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A MESSAGE FROM ABBESS MELANIA (November 26, 2020)
As we celebrate Thanksgiving this year, we are reminded that, even in difficult times, there are endless reasons to thank God.  Personally, we are very aware of the blessing of still having a monastery after the recent fires and of staying healthy in these times of COVID.  Even more so, we are grateful to God for you our friends, who are always there for us, even in these tough times.  And yes, these are tough times, but Christ’s light shines brighter in darkness.  As we journey towards the Nativity, may we all let His light confront and banish the darkness in our own souls so that we, along with the Christmas star, may be lights leading others to our Incarnate God!
Spiritual Reading (Published by Other Publishers)
A Christian Ending: A Handbook for Burial in the Ancient Christian Tradition
J. Mark and Elizabeth J. Barna
ISBN 978-0-9714139-6-2
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An Orthodox Christian life ends with the act of Christian burial.  The body of a Christian, which was immersed in the sacred waters of Baptism, anointed with Holy Chrism, and nourished by the Body and Blood of Christ, has become the sanctified dwelling place of God, even in death remaining worthy of profound reverence.  By undertaking the solemn task of preparing the body and celebrating the traditional funeral rites, not only does a Christian community show proper respect for the body of the departed, but all involved also receive tremendous spritual blessing and nourishment.  This book provides a detailed description of the many facets involved in this great act of love.  May it be a blessing for all who heed the advice it offers, and may it help all our communities to enter more deeply into the awesome mystery we must all face:  death, and the preparation for our resurrection!  --Metropolitan JONAH, Primate of the Orthodox Church in America

 



Do You Know Yourself? Psychological Problems & the Spiritual Life
Archimandrite Symeon (Kragiopoulos)
ISBN 978-0-9714139-5-5
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Why do so many of us good Christians find our spiritual progress blocked?  What can we do about the unconscious neurotic tendencies that warp our relations with others?  How can we let go of the idealized image we have of ourselves?  Drawing on the classic work Our Inner Conflicts by psychiatrist Karen Horney, Archimandrite Symeon shows how we are led to unhealthy attachments, slavish dependency, or a position of compliance--which can even affect our relationship with God.  He then explains how today's Christians can use biblical teachings and the wisdom of the Eastern Orthodox Church fathers to combat these characteristically modern problems.

 



Elder Sergei of Vanves: Life & Teachings
Jean-Claude Larchet
ISBN 978-0-9714139-8-6
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Elder Sergei of Vanves was one of the most charismatic figures in 20th-century Western Europe, yet until now, little if anything has been written about him in English. He was a man in whom the holy traditions of Old Valaam meet the contemporary, post-Christian West. He was spiritual father to several great luminaries of 20th-century Orthodoxy, including Vladimir Lossky, Nicholas Berdyaev, and iconographer Monk Gregory (Krug).

Born in 1903 in the Netherlands, Elder Sergei spent the majority of his life in France, yet he was very much immersed in the radiant spirituality of the Orthodox East. He had been the spiritual child of Igumen Chariton, who was the last abbot of Valaam (before it was closed by the Communists) and the compiler of the classic work, The Art of Prayer. Elder Sergei was also in direct correspondence with Saint Silouan the Athonite and took to heart the Saint's last words to him: "Go and tell the people as much as you can: Repent!"

Elder Sergei spent his life in a post-Christian country where strugglers for Orthodoxy were few, and indifference to religion was great. His counsels to his spiritual children who lived in our secular Western society are of great benefit to us today, as he bears living witness to the traditions of the Fathers in our own context. He reminds us that God is not an optional part of our lives; if we want to live, we can no more stop praying than we can stop breathing. He teaches us that though our modern world offers us many conveniences and comforts, though modern psychology can do much to alleviate our psychoses, there is no reason for our existence apart from God, there is no reason to heal our psychological wounds if there is no God, there is no reason to live life if there is no eternity.

