Some more book notes

I have received a copy of The Philokalia: A Second Volume of Selected Readings, the continuation of the translation of Constantine Cavarnos. As in the case of the previous volume, the translation style is lucid and yet solid. The texts included come from the first, second, and fifth volumes of the Greek Philokalia. The texts included here are:

St Mark the Ascetic: Epistle to Nicholas the Monk (the translation of the brief biography of this Saint, which was written by St Nikodemos, is included in the first volume of Dr Cavarnos’ translations)
St Neilos the Ascetic: Brief biography; One Hundred and Fifty-Three Sections Concerning Prayer; Ascetical Discourse
St Theodore of Edessa: Brief biography; One Hundred Exceedingly Edifying Texts; Theoretikon
Abba Philemon: Brief biography; An Exceedingly Profitable Discourse Concerning Abba Philemon
Philotheos of Sinai: Brief biography; Forty Texts on Inner Watchfulness
Elias Ekdikos: Brief biography; Gnomic Anthology; Texts of Spiritual Wisdom
St Symeon of Thessaloniki: On the Holy and Deifying Prayer; That All Christians Ought to Pray in the Name of Jesus Christ
Anonymous Saint: A Wonderful Discourse Concerning the Words of the Divine Prayer “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have Mercy Upon Me”; An Interpretation of “Lord, Have Mercy”
St Symeon the New Theologian: A Discourse Concerning Faith and Teaching; A Discourse on the Three Modes of Prayer
St Gregory the Sinaite: On How Each Should Say the Jesus Prayer; From the Life of Maximos Kapsokalyves
St Gregory Palamas: From the Life of St Gregory Palamas: That All Christians in General Ought to Pray Unceasingly

The volume was edited by Hieromonk Patapios, Archbishop Chrysostomos (who also wrote the very useful and edifying introduction to this volume) and Father Asterios Gerostergios. It is published in paperback by The Institute for Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies (the Institute’s website now takes online orders: hooray!).

Another book arrived in the package with my copy of the above-mentioned book: An Explorer of Realms of Art, Life, and Thought: A Survey of the Works of Philosopher and Theologian Constantine Cavarnos, by John Rexine, also published by the Institute. This was a gift from Fr Asterios, to my great delight. In thirty-three short chapters, Rexine provides a combination appreciation and précis for thirty-three of Dr Cavarnos’ books published in Greek and/or English, these having been between 1949 and 1985. The frontispiece to each book illustrates the beginning of each chapter, and there are other illustrations peppered throughout the book. This paperback book is printed in the same manner as most of the books of the Institute, on the thick creamy paper with heavy boards. The books of the Institute are consistently as satisfying to the hand and eye as they are to the soul and mind.

The following book has yet to be widely released: Homilies on the Book of the Revelation: Volume One, by Archimandrite Athanasios Mitilinaios, translated by Constantine Zalalas, with a Foreword and Notes by the same. This is published by St Nicodemos Publications in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. The page for this book is here. This volume covers the homilies of the Blessed Elder Athanasios given on the Book of the Apocalypse, from 1:1 to 3:22. Further volumes are obviously forthcoming. I recommend to the reader the introduction to the St Nicodemoos Publications website, also written by Constantine Zalalas. He and I and many others are in perfect agreement. There are numerous recordings of Elder Athanasios available in Greek, and translations of those into English, as well, though I’m not quite clear on where those are available. I’ve only heard about them. The publishers should have this book available through Amazon soon.

I was going to write more, but I’m having some inexplicable computer crashes. Sorry to post and run!

Happy reading!

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11 Responses to Some more book notes

  1. bekman says:

    Have you gotten a sense for how the Cavarnos Philokalia differs from the more common Palmer, Sherrard, +Kallistos Philokalia?

    b.

  2. Aaron Taylor says:

    Good news about the Philokalia book! I’ll have to mention on my St Mark of Ephesus post that his treatise on ‘Lord, have mercy’ has now been published in English!

