Recommended Books

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

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.

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

becomingorthodoxAfter a long and difficult journey, 2000 weary evangelical Protestants finally found their way home. This is the story of a handful of courageous men and their congregations who risked stable occupations, security, and the approval of lifelong friends to be obedient to God’s call.

It is also the story of every believer who is searching for the Church. Where Christ is Lord. Where holiness, human responsibility, and the Sovereignty of God are preached. Where fellowship is more than a covered-dish supper in the church basement. And where fads and fashion take a back seat to apostolic worship and doctrine.

This revised edition includes a new epilogue, “Coming up on Twenty-Five Years” since the entry of the Evangelical Orthodox into the Holy Orthodox Church.

Wounded by Love

The Life and Wisdom of Saint Porphyrios

by Saint Porphyrios. Translated by John Raffan

Saint Porphyrios, a Greek monk and priest who died in 1991, stands in the long tradition of charismatic spiritual guides in the Eastern Church which continues from the apostolic age down to figures such as Saint Seraphim of Sarov and Staretz Silouan in modern times. In this book he tells the story of his life and, in simple, deeply reflected and profoundly wise words, he expounds the Christian faith for today.

The vibrant personality of Saint Porphyrios at all times shines through his words with great transparency and charm. In his introduction to the Greek edition Bishop Irenaeus of Chania writes: ‘The words of blessed Elder Porphyrios are the words of a holy Father, of a man with the gift of clear sight, who was ever retiring, humble, simple and ardent and whose life was a true and authentic witness to Christ, to His truth and to His joy. Through his presence, love, prayer, counsel and guidance he supported an untold number of people in the difficult hours of illness, mourning, pain, loss of faith and death. He is a god-bearing Father of our days, a true priest and teacher who in his ascetic way fell in love with Christ and faithfully served his fellow man.’

This book was compiled after Saint Porphyrios’s death from an archive of notes and recordings of his reminiscences, conversations and words of guidance, and was first published in Greek in 2003. Since its publication in English in 2005 it has been reprinted seven times, most recently in 2015.

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

Trustworthy Sayings