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Bread & Water, Wine & Oil: An Orthodox Christian Experience of God Paperback – November 1, 2007
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Top Customer Reviews
"One of the most noticeable features of Eastern Christianity is that it is this word, `mystery,' rather than the word `sacrament,' which describes those actions of God which have a specific, decisive and eternal significance in the lives of those who take part in them. Everyday substances -- oil, water, bread, wine -- together with simple actions -- offering, blessing, washing, anointing -- become the means by which God intervenes in our lives. These interventions -- in which God does all the work, and our only contribution is to be prepared and present -- color and shape our lives beyond the extent that would be possible through any human encounter. However, unlike most human interactions, they do not take us from a place of ignorance to a place of knowledge. Rather, the Mysteries lead us deeper and deeper into the Mystery -- the Mystery which is the presence of God Himself."
Mystery, in the Orthodox sense, has nothing to do with mystery novels and films. The divine mystery has no solution. As the author writes:
"In the East, on the other hand, a mystery is an area where the human mind cannot go, and where the heart alone makes sense, not by `knowing,' but by ;being.' The Greek word mysterion leads you into a sense of `not-knowing' or `not-understanding' and leaves you there. All a person can do is gaze and wonder; there is nothing to solve."
Father Meletios's book is a profoundly challenging book about the journey from the mind (always struggling to explain, solve and de-mystify, yet always seething with emotions and passions) to the depths of the heart, the center of being rather than of knowing.
"Bread and Water, Wine and Oil" seems likely to become a Christian classic, the sort of book the reader returns to again and again and keeps recommending to friends.
As a catechumen in the Orthodox Church with training in Classical Greek and an academic bent, I've read dozens of books on Orthodox practice written in specialist terminology and abundantly footnoted. But few books have impressed me as much as Fr. Meletios' work here, which casts greater light on Orthodoxy for the Western convert with the most simple of tones.Read more ›
This is a significant book, one that could only be written by someone who has not only studied, but lived the Orthodox Christian faith for more than 35 years. I purchased my copy of "Bread & Water, Wine & Oil" in 2008 at the monastery in northern California where, less than a year later, Archimandrite Meletios would be installed as abbot. This says something about the respect that the Orthodox Church has for the ministry of this monk, priest, psychologist and author, who replaced the founding abbot after his elevation as Metropolitan of the Orthodox Church in America.
I first encountered the work of Archimandrite Meletios when I read his excellent examination of the Twelve Steps (Alcoholics Anonymous, etc.) entitled "Steps of Transformation." Shortly after reading that book several years ago, I had the opportunity to hear him speak at a local retreat.
What makes this book significant is that the author shows how God can use very ordinary, but essential, elements such as bread, water, wine and oil, not to mention fallible human beings, in order to draw us into his presence in a profound way. This book is all about getting out of the head and into the heart, which is what the great mystical writers have been pointing to throughout Christian history.
It is not surprising that this volume was published by Conciliar Press, well known for producing materials by, about and for converts to the Orthodox Christian faith. Many of us converts studied our way into the faith, examining things like Church history, theology and the Scriptures to find our way "home." What sets this volume apart is that the author moves us from the head knowledge into the heart.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book has chapters on the Holy Mysteries of Holy Eucharist, Baptism, Chrismation, Confession, Anointing of the Sick, Marriage and Ordination, but it's primary focus is that we... Read morePublished 8 months ago by Carolyn
This is a little bit of a difficult read, but a wonderful tool for people who are just getting to know the Orthodox Church.Published 18 months ago by Shadow_Wanderer
I am a giver of books. I tend to stock up and give away the really good ones as needed. This is one of those rare treats, a book that shines the light of the Christian East in... Read morePublished 21 months ago by Fred Hayward
First time I've been able to comprehend concepts like "nous" and others. Discussion on logismoi helpful in understanding how the mind works in relation to the heart.Published on May 14, 2013 by John Haluszczak
As a Catholic of the Roman Rite, I read this book in order to learn more about the faith of my Orthodox brothers and sisters. Read morePublished on June 9, 2012 by Christian Michael
Job well done. Everything was fast and efficient. I would recommend them to anyone else. Thank you for your help.Published on November 28, 2011 by Frank Sanders
Excellent book to help a person in understanding what makes Orthodoxy unique and the author does a great job explaining the difference between the mind and its constructs and the... Read morePublished on November 13, 2011 by roanstephen
Once you get started reading this book there is a clear meaning to what is being written. He takes the time to clearly and in no technical or over-worded manner to explain the... Read morePublished on September 18, 2011 by Iarfhlaith Benjamin