  3. Aaron Taylor says:

    Oh, I just saw your comment about the Institute taking online orders! Wonderful news!

  4. Hi Bekman,
    Stay tuned! I’ll post some samples of the two. I personally much prefer the Cavarnos translation.

    Aaron, yes, it’s great news that they now take online orders. It’s through PayPal, so people will have to set up a PayPal account, but it’s totally worth it.

  5. Matthew says:

    Some of those lectures can be found at http://philokalia.org/zalalas.htm
    Thanks for these briefs and postings. I always appreciate your commentary on so many of these books.

    Matthew

  6. Thank you for the link, and for the compliment, Matthew.

    I should be posting more often now that I have a new computer at home. It was kind of a chore to start my old one up and to work with it. It was nine years old! Finally it gave up on me.

    I’ll try to keep the quality up, and maybe even raise it a little!

  7. Ryan says:

    Kevin- I have the old Faber and Faber “Writings from the Philokalia on the Prayer of the Heart” and it has translations from some of the same sections. However, the titles listed are different. I wonder if this is because they are different works or they are just the same works with different titles in Slavonic and Greek. For instance, the Faber edition has these two works from St. Gregory of Sinai: “Texts on commandments and dogmas, warnings, and promises,” and then “Instructions to Hesychasts”; the Cavarnos edition has “On How Each Should Say the Jesus Prayer” and “From the Life of Maximos Kapsokalyves.” Are these the same or different texts? Thanks.

  8. Hi Ryan,
    I’m not sure if they’re the same, since I don’t have that book. It’s certainly possible that they’re the same and that the titles differ in the Slavonic and the Greek. But then it may also be the case that the Faber & Faber editors simply changed the titles. They certainly did so in some of the translations from the Greek. But it might also be the case that the works in question are some that simply aren’t in the Greek Philokalia, as the Russian Philokalia (Dobrotolubie) is at core the same, but a number of other texts are added to it, with some of the Greek Philokalia ones missing.

    Sorry I can’t really give you a clear answer on that one! I’ll pick up a copy of that book again sometime soon (I gave mine away to a friend who needed it at the time) and take a look. I’ll post what I find.

  9. Ryan says:

    Thanks Kevin. Maybe a comparison can be made if I just give the first paragraphs from some of the works.

    So St. Gregory Sinaite’s “Texts on commandments…” begins thus:

    “True reason, such as man had in the beginning, cannot be had or acquired by any man, who has not first been purified and become passionless. Of purity we are deprived by unreasoning tendencies of the senses, and passionlessness- by the corrupted state of the flesh.” It’s hard to summarize this entire work; it covers a lot of topics, from the passions and Old Testament law to the state of man in paradise and the resurrection.

    His “Instructions for Hesychasts” begins:

    1. How to sit in the cell: Sitting in your cell, remain patiently at prayer, according to the precept of the Apostle Paul. Collect your mind in to your heart and send out thence your mental cry to our Lord Jesus, calling for his help and saying: ‘Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy upon me.’ Do not give in to faint-heartedness and laziness, but labour in your heart and drive your body, seeking the Lord in your heart. Compel yourself by every means to do this work, for ‘The kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force’, as the Lord said showing that this attainment demands severe labour and spiritual struggle.

  10. I’ll take a look and let you know, Ryan. It’d be nice if they were covered in both the Faber & Faber and the Cavarnos translations.

  11. HI Kevin,

    Homilies on the Book of the Revelation are both on Amazon and http://www.saintnicodemos.org. We would like help on getting them “widely released” . We have plenty available.Volume 2 should be done this year.

    Most of the talks in English are on http://www.philokalia.org . In Greek try http://www.pantokrator.org There are about 103 homilies on the book of the Revelation by Archimandrite Athanasios Mitilinaios.

    Zalalas was just here in the bay area. He comes two times a year to speak here and at the Life Giving Spring Monastery. The next visit will be August 15th or so..

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