 



Everyday Saints and Other Stories
Archimandrite Tikhon (Shevkunov)
ISBN 978-0-9842848-3-2
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More than a million copies and several million electronic versions of this book have sold in less than a year after its release.  Everyday Saints is the English translation of the work that has soared at the top of the bestseller lists in Russia since its publication in late 2011. Winner of several national awards including “Book of the Year,” its readership spans philosophical boundaries.  Surpassing all competition many times over, it was voted the most popular book in Russia for 2012.

Open this book and you will discover a wondrous, enigmatic, remarkably beautiful, yet absolutely real world.  Peer into the mysterious Russian soul, where happiness reigns no matter what life may bring.  Page upon page of thanks, praise, and testimonies to the life-changing effect of these bright, good-hearted, and poignant tales have flooded the Russian media.  This book has been the cause of many sleepless but happy nights:  “I couldn’t put it down—was sorry when it ended” is the common reaction.

The book is being translated into ten different languages.  This English translation, Everyday Saints, is every bit as charming as the original.

 



First Fruits of Prayer: A Forty-Day Journey Through the Canon of St. Andrew
Frederica Mathewes-Green
ISBN 978-1-55725-611-9
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One of today's most popular spiritual writers and commentators interweaves the Old and New Testament Scripture with prayers of hope and repentance, offering ancient ways of seeing Christ that will feel new to readers of all denominational backgrounds.

 



Know the Faith: A Handbook for Orthodox Christians and Inquirers
Rev. Michael Shanbour
ISBN 978-1-944967-01-7
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Over the centuries since the Great Schism between the Eastern and Western Churches, the two groups have diverged to the point that they often no longer understand each other's vocabulary, let alone the fundamental concepts on which each faith is built.  Know the Faith is an attempt to present Orthodox Christianity in a way Western Christians can understand, grounding each point in Scripture and patristic theology, with comparisons to what Catholics and Protestants believe.

Whether you are an Orthodox Christian seeking to explain your faith to others or an inquirer into this ancient faith, Know the Faith will help you understand and communicate the Orthodox faith as never before.

 



Meditations for Advent: Preparing for Christ's Birth
Vassilios Papavassiliou
ISBN 978-1-936270-77-4
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The author of the popular Meditations for Great Lent takes us through the hymnography, scripture readings, and iconography for the forty days leading up to the Nativity of Christ, showing how a full understanding of the Incarnation can enrich our spiritual lives.

 



Meditations for Pascha: Reflections on the Pentecostarion
Vassilios Papavassiliou
ISBN 978-1-936270-25-5
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Far from being merely a “vacation from fasting,” the Pascha season is a time that, properly understood, can greatly enrich our faith.  During the Pascha season, we celebrate and rejoice in our Lord’s Resurrection and we prepare for the great feast of the Holy Spirit descending upon us.

 



Meditations for the 12 Great Feasts: Becoming Fully Human in Christ
Vassilios Papavassiliou
ISBN 978-1-936270-26-2
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This volume completes the popular Meditations series by taking a brief look at each of the major feasts of the church year.  Fr. Vassilios brings out the gems embodied in the church's hymnography to enhance our understanding and participation in these milestones of our salvation.  The subtitle of the book is:  Becoming Fully Human in Christ.  Other titles in the series include:  Meditations for Great Lent (Reflections on the Triodion); Meditations for Holy Week (Dying and Rising with Christ); Meditations for Pascha (Reflections on the Pentecostarion); and Meditations for Advent (Preparing for Christ's Birth).

 



Re-Introducing Christianity: An Eastern Apologia for a Western Audience
Amir Azarvan
ISBN 978-1-4982-2404-8
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"Faith means making a virtue out of not thinking. . . . And those who preach faith, and enable and elevate it are intellectual slaveholders, keeping mankind in a bondage to fantasy and nonsense that has spawned and justified so much lunacy and destruction."
-- Bill Maher

Many seem unaware that contemporary critiques of Christianity are relevant mostly to its modern offshoots (whose followers have to some extent earned Bill Maher's unflattering caricatures).  To its detriment, Christianity is increasingly identified in people's minds with these more recent expressions. As a result, a growing number of people are turning away from Christianity and, indeed, religious faith altogether.

