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1. The Orthodox Study Bible: Ancient
2. The Orthodox Church: New Edition
3. The Orthodox Way
4. Encountering the Mystery: Understanding
5. The Orthodox Study Bible: New
6. The Orthodox Heretic: And Other
7. The Art of Prayer: An Orthodox
8. Orthodox Dogmatic Theology: A
9. The Orthodox Liturgy: The Development
10. Becoming Orthodox: A Journey to
11. Light from the Christian East:
12. Orthodox Prayer Life: The Interior
13. The Bible and the Holy Fathers
14. Simple Guides The Orthodox Church
15. Eastern Orthodox Christianity:
16. Bread & Water, Wine &
17. Eastern Orthodox Theology: A Contemporary
18. Walking in Wonder: Nurturing Orthodox
19. The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture:
20. Introducing the Orthodox Church:

1. The Orthodox Study Bible: Ancient Christianity Speaks to Today's World
by Thomas Nelson
Hardcover: 1824 Pages (2008-06-17)
list price: US$49.99 -- used & new: US$19.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0718003594
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description

The FIRST EVER Orthodox Study Bible presents the Bible of the early church and the church of the early Bible.

Orthodox Christianity is the face of ancient Christianity to the modern world and embraces the second largest body of Christians in the world. In this first-of-its-kind study Bible, the Bible is presented with commentary from the ancient Christian perspective that speaks to those Christians who seek a deeper experience of the roots of their faith.

Features Include:

  • Old Testament newly translated from the Greek text of the Septuagint, including the Deuterocanon
  • New Testament from the New King James Version
  • Commentary drawn from the early Church Christians
  • Easy-to-Locate liturgical readings
  • Book Introductions and Outlines
  • Subject Index
  • Full-color Icons
  • Full-color Maps

... Read more

Customer Reviews (81)

5-0 out of 5 stars Good Bible
If you are Orthodox, you will appreciate this Bible.It has beautiful icons in it and the print is a great size. Someone mentioned that it ran into the binding, mine doesn't so I am not sure what they were talking about. I would recommend this book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Kindle Edition Features and Review
The Orthodox Study Bible (OSB) Kindle edition is an extremely well done electronic version of this Bible.All of the printed OSB features, including the footnotes, articles, iconography, glossary, and lectionary are found in the Kindle edition.Moreover, the table of contents, lectionary, and any cross references are hyperlinked making this a very easy electronic Bible to navigate.

Unlike the "New English Translation of the Septuagint" or NETS which also has a Kindle version, the OSB publishers took the time to plan a Kindle version that took advantage of the platforms strengths and worked around its limitations.For example, the OSB allows you to navigate directly to specific chapter and verse without having to page thru several pages.The NETS not only lacks verse and chapter navigation, but when you jump to the beginning of each book in the Bible, you must page thru dozens of pages of introduction, which makes it incredibly difficult to use if you are not wanting to read the NETS from beginning to end.Also unique to the OSB is its hyperlinked lectionary that allows you to easily to look up and navigate directly to the day's scripture reading.

Though I also own the printed leather-bound version of the OSB and purchased the Kindle edition for travel purposes, I find it makes a great complimentary Bible and at times replacement, especially when my eyes are tired at the end of the day and are unable to focus on the small font found in the printed version.It's also makes keeping up with the Church's lectionary much easier.

I hope all Bibles published for Kindle in the future are as well produced as the OSB.

2-0 out of 5 stars Sorely Disapointed
I admit, I almost forced myself to give it five stars simply because it is an Orthodox study Bible. In the end, I could not, because there are simply too many things missing that would have made it a truly effective and useful Orthodox study Bible. The things that it needs, in my opinion, are more than just Orthodox commentary. Commentary does not make a Bible a study Bible.

To be an effective study Bible, in general, I feel it should at least contain a reference column, so that not only can we study the related verses that exist throughout the Bible more effectively, but also so that we can use this study Bible rather than constantly switching back and forth between this and other non-Orthodox study Bibles.

Also, it has an incredibly shallow concordance, which for some reason they call an index.

Further, to be a truly good Orthodox study Bible, it should at least contain the Divine Liturgy of Saint John Chrysostom. In my opinion this is a glaring omission. Not only should it have (at least) this standard Liturgy, but it should also contain commentary on the Liturgy as well as Bible references throughout.

A minor issue is that the icons, though beautiful, mildly interfere with searching through the Bible. A solution to this would be to collect the icons either at the front, the back, or perhaps isolated to between the Old and New Testaments. And though the selection seems meaningful, it seemed they could have perhaps included a slightly more instructive selection which included the liturgical year's 12 major feasts - as well as an essay on the same.

Finally, though the Orthodox Study Bible contains a lectionary and also Morning/Evening Prayers, it would also have benefited from the full cycle of prayers, a weekly full Psalm reading, some Akathist Hymns, a Canon or two, the confession for Communion, as well a number of things that take up little space and yet are important aspects of Orthodoxy. Basically, it needs to absorb an Orthodox prayer book into its contents.

To close, these glaring omissions make this Bible almost useless as a study Bible in general and disappointing in particular as an Orthodox study Bible. I really hope that the publishers will absolutely insist on correcting these issues - as well as the very valid criticisms as made by other reviewers - if they are considering a revised and updated version. Until then I suggest the potential reader to wait until that day arrives.

4-0 out of 5 stars Great Content, Just OK Production Quality
I love the contents, the Septuagint based Old Testament, the fresh translation of the Apocrypha, and the New King James Version of the New Testament.

My favorite New Testament translation is the King James Bible due to the underlying Greek Text (Textus Receptus, and no, I'm not interested in arguing about it) and the NKJV is the only modern translation that uses that Greek Text -- and it also points out where it differs from the Majority Text and the Nestle-Aland/United Bible Society Text, which I believe is helpful to know.

There are wonderful yearly reading lists for this particular Bible which can be downloaded from the internet which are very useful (I can't figure out why they are not just printed in the Bible itself!)

My main gripes about this Study Bible concern production quality, and are summed up in the photos I uploaded here. I must retract one of those gripes, however. After using this Bible for a month I can honestly say that the narrow inner margin (the gutter) did not affect my reading at all. I never noticed it, so it wasn't an issue.

However, the thin paper which shows the print from the other side, and even the next page proved to be very distracting as I read every day in various states of alertness and tiredness. The introductions in a lighter typeface were practically unreadable. The main text was very difficult to discern on some pages. It became such a problem that I almost shelved this Bible. Then I discovered an amazing solution (or perhaps everyone already knew this but me). I took a sheet of black paper and slipped it under the page I was reading, and the "ghost" images vanished! The text was nice and clear and readable as if it were very opaque paper. If you buy this Bible make sure you get yourself a sheet of black paper, and it will be a perfect experience.

BTW I enjoy reading the Orthodox Study Bible every day, but I'm not a member of the Orthodox Church. If I lived in America where they seem to be a bit more visitor friendly, I might be, but that's another story...

5-0 out of 5 stars 5 Stars for the Septuagint OT 4 Stars for the NKJV NT
I liked the Bible because of the following reasons:

- This Bible is the greatest thing ever to give to a person who wants to learn about Eastern Orthodoxy.

- The Bible has the Greek Septuagint version of the Old Testament Text which makes it a traditional Eastern Orthodox Bible.

- The Septuagint Bible is the most accurate which can be found today. (The Hebrew is not, because what Christ and the Apostles quoted was the Septuagint and not the Protestant OT).

- The Church Fathers notes' are a good help in explaining some of the texts.

- The Bible explains everything about Eastern Orthodox Christianity as plain as the day... Its true to the tradition.

- The Bible Has nice and large print.

- The Bible has special whole-page notes on the Eastern Orthodox practices and Sacraments... This is great.

- The Bible gives you a pretty extensive commentary on a lot of the passages.

- The Bible is well worth the purchase.

What I did not like about the Bible are the following:

- The Bible does not use enough interpretations from the Holy Fathers on a lot of the passages. But it rather uses interpretations which come from the Bible making teams' own intellects - they may know much more than the average Orthodox but they certainly will never outdo the Wisdom of the Church Fathers. (team of some 20+ Clergy).The Wisdom books had the most.

- The most disappointing (but bearable) problem with the book is their decision to use the New King James Translation rather than translating a new Septuagint version from the Greek 1912 text from the Church of Greece...A Translation which has been done.
Even though the KJV is a Greek text, it is still insufficient for reliability.
Its a outstanding text, don't get me wrong (the most accurate text ever to exist besides the new Septuagint Orthodox New Testaments)

This is the Septuagint New Testament for Eastern Orthodox, and for anyone who wants the correct translation of the Word of God:


Along with another Bible named the EOB - i.e the Eastern Orthodox Bible (Google it download it for free)... these are the best translations of the New Testament ever to exist.

(2 Corinthians 13:14)

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen.


... Read more

2. The Orthodox Church: New Edition
by Timothy Ware
Paperback: 368 Pages (1993-06-01)
list price: US$17.00 -- used & new: US$9.83
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0140146563
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
Since its first publication thirty years ago, Timothy Ware's book has become established throughout the English-speaking world as the standard introduction to the Orthodox Church. Orthodoxy continues to be a subject of enormous interest among Western Christians, and the author believes that an understanding of its standpoint is necessary before the Roman Catholic and Protestant churches can be reunited. He explains the Orthodox views on such widely ranging matters as ecumenical councils, sacraments, free will, purgatory, the papacy and the relation between the different Orthodox churches. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (77)

5-0 out of 5 stars Read this book!
This is an absolute must read for any person either interested or already Orthodox and wanting more information.This is the book which helped me decide I wanted to become Orthodox.I was looking for the original church built by the Apostles on Christ and this revealed to me the Orthodox Church was what I had been looking for.It is well written and explains many things in a way Protestants can easily understand.Even if you are not interested in becoming an Orthodox Christian, this is a great over view of the church in a historical sense.

4-0 out of 5 stars Excellent for Christian Investigators not of Orthodox Heritage
This title provides a captivating look at the Orthodox Church, past, present, and future. While not written as such, the first few chapters indeed present themselves quite excitingly. One can tell that the early and Byzantine churchwas a period of which the author is very proud.

However, when relating the history of the church in the early 20th century, the author tends to become a bit confusing, which is somewhat understandable considering the times in which the book was written.

Most of the text is still relevant, but as the Iron Curtain fell, the position of the church in former Soviet republics changed.For historians of Eastern Europe during the Cold War Era, this presents a captivating viewpoint of a theologian struggling to advocate for a faith tradition that is long, proud, and storied, but for general readers this section may indeed be useless, because much of that information is now anachronistic.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent overall introduction esp for those new to Orthodoxy
Clearly written, balanced, factual explanation of the history and practices of the Orthodox Church. Arguably the best book for those new to Orthodoxy as well as for those of us who have practiced for years but may not have completely understood the who's, why's, and what's of the faith.

4-0 out of 5 stars Good on History
Overall this is a good book. As far as teaching about what the church believes, I would recommend others instead. If you are interested in the history of the church though, I have yet to find one that explains it better.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Orthodox Church
A beautifully written book about the history of this ancient church.It is honestly written and honestly portrayed.

I enjoyed it and would recommend it to anyone wanting to further their knowledge and interest in the early Christian Church. ... Read more

3. The Orthodox Way
by Kallistos Ware
Paperback: 164 Pages (1995-09-01)
list price: US$16.00 -- used & new: US$10.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0913836583
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
This book is a general account of the doctrine, worship and life of Orthodox Christians by the author of the now classic The Orthodox Church. It raises the basic issues of theology: God is hidden yet revealed; the problem with evil; the nature of salvation; the meaning of faith; prayer; death and what lies beyond. In so doing, it helps to fill the need for modern Orthodox catechism. Yet this book is not a mere manual, a dry-as-dust repository of information. Throughout the book, Bishop Kallistos Ware shows the meaning of Orthodox doctrine for the life of the individual Christian. Doctrinal issues are seen not as abstract propositions for theological debate but as affecting the whole of life. A wealth of texts drawn from theologians and spiritual writers of all ages accompanies Bishop Kallistos' presentation. They, too, reveal Orthodoxy not just as a system of beliefs, practices and customs but indeed as the Way. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (34)

5-0 out of 5 stars An excellent introduction to Orthodoxy
This book is one of two commonly read books on the Eastern Orthodox Church. While the other, The Orthodox Church: New Edition, deals with more of the historical development of and life within the Church, The Orthodox Way focuses instead on the doctrine and theology of the Church itself.

It is a weightier read then The Orthodox Church: New Edition, and contains frequent quotations from Scripture, Church Fathers, and even pseudepigraphal writings and non-Orthodox theologians such as C.S. Lewis on occasion. In particular, Met. Kallistos ends each chapter with a short section containing longer quotations from various Orthodox Church Fathers that deal with the subject of the preceding chapter that were too large to be quoted in the main body of the chapter, which I found extremely valuable.

The chapters themselves are broken down very simply, each chapter dealing with the theology of the Orthodox Church regarding a different aspect of God. This is one defining point of the book, in that it is organized around God, explaining its theology in relation to him. Thus, the chapters are entitled, "God as Mystery", "God as Trinity", "God as Creator", and so on. Each chapter it meant to build on the other, but it is entirely possible to read one alone from the rest, they do not rely on one another for context, which makes reading a chapter on its own possible. And Met. Kallistos does an excellent job of building to and proving his conclusion in each chapter. The progression of each chapter is concise and easy to follow, not bogged down by tangents or poor writing.

The construction of the book itself is also very pleasant. It is a paperback, but it seems a step above the average grocery store cheaply printed volume. The binding (glue) feels unusually solid, the cover is glossy, the paper is good and the printing is extremely clear and without errors. I am impressed with the quality of the publisher, St. Vladimir's Seminary Press, when I am usually quite indifferent.

