The British Orthodox Church - Fellowship Forum
Orthodox Books - Printable Version

+- The British Orthodox Church - Fellowship Forum (
+-- Forum: General Lounge (
+--- Forum: General Conversation (
+--- Thread: Orthodox Books (/showthread.php?tid=71)

Orthodox Books - Robin Westwood - 28-02-2007

I have recently ordered and received books from <!-- m --><a class="postlink" href=""></a><!-- m -->
For anyone new to The Coptic Orthodox Church, I would recommend reading The Coptic Orthodox Church: A brief introduction to its Life and Spirituality, by Christine Chaillot. The book includes the churches liturgical and monastic traditions as well as a short presentation of Coptic language, literature and studies. I would also recommend purchasing a Prayer Rope from the same company. I have bought a 50 knot rope, which has made me reflect more on saying the Jesus Prayer, throughout the day, 'Lord Jesus Christ have mercy on me'.

God Bless,


Books etc. - John Charmley - 28-02-2007

Dear Robin,

Very many thanks for the recommendations; I shall get one of the prayer ropes - at the moment I use my old rosary, to which I am very attached, but you encourage me to be bold!

I am reading Journey back to Eden by Mark Gruber, at the moment; it is a profoundly moving book about an American monk's encounter with Coptic Monasticism, and I can't recommend it too highly. It can be had from Amazon.

For those looking for bargains or out of print books, I can recommend, in addition to the usual sources 'Lund Theological Books' at <!-- m --><a class="postlink" href=""></a><!-- m --> . If you just type in 'Coptic' in its search engine, you get some interesting books; Mr. Lund delivers them speedily, and they are in excellent condition.

In Christ,


Orthodox books - John Charmley - 23-03-2007

Dear Robin,

I am prompted back to this theme by a discussion which Peter and I have been having about Orthodox books.

Of course, Our Daily Life is an excellent place to start and to remain day by day, and we all know about the works of Bishop Kallistos, and the work of Matthew the Poor; but what else would one recommend people to read?

I wonder if people would be willing to make recommendations based on their own experience?

I have found Louth's edition of Early Christian Writings (Penguin, 1987) helpful, as it has some good comments as well as the texts.

Peter's own volume in the OOL of Selected Works of St. Cyril is also very useful.

In terms of books about the Fathers, I have found Bishop Hilarion's book on St. Isaac the Syrian a marvellous inspiration to go back to St. Isaac himself.

Any one else with suggestions?

In Christ,


- AndrewY - 13-07-2007

Dear John,

I have been wanting to get my hands on Gruber's book for a long time; unfortunately it is located in only one library on the entire continent (of Australia that is), and that library is a 3 hour drive away from me and it refuses to loan its books to other libraries.

There is another book which is similar to Gruber's book insofar as it is a western foreigner's charitable and informative first-hand account of their personal experience with the Coptic Church in Egypt, and that is Leeder's Modern Sons of the Pharaohs. Leeder's encounter is not only with Coptic monks, but with the Coptic episcopacy, and even the Coptic squire. It covers all facets of Coptic life--the cultural, the personal as well as the religious. Bear in mind that it is a record of his experience in the late 19th century.


- Fr Gregory - 14-07-2007

Dear Andrew

Works on Abba Isaiah include:

Fr John Chryssavgis ?In the Footsteps of Christ: The Ascetic Teaching of Abba Isaiah of Scetis? SLG Press, 2001

Fr John Chryssavgis ?The Ascetic Treatises of Abba Isaiah of Scetis? Cistercian Publications, 2002

P Penkett & Fr John Chryssavgis ?In the Footsteps of the Lord: Teaching of Abba Isaiah of Scetis? SLG Press, 2002

While it would be good to have easy access to the writings of the non-Chalcedonian Fathers, as far as I know no such ?centralized? resource exits. It is a matter of either looking in Patristic collections generally for the works of specific Fathers (including some of the excellent web sites) or tracking down individual volumes of translations. Perhaps it would be useful to compile a list of the major non-Chalcedonian Fathers (or has Peter already done this as part of his important OOL work?) so that a guide to sources could be compiled.

A good place to start is with Johannes Quasten?s ?Patrology? (4 vols) which provides a broad overview of the Patristic literature and sources. A very useful but smaller and more readable introduction is Patrick Hamell?s ?Handbook of Patrology. A Concise, Authoritative Guide to the Life and Works of the Fathers of the Church? (1968).

If you are seeking sources specifically on the Desert Fathers and Mothers, I am happy to send you an introductory work with a guide to reading I compiled ? it is some 25 pages so far too long to post here!

For those seeking to understand in greater depth the ascetical theology of the Fathers and Mothers, two remarkable and magnificent works should be studied: Burton-Christie?s ?The Word in the Desert: Scripture and the Quest for Holiness in Early Christian Monasticism? (1993) and Chitty?s ?The Desert a City: An Introduction to the Study of Egyptian and Palestinian Monasticism under the Christian Empire? (1996). Both these works would be described by most readers as difficult; the labour required is truly repaid by the understanding and insight received.

