St Gregory Palamas: The Triads

Feast of St Eusebius Bishop of Samosata
St. Gregory Palamas: The Triads translated by Nicholas Gendle; introduction by John Meyendorff; preface by Jaraslov Pelikan

Palamas_Triads_Square.jpgTHE SUB-HEADINGS of the selections from The Triads presented here – apophatic theology as a positive experience; the Hesychast method of prayer and the transformation of the body; deification in Christ; the uncreated Glory; the essence and energies of God – describe not only the... Continue Reading


For the Life of the World

Feast of St Innocent, Enlightener of Siberia & Alaska
For the Life of the World: Sacraments and Orthodoxy by Alexander Schmemann

For_Life_of_World_Square.jpegTHIS WATERSHED work of sacramental theology is really a fundamental redefinition of terms—secular, religious, worship, sacrament, sin, symbol—framed within an interpretive, movement-by-movement description of the Liturgy. It owes its greatness and its transforming power to Schmemann’s sense of the essential: that our fundamental role as human beings was... Continue Reading


Becoming Fire: Through the Year with the Desert Fathers and Mothers

Feast of St Hermas the Apostle of the 70 and Theophylact the Confessor, Bishop of Nicomedia
Becoming Fire: Through the Year with the Desert Fathers and Mothers edited by Tim Vivian; translated by Apostolos N. Athanassakis and John Eudes Bamberger

Becoming_Fire_Square.jpgA REMARKABLE double-movement took place within the Church at the close of the Age of Martyrs: Christian Empire and Christian Monasticism. Most historians treat these subjects separately, but we... Continue Reading


Leading Lives That Matter

Feast of St Romanos, Prince of Uglich
Leading Lives That Matter: What We Should Do and Who We Should Be edited by Mark R. Schwehn and Dorothy C. Bass

Leading_Lives_that_Matter_Square.jpgIF "INTEGRITY" means that a person is truly “integrated,” then few of us can claim it. We live in an unprecedented age, one of interior placelessness and the loss of wise community. Beyond a helpful push toward employment and autonomy,... Continue Reading


Death Comes for the Archbishop

Feast of St Pamphilus the Martyr & His Companions
Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather

Death_for_Archbishop_Square.jpegIN A LETTER written to The Commonweal about the origins of her novel Death Comes for the Archbishop, Willa Cather relates her enamoration with the Catholic Church of the Southwest. Its story moved her—the old mission churches, even abandoned and in ruins, had a physical reality beyond mere description. As she explains,... Continue Reading


On the Apostolic Preaching

Feast of St Nicephoros the Martyr of Antioch
On the Apostolic Preaching by St. Irenaeus of Lyons; trans. and intro. by John Behr

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ST IRENAEUS may be considered the most important second-century Christian theologian. Having known Polycarp, who knew the apostles firsthand, Irenaeus's teachings remain close to the spirit of the apostolic age, inheriting both its vocabulary and theological convictions. The Demonstration of the Apostolic Preaching reflects this... Continue Reading


Of Water & Spirit: A Liturgical Study of Baptism

Feast of the Presentation of Our Lord & Savior in the Temple
Of Water and Spirit: A Liturgical Study of Baptism by Alexander Schmemann

Of_Water___Spirit_Square.jpegAT ONCE A theological and historical commentary on the rites of baptism and chrismation in the Orthodox Church. Fr. Schmemann was uniquely gifted in being able to convey not only a new level of understanding of the sacrament, but a whole new dimension of experience... Continue Reading


The Experience of God, Volume 1

Feast of St Laurence the Recluse
Orthodox Dogmatic Theology: The Experience of God, Volume 1- Revelation and Knowledge of the Triune God by Dumitru Staniloae; foreword by Kallistos Ware; translated and edited by Ioan Ionita and Robert Barringer

Experience_of_God_Square.jpegTHE MARKS OF true and living theology, according to Archpriest Staniloae, are “fidelity to the revelation of Christ given in holy Scripture and Tradition . . . responsibility for the faithful... Continue Reading


Dialogue of Love: Breaking the Silence of Centuries

Feast of St Maximus the Confessor
Dialogue of Love: Breaking the Silence of Centuries edited by John Chryssavgis with contributions by Brian E. Daley, S.J., and Georges Florovsky

Dialogue_of_Love_Square.jpegECUMENICAL Patriarch Athenagoras and Pope Paul VI boldly instigated a “pilgrimage toward unity” when they embraced at a historic meeting in Jerusalem on January 5-6, 1964. As the subtitle of this short but extremely important book indicates, this act literally broke the... Continue Reading


The Sacred in Life & Art

Synaxis of the Holy Theotokos
The Sacred in Life & Art by Philip Sherrard

Sherrard_Sacred_in_LIfe___Art_Square.jpeg“The concept of a completely profane world,” Sherrard writes, “of a cosmos wholly desacralized, is a fairly recent invention of the human mind.” The attempt to implement this standard as the force by which we determine the course of our social, economic, political and personal lives is even more recent and, according to Sherrard, enormously... Continue Reading


St John of Damascus: Writings

Feast of St John of Damascus and St Barbara the Great Martyr
St John of Damascus: Writings, Fathers of the Church 37, trans. by Frederic Chase

John_Damascene_square.jpgTHE IMPORTANCE of these texts in the history of Christian theology cannot be overestimated. Here in one volume (the only translation in its entirety in English) is St. John’s monumental Fount of Knowledge, comprised of “Philosophical Chapters,” “On Heresies,” and “An Exact Exposition... Continue Reading


Divine Impassibility and the Mystery of Human Suffering

Feast of St Proclus, Archbishop of Constantinople
Divine Impassibility and the Mystery of Human Suffering edited by James F. Keating and Thomas Joseph White, O.P.

