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The Path to Salvation: A Manual of Spiritual Transformation Paperback – July 1, 1997

5.0 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Language Notes

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: Russian --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

If the main goal of the repentant sinner should be total, light-bearing and blessed communion with God, then the main hindrance to this is the existence of the passions still active and working in him--the virtues being as yet unsealed in him--and the unrighteousness of his powers. Therefore his main work upon conversion and repentance should be the uprooting of passions and sealing the virtues--in a word, correcting himself.

In the kingdom of God there should not be anyone acting from himself; God should be acting in everything. This cannot happen as long as freedom stands for itself--it denies and turns away God's power. This stubborn resistance to God's power will only cease when our free, or self-acting, individual will and activity fall down before Him; when we pronounce the resolute prayer: "Do Thou, O Lord, do in me as Thou wilt, for I am blind and weak."

We must fulfill the commandments--all of them. But we do not naturally have the desire, fervor and zeal for this. This fire is kindled in our spirit by God's grace through repentance, for the sake of a contrite spirit and the promise to do God's will. This itself is the strength for keeping the commandments, and it alone is capable of keeping them all the time. If the fulfillment of the commandments is the foundation for salvation, then the spirit of zeal is our only saving power. Wherever it is present there is diligence, care, fervor, readiness, alacrity to do works pleasing to God. Where it is absent, everything ceases and falls away--there is no life of the spirit, and everything runs cold and dies. Though there may be good works, they will be only good in form, but not in power and spirit. This is that same fire that our Lord Jesus Christ came to kindle upon the earth, which lights the hearts of the faithful, through the Holy Spirit...

The principal thing is to walk before God, or under God's eye, aware that God is looking at you, searching your soul and your heart, seeing all that is there. This awareness is the most powerful lever in the mechanism of the inner spiritual life.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 366 pages
  • Publisher: Saint Herman Pr; 2nd prt. edition (July 1, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1887904506
  • ISBN-13: 978-1887904506
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.2 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #319,855 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
What does it mean to call a spiritual writer a "Church Father for modern times"? For some, it might be easy hyperbole, or hype without depth. But for someone like Staretz Theophan's translator, Fr. Seraphim Rose, who dedicated his entire all-too-short life until his death in 1982 to the acquisition of the "mind of the Fathers" through a life of prayer and spiritual effort, and who was not apt to overpraise anyone born after the fall of Constantinople, this is praise you can trust. It brings together the two areas that were at loggerheads in his soul, which are also the two forces all spiritual seekers must struggle today to reconcile: modern life and authentic spirituality. The key question, which must become a life-and-death issue for anyone wishing to make genuine spiritual progress is: how is it possible to live an authentic spiritual life in this world of sham and selfishness, desire and deceit, pleasure and pain, joy and sorrow, emptiness and hope?
The Path to Salvation answers that question, and in a manner so thorough, complete, effective and simple as to be almost beyond expectation. Theophan the Recluse was indeed a Church Father for modern times. He lived in the latter half of the 19th century when all the elements of modern life--rationalism, pluralism, secularism, humanism, etc.--were gathering their all-consuming force; he lived a life totally steeped in prayer and spiritual practice based on the centuries-old spiritual tradition of the Philokalia and the hesychasts of Orthodoxy; and--and this is especially important--he had a ministry of spiritual direction to thousands of people throughout Russia and the world, most of whom were not monks and recluses but men and women living in the world.
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I have been a spiritual "seeker" for a long time. Disenchanted with 18 years of "traditional" protestant theology I had sought the path of Buddhism and so-called eastern spirituality. Then a good friend introduced me to Eastern Orthodox Christianity - WOW!! I found the lid to the spiritual puzzle that I'd been trying to put together for so many years.

This book by St. Theophan is the real deal. It describes the path to Salvation. Not just how to become a Christian, but how to be transformed into the likeness of God becoming "partakers of the divine nature" - 1 Peter 1:4.

It's not an easy read, but well worth the effort. It also contains some great advice on raising children and teenagers, with pointers on education and discipline.

You can access some of the writings of St. Theophan on the Internet. Just search for "St. Theophan" and you'll find excerpts from this book and others on Orthodox Christian websites. After that you'll want this book. It's a classic.
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Format: Paperback
St. Theophan translated Philokalia and other works to Russian and had a vast correspondence during his 23 years as a recluse. Tha Path to Salvation is his main work in which he goes through the Christian life from cradle to grave; from birth to salvation.
The practical instructions in the book are many: starting from the beginning of the Christian life, on turning towards God and the union with Him. 'Staying within', prayer, the meaning of the 'mysteries and sacraments' are all gone through thoroughly and spelled out as the unceasing work in remembering God. The death of the tyrant, the enemy, satan, what we normally call self, is one step on the way.
Besides the instructions to the Christian life The Path to Salvation will give many clues to better understanding of the Patristic writings of Philokalia as well as to what is meant with concepts like the struggle, labour and work of the Christian life.
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Format: Paperback
I HAVE NOW BOUGHT ALL OF HIS BOOKS.
HIS MESSAGE IS LIFE-CHANGING.
NO SWEET, SYRUPY STUFF THAT YOU GET IN CHURCHES NOWADAYS.
HE DOESN'T WANT TO BE POPULAR.
HE WANTS YOU TO DO WHAT IS NECCESARY TO GET TO HEAVEN.
HE TELLS IT LIKE IT IS & MAKES YOU COME TO GRIPS WITH YOUR LIFE.
IT WILL BE ONE OF THE BEST PURCHASES THAT YOU EVER MADE !!!.
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By Noel P. Burt on November 13, 2004
Format: Paperback
Here is the truth! St. Theophan clearly spells it all out step by step so that everyone can understand it. He doesn't leave you stranded at "join a church" level. He takes you all the way to Union With God. If you really want to know about the real Christianity, this is it. You will not find better.
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Reading Path to Salvation was a refreshing experience, reminding me of the 'springtimes' of my faith, when I have had great passion for God and for holiness. St. Theophan produced in this book an excellent work of spiritual psychology, with fantastic insight into the struggles and victories of the Christian life. Part I, about raising children in the faith, is thoughtful and encouraging but makes me wistful for the days of a Christian society where this kind of upbringing was possible for many people. Part 2 is a brilliant analysis of the crisis of conversion and the difficulty of true repentance. Theophan gets right down into the mystery of human freedom, the infinitesimal yet crucial gap between the grace of God and our genuine response. Part 3, on the Christian life, was the most helpful for me, and gives a clear schema for the growth in holiness and love of God throughout our lives.

I read this just after reading 'Spirit and Reality' by Nikolai Berdyaev, who was a bit dismissive of Theophan and this book as overly conservative and focussed on sin as opposed to positive Christian living. I agree that in itself this book does not give an holistic picture of the Christian life in the world, but within its scope The Path to Salvation is brilliant, clear, and practical. It distils the wisdom found across several thousand pages of the Philokalia into a single, systematic work. Anyway, as Sergei Bulgakov wrote of the Philokalia, 'there is no such tradition concerning the creative paths of Christian audacity'. Follow Theophan's teachings on holiness and prayer and then let the Holy Spirit guide you into the adventure of life as a follower of Christ.
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