A collection of writings by monks from the fourth to fifteenth centuries, the Philokalia more than any other text reflects the Eastern Church's interpretation of the Bible's meaning. Simply translated, the title means "love of the beautiful," which reflects the text's emphasis on mystical and contemplative practices to engage all of our senses in the acts of worship and prayer.
This introduction to the wisdom of the Philokalia illuminates a text that until now has intimidated the general reader in its scholarly translations from Greek and Russian. Allyne Smith focuses his thoughtful selection on seven themes that recur throughout the five-volume work-repentance, the heart, prayer, the Jesus Prayer, the passions, stillness, and theosis. Smith's enlightening, accessible facing-page commentary fills in the historical and spiritual context, clarifies core teachings, including the Eastern understanding of salvation, and draws connections to modern-day practices, such as contemplative prayer.