In short, I highly recommend this work. It is a relatively short, well-made and well-written introduction to the doctrine of the Eastern Orthodox Church, without any negativity against other denominations, and it could serve as a valuable reference for anyone with an interest in theology due to its excellent topical chapters which have a clear internal progression.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Orthodox Way
Though the perspectives of Eastern Orthodox peoples have rarely received much attention in the West, there is (perhaps because of the Iron Curtain's collapse) a growing interest in The Orthodox Way as Bishop Kallistos Ware titles his fine introduction to the subject (Crestwood, NY:St. Vladimir's seminary Press, 1993).
First published in 1979, this book provides an accurate and accessible entree to the riches of Orthodoxy.Yoked with his classic The Orthodox Church, Ware's scholarly works give us the best introductions to his church.
He begins by insisting that the only way to know truth about the Way is to "step out upon this path, commit ourselves to this way of life," to discover it through a "living experience" of its reality (p. 8).Christian Faith, to the Orthodox, is less a rational system of belief than a life-giving relationship with the Holy Spirit.
This insistence grows out of the Orthodox insistence that God is fundamentally Mystery.As St Gregory of Nyssa said, "'God's name is not known; it is wondered at'" (p. 16).We know little more about God than a new baby knows of the world.This is not to say we know nothing, however.We can never know God in His essence, but we can know him as we discern his energies, as He works in His world.According to St Maximus the Confessor, our knowledge of God comes "'from the grandeur of his creation and from his providential care for all creatures.For by this means, as if using a mirror, we attain insight into his infinite goodness, wisdom and power'" (p. 31).While alone in the desert, St Anthony was asked how he could find truth.In response, he said, "'My book, philosopher, is the nature of created things, and whenever I wish I can read in it the works of God'" (p. 54).
What we cannot fathom concerning God's essence, such as His trinitarian nature, He must supernaturally reveal to us.The first seven Ecumenical Councils, which Orthodoxy considers doctrinally definitive, defined God as three persons in one essence.Easterners have always insisted on keeping the three persons--Father, Son, and Holy Spirit--distinct, a community within the godhead.God the Son became man.Christ's Incarnation marked a new day for humanity.In His perfection we envision our potentiality."The Incarnation," Ware says, "is not simply a way of undoing the effects of original sin, but it is an essential stage upon man's journey from the divine image to the divine likeness" (p. 93).Conversion, repentance, faith, are not a one-time crises but continuing steps along the Way.That journey involves an increased sharing, a participation in the very nature of God.
This "participation" means, to the Orthodox, "deification," a term which abrasively grates on Western ears.It closely resembles what we Wesleyans call "sanctification."As Ware explains it, "To be deified is . . . to be 'christified':the divine likeness that we are called to attain is the likeness of Christ.It is through Jesus the God-man that we men are 'ingodded', 'divinized', made 'sharers in the divine nature' (2 Pet. 1:4).By assuming our humanity, Christ who is Son of God by nature has made us sons of God by grace.In him we are 'adopted' by God the Father, becoming sons-in-the-son" (p. 98).
Such participation assumes man's free will.Created in God's image, we are free.By its very nature, love requires freedom.A loving God is free.To love God we must be free as well.Unlike many Western theologians, who have often slipped into an Augustinian-Calvinistic determinism, the Orthodox (from St Irenaeus of Lyons onward) have resolutely stressed the necessary human role in salvation."We are to hold in balance two complementary truths:without God's grace we can do nothing; but without our voluntary co-operation God will do nothing" (p. 149). Human freedom derives from the real and active presence of the Holy Spirit.Where the Spirit is, there is freedom!"The whole aim of the Christian life," says Ware, "is to be a Spirit-bearer, to live in the Spirit of God, to breathe the Spirit of God" (p. 119).Thus, "If the aim of the Incarnation is the sending of the Spirit at Pentecost, the aim of Pentecost is the continuation of Christ's Incarnation within the life of the Church" (p. 124).
The reality and power of the Holy Spirit have generally been emphasized more in the East than the West.Christ's crucifixion has often been the focus of Western theology; his resurrection has generally remained central to Easterners.As St Athanasius said, "'The Logos took flesh, that we might receive the Spirit'" (p. 124).This stress on the Holy Spirit at work within us explains the interest Wesleyans (including Wesley) have taken in Orthodox thought.To understand its basic teachings, Ware's treatise gives us solid guidance.

5-0 out of 5 stars An excellent introduction
This book is clearly written, specific and to-the-point on introductory Orthodox theology. Ware's style is scholarly but not haughty or unattainable. Those who come from a Western Christian background, whether Catholic or Protestant, will be able to grasp an elementary understanding of the important elements of Eastern Orthodoxy.

5-0 out of 5 stars Good Summary of Orthodox Christian Theology
"The Orthodox Way" is an outstanding introduction to the theology of the Orthodox Church and for Christianity overall.The topics are the basic stuff of Christianity:God, the Trinity, Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, our lives in Christ.The author, Kallistos Ware, is a bishop and in the (Eastern) Orthodox Church.He explains the basic and advanced points of Orthodox Christian beliefs; and he does so in language that everyone can understand, without watering down beliefs.

In doing so, he also illustrates the Orthodox mindset.It is a Christian tradition that is apostolic, spiritual, and apophatic.(Apophaticism is an attitude of being content to let some mysteries about God to remain mysteries.)In brief, this book summarizes the understanding that is behind Orthodox Christian spirituality, which is called theosis.

If there is one criticism, the book fails to adequately discuss the suffering that is part of the Christian life.There should have been a chapter on "God in Suffering" because suffering is required to practice Orthodox Christianity.There is the suffering that comes as part of life.And, there is the self-imposed suffering of Christian self-discipline:(1) prayer and going to Church services, (2) fasting, and (3) almsgiving in time and talents and treasure.There is also the suffering of seeing scandals, phariseeism, religious nationalism, institutional inertia, and corruption in the Church: yes, including in the Orthodox Church.

Hence, this book represents the best in Christianity.However, if you aren't aware of the rest, you are likely to be disappointed or disillusioned with the complete reality of Christianity.Truly, the Church is a spiritual hospital; and all its earthly members are in need of spiritual therapy by Christ our God.If you can take the bad with the good--because the good is infinite and thus it far outweighs the bad--then you have a decent chance, with God's grace, to be a good Christian.And then this book can help you understand how.

(I revised this review on 4 December 2008.-- John)

5-0 out of 5 stars Helped me learn about Orthodoxy
This book by Bishop KALLISTOS was instrumental in bringing me to the Orthodox faith. He explains, in a clear, very C.S. Lewis-like way, who God is and what it means to know and love God. He explains what it means to be an Orthodox Christian. His love for God and the church is infectious and resonates on every page. His gentleness is apparent. Anyone who wants to know God should read this book. Anyone who wants to be a Christian the way Jesus intended should read this book, for it is true to the ancient faith and the church started by Jesus, and continued by the Apostles, in the book of Acts. (The ancient church is preserved in Eastern Orthodoxy.) I highly recommend this book and KALLISTOS' "The Orthodox Church." These two books together will change your life and your faith. ... Read more

4. Encountering the Mystery: Understanding Orthodox Christianity Today
Hardcover: 304 Pages (2008-03-18)
list price: US$22.95 -- used & new: US$7.30
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B00394DGZU
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
As Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew I is the symbol of unity for the self-governing national and ethnic Orthodox Christian churches throughout the world. He is well known for his commitment to protecting the environment, and for opening communications with other Christians (especially the Roman Catholic Church) as well as with Muslims and other religious groups.

Written with personal warmth and great erudition, ENCOUNTERING THE MYSTERY illuminates the rich culture and soul of Orthodox Christianity. Bartholomew I traces the roots of Orthodox Christianity to its founding 2000 years ago, explores its spirituality and doctrine, and explains its liturgy and art. More especially, in a unique and unprecedented way, he relates Orthodox Christianity to contemporary issues, such as freedom and human rights, social justice and globalization, as well as nationalism and war.

With a recent rebirth of Orthodox Christian churches (particularly in the former Soviet Union and elsewhere in Central and Eastern Europe), there has been great interest in understanding this important branch of Christianity with its close ties to the traditions of the early Church. As USA TODAY recently reported, Orthodox Christian churches throughout the country are drawing converts attracted by the beauty of its liturgy and inspired by its enduring theology and teachings. But for the general seeker, whatever their background, ENCOUNTERING THE MYSTERY is a rich spiritual source that draws upon the wisdom of millennia. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (14)

5-0 out of 5 stars This book was very helpful to this "newbee" to Orthodoxy
I read this book from cover to cover, and I found it extremely helpful in explaining many aspects of my newly chosen faith, Orthodox Christianity. I feel the book is very well written, and is easily understandable by the average person. I'm glad it's not written in a "academic" fashion or in a tone that suggests insularity...as if to say "that's for me to know and you to find out.Far too many Christian books are written like that, and it can really put people off rather than bring them closer to knowledge...and to God.

The parts of the book I appreciated most were the sections on why Orthodox Christians fast. In fact, I wish I had read that specific chapter BEFORE going into my very first fasting period ever, this past Apostles Fast June 2010!I also liked the chapter on monasticism and marriage. The chapters on the environment were very illuminating as well.

I can see how some people would get angry and get the impresion that somehow the Patriarch was speaking as if he were an apologeticist for other religions outside of Orthodoxy. Yes, the Patriarch was taking a big risk in talking about Islam in a way to suggest that Christians should approach them with love and respect rather than as the "other." However, what he speaks is exactly what Christ told years in the Scriptures! We're to love our neighbor as ourselves...and that love is supposed to be without conditions or quid pro quos.There are some who want to continue to interpret Christianity as some extreme right-wing fanatical effort to push conservative ideals and materialism, but those things have nothing to do with true Christianity whether in or out of the Eastern Orthodox church! I felt it took a lot of courage for a Patriarch who is very beleagured to speak the truth about how we should all be peacemakers rather than warmongers. What he says about prosyltism makes perfect sense. There is a big difference between sharing one's faith and imposing it upon others. If one is secure in their faith, they do not need to "sell" it.That one of the reasons I was attracted to Orthodoxy. People didn't go falling on me and pushing me to make a commitment right off the bat. In fact, they were more about "slow down" and make sure this is what you true hearts desire is.That's what I see the Patriarach is saying, just like what my own parish archpriest said to me when I approached him about being received into the faith.

Anyway, I would recommend this book to people who are considering the Orthodox church, as well as the books by Kallistos Ware and Frederica Mathewes-Green. Each of them have something of value to say.

5-0 out of 5 stars Good book with very good insights
I am impressed in reading this book, and although I am not Orthodox (I'm Roman Catholic), I appreciate the spiritual and social insights that the Patriarch offers.It calms me and gives me hope in many ways when I read this book.

It is amazing to witness some of the "hate" spewed by some Orthodox reviewers toward their own spiritual leader...but then I guess you always get that kind of stuff when dealing with human beings, no matter where you go.

As for me, I would recommend this book to anyone, Orthodox or not, Christian or not.The world needs more people like Patriarch Bartholomew.

4-0 out of 5 stars Satisfactory Book
Very good presentation of the Orthodox faith and its mysteries.
Recomended to anyone wishing to have an insight into Orthodox Christianity.

3-0 out of 5 stars Rather disappointing
While it was of course refreshing to see the Ecumenical Patriarch offer a popular introductory volume about the Orthodox Church and its faith, to be honest this book is bogged down by far too much space spent describing the jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, on the one hand, and interesting side issues, like environmentalism -- rather than the core of the Orthodox Church and its faith.Much of the first few parts of the book are either overly detailed with respect to the day to day workings of the Patriarchate, or extremely biased with respect to jurisdictional claims which are hardly universally recognized in the Orthodox Church.Of course the Ecumenical Patriarch is more than entitled to express his views on such matters, but to include so much material about this in an introductory volume such as this one is quite jarring and disappointing.As a result, this is not really a general popular introduction to the Orthodox Church, but rather a more quixotic introduction to the views of the Ecumenical Patriarchate -- it works well as the latter (hence three stars) but not terribly well as the former.

For a general introduction, Metr. Kallistos's two volumes "The Orthodox Church" and "The Orthodox Way" remain the best choices -- quite a bit better than this volume.

4-0 out of 5 stars When Patriarch Meets Adult Christian Learners
The parish where I call home entertained this text by the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, in English translation, as part of its Lenten-Paschal adult education cycle in 2008. Parish members reacted favorably to their "encounter" with "the Mystery." Approachable in style and presentation, the text appealed to cradle-Orthodox with marginal language skills as well as other readers, who were adept in themes explored from across Orthodox and non-Orthodox Christian traditions. The journey toward a common center did not reduce either pole of reading comprehension to mediocrity. Rather, the text united and refined themes for discussion around a core of the living Church, which remains a real and present Mystery. ... Read more

5. The Orthodox Study Bible: New Testament and Psalms
Paperback: 1086 Pages (2001-06-22)
list price: US$21.95 -- used & new: US$13.68
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0718000307
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description

For the first time, English-speaking Orthodox Christians have an edition of the New Testament and Psalms that offers Bible study aids written from the Orthodox perspective. Prepared under the direction of canonical Orthodox theologians and hierarchs, The Orthodox Study Bible presents a remarkable combination of historic theological insights and practical instruction in Christian living. Clergy and laity who want to learn more about the Orthodox Christian faith and liturgical and sacramental foundations in the Scriptures will gain a wealth of information for the preparation of sermons and lessons as Orthodox Christian doctrine is clearly explained.

If you are looking for authoritative guidance in interpreting Scripture, understanding the early church, and learning how to apply the Word of God to your spiritual life -- The Orthodox Study Bible will be a treasured resource for you.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (46)

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Resource!
Great addition to any religious library.Great prayers and insights about each book.Helpful to know who the author was and their background.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Study Bible
This Bible has alot more commentary in it than I have seen in many other Bibles. I am excited to dive right in and start learning.

5-0 out of 5 stars Been long in the waiting
This new testament study bible was just what we orthodox needed to educate and expand our knowledge. I am now waiting for the fully study bible in March 2008.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Orthodox Bible but Better Was Just Released
I love this bible which is beautifully enhanced with icons and commentary from church fathers. However this edition does not include the old testament, only psalms. The new edition was just released including everything here plus the old testament. Concilliar Press offers this new edition in hardcover and leather.

2-0 out of 5 stars Not the best option
There are several problems with this edition of the New Testament. First, it uses the NKJV text, which is not a translation that the Orthodox Church has recognized as being without fault. I understand the use of it from one perspective, since many of the people who convert to our faith are from a Protestant background, and the King James is familiar.

More troubling, though, is the astounding lack of patristic commentary. We have 18 centuries of Church Fathers (and Mothers, too!) to draw on for proper understanding of the Scriptures, and there is hardly a lone footnote to be found that references St. John Chrysostom, Cyril of Alexandria or (in the case of Revelation) St. Andrew of Caesarea. Why?

This lack of patristic emphasis is especially evident in the page-long commentaries on the sacraments. These commentaries seem to be less geared toward proper Orthodox understanding and more aimed at defending our doctrine against evangelical claims. Again, hardly surprising, since many of the editors of this edition are from the evangelical background.

The icons are nice, though, as are the liturgical lectionary notes. The inclusion of the morning and evening prayers in the back is always nice. For a really good edition of the Orthodox New Testament, though, skip this one. Get the two-volume edition put out by Dormition Skete at Holy Apostles Convent. The translation is good, and the commentary is 100% patristic. ... Read more

6. The Orthodox Heretic: And Other Impossible Tales
by Peter Rollins
Hardcover: 184 Pages (2009-04-01)
list price: US$19.99 -- used & new: US$12.52
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Asin: 1557256349
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Rollins has already established himself as a major voice and an astute, generative force within the emergence Christianity. The Orthodox Heretic is his most accessible and engaging work to date." - Phyllis Tickle

In this bold new book Peter Rollins presents a vision of faith that has little regard for the institutions of Christendom. His uncompromising critique of religion, while often unsettline, is infused with a deep and abiding love for what it means to genuinely follow Christ.

