Elder Silouan, a Russian monk of mount Athos (+1937), was a very simple man of peasant origins. When he was young, he was so strong and "healthy" that he could eat 50 eggs for breakfast. One day, he fought against an accordionist for a girl and left him almost dead.
Then, years later, he went to mount Athos to become a monk, and has been blessed by a personal vision of Jesus-Christ who told him these few but incredibly deep words: "Keep your mind in hell, and despair not."
Archimandrite Sophrony, the author of this book, was saint Silouan's unique disciple, who founded a monastic community in Essex, England. He, too, was a great ascetic and a wonderful "staretz". The present book is both an introduction to the most authentic aspects of Eastern Orthodox ascetic christian life, and a testimony of "the meekest of the theologians of Christ's love", as the Orthodox Church has sung on saint Silouan's nameday since his canonization in 1987.