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The Way of a Pilgrim and the Pilgrim Continues His Way Paperback – January 5, 2010


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: HarperOne (January 5, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060630175
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060630171
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.5 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #207,376 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"A profound and beautiful example of a journey toward--rather than away from--[the] self." -- -- Mineapolis Tribune

"A truly classic of Orthodox spirituality on the origin and practice of the Jesus Prayer." -- -- Gnosis

Review

I first learned of this book when I read Salinger's "Franny & Zooey" back in high school (a long time ago!). In the "Franny" portion, you will recall that she repeats a prayer over and over and consults a little book. At the time, I asked my lit teacher what the book was and was told it didn't exist .. it was just part of the story. Many, many years later, I heard about the Way of the Pilgrim, and putting 2 and 2 together, realized that this is what Salinger referred to. I then read Way of the Pilgrim, just to see the literary reference, and instead found a beautiful book that renewed my spiritual life. This is a simple story of a 19th century Russian wanderer, his attempts to follow St. Paul's admonition to pray without ceasing. This is a marvelous story. I recommend it without hesitation to any person who wants to grow spiritually. --Margaret Pearland --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Customer Reviews

Still, it was written in Tolstoy's simple style.
taratree
Through his interactions with others and his reading, the pilgrim continues to learn about The Jesus Prayer and its effects.
C. Stephans
Just began reading this book, and am finding it a good read!
Dave Lewis

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 18, 1999
Format: Paperback
How does one obey the scriptural imperative to "Pray without ceasing?" The simple pilgrim (we learn his background in bits and snatches) sets out to learn how... from both the wise and the simple he meets on the road. In a period and place where a cup of tea is a rare treat and a book one's sole possession, glimpses of disaster and survival, madness and understanding, suffering and joy, simplicity and layers of implications appear with every turn in the road.
"Pray, and do not labor much to conquer your passions by your own strength. For 'greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world,' (1 John 4:4), says holy Scripture."
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28 of 31 people found the following review helpful By David S. Belding Sr. on September 30, 2005
Format: Paperback
I have read this book twice....I especially like French's translation. It opens an aspect of the Christian Life which is not delt with in Western Christian thought or spiritual disciplian. It opens an aspect of Christianity which I found very meaningful and powerful. The book was a true blessing.

Fr. David Belding
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 21, 1999
Format: Paperback
A great Christian masterpiece! Reading this book gives one appreciation and thanks for the Lord's grace and mercy. A wonderful guide to life - especially in this hectic modern society. Very mystical but also very practical following in the tradition of most Orthodox spiritual essays. Highly recommended to all Christians seeking a deeper understanding of taking up one's Cross.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer VINE VOICE on June 29, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Though virtually unknown in Western Christianity, THE WAY OF A PILGRIM, is one of the most revered classics of Orthodox spirituality. In the first portion of this book the unnamed pilgrim introduces the reader to hesychasm through use of the "Jesus Prayer" (Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner). I found this journal of the pilgrim's travels tedious. The second portion of the book is more of a theological question and answer session between the pilgrim and his companions. I enjoyed this section more. All in all, this is an important book for Protestants to read because it enlarges their awareness of the greater Christian world, but it probably will not make a profound impact by itself.

The book's greatest strength is its usefulness as an introduction to the PHILOKALIA. The PHILOKALIA is a five-part collection of writings on mysticism in the Christian Orthodox tradition. It was written over a period of 11 centuries. 4 of the 5 volumes have been translated into English and are for sale through Amazon.com.
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38 of 47 people found the following review helpful By Kim Boykin on February 15, 2001
Format: Paperback
This is the story of an anonymous 19th-century Russian peasant who wanted to learn to "pray without ceasing" (I Thess. 5:17) and was introduced to the Jesus Prayer--the continuous repetition of "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner"--a practice that comes from the Eastern Orthodox Church and has its roots in the desert spirituality of early Christianity.

I have found this book helpful and inspiring for both my Zen practice and my Christian practice. Incidentally, this is the book that Franny is reading in J. D. Salinger's novel "Franny and Zooey" (which I also recommend).
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24 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Reijo Oksanen on July 18, 2003
Format: Paperback
Sergius Bolshakoff in his book "Russian Mystics" writes that there is a manuscript copy in the St. Panteleimon Monastery in Mount Athos. Writing in 1956 he adds that this copy is longer than the existing printed version with five extra episodes and a postscript.
The first printed version came out in Kazan in 1884 and was called "Sincere Tales of a Pilgrim to His Spiritual Father". The introduction of this version tells it to be a reproduction of manuscript which Paisius, abbot of St. Michael of the Cheremissi, found and copied on Mount Athos. Paisius died in 1883.
Bolshakoff writes further that he found the above when he was studying the correspondence of Fr. Jerome Solomentsev. He concludes that the pilgrim perhaps visited Mount Athos and wrote or dictated his story for Fr. Jerome.
However, the above is not the whole history. Bolshakoff found further new information on the pilgrim from two letters of Staretz Ambrose of Optino to a nun who was a prioress of a convent and who had read the manuscript of the Tales before it was printed in Kazan.
Bolshakoff: "In his letter Staretz Ambrose writes: "You write that you came across a manuscript which indicates a simple method to learn the Prayer of Jesus, vocal, mental, and of heart. This manuscript was written by a peasant from the province of Orel who was taught the Prayer of Jesus by an unknown Staretz. You write that the manuscript of this peasant ends in 1859. Shortly before that time we heard from our late staretz, Father Macarius, that he was visited by a layman who had attained to such a high degree of spiritual prayer that Fr. Macarius did not know what to tell him. This layman, in order to receive advice, described to our staretz various states of prayer.
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Format: Paperback
The anonymous confessions of an early 19th century Russian aestetic to his spiritual adviser, THE WAY OF A PILGRIM is a classic of Orthodox Christian spirituality and contains within its humble account a message accessible to every reader. Far from being a highfaultin' work of theology, its theme is simply the ability of any individual to dwell in the presence of God.

The author of the account speaks of how one day in a sermon he heard St Paul's exhortation to "pray without ceasing", and he wondered how that might be possible. When he asks the question of the abbot of a nearby monastery, the wise old monk introduces the pilgrim to the tradition of the prayer of the heart, or "Jesus prayer". The pilgrim wanders all over Russia, as far as Irkutsk in the east of Siberia. His account gives us an enjoyable account of Russian peasant life of the time. As he journeys about, he reads much of the Philokalia, the classic compendium of mystical writings by Orthodox saints. Essentially, the Jesus prayer is an attempt to come closer to God through ceaseless repetition of the phrase "Lord Jesus Christ, son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner." In the initial steps of his prayer life, the pilgrim says this first hundreds and then thousands of times a day. But the Jesus prayer is no mantra, having intrisic value in its, nor is it "vain repetition". Rather, the prayer is meant to guide the Christian into a ceaseless longing for God in his heart. Without that centering in the heart, speaking the words of the prayer is an empty gesture.

The work is an important representation of Orthodoxy to non-Orthodox, and it dispells two popular misconceptions about the Church.
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