Pete Rollins writes with clarity and compelling conviction." - Frank Schaeffer

“I remember driving around Belfast with Pete, sitting in the front seat
listening to him tell these parables that he'd written—thinking,
‘Everybody needs to hear these.’ And now you can.”

—Rob Bell, author of Jesus Wants to Save Christians
... Read more

Customer Reviews (13)

4-0 out of 5 stars great, but not as good as pete's first book
pete rollins kinda scares me. first, he's clearly so off-the-charts smart. he's got some kind of super-rare combo platter going on of wicked smart and uber-cool and completely non-pretentious. he doesn't care what i think of him, or what anyone else thinks, i'd guess. his book how (not) to speak of god blew me away -- so good and so disequilibrating at the same time. i felt slightly off-balance for a week after reading it. so this book was a little let-down after that; but it's still "so good and so disequilibrating." it's a collection of parables, each with a few pages of unpacking. i liked the parables more than the unpacking; but the unpacking was often helpful and necessary. there wasn't enough of a thread to hold them all together as a book, for my taste (other than "so good and so disequilibrating"!). but it's still very much worth the read if you want to be pushed a bit to think of the jesus way from different perspectives. no question: some of the parables are ones i will be reading in sermons or hoping to use (with permission, of course) in some future book i might write.

5-0 out of 5 stars Enlightening to say the least
This book is smaller than I expected. It's "gift size" if you know what that means. About 4 x 6.

The book is divided into three main parts: Beyond Belief, GODISNOWHERE, and Transfigurations. Each section includes eleven parables.

Beyond Belief talks about what could happen if we took our faith beyond basic belief and actually lived like Christ.

GODISNOWHERE explores the idea of "living in the resurrection" and seeking God among other things.

Transfigurations looks at traditional beliefs and flips them on their respective heads to really mix up what you thought you knew.

Obviously, this book is not for everyone. Evangelicals, stay away. If you are open-minded, seeking, liberal, curious or atheist then this book will intrigue you. These stories I tend to read over and over again. I actually discuss these with other people and have some success.

The packaging, layout, presentation is also stellar.

I highly recommend this book for anyone who is post-modern or knows someone who is post-modern.

5-0 out of 5 stars Yes.
I love Peter Rollins use of the foundation set by Jesus: the parable.I want to buy all of these books.I am a youth pastor and my students love it because it's new, finally.Thanks Peter Rollins, we were waiting on this.

5-0 out of 5 stars Freshly Experience Jesus' Parables
Perhaps the most familiar of Jesus' words to people today are His parables. Most people, religious or not, regularly recall many of Jesus' characters in these tales such as "the good Samaritan" and "the prodigal son". His parables have proved to be timeless, for sure. What makes them so evocative is their jarring nature; they tend to go against the grain of common thinking and shake things up a bit. Jesus sought to subvert the thinking of many of His listeners. He described a common situation, with common characters and places, but by the time He was finished something profound was communicated underneath the story and some way of thinking was upended within the listener.

Peter Rollins, a popular speaker on the Emerging church movement and the pastor of a church in Ireland, writes and speaks in this same creative, subversive way through which Jesus spoke His parables. Rollins' style of communication is a fresh, modern echo of Jesus'. He combines gifted storytelling, art, and spirituality into a creative package. You can get a feel for Rollins' style from his blog, which can be found here.

I received a copy of Rollins' new book, "The Orthodox Heretic: And Other Impossible Tales" (Paraclete Press, hardback, 184 pages, $19.99) and was immediately pleased by the book's cover. The cover's pixilated, black-and-white cross sums up Rollins' blend of traditional Christian thought with outside-the-box thinking and writing. He combines it all together into a unique expression of faith. Seeing endorsements from Rob Bell and Phyllis Tickle on the back cover, two of the best thinkers within the Emerging movement, also gave Rollin's some clout in my book before even opening to the first page.

"The Orthodox Heretic" is a collection of 33 parables--a poignant number to say the least--along with short commentary after each parable introducing Rollins' own thoughts on each tale. The parables cover many themes such as faith, love, doubt, and forgiveness and feature a wide range of characters. A diverse cast--from an orthodox priest to the Devil himself--find themselves as characters in Rollins' tales along with traditional figures from the Bible and Jesus' own parables.

Rollins' prefers to call his own parables "impossible tales" to distinguish them from the trite folk stories that many associate with the word "parable". These tales seek to shock and challenge rather than satisfy or present a pleasant thought. Rollins' stories are "impossible" in the sense that commonly held attitudes are undermined through inconceivable means or characters; hospitality is offered to the most unlikely of guests while grace and forgiveness are offered where neither would be at all expected.

Each story, along with its following commentary, takes only a couple of minutes to read, but the book is definitely not one that can adequately be read through quickly. I am typically a faster reader who likes to plow through books, but there was a definite force that made me put the book down regularly. These stories invite deep thought, even after reading Rollins' commentary. In fact his commentaries often invite more questions and wonderings, so each parable requires much probing and unpacking.

One of my favorite "impossible tales" is "No Conviction", in which a man is brought before a judge and jury in a land where Christianity is illegal. Though the man professes to be a follower of Jesus, the judge pronounces the man innocent of being Christian, thereby forcing the man to provide evidence of his professed faith. If true Christianity is illegal--which Rollins believes to in fact be the case--would there be enough evidence to convict you?

Another of my favorites is "Jesus and the Five Thousand", which is a re-telling of Jesus' feeding of the multitude in the Gospels. However, Rollins' version is told through the eyes of a third-world citizen gazing upon first-world Christian disciples. In Rollins' version, Jesus and His disciples collect scraps of food from the crowds which are combined to form a large mountain of food. Jesus and the disciples then greedily scarf down the entire mound of food while the hungry followers simply watch. This parable seeks to view our Western Christianity through a much difference lens than we're used to.

However, as is the case with many who seek relentless creativity and freshness in their spirituality, I felt that Rollins sometimes crosses the line of orthodoxy just to tell a cool story or "subvert" for the sake of it. In fact, the "impossible tale" that forms the namesake of the book, "The Orthodox Heretic", is one of these types. In this story God audibly tells a man to turn-in a political dissident to authorities. The man instead believes deeply in the Biblical principle of radical hospitality and therefore disobeys God's voice by protecting and harboring the refugee. In the end, God "smiles and withdraws" as a sign that the man made the right choice. This is of course, uncomfortable and subversive like all of the rest of the parables, but in this particular one I think Rollins veered off a little too far.

Overall, Rollins' "impossible tales" are close parallels to Jesus' original ones. We modern disciples often suffer from the "unfamiliarity of familiarity" when reading the words of Jesus; we know them so well and have heard them so many times that in the end we don't really know them at all. We typically don't experience the shock and the subversive nature of Jesus' tales when we read them today. Reading Rollins' parables, however, brings freshness back to Jesus' own stories. While all of Rollins' tales rattle my thinking, and while a few even over-step the bounds of my own theology and orthodox teaching, if anything I think "The Orthodox Heretic" provides a reinvigorated view of the parables that Jesus told. By reading Rollins' words, you can't help but experience the provocation and shock of Jesus' original words that His original listeners first experienced. So, I wouldn't recommend this book for anyone looking for firm, orthodox Christian teaching, but for those seeking to experience the parables of Jesus in a new way, this is one of the best choices out there.

2-0 out of 5 stars Neither "New" nor "Subversive"
This book is okay.Perhaps it's appealing to potentially authentic Christians who haven't yet exposed themselves to the works of Jacques Ellul, René Girard, Dostoevsky, Goethe, Kierkegaard, Marshall McLuhan, Walker Percy, Simone Weil, Wendell Berry, Northrop Frye, William Blake, et al.

But seeing all these 5-star reviews for such a lightweight tract is discouraging: the raves merely foreground the lack of depth and discernment among the relatively few Christians who perhaps _could_ be subversive if only they had the chops.

Speaking of chops, the superstar roster above reminds me that a book like Robert Inchausti's "Subversive Orthodoxy" provides an excellent introduction to real Christian radicalism.And the four (soon to be five, we hope) volumes of the translated "Philokalia" amply serve up "meat to eat that ye know not of" for those who can digest their teachings in solid form.

Bottom-line:Po-mo is slo-mo.Go no-mo when you're ready to disrupt. ... Read more

7. The Art of Prayer: An Orthodox Anthology
by Igumen Chariton
Paperback: 290 Pages (1997-07-31)
list price: US$19.00 -- used & new: US$10.65
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Asin: 0571191657
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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A spiritual anthology drawn from the Greek and Russian traditions, concerned in particular with the most frequently used and best loved of all Orthodox prayers--the Jesus Prayer. Texts are taken chiefly from the letters of Bishop Theopan the Recluse, along with many other writers.
... Read more

Customer Reviews (21)

5-0 out of 5 stars Prayer matters, prayer is breath
I am a little embarrassed to write a review of this text, and I am really for most of my reviews, because the book's subject matter is very holy, and I am not. I am writing it only in the hopes that someone may stumble upon it through my other reviews and find grace in prayer. While I cannot do justice with my words to the reality of experience that is open for all who become friends with God through prayer, I can say that as someone who is usually in a desert of spiritual longing, this book is a fresh class of water every time, and not because I have mastered anything, much less myself, but because the words are born out of the labor of true friends of God. Next to the Holy Bible, I am convinced that the words of the saints are most valuable. If what our Lord and His Apostles say about prayer is true, it should be as natural to us as breathing, or at least we should strive to always remember God and begin to offer our lives to Him. This book helps me do just that. And lest we forget, everyone who writes in this collection was a fervent participant in the prayer and sacraments of the Church. We are saved together. The only thing we do along is go to hell.

The look inside function gives a great overview of the main contents.

Other books of interest may include: The Way of a Pilgrim and The Pilgrim Continues His Way, The Power of The Name (Fairacres publication), The Jesus Prayer: The Ancient Desert Prayer that Tunes the Heart to God, New Seeds of Contemplation, Prayer of Jesus - Prayer of the Heart

5-0 out of 5 stars The Art of Prayer
"Let no-one think, my fellow Christians, that only priests and monks need pray without ceasing, and not laymen. No, no: every Christian without exception ought to dwell always in prayer. How can this be done? Thoughts jostle one another like swarming gnats, and emotions follow on the thoughts."(from The Art of Prayer)

In this modern and restless world is it even possible to always be in prayer? The cell phone is ringing, the computer dinging, the iPod singing - is there ever even a moment of silence in which to be in prayer? If you despair of ever having a moment of peace to pray, and are discouraged that, with your busy schedule, you cannot find a moment with the Lord, take heart. This little book (just 279 pages) can teach you how to always be in the presence of God.

Although at times repetitive, the points this book makes are worth repeating. Best taken in "niblets", or small bites, so as best to absorb the wisdom contained in it, it is ideal for just-before-bed reading, or to use for meditation. I highly recommend it for those who are serious about their prayer life, or who want to be.

5-0 out of 5 stars A fantastic source of guidance and help
This collection of letters is a light on the road for those searching for communion with God. Not overly complicated but so profound in the truth that it presents. This is a wonderful guide for those seeking to live with God in their hearts, who through reading are shown the path that makes this possible.

5-0 out of 5 stars This Book is a Blessing
Anyone seeking spiritual teachings will find them in this book.It is a treasure which I will share and re-read many times.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Art of Prayer, truly an "Art"
The Art of Prayer is beyond superlatives.It is, quite simply, the very best compendium on prayer that I have ever read.I am 72, teach in a Christian seminary, and have read many, many books on prayer.This book can transform consciousness. ... Read more

8. Orthodox Dogmatic Theology: A Concise Exposition
by Michael Pomazansky
Paperback: 434 Pages (2006-02-01)
list price: US$19.95 -- used & new: US$12.69
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0938635697
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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ORTHODOX DOGMATIC THEOLOGY is a book written with onepurpose: to inspire, to warm the heart, to lift one above the pettypreoccupations of earth in order to glimpse the divine beginning andend of all things. This has always been the purpose and intent oftheology: to give one the energy and encouragement to struggle towardsGod and our heavenly homeland.

The original Russian version haslong been regarded as a standard source of Orthodox theology and usedfor many years as a seminary textbook. The English translation byFr. Seraphim Rose has made this invaluable sourcebook accessible tothose who wish to deepen their understanding of OrthodoxChristianity.

ORTHODOX DOGMATIC THEOLOGY was written not foracademic theologians, but primarily for pastors, and thus it has apractical approach and simplicity of presentation that is missing inmany works of contemporary academic theology.

In ORTHODOX DOGMATICTHEOLOGY one may see a characteristic of genuine Orthodoxy that is sooften lost in our cold, rationalistic age. Theology is not primarily amatter of arguments, criticisms, proofs and disproofs; it is first ofall men's word about God, in accordance with the divinely revealedteaching of Orthodoxy ... Read more

Customer Reviews (8)

4-0 out of 5 stars Dogma is not scholastic in Orthodoxy
"Dogmas," according to Father Michael, are "...the definitions of truth declared by the Church" [31]. While the meaning of dogma between Eastern (Orthodox) and Western (Roman Catholic and Protestant) Churches diverges in significance [cf.20,373-4: by Blessed Seraphim], Father Michael's definition of dogma would meet little resistance when compared with official ecclesial documents outside the Orthodox Church. I will explore divergence later in this review; my point at the start is only to state obvious comparisons.

For example, 'Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy' from the Second Vatican Council [cf. fn. 289; added to 3rd edition (2005)] altered the 'lingua franca' of the Liturgy, reversed the position of the priest, added the common cup as well as much more because of conciliar truth declared by the Roman Church. Moreover, Aquinas would have agreed with Father Michael's definition for dogma by his own use of "scientia," for dogmatic theology was the principal and primary science for Thomas. Father Michael does not identify such given the scope of the text.

Thanks to the author's and translator's literary economy and non-affected style, readers from any Christian tradition can experience encouragement in the book's invitations to draw closer to God. For example, the author's discussions about natural virtues, such as humility and continence [157,264-65], attract readers to cooperate with the Holy Trinity in cultivating the virtues as part of their own salvation in Christ.

However, Father Michael clarifies dogma "in situ" across 372 pages of text, which Blessed Seraphim translated from Russian. "In situ," as I use this Latin phrase, conveys Father Michael's goal for dogmatic theology in Orthodox tradition [cf. 46: specific 19th-C Russian citations]. His goal is to make clear statements about the teachings of the Apostles for contemporary readers [46-9]. It would be impossible to do more, such as "...develop more completely or go deeper into the truths of the faith than the Apostles" [47].

