"By the grace of God I am a Christian man, by my actions a great sinner, and by calling a homeless wanderer of the humblest birth who roams from place to place. My worldly goods are a knapsack and some dried bread in it, and a Bible in my breast pocket. And that is all."
With this modest and simple statement, one of the world's great classics of spirituality begins. An anonymous Russian peasant of the nineteenth century sets out to seek the truth, attempting to follow St. Paul's command to "pray without ceasing." By chanting the Jesus Prayer ("Lord Jesus Christ have mercy on me"), he attains a greater intimacy with God. Generations of readers, including Christians of all persuasions, have benefited by reading of the pilgrim's attempts to discipline his mind toward a constant awareness of God's presence as manifested through Christ's mercy.
In addition to its profound theological and philosophical observations, The Way of a Pilgrim offers an authentic portrait of Russia's social conditions during the final years of serfdom. Readers who appreciate the works of Dostoyevsky and Tolstoy will delight in the author's encounters with a vast range of humanity, from monks, intellectuals, and hermits to peasants, convicts, and exiles.