Recommended Books

Here are a number of books (in no particular order) beneficial to others received into the Church as adults.

Great Collection of the Lives of the Saints,
Vols. I-VIII [September thru April]

by Saint Demetrius of Rostov

This offering of the famous Russian collection of Lives of the Saints by Saint Demetrius of Rostov (1651-1709) marks the first time any of these national collections have been published in their entirety in the English language.

“The lives and writings of the saints are of great spiritual value for us all -we can relate to them, as the saints were people just like ourselves. And just like ourselves, it is possible that some of them might have lived lives filled with the most grievous sins. However, through prayer, fasting, and with repentance, they have attained the Glorious Kingdom of Heaven. All who come into the Kingdom of Heaven, do so through that gift of repentance which the Ever-Merciful Lord has granted us by His sufferings. Let us listen to what St. Silouan of Holy Mount Athos wrote: “The saints in heaven through the Holy Spirit behold the glory of God and the beauty of the Lord’s Countenance.” Now we can say that as loving Christians we should always strive to be like the saints, following their lives and learning from their examples.

In reading the lives of the saints of the Orthodox Church, and in coming to a deeper understanding of the examples they have set, we receive deep and beneficial spiritual nourishment. Our eyes are opened as we compare their lives with our own. The result is that we have a God-given desire to make changes in our lives, which may include a new commitment to renewal on the path towards our own salvation. What really happens to us after reading and getting to know more about the saints of the Church is that we begin to plant within our soul the same virtues that the saints themselves achieved. Let us with humility listen to what St. Ephriam the Syrian wrote: “Blessed is he who plants in his soul good plants, that is, the virtues and the lives of the saints.

Listen to what Agapios Landros of Holy Mt. Athos wrote on this same subject: “A person is touched more profoundly and benefits more by reading one beautiful life of a saint than by discourses and philosophies.”

-Archimandrite Nektarios Serfes

The Orthodox Church

by the Very Rev. Timothy (Kallistos) Ware

orthodoxchurchA clear, detailed introduction to the Orthodox Church, written for the non-Orthodox as well as for Orthodox Christians who wish to know more about their history. 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. 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.

The Precious Pearl

The Lives of Saints Barlaam and Ioasaph

by St. John Damascene

“In the present publication, I have used as a guide the format of Augoustinos Kantiotes’ The Precious Pearl, namely, his division of the text and all of his comments and footnotes. I have also kept his title, The Precious Pearl, and added the subtitle, The Lives of Saints Barlaam and Ioasaph. Also, the book has been adorned with almost all the Byzantine icons found in his edition, and a general index has been added for the readers’ convenience.”

“This fresh English translation is offered, with much love, to the Orthodox Church in the Diaspora. We particularly wish to help the already existing effort to develop missionary and monastic centers in Europe, the United States, Canada, and Australia. Our Orthodox Church in the Diaspora is fairly young and has a great need for such spiritual oases. May young men and women with a special love for Christ and the Church imitate Sts. Barlaam and loasaph and take the brave step to completely devote their lives to the Lord. May monasticism flourish in the Orthodox Church and become her vigilant conscience.”

Introducing The Orthodox Church, Its Faith and Life

by Anthony Coniaris

The Orthodox Church - Its Faith and Life

Here is a genuinely different and practical book for the inquirer and potential convert to Orthodox Christianity. It is different in a number of ways, all of which commend this volume to wide use by pastors whose task it is to introduce the members of their inquirers classes to an Orthodox way of life which will touch their lives in a full and complete way (Fr. Stanley Harakas). Chapters include: What We Believe About the One Apostolic Church, the Nicene Creed, Jesus, the Holy Trinity, the Divine Liturgy, Salvation, the Church Fathers, the Church Year, Symbols, the Sacraments, the Saints and the Theotokos, Life After Death, the Bible, Icons, Prayers for the Dead, and Prayer. Recently translated in Korean and Romanian.

Becoming Orthodox: A Journey to the Ancient Christian Faith

by Peter E. Gillquist

becomingorthodoxThis is the story of a handful of courageous men and their congregations who risked much to heed God’s call and become Orthodox.

The Explanation of the Holy Gospels and Epistles

by Blessed Theophylact, Archbishop of Ochrid and Bulgaria

Volumes are available for each specific gospel and many of the epistles.

This classic Orthodox commentary of the New Testament was written about the year 1100 A.D. by a brilliant and saintly Byzantine Churchman. His commentary has remained a primary text of New Testament Scripture interpretation throughout the Orthodox world of Greece, Russia, Serbia, Bulgaria, and Romania. Blessed Theophylact distills the teaching of the earlier Church Fathers, especially Saint John Chrysostom, in language that is profound, powerful and direct.

The reading of The Explanation is indispensible... to the right understanding of the Gospel and consequently to the most exact practice of it.

—Bishop Ignaty Brianchaninov, from The Arena

Trustworthy Sayings