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Way of the Ascetics: The Ancient Tradition of Discipline and Inner Growth Paperback – April 1, 1985


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 110 pages
  • Publisher: St Vladimirs Seminary Pr (April 1, 1985)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0881410497
  • ISBN-13: 978-0881410495
  • Product Dimensions: 7.1 x 5 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #165,110 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Language Notes

Text: English, Swedish (translation)

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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This small book is one I will read slowly and repeatedly.
DKH
Colliander's book helps the seeker tune the inner life to the will of God though the groundwork of prayer and practical asceticism.
matt
Here is a 20th century writer giving us a window to theosis.
Anastunya

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Orothar on May 10, 2006
Format: Paperback
I would list this among the top 10 spiritual works written during the 20th Century.

As a Protestant encountering Eastern Christianity's unique ascetic tradition for the first time, this book provided invaluable insight into the meaning of the Gospel for our daily life.

By the time I finished it I was a Catechumen (one preparing for reception into the Orthodox Church).

If you decide to read it, first, open your mind to a different perspective on topics like fasting, prayer, alms giving, and worship. You'll find yourself continually revisiting New Testament passages like the Sermon on the Mount (Matt 5 - 7) and even Leviticus shows up in a new light... Even if you never set foot in an Orthodox Church this book can provide a tremendous depth to your spiritual life.

The style is very direct and hard hitting, but not in an angry, argumentative way. It's extremely humble, while being up front and honest about what it is that we face in our battle against the oppression of death and sin in our life.

This book provides a basic roadmap, an outline, for how to free oneself from this oppression, both in act and mind.

At the same time, the author presents an asceticism that isn't extreme (no running off and locking yourself in a box for 20 years, or refusing to sleep ever again). Instead, it is extremely practical and straightforward - designed for people living in the world.

The last chapter even states that we are expected to live, more or less, like normal people - going to work, paying bills, eating and drinking, laughing and loving. Instead, however, by purifying ourselves of our attachment to all these things - by being free of the need for them - we free our mind and heart to be devoted to God.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By matt on June 17, 2000
Format: Paperback
This little gem has found its way into the lives of thousands and bears a great return in communion with the Holy Trinity. Kierkegaard said that purity of heart is to will one thing. Through the grace of God it is a realisitc hope to purify the heart. Liturgy, Eucharist, almsgiving,etc are all means to this end. Colliander's book helps the seeker tune the inner life to the will of God though the groundwork of prayer and practical asceticism. One thing that is so winsome about it is that he doesn't hold spiritual carrots out to the reader without giving real guidance in how to grow in holiness. As with any book on such a serious topic, DO NOT read it for spiritual titulation. Take it seriously in the love of God. This is reality.
Check out "Encountering the Depths" by Mother Mary Clare and "The Orthodox Way" by Bishop Kallistos Ware. They've been a great help to many!
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 1, 1999
Format: Paperback
This is a convicting look into the heart of the animal called "man." Colliander gives us a model of self examination and discipline which has been useful to me in my several years of preaching and teaching. There are goals of holiness here that are so solid, that if attained, heaven would start to shine through.
I would recommend this book to anyone who desires a more holy heart.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By hermitman on July 26, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Walk in to any book store in the U.S. or Canada and you will be deluged with a plethora of books and magazines on almost every spiritual path known to humanity; there are so many great titles on subjects ranging from Tibetan Buddhism, yoga and the Kabbalah. But one area of our collective spiritual heritage that is often conspicuously absent is writings on and from the western, specifically Christian, monastic tradition. There are a number of good books out there, but this one is truly excellent and is written in a clear, straightforward, and dare I say even simple style that is accessible to even novice mystics. Since the sexual revolution in the 1960's, asceticism has definitely fallen out of vogue in western Europe and North America, but in this small and readable book, Tito Colliander makes it clear why and how we should take up the "path of the acscetic". If you are looking for more than just the latest spirituality of the month from Oprah, and want to begin understanding the path of mystical Christianity and your own human nature then read this book, and even more so- put its advice into practice in your life. Colliander covers such important topics as fasting, the passions, prayer, and the reality of evil in our lives. I love puling it out on the subway, and reading a paragraph or two at a time; here is some simple yet dense food for the soul. Highly recommended!
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By DKH on February 16, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This small book is one I will read slowly and repeatedly. I've read about 4 chapters so far and feel some deep breaking of ground. Perhaps I was ready for it, but I am grateful for this compilation of the wisdom of these early Christian sages. Thankfully, the chapters are brief so that you can pause and allow the truths to steep within one's heart before rushing to another gem. If you are serious and ripe for spiritual growth, if you want God to increase and your own self to decrease, this book could be for you. It is not a band-aid solution. Be prepared to work, or allow God to work within you. It is spiritual surgery. It is a helping hand to get you on the humbling path of becoming more like Jesus. I am so glad to have found it and recommend it highly.
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