Drawing from an eclectic group of theologians, clergy members, monastics, and lay scholars, this edited volume re-introduces Christianity to a modern audience.  It presents a more authentic, experiential side of Christianity to the religious skeptic; a side that eschews blind faith, legalism, and judgment; a side that is rarely given a hearing in the ongoing debate with today's skeptics.

Re-Introducing Christianity is also directed at modern Christians, and refutes their most frequently expressed criticisms of what the contributors boldly, but humbly, call the Apostolic Faith.

 



Saint Nikiforos: The Leper & Wonderworker
Greek Orthodox Monastery of the Theotokos the Life Giving Spring
ISBN 978-0-9851915-7-3
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Saint Nikiforos (1887-1964) is a saint of our time. He suffered from Hansen's Disease, leprosy, in a time when little was known about the disease or potential cures. Lepers were forced to live in Leper colonies. Some lepers gave in to despair but others like Saint Nikiforos became leaders in the Orthodox Christian faith, true saints who suffered in love for Christ and his fellow man. He encouraged many people in his life and many miracles surround his life. Come, read about joy and love in suffering.

 



The Beginnings of a Life of Prayer
Bishop Irenei (Steenberg)
ISBN 978-1-887904-29-2
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The beginnings of prayer arise from the longing of the heart to know God, to rest in Him Who showed His love upon the precious Cross, to abide in the fullness of communion with Him. In the present book--a primer on prayer--Bishop Irenei first prepares the ground by helping us to count the cost (Luke 14:28) of our lives as Christians, to take stock of the spiritual struggle we must undertake if we are to ascend toward God in prayer. Then, based on a sober appraisal of our lowly condition and of the worldly and demonic influences that assail us, he helps us to adorn our inward beings as temples of prayer.

With an eye ever on the practical application of Orthodox Christian teaching to the spiritual life, the author raises our minds and hearts to a greater awareness of the holiness and majesty of God, and at the same time of the potential for us--unworthy though we are--to enter into intimate communion with Him. This awareness inspires us to explore with the author the depths of prayer, and to strive more fervently toward eternal life in Christ--the end for which we have been created.

 



The Blessed Surgeon: The Life of Saint Luke, Archbishop of Simferopol
Archdeacon Vasiliy Marushchak
ISBN 978-0-9714139-2-4
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World-famous pioneering surgeon, tortured confessor, archbishop and miracle-worker--Saint Luke is one of the most intriguing victims of Soviet oppression.  Outspoken regarding his faith--he would lecture on surgery in universities wearingh is cassock and cross--he was exiled and tortured multiple times. Yet the authorities could not deny his exceptional medical skills:  he was appointed as a chief surgeon overseeing the treatment of injured soldiers during World War II, and he received the Stalin award for his innovative surgical work.

This book documents his personal struggles, his self-sacrificing love for patients, his miracles, and his bold spiritual guidance during the Church's most difficult period in Russia.

 



The Morning Offering: Daily Thoughts for Orthodox Christians
Abbot Tryphon
ISBN 978-1-936270-98-9
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Thousands of readers and listeners have benefited from the fatherly wisdom and insight of The Morning Offering, the blog and podcast of Abbot Tryphon of All-Merciful Saviour Monastery, Vashon Island, Washington.

Now Abbot Tryphon's reflections on faith and contemporary life have been collected in book form, with one entry for each day of the year. Start your day with The Morning Offering and keep yourself oriented toward Christ all through the day.

 



The Orthodox Church: An Introduction to Eastern Christianity
Timothy Ware
ISBN 978-0-141-98063-8
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Since its first publication fifty years ago, Timothy Ware's book has become established throughout the English-speaking world as the standard introduction to the Eastern Christianity. In this fully revised and updated third edition he explains the Orthodox views on such widely ranging matters as Free Will, Purgatory, the Papacy and the relation between the different Orthodox Churches, making this the definitive guide for both Orthodox and non-Orthodox alike.