Divine_Impassibility_and_Mystery_of_Human_Suffering_Square.jpegDOES GOD suffer along with his creation, or is He impassible—beyond the reach of all suffering and evil? Modern theologians, in the wake of epic tragedies such as the Holocaust or the Indonesian Tsunami, have increasingly challenged classical Christian doctrines of impassibility: “Since we... Continue Reading


Landscape with Two Saints: Brigit & Genovefa

Feast of St Nilus the Ascetic of Sinai
Landscape with Two Saints: How Genovefa of Paris and Brigit of Kildare Built Christianity in Barbarian Europe by Lisa M. Bitel

Landscapes_with_Two_Saints_Square.jpegLISA BITEL calls Genovefa of Paris (ca. 420-502) and Brigit of Kildare (ca. 450-524) builder saints. Because they could not preach, teach, or otherwise conduct the rituals of Christianity, they “revised their landscapes . . . using purposeful travel and... Continue Reading


The Problem of Pain

Feast of Paul the Confessor, Patriarch of Constantinoiple
The Problem of Pain by C. S. Lewis

Lewis__Problem_of_Pain_Square_2.jpgFor centuries people have been tormented by one question above all: If God is good and all-powerful, why does he allow his creatures to suffer pain? And what of the suffering of animals, who neither deserve pain nor can be improved by it?

The greatest Christian thinker of our time sets out to... Continue Reading


The Holy Way

Feast of St Nestor the Martyr of Thessaloniki
The Holy Way: Practices for a Simple Life by Paula Huston

Holy_Way_Square.jpegAS A UNIVERSITY professor, writer, wife, and mother of four, Paula Huston makes an interesting, if painful, discovery: “the path to simplicity runs right through the middle of me.” Rather than managing to shore up and better manage the complexities of her environment, she discovers her clutter to be more internal... Continue Reading


The Weight of Glory

Feast of the Seven Holy Martyred Youths of Ephesus and St Cecelia the Martyr
The Weight of Glory by C. S. Lewis with introduction by Walter Hooper

Weight_of_Glory_Square.jpegCOLLECTED FROM various addresses and sermons Lewis gave during the years of World War II and later in his life, this book contains many of Lewis’s most famous essays. In pride of place is the essay from which the book draws its name,... Continue Reading


Western Monasticism

Feast of St Lucian the Martyr of Antioch
Western Monasticism: A History of the Monastic Movement in the Latin Church by Peter King

King__Western_Monasticism_Square.jpegPETER KING, emeritus lecturer in medieval history at St. Andrew’s University, takes an incredibly complex and diverse body of material and places it into brisk narrative. Passing immediately from the origins in Egypt, King traces the beginnings of Western monasticism with St. Benedict, then its simultaneously flourishing... Continue Reading


The Humane Vision of Wendell Berry

Feast of St James the Apostle, Son of Alphaeus
The Humane Vision of Wendell Berry edited by Mark T. Mitchell

Berry_Human_Vision_Square.jpgA STRIKING contribution to the conversation that is conservatism. Wendell Berry—poet, novelist, essayist, critic, farmer—has won the admiration of Americans from all walks of life and from across the political spectrum. His writings treat an extraordinary range of subjects, including politics, economics, ecology, farming, work, marriage, religion, and education. But... Continue Reading


Orality and Literacy

Feast of St Gregory the Illuminator, Bishop of Armenia
Orality and Literacy: The Technologizing of the Word by Walter Ong, S.J.

Orality_and_Literacy_Square.jpegOne can scarcely exaggerate how profoundly the introduction of writing changed all facets of human existence. Ong lucidly documents those changes and then projects his conclusions into the age of mass electronic communications. This thirtieth anniversary edition offers two new essays by cultural critic John Hartley, which contextualize Ong... Continue Reading


The Mystery of the Church

Feast of the Falling Asleep of St John the Evangelist and Theologian
The Mystery of the Church: A Course in Orthodox Dogmatic Theology by Boris Bobrinskoy

Bobrinskoy__Mystery_of_Church_square.jpegFATHER BORIS, in his introduction, identifies a growing tension between the “original and ultimate Truth” of the Church, on the one hand, and its incarnation, on the other. Theologically speaking, the Church is a mystery, the “locus and mode of mankind’s communion in... Continue Reading