As dogmatic theology applies the faith to contemporary issues [48, 355-71], it reinforces collegiality among bishops who share responsibility to obey what has been handed down from the Apostles. Another way to speak of shared responsibility is to speak of dogma residing within the Orthodox Church and not independent from her [46,92-3,246-8,267-9,295-6]. Just as the Church lives, breathes and prays her dogma to remain "one body, one faith," active participation by all members in the Orthodox Church is the author's meaning of shared "consciousness" in the Church [236-7,294-6].

Having laid a foundation for dogma in the Church, Father Michael addresses important differences pertaining to (1) sources of truth and (2) assent to dogma between Christians, east and west, on the nature and practice of theology ("theologizing") and ecclesiology [234,303]. In particular, Father Michael's definition of dogma "in situ" presents an alternative and ancient understanding of practicing theology--"theologizing"--and the Church [427-50]. Therefore, non-Orthodox readers among Christians would benefit most by turning to chapters five and six, where Father Michael lays out the topics of evil, sin, and the salvation of the human race [150-228].

Thus, any dogmas that have been declared after the 11th-Century schism that separated the Patriarchal Sees of Constantinople and Rome [92] must be judged by criteria of "truth" as set before the Great Schism in the seven Ecumenical Councils. Revelation is the only source of truth [29-30], as Father Michael puts it, whereas "opinions" have been introduced as dogma in the west after the Great Schism [362-4].

After the Great Schism, Aquinas introduced an opinion concerning salvation that Father Michael addressed in a footnote to the first Russian edition published in 1911 [214]. He critiqued a passage from Thomas' 'Summa' (III, Q.49, art.4) in which Aquinas deduced that God had been "appeased" by the sacrifice of Christ. A dogma of appeasement had been a logical extension of Augustine's doctrine of sin, a point which Father Michael considered in chapter five [cf.165-6, and editor's fn. on 165 in 3rd ed.]. Therefore, Father Michael identified the origin of what he considered the "one-sided interpretation of Redemption" [214] of the "Latins."

I give the book four stars, and not five, for a couple of reasons. First, the text does not present a method of critical reasoning that even Orthodox theologians must employ when communicating ancient truths to contemporary people and situations. Second, the Brotherhood of St. Herman continues to publish the text and provide updates. However, the updates in footnotes need to be grouped by edition and collated as end-notes to prevent reader errors in interpreting the original. I hasten to add my thanks for Hieromonk Damascene's preface to the third edition (2005), because I discovered therein how to read the 2005 edition. It is critical that readers digest his preface as well as those of Blessed Seraphim, the translator, before jumping in.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent book on Orthodox Dogmatics.
Orthodox Dogmatic Theology is a top-notch introduction to Orthodox Theology for the Orthodox Christian, the Catechumen, or the Outsider (that's me).I keep this on my shelf along with The Orthodox Church by Bishop Kallistos Ware, and The Mystical Theology of the Orthodox Church by Vladimir Lossky.This is a fine translation by Father Seraphim Rose, a gifted and intelligent man who became an atheist as a young man but after his college years, walked into a Russian Orthodox Church and became a Priest, Monk, and Scholar.Don't let the controversy surrounding his views concerning aspects of the intermediate state keep you away from this book.A must read for anyone with an interest in Orthodoxy.

5-0 out of 5 stars Speaking to the heart
To quote from the 'Translator's Preface', written by Hieromonk Seraphim Rose, 1981: "One of the major advantages of this book is its simplicity of presentation.It was written not for academic theologians, but primarily for pastors, and thus it has a practical approach that is missing in many works of contemporary academic theology.In his theological writings, Fr Michael remains deeply rooted in the tradition of the Orthodox Church, not trying to supercede with his own private opinions any revelation that the Church has handed down to us.... his intent here is to write about exactly what the Church teaches -- what pastors can give to their flocks as the certain, unchanging teaching of the church -- and not about what is "disputed".There is a distinct wholeness in Fr. Michael's approach, which allows for no confusion over the Church's actual teaching.Another advantage of this book, especially for pastors who deal with converts to Orthodoxy from various religious denominations, is that it contrasts the traditional Orthodox teaching with the errors and innovations of Roman Catholicism and Protestantism."

And further "Fr. Michael is the last surviving graduate of a pre-revolutionary Russian theological academy (that of Kiev), and is therefore one of the few living contacts we have with the long-standing centers of traditional Russian theology, the direct inheritance of the Byzantine Fathers.Always faithful to the instruction of the Church, his actual "school" is, ultimately, the Church herself".

I love this book.I love this book because while it is scholarly, and in fact is used as a text at the Holy Trinity Seminary in Jordanville, New York, it speaks to the heart.This is terribly important as Orthodoxy is a faith which speaks to the heart."The soul... naturally seeks a personal God" (God's Revelation to the Human Heart, Fr Seraphim Rose, p6)."Why does a person study religion?... to come into contact with reality" (ibid, p 13), "a person must be in a religious search not for the sake of religious experiences, which can deceive, but for the sake of truth." (ibid, p18) "If you look at a textbook of Orthodox theology, you will find that the truth cannot be found by the unaided posers of man.You can read the Scriptures or any holy book and not even understand what they say.."When in Acts 8 (28-39) the angel of the Lord spoke unto Philip and told him to go south toward Jerusalem, and along the way he encountered the eunuch, the eunuch requested of Philip that he tell him what it meant."There are several supernatural, mystical elements in this account... there was something else that affected him: not miracles, but something in his heart." (ibid, p 19)"When Philip spoke to the ethiopian eunuch, something in the eunuch's heart changed."This is the reason the eunuch was baptized and became a Christian.

This is how God reveals Himself to mankind, in a personal way, He speaks to our hearts.This book speaks to the heart.It is written in a personal, kind and loving way to tell the truths of the Orthodox Church.It warms the heart and inspires the faithful.That is wonderful, simply wonderful in a teaching book.There are many good theological books out there, very scholastic.However to find one which speaks to one's heart, this is a rare gem.I recommend it highly.

4-0 out of 5 stars A model for writing theology
I had been looking for a textbook on Orthodox systematic theology for quite some time before accidently coming across an older edition of this volume while I was in Europe. I am an evangelical who is painfully aware of our tradition's ignorance of Eastern beliefs, and of our dependence on Western conceptions of theological categories and methods. As such I was (and still am) deeply interested in exploring the depths and riches of Eastern theology, and to this end Pomazansky is a gem.

I imagine most pastors have at least one or more volumes of systematic theology in their libraries. Everyone has their favorites: Barth, Calvin, Miley, Mueller, Grudem, Ott, Wenger, etc. Most of us try to have a wide variety of sources at our disposal for the sake of reference. Pomozansky's Orthodox Dogmatic Theology deserves to be on your shelf because I doubt anyone has written a one-volume systematic with the same measure of depth, eloquence, and brevity, let alone from an Eastern Orthodox perspective. Think of Wayne Grudem's Systematic Theology, but with greater clarity, and a even more deeply devotional/pastoral spirit.

That being said, Pomazansky's book is not without its flaws. He is strongest when articulating the faith all Christians share, and in that respect, I would reccomend his book to every student of theology, both lay and clergy. On the other hand, from an evangelical perspective, he is weakest when defending Orthodox distinctives. I think evangelicals will find that some of his arguments are far from convincing because they are exegetically unfounded or suspect. That being said, Orthodox readers probably won't be bothered too much by this apparent shortcoming because Scripture does not have the same place of authority in Eastern traditions as in evangelical traditions.

But even with these (minor) doctrinal dissagrements, this is an eminently useful book that I constantly refer to for inspiration and explanation. In fact, it may be the most dog-eared, highlighted, and underlined systematics I own. You should get one.

4-0 out of 5 stars Excellent Overview of Orthodox Thought
A very complete overview of Orthodox Dogmatic Theology, from a traditional Orthodox perspective. While not as broad in it's scope as other books, such as "The Orthodox Church" by Bp. Kallistos, the smaller scope of the book does allow for a closer examination of the subjects that are dealth with, and Fr. Michael Pomazansky does this quite well.

This book is a systematic examination of Orthodox theology, and for that some have criticized it; systematic, catechism, etc. are four-letter words for some Orthodox. However, one cannot help but wonder why organization as it happens in this book could ever be considered a bad thing. Perhaps only behind "The Orthodox Church" and "The Orthodox Way," this is the book that I would most likely recommend to anyone wishing to have a broad but intellectually satisfying overview of what the Orthodox believe.

I do have two minorissues with the text as it is today.First, it is impossible to tell when footnotes are from Fr. Seraphim Rose (the translator) or Fr. Michael (the author). This has caused a problem at times when I know that Fr. Seraphim feels a certain way about a subject, but I am not sure whether Fr. Michael also feels the same way. A lengthy footnote is sometimes provided, but with no indentification as to who is speaking.

And second, Fr. Seraphim does seem to insert things into the book that were not originally part of the book.While this is not uncommon in books published by the St. Herman of Alaska Brotherhood, and while these additions are given in appendices, I still feel like it is an unfortunate move sometimes, as in a case like this book where the appendices bring in a controversial tone to the book that would have otherwise been absent. If I lend or give this book to someone and they have questions about Orthodoxy, I'd much rather try and answer questions about icons or Mary, and not controversial subjects like the Dogma of Redemption. ... Read more

9. The Orthodox Liturgy: The Development of the Eucharistic Liturgy in the Byzantine Rite
by Hugh Wybrew
Paperback: 189 Pages (1989-12-31)
list price: US$18.00 -- used & new: US$18.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0881411000
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Observers from Western churches never fail to be awestruck at a celebration of the liturgy in an Orthodox church. Naturally, many questions follow: How has the Orthodox liturgy been shaped? How different is it from the Eucharistic rites of the Western churches? Hugh Wybrew's authoritative, but splendidly readable, book traces step-by-step the story of the development of the Orthodox liturgy from the Last Supper to the present day and vividly conveys a sense of the experience of the worshipers. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars Revisiting
"Sometimes a light surprises
The Christian while he sings..."
--William Cowper (1731-1800), 'Olney Hymns,' XLVIII [Joy and Peace in Believing]

The people called the Byzantines came from the direction where morning light appeared for many Christians of the ancient and medieval world. East of Athens and Rome, the ancient name for the region, called Anatolia, is derived from the Greek word translated "east." This provides a poetic analogy to theme and content of Wybrew's text, which still satisfies readers three decades after initial publication. The book ignites interest to experience Byzantium's light through development of Eucharistic Liturgies composed by Sts. Basil the Great and John Chrysostom in the fourth century.

Canon Hugh Wybrew, the author, remains on faculty at Oxford University after having released his vicarage of St. Mary Magdalen Church (Anglican), Oxford, UK. Having studied Orthodox theology for many years prior to the book's 1988 debut (1989, SVSP; revised 1997), he produced this monograph that attracts cradle and converted Orthodox Christians as well as an audience of beginners and scholars, thanks to combined prayerful and critical voices. Wybrew had been Dean of St. George Cathedral (Anglican), Jerusalem, when the book was first published.

Maintaining a steady hand on the wheel of controversies, Wybrew explores textual studies and cultural history of Byzantium without judgment. Added to his even hand are other important correlates of the Divine Liturgy. By other correlates, I am thinking of the book's nine black-and-white illustrations of Orthodox church floor-plans, significant references to Greek, Slavic, and Antiochian interpretations in choral music, icons, vestments and paraments, as well as successive efforts to standardize the Orthodox Divine Liturgy.

Numerous reviewers have cited appreciation for the book's pastoral tone, reflected in combined prayerful and critical voices. Of particular note among reviews, I would like to mention a review by Bishop Kallistos of Diokleia (Timothy Ware) that appears in the Foreword, and elsewhere reviews by Professor Robert Burns ('The Expository Times,' 2001--an ecumenical and interdisciplinary journal), and the V.Rev. Professor Peter Galadza ('Logos,' 1993--journal of the Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky Institute of Eastern Christian Studies, St. Paul University, Ottawa, Canada).

A fourth review praising the book appeared in the 'Concordia Theological Quarterly,' which addresses the author's emphasis on North American readers especially in the first chapter and Epilogue. For these reasons, I have recommended this book to Christian readers from Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Melkite-, Greek- and Maronite-Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran, and other denominations with unqualified satisfactory feedback.

William Cowper, an 18th-century poet, probably never experienced the Orthodox Eucharistic Liturgy. Few British people at the time could do more than read about it; indeed, there were few who read about it. Yet the following quatrain, from another 'Olney Hymn,' conveys in metered rhyme a direct parallel to St. John Chrysostom's very own sentiment, that heaven appears before his eyes during the Divine Liturgy:

'Here may we prove the pow'r of pray'r,
To strengthen faith, and sweeten care;
To teach our faint desires to rise,
And bring all heav'n before our eyes.''

Wybrew notes in the Introduction to this book that he had wished from the start for such a book as 'The Orthodox Liturgy' he would later write. He clears a path for others to anticipate a direct experience of heaven in the Divine Liturgy. He states that he wanted to clear a path so that others would not get lost and revert to the western practice of closing the eyes in prayer. For in the Divine Liturgy, even the eyes pray to see the way home to Paradise. He succeeds, and we have much to see for ourselves.

5-0 out of 5 stars Very good book on the subject
This book is very good for the scholar who wants to get to know the Orthodox Liturgy and it's root and such. I find it very interesting, and Wybrew seems to be a good Liturgist.

4-0 out of 5 stars a nice English introduction to Eastern Orthodox Liturgy
It has been several years since I last read this book, thus I will only submit the contents page information:Western Eucharist and Orthodox Liturgy, The sources of Tradition, The Fourth Century, The Eucharist at Constantinople in the time of John Chrysostom, The Liturgy in the time of Maximus the Confessor, The Liturgy after the Victory of the Icons, The Byzantine Liturgy in the Eleventh Century, The Completion of the Liturgy, Epilogue, Life of Christ Symbolism in the Litugy:Comparative Table.
I remember this book as an interesting read for those interested in the History of the Christian service, especially from an Eastern perspective.

4-0 out of 5 stars A Good Introduction
This is a well-written introduction to the history of the development of the Orthodox liturgy. It is easy to read and uncluttered by jargon. The author provides snapshots of the liturgy at various stages of its development, with particular emphasis on how the practicalities of worship at the great church in Constantinople influenced this development.

I would recommend this book to anyone new to this fascinating subject. ... Read more

10. Becoming Orthodox: A Journey to the Ancient Christian Faith
by Peter E. Gillquist
Paperback: 191 Pages (1992-09)
list price: US$13.95 -- used & new: US$30.00
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Asin: 0962271330
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (55)

5-0 out of 5 stars Would be a great novel, amazingly it's non-fiction!
I think this book speaks to many generations.While younger than the subjects of the book, I went through a lot of searching similar to their journey.Their work in trying to "recapture" the Church of Acts is truly inspiring.Their joy at "discovering" the Orthodox Church is amazing.I have used the analogy of a paleontologist walking past a pet store and finding various dinosaurs for sale... realizing something they thought long-dead was very much alive in the modern day!Some of the twists of the story are truly gut-wrenching and disappointing, but the passion of some leaders to put The Church ahead of politics and borders is true testimony to the life and vitality of Orthodoxy.Highly recommended for those new to Orthodoxy, those seeking to learn about the Bride of Christ, and those who question the heart, life, and love of this pre-denominational church!

