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A Night in the Desert of the Holy Mountain: Discussion with a Hermit on the Jesus Prayer Paperback – Unabridged, January 1, 2003


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A Night in the Desert of the Holy Mountain: Discussion with a Hermit on the Jesus Prayer + The Monk of Mount Athos: Staretz Selouan 1866-1938
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 204 pages
  • Publisher: Birth of the Theotokos Monastery Greece; 2nd English edition (2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9607070313
  • ISBN-13: 978-9607070319
  • Product Dimensions: 7.6 x 4.8 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #864,682 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By ecclesial hypostasis on April 16, 2010
Format: Paperback
A priest spends an evening (and well into the night) discussing the theory and practice of the Jesus Prayer with an experienced Elder on Mt. Athos. I was reminded of the style of the 'Conferences' of John Cassian, with the eager young disciple seeking wisdom from the experienced monk and wringing out every last piece of insight. The unnamed Elder is a luminous figure; gentle, wise and full of the Spirit. His teaching is obviously derived from genuine experience. We are led systematically through the methods of praying the Jesus Prayer, its benefits and dangers, and the rich rewards that await those who persevere in bringing their heart and mind before God in humble expectation. Probably like most readers I was disappointed that the author cast a veil of silence over the Elder's description of his own vision of the Uncreated Light, but as he points out in the preface, even this silence is edifying.

By the end, we indeed feel that we have spent a night in heaven. Mt. Athos is described as a regained Eden of beauty and divine silence. The thought that such a place, with such inhabitants, still exists in the world today moves me with awe at the grace of God.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Brent A. Venglish on November 2, 2005
Format: Paperback
This book focuses on discussions between a holy pilgrim and a true Gerondas. It begins on mount athos, the center of greek orthodoxy. It feels as if one is actually there. The descriptions are magnificently drawn. If you are interested in the Prayer of the Heart, this book is for you. It goes deep deep into discussions on prayer and other very important things such as an argument against buddhism, hinduism and the like, and why prayer of the heart is different and better. Truly a classic, the above professional review dude said it all, im just here to raise my hand and say hey this book rocks.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Stephen Long on January 26, 2009
Format: Paperback
An awe inspiring work on prayer and the spiritual life. Simple and clear yet incredibly profound. Your heart will be moved to seek deeper communion with Christ.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Le Panda Du Mal on August 30, 2012
Format: Paperback
This book is beautifully written and presents the practice of the Jesus Prayer in the wider context of Orthodox Christian spirituality and theology. The anonymous hermit explains the various methods, stages, fruits, and pitfalls of the Jesus Prayer in language as sublime as it is straightforward. Having read several books about the Jesus Prayer (e.g. Way of a Pilgrim, On the Prayer of Jesus), I would say that this one is my all-around favorite. Another plus about this book is that, while it's a paperback, the binding is smyth-sewn, so it will survive the many re-readings it merits.

One problem, though: the book is full of typos and formatting problems, which, while generally not obscuring the meaning of the text, can be distracting nonetheless. Sometimes it is unclear who is speaking. The phrase "Jesus Prayer" appears in quotes sometimes, sometimes not (I would say the quotes are unnecessary)- and, as you can imagine, they say "Jesus Prayer" a lot in this book! Punctuation is often missing or misplaced. There are many parts where the poetry of Saint Symeon or other Fathers is quoted, and the line-breaks are garbled. The publishers badly need to get some proofreaders on this book before they issue another edition.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Mel on November 14, 2004
Format: Paperback
Metropolitan Hierotheos Vlachos has written a spectacular piece of spirituality with his work "A Night in the Desert of the Holy Mountain." The book is a conversation between an elder on Mount Athos and the author on the Jesus Prayer ("Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have Mercy on Me a Sinner").

I would not advise practising the prayer without a very experienced teacher but reading this book is a good start to the introduction of hesychasm ("The Prayer of Silence").

At first, Hesychasm seems very strange but it is only with the practise of the prayer and devotion to God; Father Son and Holy Sprit; God, the Eternal Wisdom of God, and the Eternal Sprit of God that one can begin to accept that fact that we need God more than we can ever imagine.
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