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Customer reviews

5.0 out of 5 stars

on 4 January 2011
Bishop Kallistos calls this "a timely book" and I agree totally.
From the beginning (his equation of 'repentance' with 'resurrection') to the end (his call for an open and honest debate about issues of authority and abuse in the Church) the book is full of beautiful language and profound ideas. I found, by the end, that I had filled 6 A4 pages with notes and quotes for my own studies!

John Chryssavgis' language is very beautiful and often quite poetic. His paradoxes, puns and other word play are used to good effect to produce new illuminations, for example: "We are called to love, not to pretend; to be holy, not to be 'nice'." "Re-membering = becoming again members of one another".

Ostensibly addressed to clergy and people with spiritual authority, I believe the book is of immense value to any Christian (even non-Orthodox). The chapters on the meaning of repentance contain especially powerful messages.

Fr. John has used his profound knowledge of the desert fathers to relate what may appear as outmoded and archaic ideas of medieval desert asceticism to the modern world. Put another way, he demonstrates by example just how 'modern' these fathers were. (A passing thought - St. Symeon the New Theologian's 'rules' or guidance for spiritual fathers should be engraved on the hearts of all clergy!)

At the very least, the book contains an excellent and easily accessible collection of patristic sources from Basil the Great to Fr. Vasileios of Iveron.

My only 'reservation', though a small one, is that the people who need to read it probably won't, while those who buy it probably don't need it! However, this is probably true of all polemical writing.
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