounts of Father Arseny’s spiritual children and others whom he brought to God, gives stirring glimpses of his life in prison camp and after his release. It also tells the stories of people whose lives, often during times of almost unimaginable crisis, were touched and transfigured through their connection with Father Arseny.

Emerging from the context of the particular tragedies of Soviet Russia, this book carries a universal impact certain to be felt by readers in the West today.

Father Arseny “A Cloud of Witnesses”A Cloud of Witnesses

The stories of Father Arseny and his work in the Soviet prison camps have captured the minds and hearts of readers all over the world. In this second volume readers will find additional narratives about Father Arseny newly translated from the most recent Russian edition.

Crazy John

Crazy John

Stateside many of us grew up thinking a bit odd about how one makes a splash for God. Maybe only a nicely dressed pastor or maybe an educated clergy type could do the job; or a rich, powerful person with his own TV station or radio backing or a Nashville contract maybe could make a meaningful international happening for God. Not so says a new book on a poor, odd fellow written up since his death. They called him: Crazy John.

Yes, how about impacting your entire town for the Kingdom of God on a meager salary working as a part-time baker’s helper? This strange Greek fellow lived in a small neighborhood outside of Athens; and wasn’t even well behaved as a Christian fellow much of the time. He made a big difference however. Yes, he acted way odd a lot of the time, was numbered among the fools. The rough kids in town would beat him up often and he didn’t even have the sense to complain; just prayed for them. He prayed so much on occasion he would get forgetful and go unnoticed. Distracted by prayer he went unnoticed and got locked inside the church for the night; and was taken for a robber come morning. He kept praying anyway.

Incredible story here how the town gathered for his memorial after his death, a story told masterfully and simply in this book. The whole book and that entire funeral tale made me think of the closing scene of Frank Capra’s movie Its A Wonderful Life with Jimmy Stewart. Only this particular life happened for real.

This collection of stories on a single life is well told, how one quirky fellow who loved God simply went to work each day and prayed for the people in his village and did kind deeds. Gone a short time now, tales of this Orthodox believer are being told and retold world wide. Thankfully, we have now an English translation and a little book with a super cover. Reports and tales of his life as a holy fool–yurodivy–were previously available only in Greek on the web at orthodoxia dot gr.

What a treat now that this title and the mysterious author Dionysios A. Makris, known to us in the states only as a “theologian and translator”, is a best seller back home.

I’s say this is one super book to give as a gift for a believer friend or spouse you know who might feel like he or she doesn’t quite fit in at times in church life. And you don’t have to be Eastern Orthodox to benefit. Also, it is a fun book you can read in a couple days. Inspiring! Especially if you have trouble liking church people sometimes!

Indeed, this misfit fellow didn’t even have the good sense to go where he was invited. He simply loved people, the more unlovely the better it seemed. While he lived, people called him crazy, Crazy John. He’d leave gifts on door knobs, sit on people’s porches singing hymns, give away every dime he had to the poor, forgetting he was poor himself. He’d chant the Psalms on main street. He’d get personal with neighbors when uninvited even, hinging at your sins in a kind way so you could perhaps make a course correction in time. He was told on more than one occasion to see a psychiatrist and get on medication. No shock here. Thankfully, he didn’t.

This strange Christian man went from being a laughing stock for over thirty years in his neighborhood to now being held as a popular candidate for sainthood. Stories about him continue to surface since his death. He is being compared in some ways to elder Porphyrios–also poor and uneducated, and a contemporary, living not far away and at the same time near Athens. But Crazy John was no Athonite monk. he was just your average–well, maybe not so average–on the street contemporary Jesus freak beatnik Christian God pleaser type person.

I won’t spoil the ending of this book but you’ve got to read it. Great present for a brother or sister in Christ who might think there’s no way they can make a difference for God without traveling someplace to the mission field or attending a fancy seminary. John just went to work and to church and prayed and did kind things for people, many who didn’t even like him. Oh, I forgot to mention that not unlike elder Porphyrios, he is reported to have answered the phone even after his death.