An excellent source (albeit not cheap!) of works in this area is Cistercian Publications: <!-- m --><a class="postlink" href=""> ... aspx?ID=36</a><!-- m -->

Fr Gregory

- Fr Gregory - 14-07-2007

As a post-script to comments on Oriental Orthodox Fathers more generally, it is important to recall that there were important Coptic Theologians after Chalcedon. They included:

Tiumothy II (457-77)
John of Burullus
John III (680-89)
Sawirus ibn al-Muqaffa of al-Asmunain (10th c)
al-Wadih ibn Raja (10th c)
Christodoulus (1047-77)
Cyril II (1078-92)
Gabriel II (1131-45)
Michael of Damietta (12th c)
Butrus Sawirus al-Gamali of Malig
al-Rashid Abu al-Khayr ibn al-Tayyib (12th c)
Butrus al-Sadamanti el-Armani
Al-Wagih Yuhanna al-Qalyubi (13th c)
Ibn Katib Qaysar (13th c)
Al-Safi Abu al-Fada?il ibn al-?Assal (13th c)
Abu al-Farag Hibat Allah ibn al?Assal (13th c)
Mu?taman Abu Ishaq Ibrahim al-?Assal (13th c)
Michael of Atrib and Malig
al-Nushu? Abu Shakir ibn Butrus al-Rahib (13th c)
Shams al-Ri?asa Abu al-Barakat ibn Kabar (Abu al-Barakat) (13th c)
Yuhanna ibn Zachariah ibn Saba? (13th c)
Ibrahim al-Gawhari (d.1795)
Yusab of Girga and Akhmim (18th c)
Afram ?Adad (?Monk of Baramus?) (19th c)

Their works are virtually unknown and largely very difficult to locate. Some have probably never been translated into English, alas.

Fr Gregory

- AndrewY - 14-07-2007

Thanks for the additional references Abouna. I must admit I have never thought of consulting any general patrology texbook given my presumption that there is an almost certain chance such resources will be Chalcedonian-disposed and hence take a negligible interest in non-Chalcedonian texts.

I would be most interested in sources on the Desert Fathers and Mothers, but again, my primary interest would lie in those Fathers and Mothers of the non-Chalcedonian tradition. I have already attempted to briefly research various individual figures (e.g. Abba Agathon the Stylite, and Abba John Kame) but have come up with very little of them, and virtually nothing of their sayings or teachings. Frankly speaking (and maybe the problem is with me, but...), I am getting a little tired of hearing the same repitious accounts of prominent Saints which emphasise their sanctity and miraculous performances with very little substance on their teachings or anything from which one can extract a valuable theological, spiritual or moral lesson.

With regard to the list of Coptic Fathers you give in your last post, I believe you will find an even more complete list in Fr. T Malaty's recently published book: A Panoramic View of Patristics in the First Six Centuries: With an Overview of Selected Coptic Fathers and Authors of the Middle Ages. Therein he attempts to give a brief account of the various works authored by such Fathers and at times even refers to the current location of any existing mansucripts or published editions of such works.

- Fr Gregory - 15-07-2007

Vladimir Losky The Mystical Theology of the Eastern Church, St Vladimir?s Seminary Press, Crestwood, NY, 1991

A Monk of the Eastern Church Orthodox Spirituality Fellowship of Ss Alban and Sergius, London,1946

Archimandrite Hierotheos Vlachos The Illness and Cure of the Soul in Orthodox Tradition, Birth of the Theotokos Monastery, Levadai, Greece: 1993

Archimandrite Hierotheos Vlachos Orthodox Psychotherapy. The Science of the Fathers, Birth of the Theotokos Monastery, Levadai, Greece: 1994

Fr Gregory

- AndrewY - 15-07-2007

Having read chapters of the first as part of my seminary education at St Andrew's, in addition to the last two, I would second a recommendation of all those three texts. Chapters of the latter two are available for free online for anyone who wants to sample them:

<!-- m --><a class="postlink" href=""> ... apy.00.htm</a><!-- m -->
<!-- m --><a class="postlink" href=""> ... oul.00.htm</a><!-- m -->

In fact, it seems anything written by Vladimir Lossky is highly worth recommendation.

Additional books I would recommend:

HG Paulos Mar Gregorios' Cosmic Man

Fr. Matta El Miskeen's Orthodox Prayer Life

Fr. Matta El Miskeen's The Communion of Love

Fr. Sergius Bulgakov's, The Orthodox Church

Anything and everything by Bp. Kallistos Ware.

- Fr Gregory - 18-07-2007

An interesting website with a large amount of material not included in the 38 volume collection of Ante-Nicene, Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers is found at
<!-- m --><a class="postlink" href=""></a><!-- m -->
including material from St Ephraim, Theodore of Mopsuestia, Cyril of Alexandria, Philoxenus of Hierapolis and Severus.
This site is related to
<!-- m --><a class="postlink" href=""></a><!-- m -->
which brings together works by and about Tertullian.
The collection of Ante-Nicene, Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers is found at
<!-- m --><a class="postlink" href=""></a><!-- m -->
which is part of a site - Christian Classics Ethereal Library - including an overwhelming range of material
<!-- m --><a class="postlink" href=""></a><!-- m -->

Fr Gregory

Reading - Stefanos - 26-06-2008

Greetings brothers and sisters,

I am currently reading "The Art of Prayer" - An Orthodox Anthology by Igumen Chariton of Valamo.
As the intro says " The Art of Prayer represents the fruit of careful reading over many years of monastic life.....taken as a whole, Father Chariton's anthology sets before the reader the spiritual teaching of the Orthodox Church in it's classical and traditional form." Which it does but just having read the part I have, there are many little gems therein and some are real spiritual diamonds! It's even available from

Love and peace,
Steve. :wink:'

Out of print books - Stefanos - 17-07-2008

Hello All,
I have noticed that many of the books quoted on this forum are rare or out of print.'Idea'
If you really want to find them, try <!-- w --><a class="postlink" href=""></a><!-- w --> some are tatty, some are bargains and some very expensive.
Generally they are as described but be careful.

Love and peace,