Orthodox Saints & Patristic Church Fathers (205)
Nil Sorsky (+1508), an influential spiritual writer whose major contribution to Orthodox Christianity was his bringing to ancient Russia the spirituality of the early Fathers and Mothers of the Desert. This is called the hesychasm spirituality of the heart, which finds the perfection of the human person in union with God through continuous prayer.
This first-time translation from Russian into English of Nil`s complete writings includes: The Tradition, The Rule, his letters (only four of which have actually been attributed to him) and his last will and testament. The Tradition is his earliest attempt to give his disciples a written but very simplified rule of skete monasticism, which he practiced on Mt. Athos. The Rule is an extended ascetical treatise on what Nil calls mental activity or, in today`s terms, perpetual or continuous prayer.
An informative introduction examines the significance of Nil`s spirituality and places it within the historical setting of 15th century Russia.
Indeed, the soul is led by a heavenly love and desire when once the beauty and glory of the Word of God has been perceived; he falls in love with His splendor and by this receives from Him some dart and wound of love.”
Origen (c. 185-254) was born in Alexandria close to the end of the second century. His life spanned the turbulent years during the collapse of the Roman Empire. He sought to rescue and transform what was best of the Roman world and to translate the Christian spiritual quest into a language intelligible to the thoughtful and educated nonbeliever of his day. Origen is one of the first and most important of the Christian mystics, and many of the great themes of spiritual literature can be traced back to him. The collected works in this volume represent the heart of Origen`s spiritual vision.
If you wish to achieve true knowledge of scripture you must hurry to achieve unshakable humility of heart. This is what will lead you not to the knowledge that puffs a man up but to the lore which illumines through the achievement of love.
At the turn of the sixth century the Mediterranean world was witnessing the decline of Roman rule that had formed the bedrock of its civil order. During the chaos of those years, there arose in the deserts of Egypt and Syria monastic movements that offered men and women a radical God-centered alternative to the present society. Among the most eloquent interpreters of this new movement to western Europe was John Cassian (c.365 - c.435). Drawing on his own early experience as a monk in Bethlehem and Egypt, he journeyed to the West to found monasteries in Marseilles and the region of Provence.
The Conferences, is a study of the Egyptian ideal of the monk.
—Gregory of Nyssa
If the love of God dwells within you, it is necessary that such love bring forth other fruit, such as fraternal love, meekness, sincerity, perseverance in prayer, and zeal and all virtues. But since the treasure is precious, so also great are the labors, necessary to obtain it.
St. Marcarius, from the Great Letter
These two writings of St. Marcarius of the 4th Century bring to the West a holistic, heart spirituality that offers a necessary remedy to the head so-called spirituality that has infected the West.
George A. Maloney, provides a great service by bringing to the public the first modern English translation of the Fifty Spiritual Homilies and The Great Letter of Macarius, a Syrian monk of the fourth century whose identity is still the subject of scholarly investigation.
The Fifty Spiritual Homilies, in the form of a practical, monastic pedagogy, reveal the typical traits of Eastern Christian asceticism, with particular emphasis on the spiritual combat, the action of the Holy Spirit, and the importance of interior prayer. The Great Letter discusses the purging of the passions to bring the Christian into a state of tranquility and integration, and addresses the monastic community with instructions regarding organization, humility, and prayer.