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Recommended Books for heterodox (non-orthodox) people

Here you can find a list with a few books that are good to be read by the heteordox (non-orthodox) people that are interested in learning more information about the Orthodox Faith. They will make you better understand our 2000 year old apostolic faith, with all of its aspects and sacraments.

The Mountain of Silence:
A Search for Orthodox Spirituality

by Kyriacos C. Markides

The spiritual traditions of the Eastern Orthodox Church are all but unknown to most Christians in the West, who often think of Christianity as split into two camps: Bible-based Protestantism and sacramental Catholicism. Yet in The Mountain of Silence, sociologist Kyriacos Markides suggests that Orthodox spirituality offers rich resources for Western Christians to integrate the head and the heart, and to regain a more expansive view of Christian life. The book combines elements of memoir, travelogue, and history in a single story. Markides journeys to a cluster of monasteries on Mount Athos, an isolated peninsula in northern Greece and one of the holiest sites in the Orthodox tradition.

He also visits the troubled island of Cyprus, largely occupied by Turkey since 1974, and makes the acquaintance of a monk named Father Maximos, who has established churches, convents, and monasteries. Markides, a native Cypriot, tells the tale of this journey in a tone that's loose and light, with many excursions on Church history and Greek and Turkish politics. But despite the easygoing tone, the importance of this book is potentially immense. The Mountain of Silence introduces a world that is entirely new to many Western readers, and unveils a Christian tradition that reveres the mystical approach to God as much as the rational, a tradition that Markides says "may have the potential to inject Christianity with the new vitality that it so desperately needs." --Michael Joseph Gross

  • ISBN: 0385500920
  • Publisher: Image Books; (November 19, 2002)
  • Pages: 272
  • Review book on:

The Orthodox Church
by Timothy Ware, Kallistos Ware;

An excellent introduction to the origins, history and basic tenets of the Orthodox Church. It gives the reader an overview of early Church history, the heresies and resultant Councils that shaped the Christian faith in the first centuries of the Church's existence. It helps the reader understand the basic differences between the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church and resultant Reformation.

  • ISBN: 0140146563
  • Publisher: Penguin USA (Paper); 2nd edition (June 1993)
  • Review book on:

The Orthodox Way
by Kallistos Ware

An excellent introduction to the spirituality of the Eastern Orthodox Church. It discusses topics including salvation, the Church, worship, repentance, fasting and prayer in a way that is readable, succinct and accessible to the non-Orthodox reader. While it is "introductory" it is challenging reading for those who are willing to invest some time in a serious reconsideration of their intepretations of Scripture and their relationship to God in Christ.

  • ISBN: 0140146563
  • Publisher: Penguin USA (Paper); 2nd edition (June 1993)
  • Review book on:

The Faith We Hold
by Archbisop Paul of Finaland

"The Faith We Hold" is written by the former head of the Orthodox Church of Finland, Archbishop Paul. His title might imply to some a heavy and lengthy theological book.

However, this short book, filled with short chapters, really addresses several issues which might interest a person looking to discover "what Orthodoxy is." In describing, say, the meaning of communion of the saints, the Archbishop in fact clarifies some of the understandings for those who are already Orthodox.

This book is divided into three sections. The first, and very short part, is entitled "The Faith." The second, longer, is "The Eucharist." This section quotes from the liturgy as well as explains the major importance of this sacrament and its relationship to other sacraments. Archbishop Paul brings us sound theology in relatively easy vocabulary. It is the third section of the book, however, that was most helpful to me. This was on prayer.

Although he took monastic vows himself, Archbishop Paul lived long enough in the world to be very realistic about the prayer life of those outside the monastery. One chapter, "Points to Remember", gives guidelines and gentle admonitions. For instance, in regards to feeling ecstasy in prayer, he writes, "The only feeling for which one should consciously strive in prayer is that of contrition and unworthiness; other feelings are gifts of God's grace which He grants to us according to the measure of our humility."

Because of the short chapters The Faith We Hold could easily be made part of your prayer time during Lent or Christmas Lent.

A Book Review by Roberta Sardell

  • ISBN: 091383663X
  • Publisher: St Vladimirs Seminary Pr; (August 2001)
  • Review book on:

The Way of a Pilgrim
and the Pilgrim Continues His Way

Olga Savin (Translator), Father Thomas Hopko (Foreword)

The book description from an reader:

"The story takes place in Russia in the nineteenth century. Our pilgrim is a man who has lost his family and his home, is slightly disabled, and who is burning with a passion for God. He hears a sermon on the necessity of constant prayer, and in his eagerness to find out how this is possible, sets out on a journey across Russia to meet with any spiritual advisor who can instruct him. One of these holy fathers introduces him to the Philokalia and the Prayer of the Heart. In passing along the instruction, however, the pilgrim is really teaching us, the readers.

This book is filled with sound teaching, but, unlike other books on spirituality/theology, it does not tell us what to do, but rather lets the pilgrim, through narrative and dialogue, tell what he himself did. The instruction unfolds along with the story, touching the reader's heart and soul in the process." webmaster's note: I read this book and I recommend it to everyone that would like to better understand the concept of true orthodox humility. It can give us an example for many other things too (ie: prayer), however, out of all the aspects covered by the pilgrim's way of life,
I think the most impressing one is the humility. No other book managed to show me in such a realistic manner this aspect, like this book.

  • ISBN: 0385468148
  • Publisher: Image Books; Reprint edition (February 10, 1978)
  • Review book on:

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