5-0 out of 5 stars U.S. Christianity's best-kept secret
Mention "Orthodoxy" to the average American, and they're likely to give you a doubtful look and say, "That's Jewish, isn't it?"

Such is our ignorance about the oldest branch of Christianity. Peter E. Gillquist, later Father Peter Gillquist, tells of how he and other young members of the Campus Crusade for Christ went on a search for their own, personal, Christian Holy Grail. It began on U.S. college campuses in the 1960s, and culminated in the late 1980s with the reception of 17 Evangelical Orthodox Church parishes with 2,000 members into the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Church in America.

Gillquist and his fellow seekers, a number of whom also became Orthodox clergy upon their conversions, did not make a hasty decision based on a "Paul on the Road to Damascus" vision or a sudden inspiration from a spell-binding preacher. They carefully studied and discussed the Bible, particularly the New Testament, from cover to cover; prayed for guidance; met repeatedly with various members of the clergy; and moved slowly but steadily from their roots (most of them, anyway) in mainline Protestantism, to the conclusion that the true, original, uncompromising Church of Jesus Christ was the Orthodox Church.

From forming their own Evangelical Orthodox Church, the seekers moved gradually but steadily toward a logical conclusion: They should meld their denomination into one of the established Orthodox archdioceses. After being rebuffed at the last minute when they expected to meet the Patriarch of Constantinople, the Orthodox former evangelicals finally turned to the Antiochian archdiocese, which welcomed them warmly and received them into its ranks.

Gillquist's sincerity about his and his colleagues' conversion is unmistakable, and the book tells one a good deal about what one religious writer has called "the best-kept secret in American Christianity: the Orthodox Church." The narrative moves along at a stately pace, much as one might expect that of a Divine Liturgy, in which everything has a time and place.

As a lifelong Protestant who has found his religion unsatisfying for years (I no longer attend services), I have been fascinated by, and drawn to, Eastern Orthodoxy for a long time. As such, I found this book illuminating and informative, a read well worth it, if you find religion and the search for same an interesting topic. I learned things about both Orthodoxy and the teachings of the New Testament that I never knew before, when reading this book. These Christian seekers' journey makes a great story.

5-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Introduction to the Orthodox Faith
Being an Evangelical who hasbecome tired of the games that are played in today's modern church Peter Gillquist's book came at the right time. There still is a Church out there that follows the teaching of the Apostles. This book is only the beginning for me for the study of the Orthodox faith.

5-0 out of 5 stars Becoming Orthodox
In 1987, concluding a search which lasted more than a decade, some 2000 "evangelicals" joined Eastern Orthodoxy.Most of their leaders, ordained as deacons and priests, had earlier worked for Campus Crusade for Christ.Their journey forms the plot for Peter E. Gillquist's Becoming Orthodox:A Journey to the Ancient Christian Faith(Brentwood, TN:Wolgemuth & Hyatt, Publishers, 1989).
In part one, Gillquist tells of the journey "from Arrowhead Springs to Antioch."In the 1960's, zealous young evangelicals charged like assault troops, determined to win America's colleges cam¬puses.They worked hard, relished the challenge, and elicited many "decisions for Christ."However, to their dismay, "Most of the decisions for Christ honestly did not stick."Admitting what they were doing was not work¬ing, some of them began searching for something deeper, something more permanent. More than a para¬church, they sensed the need for a church.So, in 1968, a number of them left Campus Crusade and began what they later would call "The Phantom Search for the Perfect Church" (21).Some of them established "house churches," and in time a loose coalition of "churches" were knit together on the basis of their leaders' personal ties.
Then the leaders began to meet and study and dis¬cuss what they should do with their fled¬gling move¬ment.They seriously studied not only the Bible:they scoured Church history.And they found, to their surprise, that the Early Church was rigorously Christocentricin its doctrine and thor¬oughly liturgical in its practice.Reading such sources as St Clement of Rome, St Ignatius of Antioch, St Justin Martyr and Hippolytus, they discovered how concerned ancient believers were with who Christ was rather than whatHe did for us.They also found a worship pattern and a sacramental emphasis quite foreign to most of them. In 1975, they formed the "New Covenant Apostolic Order," which in 1979 became the Evangelical Orthodox Church.They had concluded that for its first 1000 years the Church had maintained a doctrinal unity."The whole Church confessed one creed, the same in every place, and had weathered many attacks.The government of the Church was recognizably one everywhere.And this one Church was Orthodox" (p.51).Amazingly, of those who through study reached this conclusion, "none of us had ever to our knowledge been inside an Orthodox Church.Most of us did not know it existed.For that reason, I am chagrined to report that we decided to start it over again!" (p.58). So for a decade they studied and discussed and slowly discovered the ancient/enduring world of Eastern Orthodoxy. What they discovered was a deeply traditional, liturgical Church, committed to the apostolic succession of (male) clergy, rightly revering Mary as Christ's mother(Theotokos), using the sign of the cross, etc.--they found a Church which satisfied the one-time Campus Crusaders as the trueChurch of Jesus Christ.Concluding that Orthodoxy is the way, they next sought to affiliate with one of the existing Orthodox communions.This proved somewhat difficult to do!But in time the Americans were received into the Antiochian Orthodox Church.
Reading this book illustrates the limits of parachurch organizations like Campus Crusade.They have value--but they're limited and ultimately inadequate because they're not a church.Folks need Church!So this book reveals the hunger for Church!That Gillquist and his associates found Church in historic Orthodoxy shows, along with the other books reviewed in this issue, the need some thoughtful Americans have for ancient symbols, historic roots, efficacious sacraments, participatory liturgies.Parachurch efforts often dis¬sipate within a few years--or a few decades at best.Enthusiastic sectarian movements, and the denominations they spawn, usually begin to wither within three or four generations, for enthusiasm wanes with inter-gener¬ational transmission.So again and again we find, in Church history, people rediscovering the value of permanent things, common concrete things like rituals and liturgical years and prescribed celebrations

4-0 out of 5 stars One man's journey
I was hoping for more of a "how to guide" for protestants to enter the Orthodox church, but this is more of a questioning and exploration into the Orthodox church which most of us who are seeking to actually become Orthodox have largely already been through. ... Read more

11. Light from the Christian East: An Introduction to the Orthodox Tradition
by James R. PaytonJr. Jr.
Paperback: 240 Pages (2007-07-26)
list price: US$22.00 -- used & new: US$13.47
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Asin: 0830825940
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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The Word Guild 2008 Canadian Christian Writing Awards winner!"Do they really pray to icons?" "Why do they use incense?" "What do they believe?"To many people, the Orthodox Christian tradition (or Eastern Orthodoxy) seems unfamiliar and mysterious. Yet this tradition is arguably the most faithful representative of early Christianity in existence today and numbers roughly 250 million adherents worldwide. What's more, a steady stream of evangelical Christians has been entering the Orthodox Church in recent decades. Isn't it time we gained a deeper understanding of Orthodoxy?In Light from the Christian East, James Payton gives us just that. With a sympathetic eye and even hand, he ushers readers into the world of Orthodox Christianity--its history, theology and religious practices. In doing so, he clears away the confusion and misunderstandings that often prevent non-Orthodox Christians from fully appreciating the riches of this ancient tradition. This book is essential reading for anyone interested in Orthodox Christianity. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (14)

5-0 out of 5 stars A very understand-able book for those considering Orthodoxy
I just recently read this book and I found it very helpful. It is well written without being overly scholarly. It is a good book for the average person who is looking into Orthodox Christianity.

4-0 out of 5 stars A Thoughtful and Charitable Look to the East
This is a very irenic treatment of Eastern Orthodoxy from a Reformed theologian who paints a helpful and accurate picture of this mysterious and often misunderstood Christian tradition. As stated in the epilogue, his main purpose in writing was "to consider some distinctive emphases and approaches of Eastern Orthodoxy that Western Christians may receive benefit and stimulation." I think he has accomplished his objective.

1-0 out of 5 stars Christian?
How can something so unbiblical be termed Christian? It would've been okay to title this book as a study on Eastern Orthodox traditions. But to call it Christian is far fetched.

4-0 out of 5 stars A Worthy and Necessary Presentation
In explaining the differences between the Christian East and West, different people take different approaches.One may begin by explaining doctrinal differences between the Roman Catholics and the Orthodox (the filioque, Papal Supremacy and Infallibility, the Orthodox theology of Uncreated Grace, etc...) or one may take an historical approach.For the common faithful, however, the answer often given is simply that Western denominations and Orthodoxy have a "different feel."The mindset, or phronema, of Orthodoxy is just different and therefore hard for a non-Orthodox to understand.One priest put it to me this way:Some say that the difference between Protestants and Catholics lies in the fact that they ask the same questions but get different answers.They go on to say that the difference between the Orthodox and the West, then, is that they simply ask different questions.However - this priest went on to say - it gets even more confusing.In some cases, the Orthodox ask the same questions, but their words mean completely different things...

In trying to get to this difference, that "different feel" so often noticed but rarely given definition, James Payton, Jr. has written an excellent - I would say even astoundingly good - book in an attempt to explain Orthodoxy to the Western Christian.This explanation is often so difficult, both because it is simply hard to put into words and because, once put into words, the different mindsets of East and West make conveying the meaning of those words like speaking a different language, that the success with which Payton accomplished this task makes this book not only a good read but, I would say, a necessary companion to Metropolitan Kallistos Ware's "The Orthodox Church."This is true of both the Western convert to Orthodoxy and Orthodox individuals in general as, in explaining Eastern theology, Payton clarifies much of what the West believes, as well.

While reading the text, I was pleasantly surprised by how thorough Payton was.No less than 5 times (and I think more), I was reading and began to think, "This is all good, but I really think he needs to include something about..." and literally the next sentence or section would address my very concern.Clearly, Payton understands Orthodoxy about as best a non-Orthodox individual could...In fact, I found certain explanations of his - for instance, his explanation of the Orthodox theology of icons - to far surpass many similar such attempts made by Orthodox authors.With a few minor exceptions, I found Payton's explanation of Orthodox theology to be spot on.

This being said, there certainly is some room for improvement.First, though Payton says in the Epilogue that he knows he did not cover every topic and never intended to, a couple chapters could have been included.For instance, I would have liked to see something concerning the Orthodox theology of Heaven and Hell (explaining that Hell is the love of God experienced as pain and suffering for those who did not purify themselves of the passions...) or, connected to this, the Orthodox focus on God as love rather than the preoccupation of some in the West to focus on a God of judgment.Second, some examples of what he wrote about, such as scenes from the Lives of the Saints, would have been helpful in making something very abstract - such as the theology of the Uncreated Light - more tangible.And third (and this is a larger issue), Payton's stance as an "outsider" to Orthodoxy, while helpful in his ability to express things in a way clear to the Western mind, also hindered him from reaching the essence of the difference between East and West.Payton understandably wanted to create a "fair" presentation, neither elevating Orthodoxy too high nor denigrating the West.In all fairness to him, even if he were Orthodox, trying to explain these things without unintentionally offending a non-Orthodox reader with something that appeared to be bitter triumphalism would be difficult.

And yet, looking at Orthodox as just another - albeit very well done - version of Christianity with its own particular vision and character is to miss the heart or Orthodoxy's self understanding: it is the unerring, undivided, perfect Body of Christ.This Body of Christ, while imperfectly ministered to by man, is nonetheless the Vessel of the Holy Spirit, the Pillar of Truth, and the most perfect Hospital for ill man.When Christ Ascended, He yet remained with us in One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church, undivided and unconquerable.When one does not view the Church as such, Orthodoxy becomes just another "tradition" of Christianity which can simply be "tried out" or from which one can simply implement the desirable aspects into his own tradition.This misses the basis for Orthodoxy's self-understanding.If one does not recognize this about how Orthodox views itself, it is akin to training for months or years for a marathon and then staying home the day of the race: you may have made yourself look like a runner, you may have a great understanding of what runners go through, but you gave yourself no chance to win the prize.

Again, I understand Payton's unwillingness to venture into such theology, first because he is not Orthodox himself and second because, without great delicacy, this could turn many off to the riches of Orthodoxy.However, I recommend that, if one wants to go deeper than Payton and get more to the essence of the differences, you can read these two articles, both available online:Metropolitan Anthony Khrapovitsky's "Way Apart: What is the Difference Between Orthodox and Western Confessions?" and Metropolitan Hierotheos Vlachos' "The Difference Between Orthodox Spirituality and Other Traditions."Type either into Google to find them.

Despite these shortcomings, however, I still cannot but call this a necessary text, and I thank God that Payton has written it.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Very Best Compare/Contrast East-West Christiantiy
During my life, I have had my Orthodox faith repeatedly, and often insultingly, challenged by well-meaning Protestant friends and family.I've avoided confrontation for the most part, but really wished I could find -- or write -- the perfect book that would both help them realize the commonalities and differences between East and West.I think Robert Payne's book comes very close to the goal of acknowledging the Roman/European development of Christian thought and practice, and comparing and contrasting it with the older, historical roots of Eastern Christianity.Payne's attitude is balanced, accurate, and strives for conciliatory understanding between the two main streams of Christian development.

Not only does Payne focus on the most obvious points of divergence between East and West, he effectively explains how it can be that we use the same words, but have different understandings of what they mean -- BUT AT THE SAME TIME -- we have instances where we mean the same thing, but use different words. What I liked best was that Payne was never condescending,or patronizing nor outright insulting to Eastern Christianity -- unlike some Protestant authors.

I think this is a really good book for someone whose family members are exploring Eastern Orthodox Christianity, because I think it will help them learn about it in a respectful context.I think for someone from a Protestant background who is curious about Eastern Orthodox Christianity that this book will tell you clearly what the major differences are.And, for Orthodox Christians trying to find out what the differences in Protestant Christianity is from Orthodoxy, this is a good book that will help you understand what Protestant Christian thought is.

Good follow up reading would be "Common Ground" by Jordan Bajis, which is easy reading and goes into more specifics about the differences between East and West in a factual but non-confrontational manner. \Common Ground: An Introduction to Eastern Christianity for the American Christian

Another is The Lost History of Christianity: The Thousand Year Golden Age of the Church in the Middle East, Africa and Asia -- and How It Died by Philip Jenkins.The Lost History of Christianity: The Thousand-Year Golden Age of the Church in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia--and How It Died which is an eye opener for people who think the church in Rome and the Reformation is all of Christian history.

