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The Orthodox Church: New Edition Paperback – June 1, 1993
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About the Author
Timothy Ware, His Excellency the Most Reverend Metropolitan Kallistos of Diokleia, was Spalding Lecturer of Eastern Orthodox Studies at Oxford University until his retirement in 2001.
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Top Customer Reviews
The cover states that this title is "a clear, detailed introduction to the Orthodox Church written for the non-Orthodox as well as for Orthodox Christians who wish to know more about their own tradition." I couldn't have said it better myself.
This volume is divided into two sections. Part one covers the history of the Church from the beginnings at Pentecost through Byzantium (the Seven Councils and the Great Schism), then the conversion of the Slavs, the Church under Islam, the Russian Church, and on into the twentieth century. Especially sobering is the author's summary of events surrounding the eastern European Orthodox Churches under communism. Coverage of the growth of the Orthodox Church in North America helps explain the current state of things.
Part two discusses faith and worship and covers such important topics as: Holy Tradition, God and humankind, the theology and structure of the Church, and detailed explanations of various components of Orthodox worship (including sacraments, feasts, fasts and private prayer). The final chapter, entitled "The Orthodox Church and the Reunion of Christians," explains various views within the Church concerning the ecumenical movement and the World Council of Churches, and highlights dialogues with various church bodies including Roman Catholics, Old Catholics, Anglicans, and other Eastern Christian bodies such as the Coptic Church and the Armenian Orthodox Church.
An extensive, annotated list of further reading, organized by topics, such as "The Early Church and Byzantium," "Orthodox Theology," and "Liturgical Worship," will be extremely helpful for those who wish to dig more deeply into specific areas of interest.
While this may indeed be the definitive introductory book on Eastern Orthodoxy, it would certainly be more accessible to readers with some background in the Bible, Church history, or with some experience in liturgical churches. As the author suggests at one point, there is no better introduction to Orthodoxy than to actually attend an Orthodox Divine Liturgy. Those who have attended Orthodox services (or who have been members of the Church for a while) are likely to be those who are most drawn to this excellent book.
Part One of this book displays a well-defined and compact discourse concerning the Early Church, the Church of the Seven Councils, and the struggling Church in a state of siege and persecution.
Part Two makes evident the faith and worship of the Orthodox Church. In this section, Timothy Ware discusses the principles behind Orthodox Liturgy, the Sacraments, and God's relations with the individuals that constitute the invisible body of the Church. As a reader I discovered the the little things that engendered big friction between the East and the West. Also I found valuable information about the rise of communist Russia, the internal and external dissent between Orthodox Churches during this period, and the prevalence of a faith that has remained nearly unchanged throughout the ups and downs of its long history.
So I highly recommend this book for anyone interested in Church History, or for someone who simply wishes to look at the Orthodox Church from the pen of an Orthodox writter.
Instead of describing all it's content, just search inside the book at look at the table of contents. But this is definitely a book for two types of people: 1) A refresher for the Orthodox who needs to review their history and 2) those interested in Orthodoxy. It could even work for someone who is needing to do research for a class. The book is broken up easily for going to a chapter on a given subject. The reader does not have to read the prior chapter in order to gauge the following one. This means it is also a good reference tool.
No complaints. Good book and I will recommend it to others.
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