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.
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.