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Way of the Ascetics is a rich, compact introduction for modern readers to the Eastern Christian spiritual tradition that has been an inspiration to millions for centuries. These compassionate and insightful reflections on self-control and inner peace are meant to lead the readers to fuller union with God.
The position which Gregory and Macrina eventually reach corresponds essentially to that of St Paul, namely that our bodies will rise again as bodies, but in a finer and more glorious form than we have now. Expressing this belief in terms of Greek silence, the dialogue assumes that the same physical elements which compose our present bodies must be reassembled in our resurrection bodies; otherwise our bodies would be recreated rather than raised.
At the head of this collection stands a new translation of On Pascha by Melito of Sardis, a liturgical work deriving from Quartodeciman circles in Asia. Alongside this is an extensive introduction and annotation pointing out not only that parallels to Jewish practice, but also offering an analysis of the work in terms of classical rhetoric.
Why are modern Christians so indistinguishable from everyone else? What did the Christians of the first centuries know that we don't? That's what this book is about.
This collection of the spiritual writings of St. Gregory of Nyssa, selected and introduced by Jean Danielou, has long been recognized as an authoritative introduction to the 'father of mysticism,' who exploded classical antiquity's static understanding of perfection by showing the Christian life as one of never-ending growth, a true dynamic movement 'from glory to glory.'
These letters of the two Old Men of Gaza - the "Great Old Man" Barsanuphius, and the "Other Old Man" John - were written to hermits, to monks in the community, to those in the choir, to priests, and to lay persons. Some were intended for advanced instruction, while others were intended for novices according to the capacity of the inquirer. These questions and answers evoke the image of the Christian tradition being passed from elder to disciple, and the contemporary reader will be able to appreciate the method - and possibly be inspired to imitate the message.
Without St. John's brilliant defense, both profound and at times earthly, we might well have had no icons, murals, and mosaics in churches to elevate and enrich our spirits.
St Isaac's monastic anthropology has a major influence on all of Byzantine spiritual literature. The way toward God, in his writing, was threefold: the way of the body, the way of the soul, and the way of the spirit.
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