Encountering the Mystery: Understanding Orthodox Christianity  -     By: Bartholomew I
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Encountering the Mystery: Understanding Orthodox Christianity

Doubleday Books / 2008 / Hardcover

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Product Description

The Orthodox Christian church is an elegant tapestry of enduring theology, culture, and tradition and is experiencing a worldwide rebirth. In Encountering the Mystery, the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I unveils the shroud of mystery surrounding this ancient faith as he explains its 2,000-year history. He traces the roots of Orthodox Christianity to its founding in the first century, while exploring its spirituality, doctrine, liturgy and art. Ultimately Bartholomew, in a unique and unprecedented way, relates Orthodox Christianity to contemporary issues, such as freedom and human rights, social justice and globalization, as well as nationalism and war. Encountering the Mystery is a rich spiritual source that connects the Kingdom of today with the Kingdom of the ages.

Product Information

Format: Hardcover
Number of Pages: 240
Vendor: Doubleday Books
Publication Date: 2008
Dimensions: 8.25 X 5.50 (inches)
ISBN: 0385518137
ISBN-13: 9780385518130
Availability: In Stock

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Publisher's Description

As Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew I is the symbol of unity for the self-governing national and ethnic Orthodox Christian churches throughout the world. He is well known for his commitment to protecting the environment, and for opening communications with other Christians (especially the Roman Catholic Church) as well as with Muslims and other religious groups.

Written with personal warmth and great erudition, ENCOUNTERING THE MYSTERY illuminates the rich culture and soul of Orthodox Christianity. Bartholomew I traces the roots of Orthodox Christianity to its founding 2000 years ago, explores its spirituality and doctrine, and explains its liturgy and art. More especially, in a unique and unprecedented way, he relates Orthodox Christianity to contemporary issues, such as freedom and human rights, social justice and globalization, as well as nationalism and war.

With a recent rebirth of Orthodox Christian churches (particularly in the former Soviet Union and elsewhere in Central and Eastern Europe), there has been great interest in understanding this important branch of Christianity with its close ties to the traditions of the early Church. As USA TODAY recently reported, Orthodox Christian churches throughout the country are drawing converts attracted by the beauty of its liturgy and inspired by its enduring theology and teachings. But for the general seeker, whatever their background, ENCOUNTERING THE MYSTERY is a rich spiritual source that draws upon the wisdom of millennia.

Author Bio

BARTHOLOMEW, Archbishop of Constantinople, New Rome, and Ecumenical Patriarch, is spiritual leader for the world’s over 200 million Orthodox Christians. He is dedicated to advancing reconciliation among Christian, Muslim, and Jewish communities, and is an active proponent of environmental causes.

Publisher's Weekly

Although the 16-year reign of the Patriarch of the Orthodox Christian communion has largely gone unnoticed in America, this new book should serve to raise his profile considerably. Like some of his Western counterparts, the popes of Rome, Bartholomew has used his position to speak out against the ravages of the global economy and has been an eloquent advocate for environmentalism. In his new book, he mines the mystical theology of Orthodoxy, which relies heavily on saints like Gregory of Nyssa and the New Testament, to paint a picture of a world transformed and renewed by Christianity. The chief principles that underlie this world are prayerfulness, asceticism and humility. Bartholomew understands the cultivation of virtue as having both personal and global dimensions, as when he writes, "[L]et us treat everything with proper love and utmost care. Only in this way shall we secure a physical environment where life for the coming generations of humankind will be healthy and happy." As a citizen of Turkey, Bartholomew has also been committed to Christian-Jewish-Muslim dialogue and is believable when he says, "[I]t is not religious differences that create conflict between human beings." More than anything else, this book shows that all who are committed to social justice have a friend in the Orthodox Patriarch. (Mar. 18) Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

Editorial Reviews

ADVANCE PRAISE FOR ENCOUNTERING THE MYSTERY

"Orthodoxy is neither just a theological system nor just a set of liturgical disciplines; it is in the most serious and full sense wisdom – a perspective of Spirit-led insight that transforms both vision and action. In this exceptional book, Patriarch Bartholomew inducts his readers into this wisdom and demonstrates with authority how it bears upon a range of global issues. There is nothing archaic here, though plenty that is traditional; nothing merely fashionable, though plenty that is sharply contemporary. It is a treasury of sane and generous theology, from one of the truly great figures in the Christian world today."
—Dr. Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury

“The Ecumenical Patriarch is renowned as a bridge-builder. Encountering the Mystery is a bridge in book form, and a majestic structure it is. The text first introduces readers to the tenets and values of the Orthodox Church, then prompts us to think deeply about the nature of the world in which we live, then summons us to act on behalf of all creation. The volume is nothing less than a work of art, informed by faith, and infused with wisdom and love.”
—Madeleine K. Albright


“Although the 16-year reign of the Patriarch of the Orthodox Christian communion has largely gone unnoticed in America, this new book should serve to raise his profile considerably . . . Bartholomew has used his position to speak out against the ravages of the global economy and has been an eloquent advocate for environmentalism. In his new book, he mines the mystical theology of Orthodoxy . . . to paint a picture of a world transformed and renewed by Christianity. More than anything else, this book shows that all who are committed to social justice have a friend in the Orthodox Patriarch.”
Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“This is an extraordinary book, for Patriarch Bartholomew is a quite exceptional human being. He has a deep understanding of Christianity, Islam, and Judaism and works tirelessly to bridge their worlds. He is concerned for the future of unborn generations, linking poverty, the dark side of globalization, and the unsustainable lifestyles of the elite with environmental degradation. He is an extraordinarily wise global leader, using the gift of his life to make this a better world for all, knowing God in all, and urging us to do the same.”
—Dr. Jane Goodall, DBE, founder of the Jane Goodall Institute and a UN Messenger of Peace www.janegoodall.org www.rootsandshoots.org

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    Meets Expectations: 5
    The Ecumenical Patriarch makes a concise survey of Orthodoxy and proceeds to spend much time relating principle to application. The first portion of the book is theologically valuable - with extensive Patristic citation - and the last portion is devotional. I am not Orthodox but the book has given me a greater respect for that church and left with me the desire to investigate further.
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