And finally, the classic: The Orthodox Church by Timothy Ware.The Orthodox Church: New Edition ... Read more

12. Orthodox Prayer Life: The Interior Way
by Matthew the Poor
Paperback: 292 Pages (2003-12-31)
list price: US$24.00 -- used & new: US$19.25
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0881412503
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Saints who experience the power of prayer say it gives them wings to fly: wings of elation from being in proximity with Jesus Christ and relief from the burden of a sinful conscience. Once engulfed in the grace of the Holy Spirit, the person in prayer experiences death to sin, resurrection in the Spirit, and mystical ascension to the Father. The visible touches the Invisible, and joy wells up in the human heart. This volume evolved experientially: the fruit of fifty-five years of solitude by a contemporary desert monk besieged by prayer. Father Matta's prayer life initially was formed under the direction of the sayings of the Russian Fathers, and later expanded under the direction of other Fathers, both Eastern and Western. He spent whole nights in prayer, reciting one or two passages from these luminaries and begging these saints to enlighten his understanding. Father Matta discloses: Whenever physical hunger turned cruel against me, I found my gratification in prayer. Whenever the biting cold of winter was unkind to me, I found my warmth in prayer. Whenever people were harsh to me (and their harshness was severe indeed) I found my comfort in prayer. In short, prayer became my food and my drink, my outfit and my armor, whether by night or by day. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (14)

5-0 out of 5 stars Why the West needs the East
It's a shame that the Coptic Church is not visibly in union with Rome.As many reading this will know, they never were guilty of the Nestorian heresy. This "Eastern lung" as Pope John Paul II referred to the Eastern Church, is clearly much less 'smoke-filled' than so much of the 'Western Lung'.

The value of the deep spirituality of the Coptic (mystic) Monks is immeasurable and Matta El-Meskeen, who lived the life of the great desert fathers of the past, has so much to teach any Christian willing to take the time and read the 'pearls of wisdom' contained in the pages of this book.

It's not a book that can be read from from front to back.It requires reading a page at a time and sometime only a paragraph or phrase.One is called to reflect, pray and learn from this master.

Anyone who is serious about enhancing their prayer life would do well to acquire this and other writings of Abuna El-Meskeen.Check out his monastery's website ([...]).

5-0 out of 5 stars One of the Priceless Treasures by a True Loving profound Coptic Father
I have no more than saying that this is a very high and unique extremely profound style of Christian writing by an author who is commonly described as a Christian school for his many writings and oral teaching on different aspects of Christianity. The writer is a *Coptic monk who spent most of his life in prayers in the deserts of Egypt. You really need to read this book which was his first book three years after he had abandoned the world to dwell the desert for the rest of his life and after he had been a rich phrmacist. This book can be said to be a true masterpiece that I enjoyed reading it several times in Arabic before being translated into English with many other books by the same writer. This is published by (St. Vladimir's Seminary Press". Thanks to Amazon for making such treasures available for that reasonable price.

Wish you all the best.

*the Copts are currently the christians of Egypt (mostly Orthodox) and they are the descendants of the Ancient Egyptians - Different from the Arab of Egypt. the words Copt and Egypt are mainly derived from the Greek word 'Aiguptos' different from the current Arabic name of Egypt 'Misr' which means 'country' in Arabic

4-0 out of 5 stars A worthwhile read
Though I'm an Old Order Baptist, there are many insights within Matthew the Poor's writings. I appreciate the scriptural references which add in understanding his perspectives. It has the academic side along with the experiential. Thanks to the Lord and the Coptic Church.

5-0 out of 5 stars This is the real thing: God waits for us to approach Him through prayer
This is the most profound and life changing book I have encountered in my entire life with the sole exception of the Bible.Anyone with the slightest inclination to explore what prayer can reveal to us should read and cherish this book.It is profound in the extreme, insightful and precise. Matthew the Poor shows us that God is waiting for us and the route to Him is through prayer.The author shows what awaits those who are willing to throw their entire heart and soul into prayer - communion with God in an amazing and intimate way.This is the polar opposite of trite and formulaic approach to the spiritual touted by popular culture, this carries the pedigree of centuries of monastic life in the desert, this is real, this is eternal.

5-0 out of 5 stars My prayers have been answered on "how to pray"!
I've always sought to find someone to guide me in prayer proper, and I found it in this book. Assimilating the early Fathers the data provided has been tested, tasted and prooven for our benefit and for the Glory and expansion of God's Kingdom -a must have book for anyone serious about praying effectively to God. ... Read more

13. The Bible and the Holy Fathers for Orthodox (Daily Scripture Readings and Commentary for Orthodox Christians)
by Johanna Manley
 Hardcover: 1126 Pages (1990)
-- used & new: US$58.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B000P8JCHY
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars Must Have Reading
This is an excellent resource for Byzantine Catholics and Orthodox Eastern rites.It is also a good resource for Roman Catholics with excellent readings from the early Church Fathers on the daily readings for the liturgical year.It follows the Eastern rite calendar, so if you are Roman Catholic you have to use the guide in the back.But the book is a real treasure for those interested in deepening their understanding and love of the Scriptures.

5-0 out of 5 stars An Amazing Collection of Daily Scriptures and Commentary
This amazing collection of "daily Scripture readings and commentary for Orthodox Christians" was given to me recently. At first I was a bit intimidated by its size, but I'm slowly falling into a habit of reading it, and am inspired often to keep on the road to salvation.

I often use this as a companion with the Orthodox Study Bible, as I've grown accustomed to the New King James used there, and this volume uses a variety of translations. The main benefit to this one is that all the Scripture readings and commentary are in one place.

Although it took me a while to find my way around--as I'm a recent convert and still adjusting to the liturgical year--now I like the way it's organized according to the Church calendar.

Here you will find spiritually deep commentaries from writers like St. Symeon the New Theologian, St. Issac of Syria, St. John Chrysostom, St. Maximos the Confessor, St. Ambrose of Milan, St. Ignatius of Antioch, St. John of Kronstadt, Bede the Venerable, St. Basil the Great and St. Athanasius of Alexandria, to name a few.

This is an amazing volume, and one that I would hope more Orthodox Christians make a regular part of their lives. It would also be of benefit to non-Orthodox who are interested in a more historical and ancient commentary on the Scriptures.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Spiritual Treasure
Simply put, an astonishing piece of work which belongs in every Orthodox home. Arranged according to the liturgical calendar, the readings from the Epistles and Gospels are given for each day of the year. For each of these readings, a pertinent selection from one of the Fathers (St. John Chrysostom figures prominently), frequently a direct commentary on the passage, is provided. When we look today at the huge quantity of lives of saints, writings of the Fathers, and other literature that is available on the spiritual life, we tend to forget that many of those early saints had only limited access to a Bible and few -- if any -- other writings during their years of spiritual growth. The Bible is, of course, the ultimate source of spiritual teaching and is read diligently by serious seekers of the Faith. Johanna Manley has compiled a truly wonderful guidebook for daily scripture readings which bring together Scripture and the teachings of the Holy Fathers about those Scriptures and their application to our lives.

5-0 out of 5 stars Spiritual Essence
This is a enhanching daily reading for the seeker of truth and growth in the enlightenment of our orthodox faith.The holy fathers gave us through their daily struggles to preserve the true faith,a complete path of shining pearls of wisdom.When you find such pearls they are priceless.If this isread daily, it mysticly keeps you on the road to eternity. ... Read more

14. Simple Guides The Orthodox Church
by Katherine Clark
Paperback: 144 Pages (2009-05-05)
list price: US$10.95 -- used & new: US$6.03
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Asin: 1857334876
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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• to appreciate the depth and beauty of the dominant form of Christianity in Greece, Russia and much of Eastern Europe

• to understand the tenets, nature and holy days of Orthodox belief

• to recognize the physical features of an Orthodox church, and the spiritual significance of icons

• to know what to expect and how to conduct yourself during Orthodox services and ceremonies

Orthodoxy is the dominant form of Christianity in Greece, Russia, parts of Eastern Europe and the Balkans. Its practices are largely unfamiliar in the West, and have remained essentially unchanged since the earliest days of the faith. This lucid introduction outlines the tenets, nature and holy days of Orthodox belief with the Western reader in mind. It describes the physical church, especially icons, services, and common practices, and offers advice to visitors on how to conduct themselves so that they are accepted and feel comfortable.

Several chapters concern the life of Jesus and the beginnings of Christianity; others trace the origins and history of the Church, with particular attention to its great champion, Constantine the Great. The present structure of the Church is described in brief, and the split between the Eastern and the Western Churches is related with differences clearly explained.

The great antiquity and beauty of its liturgy, its essentially minimal hierarchy and its mystical yet pragmatic approach make the Orthodox religion a powerful medium for its profound and universal message. This deceptively simple volume takes the reader on a journey to the heart of the Christian tradition.


Simple Guides: Religion is a series of concise, accessible introductions to the world’s major religions. Written by experts in the field, they offer an engaging and sympathetic description of the key concepts, beliefs and practices of different faiths.

Ideal for spiritual seekers and travellers alike, Simple Guides aims to open the doors of perception. Together the books provide a reliable compass to the world’s great spiritual traditions, and a point of reference for further exploration and discovery. By offering essential insights into the core values, customs and beliefs of different
societies, they also enable visitors to be aware of the cultural sensibilities of their hosts, and to behave in a way that fosters mutual respect and understanding. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars The Orthodox Church: Short, Sweet and Clear
Religions - all of them - often do not put forth their best face to strangers, in that they can seem fusty and exclusive.In "The Orthodox Church," Katherine Clark has realized that simple explanations can make this ancient religion seem rich, persuasive, and full of beauty - whether you are a believer or not. Because the Orthodox church avoids dogma, is resistant to change, and is always welcoming without being evangelical, it can provide a window into the past as well as offer insight into contemporary problems. If you read it, your next visit to an Orthodox church will seem more comprehensible and full of beautiful ancient forms. Although I spend much time in Greece, this book has made me aware of much that I was missing.Most visitors to Orthodox countries sense that the churches and chapels are inviting, and now they'll know why.

--Jeffrey Carson

5-0 out of 5 stars the orthodox church
i have read this book and ordered it for my children to read--- they do not know greek and read only english -- this is an excellent book for the greek orthodox who wants to know his faith -- our previous wriiten and spoken religious books are in greek and i cannot understand them as well as this book... ... Read more

15. Eastern Orthodox Christianity: A Western Perspective
by Daniel B. Clendenin
Paperback: 192 Pages (2003-10-01)
list price: US$22.00 -- used & new: US$3.69
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Asin: 0801026520
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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In this reliable and engaging survey, Daniel Clendenin introduces Protestants to Eastern Orthodox history and theology with the hope that the two groups will come to see their traditions as complementary and learn to approach one another with a "hermeneutic of love" that fosters "mutual respect, toleration, and even support." This revised edition includes a new preface, a new chapter, and an updated bibliography. In addition to updated demographic information, Clendenin examines at length a particular aspect of Orthodoxy's intersection with Protestantism-its growing exchange with evangelicalism. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (17)

5-0 out of 5 stars Good Introduction to Orthodoxy for the Non-Orthodox
This is a very good book to begin to understand the Ancient, Orthodox Church.I had been a Protestant for over 20 years and knew absolutely nothing about the Orthodox Church and this was a good place to start since it is written from a Western perspective by a Protestant.This was the first book that helped me towards my journey to the Ancient Christian Faith - the Orthodox Church.

3-0 out of 5 stars Good but not great
I picked up this book for cheap and had a free weekend so I figured I would give it a read.I think the author doesa good job of finding common ground and explaining some of the theology of the Orthodox church.Which in all fairness was his goal . . . But he sticks with the things that we can easily share common ground on and makes it look like the divisions are simply semantics.I thought it convenient that he left out all he other stuff that makes peoples heads spin.I mean when you get to the end of the book you are kinda thinking well why don't we all just hold hands and sing a chorus or two.Thats not even close to the reality of things I am afraid.

So while I wasn't so impressed it was an OK read.His perspective was interesting.And it provides a good book for me to give to my in-laws when trying to explain to them that I really haven't gone off the deep end by joining the Orthodox church"See mom . . we really are just the same . . . .just different decorations . . . " and that I am thankful for.it helps that it is written by a protestant.However if you want real church history and a real overview of the church and her theology I am going to have to concur with everyone else that "The Orthodox Church" by T.K. Wareis far and away a much better source.

4-0 out of 5 stars Useful
I am very grateful for Clendenin for assembling his collection of essays by prominent Orthodox theologians and historians, since many are out of print in their original publications. See here for that useful collection: Eastern Orthodox Theology: A Contemporary Reader.

However, this book I found to be rather curious and misleading at the end. It is always tricky to critique someone else's religious tradition (although I attempt it all the time), and I am not sure that the author has been completely successful in representing the views of eastern Christianity with accuracy, which then leads to me to wonder which version of Orthodoxy he rejects.

He leaves aside discussions of the saints, Mary and the sacraments (mysteries) as the subject of discussion after one has already examined the nature of tradition, scripture, deification, icons and negative theology (Apophaticism). This makes some sense since they are the distinctive doctrines that most Protestants, especially Evangelicals, have very little exposure to via their Roman Catholic friends (or, more likely, based upon the wild Romaphobic stereotypes adrift in the evangelical subculture). On the whole he is presents a very sympathetic view of Orthodoxy, agreeing that a sense of wonder and mystery should accompany the more analytical, logical theological structure of his own tradition. On the whole I think he is fair.

My only questions would surround the following point. He mentions that the dividing difference between Orthodox and Evangelicals is ecclesiological, but, unless I missed it, he never goes into that point in the previous chapters, leaving me a little lost to the point. If it is so important, why was it overlooked? Perhaps he means that since Orthodox reject the branch theory of Church history (what I would see as "Bride of Frankenstein" ecclesiology, with everyone have a body part of the bride), Orthodox somehow deny the work of God in the lives of non-Orthodox Christians, Catholic or Protestant. But Orthodoxy does not teach that. It surprises me that he would make such a claim, especially since he was the editor of the above-mentioned collection of essays. I would assume he actually read the authors to make the editorial decisions involved. So while Orthodox indeed claim to be the only and true Bride of Christ, it does not follow that the Holy Spirit is limited to the boundaries of that Church. The Spirit blows where it will. Or, as Bishop Kallistos Ware has said, "We are bound by the sacraments. God is not bound by them."

Buy this book, but also take the time to read other works on the subject, including these helpful resources: Common Ground: An Introduction to Eastern Christianity for the American Christian, The Orthodox Way, How Are We Saved?: The Understanding of Salvation in the Orthodox Tradition, Discovering the Rich Heritage of Orthodoxy.

Regarding his statement that the quality of Muslim treatment toward Orthodox is "a matter of some debate" is more than off the wall. Please refer to The Dhimmi: Jews & Christians Under Islam.

