Illuminates a text that until now has intimidated the general reader. Focuses on seven themes that recur throughout the five-volume work—repentance, the heart, prayer, the Jesus Prayer, the passions, stillness, and theosis.
Annotation by Allyne Smith
Translation by G. E. H. Palmer, Philip Sherrard and Bishop Kallistos Ware
5½ x 8½, 240 pp | 978-1-59473-103-7
The Eastern Christian “Love of the Beautiful” can be a companion on your own spiritual journey
A collection of writings by monks from the fourth to fifteenth centuries, the Philokalia more than any other text reflects the Eastern Church’s interpretation of the Bible’s meaning. Simply translated, the title means “love of the beautiful,” which reflects the text’s emphasis on mystical and contemplative practices to engage all of our senses in the acts of worship and prayer.
This introduction to the wisdom of the Philokalia illuminates a text that until now has intimidated the general reader in its scholarly translations from Greek and Russian. Allyne Smith focuses his thoughtful selection on seven themes that recur throughout the five-volume work—repentance, the heart, prayer, the Jesus Prayer, the passions, stillness, and theosis. Smith’s enlightening, accessible facing-page commentary fills in the historical and spiritual context, clarifies core teachings, including the Eastern understanding of salvation, and draws connections to modern-day practices, such as contemplative prayer.
Now you can experience the spiritual wisdom of the Philokalia even if you have no previous knowledge of Eastern Christianity. This SkyLight Illuminations edition takes you on a journey through this beloved text, showing you how the teachings of Eastern monks can help you become by grace what God is by nature.
“Filled with centuries of wisdom.... Wonderfully explains and simplifies this difficult [text].”
—Religious Book Club
“An invaluable treasury of wisdom…. Offers a simple guide to the way (through one’s heart) and means (through prayer) of arriving from the spiritual starting-point (of repentance in the heart) to the wonderful destination (of stillness and salvation) found in the love of divine beauty.”
—John Chryssavgis, author of Light through Darkness: The Orthodox Tradition
“Successfully acquaints the reader with [the Philokalia’s] origins, context, import, and influence.”
“Fully accessible to professional theologians, lay Christians and spiritualists alike. An invaluable addition to spirituality and Christian literature shelves.”
—Midwest Book Review
“Like water in the desert … invites us not only to go deeper into the life of prayer but takes us off the treadmill of endless self-invention. A clearly and beautifully annotated text that will make the Philokalia accessible to a new generation of readers. A gift for our time.”
—Fr. Alan Jones, dean, Grace Cathedral, San Francisco; author of Soul Making and The Soul’s Journey
“[An] authoritative resource…. Will go far toward making one of the great treasures of Eastern Christian spirituality accessible to followers of Christ in the West.”
—Frederica Mathewes-Green, author of The Illumined Heart and Facing East
“Eastern Orthodox Christian teachings on prayer, watchfulness and stillness have much to say to the Quaker tradition.”