 

 



The Orthodox Way
Bishop Kallistos Ware
ISBN 978-0-913836-58-3
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This book is a general account of the doctrine, worship and life of Orthodox Christians by the author of the now classic The Orthodox Church.  It raises the basic issues of theology:  God is hidden yet revealed; the problem with evil; the nature of salvation; the meaning of faith; prayer; death and what lies beyond.  In so doing, it helps to fill the need for modern Orthodox catechism.  Yet this book is not a mere manual, a dry-as-dust repository of information.  Throughout the book, Bishop Kallistos Ware shows the meaning of Orthodox doctrine for the life of the individual Christian.  Doctrinal issues are seen not as abstract propositions for theological debate but as affecting the whole of life.

A wealth of texts drawn from theologians and spiritual writers of all ages accompanies Bishop Kallistos' presentation.  They, too, reveal Orthodoxy not just as a system of beliefs, practices and customs but indeed as the Way.

 



The Sunflower: Confirming the Will of Man to the Will of God
St. John of Tobolsk
ISBN 978-0-88465-460-5
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May our love for the Sun, the will of God, be as strong as the sunflower's, so that even in days of hardship and sorrow we will continue to sail unerringly along the sea of life, following the directions of the barometer and compass of God's will that leads us to the safe haven of eternity.
--St. John of Tbolosk

This is a thoroughly practical manual of the spiritual life that focuses on the central goal of every Christian:  discerning the will of God and struggling to mold our life to it, just as Christ "humbled Himself and became obedient" (Philippians 2:8).

Saint John addresses fundamental questions:  Why should we care about God's will? What are the benefits in following His will? How do we avoid common obstacles to living in accordance with His will?  The reader will find practical and eternal wisdom running through these writings that discuss the perennial questions of why a good God permits evil.  This is the first English edition of St. John's text, edited and abbreviated for the contemporary reader.

 



The Way of a Pilgrim and The Pilgrim Continues His Way
Translated by Olga Savin
ISBN 978-1-57062-807-8
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The prayer of the heart, or the "Jesus Prayer," is a practice that comes from the tradition of Eastern Christian spirituality.  Its fruits are detachment from all anxious cares, enlightenment of the intellect, and a heart that bubbles over with love for all creation.  The Way of the Pilgrim and The Pilgrim Continues His Way are intimate firsthand accounts of a life illuminated by the prayer.  The anonymous narrator, carrying little more than a Bible, some dried bread, and a prayer rope, walked across nineteenth-century Russia repeating it, recording his experiences in his effort to put into practice the words of Saint Paul, "Pray without ceasing."

The text is accompanied by a never-before-translated appendix from the Russian edition that gives instruciton and advise on practicing the Jesus Prayer--including translations of some of the texts from the Philokalia referred to in The Way of a Pilgrim.

 



Truly Human: Recovering Your Humanity in a Broken World
Kevin Sherer
ISBN 978-1-944967-05-5
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Our first parents departed from what it means to be truly human when they ate from the forbidden tree. Ever since, humans have been working with corrupted minds and wills, employing a distorted approach to life. Kevin Scherer calls this psycho-logic, and he knows how it can lead us on a downward spiral to misery. How do we get back to the Garden? By allowing Christ to renew our minds, using the tried-and-true spiritual practices of the Orthodox Faith.

 



Welcome to the Orthodox Church: An Introduction to Eastern Christianity
Frederica Mathewes-Green
ISBN 978-1-55725-921-9
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Welcome to the Orthodox Church—its history, theology, worship, spirituality, and daily life. This friendly guide provides a comprehensive introduction to Orthodoxy, but with a twist:  readers learn by making a series of visits to a fictitious church, and get to know the faith as new Christians did for most of history, by immersion.  Mathews-Green provides commentary and explanations on everything from how to “venerate” an icon, to the Orthodox understanding of the atonement, to the Lenten significance of tofu.  It’s the perfect book for inquirers and newcomers, but even readers who have been Orthodox all their lives say they learned things they never knew before.  Enjoyable, easy-to-read, and leavened with humor, Welcome to the Orthodox Church is a gracious guide to the ancient faith of the Christian East.

 



Wounded by Love: The Life & the Wisdom of Elder Porphyrios
Elder Porphyrios
ISBN 978-960-7120-19-9
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Saint Porphyrios, a Greek monk and priest who died in 1991, was formally glorified as a saint by the Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in November 2013.  He 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 today.

 



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