My other review often are about ecumenical topics, so they also may be useful.

May all be one.

4-0 out of 5 stars America's "fourth major religion" introduced
Orthodox Christianity is little known to mainstream Americans, be they Christian or otherwise.It seems an exotic import from Russia, Greece, and the Balkans, and as foreign to American Protestantism or even American Roman Catholicism as Tibetan Buddhism.Moreover, there's a great deal of skepticism and even outright rancor directed at Orthodoxy by many Protestants and Roman Catholics.The former see it as unbiblical (whatever that charge means) and the latter see it as a challenge.Finally, too many Orthodox in this country take such an exclusivistic position when it comes to salvation (only the Orthodox Church is the one true church) that they only encourage wariness or dislike by non-Orthodox.(Each of these positions is reflected, by the way, in earlier amazon.com reviews of this book.)

Daniel Clendenin's _Eastern Orthodox Christianity_ has the great merit of introducing the "fourth major religion" to Americans in a reader-friendly and remarkably accurate (for an outsider) way.Other introductions to Orthodoxy are just as good (e.g., Timothy Ware's _The Orthodox Church_), but they're written by insiders.Clendenin is an evangelical Protestant who spent some years teaching in Moscow and absorbing the doctrines and liturgy of Orthodoxy.He writes with a great deal of sensitivity and sympathy.

Clendenin begins with a short history of the Eastern Orthodox Church and its break with the Western Latin Church.Then he focuses on its doctrine, dealing chapter-by-chapter with its understanding of God, the importance of icons and incarnationism, pneumatology, and theological anthropology.He concludes with a couple of chapters that spell out his reservations about Orthodoxy, and his reasons for remaining a Protestant, in spite of his agreement with many aspects of Orthodoxy.(An earlier reviewer who criticized Clendenin's "uncritical approach" apparently skipped these chapters.)

Clendenin is particularly good in his discussion of apophasis, and his analysis of Orthodoxy's skepticism of rational "worded" theology and its embrace and celebration of mystery.His chapter on anthropology, in which he focuses on theosis--a much neglected Christian fundamental here in the West--is also masterful.

The chapter on icons isn't as well thought-through.A Protestant confused about the significance of icons for Orthodox Christians isn't likely to get a great deal of clarification here.Clendenin also occasionally cites Patristic quotations already cited by secondary authors, rather than going to the original texts themselves, and this is a bit troubling.But it must also be pointed out that one of the remarkably refreshing features of his book is his generous quotations of early Greek Fathers who aren't often studied in the West.

All in all, Clendenin's book is an invaluable resource for outsiders interested in the "fourth major religion" in this country.Highly recommended, particularly when read along the accompanying anthology _Eastern Orthodox Theology:A Contemporary Reader_.

3-0 out of 5 stars Could have been better
I think the author did a lot of work on this book and it is helpful but it really reads like a book written by someone trying to convert Protestants to Orthodoxy. The mystery is why Clendenin is still Protestant.The book does not make, as I recall, one criticism of the theology or practice of Orthodoxy.For Protestants who would like to examine Orthodoxy biblically (e.g., evaluate the biblical underpinnings of icons, pro and con) this would not be a good choice.I would recommend "The Three Great Churches" (Rials) or "the Gospel According to Rome" (McCarthy). Even though the latter is about Catholicism, many of the issues are the same for Orthodoxy.All that said, this book and its companion (the reader) are very helpful and illuminating for those wanting to understand Orthodoxy from a theologian's perspective. The graphics are very good and it is very well documented. ... Read more

16. Bread & Water, Wine & Oil: An Orthodox Christian Experience of God
by Meletios Webber
Paperback: 200 Pages (2007-10-09)
list price: US$15.95 -- used & new: US$15.95
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Asin: 1888212918
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Worry, despair, insecurity, fear of death . . . these are our daily companions, and even though we attempt to ignore them or try to crowd them out, they are there, waiting for us in our quieter moments. It is precisely where we hurt most that the experience of the Orthodox Church has much to offer. The remedy is not a pep talk, or any simple admonitions to fight the good fight, cheer up, or think positively. Rather, the Orthodox method is to change the way we look at the human person (starting with ourselves). According to two thousand years of experience, Orthodoxy shows us how tobe transformed by the renewing of our mind-- a process that is aided by participation in the traditional ascetic practices and Mysteries of the Church.In this unique and accessible book, Archimandrite Meletios Webber first explores the role of mystery in the Christian life, then walks the reader through the seven major Mysteries of the Orthodox Church, showing the way to a richer, fuller life in Christ. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (12)

5-0 out of 5 stars Outstanding glimpse into an Orthodox mindset
I was finishing Dragon's Wine and Angel's Bread by Fr Gabriel Bunge when I ran across this book. Fr Gabriel's book reviews the thought of Evagrius Ponticus in a way that's meaningful primarily to Orthodox monastics; here in "Bread and Water" I found much the same material, but presented in terms a modern American layman can grasp.

Fr Meletios' experience both in monastic prayer and in pastoral care makes this one of only a few books I'd recommend to non-Orthodox Christians who want to know what the inner life of Orthodox Christians is like. (Another would be Father Arseny 1893-1973 - Priest, Prisoner, and Spiritual Father)

Best of all, Fr Meletios presents his material firmly within its true context of life in the Church. Authentic Orthodox spirituality is ecclesial, even for anchorites or hermits: asceticism and the prayer of the heart are organically connected to the sacramental and liturgical life of the Church and the communion of saints.

3-0 out of 5 stars Best for Last
In the very first pages Archimandrite Webber sets what he calls the foundation for the rest of the book to come. This foundation is one of the various paradigms, hierarchies, or anatomies of the soul's powers or faculties. He chose an anatomy which I have only heard of a few times and only by very few scholars. Of the various paradigms he chose, what I believe to be the most problematic - yet, if this was going to be the foundation, he needed to choose a working model. Yet, he could have utilized one of the more common and less problematic ones from the Philokalia or one of a few variants put forth by St. Theophan the Recluse. Nevertheless, it is the hierarchy he was most comfortable with. The point of my discomfort was the way he put this paradigm forward: very authoritatively and exclusively - as if there were no other ways that have been recognized by the Church Fathers.If he would have done what Fredericka did in one of small books, I would have been fine. She stipulated that the working model she chose was "not" the only one and offered references for those who wished to study the issue later on.After my initial discomfort with what could possibly be mislead others to think there is only one view held by Orthodox Christians, I moved forward.

The format of the book itself was not very user-friendly. The lack of connecting sentences required going back to chapter, heading and subheading title to remind oneself what the context of the topic was. Several times I read what did not sound to correct, only to go back and remind myself of the specific context - then I found it in line with the Church's teachings and dogmatics. Nevertheless, I continued reading and I am very glad I did.

The 2nd part of the book dealing with the major Mysteries/Sacraments of the Church was fantastic! In fact, the pace of my reading progress slowed almost to a standstill on some pages, so that I could copy very profound quotes from the book. If, for no other reason - this section makes the book worth reading.

4-0 out of 5 stars Good foundation book
I really liked the simplicity of this book.Archimandrite Meletios Webber takes you through many of the foundational beliefs of the Orthodox system.It doesn't get too watered down on some of the more complex topics nor too complicated.Just a good overall look at what entails one as a believer.

He also gives some insight into how the Orthodox faith approaches some of today's questions that spiritual seekers have.If you want a nice read and some basics of faith this book will work.Regardless of your denomination, this book can bring about some insight with its overall message.

4-0 out of 5 stars The new introductory text for Orthodoxy?
This book is a very good introduction to the Orthodox Christian experience of God. It is divided into two parts: the first is entitled, "Life as Mystery," while the second is called "The Mysteries of the Church."In my opinion, the first part makes this read worth your time, and chapters one and two alone are worth the purchase price of the book!The author's psychological training is very evident during his discussion of "The Mind, the Heart & Mystery," and his elaboration upon the difference between the functions of the mind and the heart opened my eyes on the topic like no other theological text. The portion of the book dealing with the mysteries of the Church is, quite frankly, less distinctive than the author's treatment of "Life as Mystery," given that the material is covered elsewhere in classic texts by Bishop Ware (The Orthodox Church) and Protopresbyter Schmemann (For the Life of the World). The virtue of this work is that it combines a prolegomena to Orthodox theology with a tour of what western Christians would call the sacraments of the Church, which would be particularly useful for a catechumen or someone looking at Orthodoxy from the outside. If you are new to Orthodoxy (or on the outside looking in, as I am) and have not read Ware or Schmemann, I highly recommend this book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Get out of your head and into your heart.
After the first couple chapters of Bread & Water, Wine & Oil by Archimandrite Meletios Webber--Fr. Melto those he pastors--you are not quite sure if you are in an Esalen yoga retreat class or a Marin County spirituality workshop in the 70s.Yes, this is definitely a "get out of your head and into your heart" kind of book.At the same time it makes for classical eastern Orthodox scholarship.Though a down to earth book, those I feel will be attracted to this work are the rather heady, bookish sort.If so, this volume will serve as good medicine for the right folk.

Webber starts out letting us know that the West got lost pretty much at the trailhead in matters of the head and heart. He translates nous as heart and not mind.He points us to a Philokalia directive of St. Markariosthat the nous is indeed the "eye of the heart"; and of St. Diadochos (5th Cent.) that it is this nous business which is a key anchor point of our lives if our spirituality is to work--"innermost aspect of the heart".Here we plug into and stay connected to our true selves and into each other, how we best commune and communicate with self, our fellows and with God.Webber addresses well the disintegration, fragmentation and estrangement that plagues us and our often limping religiosity.

His call for us to return to the heart and to experience and to mystery is accompanied by a parallel warning.Danger ahead is the bodiless mind embracing and theologically fatal path of dualism (body bad; spirit good) endemic in the West.The tone of Webber'sbook is refreshing, like the way he suggests that perhaps calling our bishop "your eminence" might be a bit dated.

If you are an academic, you might be offended at his style as Webber works to keep things simple.He tells fun stories yet he is far from an Erma Bombeck protégé.Those under the author's tutelage will tell you he's a man of letters.He retired (in a ceremony hosted by Kallistos Ware, his mentor) in recent years as a parish priest to write.Yet God yanked him back into the pastorate to serve as head of a dozen or so monks at St. John's Monastery near Redding where he leads a group of rather bookish monks previously lead by the new Metropolitan of the OCA.Hopefully Achmandrite Webber'scontemplative digs of late will yield many more such helpful books. Fr. Melitos has a Greek background yet as a Celtic redhead convert to the Eastern church he has a British humor and an Oxford head on his shoulders which brings a good mix that comes together well in his writing.

I liked this book better than the one on sobriety and the 12 steps.In both Webber is at the same time simple and complex.This book on the Sacraments soulfully explores the mystical theology of the Eastern church.Not surprising as I'm told the predecessor and founder of the monastery Fr. Meletios now shepherds came to the East through Lossky 's book by that same title.This is good.I look for many other helpful titles from this Orthodox author.
... Read more

17. Eastern Orthodox Theology: A Contemporary Reader
Paperback: 288 Pages (2003-10-01)
list price: US$28.00 -- used & new: US$9.79
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Asin: 0801026512
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Eastern Orthodox Church leaders celebrate and explain the nuances of their faith in Eastern Orthodox Theology, a collection of readings for those who wish to better understand key aspects of the Orthodox faith, such as liturgy and sacraments, tradition, the mystical encounter between person and God, and relations with other branches of the church. In this new edition, two new articles have been added to update the section on Orthodoxy's relationship with the West. Articles from Timothy Weber (the only non-Orthodox contribution) and Bradley Nassif address the growing interface between the evangelical and Orthodox traditions. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars Orthodox Theology - as Worship, as Tradition, as Encounters, and as Mission
Excellent companion to Daniel B. Clendenin's other book about Orthodoxy - "Eastern Orthodox Christianity: A Western Perspective."

This book in comparison to its companion, is a compilation of contemporary Orthodox theologians' writings on such topics as:
* liturgy and sacraments,
* tradition,
* the mystical encounter between person and God, and
* relations with the other branches of the church.

One will be pleasantly surprised to read biographical information on theologians such as Kallistos Ware, Vladimir Lossky, Alexander Schmemann and others and also read their thoughts on Orthodox living theology.

This book is written for all Christians, but primarily for Protestants and Eastern Orthodox believers.Enjoy!

4-0 out of 5 stars Orthodoxy as Tradition, Worship, and Apophatic Theology,

Wide Spectrum Reader:
The 'Contemporary Reader' of Eastern Orthodox theology, is a thoughtfully selected group of essays. This book is intended as a companion reader to the author's apologia; looking into Orthodox traditions, of Liturgy and theology. The concise essays provide enough information to get the reader briefed on various topics, authored by eminent Eastern Orthodox, where the Evangelical editor comment on the theological message of the essay itself.
No lesser an Orthodox than the Editor, I would recommend this collection of essays as a broad spectrum introductory readership to Eastern Orthodox Doctrine: teaching (Doctrine: from Doctor i.e. Teacher of the church), in spite of being a monotonic essays rather than Chatechetical dialogue (in the Alexandrine sense it should be Q & A dialogue)

Orthodox Essays Roaster:
Daniel Clendenin, an Evangelical student of Eastern Orthodoxy, who critically examined and proved aware of Orthodox practices to the amazement of most Easterners and Orientals, is on InterVarsity staff at Stanford University. The knowledgeable book editor, who once wrote; Why I'm not Orthodox, 'Christianity today, Jan. 6, 1997', made his case based on some petrified Orthodox practices.
Clendenin has included a balanced selection of topics from some outstanding Eastern (Byzantine) theologians, who happened to be mostly Russian: Florovsky, Lossky, Meyendroff, and Schmemann. His selection from Greek theologians was short of Zizioulis, Staniloae, and others. He may have never heard of eminent Orintals like Metropolitan G. Khedr, or Fr. Matthew the poor, Abbot of St. Makarius.
The issues are very well selected and the chapters cover a full integral roaster of topics. Since the editor is Evangelical he skillfully included most of the issues of particular concern to Protestants, covering everything from the importance of the liturgy to the role of sacraments and Orthodox stances on the nature of God and such issues on salvation as Theosis (deification), the Eucharist, intercession of saints, praying with icons, and hesitant ecumenical relations with the Romans, and at least upper Church Protestantism.

Orthodox Theology:
As a lay theologian interested in learning what the neo-Orthodox are to say, I came to know, specially Fr. Lev Gilet of St. Serge, in Paris who was very influential in the revival of Orthodox Youth movement in the Middle east. Although I am reservedly fascinated with 'Byzantine' ontological theology yet this is remote from authentic Orthodoxy, the spirit of the desert fathers and their mysticism. Prof. Thomas Torrance expresses it well: the knowledge of God comes through the remarriage of Ontology with Epistemology. Surprisingly, they have never been divorced in the ultimate Alexandro-Antiochian Orthodoxy. Some of these articles may look somewhat controversial; that is because Oriental and Eastern Orthodoxy has a minimum of dogmatics, leaving more space for personal views, united by the long patristic tradition, since there is no strict doctrinal control in the traditional archaic sense.
Orthodox theology rooted in Alexandria cataphatic based allegory, biblical mysticism garnished with Skete's practical Christianity of partaking in divine nature (Theosis), through ego mortification to self forgiveness, and being in continuing presence of the Lord, in praying unceasingly the arrow prayer of Macarius (adopted as the Jesus prayer): this is the only authentic Orthodox Mystical theology of sharing our being in Christ Victor.

Controversial Orthodoxy?
An Amazon.com reviewer guessed "whether this book is fair representation of Orthodox thinking. I happen to know that some of the authors and opinions are controversial in Orthodox circles." While, "studentofislamichistory" adds that, "Perhaps it is hard to avoid controversy in modern theology." Whether this book represents a full spectrum of contemporary Orthodox theological thought? Although few of the authors are out of the main stream conservatives, their opinions are not controversial but complementary. Saying so, I could be no less critical of some of the marginally expressed views.

5-0 out of 5 stars Good collection of essays on orthodox thought
This book was my first-ever purchase from Amazon.com 4 years ago.Although not a member of the Orthodox church, I pay some attention to theology and was interested in learning what the Orthodox had to say.I found this an excellent introduction to Orthodox doctrines, covering everything from the importance of the liturgy to the role of sacraments and Orthodox stances on the nature of God and ecumenicism.The anonymous reader from Northern California states that some of these articles are controversial; regrettably, I don't have information on that.Perhaps it is hard to avoid controversy in modern theology.In any case, if you're interested in the title subject, this is a good starting point.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Selection, Eminently Readable
First I must note that I am not Orthodox, and neither is the book's editor. So I can't begin to guess whether this book is fair representation of Orthodox thinking. I happen to know that some of the authors andopinions are controversial in Orthodox circles. But I think the book isgreat. The selections are very well written and cover a broad variety oftopics, including most of those of particular concern to Protestants, suchas icons, saints, deification, and ecumenical relations. The introductionsto each essay provide just enough information to get the reader orientedwithout intruding on the content. I have rarely enjoyed a thelogical bookso much. The essays by Lossky alone are worth the price. ... Read more

18. Walking in Wonder: Nurturing Orthodox Christian Virtues in Your Children
by Elizabeth White
Paperback: 80 Pages (2004-11-20)
list price: US$9.95 -- used & new: US$4.98
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1888212691
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Walking in Wonder blends patristic Orthodox teaching with practical suggestions for parents, so that the result is a book that is not only inspirational but full of common sense. Elizabeth White draws from her extensive experience as an educator, parent and faithful Orthodox Christian, to outline for mothers and fathers not only what the virtues are, but the "how to's" of encouraging those virtues in children.

Each chapter ends with a list of practical ideas any parent might try to help cultivate character qualities such as attentiveness, and silence. This small jewel could very well be called "the Holy Fathers applied to parenting."

This workbook will help parents, teachers and all caregivers provide an environment that helps develop Orthodox attitudes toward self, others, the world and Christ. Written for parents with children under the age of eight in mind. ... Read more

19. The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture: The Effect of Early Christological Controversies on the Text of the New Testament
by Bart D. Ehrman
Paperback: 328 Pages (1996-02-29)
list price: US$25.00 -- used & new: US$19.98
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0195102797
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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The victors not only write the history, they also reproduce the texts. In a study that explores the close relationship between the social history of early Christianity and the textual tradition of the emerging New Testament, Ehrman examines how early struggles between Christian "heresy" and "orthodoxy" affected the transmission of the documents over which, in part, the debates were waged. His thesis is that proto-orthodox scribes of the second and third centuries occasionally altered their sacred texts for polemical reasons--for example, to oppose adoptionists like the Ebionites, who claimed that Christ was a man but not God, or docetists like Marcion, who claimed that he was God but not a man, or Gnostics like the Ptolemaeans, who claimed that he was two beings, one divine and one human. Ehrman's thorough and incisive analysis makes a significant contribution to our understanding of the social and intellectual history of early Christianity and raises intriguing questions about the relationship of readers to their texts, especially in an age when scribes could transform the documents they reproduced to make them say what they were already thought to mean, effecting thereby the orthodox corruption of Scripture. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (36)

1-0 out of 5 stars Author Adds to the Corruption
Author questions the authorship of numerous NT books; we already have enough trouble with variants and interpolations.

1-0 out of 5 stars The problem with this book's premise
Before the time of the big conflicts, and before
any chance to rewrite anything, St. Irenaeus
of Lyon in Against Heresies testified to the
doctrines we all know as orthodox, and to the
existence of the books that later on councils
upheld as legitimate against challengers that
were fraudulent.

Irenaeus argued that a church founded by an
Apostle, was led by men who were trained by
those trained by the Apostle, as distinct from
churches founded by missionaries from churches.

Irenaeus c. AD 150 was the disciple of Polycarp,
the disciple of the Apostle John, and thus
himself only three removes from Jesus Christ.

As far as the Trinity being bizarre, why not
consider that maybe ultimate reality is beyond
our easy understanding? That makes more sense
in itself, than atheism or polytheism.

Mary Christine Erikson

1-0 out of 5 stars Curious
Ehrman makes an attempt at a rather sensational hypothesis. Having read the book dustcover to insert, I came away turning the book over and over looking for the actual proof of how Christological debates altered the transmission of the New Testament text. As a textual scholar for 3 decades this book interested me and I wanted to know if such a claim were valid. Having seen no proof of these claims in this book, and very much quite the opposite, the empirical manuscript evidence is to the contrary. The Papyrii, (i.e. P-76, P-66, P-52), all attest to the same doctrine of Christ early on.Scribal fidelity to the text during the councils over doctrine were unaffected in the textual areas on the Person and Work of Christ, (most notably in John). In other words, before Christiantiy became more formalized there was a set of early texts, (mainly the papyri), and these show no doctrinal impact or alteration as compared to the later manuscript evidencefrom 3rd - 5th centuries, after the Christological exchanges. One would certainly have expected this doctrinal change to have been reflected to some extent if Ehrman's hypothesis were correct. Beza Cantabrigiensis (the oddest and most altered ms. of all), Sinaiticus, Vaticanus, Ephraemi Rescriptus, et. al. all simply reflect the same doctrine as the earliest papyri. No such Christological doctrinal corruption can be found here either. The Papyrii and the Vellums line up identically on the doctrine of Christ, (again, both before and after the Christological debates). Very puzzling to me as textual scholar. Maybe Ehrman is writing for a reason other than demonstrating textual evidence? Who knows...but empirically he's simply wrong on the manuscript evidence. You may wish borrow it from the library before buying.

1-0 out of 5 stars Three Strikes.He's out.
Since my daughter is in seminary now, and a professor suggested she consider this book, I took a chance on yet another Bart Ehrman work, to read through it with her.His other two books that I read before this one, I trashed (which is rare for me).I am still waiting for my daughter, whose school is across the country, to start reading it, but as for me, I have already gone through it and have found no more edification or wisdom in it than in Ehrman's previous books.I am familiar with Koine Greek and read the NT in the original language frequently, but I am no Greek scholar by any means.Maybe she will be able to show me some value in this work when she begins to read it.

Life experience has taught me that whenever a teacher (in this case, a writer) is speaking from genuine knowledge of holy things, he speaks simply and clearly.Mr. Ehrman seems much more intent on shocking his audience with radical statements (and book titles), using of his seemingly prodigious knowledge of Greek and manuscript minutia, than in really guiding his readers to the knowledge of truth.

I couldn't even give this book one star.Amazon required I rate it as something.I have no qualms about admitting that there are textual problems with the original texts of both the Old and New Testaments.But the problems with trusting radical conjecture instead of the Bible are far greater.In my opinion, this book, as with Ehrman's other books, is not for people looking for truth but for people who already have an agenda concerning the Scriptures and are looking for justification for what they already think.

5-0 out of 5 stars Brilliant work
This book is brilliant work.One thing I disagree with with Dr, Ehrman is in regards to something he writes in the introduction.He recommends that those who are not specialists in the text or interpretation of the New Testament should read the introductory and concluding section of each chapter.I think that even if you are not a specialist, you should read some of the shorter sections of each chapter between the introductory and concluding sections of each chapter with a good copy of the Bible nearby.You will get a better understanding of what Dr. Ehrman is discussing. ... Read more

20. Introducing the Orthodox Church: Its Faith and Life
by Anthony M. Coniaris
 Paperback: 282 Pages (2007-08)
list price: US$16.95 -- used & new: US$112.86
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1933654082
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (8)

5-0 out of 5 stars Great book!
I really like how this book takes all the parts of orthodoxy and puts them in quick reference, segments. It's easy to see what they believe on different topics this way. I also like the beliefs being explained. It's encouraging.

5-0 out of 5 stars An Evangelical Investigating Christian Roots
Introducing the Orthodox Church is a fast but comprehensive read of contemporary orthodoxy.As an Evangelical, I find myself many times in a Christian quandry as to the state of the current church.Evangelicals have a pot pouiree of choices from which to choose to experience their faith.I grew up in the United Church of Christ, became a Missouri Synod Lutheran after marriage, went to an Evangelical Free Church, but I am Charismatic (EV Free is not)so I went looking elsewhere, attending 5-10 differnt churches over the last 20-25 years.Seeker sensitive, Emerging church, nondenominational, mainline denominations, charismatic, fundmentalist, dispensational, reformed, as an evangelical maybe I detect a problem here?

The question needs to be "what is Gods will?"I have read through the entire Catholic Catechism but in many points it just did not "ring true" even though I was praying to seek if this is where the Lord may lead me.

In contrast Coniaris has written a book which is designed to acquaint people with Orthodoxy and was written for use in an adult membership or converts class.

He breaks the book down into chapters which cover What We Believe aboutthe Nicene Creed, Jesus, The Holy Trinity, Salvation, The Divine Liturgy. Other chapters cover Who were the Church Fathers, What We Believe about Saints and Theotokos, Life After Death,The Bible, Icons, Praying for the Dead and a chapter on the Sacraments and what they are and their purpose.

It is a very simple but comprehensive book.It will probably answer most questions that one might have concerning Orthodox Christianity.

One chapter describing the icons and the physical layout of an Orthodox church was very insightful to me.I have been to only 2 or 3 Orthodox churches over the past 10 years but now I realize all the meaning behind what I saw.

Explaining the liturgy and the role of the preists put an entirely different spin on church hierarchy as opposed to Roman Cahtolic.

Frankly put, I agreed with about 90-95% of what I read.I still have many questions such as the deification process. Is this different than Evangelical sanctification? They have a more accurate view of Mary in my opinion than the Catholics.

I found that the Orthodox and Evangelicals are much closer than say Evangelicals and Catholics or even Orthodox and Catholics.

The Church I attend right now is a Vineyard and the Lord is present in the Holy spirit.I wonder what it would be like if the Holy Spirit of the Charismatic/Evangelical chruch was united with the forms and the vast history of the Orthodox Church?

Perhaps this is something in the future to fulfill the Lords prayer "That they may be one as I and the Father are on."

This book is recommended to anyone but especially Evangelicals and Protestants.

4-0 out of 5 stars A good primer for those interested in Orthodoxy
A very short, but succinct overview of the faith and life of the Orthodox Church for inquirers looking for an initial understanding.Fr. Coniaris is concise and to-the-point, and explains deep nuances of Orthodox Christian theology in a simple, easy-to-understand matter.He has a great talent for "humanizing" the Church; and he accomplishes this through a myriad of anecdotes and poetry selections.My fiancée at the time, however, found this a little annoying.

I hate to criticize this delightful book (which is an excellent work overall, and it's really not my place), but I did find one major error in the chapter on Scripture, viz. -- that we only accept the seven "deuterocanonical books" (the so-called "Apocrypha") as reading for spiritual edification, and not as doctrinally accurate, or, per sé, directly inspired by the Holy Ghost.This isn't quite true.These books are on par with the rest of Scripture (per the Council of Carthage and earlier councils), unless, perhaps, he is referring to other books proper to many manuscripts of the God-inspired Septuagint and the Jewish tradition (e.g., Bel and the Snake, Susanna, et al).

I also always understood many of the popular analogies of the Trinity he employs (for example, "solid-liquid-gas," and the like) to be insufficient according to Orthodox theology, as the "prosopoi" [Divine Persons] are not mere "masks" or faces, inasmuch as the mystery of three distinct Personages subsistent in one consubstantial God is essentially incomprehensible.

In summary, it's a good book, but leaves just a little to be desired.I would, however, recommend it to anyone wishing to learn about the Orthodox Church, preferably supplemented with more in-depth texts under the guidance of a good priest.

5-0 out of 5 stars An Interesting and Clear Presentation of Orthodox Theology
Coniaris has written what is perhaps the best primer on Orthodoxy. As an Anglican, I have often considered becoming Orthodox as our communion becomes beset with problems. Whenever I have a theological question, particularly a sacramental one, I usually consult this book first. It is highly detailed, yet simple and easily understood. A caption in the front of the book suggests it is for those curious about the Orthodox faith, and for confirmation classes, and I think it is excellent for both.

Some of the topics include The Church, Jesus, the Nicene Creed, Icons, Sacraments (i.e. mysteries), Prayer, and the Bible. Coniaris' tone is non-polemical, and he does not condemn others as he lauds the Orthodox faith. This is in contrast to Frank Schaeffer's writings, which are also intended for those discovering Orthodoxy. In some ways all 215 pages of this book read like a historical Christian commentary on major themes, because the writings and wisdom of the ancient Church are generously quoted. However, Coniaris does keep the discussion current as well. He uses many jokes and modern illustrations to explain key theological points. For instance, when describing the mystery (and difficulty) of the Trinity he tells of a boy singing in the choir of a Church that uses the Athanasian creed. When the little boy sang the 8th verse, the boy would sing under his breath, "The Father incomprehensible, the Son incomprehensible, the Holy Spirit incomprehensible, ...the whole thing incomprehensible!"

Overall, this is a fine book for those exploring the Orthodox Church, those in it, and those who just want a taste of ancient Eastern Christian theology. Often in the Western churches the wisdom of Chrysostom, Gregory Palamas, Symeon, and other great theologians are largely ignored. Thus, this book has many purposes, and even if you don't read it all the way through, keep it as a reference book; there is a lot of great theology contained within.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Good Intro to Orthodoxy
This is the catechism for us average folk. Fr. Coniaris takes us into the Orthodox Church and makes all those confusing theological terms make sense. He relates the teachings of the Church to everyday life and is well-known for his edifying and sometimes amusing anecdotes. This is recommended as a good general catechism. ... Read more

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